Today we are going to see how quickly our repentance and our commitments to God can be forgotten if we do not keep focused on the things of God. We are going to see that if we are not careful we can allow sins to begin to creep back in and take over our lives.
Read Nehemiah 13:1-3
The passage starts with a positive of the people not only longing to hear God’s Word but they also quickly obey it.
James 1:22 But be doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving yourselves.
Listening to the Word of God is not enough, actions have to be taken in our lives to the words that are spoken. In other words; going to church is not enough there should be a life change.
Read Nehemiah 13:4-7
Elishiab the High Priest allowed Tobiah to take up residence in some of the temple storage areas. Tobiah was one of the ones that hated Nehemiah when he came (2:10) and he plotted to destroy Him (4:7-8) The Bible says that the wages of sin is death. (Romans 6:23) And the reason God hates sin in our lives is because it goes against His nature and character as well as destroying His creation. Sin is a big deal to God and He destroyed the effects of sin on the Cross when Jesus Christ Died. With this in mind there are several lessons we can learn from Nehemiah 13.
1) Do not allow sin into your House
John 14:23 Jesus answered him, “If anyone loves me, he will keep my word, and my Father will love him, and we will come to him and make our home with him.
Ephesians 4:27 says we are not to give the devil a foothold or opportunity. It was a military strategy to establish a foot hold or place that you could conquer so you could set up more attacks. This can happen either physically with things you do and or mentally with things you think about. The more you do or dwell on sinful things the more of a foothold the enemy will have on you.
1 Corinthians 6:19-20 Or do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit within you, whom you have from God? You are not your own, 20 for you were bought with a price. So glorify God in your body.
If you are a Christian and you think you can live your life however you want then you have missed out on what being a Christ follower means. Our bodies no longer belong to ourselves but we have surrendered ourselves to Jesus Christ.
2) Sin in your house will lead to more sin
Not only had they allowed Tobiah to take up residence in the Temple storage rooms but now they neglected to take care of the Levites who were to operate the Temple. The Levites had to go back to their homes so they could eat. The Levites relied on the tithes and offerings of the people and without realizing it the people started drifting away from the commands of God and neglecting to take care of the people of God.
You have to be intentional to not fall into sin. Like a boat on an ocean that will be taken by the current or waves so we will be dragged away if we do not become intentional with our lives. This is why you must know what you believe so you do not get carried away by the currents of our culture. Ephesians 4 talks about how we are to be trained so we do not get taken by the schemes and craftiness of the worlds teachings. There is an intentionality to our Christianity that we are to take care of and if we think we can just float through life then we will miss out that there is an enemy trying to get us of course.
Why is the House of God Forsaken?
Our bodies are the temple (house) of God and when we allow sin into our lives we are neglecting the temple of God. This is how sin works in your life; you allow one area to be taken over and it starts to affect other areas of your life. Most people believe they can have a pet sin or that the things in their lives that are sin will never destroy them. I have seen many people fall who were smarter than myself give into sins to the point that it destroyed their ministries and their families.
Everyone would have known the Tobiah was living in the temple and yet there is no indication that anyone said anything about it. He was an Ammonite or a foreigner but he was related to the High Priest through marriage and so people let it happen even though it went against the will of God.
Since your body is the temple of God, what are you doing to not neglect it?
We cannot just say we are not sinning so we are fine, we have to be intentional about bringing things into the store house to fill it with the things of God.
Nehemiah 13:15-18 talks about how they began to neglect the Sabbath again and started selling and buying with their foreign neighbors. (Sin leads to more sin)
Read Nehemiah 13:24-27
Because they began marrying foreign women again the children could not speak the language of Judah which meant that they could not learn the scriptures or participate in the songs. Men would go out and work all day and it was the woman’s job to raise up the children and so these foreign women were not teaching the children the language so a generation could be lost to not knowing the scriptures. Nehemiah reminded them that even King Solomon a person with a ton of wisdom fell because he allowed one area of sin into his life.
3) The house must be kept clean :
How do we keep sin out of the Temple?
13:14 Nehemiah prayed
A) With Prayer
Read Nehemiah 13:19-
Throughout the book of Nehemiah we see him praying . How often do you pray? How often do you allow the Spirit of God to show you areas of your life that need to be changed?
Psalm 139:23 Search me, O God, and know my heart! Try me and know my thoughts
We may think our thoughts and intentions are good but what does God say? Prayer is one way that we make sure that sin has not snuck into our lives.
B) By locking the doors
Nehemiah slammed the doors shut to keep people from coming in on the Sabbath. Why do you lock your doors? To keep the wrong people out. We have to be intentional about keeping sin out of our lives.
Read Nehemiah 13:25 (Get Mean with your sin)
You need to view sin as an intruder. Nehemiah beat, pulled the hair and threatened them to not do it again. Complacency to sin can cause you to become numb to it and not even notice it. God will discipline His children and He does so because He loves us.
Read Nehemiah 13:26
C) By learning from others
Nehemiah reminded them of what happened to people in the past and how their disobedience destroyed them. People say experience is the best teacher but why not learn from those who have gone before you then you do not have to experience the pain they experienced. We always think we will not be the one who has an addiction but we all can fall.
1 Corinthians 10:11-13 11 Now these things happened to them as an example, but they were written down for our instruction, on whom the end of the ages has come. 12 Therefore let anyone who thinks that he stands take heed lest he fall. 13 No temptation has overtaken you that is not common to man. God is faithful, and he will not let you be tempted beyond your ability, but with the temptation he will also provide the way of escape, that you may be able to endure it.
Read Nehemiah 13:28
Chase him from me
D) Keep sin as far away as you can
We want to know how close we can get to sin without crossing the line. When that is our mentality then we tend to fall over the line which leads to shame, guilt or even destruction. 2 Timothy 2:22 says we are flee from our youthful passions. Solomon, who was destroyed by sin, pleads with us to stay away from certain areas that lead to sin (Proverbs 7)
The battle of sin will be ongoing until we go to Heaven or Jesus comes back but we are to not drop our guard because Satan wants to destroy us. God is so serious about sin that He wants His Church is to kick anyone out that will not repent of their sins and not associate with them if they say they are a believer.(1 Corinthians 5:11)
Just like keeping a house clean you will have to constantly be vigilant with keeping sin out of our own lives and the life of the Church. Just because it is clean one day does not ensure you that it will remain that way.
William Booth, founder of the Salvation army said, “I want you young men to bear in mind that it is the nature of a fire to go out; you must keep it stirred and fed and the ashes removed.”
Do you take sin seriously?
Have you been diligent in keeping sins out of your life?
What things have you allowed in that you need to ask God to help you remove?
Will you take the time and allow God to search your heart?