“The rest of the people, priests, the Levites, the gatekeepers, the singers, and the temple servants, and all who have separated themselves from the peoples of the lands to the law of God. Their wives, their sons, their daughters, all who have knowledge and understanding. Join with their brothers, their nobles, and enter into a curse and an ode to walk in God’s law that was given by Moses the servant of God, and to observe and do all the commandments of the Lord our Lord, and his rules and his statutes.”
– Nehemiah 10:28–29
So the picture here in Nehemiah 10 is a covenant among the people of God. They’re basically saying all of us: all the people, priests, Levites, gatekeepers, singers, temple servants, everybody. Men, women, sons, daughters, everybody’s got knowledge and understanding. Now, we are entering into this covenant together that we have been separated. We are a people who belong to God.
We obey the law of God and we will observe the commandments of God, his rules, his statutes, and it’s this picture of a community of faith that really forms the foundation, in the Old Testament, for the picture that God’s designed for the church in the new testament. What does it mean for us to be a part of a local church? It means that we have covenant together with other brothers and sisters in Christ to follow his law, to obey his commands, to be his people, to glorify his name. We are apart by God, by his grace, to be his people, to live as his people. And we don’t ever need to underestimate the importance of this kind of community.
Nehemiah 10:28–29 Calls Christians to Join Together
Christians are called to join together for growth in Christ and for the advancement of His gospel to the ends of the earth.
Sometimes I hear people talk about, “I love Jesus. I wanna follow Jesus. But I’m really not a part of a church, or I’m really not committed to a local church”. And that’s really not God’s design for us. We are all, every follower of Christ is intended to be a part of a church. We are a meaningful member of, that we have covenant together with other brothers and sisters to glorify Christ together.To obey his word, to follow his rules and statutes, to hold one another accountable in those ways. To spur one another on in those ways, to love one another, serve one another, care for another. All the one-anothers that we see in Scripture. That’s the picture of community that we see here in Nehemiah 10:28–29 that God has designed for every single one of our lives.
This Verse Emphasizes Becoming a Church Member
So I just wanna encourage you to think about, one, if you’re not a part, a member of a church where you’ve covenanted together with other brothers and sisters to glorify God together. Let me encourage you to be a part of that, to be a meaningful member of community like that. You might think, “I just haven’t found the perfect church”. Well the reality is, there is no perfect church. And if there was one, it wouldn’t be perfect as soon as you joined it.
You would make it imperfect. So the reality is, yes, there is no perfect church, but to be a part of a body of brothers and sisters in Christ who are saying, “We wanna follow his Word together. Albeit imperfectly, but we’re gonna spur one another on to follow his Word and glorify his name in the world”. Let me encourage you to be a part of that church.
Nehemiah 10:28–29 Encourages Us to Be Active in the Church
And if you are a part of a church, I wanna encourage you to consider, how can I be just a more meaningful member? How can I encourage in more ways the brothers and sisters I’m coming together with in the church to follow the commands of God? And in the process, be encouraged to follow the commands in God in my own life?
God, we pray, we pray for our churches. I pray for people who may not have a church home. A group of brothers and sisters that they’ve covenanted together to follow you with, alongside. I pray that you would lead, guide, and direct them to a biblical church. To a church that is apart, one that focuses on your word together. And that as we are in churches like that, we pray that you would be glorified in our community with one another. Help us, we pray, to follow your word.
May our churches proclaim your word. God, we pray for pastors who proclaim your Word. We pray that you would silence pastors who are not proclaiming your Word. We pray that your Word would be proclaimed, taught, heard, listened to, learned, and obeyed in the church. God, we pray that you would be honored in God-centered, Word-saturated community like we see here in Nehemiah 10. May that be a reality for each of us. We pray, in a way that brings glory to your name and in a way that we trust will be good for all of us. In Jesus’ name we pray, amen.