Message from the Pastor
Rev Edward Evans:
7 July 2019
If you are reading this bulletin then the chances are that you are in a small minority at this time. You are a part of a segment of our society that values going to either chapel or to church and sees the benefit of setting aside time each week to worship God and to listen to His Word being preached.
Sadly such practice has declined, and for those who are the Lord's people and desire to see His name honoured and glorified we may look at the fortunes of the church at large and long to see God intervening once again as He has in time past and the spiritual tide turning in our nation.
One such occasion
in the Old Testament was during the restoration of God's people from 70 years of exile in Babylon when they returned to rebuild the ruined walls of the city of Jerusalem and to restore the temple as a place of worship.
They had gone into exile for their disobedience and idolatry but now was the time when God was gathering them back again for the task of rebuilding Zion's fallen walls. You can read the story in the books of Ezra and Nehemiah and Haggai and Zechariah.
Nehemiah was one of the leaders that God raised up to begin the process of rebuilding, and we read in Nehemiah 2 v 18 that he says "And I told them of the hand of my God which had been good upon me .....so they said let us rise up and build. Then they set their hands to this good work."
Of course as you read through the story you see they faced much opposition and personal discouragement, but eventually the walls of the city were rebuilt and the temple was restored.
I believe that this is a message that has great relevance for our situation today.
We too face the spiritual walls of this nation and of much of the church crumbling and in urgent need of repair.
We too can face opposition to the work and become at times discouraged but we too should know that the good hand of our God is upon us as we seek the good of the church and as we seek to faithfully proclaim the gospel to lead others to a saving knowledge of the Lord Jesus Christ.
There are some vital lessons we can learn from Nehemiah and Ezra's example too.
First of all they prayed. The first thing that Nehemiah did upon hearing of the plight of God's people left in Jerusalem and the low state of their affairs was to pray. The first thing which he did when arriving in the city was to pray, as he rode out at night and took stock of the situation.
Secondly they valued the preaching of God's word .Through Ezra the Word of God was preached and explained and listened to.
We are told that " the ears of all the people were attentive to the book of the law." In other words God gave them an open heart to hear and to listen. And we are told that the ministers who preached to them "gave the sense and helped them to understand what was being read" . So the people prayed and the ministers preached clearly and powerfully and thirdly everybody got involved in the work.
Some of the people worked on construction, some on supplies, some stood guard by day and some on the night shift, some on the temple, some on the walls, but everybody had a desire to help. They saw this work as a necessary work and an urgent work.
In Nehemiah 6 v 15,16 it says "So the wall was finished on the 25th day of Elul, in 52 days. And when all our enemies heard of it and all the nations around us saw these things that they were very disheartened in their own eyes for they perceived that this work was done by our God."
They perceived that this work was done by our God.
Hang on a minute, I thought that this work was done by the diligent labour of all the people? Yes it was. But as the people of God arose to do their work for the lord, God was working in and through them to accomplish His work. If we long to see the cause of Zion, the church and the testimony of God's people prospering in our day we must turn to God in prayer first, but we all also have a part to play.
The busyness of life leaves many feeling that they cannot commit themselves to give time to the things of God or to being more involved in the church
Others may feel that they neither have the strength or energy that they once had. Others may struggle with some kind of infirmity that hinders or hampers them from being able to be as involved as they would like. Still others may feel that they have little to contribute. Everyone of us has something that God can use.
Everyone can pray. Everyone can encourage. Whether it is picking up a phone and making a call or praying for one another we can bear one another's burdens and so fulfil the law of Christ.
Whether it is attending a service, supporting a meeting, reading our bibles, praying for each other, or witnessing to a colleague, neighbour or a friend. Or whether it is helping to clean the church , give financial support, or cook a meal for someone at a moment when that would be a timely blessing, everyone has a part to play.
I love the fact that the Word of God tells us that when the rebuilding was completed all the people around knew that the work had been done by God. That is indeed my prayer and should I believe be the prayer of every Christian in this nation, that God will restore the fortunes of Zion and prosper the cause of His people once more, and that many in our nation will begin to see and know that the hand of God is truly among us to demonstrate His saving purpose in this nation once again.