Open your Bibles in the book of Nehemiah. We've been studying that the book of Nehemiah as a church so far this year. There's a little pop quiz right now. I'm going see how well you guys been paying attention to the sermons. There's a theme. I don't know if you caught up at all the sermon titles. Start with the letter R, Right. So Ryan was he did a great job kicking us off. He talked about the theme of Ruins. Ryan Jones did a phenomenal job talking about the theme of Rebuild. And then last week, Aaron Hawkins did a great job talking about the theme of relationships that is trekking. Today. We're going to talk about revival. Revival is the next R word.

There's a passage in Ernest Hemingway's novel, The Sun Also Rises. Who's read that book? The Sun also Rises. Okay, So somewhat familiar, there's a passenger in which a character named Mike is asked how he went bankrupt. He responds two ways. Gradually. Then suddenly. And if you've ever been through that, you know what he's talking about, I suppose. I think Hemingway actually had some bankruptcies, and maybe he wrote that from a personal perspective, you know, revival amongst God's people, people is often like this, in my experience.

Sometimes it's just gradually coming to the little things that God seems to be doing to revive us and refreshes. But then all of a sudden, sometimes, boom, it's obvious, it's sudden, it's striking and it's amazing. And Nehemiah, chapters seven and eight and nine are all about a time amongst God's people where they had this incredible revival. And so we're going to learn about that in the next this Sunday and next Sunday as well.

A summary, though, of the fight and the struggle to find this kind of revival amongst God's people, I think is summarized well in Nehemiah Chapter six. We can go to the next slide and versus 14 to 15. So, Nehemiah, he's just now received death threats. You think you're getting some persecution? This guy's getting death threats for building a wall.

Think about that for a moment. Well, and he's getting these death threats and he actually Nehemiah, his book has 12 what I like to call prayer Grahams in it, these little prayers. He just he just seems to be praying continually to his God. And this is one of those programs in Nehemiah six, verse 14, He says, remember Tobiah and Sanballat.

Those are two of his greatest opposers. My God, because of what they have done. Remember also the prophet Noah Diya, and how she and the rest of the prophets have been trying to intimidate me. So he says, Just pray to God. And then he says in verse 15. So the wall was completed on the 25th day of a lull in 52 days.

It's kind of an interesting contrast. Like he's like, remember these people who are threatening my life? by the way, we got the wall down. And that's kind of, I think, how revival sometimes comes. We we struggle, we strain, we fight, we claw. We want more from God. We want God to work in our life. And then boom, all of a sudden he does.

And that's kind of one of those moments here in the book of Nehemiah. You know, in our study so far, we've seen ruins, rubble, broken relationships. But despite this, God's people under the leadership of Nehemiah at this time, they come together. And what's interesting is that wall had been broken down for 90 years. The Jews were in exile for 70 years in Babylon, and then the Persians let them go and they come back.

And for 90 years the wall was not totally rebuilt. And then in just 52 days after 90 years of it not being rebuilt, it gets done. That just shows you when God's people come together and he moves in their hearts, they can accomplish great things quickly. And so that's what I want to inspire us a little bit about today is you know, the wall is in many ways, I think the walls here, they represent stability, especially back then.

They kept bad things out and they protected the good things within. And I think today, you know, our wall is the church in many ways as a community. The church helps us to to keep keep the bad things out, sin and half truths and lies and all the things that we're being fed every day by the world in this ways.

And I don't say that in a self righteous way. That's just true. We need to come to church to remember what the truth is and to get clarity in a dark and gray world. But but, but the church also protects what within? We're about each other. We're about relationships. We're about being there for each other. And so what I love about this passage is it shows how God's people, when they come together as his people, they can find revival.

So today, do you want some more revival in your life? Who wants more of that? You know, let's talk about this gratitude, gradual and sudden revival that we can find as God's people. And I think this is a great paramount. Well, here to Nehemiah Story and are some two ways God's people search for this revival.

They return and they burn. Let's look at the first idea here. If they return, the first thing is they return to find revival. As I said, after seven years in exile, the Jews start to come back and rebuild Jerusalem over a 90 year period. And we're kind of at the present tense here in the book of Nehemiah. 90 years later, there are actually three waves.

If we go to the next slide, there are three waves. And as Ezra, Ezra Nehemiah, very parallel books, by the way. So you might want to study Ezra If you're really enjoying our study of Nehemiah. Ezra one three, six shows the first wave libraries removal. Who was the governor around 536 B.C. than Ezra 7 to 10. The second wave was led by Ezra, who was the teacher, you know, and a priest around 455.

And then Nehemiah one year three describes a third wave. And of course, Nehemiah led in 445 BCE and under Nehemiah, his leadership, of course, they unite and finish the wall. And so let's pick it up here in Nehemiah Chapter seven, Nehemiah Chapter seven, and verse one If you don't have a Bible, please try to sit by someone who does or open up an electronic one.

Nehemiah Chapter seven It will be on the screen in verse one says, After the wall have been rebuilt, Nehemiah says, And I had set the doors in place. The gatekeepers, the musicians and the Levites were appointed. I put in charge of Jerusalem. My brother Hanani, along with Hananiah the commander of the Citadel because he was a man of integrity and feared God more than most people do.

That's a great list of qualifications for someone who should lead in God's church and in some way, shape or form, they have integrity and they fear God. That's a good qualification. In verse three, I said to them, The gates of Jerusalem are not to be opened until the sun is out while the gatekeepers are still on duty. Had them shut the doors and bar them.

Also appoint residents of Jerusalem as guards, some at their post and some near their own houses. Even when we get things done, we're still in a spiritual war. In verse four now, the city was large and spacious, but there were few people in it and the houses had not yet rebuilt. So my God put it into my heart to assemble the nobles, the officials and the common people for registration by families.

I found a genealogical record of those who have been the first to return. This is what I found written there. And then he goes through all the all the heads of household that moved 90 years before the original record that Ezra wrote down nine years before. And he goes through all the names, needless, all the names by numbers, right?

Large groups, small groups. The smallest is 42. The largest is 3930, and it adds up to a little over 42,000 people that originally came with Ezra and the first wave of the exiles returning Ezra, when he shows up a little bit later, they brought about 5000 more. You can read later on in the Book of Ezra. And so, you know, the numbers are starting to add up.

And then Nehemiah comes and brings a few more. Like I said to you a little while ago, we look at that slide and then chapter seven concludes in verse 73 The priests, the Levites and the Gatekeepers, the magicians and the temple servants, along with the certain people and the rest of the Israelites, settled in their tents when the seventh month came and the Israelites had settled in their towns.

All the people it says in chapter eight, verse one came together as one in the square. Before the Watergate, they told as of the Tisha the law, to bring out the Book of the Law of Moses, which the Lord had commanded for Israel. So they come together after they settle more and more, and they kind of take a census and check their membership in a sense, you know, as God's people to see see who was actually still with them at that particular point in time.

And then the rest of Chapter eight we'll look at a little later on. They actually they actually here they're like Ezra preached a word to us and Ezra gets out the book of the law, which would have at that time would have been the five books, first five books of the Old Testament, the Pentateuch, Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers and Deuteronomy.

And it takes about 14 hours for the average reader to read through those five books. And the first day they read for six straight hours. You can't start with me if I preach long a day based on that, and I try not to. And then the next day they read some more. It says, and then they actually celebrate for the first time in a long time, the Feast of Booths or Tabernacles, which I'll get into a little bit of what that means here in a little while.

And it makes sense. The walls are solid, stability is better established now. They start to look at the spiritual state of the people in the city. Right? It's great to come together today. I'm glad you're here. I'm so glad you are here. Thank you for coming on a Sunday afternoon. I know you can be doing something else. Thank you for coming.

But how are you doing? Spiritually speaking? Right. That's what they're checking up on and that's what they're working on. And the math here is quite staggering. If we can go to the next slide, how many returned out of the total that were there? Well, there is about 5 million people, they think, that were Israelites at that time that had all spread throughout after the the you know, the exiles of the Assyrians and the Babylonians and then the Persians all throughout the Mediterranean area.

But only 50,000 Jews returned and rebuilt Jerusalem. That's 1%, 1%. Do you think God was like, man, I need more people than this. What are we going to do? That's not what I read when I read the Book of Nehemiah. When I read the Book of Ezra or I read of the Prophets, Haggai and Zachariah, who were prophets during that time.

No, God says, I'll tell you, I'm doing this, whether by many or by a few. I'll take what I have. I'll take those who return to me and I'll do something great through them. And I'll rebuild this temple. And I will rebuild my city. And I will rebuild my people. And so this idea of return, I think is so timely.

It's so timely. And why? Why do they take a census? Why do they pull the old record and go through all these complicated Jewish names that we can't pronounce very well in chapter seven? You know, You know, why did they do that? I think in some senses, you know, it says in chapter seven verse for the scripture at the bottom of the screen, it says, The city was large and spacious, but there were a few people in it.

And I think what Nehemiah is trying to say is, hey, God did it before and he will do it again. And sometimes we have to return not to what God already did, but what God is going to do. But sometimes we have to remember what God did when He pulled you out of the world and saved you and cleaned up your life.

We got to remember what God did when we had a thousand in this church and we were all over the city. You know, we got to remember what God did and return to him. Not not, not the glory of the past. And that's in many ways what I think this idea of return is all about. It's ultimately returning to God.

I think sometimes we underestimate the power of a few in the name of Jesus, but I think we sometimes underestimate how powerful it is when a few people come together in the name of Jesus. We go to the next slide. Very familiar passage you've already before. Jesus is teaching people how to deal with sin in the church. He talks about how there's even a corporate point at some point when someone will not repair their sin.

That has to be done as a church. And then he goes on to say at the end of that passage where two or three gather in my name, there I am with them. There is great power when we assemble at least just two of us, because Jesus us is there in a chapter one, Chapter one we read earlier, it said all the people came together.

That phrase shows up in chapter eight seven more times. All the people, all the people, all the people, all the people return and fill the city and get back to God in life in him. And that's why revival starts to come. You know, Have we as a church returned from our exodus from our Babylon's personally and collectively, our past, our failures, our disappointments, our setbacks, even just the pandemic has fractured society right in so many ways.

Today is proof to me that we as a church are returning to God. Look around whether this place is full. It's encouraging to see, you know, that there's so many are are staying close to God and getting closer to God as a church. And I just think there's two ways here. And the first thing I want to share about return to is we as a church need to make sure we wholeheartedly return.

The first is that phrase All the people, all the people, as I said, as were two and Nehemiah six. You know, Nehemiah is making a list and checking it twice. Right. And you know, there's that list. And as he pulls it out, dusted off from Ezra, you know, and then he and then he double checks, Right. You know, who's there, who's who, who's with them, You know, post-pandemic.

We have lost we've lost a good a good chunk of our flock now, not a ton, but quite a few. You know, you probably can think of a few people right now who were with us pre-pandemic and are no longer seen, you know, seem to be around for whatever reason, whether they're on a search for the truth in God, whether on the search for something else.

I don't think our job is to judge them. I think our job is to love them, to reach out to them, to hang in there with them, to still consider them. Our brothers and sisters and our friends, regardless of whether they're showing up to a meeting or not. Amen. But today I want to focus not on that, but but on who is here, who is returning, who who is with us as a church.

You know, we are God's children, God's people. That is the church. And I get it. We got issues. We got things we got to work on. We got personal stuff we need to work out. Matthew 18 talked about working that out right. You know, And so amen. Let's talk. If you're hesitant to totally return and be in here with us because you got some feelings about X, Y, and Z.

Let's talk after service. Ain't going anywhere. I'll be standing right there. We need to talk. Let's talk. I want to hear it. And vice versa. Vice versa. You know, maybe, maybe, maybe I need to share something. Maybe she needs to share something. Maybe he needs to share something. But let's let us decide to return to God together. Let us decide that the church is the most important thing we can invest our lives into on this earth.

I know there's gonna be a lot of people asking for money in 2024 for this candidate and that candidate. And fair enough. Keep your politics to yourself. You can do whatever you want. But, but, but. Heaven forbid, Heaven forbid we forget how powerful this one, two or three Jesus says, Come together in my name. I am with them.

The power is not in the preacher man. The power is not in the sum of the powers. And the fact that Jesus is with those people when they assemble in his name. And that's what the church is all about. Hebrews 1317 says that that the leadership of the church is called to give an account to God. And so and so that's a mutual accountability.

The leadership needs to be accountable to you, but you also, if you're a part of this church, you to be accountable to the leadership. And so let's work on that. Let's let's all be God's people together in 2024. And I think God can do some brilliant things to that kind of unity, as you see here in the Book of Nehemiah.

So all the people and the other thing here is all the meetings, you know, chapter eight, verse one that came together as one it says, and the next day, you know, they read the they read The Penitent for 6 hours that day. And then and then the next day they read some more. They rediscover the Feast of Booze and of Tabernacles.

And I'll describe a little bit more what that is here. On the second point, you know, but it's just like they hear God's word and then they have a church conference basically, you know, a church conference on a cruise 2026 who wants to go, you know, this I all a whole week on the ocean hearing God's word again.

I mean, how amazing would that be? That's what they do. They they they come together and they're fired up. They don't just spend 6 hours. They spend a whole week together celebrating all that God was doing at that point in time. That's that's the reason we come together, right. Is to celebrate what God is doing. And what's interesting is, you know, I think we need to make our meetings awesome, whether it's Sunday Congregational East Service, West Service Standard Group Discipline Times, Prayer Times, the Leadership needs to make our meetings awesome.

And if there's a way we can make it better, please let us know. Please give us that feedback. But. But what makes the meeting way more awesome than my lovely preparation today? Or the worship assessor? Just hit that on the worship or whatever else maybe really move you is the fact that what we just read Matthew 1820 that when we gathered together, who's here?

Jesus is here. And so when you miss or I miss a meeting of the body, you're missing out. And I get it. We all got we got busy lives. Maybe you can't make it. I'm not trying to guilt you in a coming more. Don't worry, I get it. But you're missing out. Do you need to miss out on encountering Jesus in some way at mid-week?

Do you need to miss out on encountering Jesus in some way at that family group? Do you need to miss out on the challenges in some way in that disciple time? Why would you want to miss Jesus? And yeah, you might have to work really hard to see him. Sometimes we come together, but he said he's there. According to Matthew 18, verse 20.

And so I just want to encourage us. Let's not strive to be at everything in 2024 that we have as a church together, because when we show up, God starts to revive us. We all come together as a people. God starts to move. And I pray. I'm praying for revival in our church in 2024. I feel like I feel like, you know, we can't do it, but I know God can.

And this is one of the ways God can do it. All the people, all the means. So let's return in a second. Finally, here to revive, we also have to burn. It's not what you think it is, man. Guys, come on. Full of grace. Full of grace. We're going to need a little bit of Bible here under the second point.

Hope you're okay with that. Nehemiah Chapter eight turn there and there's going to be some audience participate in this to get ready. Okay, Get ready. Nehemiah, Chapter eight. We're going to read versus want to 18. So so the people come together in the seventh month, it says, the people, right? They came together as one of the square before the Watergate, they told us, or the teacher of the law to bring out the book of the law.

Moses Preach. Ezra. They said basically a modern, modern vernacular. So verse two, on the first day of the seventh month, Ezra, the priest brought the law before the assembly, which was made up of men and women and all who were able to understand. So even the younger kids were there. He read in verse three it aloud from daybreak till noon, about 6 hours, right as he faced the square before the Water Gate in the presence of the men, women and the others who could understand.

And all the people listened attentively to the book of the law. Verse four. You see that all the people coming up more and more, verse four, as were the teacher last stood on a high wooden platform built for the occasion. It's one of the first stages they had in a church service, you know, and I'm on one right now.

Beside him on his right stood Mattithiah, Shema, Anaiah, Uriah, Hilkiah and Maaseiah; and on his left were Pedaiah, Mishael, Malkijah, Hashum, Hashbaddanah, Zechariah and Meshullam.. So as this was read in the Word of God, the men to his left and men to his right, they're standing shoulder to shoulder.

Brothers, I hope you got your wristbands on. If you're at the men's event, they're standing shoulder to shoulder. And what made him stand shoulder to shoulder? It was the word of God. How do we stay together in troubled times? We stay united through this. We stay united through this. And that's the picture that they have here in Nehemiah Chapter eight.

Ezra opened the book in verse five. All the people could see him because he was staying above them. And as he opened it, the people all stood up. Stand up, if you can. Right now, we're going to read the rest of the Bible while you're standing up. Stand up if you can. If you can't, that's okay. Ezra, Chapter and verse six.

Ezra, Praise the Lord, the great God and all the people who lifted their hands. Feel free to lift your hands. That's one way we worship God. And they responded. What did they say? Amen. Amen. Then they bowed down. Judas passed to mercy. They bowed down. That's too complicated. But you can bow down and you should bowed down to the word of God ever done that.

That's what they did. And they worship the Lord, their God with their faces to the ground. The Levites instructed the people in verse seven, In the law, while the people were standing there, they read from the book of the law of God, making it clear and giving the meaning, so the people understood what was being read. Verse nine The Nehemiah the Governor, as are the priests and the teacher of law and the Levi are instructing the people said to them, all this day is holy to the Lord, your God do not more nor weep for all the people have been weeping as they listen to the words of the Lord.

Their hearts were moved by the Word of God. Verse ten Nehemiah said, Go and enjoy choice food and sweet drinks and send some to those who have nothing prepared. This day is holy to our Lord. Do not grieve for the joy of the Lord is your strength and the Levites come to all the people same be still, for this is a holy day.

Do not agree that all the people went away to eat and drink, to send portions of food, and to celebrate with great joy because they now understood the words that had been made known to them. On the second day it says they started to celebrate and then set up the Feast of Booths or Tabernacles. So verse 16, the people went out and brought back branches and built themselves temporary shelters on their own roofs, in their courtyards, and in the courts of the House of God and the square by the Watergate in one and the one by the Gate of Ephrem, verse 17, the whole company that had returned from exile built temporary shelters and lived

in them, which is part of the holiday. I'll describe in a moment from the days of Joshua, son of none, until the day the Israelites had not celebrated it like this. And their joy was very great. You may be seated. Thank you very much for standing. I think Chapter eight makes me think, Do we revere the word of God?

Like sometimes you're so nice on Sunday, you're focused on this, and I'm sorry about that. Your focus on the preacher, you know, and what he, you know, or the speaker trying to say or or maybe are focused on each other. And what about this person? What about that person? And, you know, Super Bowl Sunday party next week? And but but man, every Sunday, this is what should get elevated more than anything else.

If you walk away today thinking about something more than this and then I have failed you because this is the word of God. This is the word of God. And I can't get above you in the balcony or I would you you understand the analogy, though, right? It's an important analogy. And what do they do? They they lift their hands, They bowed down, they weep, they stand because they just they just get how powerful it is to hear from the word of God.

Reverence, humility and hunger for God's word revival. How do you bring more revival? You know, it's burning with the word of God. You want to get refreshing your walk with God, Get in the Word of God. It will bring revival. We want to have revival in 2024 as a church. We got to get our Bibles. The word of God is going to burn in our hearts when the word burns in God's children's hearts, revival will come.

What does Jeremiah say in Jeremiah 23? Verse 29 is not my word. Like fire is not a word like fire, declares the Lord. You read this, you get it, you apply it. You're going to be fired up and you're fired up. There had to be my fired up. My fired up is quite loud. Don't worry. Yours doesn't have to be that like that.

But. But we should all feel so fired up about the word of God. You know, three ways revival can come when God's Word burns in our hearts. Then and now, through practical things are your close that are time. The first is pretty simple. You got to read it. You got to read it. Chapter eight, verse three. They spent 6 hours reading it the first day, Chapter eight, verse 13.

On the second day, I think they probably finished it, which I think was about another 8 hours because it takes about 14 hours to read the first five books of the Old Testament. You could do that this week. Isn't that amazing? You could do that this week. You know, for me, you know, I when I graduated in 1999 for you versus Cincinnati, I was going to be a high school teacher and a football coach.


But the church, you know, they said, hey, man, you know, we think you could become a minister. We think we see a vision for you and maybe you consider going to the ministry. And so I gave it a shot. And when I first went in the ministry, what I loved is just learning about people because you can open up the Bible with people and it just changed their lives.

I was like this The Bible is so amazing. I, I think I messed the whole thing up. I think I use the wrong analogies. I think I use the wrong scriptures. But I opened up the Bible, this person, and they became a disciple of Jesus. It just blew me away. It still blows me away. It's an amazing thing.

But as I've gotten older, it's been amazing to me how much I need my own personal Bible study to keep my head clear, to deal with the dark night of my soul. And I hope I hope if you're a young Christian, you're excited and you and your digging in your Bible. If you're having a hard time with your Bible, please reach out.

There are so many Bible scholars in this room, and they got PhDs from some divinity school. They got PhDs in the disciples life, and they go and they go walk you through the thing and they can help you out, too. So if you're young and you're struggling to really get to the golden here, please, please let us help you.

But older brothers and sisters, are you still is there still a fire in your belly? Not based on the ICAC or the PCC or whatever else acronym you want to use, but just because of the word of God and the word of God is why you said Jesus was Lord. The Word of God is why you got baptized in His name.


The Word of God is why you're still here. If you're an older Christian, that hasn't changed. We got to burn for the Word of God to see revival in our lives again, you know? And for me, first and second. Samuel 2022 and 2023 were probably the hardest years of my life in ministry and just personally. And I'm not going to go into the details and tell you the sob story, but we can talk about that another time privately.


But if you want to know. But but man, I started reading first and second Samuel and it was like God just kept speaking to me in so many moments, so many points just through his word. And it just helped me get through some really some really tough times in my some wilderness times in my spiritual journey. And then at the end of last year, you know, honestly, I was a little tired, you know, until Little Fly.

I didn't know we were going to study Nehemiah, You know, in 2024, I was like, I got to I'm going to get fired up. And so I started studying the post-conflict prophets, Haggai and Zachariah Malachi and it just it just put way into my sales, you know, for, for, for, for 2024. And it's been so encouraging and, and the prophets are awesome because the prophets don't, they don't say well I think you know, they don't say well, well Nehemiah says the prophets say it, the Lord says over and over and over and over and I just, I needed that.

I needed that. What do you need to read in God's Word today to get you healed, to get you home, to get you revived? That might be quality. That might be quality, That might be a combination of both the word burns when we read. Secondly, when we understand and verse 7 to 8, the Levites come in and says that they and they help it says in verse eight, make it clear and give meaning as all the people are being instructed.

You know, as we read, we sometimes need help to understand. And God has gifted men and women as leaders and to help us sometimes understand what the word of God is really saying. And we have to be careful in that interpretation is a dangerous thing. If it's done wrong. And I'll talk about that in a moment. But Ezra and and the Levites, that's exactly what they do here today.

That's typically a Sunday sermon, right? I'm an evangelist. I serve as the congregational evangelist in this church. But my primary job is in the 2 Timothy Chapter 4. I actually have a job description written by God himself and 2 Timothy for verses 1 to 5. Paul says to the evangelist Timothy in the presence of God and of Christ Jesus, who would judge the living and dead and in view of his appearing and his kingdom, I give you this charge, preach the word. Be prepared in season and out of season. Correct. Rebuke and encourage doesn't just say Our job when we preach is just to encourage, which we like that. It also says we're to be corrected and sometimes even rebuked by the Word of God.

Do we still love that? And he says, You do that as an evangelist with great patience and careful instruction. I've got to be careful for the time will come and says, Well, men will not put up a sound doctrine. Instead, to suit their own desires, though gather around them a great number of teachers to say what they're itching ears want to hear.

They will turn their ears away from the truth and turn aside the myths. But you, he says, keep your head in all situations, endure hardship, do the work of an evangelist, discharge all the duties of your ministry. And that's the challenge that we have today, the correct interpretation of the Word of God. Because if I interpret Spanish, which I wouldn't be very good at Espanol.

I'm struggling on some of that song earlier. We love our Spanish ministry, though, love our Spanish ministry, pray for our Spanish ministry. God's always on the move there. And but my job to interpret Spanish is not to make it say what I want it to say, right? It's to actually bring out what it actually says. And a preacher's job is not to make this say what you or I want it to say.


It's to bring out what it actually says. And there is a progressive Christianity Today where people are using scriptures and lots of them and they're teaching lies. And I don't have to get into the categories. You can probably figure it out, but we got to stay grounded in the Word of God, and we're going to work hard as a as a church.

We want to appoint a teacher in the future. We we want we want to we want to have lots of people who are digging into the Bible. You know, I appreciate our gender role committee. They've been working for over a year. You're going to hear more from them in 2024 for sure. As a church, we're going to be hearing from them soon.

They are seeking to understand some hard passages, often misunderstood or even misinterpreted, so they can help us better understand what those passages really mean when it comes to male and female roles in the church. And I look forward to digging out our bodies together and wrestling with that when it all comes out as a church. But are we open to being corrected or are we open to being challenged by the Word of God?

If the interpretation is obvious, where do you need understanding help? So the word could burn better in your heart today. And lastly, here we got to apply it. Very obvious point, right? You got it. You got to practice what you preach. Amen. They apply it first to their hearts and verses 9 to 12, there weeping. They're hearing the word of God and they're just sobbing.

They're so moved by the words and Nehemiah, you know, and then the praise like, okay, guys, okay, that's enough. You got to stop crying. As a matter of fact, you guys just need to go have some nice food, have some nice drink and throw a party because it says the joy of the Lord is your strength. The word will cut us personally.

It'll speak some harsh truth to us. But God, God doesn't want us to stay there in sorrow. He wants that sorrow to lead to joy. He wants those tears to lead, to lead to shouts of joy. And that's exactly what happens here in the text. And I love verse 12. It says, Then all the people went away to eat and drink.


Once they stopped crying to send portions of food and to celebrate with great joy because they now understood the words that had been made known to them. That's a good, quiet time. You read your Bible 5 minutes, 50 minutes, 5 hours, whatever. But you walk away with great joy because you heard from God. They apply the word to their hearts.

And the other thing here is a wrapping up as they applied it to their lives. Chapter eight versus 13 to 18. They celebrate for the first time in the best way. It says the Festival of Booze or Tabernacles. The festivals are described in Leviticus 23 and Deuteronomy 31, and I think they probably after they read Deuteronomy 31, they said, wait a second, it's a seven month right now, and it says in the seventh month where to go out and make temporary shelters.

And the whole reason they did that was they had to remember that for 40 years they had no home but God. So provided so for a whole week because of the word of God, they camp. That's what they did. So us right now, like sign me up for that church conference and service. All right now are trying to try to exit, you know, like, I'm not going I'm not going.

I need my climate control, my bed, and, you know, but that's what they did. And what's interesting in the text of this kind of just this kind of blew me away first of all, first of all, verse 17, it says, They celebrate this like they hadn't celebrated like this since the days of Joshua. They said, man, it was just it was like we'd never celebrated it before.

It was so amazing because the word of God was just moving in their hearts and they were applying it. But what I also love is, you know, verse, verse chapter eight, verse 12 says, They had great joy. We read that when they understood the words, but in chapter eight, verse 17, they had says they had what does it say?

In verse 17? It says, Their joy was very great. And I sometimes wonder if we're we're reading where we're digging in and we're looking up commentaries and asking questions. But but we lose the often joy, sometimes with the word of God, because we don't go out and do something about it. We don't actually take it with us on Monday after we hear, you know, a sermon on Sunday.


And that's what it says. It says they had great joy when they understood it, but they had very great joy when they lived it out. James 122 Do not really listen to the word, and so do see yourselves. Do what it says. And we as a church got to keep working on that, taking the Word of God and applying it to our lives personally, taking the Word of God and living it out as a congregation.

And we're actually excited. We actually have a potential project to build, to actually build walls that we finished in the book. And we actually have an opportunity. Aaron Hawkins found we might need to build walls around. Around houses are being built for the homeless. How cool is that going to be? We just said Nehemiah. They built a wall and they're going to go build walls for the homeless in the city of Phoenix and pray for that hope that's going to come through.

But we're looking for ways as a staff and as a church to really live out, to really live out the word, the word of God, because that's when the that's when the very great joy comes. Amen. Where do you need to live out the word of God more in your life today and tomorrow? And what kind of trouble God bring to you as you live that way?

You know, where is God? Can you to burn more with his word today? Is it reading? Is it understanding? Is it applying it in your life? Revival often starts and is fueled by the word of God. Amen. So do we want to be part of the church or do we want to be part of the church in revival?

I think I want to be a part of the church in revival. And yeah, sometimes that's gradual. I think everyday we can have it in small and simple ways, but how awesome I would be to say, Man, 2024 was a year where God just showed up and did some things in the Phoenix church. You know, we can't make that happen.

We hope it will happen. We pray it will happen. I pray our Bible study today will help us to look for it. But I believe God wants it always to happen. You know, if you're new to us today, where do you need to be revived? Why did that bring you here today? I think he wants to revive you spiritually in some way.

Please let your friend or or me or one of our staff know how we can help you, how we can get you in God's Word and help the Word of God burn in your life and transform your change. You like it? Did Charlotte? Or find some strength or some stability and just return to him. If if you've drifted away from him, please let us know how we can do that.

You know, these are crazy times. Where can we turn for hope? Peace, strength and yes, revival. I still believe it's in the church. I'm still if I if I was a betting man and there are poker chips here in front of me, I'm still putting all my chips on the church. I'm all in on the church. You want to know I'm all in on the church because only the church can find true revival and when the church finds true revival, God transforms those people.

He transforms those cities, He transforms nations. He transform the world through the revival that happened in the next chapter, too. There are a lot of parallels there. There are a lot of parallels. My my brother Bob shared with that about me. He preached that a while ago. The parallels to an act to a Nehemiah, there are so many parallels.

It's so encouraging. We'll close with this quote. Revival cannot be organized, but we can set ourselves to catch the wind from heaven when God chooses to blow upon his people. Once again, that's G. Campbell Morgan As we start 2024 studying Nehemiah together, I hope and pray Revival is coming for us all. So today let us set ourselves to catch the wind from heaven, wherever and whenever it comes.

As we return and as we burn in the Phoenix Church of Christ said, Amen. Thank you.