Scripture Read: Nehemiah 10
Title: Israel is Set Apart
(H) Highlight verse: "The rest of the people, the priests, the Levites, the gatekeepers, the singers, the temple servants, and all who have separated themselves from the peoples of the lands to the Law of God, their wives, thier sons, their daughters, all who have knowledge and understanding, join with their brothers, their nobles, and enter a curse and an oath to walk 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 statues." Nehemiah 10:28 - 29
(E) Explain: After the Israelites confessed and repented of their sins they made an oath to God that they would get back to observing and doing all the Law of God commanded. In Chapter 10 we read about the specific details of their oath. The people of Israel separated themselves from all other peoples and nations and dedicated themselves to the Law of God. The specifics of their oath cover everything from not giving their daughters to foreigners to Sabbath observance to sacrificial rituals and more. The key words in this passage are set apart. The Israelites separated themselves from all other nations because they were a unique people and a people set apart by God to live fully for Him.
(A) Application: God has called us to be set apart people. We are called to live our lives set apart from the world and it's influences. Now, this can be taken the wrong way so I want to clarify what living a set apart life means and looks like. To begin, I would like to determine what being set apart does not look like. It does not mean we shelter ourselves from the world and not engage in our cultures and communities. I believe it means just the opposite. We are called to live in the world, we are called to engage our communities, and we are called to go out into the world and share the Good News of the Gospel. But the way we, as Christians, live looks ry vedifferent from everyone else. When we engage in communities we are engaging them with a Kingdom mindset. What we do for our communities promotes the work and words of Jesus Christ. When we live in the world, we live as unto Jesus Christ. We model our lives, actions and words around Christ. We do not let the world influence the way we live, but we live as to influence the world and promote the Kingdom of God. When we go out into the world we share a message of redemption and hope found only in Jesus Christ. Our message is not self-focused it is Christ-focused.
So as we live in this world it is important for us to be separate from the influences of a godless society, we are to be set apart from a culture that focuses on self, and we need to proclaim a message that true hope, joy and peace can and is found in Jesus Christ. May we go out into the world and make an impact for the Kingdom and be an influence to a world that desparately needs hope and redemption.
(R) Respond: Lord, may I live my life set apart for you, but in my separation from the world may I engage my community, my loved ones and my neighbors for the glory of the Kingdom of God.
Jeff has been in ministry for well over two decades. He currently serves as Campus Pastor at West Bradenton Baptist Southside Campus in Bradenton, Florida.
Jeff Has authored an Advent Devotional (The Advent of Jesus) and a devotional on the book of James (James: Where Faith and Life Meet). Both are available on Amazon.
He is married to Carrie and they have four children, Micaiah, Gabe, Simon, and Berea.
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