Stephen Caswell © 2000
Moving Ahead /-- Charles Haddon Spurgeon/
Sailors would be loath to sail without using their log to test their pace and show their progress.
The wonder is that so many professing Christians navigate the sea of life, and are utterly careless whether they are making headway or drifting from their course.
Should we not all cast overboard our log?
*/There are various ways by which with readiness we may measure our progress:/* */our prayers, our labors, our patience, our faith, our communion with God, our humility,/* may all serve as logs by which to measure our sailing pace.
Nehemiah described a number of geographical locations.
He listed 10 gates that were repaired along with towers and important structures.
A healthy city needs gates for access and service.
Nehemiah's primary purpose was to document for posterity and the official records the names and accomplishments of the people who worked on the wall.
Without straining the text, however, we can glean from this chapter some spiritual illustrations to encourage us in our own personal lives and ministries.
The 10 gates mentioned in chapter 3 are equivalent to 10 important aspects of the Christian life.
/The Sheep Gate/
*Neh 3:1, 32* /Then Eliashib the high priest rose up with his brethren the priests and built the Sheep Gate; they consecrated it and hung its doors.
They built as far as the Tower of the Hundred, and consecrated it, then as far as the Tower of Hananel.
And between the upper room at the corner, as far as the Sheep Gate, the goldsmiths and the merchants made repairs./
This was the gate through which the animals were brought into the city, including the temple sacrifices.
These sacrifices were slain for the sins of the people.
The Scripture says that without the shedding of blood there can be no remission for sins.
The only way to God is through sacrifice.
This is the only gate of which it is recorded that it was */sanctified/*, that is, dedicated to God in a special way.
This gate reminds us of Jesus Christ.
*John 1:29* /The next day John saw Jesus coming toward him, and said, Behold!
The Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world!/
This is the gate through which every sinner must enter.
*John 10:9* /I am the door.
If anyone enters by Me, he will be saved, and will go in and out and find pasture./
There are not many paths to God, only one.
Jesus is the only way.
*Matthew 7:13-14* /Enter by the narrow gate; for wide is the gate and broad is the way that leads to destruction, and there are many who go in by it.
Because narrow is the gate and difficult is the way which leads to life, and there are few who find it.
/Every one that desires eternal life must humble themselves.
We must acknowledge our sin and trust in Jesus Christ the Lamb of God who died in our place.
Nothing is said about the gate’s */locks and bars/*, for the way is never closed to the lost sinner who wants to come to the Savior.
*John 6:37* /All that the Father gives Me will come to Me, and the one who comes to Me I will by no means cast out./
Nehemiah could have begun his record with any of the gates, but he chose to start and end the report with the Sheep Gate.
Jesus is the beginning and the ending.
*Revelation 1:8* /I am the Alpha and the Omega, the Beginning and the End, says the Lord, who is and who was and who is to come, the Almighty.
/Jesus is the author and finisher of our salvation.
Jesus Christ is the only one who can save us./
Have you come to Him for cleansing from sin? Have you entered in at the sheep gate?
Or are you trying to get in another way?
/Let me tell you on the authority of God's Word, /Jesus is the only way./ /Will you enter in through Him? /
The Fish Gate /
*Nehemiah 3:3* /Also the sons of Hassenaah built the Fish Gate; they laid its beams and hung its doors with its bolts and bars./
Merchants used this gate when they brought fish from the Mediterranean Sea, and there may have been a fish market near the gate.
This was a key entrance to the city.
This gate speaks of service for the people.
When Jesus called four of the disciples he told them that He would make them fishers of men.
*Matthew 4:18-20* /And Jesus, walking by the Sea of Galilee, saw two brothers, Simon called Peter, and Andrew his brother, casting a net into the sea; for they were fishermen.
Then He said to them, Follow Me, and I will make you fishers of men.
They immediately left their nets and followed Him.
/These verses show how Christ saves our soul to make us soul winners.
We are saved to serve!
God has freed us from sin to serve Him.
But be very careful to notice that this gate comes after the sheep gate.
Salvation must come before service.
We cannot save ourselves through service.
Good works are the fruit of salvation not the root of it.
*Ephesians 2:8-10* *says this:* /For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God, not of works, lest anyone should boast.
For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand that we should walk in them./
I trust no one here is trusting in good works to be saved.
Only God can save us.
God saves us that we might reach others.
He places us into His service!/ Have you entered the fish gate?
Are you serving your Lord?
Are you a fisher of men?
If not, why not, we are saved to serve?/
The Old Gate /
*Nehemiah 3:6* /Moreover Jehoiada the son of Paseah and Meshullam the son of Besodeiah repaired the Old Gate; they laid its beams and hung its doors, with its bolts and bars./
This gate is probably the Corner Gate located at the northwest corner of the city.
Some students identify this with the /Mishneh Gate/; the Hebrew word means second quarter or new quarter.
In Nehemiah’s day, the northwest section of the city was the mishneh or new quarter; and this gate led into it.
What a paradox: the old gate leads into the new quarter!*
Jeremiah 6:16* /Thus says the Lord: Stand in the ways and see, And ask for the old paths, where the good way is, And walk in it; Then you will find rest for your souls.
/People are always looking for something new, when what is needed is the old ways that work.
The illustration of walking is used in the Old and New Testaments to describe godly living.
God has always asked men to walk by faith in Him.
We read that Enoch and Noah walked with God.
God was pleased with them because of their lifestyle, their walk of faith.
We also read that /the just shall live by faith./
If we are to please God we must walk by faith in Him and obedience to His Word.
God has never changed the old paths.
It has always been faith and obedience.
*2 Corinthians 5:7* says: /For we walk by faith, not by sight/.
Faith in God and obedience to His Word.
The hymn says it well /trust and obey/.*
*Rest is given to those who walk this way.
If you long for rest in your soul then seek out the old path and walk in it.
/Have you entered in through the old gate?
Are you walking in the old paths?
Are you obeying the timeless truths of God's Word?
Are faith and obedience hallmarks of your life?
Are you struggling through life or do you have rest in your soul?/