Opening Prayer Thoughts
Praise and confession.
- Humbly praise God for the privilege and blessing of being part of a community which strives to worship Him in spirit and in truth. One where His Word is held in high esteem and is the sole basis of worship.
- Confess the lack of asking God to work through His Word each Lord's day as it is preached, Ephesians 6:19.
Doctrine for the Mind and Heart.
Westminster Shorter Catechism, Question 46 – What is required in the first commandment?
Answer – The first commandment requires us to know and acknowledge God to be the only true God and our God; and to worship and glorify him accordingly.
This is taken from https://matt2819.com/wsc where you will find proof texts.
Comment – There are different ways to 'know' someone. You can know them as an acquaintance, as a colleague, or as a friend. God requires us to know Him better than we know anyone or anything else, for we’re to worship Him and no one else.
Verse to memorise.
It is a privilege to lay into our hearts and minds the light and truth of God's Word.
Deuteronomy 31:8. "It is the Lord who goes before you. He will be with you; he will not leave you or forsake you. Do not fear or be dismayed.”
Pray and ask for the Holy Spirit's help as you read God's Word.
Please read Nehemiah 10:31-39.
Notes previously prepared by Rev. Dr. Tim Donachie, with slight amendments.
Ch 10:31-34 – Giving.
There is one area of the life of the Christian where he often feels that nobody else has the authority to enquire into or make demands on, and that is the area of his finances! It is extremely significant that the covenant made by Nehemiah dealt very robustly with this often difficult and sensitive issue. The Bible is not shy in addressing the issue of how the child of God should use his finances, and there are several principles that are important to bear in mind:
1. Everything we have belongs to God – Psalm 50:10 tells us that the ‘cattle on a thousand hills belong to the Lord’. He is the creator and sustainer of all things that are in the world, and we have nothing that He has not given us.
2. The people of God have a responsibility to maintain the ministry of the church, 1 Timothy 5:17,18. Right from the earliest days, there were people in Israel who were set aside from the normal duties of life, so that they could dedicate themselves to the service of God, and be supported by the rest of the covenant community.
3. To fail to provide for the organisation of the worship of the covenant people was seen as robbing God, Malachi 3:8-10. God, in his infinite mercy and grace, provided a system of sacrifices and ordinances for His people in the Old Testament by means of which the people could have access to God; and failure to maintain it, through lack of returning to the Lord what he commanded, was to rob Him. In the times of the New Testament, pastors and teachers were provided so that the gospel of free and sovereign grace could be proclaimed, and the people of God were built up and edified through the preaching of the Word, Ephesians 4:8-16. This is why it was so important that the aspect of giving was included in the terms of the covenant.
Ch 10:35-39 – The House of God.
What the people were committing themselves to was the implementation of what the law of God had laid down for the covenant people of God. This is fundamental, not just for the people in the time of Nehemiah, but for the people of God in every age and in every place. We cannot please God unless we are prepared to do what He tells us to do in our personal, working, and church life.
There is a verse at the end of the chapter that goes right to the heart of the covenant that the people were making with the Lord: ‘We will not neglect the house of our God’, verse 39. This does not simply mean with respect to providing for the sacrifices and for the maintenance of the priests and the Levites; it meant that they were willing to submit themselves to all that the law required of them. For Christian people today to say that they will not neglect the house of their God means:
a. To be in attendance at public worship, and enter wholeheartedly and enthusiastically into every aspect of that worship.
b. To invest in the ministry of God's Word by prayer and by giving not just of financial resources but also of time and talents.
c. To seek to live a holy life at home, at work, and in the community.
d. To diligently seek to understand more of what the Scriptures teach and, in dependence upon the work of the Holy Spirit, to put such knowledge into practice.
It should be the desire of every believer to so covenant with God that his life will be dedicated to do all that he can to bring honour and glory to God, by living in obedience to His Word and with a zealous desire to ‘not neglect the house of our God’.
Sing with joy in your heart to God.
Psalm 104A. Link to the words. Link to it being sung.
Thank God for the privilege of returning to Him a portion of all that He gives us, and so be reminded of the fact that all that we have comes to us from Him. Pray that God would ever keep us seeking after Him, and that we would never drift into the practice of neglecting His house.
Yours in Christ,
Rev. Dr. Andrew Quigley
Minister, Ottawa RPC