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Showing Revision 33 created 12/05/2019 by Colin Preston.

  1. ♪ theme music ♪
  2. (Derek) Welcome to Hope Sabbath School,
  3. an in-depth, interactive study
  4. of the Word of God.
  5. We are in the middle
  6. of an amazing series of studies
  7. on Ezra and Nehemiah,
  8. today's topic, Backslidden People.
  9. You say, "That sounds depressing,"
  10. but actually it's good news
  11. because God loves backslidden people,
  12. and He wants to restore them
  13. to a life-changing intimate relationship
  14. with Himself, to experience
  15. His immeasurable unfailing love
    like never before,
  16. actually, to transform them,
    to transform us
  17. into all that He ever intended us to be
  18. and to use us to bless others.
  19. It's going to be an amazing study,
  20. and I'm excited because one
    of our team members, Jason,
  21. is going to be teaching today,
    great topic.
  22. And we're glad that you're with us.
  23. In fact, we'd love to hear from you
    if you've started
  24. your own in-depth, interactive study
    where you live,
  25. because you can take
  26. the same outline that we use,
  27. same outline Jason will be using today,
  28. and you can download it from our website.
  29. Just go to; by the way,
  30. you'll not only see Hope Sabbath School
  31. but lots of other great programs there.
  32. Download the app if you don't have it;
  33. Hope Channel, go to your App Store
    or Google Play.
  34. It's a free app, powerful;
  35. it will be a great blessing to your life.
  36. By the way, it's got a geo-locator on it;
  37. it will come up in whatever language
  38. is dominant for your territory - amazing!
  39. You can study the Word of God
    with us there.
  40. But download the outline,
  41. start a study group of your own.
  42. We will be excited to hear from you.
  43. In fact, we're always happy
  44. to hear from you,
  45. our Hope Sabbath School members.
  46. By the way, I'm glad you're
    here, too, team.
  47. It's going to be a great study, isn't it?
  48. Here's a note from Homer and his wife
  49. in Colorado in the United States
    of America.
  50. They said, "We've been watching
  51. Hope Sabbath School ever since it came
  52. on DirecTV channel 368.
  53. We get a lot out of it,
  54. and pray for each one of you on the team.
  55. God bless you all."
  56. Thanks, Homer and Jeannie,
  57. writing from Colorado
  58. in the United States.
  59. You've been watching for awhile
    on DirecTV,
  60. and we're glad you're part of our family.
  61. Here's a note from a donor in Guyana.
  62. Now, some of you have been to Guyana.
  63. "Dear Christian friends, greetings
  64. in the name of our precious Savior
  65. and soon-coming King.
  66. I am a beneficiary of what Hope Channel
  67. is doing around the world.
  68. In this regard, I would like
  69. to partner with Hope Channel
  70. to ensure that the gospel
  71. reaches the ends of the world."
  72. (Team) Amen.
  73. (Derek) "Please receive an enclosed gift
  74. of 1,000 dollars," from Guyana
  75. to help with the ministry
  76. of sharing the love of Jesus
  77. with the world. Amen?
  78. Thank you; we are
  79. a donor-supported ministry,
  80. and I know the blessing
  81. will come back to you as you join the Lord
  82. in His harvest work.
  83. Swein writes from Zambia.
  84. Swein says, "I wish to thank you
  85. for the work you're doing
  86. and how you present the Bible studies
  87. on Hope Sabbath School.
  88. You've really helped me learn
  89. how to present the study to my class."
  90. That's what Jason's going to do today.
  91. We're going to model
  92. what could be reproduced
    10,000 times, right?
  93. So, thank you, Swein;
  94. we're glad you've got
  95. a class there in Zambia.
  96. "I've been teaching the Sabbath School
    since 2008,
  97. and because of watching
  98. Hope Sabbath School,
  99. all the classes I'm teaching
  100. have appreciated how I handle the study."
  101. That's awesome; it can be multiplied.
  102. "Thanks to Hope Sabbath School.
  103. May God bless you as you continue
  104. to labor in His vineyard."
  105. Well, Swein, thanks for writing
  106. to us from Zambia; God bless you.
  107. Give our greetings
  108. to your in-depth, interactive
    Bible study group.
  109. Kofi writes from Ghana and said,
  110. "I asked God to help me
  111. take my Bible study seriously,
  112. and I promised Him not to miss out
  113. on any of the studies this year.
  114. But I'm a student in high school,
  115. I wouldn't get time to read,
  116. and I was working at the house
  117. when I was back from school.
  118. I'm living with my brother and his family,
  119. and we don't get to church early
  120. to learn the Sabbath School.
  121. We also don't study at the house,
  122. but then I found Hope Sabbath School!"
  123. (Team) Amen!
  124. (Derek) "Hope Sabbath School
  125. was the first channel
  126. I saw and subscribed to.
  127. I downloaded the full lesson
  128. as audio on my phone."
  129. By the way, our new app - you can do that.
  130. You can also do an offline download,
  131. and then you can watch the program
  132. when you're offline somewhere
  133. where you don't have a connection;
    it's awesome.
  134. "And I listen to it when I wake up
  135. in the morning and while I'm working
    or in the night.
  136. I've not missed any of the studies
  137. since I found Hope Sabbath School."
  138. (Team) Amen.
  139. (Derek) "I downloaded
  140. your theme song on my phone
  141. and use it as my alarm tone.
  142. It touches my heart anytime I hear it.
  143. I want to be a pastor one day..."
  144. (Team) Amen.
  145. (Derek) "...and visit Hope Sabbath School
  146. and be one of the saints
  147. who will defend God's Word
  148. in the Last Days."
  149. (Team) Amen.
  150. (Derek) Thank you, Kofi,
  151. for writing to us from Ghana;
    what do you say?
  152. (Team) Amen.
  153. (Derek) God is raising up men and women,
  154. young people around the world.
  155. Joyce writes to us, last one,
    from Jamaica.
  156. We have a lot of people in Jamaica
  157. who watch Hope Sabbath...
  158. Anyone with Jamaican roots here, Nicole?
  159. Oh, Enkose, too, Jamaican roots.
  160. "Hello, Hope Sabbath School family!"
  161. (Team) Hello!
  162. (Derek) This is Joyce
  163. writing from Mandeville, "What a blessing
  164. it's been for me to sit
  165. and go through Hope Sabbath School guides
    with you all.
  166. I've been watching for awhile,
  167. and I've been truly blessed.
  168. My daughter is now 11 years old,
  169. and she's been listening
  170. to the Scripture songs
  171. from when she was a little girl.
  172. She would run from wherever she was
    in the house,
  173. come and sing the Scripture song with me
  174. and then run back to what she was doing."
  175. Get this, "As she got older,
  176. she would sit and watch
  177. the Bible study with me."
  178. (Team) Amen.
  179. (Derek) "What a blessing.
  180. I've downloaded the study guides
  181. for the very first time,
  182. and I look forward to making copies
    and sharing them
  183. with my Sabbath School class."
  184. By the way, we found that the best way
  185. to have an interactive study
  186. is to give everyone a copy
    of this outline.
  187. So just make a copy
  188. and give it to everyone,
  189. and they can follow along.
  190. "We now all look forward
  191. to the Bible study every week.
  192. God bless you, Joyce."
  193. Well, thanks for writing to us, Joyce;
    glad you're part
  194. of our Hope Sabbath School family
    there in Jamaica,
  195. and God's doing amazing things, isn't He?
  196. (Team) Yes.
  197. (Derek) And one of the things amazing
  198. that God's doing in these Last Days,
  199. He's calling people back
  200. who have drifted away.
  201. The Bible calls that backsliding,
  202. slipping away, slipping away.
  203. He wants to heals us
  204. because of His immeasurable love,
  205. call us back to Him.
  206. That's what we're going to study about
  207. right after we sing
  208. our theme song from Psalm 25.
  209. ♪ music ♪
  210. (Derek, Team) Amen.
  211. (Derek) You know, wouldn't it be
  212. a wonderful miracle of God if someone
  213. watches Hope Sabbath School today
  214. who has slipped away,
  215. and they hear the call of God
  216. and the draw of God's love to come back?
  217. Let's pray as we begin our study.
  218. (Jason) Amen. Please bow your heads
    as I pray.
  219. Our dear heavenly Father,
  220. today, as we open Your Word, as we see
  221. how, even when we've made mistakes,
  222. whether individually or as a group,
  223. we can still return to You.
  224. Lord, help us to take lessons
  225. from these ancient stories
  226. and apply them to us here now, Lord.
  227. Lord, send Your Spirit,
  228. send Your power with us,
  229. and most importantly, we pray all of this
  230. in the holy name of Jesus,
  231. our Cleanser, our Savior. Amen.
  232. (Derek, Team) Amen.
  233. (Jason) Here in Ezra and Nehemiah
  234. we have the story context,
  235. the children of Israel
  236. have kind of returned from exile,
  237. and they've returned
  238. even though they've made some mistakes,
  239. and they're trying to get
  240. the worship service going,
  241. and they're trying to sort of reform
  242. the process as they're going along.
  243. Now, unfortunately, as we've seen
    in previous lessons,
  244. there have been some difficulties,
  245. and there have been some challenges.
  246. And one of the words
  247. that's kind of been used
  248. to describe this process
  249. is the word backsliding.
  250. Now, backsliding is a word
  251. that not everyone may be familiar with,
  252. and so I just want to ask on the team here
  253. if someone or even several people
  254. can tell me what does
  255. the word backsliding mean,
  256. maybe as a definition
  257. or what it looks like in action?
  258. Someone here on the team, Gladys,
  259. I see you kind of nodding your head,
    and you're smiling.
  260. When you think of backsliding,
  261. what comes to mind for you?
  262. (Gladys) When you have
  263. made a decision for Christ
  264. and you somehow backtrack on that decision
  265. and you start slipping away from Him
  266. and creating some distance
  267. between you and Christ.
  268. (Jason) Slipping away,
  269. made a decision, backtracking. Adison?
  270. (Adison) Two words come to mind.
  271. I think of creep and compromise.
  272. (Jason) Creep and compromise,
  273. so, kind of little by little,
  274. and then compromise, making changes
  275. that are not consistent with the decision
  276. that you had made before.
  277. All right, so we have
  278. this idea of backsliding; now, let's look
  279. at how the backsliding happened.
  280. And so I'd like to ask Jonathan
  281. if you could open for us.
  282. We're in Nehemiah, chapter 10,
  283. and I want you to read
  284. verses 30 and 31 and then verse 39.
  285. There are some promises that are made,
  286. and I want us to look
  287. at where the backsliding begins,
  288. which is here with the promises.
  289. So let's look at the start, and then let's
  290. see what happens in the story.
  291. (Jonathan) All right, I'll be reading
  292. from the New International Version,
  293. verses 30, 31 and 39:
  294. (Jason) So, when we read that,
  295. that sounds pretty positive, right?
  296. We're going to do
  297. all these very good things.
  298. What are some of those things
    that were listed?
  299. What are some of the promises, Evelyn,
    that you saw there?
  300. (Evelyn) They promised that they
  301. wouldn't marry into pagan cultures.
  302. (Jason) They wouldn't marry
    into pagan cultures.
  303. Yes, Stephanie, I see you smiling there.
  304. (Stephanie) They would honor the Sabbath.
  305. (Jason) They would honor the Sabbath.
    Yes, Adison.
  306. (Adison) They would be faithful
  307. in their tithes and offerings.
  308. (Jason) They'd be faithful
  309. in their tithes and offerings, all right.
  310. (Gladys) They will respect
    the seventh year,
  311. which will be when the land
  312. cannot be worked on,
  313. and they had to forgive all debts.
  314. They will respect that.
  315. (Jason) All right, so we have
  316. all these different activities,
  317. and they sound very positive.
  318. They're very good promises.
  319. Now, I want to ask what are your thoughts
  320. on these promises when you hear them
  321. because they sound positive,
  322. they sound beneficial.
  323. Jonathan, you've got
  324. a certain facial expression.
  325. You've got some thoughts on this here.
  326. (Jonathan) It reminds me
  327. of when God comes down on Mount Sinai
  328. and gives the Law,
  329. and all the people are overwhelmed,
  330. and they say, "Oh, all these things
  331. that God says, we will do."
  332. So I don't know if it's
  333. quite the same spirit,
  334. that maybe it sounds like, a bit,
  335. but it sounds like it could be
  336. a little bit of self-confidence,
  337. maybe not recognition of just how prone
  338. we are to go astray.
  339. (Jason) So maybe some self-confidence.
  340. Kenneth, and then I want to ask,
  341. kind of push back a little bit
  342. for the sake of discussion here
  343. because these are legitimate issues,
  344. and these are legitimate problems
  345. that they've dealt with.
  346. And so I want to hear from Kenneth,
  347. and then I also want to hear,
  348. what do we think about this tension
  349. between dealing with legitimate issues
  350. and responding to them
  351. in the manner that glorifies God.
  352. So, Kenneth, yes.
  353. (Kenneth) I think from our previous study
  354. where they made all the sacrifices to God,
  355. you'd be convinced that, okay,
  356. these people are really going to do it.
  357. But with their track record,
  358. just as Jonathan said,
  359. we don't know whether they are
  360. able to keep their side of the bargain
  361. or if they are going to fall back
  362. and off of what they are promising.
  363. (Jason) So they don't know
    that they're able,
  364. so what's the problem here?
  365. Why are they not able? Nicole?
  366. (Nicole) As Jonathan even said,
  367. it starts with, "We, we, we, will...
    We will."
  368. There's not a, "Lord, help us to...,"
  369. "Lord, lead us to where we need to go."
  370. It's all, "We're going to do something,"
  371. And so I think when we believe
    that our own strength
  372. can take us through,
  373. we fail, just really simple, we fail.
  374. (Jason) So is it fair to say
  375. that maybe backsliding can begin
  376. with good intentions about good activities
  377. but from a heart...? Yes, Derek.
  378. (Derek) A story from the New Testament,
  379. Jason, flashed into my mind.
  380. "Even if everybody else denies you,
  381. I wont," that's Peter, you know.
  382. And he's got good intentions,
  383. but he's in a very dangerous place.
  384. And you don't even have to turn
  385. the page in my Bible,
  386. and he's saying, "I don't even know
    who He is."
  387. So I think...the Lord has said,
  388. "You're at risk," and he says, "No,
  389. even if everyone else does it, I won't."
  390. I think that the challenge here
  391. is that all of us are
  392. capable of backsliding,
  393. and we have to say, "God,
  394. I need You to hold me close to You,"
  395. you know, "My commitment
  396. is just this, that I'm not going
  397. to resist You at all."
  398. (Jason) Amen. Now, there are
  399. some principles that Jesus referenced.
  400. I think of Matthew 22.
  401. Stephanie, I'd actually like you
  402. to read that for us
  403. because I think referencing
  404. what Jesus has said
  405. and going to the Gospels
  406. might be helpful to get our minds
  407. focused on how we can
  408. avoid backsliding ourselves.
  409. So, Stephanie, if you could read for us
  410. Matthew, chapter 22, verses 37 through 39.
  411. What are some principles here,
  412. so that we can avoid going down this path?
  413. (Stephanie) And I'll be reading
  414. from the King James Version:
  415. (Jason) All right, so we see here
  416. we've got these two, kind of, focuses,
  417. loving God, loving our neighbor.
  418. So, what do you see here, Gladys?
  419. (Gladys) The focus is God first.
  420. The more that we focus on God,
  421. everything else, like we said
  422. in previous studies,
  423. it would look different.
  424. So our focus must be God.
  425. And then when we focus with God,
  426. we can help other people around us.
  427. (Jason) All right. Jonathan.
  428. (Jonathan) I was just going to say
  429. that loving God
  430. and being faithful to God
  431. is something that is placed
    beyond our reach.
  432. It is a gift of God itself.
  433. It is not something that we have.
  434. Therefore, we have to ask Him
    for faithfulness,
  435. ask Him for the capacity
  436. to make us capable of loving Him.
  437. (Jason) Travis.
  438. (Travis) I would just like to say,
  439. it's listed in here, "Love God
  440. with all your heart, all your soul
  441. and all your mind."
  442. That's the prerequisite
  443. to loving our neighbor as ourselves.
  444. It's the prerequisite to living
    a holy life
  445. and keeping the promises of God.
  446. If we have that connection,
  447. it's only then that we are capable.
  448. (Jason) Now, let's...Oh, Derek, you
    wanted to share something...
  449. (Derek) I was just thinking, Jesus says
  450. everything else hangs on that.
  451. So, you know, if I'm just,
  452. "My focus is I want to be
  453. so connected with God
  454. that I love Him with all my heart,
  455. and let His love flow
  456. through me to everyone,"
  457. I think that God would say,
  458. "Everything else is going to be okay,"
  459. when you've got those two
    clear commandments,
  460. Jesus says "the two great commandments."
  461. (Jason) Amen. Jonathan.
  462. (Jonathan) Sometimes we get
    tired very quickly
  463. of trying to be faithful,
  464. of trying to love, either partners,
    brothers and on.
  465. This is because we try it by ourselves,
  466. and we should always ask God to help us.
  467. We aren't always able to love.
  468. (Jason) And now let's get into the story,
  469. and I'm going to ask Gladys
  470. if you could read for us
  471. Nehemiah, chapter 13, verses 4 and 5.
  472. We're going to see
  473. a specific situation that happens,
  474. and we're going to see some problems
  475. that gives some evidence of backsliding.
  476. And let's kind of look at what's going on
  477. and what's happening here in the story.
  478. (Gladys) I'm reading
  479. from the New International Version,
  480. Nehemiah, chapter 13, verses 4 and 5:
  481. (Jason) Now, does anything
    stand out to you,
  482. anything kind of startling,
  483. when you read this? Jonathan?
  484. (Jonathan) If you look back earlier,
  485. Tobiah is kind of this foreigner.
  486. He's like an Ammonite, I guess, a ruler,
  487. and he was against the Jews,
  488. against them rebuilding the temple,
  489. against, I think, rebuilding the wall.
  490. And now he's related to this priest,
  491. and because of that...
  492. How he's related is a curious question.
  493. And now he has a spot in the temple,
  494. I'm like, "Uh, what?"
  495. (Jason) There are some big problems
    going on here.
  496. Backsliding has taken
  497. a whole new level almost. Yes, Kenneth.
  498. (Kenneth) For me, the irony is
  499. there is reform, the temple is cleansed,
  500. and then you give another place
  501. for this same people
  502. for which you established a reform.
  503. So it's like, "You didn't do
  504. what you started initially.
  505. You just went back to zero."
  506. (Jason) Travis.
  507. (Travis) Well, it says that they
  508. were allied together,
  509. and it's quite possible,
  510. and it's been suggested,
  511. that their children were intermarried,
  512. so already breaking some of the promises
  513. that had been made.
  514. And so they have, you know,
  515. "Well, my daughter, your son,
  516. I guess we're all family now."
  517. And all of a sudden...
  518. It astounds me that all of a sudden
  519. it directly affects the temple
  520. and the storehouse right away, so quickly.
  521. (Jason) And Travis alluded to that,
    where is Tobiah?
  522. Is he just kind of hanging out,
    outside the walls,
  523. kind of watching things? Yes, Stephanie.
  524. (Stephanie) They've actually moved
    God's furniture
  525. and brought his furniture in.
  526. And we know from chapter 6
  527. that Tobiah and Sanballat were enemies,
  528. so the idea of them
  529. completely replacing God's...for enemies,
  530. it just baffles my mind.
  531. (Jason) So Travis alluded to it,
  532. but what do you think is going on here?
  533. Why is this all happening
  534. behind the scenes? Yes, Derek.
  535. (Derek) I was thinking of a man
  536. who drifted away from God.
  537. And I just remembered His words
  538. as we're reading this.
  539. He said, "I did things
  540. I never thought I would do."
  541. One step led to another.
  542. If you had told this individual, Eliashib,
  543. that he would move
  544. God's things out of the way
  545. and put a hostile Ammonite official
  546. in the house of God,
  547. he would have said,
  548. "Absolutely impossible."
  549. But you get intermarriage
  550. between children and children;
  551. you get different things happening,
  552. like with Solomon.
  553. And I'm hearing this man's
    testimony to me,
  554. that when you start slipping,
  555. you will end up doing things
  556. you never thought you would do.
  557. That's what happened here.
  558. (Jason) So I just want to ask,
  559. and feel free, no one has to,
  560. but has anyone experienced this
  561. in their own life?
  562. Have you ever, you know, been in a way,
  563. you thought, you know,
  564. you started out strong,
  565. you made some good promises to God,
  566. but then, little by little,
  567. maybe you started slipping.
  568. And the next thing you know,
  569. Tobiah was hanging out in your room.
  570. Someone is laughing; is anyone
  571. comfortable enough to share
  572. maybe where they had been
  573. in that situation? Nicole?
  574. (Nicole) I've shared this before,
  575. but I was baptized when I was 9 years old
    into this church,
  576. and so I was gung-ho.
  577. I was a Pathfinder; I did everything
  578. at the church that I was supposed to do.
  579. I got to college and thought, "Wow,
  580. the world is so much bigger
  581. than the church that I left."
  582. And I found myself
  583. slowly but gently compromising
  584. and doing things that I never thought
  585. I would do, in college.
  586. And it took the death of my mom
  587. for me to realize that if I didn't
  588. change my ways sooner than later,
  589. I would not be able to see her again.
  590. And so, literally, at her funeral,
  591. I was like, "Wow, I really messed
    this thing up,"
  592. and God just slowly reeled me back in.
  593. But, yeah, it's a real thing out there;
    it's a real thing.
  594. (Jason) Now you said at the end there,
  595. "God slowly reeled you back in,"
  596. so the unfailing...Yes, some good news,
  597. the unfailing, immeasurable love of God
    reeling you in,
  598. Even when you've backslidden,
  599. God can still be there.
  600. Now, let's look further in the story,
  601. and I'd like to ask Evelyn
  602. if you could read for us
  603. Nehemiah, chapter 13, verses 6 and 7,
  604. because, after all, this is
  605. the book of Nehemiah,
  606. and so, what's Nehemiah doing
    during this time?
  607. Why is he allowing
  608. all these bad things to happen?
  609. Why isn't he there to stop them?
    Yes, Evelyn.
  610. (Evelyn) I will be reading
  611. from the New Living Translation:
  612. (Jason) All right, so, what did
  613. those verses tell us?
  614. What is the situation
  615. going on there, Jason?
  616. (Jason) Nehemiah, he wasn't there.
  617. (Jason) He wasn't there.
  618. So, why isn't he there?
  619. Did he just decide
  620. he needed to go on a long trip?
  621. He just, you know, needed to take care
  622. of his own personal affairs in Babylon?
  623. Or are there other things going on?
    Yes, Jonathan.
  624. (Jonathan) Hadn't he originally
  625. asked leave of the king?
  626. And so now he's invested himself
  627. here in Jerusalem,
  628. but he technically needs to go back.
  629. And so it seems like he goes back,
  630. and after talking to the king,
  631. like, everybody realizes that he
  632. should probably stay in Jerusalem,
  633. but he has to go back, at least.
  634. (Jason) Nicole.
  635. (Nicole) Maybe, I don't
    remember the story,
  636. but didn't he promise
  637. when he left the king
  638. that he would return
  639. when he finished his duties?
  640. So he was only keeping his word
  641. in terms of returning back home,
  642. which is something that we all
  643. need to learn to do, is keep our word.
  644. (Jason) So, he's keeping his word.
    Yes, Gladys.
  645. (Gladys) He's the cupbearer.
  646. So, like Nicole said, he gave his word.
  647. The king asked him before he left,
  648. "When are you going to return?"
  649. So he had to fulfill his word.
  650. (Jason) So he's fulfilling his word,
  651. he's back there in Babylon,
  652. and then during this time,
  653. all these problems begin to emerge.
  654. So, it's possible...Yes, Jonathan.
  655. (Jonathan) I just want to say
  656. that I want to highlight the importance
  657. of the presence of a godly leader,
  658. the importance of the presence
    of a godly leader.
  659. And also the fact that we,
  660. even without man's supervision,
  661. should be faithful to God,
  662. remain faithful to God.
  663. Sometimes it happens
  664. that if there is a faithful pastor,
  665. then the church remains faithful.
  666. If there is a pastor
  667. that compromises with the world,
  668. then the church compromises.
  669. So we should individually be faithful.
  670. (Derek) What I like about Nehemiah,
  671. because they're absolutely right,
  672. he kept his word to go back, but his heart
  673. was still there in Jerusalem.
  674. It was much more comfortable
  675. for him to stay with the king,
  676. but he's basically keeping his word,
  677. but his plan is, as soon as possible,
  678. he'll be able to go back.
  679. I think what's more important
  680. is how he responds when he gets back,
  681. which means that he's not
  682. just kind of washed his hands,
  683. "Okay, I'm done with that assignment."
  684. His heart is really committed
  685. to what God wants to happen
  686. there in Jerusalem.
  687. (Jason) And on that note, Adison,
  688. let's read what happens when he gets back
  689. because we've seen in verse 7
  690. he came to Jerusalem; he sees this.
  691. But now he's got a certain response,
  692. and so, if you could read for us, Adison,
  693. Nehemiah, chapter 13, verses 8 and 9,
  694. let's see, what is Nehemiah's response
  695. now that he has returned
  696. and sees the situation.
  697. (Adison) And I'm reading
  698. from the King James Version:
  699. (Jason) All right. So, there are
  700. quite a few different activities
    that happen here,
  701. but I want us to kind of look at them
  702. in order if you can.
  703. What's the first thing he does?
  704. Does he jump right in,
  705. and, you know, attack Tobiah?
  706. Is his first response one of attack,
  707. or what is the first thing it says
  708. right in the very beginning
  709. that he does, Stephanie?
  710. (Stephanie) It grieved him.
    He was in pain...
  711. (Derek) He's mourning.
  712. (Stephanie) ...because of it, yes.
  713. (Jason) So there is some
    personal reflection,
  714. there is some kind of emotional response.
  715. There is a sort of, you could almost say,
  716. even an individual focus
  717. before he goes out and does any kind
    of attack. Yes, Travis.
  718. (Travis) I would like to just say
  719. that it probably didn't take him
  720. too long to make that decision
  721. because he was a God-fearing man,
  722. and he knew...I mean, he was there
  723. when they made the promises and pledges.
  724. He knew this wasn't supposed to be.
  725. So, while I think he was grieved,
  726. it didn't take him long
  727. to say, "This doesn't belong."
  728. (Jason) Yes, Kenneth.
  729. (Kenneth) Also, I can sense from the fact
  730. that it says it grieved him bitterly.
  731. He wasn't just grieving about it;
  732. somehow he was praying about it
  733. and asking God what to do.
  734. (Jason) Jonathan?
  735. (Jonathan) It just makes me wonder
  736. how many other people saw this
  737. and maybe were disturbed by it
  738. but didn't stand up and say,
  739. "No, this is not right," and, "Let me
  740. talk to others...," and, yeah.
  741. (Jason) Yes, Jason.
  742. (Jason) As we were reading this,
  743. it dawned on me that this was a foreshadow
  744. of what Jesus did in the temple, you know,
  745. dealing with the "den of thieves."
  746. Just that it is in that context
    of that grieving,
  747. just wasn't abruptly being angry
    for no reason.
  748. I mean, he literally saw
  749. this ungodliness taking place,
  750. and he acted upon that
  751. because the Spirit of God was in him,
  752. and he expressed it in such a way.
  753. (Jason) So he expressed it in such a way.
  754. How did he express it?
  755. What does Nehemiah actually do, Evelyn?
  756. (Evelyn) It seems that his first concern
  757. is to make sure the temple is cleansed.
  758. So, he's like, "Okay, we need
  759. to get Tobiah's things out of here
  760. and clean this place up."
  761. (Jason) Get these things out
  762. and clean this place up. Yes, Jonathan.
  763. (Jonathan) And I'm just thinking,
  764. I like to think and imagine.
  765. To make reformation, it takes boldness.
  766. It takes courage, a sanctified courage.
  767. So he had to go against people's desires
  768. and things like that...
  769. And also, when there is a radical problem,
  770. we also should take radical actions.
  771. (Derek) Yeah, it definitely,
  772. like Jason said, this is like Jesus.
  773. When they saw Jesus cleanse the temple,
  774. it says they remembered,
  775. "Zeal for Your house has eaten me up."
  776. I mean, I think Travis is right,
  777. I don't think it took him
  778. a whole lot of time.
  779. He was bitterly grieving over it,
  780. and he said, "These things
  781. are going out of here."
  782. It almost seems a little later,
  783. I mean, some of his actions,
  784. like he's a little bit wild.
  785. And yet, as was said, you know,
  786. why didn't anybody else do anything?
  787. I mean, this is the pagan official
  788. who was opposed to the things of God
  789. throughout the whole story,
  790. living in the temple!
  791. Nehemiah's willing to take
  792. whatever consequences will come.
  793. (Jason) Now, in verse 9,
  794. what is the last portion
  795. that he does there at the end?
  796. We see that he grieves, he takes action
  797. and kicks Tobiah's stuff out,
  798. he cleanses, and then what else
    does he do? Yes, Kenneth.
  799. (Kenneth) He brought back
    all the articles of God.
  800. (Jason) He brought them back.
  801. He begins the process of restoration.
  802. And in a way, if you think about it,
  803. this, kind of, is also...You can see this
  804. in one's personal spiritual life.
  805. First of all...Nicole's referenced
    her story before,
  806. there is grieving, then there's an action.
  807. You have to get rid of certain things.
  808. (Nicole) Friends.
  809. (Jason) Friends in her case, yes.
  810. There's cleansing, and then little
  811. by little...Yes, Gladys.
  812. (Gladys) Restoration.
  813. (Jason) Restoration, you have
  814. to put back in. Yes, Jonathan.
  815. (Jonathan) I was thinking
  816. if maybe there might have been
    something like...
  817. They'd just built this temple,
  818. and they had some of the furniture
  819. but they didn't have maybe all...
  820. It wasn't, maybe, as fancy as...
  821. So, maybe it was simple, and, you know,
  822. maybe, "That room could be
  823. better used," or something,
  824. and it makes me think, like, sometimes
  825. the temptation in life
  826. is to take other things
  827. that seem like they're
  828. better than the simplicity
  829. of God's Word and His ways.
  830. Like, God's Word and His ways
  831. aren't quite as fancy,
  832. aren't quite as well dressed
    as everything else,
  833. so it's tempting to put it
  834. in our little rooms
  835. rather than to trust
  836. in maybe the simple things
  837. and let God make them beautiful.
  838. (Jason) That's a very good point.
  839. And so let's also look
  840. at another problem that happened.
  841. Malaina, if you could read for us
  842. Nehemiah, chapter 13, verse 10,
  843. we're finding out additional problems
    that take place
  844. in this process of backsliding.
  845. (Malaina) I'll be reading
  846. from the New King James Version:
  847. (Jason) So, why is this
  848. a problem, Nicole - what's going on?
  849. Who cares about the Levites
  850. and in the field and all of that?
  851. What's going on here?
  852. (Nicole) Remember, we read
    about the promise,
  853. that they were not going
  854. to neglect the house of God.
  855. And there was a whole, kind of, campaign
  856. to make sure that they had
  857. the right people come back
  858. to make sure the temple
  859. was operating properly.
  860. And then they've neglected the priests.
  861. So now, who's doing the spiritual guidance
  862. for this whole community?
  863. No one, so they're all losing their focus
  864. because there's no one there to provide
  865. any spiritual leadership for them.
  866. (Jason) They're losing their focus.
    Yes, Gladys.
  867. (Gladys) We also have to remember
  868. that the Levites lived
  869. out of what was brought to the temple.
  870. They didn't have a field of their own.
  871. They didn't have an inheritance, per se.
  872. So, what they had was
  873. what the people gave.
  874. So if they didn't give anything,
  875. they had to go and do something else
  876. to make sure that their families
    would not starve.
  877. (Jason) Yes, Kenneth.
  878. (Kenneth) And I feel like the people
  879. also reacted to the poor leadership
  880. of the priests' leadership,
  881. and that is why they refused,
  882. instead of doing something about it,
  883. So their response was to cause
  884. other innocent people to suffer
  885. because of one man's decision
  886. to bring the enemy into the house of God.
  887. (Jason) And this is
  888. kind of the pattern of backsliding.
  889. Step by step, the leaders, the people,
  890. eventually it becomes this process
    that we recognize,
  891. whether it happens on the individual level
  892. like Nicole referenced,
  893. or whether it happens
  894. with the whole community
    as we've seen here.
  895. So now Nehemiah, we saw
  896. what he did with Tobiah,
  897. but apparently he has to do something
  898. a little more with the community.
  899. And so I'd like to ask Travis
  900. if you could read for us
  901. Nehemiah, chapter 13,
  902. verses 11 through 13.
  903. Let's see what else does Nehemiah do.
  904. How does he address this situation?
  905. (Travis) And I'll be reading
  906. from the New King James Version:
  907. (Jason) All right, so, there are
  908. some things that go on here.
  909. And, first of all, before we get
    into specifics,
  910. I just kind of want to ask,
  911. what is Nehemiah's
  912. sort of general impression
    and feeling here?
  913. Does he kind of enter soft and gentle,
  914. and with this colloquial "Kumbaya"
    kind of expression?
  915. We're all laughing because...
  916. Nicole, yes, how does Nehemiah
    handle this?
  917. (Nicole) He's like, "What have you done?"
  918. Literally he's like, "What have you done
    to God's temple?"
  919. And he comes in, and he says,
    righteously he says,
  920. "We've got to fix this; we've got
    to make this right
  921. because we are representing God
    here on Earth.
  922. So he comes in with righteous indignation,
    we call it,
  923. and says, "No, you can't do this."
  924. (Jason) "No, you can't do this."
  925. And it's interesting, the New King James,
  926. the version I have,
  927. it says he "contended with them."
  928. And so...Yes, Derek.
  929. (Derek) Someone said to me, one time,
  930. "Be more concerned about what God thinks
  931. than what people think."
  932. And it's clear to him
  933. that this needs to be addressed.
  934. And there probably are some people
  935. whispering in the background
  936. saying, "Who does he think he is?"
  937. But he's not preoccupied
  938. with what they think or say
  939. but what God has told him to do,
  940. and he addresses it courageously.
  941. (Jason) Now, I want to ask,
  942. this idea of contending,
  943. because the word contending
  944. means to argue, debate, fight.
  945. And we kind of have this idea
  946. sometimes in the church
  947. that good Christians, they don't contend.
  948. They're just nice, peaceful,
    and all of that.
  949. So I'd like to ask some people
    on the team,
  950. what would you say to someone
  951. who says, "Good Christians don't contend,
  952. don't fight, don't cause problems"?
  953. Kenneth, you kind of have
  954. a questionable expression there?
  955. (Kenneth) I would say,
  956. even when we are contending
  957. we do it in the Spirit of Christ.
  958. (Derek, Team) Yes.
  959. (Kenneth) We don't do it like the way
    the world would do it.
  960. We do it thinking that, yes,
  961. we may not understand everything,
  962. but there are some core things
  963. that we can all understand.
  964. For instance, we all love
  965. to seek the souls of men
  966. into the Kingdom of Heaven.
  967. That one we can't negotiate
  968. because that is what God gave us.
  969. But as to the carpets
  970. of the church or the pews,
  971. we can have some different preferences,
  972. but in all, we should treat
  973. each other with love
  974. so that it doesn't go
  975. beyond what we are supposed to do.
  976. (Jason) Jonathan.
  977. (Jonathan) I was thinking of a quote
    from an author that I appreciate
  978. that says, "When Christ spoke
  979. His words of condemnation,
  980. He spoke them with tears in His voice."
  981. And I think that before you
    say some things,
  982. you have to make sure that you're
  983. coming with the same heart of compassion
  984. and making sure it's coming
    from the right place
  985. because there are so many things
  986. in our hearts that are
  987. not necessarily the right grounding
  988. as a starting point.
  989. (Jason) Travis.
  990. (Travis) We related this
  991. to the cleansing of the temple
  992. when Jesus chased out the money changers
  993. and nobody stopped Him
  994. because they recognized His authority.
  995. I think there was a certain recognition
  996. of Nehemiah's authority here
  997. because it doesn't say
  998. that people got in his way
  999. and tried to stop him.
  1000. He set them in their place.
  1001. He appointed people here;
  1002. he appointed people there,
  1003. and he got everything
  1004. pointed back in the right direction.
  1005. So he came with a recognized authority.
  1006. (Derek) That's such an important point,
  1007. and the love of God
  1008. in our hearts is so important.
  1009. John the Baptist confronted evil, too,
  1010. but it says some people even wondered
  1011. if he was the Christ.
  1012. I mean, he was so reflecting
  1013. the love of God and the character of God.
  1014. And I think there are some people
  1015. who love to come in
  1016. and just criticize everyone,
  1017. and they think that's
  1018. their mission in life,
  1019. when our mission is actually to reflect
  1020. the immeasurable, unfailing love of God,
  1021. which may mean, in love,
  1022. with tears in our eyes,
  1023. confronting a person who's
  1024. doing something destructive.
  1025. But they're not going to have any question
  1026. about our motive or where our heart is.
  1027. By God's grace, we've earned
    that, what, "right"?
  1028. That's what Jesus earned,
  1029. John the Baptist earned.
  1030. Nehemiah had earned the right,
  1031. by the way he lived,
  1032. to confront that evil.
  1033. (Jason) Now, one way that you can also see
  1034. whether your contending
  1035. is from a spirit of God
  1036. is the reaction, the effect that happens.
  1037. And so, what do we see here?
  1038. What is the effect
  1039. of Nehemiah's sort of battle
    with the leaders?
  1040. What ends up coming out of this?
    Yes, Gladys.
  1041. (Gladys) It seems that everything
  1042. began to be back in place.
  1043. You know, the Levites returned,
  1044. the tithes were brought back.
  1045. So everything started to go
  1046. in the way that God intended it to go.
  1047. (Jason) And what happens here?
  1048. There's some kind
  1049. of organizational reference that's made,
  1050. some kind of situations.
  1051. So, Travis, tell me,
  1052. what goes on here in this situation?
  1053. How does the organizational process
    take place?
  1054. (Travis) Well, first off, the Levites
  1055. had nothing to live on.
  1056. So, when they were sent back,
  1057. and the temple service is set back up,
  1058. then he begins to set things
    back in place,
  1059. the sacrificial services and that,
  1060. and then establishes the Sabbath
  1061. with the congregation.
  1062. (Derek) And then, I think
  1063. what you're looking for,
  1064. in verse 13, he sets up treasurers.
  1065. He says, "Let's get this organized,"
  1066. because who knows, whether, in addition
  1067. to Tobiah living in the temple,
  1068. they weren't siphoning off some things
  1069. that were coming in.
  1070. "So, let's have godly people
  1071. who will monitor this,
  1072. so that the people that are
  1073. supposed to get these offerings and gifts
  1074. actually receive them."
  1075. (Jason) Jonathan, and then we'll
    have to move to the prayer.
  1076. (Jonathan) It just struck me
    how a lot of the things
  1077. that were backsliding
  1078. were actually organizational procedure.
  1079. I mean, it was given by God
  1080. and was having real effects,
  1081. but it was like they weren't doing this.
  1082. And so it makes me think
  1083. that organizational procedure
  1084. can be important, and grounded well
    is important.
  1085. (Jason) So God is a God of order,
  1086. and organization can be part of His plan.
  1087. All right, and so I'd like to ask Jason
  1088. if you could read for us
  1089. Nehemiah, chapter 13, verse 14.
  1090. Nehemiah, it's actually recorded,
  1091. that he has a little bit of a prayer here.
  1092. So read the prayer, and then I want
  1093. to hear some thoughts on that.
  1094. (Jason) My pleasure, and I'm reading
  1095. from the New King James Version,
  1096. and the Bible says:
  1097. (Jason) All right, so, what are
  1098. your thoughts, Gladys, on that prayer?
  1099. I see you had some kind
    of expression there.
  1100. (Gladys) He wants to make sure
  1101. that he's faithful to God's house,
  1102. and that was one of the things
  1103. that he established before.
  1104. He wanted God's house to be a priority
  1105. in the lives of his people
  1106. and just be restored...
  1107. He said, "Please remember me
    because I did this."
  1108. (Jason) Kenneth.
  1109. (Kenneth) To summarize, I see
  1110. that as a prayer of dedication
    of these leaders
  1111. so that in a way, God
  1112. will also remember them,
  1113. while he's crying out to God,
  1114. and they will also hear the prayer
  1115. that God wants them to do something,
  1116. and they shouldn't allow this good deed
  1117. that they are trying to do
  1118. in the house of God to go away.
  1119. So it's a prayer, it's a charge,
  1120. and it's also a dedication.
  1121. (Jason) Travis.
  1122. (Travis) I would like to suggest
  1123. that this prayer isn't even about him
  1124. asking for a blessing at all on himself
  1125. but rather on the temple service
  1126. and the things, the restoration,
  1127. because, "Lord, I've been faithful to You;
  1128. answer my prayer that this
  1129. will continue," you know,
  1130. "that the things I've set in place,
  1131. that they will work."
  1132. (Derek) So I'm reading four times
  1133. in his letter that he says, "Remember me,"
  1134. three times in chapter 13,
  1135. "Remember me, O my God,
  1136. concerning this also,"
  1137. "Remember me, O my God, for good."
  1138. And I'm a little uncomfortable with it.
  1139. I am, and that just tells me again
  1140. that God uses imperfect people.
  1141. You know, it's like telling
  1142. the king of Persia, "Remember me
  1143. when you're doing the distributions."
  1144. I'd like to read it all
  1145. as totally wonderful,
  1146. and write a careful description
  1147. of why this is what Jesus would have said.
  1148. But I, kind of, you know,
  1149. "Chalk this up, Lord, remember me,"
  1150. So, I may be wrong, but I do know
  1151. from reading the Scripture,
  1152. Peter is a great example,
  1153. that God called an imperfect person
  1154. to help lead His church.
  1155. (Jason) That's true.
  1156. (Derek) And Nehemiah, I would dare say,
  1157. was not perfect either,
  1158. and I'm just wondering why three times
  1159. in one chapter he's saying,
  1160. "Remember me, God."
  1161. (Jason) We definitely know
    he was imperfect.
  1162. One thing, though, that he did well
  1163. was restore, and with some of the reforms.
  1164. And so I'd like to ask Stephanie,
  1165. if you could read for us
  1166. Nehemiah, chapter 13, verses 15 and 16.
  1167. We have more problems,
  1168. more backsliding that's gone on.
  1169. And so let's see what this backsliding
    is now, here.
  1170. (Stephanie) And I'll be reading
  1171. from the King James Version:
  1172. (Jason) So what's going on here, Gladys?
  1173. (Gladys) Yes, the same thing
  1174. that they promised before,
  1175. that they will keep the Sabbath,
  1176. that they would not buy on the Sabbath.
  1177. That's the same thing
  1178. that they were doing.
  1179. People were actually pressing the wine,
  1180. and they were bringing loaves
  1181. and selling them in Jerusalem,
    in the holy city.
  1182. (Jason) On Sabbath. Yes, Kenneth.
  1183. (Kenneth) I'm beginning to see
  1184. that perhaps because they've
    been in captivity,
  1185. after they came back,
  1186. they needed a lot of instruction
  1187. to be in accordance with God.
  1188. And probably something that I
  1189. would have suggested for Nehemiah to do
  1190. was to read the law,
  1191. the book of the law, to them,
  1192. so that they would know the ways of God.
  1193. Because now it's like, from one thing,
  1194. they do this, and then he takes action.
  1195. But probably if there had been some time
  1196. for him to instruct them
  1197. just like some of the kings did.
  1198. After they found the book of the law,
  1199. they instructed the people,
  1200. then the people started following
    the reforms.
  1201. But now it's like they do this,
  1202. then they go overboard.
  1203. And then he responds to it.
  1204. So that's what I'm sensing
  1205. from the Scripture reading.
  1206. (Jason) Well, if we know
  1207. one thing about Nehemiah,
  1208. he is going to respond.
  1209. And he is going to...
  1210. (Derek) Do something.
  1211. (Jason) Do something.
  1212. So, Kenneth, can you read for us
  1213. Nehemiah, chapter 13,
  1214. verses 17 through 22,
  1215. and let's see here,
  1216. how does Nehemiah deal with this issue.
  1217. (Kenneth) I'll be reading
  1218. from the New King James Version,
  1219. Nehemiah 13:17-22:
  1220. (Jason) All right, there is a lot there.
    Yes, Jonathan.
  1221. (Jonathan) So maybe we should have people
  1222. outside the church making sure
  1223. everyone's keeping the law
  1224. and Sabbath just right?
  1225. Shutting the door if they...I don't know.
  1226. It brings up lots of questions.
  1227. It's like, "Okay, what is the principle,
  1228. and what are the right ways?"
  1229. (Jason) It brings up lots of questions.
  1230. Stephanie, what are your thoughts
  1231. as you read this and as you
  1232. see the situation unfolding?
  1233. (Stephanie) I was just thinking,
  1234. if I had been one of those people
  1235. that was at the door on Sabbath,
  1236. and he talked to me like that,
  1237. I wouldn't have come back either,
  1238. just being honest about it.
  1239. But I think, like Jonathan's saying,
  1240. there is a balance, right?
  1241. But apparently he needed
  1242. to make a very clear reform
  1243. to let them know, "This is
    not acceptable."
  1244. And actually in Nehemiah,
  1245. earlier in Nehemiah,
  1246. Ezra did speak to them from the law,
  1247. and they did understand
  1248. the Word of God, so...
  1249. (Jason) Derek.
  1250. (Derek) I'm so thankful that Jesus came,
  1251. because, even though there's
  1252. this strict enforcement,
  1253. which they've obviously slipped away
  1254. from remembering the Sabbath
  1255. and not doing their will
  1256. or their work on His holy day,
  1257. the Sabbath was meant to be a blessing
  1258. not just a time to not do things.
  1259. And so you see Jesus coming,
  1260. and He's not saying, "If you do that,
  1261. I'm going to lay hands on you."
  1262. That's what Nehemiah said, right?
  1263. Jesus is saying, "Folks,
  1264. you need to understand,
  1265. the Sabbath was made for man,
  1266. not man for the Sabbath.
  1267. By the way, it's good
  1268. to do good on the Sabbath."
  1269. So He's restoring the beauty,
  1270. and I'm just so glad He came.
  1271. And, again, I know that God
    used Nehemiah,
  1272. and we do need to guard
  1273. what we do on the Sabbath.
  1274. But we also need to say,
  1275. "Okay, that's what we shouldn't do.
  1276. What should we do?"
  1277. And the answer is,
  1278. we focus on our relationship
  1279. with God who loves us
  1280. and has set aside this special time.
  1281. So Jesus really comes,
  1282. I guess you would say, as a radical...
  1283. (Stephanie) Reformer.
  1284. (Derek) Reformer, yeah,
  1285. and a restorer of what God
    really intended.
  1286. (Jason) And you quoted there,
  1287. Mark 2:27 and 28, about the Sabbath
  1288. being made for man,
  1289. giving us some practical principles
  1290. to help us understand
  1291. the purpose of the Sabbath.
  1292. Even if men, well intentioned
    or otherwise,
  1293. Nehemiah may have had a little bit,
  1294. not quite fully divine,
  1295. you could say in some ways, understanding.
    Yes, Jonathan,
  1296. (Jonathan) I guess I feel like I'm torn,
  1297. because on one hand I'm like,
  1298. "Man, that's really tough."
  1299. But is it fair, do we go too far,
  1300. if we look at somebody and say,
  1301. "Oh, because their actions
  1302. seem too strong for us,
  1303. that they're not Christlike,
  1304. or they're not following God.
  1305. I mean, it was Christ who gave...
  1306. We had it on here, like,
  1307. someone would stone this person
  1308. if they cooked over a fire.
  1309. So Christ Himself gave to Moses
  1310. some very strong things,
  1311. including on the Sabbath.
  1312. So it seems like there is a place
  1313. for strong boundary-making.
  1314. Now, should we be
  1315. very cautious about that,
  1316. and I think on both sides
  1317. there's caution that should be made
    about judging.
  1318. (Jason) Travis, you want to try
    to help us?
  1319. (Travis) I think we're being a little hard
    on Nehemiah; I do.
  1320. He's not the Sanhedrin
  1321. or the Jewish leaders
  1322. in Jesus' day, condemning everybody.
  1323. The Jews understood very clearly
  1324. in Deuteronomy the Sabbath commandment,
  1325. "Keep the Sabbath because I am
  1326. the Lord your God who brought you
  1327. out of the land of Egypt," out of bondage.
  1328. It was a memorial that God
  1329. has freed us from slavery.
  1330. And He was just now doing
  1331. the exact same thing again,
  1332. bringing them out of Babylon,
    out of bondage.
  1333. And I think he's just, like, pleading,
  1334. like, "This is a memorial for us
  1335. to remember that God
  1336. has just redeemed us.
  1337. He took us out of Babylon.
  1338. He's restored the temple.
  1339. He's restored Jerusalem."
  1340. Like, "Please!" you know?
  1341. This is how I picture it.
  1342. (Jason) Nicole.
  1343. (Nicole) I'm not going to be mean
    to Nehemiah.
  1344. What I do want to say, though,
  1345. is that we can fall in the same trap
  1346. of believing that we are doing
  1347. what's best for what we see around us
  1348. and not really being led by the Spirit.
  1349. So I just want us to be cautious,
  1350. that we are seeking the Lord
  1351. whenever we want to talk
  1352. about what someone's doing
  1353. that we don't think is right
  1354. because that's where it comes
  1355. from a spirit of love.
  1356. And whether or not this came
  1357. from a spirit of love I don't know
    because I wasn't there.
  1358. Reading the words, it seems kind of harsh.
  1359. But if it comes from a spirit of love,
  1360. and God is leading him in this direction,
  1361. then we have nothing to say about what did
    or did not happen (just my two cents).
  1362. (Jason) And we just have to trust
    that God is working.
  1363. And whether He's working
  1364. through Nehemiah's imperfections
  1365. or Nehemiah's strong zeal,
  1366. guided by the Holy Spirit,
  1367. either way, God is still working;
  1368. God is still moving.
  1369. I want to look very quickly
  1370. at one little story
  1371. from the life of Jesus.
  1372. Jonathan, if you could read for us
  1373. Mark, chapter 3, verses 1 through 6,
  1374. I just want to look real quickly here
  1375. at this little story
  1376. and how it may give us some lessons
  1377. for the way to deal with the Sabbath
  1378. and how Jesus dealt with the Sabbath.
  1379. Mark, chapter 3, verses 1 through 6.
  1380. (Jonathan) All right, I will be reading
  1381. from the New International Version:
  1382. (Jason) Very quickly, what are
    some principles we see here
  1383. about how Jesus dealt
  1384. with the issue of the Sabbath?
    Yes, Kenneth.
  1385. (Kenneth) The first principle
  1386. is that He makes sure He places
  1387. how God wants man to relate
  1388. to each other and to Him
  1389. on the Sabbath day.
  1390. (Jason) Yes, Stephanie.
  1391. (Stephanie) He did good on the Sabbath.
  1392. (Jason) Do good on the Sabbath. Jason.
  1393. (Jason) It's about life, preserving life,
    rather than killing.
  1394. (Jason) About preserving life
    rather than killing.
  1395. (Derek) I just think that Jesus knew
  1396. that they would react
  1397. in a very hostile way.
  1398. But the truth about the character of God,
  1399. that the Sabbath was a time
  1400. of healing and blessing,
  1401. was more important
  1402. than the hostility of His enemies.
  1403. He just had to tell the truth about God.
  1404. (Jason) Amen. And I want to challenge you.
  1405. Maybe you've made some choices in life,
  1406. maybe you've backslidden
  1407. as we've referenced here.
  1408. Whether it's in keeping Sabbath
  1409. or giving tithe and offerings,
  1410. whatever you've done,
  1411. I want to challenge you
  1412. that, maybe as you read through the story,
  1413. ask the Holy Spirit to guide you
  1414. and ask Him to show you
  1415. how you can return to God's love.
  1416. We've read here about His
  1417. unfailing, immeasurable love,
  1418. and just let God change you
  1419. and return you, restore you,
  1420. back to how He created us to be.
  1421. (Derek) Thanks so much.
  1422. Well, we've all been challenged.
  1423. You know, the truth of the matter is,
  1424. it's easy to look at other people,
  1425. but we've all slipped away in some ways.
  1426. But instead of seeing God
    chasing after us,
  1427. to see Him reaching out in love
  1428. to draw us to Himself,
  1429. that is a picture that can
    change your heart.
  1430. Let's pray; our Father in Heaven,
  1431. thank You so much for the truth revealed
  1432. in the life of Jesus.
  1433. Sometimes we see truth
  1434. in the Old Testament,
  1435. but we don't see a full revelation
    of Your character.
  1436. I'm so thankful that Jesus came
  1437. to be the full revelation
    of Your character.
  1438. Jesus said, "If you've seen Me,
  1439. you've seen the Father."
  1440. And, Lord God, wherever we've
    slipped away,
  1441. as Jason has said, may we hear
  1442. Your loving call to come back
  1443. into a life-transforming relationship
    with You.
  1444. We thank You that You're
  1445. longing and waiting,
  1446. and we thank You that You will welcome us.
  1447. In the name of Jesus. Amen.
  1448. (Team) Amen.
  1449. (Derek) If you've been blessed today
  1450. as we've studied the Word of God,
  1451. we'd love to hear from you.
  1452. Write to us at
  1453. We're all on a journey, aren't we?
  1454. And it's a journey towards a God
    who loves us
  1455. with an immeasurable and unfailing love.
  1456. Go out and share that good news
  1457. with those around you.
  1458. ♪ theme music ♪