Bring the Book (Study Guide)

What did you learn from last week’s sermon?

Q1: How many people were in Jerusalem once the wall was built?

Q2: Why did Nehemiah want to build up the population?

Q3: Can we grow spiritually outside of corporate worship?

Q4: What spiritual activities are suitable substitutes for meeting with the people of God on the Lord’s Day?

Q5: Are flashy preachers riding motorcycles into the sanctuary and walking up and down the aisles telling personal stories instead of a pulpit-Bible-style preacher okay with God?

Q6: Is feeling rotten-stinkin’-guilty for our sins to the point of tears just a little over-the-top emotionally during a proper Sunday service?

Q7: What comes directly after a believer is grieved over his/her sins?

Sermon Summary & Answers

The wall is complete, and Nehemiah’s concern, prompted by God, shifts to the absence of people in the city. He calls together the nobles and takes a headcount. There are roughly 50,000 inhabitants. He knows he must build up the numbers and help them grow spiritually to have stability for whatever lies ahead.

This section of Nehemiah is a real-life model of God’s design for His CHURCH, just like we see in the New Testament at the first church gathering at Pentecost in Acts 2 and with Moses in Deuteronomy 4:10 31:11-13. Nehemiah lays the same structure out like this:

  1. THE PEOPLE ASSEMBLED
  2. THE PEOPLE ATTENTIVE
  3. THE PEOPLE INSTRUCTED
  4. THE PEOPLE CONVICTED
  5. THE PEOPLE REJOICING

The people are assembled “as one man,” meaning that they are unified in the body of Christ sharing one experience, not 50,000 different experiences. The church isn’t for individualism.

“The pursuit of spiritual maturity is not an isolated pursuit – it is accomplished with the people of God … and central to that is the time that we are together.”

Steve Wilson

Some of these Jews are believers by God’s grace, and some are not. Those who are believers are those who could “listen with understanding.” Those who did not (yet) believe could not understand the meaning of God’s word spoken. No one was excluded (including children) based on their saved-status, but all were expected to be attentive and observe the structure, reverence, and emotion of it all. Spiritual maturity cannot happen when people are herded into sub-groups outside of the standard, historical corporate worship setting in God’s design. It is the place and time where God is present. It is His ordinary means of grace for our maturity.

Another essential piece of the design is a pulpit, a book, and a man of God reading God’s word aloud and helping the people understand it better. It’s not supposed to be any more entertaining than that. If it is, you can bet the person behind the voice doesn’t believe or know whose design he’s stepping on. We assemble attentively to hear actual words from our real God because He is the only one to soothe our troubles and renew our minds.

When God meets with us, and we hear His TRUTH each week from the pulpit, it reveals to our minds the knowledge of our sins and convicts us. Man, this hurts, but then we are flooded with the truth that we are not our sin. We are new creatures in Christ, and no sin can ever take us from His hand. This knowledge brings rejoicing for those who believe. They lifted their hands; they knelt with their faces to the ground, and they shouted with happiness.

If you struggle with the “sin to rejoicing” part (and we all have), please join us for our 2nd Hour series on Romans – you will learn how to understand your sin, where it comes from, and how it is overcome. God does not intend for His own to live in confusion.


Melissa Strautman

Did you find this sermon summary helpful? Log on to gccbg.com/blog each week for the latest sermon study guide. Jessica will send the link out in the Midweek church emails. I’d love to hear your thoughts and suggestions. Please email me at thepew@gccbg.com.


Answers:

  1. 50,000
  2. It is what God laid on his heart to do.
  3. No, it is God’s ordinary means of grace for our spiritual growth.
  4. None. You can do extras (bible studies, podcasts, etc.) on top of a regular church meeting, but you still have to do real church according to God’s design.
  5. NO, and it robs believers of truth that they desperately need.
  6. NO, it’s expected and quite proper, thank you very much!
  7. Rejoicing, for we know that we are forgiven.