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Sunday, January 31, 2021

Nehemiah: Fitting into the Larger Story

 This morning in our studies, we’ll need to take a step back. Every now and then it helps to take a moment to look around a bit. Hebrews 2:1 warns us: “Therefore we must pay much closer attention to what we have heard, lest we drift away from it.” Hebrews will return to this idea in Hebrews 10:23 with the encouragement “Let us hold fast the confession of our hope without wavering, for he who promised is faithful.” Here and elsewhere in the Bible, the metaphor of drifting away has to do with ships at sea that, if not careful, could drift or wander off course and not end up at the destination they had hoped for.

Every now and then, we need to take a step back and evaluate our course, look at our destination, and look back at how far we’ve come before we can know if we are still making progress. Without these points of reference, and without making necessary changes, we could end up very far from where we had planned. These points of reference are made plain for us in Scripture: God has blessed us, chose us, and destined us to be His holy children and to do His will (Eph 1:3-6). Through Christ His Son He blessed us with the knowledge of His plan of redemption (Eph 1:7-11) “so that we, who were the first to set our hope on Christ, might live for the praise of his glory.” (Eph 1:12).

Every now and then, we need to ask if we are living for His glory, or our glory. We need to ask if the course we are on will lead others to His glory or will lead them to destruction. We need to ask what kind of influence we have, and who it is we are influencing. Does our life reflect the glory of Christ? Do we seek after personal gain and glory, or do we seek the riches of the Kingdom of God?

Paul writes this payer in Ephesians 1:17, “I pray that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, may give you a spirit of wisdom and revelation as you come to know him.” We need the kind of wisdom that comes from our heavenly Father so that we can know not just where He is leading us in long-term, but all along the way we need to be asking ourselves: “What are we doing to stay on course?”

Thankfully, we have certain signs we can see along the way to check our course. In Matthew 7:15-20, Jesus tells us we can look at the fruit we are producing in our lives to know if we are truly one of His. In Colossians 3:16, Paul tells us we have the word of Christ we can use to both teach and admonish one another. In 1 Peter 1:6-8, Peter tells us that the trials of life will help refine our faith, strengthening us on our way home. Thankfully, we can take a step back every now and then and change course.

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