Nehemiah 10: “The Covenant with  God”
Nehemiah 10: “The Covenant with God”

Ryan Fregoso • May 23, 2019

At the end of chapter 9, we read this: “because of all this we make a firm covenant in writing; on the sealed document are the names of our princes, our Levites, and our priests” (9:38). Then, we see that through the first 27 verses of this chapter we see the names of all those who signed the covenant, beginning with Nehemiah. Following Nehemiah were the signatures of the priests, the Levites and the chiefs, about 84 people in all. In verse 29, we read that they would be accursed if they didn’t follow the covenant. There were also additional terms laid out to close this chapter. Everything from observing the commandments, to not giving their daughters to intermarriage, to Sabbath rules, to tithing. All of this were inspired by and taken from the Law that we saw read by Ezra in chapter 8. Again, we see a great picture of worship and response. We must remember that worship is an active practice. Faith is active, so in turn we must be active in our worship of the Lord. 


#jesus #biblestudy

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"Dabbling" in sin

Pat Damiani • May 22, 2019

I think that most disciples of Jesus understand that it is not possible for a genuine disciple to live a lifestyle of sin once we have committed our lives to Jesus. But because we still have our old sin nature in this life, we are often tempted to think that we can occasionally get away with "dabbling" in sin.


Paul addresses that idea in Romans 6 and he meticulously shows us why that is just not possible. Rather than give you an exposition of the chapter today, I'm just going to share with you a story I used when I preached on this chapter that I think demonstrates quite accurately Paul's argument in that chapter.


There was a teenager who was explaining to his father why he should be allowed to go see a movie at the theater. That particular movie had all of his favorite actors and it was “only” rated PG-13 because it merely suggested sex, but never really showed it. And the language wasn’t too bad – they only used the Lord’s name in vain three times. And there was only the usual violence – you know the kind where a building with a bunch of people in it gets blown up and a few people are killed with guns.


A little later that evening, the father asked his son if he would like some of the special brownies he had prepared. He explained that he had taken the favorite family recipe and added one new ingredient. When his son asked what that new ingredient was his father calmly responded “dog poop”. He went on to explain that there was only a little bit of dog poop in the brownies, but that all of the other ingredients were the same quality ingredients he always used.


Not surprisingly the son wanted nothing to do with those brownies and I think he got the message. So every time thereafter that his son asked to do something that he shouldn’t, the father merely asked him if he would like a special brownie.


All of us will occasionally lapse into sin because as long as we live on this earth we still have our sin nature. And when that happens, if we confess those sins, God will forgive us (1 John 1:9). But we certainly don't ever want to fall into the trap of thinking that we can intentionally "dabble" in sin and be OK with Jesus.


#dabble #sin #

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Nehemiah 9: “The People Worship”
Nehemiah 9: “The People Worship”

Ryan Fregoso • May 22, 2019

This is another great chapter, we see in verse 2, the people, after hearing the Word recognize their sins and the sins of their fathers. They confessed this before man and God. Then, they continued their worship service for another quarter of the day in the Word and another quarter of the day in confession. Think about this. About half of the day, they worshiped the Lord, listening to His Word and responding in worship and confession. Isn’t it true that we have a hard time committing 1 hour, 45 minutes, or 30 minutes to a sermon every week (some studies say that a “regular” church attends 2-3 times a week)? I’ve seen some people fall asleep during the service. Or jump on their games or social media on their cell phones during the service. The attention span of the church today is very short, and it’s reflected in how some churches “do church”. This chapter should give them and us conviction in that we see the impact the Word has on the people of Israel, yet we have a hard time staying engaged for a couple hours once a week. This chapter also reveals what they learned. As they confessed, they retold God’s merciful story of the promise to Abraham all the way through the Exodus. They focused on the goodness of the Lord here, and recognized their sins and the sins of their fathers. We must approach the Word of God and worship more seriously. Do we get excited about the Word? Do we look at going to church as a burden or a blessing? Is reading the Bible everyday easy because we look forward to it, or difficult because we’re not interested? Is prayer something that only happens in your life when you want or need, or is it an everyday occurrence out of love for your Lord? These are important questions that I hope we all spend some time in. 


#jesus #biblestudy

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Nehemiah 8: “Ezra Reads the Law”
Nehemiah 8: “Ezra Reads the Law”

Ryan Fregoso • May 22, 2019

We see here one of the great chapters of the Bible. We see that all of the people gathered together. Why did they gather together? To listen to the Word of God. They had Ezra, and expert scribe, stand before all of the people and read the Law. If that wasn’t enough, they sent out the Levites among the people to help them to understand. We also see here that they stood when he read, and bowed down when he prayed. What a fantastic picture we have of worship and the reading of the Word. Not only was the emphasis on the Word, but it was held reverently. The difference maker here was the explanation by the Levites. These people likely hadn’t heard or read the Word at all or at least for awhile, so understanding it is key. This chapter reminds me of Romans 10, where Paul says that we must hear the Word of God, and in doing so, confess that He is Lord. Understanding the Word of God should also produce change in our lives. Next, we see that this very special day was consecrated as a holy day. It was a very special day, and we should look at the formal time in the Word the same way. Finally, in response to this time of worship, they celebrated and observed the Feast of Booths (also known as the Feast of Tabernacles), which “was all about remembering how God had blessed and provided for Israel in the wilderness during the Exodus. They could see God’s blessing and provision for them right then, and it made something old seem brand new to them.” What a great chapter, I pray that it encourages you to approach the Scriptures like they did. 


#jesus #biblestudy

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Enemies of God
Enemies of God

Pat Damiani • May 21, 2019

One of the ideas that seems to get more and more traction in our culture is the idea that God is love and that therefore He loves everyone equally and that all are His children. But that is not the picture that the Bible paints and that is particularly true in today's reading in Romans 5. Note what Paul writes in verse 10:


For if while we were enemies we were reconciled to God by the death of his Son, much more, now that we are reconciled, shall we be saved by his life.


While in English the word "if" seems to indicate that it might be possible that we were not enemies of God, in the underlying Greek, the grammar indicates that Paul assumes this to be a true statement. So we could almost translate that word "since". The point Paul is making in this section is that at one time all of us were enemies of God and subject to His wrath. The apostle Paul captured this same idea in one of his other letters:


And you were dead in the trespasses and sins in which you once walked, following the course of this world, following the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that is now at work in the sons of disobedience—among whom we all once lived in the passions of our flesh, carrying out the desires of the body and the mind, and were by nature children of wrath, like the rest of mankind.

(Ephesians 2:1-3 ESV)


So the bad news is that in our flesh, we are all enemies of God and that because God is just, as well as love, we would all be subject to that wrath had Jesus not intervened on our behalf. The good news, which we see in the second part of verse 10, is that we were reconciled to God and saved from that wrath by the death of Jesus on our behalf. But that grace is only available to those who humble themselves and put their faith in Jesus rather than trying to earn favor with God based on their own "good" works.


Are you still an enemy of God, or have you become His child as a result of your faith in Jesus?


#enemyofGod #wrath #grace #reconciled



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