Faithlife Sermons

Lessons From The Gates

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At first glance, chapter three might appear to be boring or irrelevant to us today.
It is filled with a lot of names and chronology. Yet, a closer look will reveal great treasures in the chapter as the walls and gates are rebuilt, here’s why:
Often, when reading the Bible, we can detect a second and hidden line of truth running beneath the surface of the primary and obvious meaning.
We call this truth “typology.” Nehemiah 3 is a case in point.
The names of the gates point us to Christ, the One by whom alone we can gain access to God.
The names of the gates not only speak of Christ, they depict aspects of the Christian life
So tonight, we are going to take a tour of the Jerusalem gates:

1. The Call to Salvation: the sheep gate (3:1–2)

The sheep gate is where it all began.  This is where the sheep were brought into the city of Jerusalem to be taken to the Temple to be sacrificed to the Lord. 
This is the only gate of which it is recorded that it was “sanctified,” that is, dedicated to God in a special way.  This is the gate where the Lord Jesus entered into Jerusalem in John 5:2
There’s no coincidence that Jesus entered through this gate; the Old Testament tells us about the sacrificial system and as we move into the New Testament, we understand why God commanded that sheep and other animals were to be sacrificed to the Lord. 
When John the Baptist saw Jesus one day, he said, “Behold the Lamb of God, which taketh away the sin of the world.” (John 1:29). 
He is the Lamb of God in His Person and in His work. He takes away the sin of the world. Therefore, the sheep gate symbolizes the Cross of Christ. This is where you begin with God. The Cross is the only place you can begin with God.
Every sheep that came through that gate was a prophecy of the coming Savior.

2. The Call to Service: the fish gate (3:3–5)

The Fish gate is where the fish were brought in from the Mediterranean Sea and the Jordan River.
The Fish gate reminds us spiritually, that once you become a Christian, you have a very important task. 
As Jesus was calling His disciples, He said unto them, “Follow me, and I will make you fishers of men.” (Matt. 4:19). 
We need to tell others about Jesus, and what He has done for us.
Will you become a Fisher of men today?  I believe you should have a part in getting out the Word of God and seeing people saved.  One way you can do that is by inviting family and friends to come with you to Sunday school and church with you. 
Just a thought; can you really say that you are truly following Jesus if you are not a fisher of men?

3. The Call to Sovereignty: the old gate (3:6–12)

The Old Gate or Damascus Gate on the northwest side was one of the ancient gates of Jerusalem.
The Old Gate speaks of subjection to God’s will and abiding in that which was from the beginning.
This gate is a reminder of Him whose goings forth have been from old, from everlasting.
It reminds us that God’s message is old, but not tarnished. Its age gives it more credibility. God’s Word is still relevant for today and works just fine in this present age.
Jeremiah 6:16 KJV 1900
16 Thus saith the Lord, Stand ye in the ways, and see, and ask for the old paths, where is the good way, and walk therein, and ye shall find rest for your souls. But they said, We will not walk therein.
Notice in verse seven the “throne of the governor.”
This throne was a painful reminder to the Jewish people that God’s glory had departed from them.
This throne spoke of foreign domination over their land because of their disobedience to the Lord. At this time, Persia was the authority ruling over Israel. Beloved, when we stray from the Lord, our sin will cost us more than we want to pay, take us farther than we want to go, and last longer than we want it to last.

4. The Call to Suffering: the valley gate (3:13)

The Valley Gate on the southwest corner speaks of humility and a willingness to take a lowly place, that the Lord may be exalted. Pride is one of our worst enemies. It destroys a tender heart for the Lord. Humility comes from the Holy Spirit and it is often developed while in the valley.
The Lord will work through the many valleys that we face in our lives. Defeat, discouragement, despair, and deception are painful. All of these things hurt and humble us. Yet, it is our valleys that offer strength.
James 1:3–4 KJV 1900
3 Knowing this, that the trying of your faith worketh patience. 4 But let patience have her perfect work, that ye may be perfect and entire, wanting nothing.

5. The Call to Scorn: the dung gate (3:14)

Today, the dung gate leads to the Wailing Wall, but in Nehemiah’s day, it was located at the southwest angle of Mount Zion.  The dung gate was where the filth was carried out, where the garbage was taken away.
It reminds us that God’s people must clean themselves from all filthiness...
1 Thessalonians 4:7 KJV 1900
7 For God hath not called us unto uncleanness, but unto holiness.
Cleansing comes from confessing our sines to the Lord and obeying His Word:
John 15:3 KJV 1900
3 Now ye are clean through the word which I have spoken unto you.
1 John 1:9 KJV 1900
9 If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.

6. The Call to Success: the fountain gate (3:15–25)

This gate was next to the Dung Gate. The ever-flowing fountain is a type of the Holy Spirit who indwells the believer.
If a believer cleanses himself from that which is defiling, the Spirit of God will be unhindered in filling the Christian and using him for the Master’s use.
The gate of the fountain reminds us of the fact that every believer is indwelt by the Spirit of God, and that he needs an infilling of the Spirit.
When a believer is filled with the Spirit, he is not just a well, but a fountain of living water which will gush out to be a blessing to other people.
All of us should be a blessing to others in these days in which we live.

7. The Call to Spirituality: the water gate (3:26–27)

This place was very symbolic, we read that Ezra had put up a pulpit here and read from the Word. 
The place he chose was symbolic; it was no accident. 
Notice this is the only gate that isn’t referenced as being repaired.  Let me tell you why...
This gate symbolizes the Word of God, and my friend, the Word of God needs no repair! 
The New Testament makes this symbolism clear when it speaks of the washing of water by the Word.  Many times in the Word of God, it is compared to water, reason being is that it has a cleansing effect on us; 
The Word of God is so important in the Christian life.
Lifeway research took a poll among churchgoers in America…Amazingly, only 20% said they have read the entire Bible through at least once and 10% said they had never read the Word of God at all!
Have you come to the Water gate in your Christian life?  Do you regularly hear and read the word of God that you may be cleansed by it?

8. The Call to Strife: the horse gate (3:28)

The horse was an animal ridden by a warrior.  Men only rode horses during a time of war.  The horse was the symbol of war.
Here we see a picture of the fact that when you become a Christian, you must engage in spiritual warfare against the devil and those aligned with him. 
Ephesians 6:11–12 KJV 1900
Put on the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil. For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places.
If you are not engaging in spiritual warfare you are not taking a stand for Jesus and for righteousness.  We’ve got to come to the Horse gate of our Christian life, and be willing to engage in the spiritual battles of the Christian life.

9. The Call to Sunrise: the east gate (3:29–31)

The East Gate was near the Temple facing the Mount of Olives.  It was the first gate opened each morning.  This points us to the return of Jesus.  If you were to go into Jerusalem today and look on the East side you will see the modern day East gate, and it is sealed up. 
They believe that the Messiah is going to come through the East gate, and no one else is to use it. 
They believe that He will then enter into Jerusalem through the East gate. 
Ezekiel 43:1–2 KJV 1900
1 Afterward he brought me to the gate, even the gate that looketh toward the east: 2 And, behold, the glory of the God of Israel came from the way of the east: and his voice was like a noise of many waters: and the earth shined with his glory.
Orthodox Jews are still looking for His first coming, but we know that He comes from the East at His second coming. 
Matthew 24:27 likens the coming of jesus to lightning, coming from the east and flashing to the west.  Jesus is coming from the East according to that scripture.
Are you looking for and longing for the return of Christ?  Isn’t that your heart’s desire? 

10. The Call to Searching: the gate Miphkad (3:31–32)

Miphkad means “review” or “registry.”  When a stranger came to Jerusalem, he had to have a visa and had to stop at this gate and register.  When the army had been out fighting, it was through this gate, they would return. 
It was here that David reviewed his soldiers returning from battle.
So after the last battle of life when Jesus comes again, doesn’t the Scripture teach us that He will inspect our lives? 
2 Corinthians 5:10 KJV 1900
10 For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ; that every one may receive the things done in his body, according to that he hath done, whether it be good or bad.
Someday, your life will come under review by the Lord Jesus.  Are you ready for the greatest inspection of all?


As we look back at all these gates, they speak of the important elements of the Christian life.
1. The cross, the starting point of salvation.
2. Service
3. Christ as Lord and Master
4. Humility
5. Cleansing from defilement
6. The filling of the Holy Spirit
7. The Word of God and its power
8. Warfare and Victory
9. The Coming of the Lord and the Judgment Seat of Christ.
Notice now in verse 32, it says, “ And between the going up of the corner unto the sheep gate repaired the goldsmiths and the merchants.” 
We started at the sheep gate, and we end at the sheep gate.
It seems to me that the sheep gate is the most important gate of all.  Even so, Jesus Christ, the Lamb of God, is the most important person of all; so important that He said in John 14:6, “I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me.” 
Whatever you may miss in life, please don’t miss Him!
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