Too many times we complain as we look around at this world and see that it is decaying and we act like victims as the secular world continues to reject Biblical Christianity. But I believe that the problem started with us. You see there is a huge biblical illiteracy problem in the church. I believe that the country did not start out rejecting the Bible, look around America, it is written on everything, the 10 commandments used to be everywhere.
However, I believe that it was our failure as a church to pass our faith on to the next generation. So when the world came asking hard questions, so many Christians across America came up looking stupid because they lacked Biblical knowledge to give an account on why they believe what they believe. Keeping traditions for traditions sake, will cause the next generation to part from it. If you need proof of that look around most churches today.
But, it is not just a First Baptist problem, it is not just a Pike County problem, this is a problem across our nation. You see the problem is that Americans revere the Bible- but, largely, they do not read it. And because we do not read it, we have become a nation of Biblical illiterates.
So you might be thinking surely I am exaggerating, how bad can it be? Well, this is how bad it can be… Fewer than half of all adults can name the four Gospels. Many Christians cannot identify more than two or three of the disciples. 60 percent of Americans cannot name even 5 of the 10 commandments. Americans may demand that the 10 commandments be posted in the courthouse, but they seem unable to remember what exactly they are.
What is scarier is that 82 percent of Americans think that “God helps those who help themselves”, is a Bible verse. A majority of adults think the Bible teaches that the most important purpose in life is taking care of one’s family. Another survey of graduating high school seniors reveals that more than 50 percent thought Sodom and Gomorrah were husband and wife. Yet another survey revealed that a considerable number of respondents thought that the Sermon on the Mount was preached by Billy Graham.
In summary, we are in big trouble. And we might need to quit looking at the outside and complain about what is happening and start considering if this might be our fault. We may just discover that the reason our nation is in such bad shape is because our churches are so unhealthy. And I think that it is foolish to think that God is going to cause a revival to happen unless the church rises up and stop looking so much like the world.
So what do we do? Churches must recover the centrality and urgency of Biblical teaching and preaching. Biblical illiteracy is our problem and recovery
starts at home. Parents are to be the first and most important educators of their own children, teaching them the Word of God. Parents cannot franchise out their responsibility to the congregation, no matter how faithful it may be. The many fronts of Christian compromise in this generation can be directly traced to Biblical illiteracy in the pews and the absence of Biblical preaching and teaching in our homes and churches. (Mohler, 2005)
And that leads us to our passage today, that exactly what Nehemiah is doing here in Chapter 9. He has a people that is broken and repentant. They have quit looking at the outside and blaming their problems on other things and other people and have realized that they have no one to blame except their own sinful hearts and their stiff-necks.
WHAT IS THE TEXT SAYING
- The twenty-fourth Day of the Seventh Month (9:1-4)
- Prayer of Praise and Confession of Sin (9:5-37)
B.Covenant with Abraham (v.7-8)
C.Exodus and wilderness wandering (v.9-21)
D.Conquest, rebellion, judges, prophets, exile, and merciful preservation
E.Plea for restoration, confession of God’s righteousness and Israel’s sin, slavery, and distress (v.32-37)
III.Covenant in Writing (v.38)
WHAT IS THE TEXT TEACHING US?
– God’s people rehearse God’s righteousness against sin, trust Him to show mercy, and then renew their commitment to repent of sin and walk-in obedience.
HOW DOES THIS TEXT POINT US TO CHRIST?
- – We see that Biblical stories are not to be an end in themselves. The Goal of Biblical stories is not to teach us to be good and obedient children. The Goal is not to tell us good stories so that we leave here entertained. These stories have a bigger picture in mind. That these stories are about Jesus Christ and our relationship to him.
- – It also points us to the heartbreak of the Old Testament.
WHAT CHANGES MONDAY?
– Rely on the faithfulness of God
– God is with you even when we do not deserve it. CONCLUSION
As we move into our response time today it is important for use to remember that Jesus died on the cross, and the density and the weight of that massive block of accumulated transgression hovering over you, with only God’s mercy
keeping it from crushing you, all that wrath, rested on the shoulders of the Lord Jesus. He bore it. He died for it. God will save you. God will show you His great mercies, His abundant compassion.
If you are not a Christian, when you feel that weight of justice hanging over you look to Christ. Seek the Lord who acts according to His great mercy and forgives people. Trust Him to do that for you.
If you are a Christian but you struggle with guilt, look to Christ. Celebrate God’s great mercy, and live in that mercy. No wrath remains for those who hope in Christ.
- What is the value in contemplating the seriousness and immensity of your accumulated sins? What is the danger in doing so? What is the danger in never doing so?
- What other chapters in the Bible summarize and interpret large portions of biblical history?
- If you were going to summarize the whole Old Testament using 10 or fewer topical headings, what would they be?
- Why did this prayer of confession begin with creation? How might doing the same make your own prayers more meaningful?
- Does the Sabbath seem to you more like a gift or an imposition? What stands in the way of your enjoyment of the Sabbath?
- How does going over the history of Israel help us to ponder our own sinfulness? Do we sometimes blame Israel for their stubborn sinfulness while overlooking the fact that we are the same?
- When you consider how often God blessed Israel, Israel sinned against God, and God showed mercy to Israel, what aspects of that cycle do you find discouraging? What is encouraging?
- Is God pleased or offended when we appeal to Him for mercy? Can you think of a human metaphor or example that expresses similar love and mercy?
- How would you use Nehemiah 9 in a children’s Sunday school class to teach about the sinfulness of man and the mercy of God?
- How are a history of Israel, a synopsis of the Old Testament, and biblical theology related?