Pastor Randy’s Top 66 – Nehemiah
“We will not neglect the house of our God.” Nehemiah 10:39
The children of Israel have been allowed to return from their Babylonian/Persian captivity and rebuild Jerusalem. In Ezra they rebuilt the Temple; in Nehemiah they rebuilt the walls around Jerusalem. When they were finished all the people rejoiced and committed themselves to the Lord, to His worship, and to His service. This verse (it’s actually the last sentence of a longer thirty-ninth verse) concludes a long covenant promise made by the leaders and people, which is the entire tenth chapter.
This verse “We will not neglect the house of our God” is often used, or should I say ‘misused’ by pastors who want to get their parishioners to paint the church and pull weeds in the flowerbeds. Although there is some relevance to that, we must remember that the Temple in the Old Testament – the House where God ‘lived’ on earth – is a shadow of the True Temple in the New Covenant – which is the Church Universal (not a church building) – the body of Christ – as well as our own physical body. So, if “we are to not neglect the House of our God”, that would mean that we have to care for all Christians, no matter what their denomination. If they preach ‘Christ and Christ crucified’; if they believe that salvation is through faith in Jesus Christ by the grace of God; then they are a part of the ‘house of God’ and we should not neglect them. Of course, this would include your local church. As a matter of fact, that’s where ‘charity’ begins – in your local church, which means that we need to be caring for our brothers and sisters in our local church first and foremost.
But we also read in 1 Corinthians 6:19, “Do you not know that your bodies are temples of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you have received from God? You are not your own; you were bought with a price. Therefore glorify God with your body.” This tells us that since Christ lives ‘within the believer’ then we should not neglect ‘His House’, our bodies. So to the best of our ability we are to care for our bodies, and be careful what we are putting into it, and do what we can to keep it in shape as a testimony of God’s grace within us.
And yes of course, if your church building needs a new coat of paint, or new carpet, or the weeds pulled, or to hire additional ministerial staff, then ‘we are not to neglect the House of our God’ in this manner as well.
Oh, one more point: If you call yourself a Christian; if you have come to a saving faith in Jesus Christ by trusting your life in what Christ did on the cross and through His resurrection, rather than trusting in our good works, and you are NOT in a local body of believers, then – I have to be honest – something’s not right. All believers – all followers of Christ – all sinners who have been spiritually transformed and repurposed by God’s saving grace – ought to be actively involved in a local congregation where they can worship the Lord with others; hear the Word of God taught; regularly celebrate the sacraments of the Lord’s Supper and baptism; give to the care of God’s kingdom on earth; pray with and for one another; fellowship with other believers; encourage each other in the faith; and become equipped for works of service. As the writer of Hebrews 10:25 reminds us, “And let us not neglect our meeting together, as some people do, but encourage one another, especially now that the day of his return is drawing near.”