In & Not Of The World
August 31, 2014 Series: The Old Testament
Passage: Nehemiah 4:1-6, Nehemiah 8:1-10
What is it to build what is good? In the midst of opposition?
WE ARE NOT OF THIS WORLD
What unifies our efforts in a climate of competing allegiances? What makes us distinct is God’s Word. Read Nehemiah 8:1-3 & Matthew 7:24-27. The Bible clearly teaches us that we were created at God’s Word, we’re defined and ultimately redeemed by His Word (Jesus) made flesh. So how have you experienced someone’s amazement that you would believe God’s Word?
Hosea 4:6 says, “My people are destroyed for lack of knowledge.” By contrast Jesus boldly and clearly called us to build on Him and His Word in Matthew 7. How have you seen both sides of Jesus’ promise – that He is solid in storms and that what is built on sand easily washes away? We build into people the necessity of God’s rule (vs. self-rule)! Rebuilding our city, church, and culture, we need to re-learn God’s Word, but what shapes cultural values if not the gospel?
YET WE ARE IN THIS WORLD
Read Romans 8:5 & John 15:18-19. What has helped to persuade you that this is a fallen, hostile world? How have you been caught off guard or surprised by the world’s hatred of Jesus and His people? Read Nehemiah 4:1-5. What was Nehemiah facing as he sought to obey the LORD? Read Nehemiah 8:3, 7-9 and then Nehemiah 1:2-4. How can we experience turmoil and even grief as we come to terms with our own sin and guilt?
Our culture is very self-oriented. How have you lived more committed to your own self-rule than to God’s rule over you and the entire world? Confess your treasonous spirit to Jesus, asking Him to forgive you and give you a truly loyal heart.
THE INTERPRETIVE KEY
Read 1 John 4:4 & Nehemiah 8:10b. How does being centered on the Gospel help you to find your joy in the LORD? Read Nehemiah 8:9. Notice how many people were involved in helping people rightly understand God’s Word. Why do you think that growing in Gospel wisdom and faithfulness is a community project? How many different people can you name that have truly helped you to better understand God’s Word? Name at least 10!
Read Philippians 2:8-11 & 3:1, 4-12. All the stars visible at night are still there at sunrise, but you can no longer see them because something so much brighter has risen and literally overshadowed them. How do you need Jesus to do that with the things that have dazzled your eyes?
Jesus was crucified, raised & glorified for me in my failure! There is no higher joy! Essentially repentance is working to abandon any and every way that I seek to find joy in something or someone other than God. Read 2 Corinthians 9:8. Joy in Christ Jesus is living persuaded of His sufficiency. What would help you to see that your highest good and greatest pleasure is in Him?
- Worship the LORD for His goodness and sufficiency. Praise Him, Father, Son, and Holy Spirit for how He is surpassingly worthy and faithful to sustain us even in the midst of opposition in this world.
- How have you lived more committed to your own self-rule than to God’s rule over you and the entire world? Confess your treasonous spirit to Jesus, asking Him to forgive you and give you a truly loyal heart.
- Give thanks to Jesus for bearing the fury of all antagonism of all evil and yet conquering it! Thank Him that with His surpassing worth He was willing to be despised in our place and that by His resurrection He assures us that His victory is our victory.
- Who do you know that struggles with remaining hopeful even in the face of opposition to faith in Jesus? Pray for them, asking the Lord to sustain them by His sufficiency and encourage them to remain faithful.
- Ask the Holy Spirit to give you insight into what it means to be in this world and yet not of it. Pray for the Lord would help you to be more defined by Him and Mission than by anything else.