Jack Murray, Nehemiah, Lecture 4
Transcribed by Steven Fletcher, 2008 Gordon College
Bible Evangelism presents, once again, expository preaching by Dr. Jack Murray. Designed to exalt the savior and bless you, the listener. Lecture 4
Here now is Dr. Jack Murray:
Now if you will turn to the eighth chapter of Nehemiah this morning, in one sense the climax of this book comes in the lecture this morning and IÕll take just a few moments and review.
The first great division of the book of Nehemiah is visions in prayer. We find the setting of the book, the principle character of the book, the cupbearer to the king in Shushan the palace in Persia. He receives a report of the condition of God's people in the place of worship in Jerusalem. HeÕs deeply concerned and in the first chapter, he utters the great revival prayer of Nehemiah calling upon God, confessing his sins, claiming the promises, and making a full commitment to the Lord. As I said in the first day, the activities of chapter 1 really are, well, they really comprise a miniature of the whole. What happens to one man in chapter one now is going to take place in the hearts of thousands of people in the chapters that are before us this morning.
Then the second division of the book has a two-fold emphasis, positive and negative. "Valiant for the truth," as taken from Jeremiah 9:3 and "Valiant in fight" as taken from Hebrews 11:34. ItÕs a picture of building and battling, all the way through chapter two completing chapter seven. We trace the positive aspects of the completion of the wall, and we trace seven distinct elements of conflict. Now tomorrow we will pick up that narrative, as it closed in the last part of the sixth chapter, and tomorrowÕs lecture will be very, very important to the book, the last division is "Vigilance forever." Chapter thirteen.
we are dealing with "Victory and revival" beginning in chapter eight
verse one. Now let me just say something as we begin this. The word revival can
mean almost anything in anybodyÕs language these days. If you travel down
through the southern states youÕd probably see many, many signs on churches
with the great nickname revival. Now what does it mean? Well it means they are
having a series of evangelistic meetings or so called revival meetings.
There may be a spiritual awakening, that is, there may be a revival, and IÕm
sure that most people trust there will be. But many a series of meetings
has passed without revival. Up north, we donÕt usually call them
revivals, although I was in Pennsylvania not long ago, and sure enough out in
front of this church when I came to the meeting it was "revival."
And that was what it was called we didnÕt have a revival while we were there
anything but. But we did have a series of meetings; so I think we have to kind
of clear the air a little bit.
"Revival" may mean one of fifty different things in the minds of the people who are sitting here this morning; you may think of revival as an emotional splurge or an emotional explosion, where people jump and down in the Bahamas. We call them the jumpers and they may go clear over the seas. They may do all kinds of things which most people would look upon as excesses and that would be termed a "revival." So we are going to take basics today. The word revival as translated for instance in the eighty-fifth psalm Òwilt thou not revive us again that thy people may rejoice in theeÓ is made up of two Hebrew words. The Hebrew word "hiya," which means life and the Hebrew word "shuv" which means return. So basically the word as translated from the Hebrew means to return and to give life.
Now you canÕt revive something that does not have life. If you are here today and you do not have life, that is you do not know Christ as your savior, you donÕt need a revival you need a resurrection. You need to come out of the deadness of your sins into the new life which is in Christ. You need a spiritual resurrection; to die with Christ and to come alive in resurrection with Christ. But if you are a believer today even though it may be that the flame of your spiritual life is burning very low or even has gone out and only the warm embers remain; something like a fire that is burned low, you need in the language of Paul to stir up the fire. I like the New International Version on the fifth chapter of First Thessalonians. It says: ÒFan the flameÓ. ThatÕs exactly what weÕre talking about. Fan the flame. Revival is a return to the vibrancy of dynamic spiritual living. Now I hope we understand that we are not talking about a series of meetings or something which may be in your mind that youÕve heard about. We are going to put our ear, as it were, to the door of a true Bible revival and weÕre going listen to what we hear. Then when you leave this auditorium, youÕre not going to be arguing with me as to the difference of opinion as to what a revival is, youÕre going have to argue with the Scriptures, thatÕs all. IÕm going to stay just as close to this book as I possibly can. So weÕre coming now to a true Bible revival. And we have our Bibles open to chapter eight. And itÕs going to be a little bit disappointing to some of you I know, but thatÕs alright. Lets get on to the truth.
WeÕll begin reading then in chapter eight verse one. ÒAnd all the people gathered themselves together as one man into the street that was beforeÉ what are the nex words? So thatÕs what weÕre dealing with today, weÕre dealing with water gate, a little different Water Gate than weÕve known. But this is at the Water Gate, as one of our guests asked concerned the gates of Jerusalem, this is one of the twelve of the great gates of Jerusalem as recorded in this book. The Water Gate. ÒAnd they spoke unto Ezra the scribe to bring the book of the Law of Moses which the Lord had commanded to Israel.Ó
Notice two things; suddenly all through the first seven chapters we have a layman in action. His name? Nehemiah. HeÕs a great spiritual leader, IÕm sure youÕre convinced of that now. But when it comes to the time of the great public meeting of the fifty thousand, Nehemiah steps aside, and a man is introduced by the name of Ezra. Now perhaps youÕve never met Ezra. And I advise you to read the last four chapters of his book. He wasnÕt on the scene of the first six chapters. But beginning at chapter seven of Ezra, youÕll find the record of his own activity, some twelve or fifteen years prior to the scene that we have in the book of Nehemiah. What I would like to say about Ezra is found here in the book of Ezra concerning himself. And he is well qualified to do what he is about to do in the leading of this great spiritual awakening. ÒFor Ezra had prepared his heart to seek the Law or the Word of the Lord and to do it and to teach in Israel statutes and ordinances.Ó That says it all. Ezra 7:10. First of all, heart preparation. Heart preparation for the word of God. And then as the Word of God revealed it, doing it obediently. And then communicating what God had given him to as many people as possible. I say that says it all.
This is the man who is going to be the human leader of the great spiritual awakening in the Book of Nehemiah. And he has one message, and itÕs found in three words. Bring the Book. Everybody say it. Say it again. "Bring the Book." Say it again. You canÕt say it too much. Bring the book. Anything that calls itself a revival that doesnÕt draw people back to an intense study and centrality and paramount nature of the Word of God is not Biblical awakening. You can shout, you can laugh, you can cry, you can scream, you can holler in tongues, you can do a thousand things, but if the thing "bring the book" isnÕt there, its spurious. ItÕs false.
Now IÕm going to amplify that just a little bit, now this isnÕt quite as glamorous as you thought it was going to be. "Bring the Book." How did they bring the book. Here it is. ÒEzra the priest brought the book or the law or the Word of God before the congregation both of men and women and all who could hear with understanding upon the first day of the seventh month and he read from it facing the street that was before the water gate from the morning until midday before the men and the women and those who could understand and the ears of all the people were attentive unto the Book of the LawÓ (Neh. 8:2-3)
If you had walked into that scene you would have heard the Word of God. Now how is this done? If you will notice in verse four that Ezra the scribe stood upon a pulpit of wood, which was made for the purpose. And the Hasidim stood and thirteen men are named. Able, trained, Bible scholars, Bible teachers, who will assist Ezra in the exposition of the word of God. Can you find them named? Ezra and thirteen. ÒAnd Ezra opened the book,Ó verse five, Òin the sight of all the people, and he was above all the people, and when he opened it all the people stood up and Ezra blessed the Lord, the great God, and all the people answered, Amen! Amen! Lifting up their hands and they bowed their heads, and worshipped the Lord with their faces to the groundÓ (Neh. 8:5f).
Now look keep on reading. Now we have thirteen more men. Twenty-six plus Ezra. ThatÕs quite a faculty. I only have nine in my faculty right now, theyÕre fantastic scholars. But here are twenty-seven scholars of the Word of God, to be the expositors of it, and the greatest verse on preaching in the Scripture is found in verse eight. Here it is. Òso they read in the book in the law of God distinctly and gave the sense and caused them to understand the readingÓ (Neh. 8:8) ThatÕs preaching. You canÕt get anything better than that. They made sure they understood what the Word of God said, then because of their training they expounded the meaning of the word of God and they made sure that the people had an understanding of what they were hearing. Now in my institution, every man, every man, is required to be familiar with the Hebrew, the Aramaic portions of the Old Testament, and the Koine Greek of the New Testament. Why? He is to go out as an expositor of the word of God. He has only got one excuse for standing in the pulpit, and that is to declare not what he says, but what God says.
I run a Bible conference for years. I will be speaking at itÕs thirty fifth anniversary. I founded the Harvey Cedars conference in 1941. Jack founded this one five years later. I spent a full day in New York helping Jack before we got into this. Now I left Harvey Cedars ten years later going strong, and I wouldnÕt allow a man on my platform that didnÕt believe in the verbal plenary inspiration of scripture. Now IÕm sorry to say that many men came to my platform who were not expounding the Word of God. They werenÕt against the Word of God. But they did almost everything else but expound the Word of God sometimes. This emphasis has to be restored. And here we find it in a Bible revival. Now you can read on through this chapter, and you can find, that the Law, thatÕs the word used, of course then they did not have that full Bible that we have here; but the emphasis of the whole first point of revival is what? "Bring the Book." YouÕll find it all the way through those verses I have just read, verse nine, verse thirteen and verse eighteen. Read it yourself and youÕll come up with an emphasis on the Word of God.
Now letÕs discuss that just for a moment, letÕs get down to the individual if your sitting here this morning and you havenÕt exposed personally; IÕm not talking about the prayer meeting, at eight oÕclock, IÕm not talking about the personal works class which follows and IÕm not talking about this one; if you as an individual in the last twenty four hours, to put it that way, have not exposed yourself personally to the word of God in a feeding session then youÕre missing the boat. How many of you have had three meals in the last twenty-four hours? How many had four meals? Say, what if I asked you if you hadnÕt eaten for two days? How would you feel, John, if you hadnÕt eaten in two days? He says Òsick at his stomach.Ó How would you feel starved, weak. Alright, if you havenÕt had a meal individually in the word of God in the last two days, you are spiritually sick at your stomach. You are starved, you are weak, spiritually. Now you may not like that, but IÕve got news for you, youÕd better like it pretty soon. WhatÕs more important, spiritual feeding or physical feeding? Come on--spiritual.
I have a friend he has a motto, Òno Bible no breakfast.Ó He always eats Bible at breakfast it always comes up that way, of course. Revival depends upon this, a personal perusal of the Word of God, a feeding session, not to prepare messages, not to prepare talks, but for your own soulÕs nurture. Not to long ago one of the most brilliant writers of our day was taken but his book on "How to give away your faith" the last chapter is worth the whole book. ItÕs called Òfeeding at the springÓ by Paul Little, itÕs worth the whole book. It deals with this subject.
Alright. LetÕs move to the second part of it. YouÕre married you have a family your most important task in that home is not to feed that family, though that is important, not to house that family your most important task is to communicate the word of God to that family. There aught to be a time every day when you share the treasure of the Scriptures I know preachers and their wives who never do this. I know preachersÕ families who never do this and the result is quite evident. There must be a time when the word of God comes back if you are going to have a revived family. It wonÕt be easy you will have to battle against all sorts of things as we have. But we always had prayers after supper, even when I was on the road, the kids said we had prayers for dessert, thatÕs alright. I think my children would be the most shocked people in the world, like last week up in Canada when all twenty of us got together, I donÕt have twenty children donÕt look so worried, IÕm talking about the daughters in law and the sons in law and also the grandchildren. I think they would have been shocked at those gatherings when twenty of us sat down, if at the close of that meal the word of God was not read. We appointed my youngest son the missionary from Middleton to take care of family devotions ever day. And we had marvelous times, tremendous meals, and also some tremendous spiritual feeding too.
And then as we have in this text right here, the body of believers in the Word of God. ThatÕs what weÕve got in Nehemiah, we have the whole assembly standing in subservience to the Word of God. It is paramount, until preformed. "Bring the book." ThatÕs the first great element of revival.
Alright, letÕs move to the second one this morning, remember this is bible teaching. Chapter nine, look at it. "Now in the forth and twenty and fourth day of the moth month, the Children of Israel were assembled with fasting and with sackcloth and with earth upon them. The seat of Israel separated themselves from all foreigners and stood and confessed their sins and the iniquities of their fathers, they stood up in their place and read in the book of the Law of the Lord their God one forth part of the day and another fourth part they confessed and worshipped the lord their God." (Neh. 9:1ff) And then you will find some of these men name again leading in this confession service, the Levites and the helpers, and their command in verse five was Òstand up and bless the Lord your God forever and ever and blessed be thy glorious name which is exalted above all blessing and praise.Ó From that verse on all the way down through verse fifteen they look into the past and see the wonder of GodÕs providential leading and grace, and all the marvelous miracles that he preformed for them. Then comes the conjunctive, "But," verse sixteen, Òthey and our fathers,Ó and here comes the confession of sin.
Now letÕs imagine again, it doesnÕt hurt you to have a little sanctified imagination, suppose we walked through the Water Gate, what would we hear? The first great sound weÕd hear would be the sound of the Word of God, then we would hear the sobs, we would hear the confession. Some of you are just tightening up right now, I can feel it. IÕm afraid of that word "confession" that you say, IÕm not going to be afraid of the word "confession" itÕs a Bible word, a lot of people have abused public confession. But anything thatÕs really good getÕs abused. Your standard is not because somebody abuses it and you forsake it, you look to the word of God and see what it says, and we have public confession here. DonÕt misunderstand me there is private confession before the Lord, and there is personal confession, between one believer and another when things are wrong between them, but there is a place in the public assembly according to the word of God, for public confession. Now what would you have heard in this confession meeting?
Well there are five things, they begin at verse sixteen, you might be surprised what you hear, and you might be surprised what you donÕt hear. The first confession was the confession of what? Pride. Oh I thought I was going to hear the confession of adultery of murder or of some filthy devilish thing. No, weÕre dealing with basics. WeÕre dealing with pride. Too proud to raise your hand for prayer, to proud to see anybody see you weep. Too proud to be made a fool for ChristÕs sake. I had a man saved in one of my meetings not long ago, and well, we had quite a number saved, in fact we had one hundred twenty come to Christ in that crusade, but the fourth night out. I decided in my informal way to do something a little different, I was preaching on why you donÕt come to Christ sooner, so I reached back and said Mrs. Hile you came to Christ Sunday night, Anna didnÕt she, yes why didnÕt you come before? ÒI was having too good of time with the worldÓ she said. There were various answers, but a fellow had been saved the night before and he was about four or five rows from the front, I said, ÒSir, I understand the people in this church have been praying for you for ten yearsÓ, he came to Christ last night, ÒWhy didnÕt you come before that?Ó As quick as a flash he said ÒMy dirty rotten prideÓ thatÕs it. You know we in fundamental America are quite proud. Some of us are proud of grace, weÕre proud of what we are. The old song comes in now, "not what IÕve gotten, but what IÕve received, grace hath bestowed it since I have believed, boasting excluded pride I abase, IÕm only a sinner saved by grace." The confession of pride.
WhatÕs the second one.? I wish I could deal with these adequately but IÕve got to get through this book. Spiritual insensitivity. Now what do you mean? The words in the text are they Òhardened their necks.Ó So many of us are hardboiled Christians. I was preaching one time and a young fellow began to sob right in the down in center section, the thing that startled me was that most of the believers around where annoyed, in fact I expected an usher to come before long and ask him to go out. We need some more sobbing, we need some more tears, not just for tears sake, we need to be alive and spiritually sensitive.
You know as I preach I look at people, I guess you know that, some people when you look at them you go into a deep freeze, thatÕs right they are that insensitive. There are other people if you had a congregation full of them youÕd never stop preaching. Down in Greenville, South Carolina I can see Old Dad McCall over there, his face literally shining, I couldnÕt look at Dad too much or IÕd be accused of preaching too long. He was just drinking it in, then heÕd hobble down the aisle and he was leaning on his cane, ever movement in his body was pained, and then IÕd have to be very patient cause heÕd say Òbrother JackÓ and then heÕd start through my whole outline. Then IÕd patiently listen, and it was good he had it all down, then heÕd come to point number three and his voice would choke up and heÕd say Òbrother JackÓ, when you got to talking about that he said, I like to take off. Boy, looked like he was going any time, really. I remember the last time I saw him. I closed the crusade and I got in the car and I was just about to be taken away and heard a voice ÒBrother Jack!Ó And I remembered that voice and got out real quickly, I hadnÕt said good by to Dad McCall. he said Òson, I may not be here the next time you come, but IÕll be waiting on you.Ó You know what I was doing then I had to duck and get in the car real quick. He wasnÕt there the next time I came back, heÕs waiting on me heÕs been waiting on me quite a while, but heÕs waiting. Thank God for the spiritually sensitive.
Jonah the prophet, the Man that God used to prophecy truly about his nation, but the Man who refused what God had for him became so spiritually insensitive that he could sleep like a baby in the hole of a ship in the storm while unsaved men where despairing for the lives. Yes Christians can become ten times more insensitive than unsaved people. I go into places where churchmen are as hard as rocks, as the same time on the streets the drunks take my hand and say brother, pray for me. Spiritual insensitivity. IÕm not crying for a emotion, IÕm just crying for a truly biblical posture.
Number three; look at it again. ÒHarken not to thy commandments.Ó They paid no attention to the word of God, what was the revival for? Verse twenty-nine same chapter, Òand testifieth them that thou mightest bring them again unto thy wordÓ (Neh. 9:29) Any person here who is neglecting the word of God is an un-revived Christian. You donÕt have to go down and put your foot on the rail and drink something at the bar, you donÕt have to go into some vicious scene of sin to be a backslider, you can backslide on a church pew just as fast as you can down in an upholstered sewer. And if I had to preach, if I had to preach to backsliders, and backsliders where in the church, and backsliders where in the bar, and if I had a choice to whom IÕd preach to, IÕd preach to the gang in the bar they know theyÕre backsliders. You say youÕre getting to be an evangelist now, thatÕs right, this is the picture. The word of God is neglected and that leads us into a place of spiritual insensitivity and pride.
Look at the fourth one Òthey refused to obey." They did know what to do but didnÕt do it. Now let me give you a situation, if every person in this room, right now if ever person in this room whoÕs a Christian right now, would do immediately what they should do, weÕd have revival in five seconds. Really you donÕt need a whole lot of intricacy of new truth, you as believers just need to act upon the truth you already know. If you need to pray, if you need to get into the word, if you need to put that thing out your life which you know which is hindering you away, and you donÕt do it, then of course then you put the ÒxÓ on revival. But the moment you say, "Now, IÕm going to obey God." Revival will be here. Now IÕm well along in years now, been preaching for about forty-five years, started when I was 18. That dates me pretty well. IÕve been in some great scenes, IÕve been in meeting like this where revival came out, we closed the meeting twelve hours later. ThatÕs right. Nobody wanted to go, in fact the crowd increased. IÕve been in meetings where revival broke out when I dismissed the crowds and nobody left. Vancouver British Colombia Canada, Renflew Avenue Baptist Church, I dismissed the crowd after giving the invitation, not one soul walked out of that Church. After a while I gave another invitation, 16 more people came I dismissed them again, they didnÕt leave. I dismissed them a 3 time nobody left, it still isnÕt dismissed. Nobody wanted to leave the scene. I think if I had been at Water Gate here I wouldnÕt want to leave the scene either.
IÕm going to Baptist Bible Seminary at Clarks Summit for a week, Baptist Bible used to be up at Johnson City, the first Baptist church there, back in the forties. I had a two day series, I preached in the afternoon, on Nehemiah the man who prayed for revival and got it. Preached on Monday night: David the man who confessed his sins, I preached the next morning on another like theme, and when I closed the chapel service, a young lady stood up she said Òmay I say something?Ó I looked at the Dean and I said Òwhat about it?Ó He said ÒOk.Ó She said, Òlast night you preached and at two o clock this morning I came to the end of myself in my room, I want to stand and testify to new joy new blessing and new liberty in my life.Ó
She sat down, a girl stood up she was crying, she said Òwhen I came to Baptist Bible Seminary three months ago, one of my dearest friends was Òshe named the girl Òwe have become estranged, I said some pretty rotten things about her, and this student body knows it, and I want to get right with God. I want her, and she addressed her right then, to forgive me, and I want anybody IÕve communicated these things to, to forgive meÓ.
A kid, young fellow stood up right away he said Òwhen I came to Baptist Bible Seminary I worked with a tin smith, he had many packets of tools and I knew I had to work my way through school, I knew he wouldnÕt miss one of the outfits, I picked up that little case, all the tools belonged to him, but I brought it with me. I knew he wouldnÕt miss it. He said IÕve got to get right, IÕve got send that back by American express this afternoon.Ó Restitution was being made. For one solid hour that revival spirit prevailed, and I got a tap on the shoulder, a faculty member stood up, he said IÕve got to get right with the Lord, Òhe said IÕve been bluffing in my classes, IÕve been making the show that IÕve been spending hours in preparation. When really I was just getting by with the least I could possibly do. And I was fooling the students and not even giving them what they should get and what they paid for. I want the student body to forgive me.Ó I closed it after an hour, I went to lunch, I knew if it was of God it would go on and on. I spoke in the afternoon, and I didnÕt want any accusation of mob psychology or anything like it. I didnÕt know what I was doing when I said this but I said ÒthereÕs a little room over here, if thereÕs anybody else who needs to get right with the Lord IÕll be in that room, IÕll be very happy to see you, I didnÕt realize what I was sayingÓ Five hours later I got out of that room, the lined up. I felt like a Catholic Priest. But some of my greatest memories where of sitting there and hearing, not vicious vile devilish things, just things that just blocked revival. I walked back to that school years later, one of the first faculty members there to meet me was Òwe shall never forget the last visit, may God give us another oneÓ
No, it is not unscriptural or unbiblical to see the movements of spiritual awakening like this, here we find it in the word of God. But there is one more what is it Òwe were not mindful of his wonders.Ó What does that mean? Christian, are you satisfied to live on a near natural plane, more or less like you did before you were saved? No, I really have some Christians telling me this, really thereÕs not really to much difference in the way I live now than the way I lived before. They arenÕt talking about vicious things, theyÕre just talking about a manner and a way of life. If thatÕs true than somethingÕs wrong, you mean to tell me thereÕs no difference between the natural and the supernatural. You mean to tell me you can live without the spirit of God in you in the same way that you live with the spirit of God in you. IÕve got news for you. The wonder of what God is doing and God has some wonders, some miracles, some fantastic things, but if you want to live content without them, you can live in that un-revived state. I'd shocked some people by asking them to honestly tell me specifically of an answer to prayer in the last twelve months. They couldnÕt come up with one. God wants to work in his wonders and his supernatural; the devil is very content to let us live on a natural plane.
Somebody challenged me some years ago , and said Òhow are you plans for the next year?Ó Well my schedule as you can see by my bulletins all made out, months and years ahead many places, and the budgets all made out for the organization. Then this person said this Òis there anything in your plans that couldnÕt possibly come to pass except by a supernatural act of God?Ó I began to think about it, there wasnÕt much. So I said ÒLordÓ, sometimes IÕve almost regretted I prayed this prayer I said "Lord I want something in my life that is beyond anything that I can figure out humanly," and then things began to happen, and this is the way it aught to be, mindful of the wonders of God. Why should you be surprised at a supernatural God working miracles in your life? This is all part of the fabric of revival.
All right. There they are, now I think weÕd better move along to two more points as the time is almost up already for this morning. Now the third thing we are going to hear from a biblical revival: chapter 10, or should I say just the last few words of chapter nine. "Because of all this we make a sure covenant and write it, and our princes Levites and priests set their seal to it," (Neh. 9:38). Now the New American Standard Version uses the word agreement if the word covenant bothers you. But you could make the word decision stick. Sometimes they jump on evangelists like myself for demanding decisions, I had somebody in church not to long ago I like to come and listen to my pastor, I just donÕt like to come when we have an evangelist because he is always seeking decisions. I make no apology for seeking decisions, theyÕre nailing it down here in a covenant an agreement an a decision, and who is the first one to sign it, what was his name, oh yeah, Nehemiah É HeÕs the first one to respond to the invitation, if I may put it that way. HeÕs the first one who wants the fullness of GodÕs blessing of revival in his heart. He heads the list.
Now if youÕll read chapter ten, itÕs terrible to teach this book this way, but if you read chapter ten youÕll find an emphasis on particularly three things. YouÕll find an emphasis on decision, as to their time, from this point on their time belongs to God. If you read chapter ten carefully, youÕll come away with a conviction that the talent of all is committed to the Lord. Then youÕll find in the third place that the there treasure not just their tithes, but that their treasure belongs to God. It is a complete commitment. Now just look up a moment is there anything different in what we heard than what Nehemiah did already in chapter one? NoÉ Are you following me carefully, this man, this man was a man of the word of God Òhow do you know that JackÓ did you read carefully his prayer? from versus five to eleven itÕs loaded with Scripture. Run the margin of your Bible and see how many Old Testament texts he quotes in his prayer? He obviously was a man who constantly said to his own soul, Bring the book. And we read in chapter one verse six that he confessed his sin and the sins of his fathers. His heart was wide open in confession, he claimed the promises of God. Then itÕs just so very obvious that his time and his talent and his treasure where given to the Lord when he couldnÕt see possibly the miracle that would bring It about because he was a captive hundreds of miles removed from the place of worship but God broke it wide open. DidnÕt he. Now all that happened to one man in chapter one is happening to fifty thousand in theses chapters, fifty thousand less a few. WeÕre going to discuss them tomorrow. But this is a chapter of commitment.
I have a southern saying that says ÒI donÕt care how high up in the air you go we want to know what direction you walk when you come back to earth.Ó A lady was here the other night; she was telling me about her very wonderful pastor whoÕs a friend of mine resigned. She was all broken up. So I thought IÕd tell her a little incident when I resigned from the Church of the Open door fifteen years ago, I saw one of my fine young business women kind of drop her head and begin to cry. So I walked over to Barbara afterwards and took her by the arm and said, Òhey I want tot talk to youÓ, I said ÒwhatÕs the matterÓ. ÒYouÕre going the matterÓ ÒWhatÕs the matterÓ ÒYouÕre leaving, and it was under your ministry that I came to the LordÓ I said whoÕd you come to, She said Òthe LordÓ I said ÒHeÕs not leaving.Ó That sweet girl has thanked me for it ever since. She said you kicked the props out from under me; you made me cast myself absolutely on the Lord. Well I said ÒBarbara, I hate to think you that your spiritual life depends upon me. The savior walks out of here with youÓ back to thy side Lord, with I, my heart is hungry Lord, for thee, just thee, wash me and cleans me by thy blood, I am coming back to thee dear Lord, to thee. They made a decision to walk out of this revival, and a decision that I trust everyone here will be doing so.
There is another note in this great revival, and I hope you havenÕt missed it because youÕve been singing about it already in the can, you didnÕt realize it did you, that the "Joy of the Lord is your strength" came from Nehemiah, youÕre singing scripture. Chapter 8 verse 10, the fourth mark of revival, "The joy of the Lord is your strength." You say Jack youÕve been talking pretty seriously, yes, but the result of the word, and the result of the confession of sin, and the result of the solemn covenant, is always the fullness of joy. YouÕll find it there not only in verse 10 but verse number 12, Òthey began to make great mirthÓ and they youÕll find over there in verse 17 of chapter eight Òand there was very great gladnessÓ in chapter 12 in verse 27, Òthey kept the dedication with gladnessÓ in chapter 12 verse 43 Òalso that day, they offered great sacrifices and rejoiced, for God had made them rejoiced with great joy, and the women and the children rejoiced so that the joy of Jerusalem was heard even afar off." True Bible joy, not a silly grin, not an emotional happiness, but the consequence of these other things. The psalmist prayer bears this out ÒO Lord wilt not thouÕ revive us again, that thy people may rejoice in theeÓ (Ps. 85:6).
A Rejoicing Christian is the revived Christian. IÕve frequently had an experience, IÕve observed people for a few days, talk of this to everybody, but IÕve approached them privately, and I said ÒIÕve been watching you, somethingÕs wrong.Ó I can remember a school teacher coming one time, she looked at me as if I hit her with a knife, much as to say how do you know? IÕve watched you, the absence of rejoicing, somethingÕs really bothering you. If I can help you anytime let me know ok. ÒThank youÓ and I walked away. The next day, she said ÒI want to talk to you, and then she opened up the sordid, and it was sordid, thing which took the joy out of her life. I said oh, one thing for you to do is the fifty-first psalm that great psalm of confession, and stay there this afternoon, until you get that thing settled. That was the closing was like tomorrow, or Friday in a week. We came for a Friday night service and I looked out over the crowd and I saw light, no body had to tell me, that sheÕd made her decision. She hadnÕt made any public profession, and all I had to do was look, and I knew that that victory was won. Now it isnÕt always that apparent, but it is nonetheless true. Four great marks of spiritual awakening. Lets bow for prayer shall we.
Outline of major points in ÒNehemiah Lecture FourÓ
a. Introduce Nehemiah ÒThe principle character of the bookÓ
i. Cupbearer to the King in Shushan, Persia.
ii. His concern, call, and decision outlined
b. The First and Second Divisions of the Book of Nehemiah
i. First: Chapter one, the great revival prayer
ii. Second: Chapters two through seven: Valiant for the truth and valiant in fight
2. What is a Revival:
a. Examples from the South and the North
b. The eighty-fifty psalm
c. Hebrew Hiya and Shum, life and return
d. Revival as a return to life
i. Return to Dynamic spritiual living
3. Introduction of Ezra
a. Preparation of the heart for the Word of God
b. Bring the Book
i. Revival must keep the word paramount
4. Importance of understanding
a. Emphasizing the word of God all the time
b. Again, Bring the book
5. Spiritual Feeding
a. The soul hungerÕs for GodÕs Word
b. Reading just as important for the Christian as Eating
a. Marvel at the WondersÕ of GodÕs providential Grace
b. Personal, private, and public confessions
c. The importance of Renouncing pride
i. Pride is the basic sin
d. Hardboiled Christians:
i. Spiritual insensitivity
ii. Spiritual backsliding
7. Examples of Revival
b. Baptist Bible Seminary
8. Room for the Impossible without God
a. Watching for miracles
b. Paying attention to prayer
9. Making Decisions:
a. Making God the treasure
b. Completeness of commitment
10. The Joy of the Lord
a. Movement onward from Solemn confession
b. Rejoicing of Jerusalem