Speaker: Mr Yap Chee Kai
Sermon Title: Remember Me For This, My God
Scripture Text: Nehemiah 13: 4 – 31
1.1 Let’s start with Dr James Dobson’s invigorating quote; “My legacy doesn’t matter. It isn’t important that I be remembered. It’s important that when I stand before the Lord, he says, “Well done, good and faithful servant.”
1.2 Did the Israelites finish strong in the Book of Nehemiah? The title of my sermon today is illustrated by Dr. Dobson: “Remember me for this, my God,” which is repeated three times in verses 14, 22, and 31.
2. Background of the text
2.1 Nehemiah 13 recounts Jesus’ return from Gethsemane prayer to find his disciples sleeping. And it is here that Nehemiah finds the Israelites “sleeping.”
2.2 The covenant made by Nehemiah with the Israelites years before, hangs over this chapter, and it includes priests, Levites, leaders, and all who separated themselves from the neighboring people for the sake of the Law.
2.3 Their vows (1) not to marry foreigners, (2) pay tithes and support temple worship, and (3) observe the Sabbath appears arrogant because their actions clearly do not reflect their vows.
2.4 Today’s passages is related to the previous passage (12:27-13:3) and Nehemiah shows us how he dealt with corruptions that undermined the holiness of God’s temple (church), the priority of God’s worship, and the purity/holiness of God’s people, and he ends with a prayer to God: “Remember me for this (I’ve done), my God.”
A. Protect the holiness of God’s Church (vv.4–14)
1. Illustration: Eliashib’s detestable act is compared to the church in Pergamum (Rev.2:12-17). As we recite the Lord’s Prayer, we must remember to ask the Holy Spirit to protect and preserve us, lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from the evil one.
2. Application: the first point is, to protect the church as a gathering of God’s people (koinonia). We, like Nehemiah, should encourage and guide the church to walk in the Spirit at all times so that we do not gratify the lust of the flesh (Galatians 5).
B. Protect the priority of God’s worship (vv. 15–22)
1. Illustration: The Sabbath was designed to provide an opportunity for the Israelites to worship God, meditate on His Word, and reflect His mercy and love. In today’s digitalized world, we must instil boundaries so that we will not ignore reading the Bible and meditate upon God’s Word.
2. Application: the second point is, to protect the priority of God’s worship by putting God’s agenda above ours. Sabbath was made for us for a grace-motivated reason. Do we see Sabbath as a constraint or liberator?
C. Protect the purity/holiness of God’s people (vv. 23–31)
1. Illustration: Rather than focusing on the passage’s conclusion about intermarriage with paganized foreigners, let us be pragmatic about protecting God’s people from intermarriage with pagan unbelievers with “unequally yoke” that will lead their hearts astray from God and worship other gods, eventually leading to apostasy. One of the steps is to follow the rules governing marriage in Malaysia’s Methodist Church, which only accepts that both couples must be Christians in order to marry in the church.
2. Application: the third point is, to protect God’s people purity/holiness by not allowing their relationships with the world to corrupt them. Be different from the world by following God’s law such as abstaining sex before marriage, cohabitation, abortion, adultery or unequally yoked relationships.
In conclusion, we are to follow Nehemiah’s example in three ways:
1. To protect the holiness of God’s Church by preserving the church as gathering of God’s people.
2. To protect the priority of God’s worship by prioritizing God’s agenda above all else.
3. To protect the purity of God’s people by preventing them from being corrupted with their relationships with the world.
• Let me close with the challenge to all of us today:
a) Do you desire to finish like Dr. Dobson?
b) Do you desire to say, “Remember me for this, my God,” as Nehemiah did?
Let us pray.
Christian Copyright Licensing International (CCLI)
Account #: 464937
* Copyright License – 31/07/2023
* Song@Select Advance – 31/07/2023