Nehemiah 7

The Empty City

In 52 days the wall was completed and the gates were set in place but few people lived in the city. This is one area where the Church is wrongly influenced by the ways of the world.  People tend to elevate the pastor and church leaders putting them on a pedestal. This is dangerous. In this case, the only time the people are likely to go through the gates in the wall are on the feast days. The rest of the time they are content to live in the world. The same is true in the Church.

One day, just before Jesus and the disciples would go into Jerusalem to celebrate the Passover, Jesus was approached by the mother of James and John with a request. She wanted her sons to be seated on the right and left of Jesus when he receives His kingdom. He told her she had no idea what she was asking. Then he asked the boys if they were ready for what was ahead. Thinking as the world thinks they said yes. Jesus pointed out the difference between the way the world thinks and how things are done in the kingdom of God. Jesus observed that the other disciples were getting indignant with the two brothers so He said in Matthew 20:25&28, “… You know that the rulers of the Gentiles lord it over them, and their great men exercise authority over them. It is not so among you, but whoever wishes to become great among you shall be your servant, and whoever wishes to be first among you shall be your slave; just as the Son of Man did not come to be served , but to serve, and give His life a ransom for many.”

It is no accident that Paul, Timothy, James, Jude, and Peter are called bond servants of Christ Jesus, but they also call themselves apostles to the people they are ministering to.

A bond servant is one who is in a permanent servitude to another and he is altogether consumed with the will of the one he serves. The word “Apostle” means sent or messenger. The messenger communicates the will of the one he serves to the people he is sent to. So, in this case the messenger is serving those he is sent to but he is  bound as a servant to God. The servant is not the lord over the message or those to whom the message is sent. Those to whom the message is sent are not lords over the messenger. The messenger is a servant and is bound to his Lord.

Now, those to whom the message is sent, when they receive the message and give their life to the Lord, are also entering into servitude. Their will needs to be consumed with the Lord’s will. In our illustration of the city and its wall they need to move inside the wall to the city close to the Temple. It is no accident that when the tabernacle was set up in the wilderness that God instructed the Levites to camp around the perimeter of the tabernacle. The Tabernacle represented God on earth. The Levites were his servants and messengers and were camped in between the Tabernacle and where the people of Israel were camped.  The Levites as they served God, took from God what they received and gave it to the nation. They were in permanent service to the Lord serving the nation as they served the Lord.

Peter calls Christians a royal priesthood in 1 Peter 2:1-10. We as Priests serve the Lord. We have been bought with the precious blood of Christ. It only makes sense that we need to be close to our Lord and Master, receiving our instruction and direction from Him. This is why we need to truly understand what Paul meant when he said our body is the temple of the Holy Spirit.

How would you describe your relationship with the Lord? Which side of the wall are you on? Are you on the side the world influences, climbing the ladder trying to be someone and getting burned out in the process? Or are you on the inside bound to the Lord and getting your direction from Him?

Pastor Dave