Are there areas in your house/life that could use some spring cleaning? In the last post, we talked about Faith, Friends, and Forgiveness. Today, we will continue through chapter 13 and look at a few other areas that may need some cleaning.
What hurts the church more than anything else is those who claim to be Christians but don’t live like Christians. Guys and girls who belly up to the bar, flirt with married people, etc. It is amazing what is tolerated in churches today. Can a person mess up? Of course. I am talking about lifestyle, a pattern and a history of this type of behavior.
In the last post, we talked about Tobiah having an office in the house of God. Tobiah, a man who opposed Nehemiah, the building program, and the church. As long as Nehemiah was there, this would not have been tolerated; however, Nehemiah left, and they said, “You know, Nehemiah was harsh and legalistic. We need to try to get along with people.” They broke their word on everything they promised. They went back to their old ways. In verse 23 we read that Jews had married unbelievers. If you let your children date and marry unbelievers, they will raise your grandkids not to love Jesus. I am warning you! They are on the other team.
Lost people are welcome to come to the church. Other religions are welcome. They are welcome to come, but they can’t teach, be on staff, or have an office! We must be careful to keep our families and our churches holy, set apart for Christ. We have to clean out what is not of Him!
Look at verses 9 and 10. Back in chapter 10, they made a pledge, and now in chapter 13 they forgot their pledge of support. Levites had to be let go. There was no tithe money to pay them. It is a spiritual indictment against the church when the man of God is not properly taken care of. The context is the Levites. The musicians. Always operate on the principle of generosity. Tip a little more. Round up not down. Give a little bonus. Give a little extra.
In verse 12, people brought the tithe. How much you give is not going to determine whether you make it to heaven, but it will determine what you are going to have once you get there! If a person is stingy and selfish and refuses to give proportionately a tithe as the Lord has prospered them, they are not walking in accordance to the example given over and over again in Scripture.
Verse 11 says, “So I contended with the rulers, and said, ‘Why is the house of God forsaken?’ And I gathered them together and set them in their place.” When I preached the book of Nehemiah last, I called the series, “If Walls Could Talk.” The wall they were building has a lot to say! If your church could talk, what would its walls say about you? You can love the church and not love Jesus, but you cannot love Jesus without loving His church! Some people have a sprinkling relationship with the church. They got a little water thrown on them as a baby, threw a little rice on the bride and groom at a wedding, or sprinkled a little dirt on the grave at the funeral.
Everyone needs to hear about Jesus and what He is doing in His church. Jesus is the cornerstone. Make sure your life, marriage, business, and church is built on Jesus! What changes do you need in your life? Is your house in order? Does your family, your finances, or your faithfulness need some spiritual spring cleaning?