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Vancouver, BC

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Sermon Summary PDF Print E-mail
Written by Chris Kibble   
Tuesday, 29 January 2019 15:25

Dear all

 

All families have occasional disagreements, and church families are no different. In fact, if there are no disagreements, you'd wonder if there was any life at all! But it's how such disagreements are handled that makes the difference.

 

Having dealt effectively with some external opposition, Chapter 5 of the book of Nehemiah describes how Nehemiah becomes aware of an internal problem. Israelites who were building the wall were being harshly treated by fellow Jews. Quite a number of Jews were borrowing money from their fellow Jews so that they could focus on building the wall, whilst not earn their living. Similarly, property owners were borrowing to pay their taxes. But the lenders were breaking both the spirit and letter of the law. Not only were they wrongly charging interest to their fellow Jews, but where necessary either taking their fellow Jews into their own slavery or selling indebted Jews to Gentiles if repayment conditions were not met. As Nehemiah pointed out, there's not much point in the community buying back Jews from their slavery to Gentiles (which it was) if fellow Jews were selling them back again.


Nehemiah is very upset by this, but he considers the issues carefully before taking action. He takes the erring nobles and officials to task, and points out their misdeeds. And as Nehemiah records 'they had nothing to say'. So Nehemiah comes up with an action plan to which the nobles and officials agree. He also includes his own family in the plan because it seems that his family is too at fault. All this is done in public and the plan is openly agreed. Those in error kept their bargain, and God was glorified.


Nehemiah did well: not only did he act swiftly and courageously, but his wise actions maintained the unity of the assembly and kept the building project going. What a lesson for today's church! How we should hope that when issues arise, church leadership should follow Nehemiah's example by dealing with issues, maintaining unity and keeping the church focused on Jesus' commission to make disciples of all nations.


Blessings

 

Pastor Chris

Last Updated on Tuesday, 29 January 2019 15:28