Israel built the wall around Jerusalem to protect the city where God’s temple was. They built so God could be worshipped and known in Israel and in the world around. That is the same reason Grace Church Alameda was planted 6 years ago: to make God and his grace known in the church and in Alameda and the East Bay. God has brought us all at this time to this church to help build it so his gospel can go forward in this place.
1. Dedicated in Commitment
God’s people gathered after the wall was completed to promise together to worship God and obey him (Neh. 10:28-32). Building a wall required commitment––planting a church takes more! We are called to be dedicated to Christ and committed to the mission of his church.
2. Dedicated in the Commonplace
In Nehemiah 12, Israel has an elaborate ceremony to dedicate the wall around Jerusalem to the Lord. It was a wall––made by the people of regular stone. But everything in our lives, even the most commonplace, ordinary things, should be dedicated in service to Christ.
3. Dedicated to Come Back
In Nehemiah 13, Nehemiah comes back after 12 years, and finds the people of Jerusalem breaking their promise to God! He speaks truth in the midst of their disobedience and calls them to come back to God and his grace. We have to be willing to hear when we’re wrong, admit it, and seek God’s forgiveness in Christ.
4. Dedicated as Christians in Community
Some of us think we are free agents, serving Christ and his church whenever we feel like it. But Christ doesn’t call us to a life of doing what we feel like; he calls us to take up our cross and follow him, to die to ourselves and give ourselves in service.
Reflection & Application Questions
Why are you part of the church? Do you believe God has called you to be dedicated to him and others? Why or why not?
Are you committed to God’s call on your life in Christ? How do you show this commitment in your involvement in the church?
Christ calls us to dedicate everything in our lives––even the most commonplace things—to him. Are you dedicated to him in everything?
How do you think Nehemiah felt when he returned to Jerusalem to see God’s people failing to keep their commitment to him? How do you think God feels when he sees us fail?
Are you willing to have other people in your life correct you and show you the ways you need to come back to Christ in repentance? (See Proverbs 12:15; 27:5-6).
Do you think of yourself as a free agent in God’s kingdom? Or as a Christian under contract in God’s church? How should you see yourself?