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Building Investments That Last

February 29, 2016 Leave a comment

We are working through the book of Nehemiah this month with an eye towards the idea of “A time to build”. Of course, we want to build the church and we want to do so to the glory of God. Nehemiah wanted to rebuild the home of the Hebrews, the city of Jerusalem. To do this, the people made four vows, or promises, that they put in writing and sealed it. Putting a seal on a document is a serious matter because it meant taking a solemn oath before the Lord. Those who agreed to this covenant are listed in Nehemiah 10:1-27.

The law governing oaths and vows is found in Numbers 30:2: “When a man makes a vow to the Lord or takes an oath to obligate himself by a pledge, he must not break his word but must do everything he said.” That leads to a question. Are vows of any use today? I think they are for at least two reasons. First, they help us focus. When you make a vow, you are saying that you are going to do something specific. Second, vows allow us to express our love. That’s why couples make vows during a marriage ceremony. Love is more than just a feeling, it’s a commitment or promise to be married until death do us part. Third, God is a covenant-keeping God, even when we don’t keep our end of the deal. You may have made some promises to God in the past that you haven’t kept. You may have broken some vows. If you have, you’re not alone. Jeremiah 31:32 says that God’s people broke the covenant on a regular basis.

So let’s consider making a few vows to build (or re-build) First Baptist Church of Palos Verdes. Remember, however, we don’t succeed as Christians because we make promises to God, but because we believe the promises of God and act upon them. Having said that, many of us never come to the point of getting serious with God simply because we never get specific with Him. We hear sermons and sense the Spirit’s tug at our heart, but until we decide to be completely committed to Him, we won’t be. Perhaps the idea of re-building the church has challenged or convicted you before the Lord. Listen to Him and decide to put into practice what you know you need to do. Here are a few things we can vow to do for God’s church:

  • Vow #1: Submission to God’s Word – As a result of hearing God’s Word, the Israelites made four decisions. The “bound themselves with an oath to follow the law” (Nehemiah 10:29) The people were saying that they are so seriously submitted to God and His Word that they are willing for God’s displeasure to fall on them if they do not carefully obey what He says. I wonder if we have that same submission and dangerous devotion today? Does God have all of you?
  • Vow #2: Separation from the World – After submitting themselves to God and His Word, the believers make a second vow to separate themselves from worldliness. When you think about it, separation is simply total devotion to God, no matter what the cost. The Israelites separated from the peoples around them and to God and His Word.
  • Vow #3: Sabbath for God’s People – After pledging themselves to submit to the Word of God and to live separated lives, the believers renew the covenant with a third vow: the Sabbath for God’s people. This was a day to be dedicated to the Lord. Do we make that commitment? Does anything else take precedence on your Sunday?
  • Vow #4: Support For God’s Work -That leads to their fourth pledge: support for God’s work in verses 10:32-39. The phrase “house of our God” is used nine times in this section and refers to the restored temple. Verse 39 sums up their commitment: “We will not neglect the house of our God.”

To God be the glory!

Pastor Rich

 

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