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The Importance in Hearing and Reading God's Word

Nehemiah  •  Sermon  •  Submitted
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Just as Ezra read and preached with understanding, we too should gather to read and explain the Word of God.

Notes & Transcripts

Nehemiah 8:1–8 NKJV
1 Now all the people gathered together as one man in the open square that was in front of the Water Gate; and they told Ezra the scribe to bring the Book of the Law of Moses, which the Lord had commanded Israel. 2 So Ezra the priest brought the Law before the assembly of men and women and all who could hear with understanding on the first day of the seventh month. 3 Then he read from it in the open square that was in front of the Water Gate from morning until midday, before the men and women and those who could understand; and the ears of all the people were attentive to the Book of the Law. 4 So Ezra the scribe stood on a platform of wood which they had made for the purpose; and beside him, at his right hand, stood Mattithiah, Shema, Anaiah, Urijah, Hilkiah, and Maaseiah; and at his left hand Pedaiah, Mishael, Malchijah, Hashum, Hashbadana, Zechariah, and Meshullam. 5 And Ezra opened the book in the sight of all the people, for he was standing above all the people; and when he opened it, all the people stood up. 6 And Ezra blessed the Lord, the great God. Then all the people answered, “Amen, Amen!” while lifting up their hands. And they bowed their heads and worshiped the Lord with their faces to the ground. 7 Also Jeshua, Bani, Sherebiah, Jamin, Akkub, Shabbethai, Hodijah, Maaseiah, Kelita, Azariah, Jozabad, Hanan, Pelaiah, and the Levites, helped the people to understand the Law; and the people stood in their place. 8 So they read distinctly from the book, in the Law of God; and they gave the sense, and helped them to understand the reading.

God’s People…Gather (1)

Nehemiah 8:1 NKJV
1 Now all the people gathered together as one man in the open square that was in front of the Water Gate; and they told Ezra the scribe to bring the Book of the Law of Moses, which the Lord had commanded Israel.
One of the first truths we see in verse one is that God’s people gathered together.
Take a look at what they did here:

They gathered as one.

They found a place large enough.

They had the Word.

Take a look at verse 1.
It says, “they told Ezra the scribe to bring the Book of the Law of Moses.”
They asked him to bring it.

They had someone who could confidently read the Word.

God’s People…Read (2-4)

They listened to the Lord’s command

Notice that it says “the Lord’s command.”
It wasn’t a suggestion that they gather together.
Hebrews 10:19–25 NKJV
19 Therefore, brethren, having boldness to enter the Holiest by the blood of Jesus, 20 by a new and living way which He consecrated for us, through the veil, that is, His flesh, 21 and having a High Priest over the house of God, 22 let us draw near with a true heart in full assurance of faith, having our hearts sprinkled from an evil conscience and our bodies washed with pure water. 23 Let us hold fast the confession of our hope without wavering, for He who promised is faithful. 24 And let us consider one another in order to stir up love and good works, 25 not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as is the manner of some, but exhorting one another, and so much the more as you see the Day approaching.
Listen to these key words that miss out on in our church sometimes:
brethren, having boldness to enter the Holiest by the blood of Jesus,
God’s People…Read (2-4)

God’s People…Read (2-4)

by a new and living way which He consecrated for us, through the veil, that is, His flesh
let us draw near with a true heart in full assurance of faith
having our hearts sprinkled from an evil conscience and our bodies washed with pure water.
And let us consider one another in order to stir up love and good works, 25 not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as is the manner of some, but exhorting one another, and so much the more as you see the Day approaching.

God’s People…Listen (2-4)

Nehemiah 8:2–4 NKJV
2 So Ezra the priest brought the Law before the assembly of men and women and all who could hear with understanding on the first day of the seventh month. 3 Then he read from it in the open square that was in front of the Water Gate from morning until midday, before the men and women and those who could understand; and the ears of all the people were attentive to the Book of the Law. 4 So Ezra the scribe stood on a platform of wood which they had made for the purpose; and beside him, at his right hand, stood Mattithiah, Shema, Anaiah, Urijah, Hilkiah, and Maaseiah; and at his left hand Pedaiah, Mishael, Malchijah, Hashum, Hashbadana, Zechariah, and Meshullam.

Ezra brought the law (2)

Why did they listen to Ezra?
Ezra 7:6 NKJV
6 this Ezra came up from Babylon; and he was a skilled scribe in the Law of Moses, which the Lord God of Israel had given. The king granted him all his request, according to the hand of the Lord his God upon him.
Ezra 7:6
Ezra 7:9 NKJV
9 On the first day of the first month he began his journey from Babylon, and on the first day of the fifth month he came to Jerusalem, according to the good hand of his God upon him.
Ezra 7:10 NKJV
10 For Ezra had prepared his heart to seek the Law of the Lord, and to do it, and to teach statutes and ordinances in Israel.

He stood where people could hear (4)

He read it in the open (3)

The people were attentive (3)

Notice that the Bible doesn’t say they were listening for advice on where to stand politically or socially.
It says they were attentive to the Word of God.
Moses called for a reading of the law at the festival of Booths. This had been neglected from the time of Joshua. .
The reading of the law did something for the people.
Reading > Hearing > Learning > Fearing > Obeying > Living

God’s People…Worship (5-6)

Nehemiah 8:5–6 NKJV
5 And Ezra opened the book in the sight of all the people, for he was standing above all the people; and when he opened it, all the people stood up. 6 And Ezra blessed the Lord, the great God. Then all the people answered, “Amen, Amen!” while lifting up their hands. And they bowed their heads and worshiped the Lord with their faces to the ground.
When he opened it he stood.
They weren’t hearing someone’s ideas or even being polite because an elder was talking.
They were listening to the very Word of God.
Standing is a worship posture:
Leviticus 9:5 NKJV
5 So they brought what Moses commanded before the tabernacle of meeting. And all the congregation drew near and stood before the Lord.
Matthew 6:5–6 NKJV
5 “And when you pray, you shall not be like the hypocrites. For they love to pray standing in the synagogues and on the corners of the streets, that they may be seen by men. Assuredly, I say to you, they have their reward. 6 But you, when you pray, go into your room, and when you have shut your door, pray to your Father who is in the secret place; and your Father who sees in secret will reward you openly.
Ezra and the people didn’t just stand for five or six verses,
they stood for 5 or 6 hours as they listened!
Nehemiah 8:3 NKJV
3 Then he read from it in the open square that was in front of the Water Gate from morning until midday, before the men and women and those who could understand; and the ears of all the people were attentive to the Book of the Law.
Nehemiah 8:6 NKJV
6 And Ezra blessed the Lord, the great God. Then all the people answered, “Amen, Amen!” while lifting up their hands. And they bowed their heads and worshiped the Lord with their faces to the ground.
He blessed the Lord:
It was common that they would say words of blessing before and after the reading of the Word or worship.
Public worship is a foretaste of heaven
BEEKE, JOEL R., and PAUL M. SMALLEY. 2017. "Why You and Your Family Should Go to Church: Biblical Answers to "Churchless Christianity." Puritan Reformed Journal 9, no. 1: 231-246. Academic Search Complete, EBSCOhost (accessed January 23, 2018).

God’s People…Teach (7-8)

It reminds us we are strangers in this world and pilgrims on the way to heaven.
It is an appetizer on the menu of heaven.

God’s People…Teach (7-8)

Nehemiah 8:7–8 NKJV
7 Also Jeshua, Bani, Sherebiah, Jamin, Akkub, Shabbethai, Hodijah, Maaseiah, Kelita, Azariah, Jozabad, Hanan, Pelaiah, and the Levites, helped the people to understand the Law; and the people stood in their place. 8 So they read distinctly from the book, in the Law of God; and they gave the sense, and helped them to understand the reading.
Believer, not only do we need to listen to God’s Word, but we need to teach it.
Children don’t need a babysitter at church; they want to learn God’s Word!
Teens are dropping out of church at an alarming rate due to the fact that they’ve “let Jesus come into their heart” without having an understanding of sin and redemption coupled with the duplicitous life they see their families and other “Christians” lead.
We need to not only teach a Biblical Gospel message, but properly disciple those who are born again.
Young adults don’t need to know how to make their lives better, they need to submit to a Savior who fixes their sin!
You can get a financial class from Dave Ramsey, a parenting class at the Y, and answers for a troubled marriage at the counselor. But without Biblical truth, it is for nought.
Senior adults don’t need another tea gathering, golf outing, coffee club, or grandchild roundtable discussion-those are everywhere; they need someone to teach them the Word of God!
Seniors who are solid in the Word, active in their church, and following Jesus are like a magnet! You want to be in their presence!
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