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Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Nehemiah and the wall and gates Part 5

Nehemiah– Part 5 The Old/Jeshanah Gate 
Nehemiah, the Godly leader in charge of rebuilding and restoring the wall and gates around the City of Jerusalem, has assigned every willing worker a portion of the rebuilding. This wall is the protection and defense around God's city and God's people. Without it, the people are defenseless and unprotected. This wall for a believer in Christ is the Word of God. It is the Word of God that reveals the ways of the enemy and also is the weapon that defeats any enemy that comes against us. The Word of God also keeps us in the will of God and safe. This is why knowing the pure Word of God is important to any child of God.
Nehemiah had a place and a job for everyone who wanted to contribute to the work at hand, whether Jew or Gentile, male or female, priest or layperson. Nehemiah also chose leaders for each portion to help, lead and guide the laborers to accomplish their portion of the work.
The laborers completed the task because: 1) Every person had a job assigned to him or her by their leader; (2) Everyone worked in unity and followed their Godly leader; (3) Everyone kept their eyes on the goal; (4) Everyone worked together in unity for the glory of God; (5) There was no self-exaltation and no jockeying for position or jealousy.
The Body of Christ will also be successful if it follows the pattern of Nehemiah. Ezra, the priest and scholar of the Word, knew the importance of teaching the Word, returning God's people to obeying it and rebuilding the Temple. Nehemiah understood the need for unity, leadership, willing laborers, warfare and peace in restoring the wall of protection and its gates. We must all follow our Leader Jesus and those He has put in authority over us. Together these two Godly leaders will bring God's people and His dwelling place back to its proper order and condition. The temple, city and people will no longer be a heap of ruins but will become a strong, orderly, fortified place and a safe haven to those who enter in.
Jesus and the Holy Spirit equip every believer with the ability to perform a task in the building of His Church. It is the responsibility of the leaders to place the laborers in their proper place in the Body based upon their God-given talents. As Nehemiah and his laborers sifted through the rubble to find and take the stones out of the dust of the earth and use them to rebuild and strengthen the wall of protection and gates into the holy city, God will take living stones (sinners) who at one time were lying in the rubble and dust of their earthly, flesh-driven nature, pick them up, dust them off and wait for some discerning Godly leader to place them in a position in Christ's Church to help strengthen and establish His Temple and wall of protection and defense. Not only should leaders encourage and teach the Body of Christ that they must use their gift/gifts for the building up of the Church, they should place them in a ministry that suits their gift like Nehemiah did. He was a great leader who was full of faith in God, who encouraged, strengthened and was a team-builder. Nehemiah had a job for everyone who was willing to contribute to the building and establishment of God's wall around His dwelling place and Kingdom on earth.
Those who are laboring to build Christ's Church are all to keep our eyes on the goal--not each other--be unified and follow our Godly leader for the glory of God. When we obey Jesus and do the job He has called us to do, His Body will be strong and complete.
Nehemiah and his faithful remnant of workers have completed the Sheep Gate with its portion of wall, and the Fish Gate. Now those chosen will rebuild the Jeshanah Gate also known as the Old Gate. 
Jeshanah (Old) Gate 
            Jeshanah means “old” or “mature.” God does not want us to go back to our “old” fleshly ways. He wants to spiritually mature us. The Apostle Paul told us to not look back but put our hands to the plow and press forward toward the goal that Jesus has for us. Philippians 3:14, “I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus.” Our fleshly ways profit nothing. It is the Spirit that gives life. For if you live according to the fleshly, sinful nature, you will die; but if by the Spirit you put to death the misdeeds of the body, you will live, because those who are led by the Spirit of God are sons of God. Romans 8:13-14  Our old ways must die so we walk according to the Spirit. Death of the old man; in with the new man. Jesus doesn't repair the “old” man. He puts it to death by the power of His Holy Spirit and Word. When the “new man” is born, the “old man” must die. In this process, the new man will grow, mature and walk in authority.
            The Old Gate was the seat of authority. The elders of Israel would meet at this gate to decide legal and spiritual matters. God's Word is Truth and gives perfect counsel and guidance. These elders would determine what is right, true and just, as well as reveal what is false, untrue and unjust at this Gate. We are to also determine what is right, true and just by knowing God's Word. The Word of God is our plumb line and what shows us the deeds of our old flesh man and slowly and progressively puts it to death and sets us free. At the Old Gate, we learn to discern the Truth from false doctrine. At this Gate, we come to the Truth and the knowledge of God. In other words, we truly know God and His ways.
 The leaders chosen to oversee the rebuilding of this gate were Joiada and Meshullam. Joiada means “Jehovah is known,” and Meshullam means “friend.” Our relationship with God has grown deeper at this gate. We now know God and are known by God as a friend which is a much deeper relationship than a servant. God called Abraham His friend because Abraham heard God's Word and obeyed it willingly and freely by faith—not by the Law that demands obedience. Jesus taught His disciples, “Love each other as I have loved you. Greater love has no one than this, that he lay down his life for his friends. You are my friends IF you do what I command. I no longer call you servants, because a servant does not know his master's business. Instead, I have called you friends, for everything that I learned from My Father I have made known to you.” John 15:12-16  Jesus freely and willingly shared all of the knowledge that God had given Him with His disciples and anyone who wanted to listen (multitudes). He withheld nothing. And He gave it without a price. When the religious ones of the day came against Him and challenged His Truth, Jesus called them what they were and moved on. When the new comes, the old must pass away!  Jesus didn't waste a whole lot of time with those who thought they knew all there is to know about Truth. Because the Pharisees were well-schooled in the Law and the Prophets, they felt they knew all they needed to know about Truth so they spent their time attacking Jesus and His Truth. Jesus spent His time with those who wanted to know Him and His Truth:
Those who were humble and teachable
Those who recognized their filth and lack and need of Him (sinners)
Those who hungered and thirsted after the Truth and righteousness
Those whom He had touched and/or healed through His powerful
     Word because he loved the downtrodden, hurt, lame, blind
      and bound not the arrogant and the condemning.
Jesus made it clear to His disciples that just hearing the Truth through the mouth of Jesus wasn't enough. The hearers had to believe His Truth, receive it, know it and walk it out in their lives. When we do the Word of Jesus, it and He are established in us because Jesus is the Word. Our dead, fleshly ways are replaced by His spiritual, life-giving ways. We move from the earthly, flesh-driven and false to the true, life-giving ways of the Word and the Holy Spirit. Doing the Word equips us for ministry and makes us walk in the will of God as Jesus did.
            The Old Gate was important to the leaders of Israel because authority and the right and the wrong were determined at it. Its spiritual meaning is important to those who love and follow Jesus also.
·         It is the place where the “old” sinful man dies and the “new” spiritual man grows and matures.
·         It is the place where the true will be separated from the false. Followers of Christ discern the Truth from untruth at this gate also.
  • It is the place of righteous justice.
  • It is the place where we no longer just hear the Word but are doers of the Word willingly because of our love for Jesus.
  • It is the place of God's love and friendship.It is the place where we will walk in the authority of the Word, Spirit and Jesus as we do the will of the Father.
  • Love (Jesus) and Truth are the cement and strength that hold the wall of protection and defense around God's holy dwelling place together. Untruth, watered-down Truth and the sinful ways of the flesh bring God's dwelling place to ruins. The pure Truth unites. It does not divide nor does it weaken the Body of Christ through division or several different understandings of scripture. Jesus is the pure Truth from Genesis 1:3 when the first Word of God was spoken that brought Light and then Life through to Revelation 22:21 when all things are restored to the holy and perfect condition in the beginning in Genesis. The end was in the beginning!  Jesus is pure Truth and wants those who love and follow Him to also know the pure Truth that unites and makes strong the City of Our God – the New Jerusalem. In order for this to happen, the Body of Christ must understand that the Old and New Testaments are all about Jesus who is both Grace and Truth – all Truth. Jesus was the WORD OF GOD long before He was the HOLY MAN! Jesus brought the two testaments of the Word of God together by His blood. He made the two ONE just as He makes Jews and Gentiles ONE in HIM. The Law couldn't do it. The prophets couldn't do it. Only one who is GOD could –His Name is Jesus/Yeshua—the Name above all names! HE IS THE ETERNAL WORD OF GOD. "I am the Lord; I change not! Jesus is the same yesterday (OT), today (NT) and forever (Rev.)

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