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God's Word Convicts

Nehemiah  •  Sermon  •  Submitted
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Nehemiah 8:9–12 NKJV
9 And Nehemiah, who was the governor, Ezra the priest and scribe, and the Levites who taught the people said to all the people, “This day is holy to the Lord your God; do not mourn nor weep.” For all the people wept, when they heard the words of the Law. 10 Then he said to them, “Go your way, eat the fat, drink the sweet, and send portions to those for whom nothing is prepared; for this day is holy to our Lord. Do not sorrow, for the joy of the Lord is your strength.” 11 So the Levites quieted all the people, saying, “Be still, for the day is holy; do not be grieved.” 12 And all the people went their way to eat and drink, to send portions and rejoice greatly, because they understood the words that were declared to them.

The Convicting Word Brings Joy! (9)

First notice how the people were crying and wailing after they had been taught the Law.
This should be a natural response for those who have understood the demands of God in light of their sin.
Romans 3:10 NKJV
As it is written: “There is none righteous, no, not one;
Romans 3:20 NKJV
Therefore by the deeds of the law no flesh will be justified in His sight, for by the law is the knowledge of sin.
In fact, in Matthew’s gospel, the phrase “weeping and gnashing of teeth” are expressed 6 times to describe the torment in a literal hell that those without Christ will face after the judgment.
But, oh the joy and freedom the Word can bring to the soul who hungers and thirsts for righteousness!
When His Word brings conviction that leads to repentance, we have joy that we’ve never felt before!
Listen to how the prophet Jeremiah describes God’s Word:
Jeremiah 15:16 NKJV
Your words were found, and I ate them, And Your word was to me the joy and rejoicing of my heart; For I am called by Your name, O Lord God of hosts.
This is the type of joy that is described here.
The people were encouraged to stop mourning and start rejoicing!
They’d just gathered and worshipped for the first time in a long time, heard the Law preached and were so convicted!
But Nehemiah and Ezra encouraged them to rejoice.
This day was one of joy and celebration!
Leviticus 23:24 NKJV
“Speak to the children of Israel, saying: ‘In the seventh month, on the first day of the month, you shall have a sabbath-rest, a memorial of blowing of trumpets, a holy convocation.
This joy wasn’t a “good feeling” worship service.
It wasn’t a “Sunday Power Up.”
This was joy from hearing God’s Word and acting upon it.
Concord, do you feel the joy that time in God’s Word brings?
Listen to this quote from Charles Spurgeon:
We shall count it to have been a successful morning if the people of God are made to rejoice in the Lord, and especially if those who have been bowed down and burdened in soul shall receive the oil of joy for mourning.
It is no mean thing to comfort the Lord’s mourners; it is a work specially dear to the Spirit of God, and, therefore, not to be lightly esteemed. Holy sorrow is precious before God, and is no bar to godly joy
C. H. Spurgeon, “The Joy of the Lord, the Strength of His People,” in The Metropolitan Tabernacle Pulpit Sermons, vol. 17 (London: Passmore & Alabaster, 1871), 709.
Warren Wiersbe said:
It is as wrong to mourn when God has forgiven us as it is to rejoice when sin has conquered us.
Warren W. Wiersbe, Be Determined, “Be” Commentary Series (Wheaton, IL: Victor Books, 1996), 101.
Listen to what God says in about serving Him joyously:

The Convicting Word Brings Strength! (10)

“Because you did not serve the Lord your God with joy and gladness of heart, for the abundance of everything,  therefore you shall serve your enemies, whom the Lord will send against you
The New King James Version (Nashville: Thomas Nelson, 1982), .
Believing friends, when you read the word and are convicted, be joyful that the Lord counts you among one His and chastises or encourages you. Take heed and follow Him with gladness.

The Convicting Word Brings Strength! (10)

The same Word that convicts and brings joy, brings strength!
What kind of physical strength would we have if we bought exercise clothes, yet never exercised?
What kind of spiritual strength would we have if at our conversion we bought a Bible and put it on a shelf and never read the riches of the promises that scripture gives to the believer?
“The joy of the Lord is our strength”
Our strength is found in Him, not the things that perish.
Matthew 6:19–20 NKJV
19 “Do not lay up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy and where thieves break in and steal; 20 but lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys and where thieves do not break in and steal.
The metaphor of storing our treasurers in heaven is indicative of following the Lord and living a life of holiness before Him.
Having a right relationship with God is not only a sign of spiritual strength, but other things happen as well when we are child of His and are walking as His disciple:
We are evangelizing weekly.
We raise up strong disciples.
We find joy in corporate worship and Bible study.
We ask ourselves, “how can I bless someone,” rather than, “what can I do to keep this?”
Look back at and see the joy that leads to strength:
Nehemiah 8:10 NKJV
10 Then he said to them, “Go your way, eat the fat, drink the sweet, and send portions to those for whom nothing is prepared; for this day is holy to our Lord. Do not sorrow, for the joy of the Lord is your strength.”
Strength in the Lord allows you to fully enjoy the things the Lord has given without guilt or shame.
“Eat the fat, drink the sweet”
This strength allow us to take care of others knowing that our needs will be met.
“Send portions to those for whom nothing is prepared.”
He says, “this day is holy to our Lord.”
Friends, our strength is not found in how physically imposing we are, the size of our bank account, or in the number of years we have spent upon the earth.
True strength is found in our Lord, as we rest in Him and find true meaning as a folllower, disciple, and bond-servant of His.

The Convicting Word Brings Understanding! (12)

Nehemiah 8:11 NKJV
11 So the Levites quieted all the people, saying, “Be still, for the day is holy; do not be grieved.”
Nehemiah 8:12 NKJV
12 And all the people went their way to eat and drink, to send portions and rejoice greatly, because they understood the words that were declared to them.
Friends, it isn’t enough to be encouraged to be joyful when reading God’s Word, or to know that our strength comes from Him and His Word, but we must understand it as well.
True understanding is more than simply learning something.
With it comes an implication of a changed life!
Psalm 119:162 NKJV
162 I rejoice at Your word As one who finds great treasure.
Matthew 13:44 NKJV
44 “Again, the kingdom of heaven is like treasure hidden in a field, which a man found and hid; and for joy over it he goes and sells all that he has and buys that field.
Notice what Jesus says to His disciples at the end of these parables:
Matthew 13:51 NKJV
51 Jesus said to them, “Have you understood all these things?” They said to Him, “Yes, Lord.”
Tommy G. Thompson was once one of the greatest treasure hunters of his time: A dark-bearded diver who hauled a trove of gold from the Atlantic Ocean in 1988 — dubbed the richest find in U.S. history.
Years later, accused of cheating his investors out of the fortune, Thompson led federal agents on a great manhunt — pursued from a Florida mansion to a mid-rent hotel room booked under a fake name.
Now Thompson’s beard has grayed, and he lives in an Ohio jail cell, held there until he gives up the location of the gold.
But for nearly two years, despite threats and fines and the best exertions of a federal judge, no one has managed to make Thompson reveal what he did with the treasure.
The wreck of the S.S. Central America waited 130 years for Thompson to come along. The steamer went down in a hurricane in 1857, taking 425 souls and at least three tons of California gold to the sea floor off South Carolina.
Many tried to find it, but none succeeded until a young, shipwreck-obsessed engineer from Columbus, Ohio, built an underwater robot called “Nemo” to pinpoint the Central America, then dive 8,000 feet under the sea and surface the loot.
“A man as personable as he was brilliant, Thompson recruited more than 160 investors to fund his expedition,” Columbus Monthly noted in a profile. He “spent years studying the ship’s fateful voyage … and developing the technology to plunge deeper in the ocean than anyone had before to retrieve its treasure.”
Thompson’s crew pulled up rare 19th-century coins, the ship’s bell and “gold bars . . . 15 times bigger than the largest California gold bar previously known to exist,” the Chicago Tribune reported in 1989.
And 95 percent of the wreck site was still unexplored — potentially worth $400 million in gold alone, The Washington Post reported a year later. “The treasure trove is the richest in American history and the deepwater salvage effort the most ambitious ever undertaken anywhere.”
The expedition’s loot captured the country’s attention, as did the peculiarities of its leader — a scientist-seafarer hybrid who worked on nuclear submarine systems before he hunted treasure.
“Thompson is not exactly the romantic, swashbuckling sort,” Forbes wrote during the years-long recovery of the ship’s treasure. “He is scientific and methodical, with none of the P.T. Barnum that infuses (and inflates) other salvors.”
📷Gold bars and coins from the S.S. Central America, first glimpsed in 1989. (Associated Press)
In his late 30s, during the height of his fame, Thompson said little in public and tended to play down his role in the discovery.
“This gold is part of the largest treasure trove in American history,” he told reporters in 1989. “But the history of the S.S. Central America is also a rich part of our nation’s cultural treasury.”
He added: “It’s a celebration of American ideals: free enterprise and hard work.”
But before long, some of Thompson’s bankrollers began painting a very different picture of the man.
Two of the expedition’s biggest investors took him to court in the 2000s, accusing him of selling nearly all the gold and keeping the profits to himself.
When a federal judge ordered Thompson to appear in 2012, he didn’t show. An arrest warrant was issued, but the man who found a long-lost shipwreck had disappeared.
[Treasure hunter vanishes while searching for $2 million gold stash in N.M. wilderness]
There followed a two-year manhunt for what a top U.S. Marshal called “perhaps one of the smartest fugitives” the agency had ever chased.
Thompson had “almost limitless resources and approximately a ten year head start” in the chase, U.S. Marshal for the Southern District of Ohio Peter Tobin said in a statement.
Thompson and his girlfriend had been living for years in a Florida mansion, paying rent with cash that was damp and moldy from the earth it had been buried in, The Post’s Abby Phillip reported last year. The couple had fled by the time authorities found the house.
Government records detailed what they’d left behind: disposable cellphones, money straps stamped “$10,000” and a guide on evading law enforcement titled “How to be Invisible.”
📷An undated photograph of Thompson made available by U.S. Marshals in January 2015.
Thompson was finally caught in January 2015, after agents tracked his girlfriend to a $200-a-night hotel near West Palm Beach, The Post reported at the time.
In a celebratory statement, Tobin said the U.S. Marshals had used “all of our resources and ingenuity” to find the treasure hunter.
But they didn’t find the treasure.
Thompson’s investors, who originally expected to make tens of millions of dollars from the venture, said that they believe he had hundreds of gold coins secreted in a trust account for his children. At first, their search for the coins looked promising. Thompson pleaded guilty to contempt of court in April 2015, according to the Columbus Dispatch. He said the coins were in Belize and agreed to reveal their exact location.
But that didn’t happen.
Thompson’s attorney said last month that his client couldn’t remember who he gave the gold to, even after poring over thousands of pages of documents related to the treasure, according to the Dispatch.
A federal judge ruled that Thompson was faking memory problems, the newspaper reported, and has held him in an Ohio jail cell for a year.
Thompson could remain behind bars until he talks, the Associated Press reported, and is being fined $1,000 a day in the meantime.
“Who knows — he might have an epiphany,” U.S. District Judge Algenon Marbley remarked Monday when he ordered Thompson to answer questions about the gold’s location.
Candid conversations about identity in 21st-century America
“Who knows — he might have an epiphany,” U.S. District Judge Algenon Marbley remarked Monday when he ordered Thompson to answer questions about the gold’s location.
But so far, the S.S. Central America’s treasure remains missing for the second time in two centuries.
And perhaps the only man able to find it remains as silent as the lost sailors of that old wreck.
Friends, just like this man’s desire for gold has left him in jail, so will our potential for the work of the Kingdom when we don’t seek to allow the Convicting Word of God to help us understand what we are to do as His children.
Is God’s Word convicting you today?
Maybe you’ve heard the gospel this week and have been convicted by the Holy Spirit to repent and believe the gospel. During our time of invitation, I want to ask you to receive Christ right where you are. Tell God you are sorry for your sins and turn to Him for forgiveness.
Put on the Lord Jesus Christ, be baptized and follow Him.
Maybe you’ve been convicted in a different way. God is dealing with you and you know you won’t rest until you get right with Him.
While we sing “Just As I Am,” you come and pray at the altar.
Everyone else, I want to encourage you to come and pray at the altar or in the front pews for the lost people you know. Our KBC president, Charles Frazier has encouraged our churches this Sunday to play “Just As I Am” in memory of Billy Graham and to call Christians to the altar to pray for lost friends and family.
While the musicians play, you come.
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