02 February 15, 2015, Nehemiah 9, The Power of God's Word
“The Power of God’s Word”
February 15, 2015
First Baptist Church
What’s the number one thing?
The Glory of God!
1 Corinthians 10:31 NKJV
31 Therefore, whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do all to the glory of
February Memory Verse:
Ephesians 2:8-9 NIV
8 For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this is not from
yourselves, it is a gift of God— 9 not by works, so that no one can boast.
• 100 Bible Verses Everyone Should Know By Heart, Robert J. Morgan, B & H
• Now, That’s A Good Question, R. C. Sproul, Tyndale House Publishing, 1982.
• The Baptist Faith & Message, A Statement Adopted by the Southern Baptist
Convention, June 14, 2000.
• Cyrus allows exiles to return to Jerusalem in 538 B.C. after captivity in
• Zerubbabel rebuilds the Temple in 516 B.C..
• Ezra returns to Jerusalem to lead the Temple.
• Nehemiah returns in 445 B.C. to lead rebuilding of walls of Jerusalem in 52
• The people are registered by families and assigned housing areas in
• Story begins 1st day of seventh month, 445 B.C. with the reading of the
Book of the Law of Moses by Ezra in Nehemiah 8.
• The people stand as the Torah (Pentateuch) is read from daybreak until
noon inside the Jerusalem wall by the Water Gate.
– Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers, Deuteronomy
Ezra Reads the Torah Scrolls
Torah or Pentateuch or Law
• Written by Moses after crossing the Red Sea and while wandering in the
wilderness for 40 years with Israelites.
• Deuteronomy written around 1400 B.C. in Plains of Moab before his death.
• Pentateuch was written as one continuous narrative (maybe 5 scrolls).
• God wrote the 10 Commandments on stone and the tablets were carried
in the ark of the covenant.
• The people are weeping as the scripture is read in Nehemiah 8, but are
told to be joyful – to celebrate by eating “Choice foods and sweet drinks”.
• On the next day, they begin the celebration of the “Feast of Tabernacles
or Festival of Booths” (Tent Revival!) for 7 days in a renewed spirit not seen
in 900 years.
The Feast of Tabernacles
1 On the twenty- fourth day of the same month, the Israelites gathered together,
fasting and wearing sackcloth and putting dust on their heads.
– The people came prepared and dressed for ceremony of
confession and repentance.
Meaning of Nehemiah 9:1
• A day of penance in the spirit of the Day of Atonement (usually observed
on 10th day of the 7th month) was observed with fasting, wearing sackcloth
and dust on their head.
– Symbolic of great mourning and penitence
– Idea of focus on God instead of self (hunger, discomfort and dirt)
• Strict observance of the Day of Atonement (Yom Kippur) required High
Priest entering the “Holy of Holies”, sin offerings of goat, scapegoat,
fasting, rest with no work as prescribed in Leviticus 16.
Sackcloth and Ashes
2 Those of Israelite descent had separated themselves from all foreigners. They
stood in their places and confessed their sins and the sins of their ancestors.
3 They stood where they were and read from the Book of the Law of the Lord their
God for a quarter of the day, and spent another quarter in confession and in
worshiping the Lord their God. 4 Standing on the stairs of the Levites were Jeshua,
Bani, Kadmiel, Shebaniah, Bunni, Sherebiah, Bani and Kenani. They cried out
with loud voices to the Lord their God. 5a And the Levites—Jeshua, Kadmiel, Bani,
Hashabneiah, Sherebiah, Hodiah, Shebaniah and Pethahiah—said: "Stand up
and praise the Lord your God, who is from everlasting to everlasting."
5b "Blessed be your glorious name, and may it be exalted above all blessing
and praise. 6 You alone are the Lord. You made the heavens, even the
highest heavens, and all their starry host, the earth and all that is on it, the
seas and all that is in them. You give life to everything, and the multitudes of
heaven worship you.
7 "You are the Lord God, who chose Abram …
• reviews history of Israelites
• skip to verse 32
32 "Now therefore, our God, the great God, mighty and awesome, who
keeps his covenant of love, do not let all this hardship seem trifling in your
eyes—the hardship that has come on us, on our kings and leaders, on our
priests and prophets, on our ancestors and all your people, from the days
of the kings of Assyria until today. 33 In all that has happened to us, you
have remained righteous; you have acted faithfully, while we acted
wickedly. 34 Our kings, our leaders, our priests and our ancestors did not
follow your law; they did not pay attention to your commands or the
statutes you warned them to keep. 35 Even while they were in their
kingdom, enjoying your great goodness to them in the spacious and
fertile land you gave them, they did not serve you or turn from their evil
36 "But see, we are slaves today, slaves in the land you gave our ancestors
so they could eat its fruit and the other good things it produces. 37 Because
of our sins, its abundant harvest goes to the kings you have placed over
us. They rule over our bodies and our cattle as they please. We are in
What was used to lead the Israelites to repentance and revival?
• The public reading of the Book of the Law of Moses to the people.
– Preparation by celebrating the Feast of Tabernacles
– Remembering the commitment of their forefathers to God in Exodus
19:6 “to be a kingdom of priests and a holy nation.”
• How does reading scripture lead to repentance and revival?
• Why is God’s word so powerful?
How did God speak to man in the Old Testament?
• He spoke directly to man individually and collectively and thru the written
– Adam & Eve; Cain & Abel; Noah …
– Moses; Joshua …
– Period of the Judges …
– Prophets (spokesperson for God): Samuel; Nathan; Gad … Isaiah
– Special Prophets: Daniel through dreams, visions
– Prophetess: Miriam, Deborah, Isaiah’s wife, Huldah
Was John the Baptist the last Old Testament Prophet?
16 "The Law and the Prophets were proclaimed until John. Since that time,
the good news of the kingdom of God is being preached, and everyone is
forcing their way into it.
• The ministry of John the Baptist was the dividing line between the old
covenant and the new.
• His ministry prepared the way for Jesus’ ministry.
How does God speak to man in the New Testament?
• Jesus’ words spoken on earth.
35 Heaven and earth will pass away, but my words will never pass
1 God, who at various times and in various ways spoke in time past to
the fathers by the prophets, 2 has in these last days spoken to us by His
• Apostles & other spokespersons through the direction of the Holy Spirit
13 But when he, the Spirit of truth, comes, he will guide you into all the
truth. He will not speak on his own; he will speak only what he hears,
and he will tell you what is yet to come.
Divine Authorship & Authority of the Bible
2 Timothy 3:16-17 NIV
16 All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting
and training in righteousness, 17 so that the servant of God may be thoroughly
equipped for every good work.
- Biblical authority and authorship are inseparable.
- If God is the author, then it must be our only infallible authority, because
God is infallible.
Does the Bible claim authority over the life of the believer?
• The authority that the Bible has over you as a believer is the authority that
Christ has over you.
• Christ rules His church through the ministry of the Word.
• The Bible is our rule for faith and life (conduct).
Inspiration of Scripture
• All scripture in the Bible was from ‘divine inspiration’ by God.
• God chose to convey His words through humans as instruments.
• Arguments begin when we use the words “infallible” and “inerrancy”.
Inspiration of Scripture
Infallible vs. Inerrant
• Infallible = Without error
– Original manuscripts in original language were perfect or infallible
as directed to the writers.
– We don’t have these for comparison.
– Translational differences do exist.
• Inerrant = All that the Bible affirms is true
– Bible is fully truthful, trustworthy and reliable.
– Without any mixture of error.
Interpretation vs. Inspiration
• It is wrong to say, “My interpretation of the Bible is infallible.”
• We don’t have to be identical twins to be brothers/sisters in Christ.
• We can disagree with each other over interpretation and still believe in
the inspiration and authority of scripture.
Interpretation of Scripture
• The Holy Spirit guides each believer in personal interpretation of Scripture.
• Priesthood of believers and personal accountability to God.
• With freedom comes responsibility.
• Catholic Church.
– Pope has final authority to interpret scripture.
– His view considered infallible and final authority.
Why are new books not added to the Bible?
2 Timothy 3:16-17
16 All Scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for
reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness, 17 that the man of God
may be complete, thoroughly equipped for every good work.
– If books were added, it would equate to saying the Bible is
– The Bible was complete after Revelation was written by John in 95
The Bible is complete
3 Beloved, while I was very diligent to write to you concerning our common
salvation, I found it necessary to write to you exhorting you to contend earnestly
for the faith which was once for all delivered to the saints.
- Jude was defending the faith and truth held by believers.
- The truth has finality and is not subject to change.
Warning about altering the Bible
18 For I testify to everyone who hears the words of the prophecy of this book: If
anyone adds to these things, God will add to him the plagues that are written in
this book; 19 and if anyone takes away from the words of the book of this
prophecy, God shall take away his part from the Book of Life, from the holy city,
and from the things which are written in this book.
What is the canon?
• Canon = “reed” or measuring stick or ruler.
• Biblical Canon = a list of books considered to be authoritative scripture
(Word of God).
• The 66 books of the Bible were mostly agreed upon by 3rd – 5th century
• Tests of the Early Church for canon
– Was the book written by an eyewitness of Jesus?
– “Truth Test” – agree or conflict with other scripture?
Canon Consideration for Old Testament
• Jesus mentioned the existing Hebrew Bible.
44 Then He said to them, "These are the words which I spoke to you while I was
still with you, that all things must be fulfilled which were written in the Law of
Moses and the Prophets and the Psalms concerning Me."
Why should Christians study the Old Testament?
• Jesus quoted Old Testament scriptures continually; even when being
• The God of the Old Testament is the God of the New Testament.
• Saint Augustine quote: “The Old is in the New revealed; the New is in the
The Power of Scripture
12 For the word of God is alive and active. Sharper than any double-edged
sword, it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow; it judges
the thoughts and attitudes of the heart. 13 Nothing in all creation is hidden from
God's sight. Everything is uncovered and laid bare before the eyes of him to
whom we must give account.
• Characteristics of the Word of God.
– 1. Alive, living
• Not dead or archaic.
• Not irrelevant to today.
– 2. Active, effective
• Greek word for “energy”
11 so is my word that goes out from my mouth: It will not return to
me empty, but will accomplish what I desire and achieve the
purpose for which I sent it.
• The Word of God is a double-edged sword.
– This idea based on the idea of knives used by Levitical priests to cut
through deepest sections of sacrificial animals.
– God’s Word can penetrate to the depths of our inner most being.
Double Edged Sword
• God’s Word judges the ideas and thoughts of the heart.
– Judge comes from Greek word for “critic”.
– Shows us where we are weak and need improvement.
– Guilty conscious from sin.
The Power of God’s Word
13 Therefore put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you
may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to
17 Take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of
• Remember the battle is spiritual and must be fought with God’s strength,
depending on the Word and on God through prayer.
Quote from D. L. Moody
Sin will keep us from the Bible, or the Bible will keep us from sin.
11 Your word I have hidden in my heart,
That I might not sin against You.
Comparing the 3:16’s
2 Timothy 3:16
16 All Scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for
reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness,
16 For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever
believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life.
• John 3:16 talks about the Savior, and 2 Timothy 3:16 talks about the
Scriptures. These 2 entities comprise the two greatest gifts ever bestowed
• Both are called “The Word”.
• One is the living Word, and the other is the written word.
• Both are utterly unique. Jesus is like no other person the world has ever
seen, and the Bible is like no other book the world has ever read.
• Jesus as the Savior was without sin, the Scriptures are without error.
• The Savior is the God-Man, and the Scriptures are from both God and
• The Savior came to save us, and the Scriptures were given to tell us how to
• The Bible is Jesus in print, and Jesus is the personification and fulfillment of
• So, these 3:16’s are twin verses about the Savior and the Scriptures.
The Key to Success in Life
8 Keep this Book of the Law always on your lips; meditate on it day and night, so
that you may be careful to do everything written in it. Then you will be
prosperous and successful.
The Valentine in John 3:16
The Plan of Hope & Salvation
John 3:16 NKJV
16 “For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever
believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life.”
John 14:6 NKJV
6 Jesus said to him, “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the
Father except through Me.”
Romans 3:23 NKJV
23 for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God,
Romans 6:23a NKJV
23a For the wages of sin is death,
Death in this life (the first death) is 100%.
Even Jesus, the only one who doesn’t deserve death, died in this life to
pay the penalty for our sins.
The death referred to in Romans 6:23a is the second death explained in
Revelation 21:8 NKJV
8 “But the cowardly, unbelieving, abominable, murderers, sexually immoral,
sorcerers, idolaters, and all liars shall have their part in the lake which burns with
fire and brimstone, which is the second death.”
Romans 6:23b NKJV
23b but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.
Romans 5:8 NKJV
8 But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were still sinners,
Christ died for us.
Revelation 21:7 NKJV
7 “He who overcomes shall inherit all things, and I will be his God and he shall be
Romans 10:9-10 explains to us how to accept Jesus as our Savior.
Romans 10:9-10 NKJV
9 that if you confess with your mouth the Lord Jesus and believe in your heart that
God has raised Him from the dead, you will be saved. 10 For with the heart one
believes unto righteousness, and with the mouth confession is made unto
Romans 10:13 NKJV
13 For “whoever calls on the name of the LORD shall be saved.”
If you have questions or would like to know more, Please, contact First Baptist
Church Jackson at 601-979-1900 or http://firstbaptistjackson.org/contact/