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How to have a Biblical Worship Gathering (that Leads to Revival!)

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This Sunday, millions of people will gather in homes and churches all around the world to worship God on the Lord's Day. Those that can will meet in large groups to meet with God. 

Ezra, in Nehemiah 8, displays a good model for what should happen in these moments. Although there is freedom in our worship and in elements of worship, the following are things we should never displace in our gatherings.

1. We should GATHER

"And all the people gathered as one man at the square which was in front of the Water Gate" (8:1)

2. We should PREPARE FOR WORSHIP

Ezra the scribe stood at a wooden podium which they had made for the purpose. And beside him stood Mattithiah, Shema, Anaiah, Uriah, Hilkiah, and Maaseiah on his right hand; and Pedaiah, Mishael, Malchijah, Hashum, Hashbaddanah, Zechariah and Meshullam on his left hand. (8:2)

3. We should listen to GODLY TEACHERS

"... and they asked Ezra the scribe to bring the book of the law of Moses which the Lord had given to Israel ... Ezra the scribe stood at a wooden podium which they had made for the purpose ... Ezra opened the book in the sight of all the people for he was standing above all the people ... they read from the book, from the law of God, translating to give the sense so that they understood the reading." (8:1-8)

4. We should READ THE WORD

"He read from it before the square which was in front of the Water Gate from early morning until midday, in the presence of men and women, those who could understand." (8:3)

5. We should HONOR and BE ATTENTIVE to GOD’S WORD

"Ezra opened the book ... and all the people stood up ...and all the people were attentive to the book of the law." (8:3,5)

6. We should PRAY

"Then Ezra blessed the Lord the great God, and all the people answered "Amen, Amen!" while lifting up their hands" (8:6)

7. We should WORSHIP GOD TOGETHER

"Then Ezra blessed the Lord the great God. And all the people answered, "Amen, Amen!" while lifting up their hands; then they bowed low and worshiped he Lord with their faces to the ground." (8:6-7)

8. We should GIVE

" (Nehemiah) said to them, "Go, eat of the fat, drink of the sweet, and send portions to him who has nothing prepared. (8:10)

9. We should RESPOND

"Then he said to them, "Go ... All the people went away to eat, to drink to send portions and to celebrate a great festival, because they understood the words which had been made known to them." (8:12)

10. We should set aside SPECIAL SEASONS OF EXTENDED WORSHIP

"The entire assembly of those who had returned from the captivity made booths and lived in them. The sons of Israel had indeed not done so from the days of Joshua the son of Nun to that day. And there was great rejoicing. He read from the book of the law of God daily, from the first day to the last day. And they celebrated the feast seven days, and on the eighth day there was a solemn assembly according to the ordinance." (8:17-18)

11. We should CELEBRATE!

"and (Nehemiah) ... said to all the people, "This day is holy to the Lord your God; do not mourn or weep ... Do not be grieved for the joy of the Lord is your strength" (8:9-10)

"And there was great rejoicing ... and they celebrated the feast seven days, and on the eighth day there was a solemn assembly according to the ordinance." (8:17d-18)

The end result of this return to worship? Read Chapter 9 of Nehemiah and you will hear of one of the greatest revivals in human history as an entire nation returned to God. The people confessed their sins, sang and worshiped, and made a covenant to return to the Lord together.

I wonder if we would give attention and full response to God in worship if we would not see the same?

 

 

 

 

in Prayer

Do You Really Want to Change a Nation?

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One of the greatest accomplishments in all of human history occurred through Nehemiah and the rebuilding of the wall of Jerusalem in 52 days. Nehemiah was a slave who was in bondage in a foreign land. But, He was connected through prayer to the God who made and controls the universe.

All that occurred could not have been dreamed, but it happened because Nehemiah was a man to whom prayer was a first response, not a last resort. Notice the consistency of his prayer.

1. He prayed when he was burdened

(Nehemiah 1:4) When I heard these words, I sat down and wept and mourned for days; and I was fasting and praying before the God of heaven.

2. He prayed when the sins of the people were overwhelming

(Nehemiah 1:7-9) “We have acted very corruptly against You and have not kept the commandments, nor the statutes, nor the ordinances which You commanded Your servant Moses. Remember the word which You commanded Your servant Moses, saying, ‘If you are unfaithful I will scatter you among the peoples; but if you return to Me and keep My commandments and do them, though those of you who have been scattered were in the most remote part of the heavens, I will gather them from there and will bring them to the place where I have chosen to cause My name to dwell.’

3. He prayed when he had an overwhelming task to do

(Nehemiah 1:11) “O Lord, I beseech You, may Your ear be attentive to the prayer of Your servant and the prayer of Your servants who delight to revere Your name, and make Your servant successful today and grant him compassion before this man.” Now I was the cupbearer to the king.

4. He prayed right in the middle of hard conversations

(Nehemiah 2:4) Then the king said to me, “What would you request?” So I prayed to the God of heaven.

5. He prayed when he had a physical, financial need that was impossible

(Nehemiah 2:4,8) So I prayed to the God of heaven … And the king granted them to me because the good hand of my God was on me.

6. He prayed when he had opposition to the work from visible enemies

(Nehemiah 4:4-6, 8-9) Hear, O our God, how we are despised! Return their reproach on their own heads and give them up for plunder in a land of captivity. Do not forgive their iniquity and let not their sin be blotted out before You, for they have demoralized the builders. So we built the wall and the whole wall was joined together to half its height, for the people had a mind to work … All of them conspired together to come and fight against Jerusalem and to cause a disturbance in it. But we prayed to our God, and because of them we set up a guard against them day and night.

7. He prayed when He was in the midst of a personally overwhelming task

(Nehemiah 5:19) Remember me, O my God, for good, according to all that I have done for this people.

8. He prayed when he was being falsely accused by his enemies and was weak and discouraged

(Nehemiah 6:9) For all of them were trying to frighten us, thinking, “They will become discouraged with the work and it will not be done.” But now, O God, strengthen my hands.

9. He prayed when he was frightened by his enemies

(Nehemiah 7:4) Remember, O my God, Tobiah and Sanballat according to these works of theirs, and also Noadiah the prophetess and the rest of the prophets who were trying to frighten me.

10. He prayed with others when God had accomplished the work and given victory and they came to consecrate themselves and make a fresh covenant with God

 (Nehemiah 9:1-3) Now on the twenty-fourth day of this month the sons of Israel assembled with fasting, in sackcloth and with dirt upon them. The descendants of Israel separated themselves from all foreigners and stood and confessed their sins and the iniquities of their fathers. While they stood in their place, they read from the book of the law of the Lord their God for a fourth of the day; and for another fourth they confessed and worshiped the Lord their God

11. He prayed when he found the people slipping back into sin

(Nehemiah 13:14) Remember me for this, O my God, and do not blot out my loyal deeds which I have performed for the house of my God and its services. 

12. He prayed when he had to confront his people for their backsliding

(Nehemiah 13:29) Remember them, O my God, because they have defiled the priesthood and the covenant of the priesthood and the Levites. 

You may not think that such fervent prayer is important. But then, you also may not be the one who was used by God to bring about one of the greatest nationwide revivals in human history. But, you can be. 

Apparently, Nehemiah believed prayer, not position, was the key to change a nation and it became his natural response in every circumstance. Through prayer, this humble slave brought God into the equation of his nation’s horrible condition. 

And so must we.

Posted by Bill Elliff

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