What did you learn from last week’s sermon?
Q1: In Nehemiah’s time, who had been given God’s word, prophets for instruction, and the promises of God to rest on?
Q2: Who was excluded from chapter nine’s particular time of confession to God?
Q3: Can the spiritual maturity of a believer happen outside of ordinary corporate worship?
Q4: Are Christian believers today counted by God to be His children with the same inheritance as the old world Jews?
Q5: Is an unbeliever spiritually capable of humbly confessing their sins to God, or is the best they can do is just to confess their unbelief?
Sermon Summary & Answers
This week we come back to Chapter 9 of Nehemiah. This section came after the wall was finished, and the Jews are done with the seven-day feast. Israel gets one day of rest. Then they begin a particular time of confession and recognition of God’s dealings with them…
- His goodness
- His compassion
- His blessings
- His hard providences on them for correction
They take this time to confess their sin, wickedness, and generational stubbornness. The whole chapter is a confessional prayer, and it is good for the soul of God’s people.
We learned just a few weeks ago in the sermon Bring The Book that spiritual maturity cannot happen when people are herded into sub-groups outside of the standard, historical corporate worship setting of God’s design. So ordinary corporate worship (our Sunday) of God will include everyone, men, women, children, believers, and non-believers. During that time, they wept and rejoiced. However, this gathering in chapter nine will be different.
This time will be a time for intense and specific confession only for the children of God on account of Israel’s generational sins. This gathering was only for the actual descendants of Israel – true believers of God. They had been given God’s word to lead them, the prophets of God to instruct them, and the promises of God to rest on.
Now on the twenty-fourth day of this month, the sons of Israel assembled with fasting, in sackcloth, and with dirt upon them. The descendants of Israel separated themselves from all foreigners and stood and confessed their sins and the iniquities of their fathers.
We (converted believers) are true descendants of the people of God. Abraham is also our father because we have been adopted into the family of faith. 1 Peter 1:3-5 & 2:9-10 tells us about our inheritance and how we came to be counted and protected in the lineage by Jesus’ sacrifice. We are no less God’s children, and God’s children are the only ones that can actually confess in prayer these things…
- His grace
- His mercy
- His justice
- His blessings toward them
When you are an unbeliever, you can only confess your unbelief and cry out to God to be merciful and grant you grace and faith to believe. You will not have a humble posture like the group above. It is not in an unbeliever’s nature. However, God does call to unbelievers to repent of unbelief and accept Christ so they can lay down their guilt and pain of sin to have true rest in their soul. Then the lines of communication and true confession will be open to the new believer.
As the new believer matures (in corporate worship), they will become more aware of the wretchedness of their sin side that often wins the battle of the will in their mind. This will lead to the truly humble and broken posture that now God will listen to, seen in this gathering in chapter nine of Nehemiah. This is no ineffectual alter-call where people try to pray their sins away. This is the real deal – where God comes to do business with His children!
This is why a corporate identity with Christ’s church is vital for conversation and correction. This is a confession of God’s people being truly broken-hearted over their sins and the sins of their families. You cannot work out your faith if you aren’t vitally connected with the people of your faith. That is how God designed it, and he certainly isn’t asking any human for new advice on that. So, we must reject the new church-by-zoom mentality. If you genuinely are His and love Him, you will not, like a small child, want to let go of His hand crossing this ugly world’s street. Cling to your savior, cling to His body!
All of God’s good stuff for His chosen comes through our shared identity, shared burdens, and shared confessions of wickedness in corporate worship. He never forsakes us here…in His body. We know He is a just, faithful, and merciful God.
“We will receive from your hand both discipline and restoration. May we accept from You what is best for us – – may we walk the path You place before us – – may we be a people whose lives seek obedience to all You command of us. Dear God, hear – – Dear God, forgive. Use us for Your glory, we pray – – Amen.”Pastor Steve Wilson
Did you find this quiz and 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.
- The Israelites (Jews)
- YES, most definitely!
- They aren’t capable of humble confession yet. Unbelievers must start with confessing unbelief. God will (if He wills) give them belief, and then they will be able to converse with Him about more.