Nehemiah 12:27-47 - Dedicating the Project to God

January 11, 1997 Nehemiah 12:27-47

- This morning, we're going to finish up our study of this dedication service in Nehemiah 12:27-47.
- There are some very important lessons here from the way they handled this part of the project that not only affects the way we handle this part of our building project, but also principles for how we grow and change each and every day.

- let's read back through the passage to remind ourselves of what happened, and add chapter 13:1-3. (READ 12:27-13:1)

- This morning, I'd like us to organize our thoughts around the question:
- What are people who are "rightly dedicated" to God like?

- they are some key characteristics that are evident during this dedication service for the wall that ought to be true of God's people as we seek to live for Him every day.

I. They Understand the Importance of Music

- When Brian had you survey this passage last week, you saw that music and singing and musical instruments was a key part of what Nehemiah had organized for this special day.
- We ought not to miss some of the obvious implications for the way we live today.

- let's start with this:

A. Music is a great blessing of God.

- The Lord made us with the capacity to make, and to enjoy, and to be helped through music.
- That’s why it had such a prominent place in this text.

- Picture what this day would have been like without music.
- It would have been entirely different.

- that’s why the Psalmist said - Serve the LORD with gladness; Come before Him with joyful singing. (Psalm 100:2)

- So when we think of this subject of music, we ought to think of it first and foremost as a wonderful blessing of God.

- Unfortunately, the discussion doesn't end there ---- We also need to say....

B. What God wants to be a blessing --- man and or his adversary often pervert and/or destroy.

- INPUT (If time) --- Other gifts of God that man/Satan have altered/destroyed?

- Agree/Disagree - One of the greatest evidences of our cultures rebellion and sensuality is in her music.

- In our text, we have men and women who were able to worship and fellowship because they had music that facilitated worship and fellowship.

- The overall point here is that we would miss an important emphasis of being "dedicated to God" if we failed to talk about music, and the important place it has in each of our lives.

- INPUT - Implication to parenting?

- (If time -- talk about how one of the goals of our school would be to help young people to develop an appreciation for good music, and a "heart desire" to listen to things that help them grow in their love for God.)

- now, there are implications of all of this to the way we function as a church family....

C. Music ought not to be a place where we constantly "push the limits."

- Some musicians bring great division to churches /// fellowships of churches because they're constantly trying to "push the envelope" in this particular area.
- Based on what the Scripture says about Christian liberty, "constantly pushing the boundaries" on Christian liberty issues is actually a sign of immaturity.

- cf. -- appreciate the Lopez’s because you never have to worry about this issue with them.

- the reason this is important is because the music in Nehemiah 12 facilitated the joy God wanted them to have.
- Music should be a source of joy --- but for many believers it has become a source of rancor, and division.
- Having said that, the other side is:

D. Music ought not to be an area in which we constantly fuss.

- Some believers lean toward being judgmental and harsh in the first place, and they find the topic of music to be a natural place to exercise those "gifts."

- This is another way that music often becomes a source of contention...not only because of the folks who tend to "push it" all the time...but also because of folks who have a very "narrow band" when it comes to their musical preferences....and get out of kilter if someone sings something or plays something that is outside their "band."

- There's nothing wrong with each of us having our preferences in this area...but we ought to be mature enough to still worship and praise God at a conference or even in our own church even if the music is a little different than the way we would do it if we were making the decisions.
- that comment could go either in the "conservative direction" or the "liberal direction," but if we all take the position that it always has to be my way every time, we're going to be a pretty miserable bunch.
- if/when that were to happen, the very thing that was such a source of blessing to these men, women, and children in Nehemiah chapter 12 would have become just the opposite to us.

(If time -- could discuss the obvious impact that King David had on this day. Though he lived 500 years earlier, this day could not be happening the way it was --- humanly speaking --- without his ministry of writing the Psalms and making that an important part of the worship of God's people.
- we can all be encouraged in that because God can use our efforts not just to make a difference now, but in the lives of His people throughout the generations.

- so the overall point of this first idea is --- To rightly understand this dedication service, you have to see the importance of music.
- For people who want to live a life that is dedicated to God each and every day, your personal music habits will have to be examined.

- Another facet of this dedication of the wall was:

II. The Importance of Ongoing Support of God's Work

- according to verse 44, "on that day", there was organizational work concerning the ongoing needs of the temple.

A. Appointed people to oversee the collections.

- You remember that back in chapter 10, the men and women had made a commitment to continue to support God's work.
- cf. 10:32-39.

- it’s significant to note that since they were talking about dedication, it was natural to talk about fulfilling the commitments they had made financially.

- If they were not willing to do that, or nervous about doing that, then the "dedication" that was taking place was pretty shallow.

- there's an important note at the end of verse 44 that adds to our understanding of what was going on here----"for Judah rejoiced over the priests and Levites who served."

- this matter of making provision for the ongoing support of God's work wasn't just a matter of obligation or duty....they were doing it because they were thrilled with what was happening, and they wanted to be a part of what God was doing.

- that’s the way "dedicated people live", that’s the way "dedicated people" think....they want to be part of what God is doing.

- cf. good examples in Wiersbe, p. 138

- another emphasis in this section is that:
B. They supported those who led in worship.

- read 46-47.

- they understood that there were costs associated with those who had given their lives to be involved in the ongoing worship and care of God's people, and they were happy to be a part of sharing in those costs.

- cf. principles in I Cor. 9

- I'm very thankful for the way our church does that with our staff....let me talk to you for a minute about the way we intend to view this subject for our school.
- DEVELOP (its true that everyone in the equation will have to sacrifice some --- but the school cannot / will not be built on the backs of any one group)

- There's an obvious point that needs to be emphasized from this section of the passage --- are you committed, not only to see the building program to a completion, but to provide time, gifts, prayer support, and financial support so that the ministry that God wants accomplished with the building can be carried out?
- Its one thing to be involved in the building project --- its something else to faithfully give week after week after week to support the ministry that takes place in the building once its built.

- one last idea that is emphasized in the text is:

III. The Importance of Purity

- Verses 13:1-3 also begin with the words, "on that day."
- The Scripture goes on to say that people who were not genuine believers in God were not permitted to be part of the worship in the temple as if they (and their pagan practices) were ones that pleased God.

- Now that didn't mean that God was uninterested in those who didn't know Him, or that his people were to be indifferent to unbelievers....but they were not to treat unbelievers as if "they were all on the same page" when they weren't.

- what we're reading about here may sound harsh, but when we look next week at chapter 13, we're going to see that God's people did not honor this near like they should, and it cost them dearly.

- Develop -- implications individually, to church, and to school.