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Building For God - Part 12

"A New Call To Personal Holiness"

by David Legge | Copyright © 2004 | All Rights Reserved | www.preachtheword.com

'Preach The Word'Our Scripture reading is from Nehemiah chapter 10, we're still in this series 'Building For God', in Nehemiah's prophecy in the Old Testament. We've reached, this morning, chapter 10 - now as you see, although I've been in a foreign country for a couple of weeks, I'm still not proficient in pronouncing all these names in the first verses of this chapter! I'm going to refrain myself from the humiliation and embarrassment of trying to read them all, but I want to read the first verse and then move down to verse 28. So verse 1 - trying to remember all the ground that we have covered in this book so far:

Can we say that this morning as God's people? That we prefer God above all our chief joys, specifically the pleasures of sin?

"Now those that sealed", and let me remind you just now that that 'sealing' is speaking of a covenant that they all agreed - the word of God has been found again and read publicly, they have spent much time studying it and are now realigning their lives in obedience to it. They've discovered again the place of public and collective prayer, and now they're actually putting their names to an agreement and a covenant that they will do what they have said they will do. Now this is very novel, because often we - as you will find out even this morning - will hear God's word and say: 'Yes, He's right, the word of God that I've heard this morning, I know that that is true', and we say 'I would like to do that'. We go away with great intentions, but we don't really put our names to it in the sense that we commit ourselves absolutely that we will follow this through. This is what they're doing, they're signing their names, the names collectively of their families, and saying: 'We're going to do what we say with regards to obeying God's word'.

"Now those that sealed" - and here are their names - "were, Nehemiah", he wasn't above this public display before God of humiliation and dedication by putting his name first. That's where all leaders should be, they should be the first, leading the way and setting an example. Then the names that follow on right down to verse 27, and then we take up our reading at verse 28: "And the rest of the people, the priests, the Levites, the porters, the singers, the Nethinims, and all they that had separated themselves from the people of the lands unto the law of God, their wives, their sons, and their daughters, every one having knowledge, and having understanding; They clave to their brethren, their nobles, and entered into a curse, and into an oath, to walk in God's law, which was given by Moses the servant of God, and to observe and do all the commandments of the LORD our Lord, and his judgments and his statutes". Now that's a very interesting verse, verse 29, it's talking about these people entering into a covenant and an agreement - but it describes it in this term: 'they entered into a curse'.

Now we have been conditioned in this day and age in which we live to only enter into things if they're a blessing, and if they will incur some kind of benefit to us. But what these people were actually doing is saying: 'Cursed be me, if I don't fulfil what I've just vowed before the Lord and signed with my own hand. I want to be cursed if I don't follow this through'. We can see the solemnity and the sobriety of this covenant that is being made here. Verse 30, they further agreed: "that we would not give our daughters unto the people of the land, not take their daughters for our sons: And if the people of the land bring ware or any victuals on the sabbath day to sell, that we would not buy it of them on the sabbath, or on the holy day: and that we would leave the seventh year, and the exaction of every debt" - now we'll explain that later. Verse 32: "Also we made ordinances for us, to charge ourselves yearly with the third part of a shekel for the service of the house of our God; For the shewbread, and for the continual meat offering, and for the continual burnt offering, of the sabbaths, of the new moons, for the set feasts, and for the holy things, and for the sin offerings to make an atonement for Israel, and for all the work of the house of our God. And we cast the lots among the priests, the Levites, and the people, for the wood offering, to bring it into the house of our God, after the houses of our fathers, at times appointed year by year, to burn upon the altar of the LORD our God, as it is written in the law: And to bring the firstfruits of our ground, and the firstfruits of all fruit of all trees, year by year, unto the house of the LORD: Also the firstborn of our sons, and of our cattle, as it is written in the law, and the firstlings of our herds and of our flocks, to bring to the house of our God, unto the priests that minister in the house of our God: And that we should bring the firstfruits of our dough, and our offerings, and the fruit of all manner of trees, of wine and of oil, unto the priests, to the chambers of the house of our God; and the tithes of our ground unto the Levites, that the same Levites might have the tithes in all the cities of our tillage. And the priest the son of Aaron shall be with the Levites, when the Levites take tithes: and the Levites shall bring up the tithe of the tithes unto the house of our God, to the chambers, into the treasure house. For the children of Israel and the children of Levi shall bring the offering of the corn, of the new wine, and the oil, unto the chambers, where are the vessels of the sanctuary, and the priests that minister, and the porters, and the singers" - and this is like a summary of all those verses that you've been trying to make head or tail of up to now - "and we will not forsake the house of our God".

Read any account on revival that you like, historically, factually, they will show you that there has always been a revival in holiness, a new call to personal and corporate holiness among God's people, before that revival came...

I want to preach to you from this chapter under the title: 'A New Call to Personal Holiness', a new call to personal holiness. I want us to bow in prayer first of all, and take our hymn books - number 456 - and pray together audibly, if we can sincerely to the Lord, the third verse of this hymn. I'll lead you, and if you feel able within your heart, sincerely before God to pray this prayer, let us do it in a public fashion, almost to reciprocate the public fashion of the covenant that we find here in Nehemiah chapter 10:

'More purity give me,
More strength to o'ercome,
More freedom from earth's stains,
More longing for home.
More fit for the kingdom,
More used would I be,
More blessed and holy,
More, Saviour, like Thee'.

Amen. Brian Edwards, who has written a book summarising much of the revivals that have taken place in our modern history, and also outlining for us the intrinsic factors that brought - from a human level - those revivals to nations and communities of God's people across the world. In his book he really highlights those features to show us that if we want, in the most pure desires, to see revival in our own lives and in the lives of our churches today, we need to put these issues into place. Of course we've been seeing that in recent weeks, we looked at the subject of the word of God, and how it must have primary place in our lives and in our churches. We looked at the issue of prayer, and how we need to be in personal prayer, and together as God's people we need to be engaged in special times of prayer as well as our weekly times of prayer. But in this book on revival that I would encourage you to read, by Brian Edwards, he talks about holiness - and, as it were, he gives a new call to personal holiness which is exactly what Nehemiah is doing in chapter 10, and all the people as they unite together in this public covenant that they signed together. Brian Edwards says this in this call: 'God looks for men who will be willing to surrender anything and everything, so long as their life can be kept clean' - did you get that? I'll repeat it and continue the quotation: 'God looks for men who will be willing to surrender anything and everything, so long as their life can be kept clean. Without exception, those whom God uses in revival are men and women who fear God and sin, and nothing else. They take seriously the command 'Be holy, for I am holy, says the Lord''.

Now you can read any account on revival that you like, historically, factually, they will show you that there has always been a revival in holiness, a new call to personal and corporate holiness among God's people, before that revival came. John Wesley, the founder of Methodism, and that great evangelist of the awakening of the 1700s, the eighteenth century, declared in 1734 these words - I quote: 'My one aim in life is to secure personal holiness, for without being holy myself I cannot promote real holiness in others'. Isn't that striking? Do you know what's more striking? That was four years before his conversion! Oh, we know we can't have true holiness without true salvation, but here was a man who even in an unregenerate state knew that God blesses holiness, and without holiness - the book of Hebrews says - no man shall see God.

David Brainerd was a missionary among the American Indians, a pioneer missionary and a holy man of God, and he recalls the time when among those North American Indians, one night before a pagan heathen festival they were about to have, he went into the woods to be alone with God and to plead with God for their souls. His experience during that night is recorded, and reveals the kind of man that God can use in revival. This is a challenge to us all, listen to this quotation of his account: 'All things here below vanished', as he was in prayer, and he says, 'there appeared to be nothing of any considerable importance to me but holiness of heart and of life, and the conversion of the heathen to God. All my cares, fears and desires which might be said to be of a worldly nature disappeared, and were in my esteem of little more importance than a puff of wind. I exceedingly longed that God would get to Himself a name among the heathen, and I appealed to Him with the greatest freedom, that He knew that I preferred Him above all my chief joys'.

Have you ever prayed that prayer? Could you ever pray that prayer? 'Lord, make me as holy as a saved sinner can be'...

Can we say that this morning as God's people? That we prefer God above all our chief joys, specifically the pleasures of sin? Duncan Campbell, who you've heard me mention many times, who was used of God in those revivals in the Hebrides, specifically the Isle of Lewis. He describes his own experience of surrendering fully to Christ, all the keys of his life were handed over to the Lord, and the Lord came in and blessed him in a wonderful fullness that was used later on in his life. The story of how this happened was, he was in the Great War, and he was riding on horseback. He was shot off his horse and was seriously wounded in the battle - it was the last cavalry charge of the Great War. While he was lying there on the battlefield, a Canadian trooper was riding back to his base, and he lifted him and carried him on horseback back to the casualty clearing station. There, as Campbell was lying upon his back and reviewing his life, perhaps thinking he was about to die, he saw how empty his life had been even as a Christian. He testified that there on his back he prayed Murray-M'Cheyne's prayer - these words: 'Lord, make me as holy as a saved sinner can be' - and God came in a very miraculous way into his life.

Have you ever prayed that prayer? Could you ever pray that prayer? 'Lord, make me as holy as a saved sinner can be'. There were 84 men in chapter 10 of Nehemiah that put their signature to such a covenant as that, because they wanted God and the people to know that they were serious about obedience, holiness, and obedience in action to God's word. Some have called this 'the declaration of dependence upon God'. They were putting their names to this covenant that said they were going to follow God, and follow right through to the end whatever it cost. Twenty-two of these names in verses 1 to 8 were priests; in verses 9 to 13, 17 of the name were Levites; in verses 14 to 27 there are 44 different leaders of the people who are mentioned - names that all represent families in Judah! Not just individuals, but each name that you read here represents families, you can see that in verse 28: 'their wives, and their sons, and their daughters, everyone having knowledge', everyone who was at an age of understanding in spiritual matters was counted underneath all of these names.

Now we have seen in past weeks that reading God's word is extremely important, and we need to get back to the Book - that was the message in chapter 8 of Nehemiah. Then we saw how important praying is personally and as a church, putting prayer back in its place. You need a revival of God's word, you need a revival of prayer, if you're going to have a revival spiritually speaking and see the lost won. It's also a blessing - and I would encourage you to write down intentions that you have in the spiritual life, even get a spiritual record daily of your dealings with God, it often helps to write agreements down that you have before God, and vows that you make before Him - although as a dispensational people today we are not a covenant people - in that sense it's good to write down your intentions. But the fact of the matter is, we can do all those things: we can read, and pray, and write things down - but the most important thing of all is total obedience to God's word, and God's will, and holiness. Holiness!

You might say: 'Well, what is holiness?'. Before we sang our first hymn this morning, I mentioned that 'holy' simply means 'to be different, or 'to be separate', 'to be unique' - there is no one else like God, that is why we worship Him as such, because He is other, He is transcendent, above us and beyond us. So what we are saying is that holiness in our context in the earth is to be different from everyone else around us, to be separated from the run-of-the-mill worldling. Incidentally, I alluded to the declaration of independence, Chuck Swindoll illustrates this fact: that in the US Declaration of Independence, the people that signed it established their country's independence, but then at the end of the signing there are these words - a commentary on it, I quote it to you: 'It merely states intention and a cause for action', but the Declaration of Independence had to be converted into fact by force. They could declare independence from Britain and the British Empire, but the fact of the matter was that the United States had to go to war and put their force behind their incentive - action needed to be taken.

How many times do we hear God's word? How many times are we stirred? How many times are we blessed? But we walk away and we do not obey what we have heard...

I ask you again: how many times do we hear God's word? How many times are we stirred? How many times are we blessed? But we walk away and we do not obey what we have heard from God's word! Now listen, chapter 10 of Nehemiah tells us that this declaration that these people signed, these families signed, affected their whole lives, every area of their lives. Here's my simple application and question to all of you today, and my own heart: does my, does your Christianity affect your whole life? It ought to if it is true Christianity at all. I love the quips of Vance Havner, that Southern American Baptist preacher, and here's one of his quotes that says so much and it's so contemporary to our age, he says: 'Most church members live so far below the standard, that you would have to backslide to be in fellowship with them' - isn't that staggering? Most church members live so far below the standard, that you would have to backslide to be in fellowship - 'We are so', he goes on to say, 'sub-normal, that if we were to become normal, people would think we were abnormal'!

So these people in Nehemiah 10 dedicated publicly that they were going to obey God's word, and not only did they dedicate publicly, they dedicated specifically in areas of their life that they were going to go through with God whatever it cost. Generally speaking it affected their whole attitude to God's will, they were saying to God: 'We're signing this to say that you're going to obey Your word - whatever it says, that's what we're going to do'. But specifically they outline three areas of their life where they were going to be obedient, hitherto they had not been. Here they are, and how they apply to all of us here today: one, the home; two, the society in which they lived; and three, the worship in which they were engaged. One, the home; two, the society in which they lived; and three, the worship and place of worship where they were engaged in adoring the Lord.

Let's look at the first, the home. In Nehemiah 10, what they're saying as they sign this covenant is: 'Our behaviour, specifically in our marriages, is going to come up to scratch from this day on. Our homes are going to be a different place'. Look at verse 30, where they say this: 'We would not give our daughters unto the people of the land, not take their daughters for our sons'. Now when Israel became a people before God, a chosen, a covenant people; they were given the law and God commanded them that their relationship with Him should be uncontaminated by the pagan influences of the nations round about. They were to be a beacon of light, they were to be a testimony to the nations around who were worshipping false gods, therefore they weren't to commit spiritual adultery with those nations if you like. If you take a very quick recourse right throughout Israelite history, you will see that their Achilles heel was their intermixing and marriage with other nations, whereby they came to worship foreign gods of pagan lands. Put very simply, they exchanged their sons and their daughters with these other nations, and therefore what came with it adhoc was an exchange of religions - they began to worship each other's gods. Eventually what happened was that there was a diluting of the fidelity of the worship of Israel's God, Jehovah, and you were seeing erected images right throughout the whole of Jerusalem and Judea, and they were worshipping false gods even under the name of Jehovah to keep everybody happy - their wives, and their sons, and their daughters, who were marrying into these other nations.

Now you might say: 'That's a terrible thing!', but you wouldn't be reading too far in the Old Testament to find out that great King David fell foul of this very sin. He married outside of the religion of the Jew, and Solomon his son did the same, and we find that both of them fell in this very area - and they haven't been the first, nor the last, to fall. We have it in the Scriptures in the New Testament, this principle that is given to us all: 'Be not unequally yoked together with unbelievers' - now that's very clear! Believe it or not, that verse was not specifically to do with a man/woman relationship - we apply it in that way, but it was to do with any association or lack of separation in the believer's life from the world. Anything! You can apply it to business, you can apply it to the home, you can apply it to relationships between a man and a woman, you can apply it to ecclesiastical relationships between churches and religious organisations - in fact, do you know what you can apply it to? You can apply to the relationship between a husband and a wife - they can be unequally yoked together! What do I mean? One of the partners is seeking God with all their heart, and the other is holding them back! That is as much an unequal yoke as anything.

Do you realise that holiness affects our homes? It affects our marriages, it affects our relationships with our children, with our parents, with our spouses, with all...

The question is: how is it in your home? This principle needs to be stressed today, perhaps, more than ever when the frontiers of light, as one has said, and darkness are being increasingly blurred, when people no longer know or want to believe something is right or is wrong. Do you realise that holiness affects our homes? It affects our marriages, it affects our relationships with our children, with our parents, with our spouses, with all - holiness, separation, saying: 'I'm not going to behave in my home', we're not talking about legalism now, but 'We're not going to behave just the way everybody else behaves because they behave that way'.

The home, what follows on from that, and it's still applicable to us, is the society. Behaviour specifically to them, in chapter 10, on the sabbath and the sabbatical year - but what God's word is saying here is that if your marriages and your families and homes are not going to be affected by worldliness, that will in turn be affected by how you relate to the society in which you live, what your relationship is to the world around you. Charles Swindoll has said that for Israel to be holy in an unholy world, they had to learn to resist the powerful urgings psychologists today call 'herd instincts'. 'Herd instinct', you know what it is - like people crossing the road in East Belfast like a herd of cows, they all seem to go in crowds - herd instinct, following the crowd, going with the crowd, going with the fashion. The pressure is upon all of us to conform to our peers in order to avoid ridicule, and rejection and persecution. The question is: how hard is herd instinct bearing on your life? What are the pressures from herd instinct in your life? Do you feel that you have to do this thing because everybody else is doing it? Do you feel that you have to give in to society pressures, even Christian pressures, because it is the thing to do and you would be the only one not doing it?

There was an experiment taken by Ruth Berenda (sp?), who I think was a psychologist among adolescents - I think I might have told you this before, but it bears repeating for illustration - she followed the study of adolescents and how they behaved to their peers. She and her associates brought 10 adolescents together into one room, and told them that they were going to be studied on their perceptiveness - in other words, how well they could see. To test this ability they got three cards together: A, B and C, and consecutively they drew lines on these three cards A, B and C, and they were going to ask these 10 adolescents which was the longest line. Unknown to one of those adolescents, the other nine had been tipped off at the beginning to say that the second longest was the longest, not the longest. So have you got it? Maybe you haven't! There's 10 kids all gathered together in one room, there's three cards with different lines drawn different lengths, and one of the children is ignorant of the fact that everybody is going to say the second longest is longest, and he's in the dark, he's ignorant to the fact. So they played this prank on the poor soul - he was probably psychologically damaged after it all! - and the experiment began, and the nine who were in the know, they all put their hands up for say card 'B'. This young lad would look around him, and the sweat would start to break, and then he would start to get deeper in his breathing, and then he began to put his hand up just because everybody else did. Now this test was performed in many places with many adolescents, and 75% of those one individual kids in the dark put their hand up because of the pressure of those around them. Isn't that astounding? The herd instinct, you do it because everybody else does it and you feel under pressure.

Now you might apply this to the world, but the fact of the matter is that the church in which we are living as Christians is operating on herd instinct - Christians seem to judge their standards today, and choose their principles, and what they should do and shouldn't do, by what other Christians do, not by what the word of God says! Can I say that when churches start saying: 'Such-and-such are doing this, therefore we ought to do this', we are in trouble! Not that everything that everybody else does is bad, but that we ought not to operate on the standards of other individuals, on a herd instinct mentality. Now we can sometimes, in our conservative wing of evangelicalism, we can give ourselves a pat on the back and say: 'Oh, we're great, we're winning on this one, we do that. We don't listen to what others say, we say that we obey God's word'. But you know, you can pride yourself in right position so much so, and say that you're directed by the word of God, when in reality you are not individually subject to God's word - that means personal holiness is not in your life! You've got all the right views, you dot all the right i's and cross all the right t's, but where is personal obedience to God's word in your life?

Christians seem to judge their standards today, and choose their principles, and what they should do and shouldn't do, by what other Christians do, not by what the word of God says!

I think it was Harry Ironside who said: 'Is it not the fact that to many the voice of the assembly says this, or says that, because sometimes the voice of the assembly has been louder than the voice of God in the holy Scriptures? Sometimes the tradition of the elders have, in critical times, been more relied upon than 'thus saith the Lord''. We too can give in to doing things just because everybody else does them, and not question our individual obedience to God's word. Take for instance the truth of separation. We believe in holiness, and we believe in separation in the sense that we should be separate from the world religious system, or if you want to say the World Council of Churches, or churches that are dabbling in the world or compromising with ecumenism and so forth. But many of us are satisfied with being separated ecclesiastically - we're free from this, free from that, and free from the other - ecclesiastically we're like that, but socially how separated are we? In our lives, personally, how different? And let me say this: some of the folk that we lambast in so-called established churches are more separated, socially and morally, than many of us! They're more holy personally, individually.

Let's do a very quick check of some matters that would assess our holiness. How does the spirit of the world come into our home? How does the spirit of the world come into our assemblies? How does the spirit of the world come into our marriages, our finances, our businesses, our careers, our occupations? Is the spirit of the world manifest in the entertainments that we enjoy? Just think about it for a moment: is it right to go here, there, and everywhere? That's the question, here's the question: what spirit is in that place? Is it the spirit of the world or the Spirit of God? What about the clothing we wear? Often the ladies get a hammering with this one, but that's because we are weak as men - that's why the ladies get the hammering, because the weak men can't control their emotions and their hormones at times, and that's why there should be modesty with sisters with regards to their clothing - not fashion, not what the world says or what it doesn't say, but what God's word outlines for us as holiness becoming the saints of God.

What about the company we keep? What about the music that we listen to? It doesn't say in the Bible: 'Thou shalt not listen to this, that, or the other' - but is what we are doing in this word, in our society, is it adding to our holiness or is it marring the lines of distinction between God's people and the world? Because here's the real issue here: conformity to the world among God's people adds to the loss of distinction - the two go hand-in-hand. When you conform to the world, people can no longer see that you're one of God's people, and that is what happened to the people of God here. Their day of distinction was the Sabbath day, and they just bought and sold like all the other nations, and the lines of distinction were being blurred in verse 31. So they had to make a decision that they were going to be different, they weren't going to set out the stalls on the Sabbath day. I'm not going into a tirade on the Sabbath, because we don't have time, but you know that it was a creation ordinance that one day in seven should be an ordinance of rest. Then when the law of God was given to the Jews through Moses it was established that that day would be a sign of the covenant between God and themselves, and it would be a distinctive thing that would show their covenant relationship as being different than the nations of the world. So it wasn't just a benefit to rest one day in seven, it was a spiritual thing that would show to other nations that they were God's people and they worshipped the true and the living God.

Now the Bible nowhere tells us that the Lord's day, Sunday, today, is the Sabbath. We are not Sabbatarian in that sense of applying rules and regulations of the Old Testament to New Testament truth, the Lord's Day is different. But let me say this: what we have done, I believe, is marred the lines of demarcation because there's a principle in the Lord's Day as well that tells us that we, meeting today on the first day of the week, are a new people of a new covenant, and we are distinct, we are different. If you want to know how to celebrate the Lord's Day, look at how the Lord celebrated it, look at how the apostles celebrated it, and ask: are we celebrating it, or are we marring the distinctions between us and the world? Are we going with the crowd?

Are we looking to God for all that we have, and are we thanking God for every good and perfect gift, for it comes from Him?

He didn't just talk about the demarcation of the Sabbath day, he talked about the Sabbath year, the seventh year, which was the year of rest for all the crops. They weren't to till the ground, they weren't to plant it - and do you know what this was speaking of? It was speaking of faith. Now how do I know that? Well, simply this: if you were a farmer, and God told you in the seventh year that you weren't to plant any seed or take any reaping, you would have to have faith in God to believe that you were going to have your breakfast on the table every day, wouldn't you? You know as believers we read books and hear preachers that talk about living by faith, as if it was something to be done by a missionary or an itinerant evangelist, when we as God people were to live by faith every day of our lives! You might have income that is second to none, but this is the question that we need to ask that is intrinsic in holiness: are we looking to God for all that we have, and are we thanking God for every good and perfect gift, for it comes from Him?

It affected their homes, it affected the way they related to society, and thirdly and finally, and very quickly, it affected their worship. This follows on from what I've just said about the Sabbath year, because they were to give of their produce to the house of God, to the temple, to the tabernacle worship. In verse 32 we read that they were to support the temple worship with their finances and their resources, and verses 33 to 39 the gifts and sacrifices that they were giving were to support the ministry of Levites. They couldn't support themselves or farm, so people would take tithes now and again, like a welfare tax for the people of God who were serving the Lord, and it was given to them. Now Israel's place of worship is mentioned nine times in these verses, and it sums everything up in those last couple of words I read in verse 39, this was the principle they were to espouse in holiness, a new call: 'We will not forsake the house of our God'. The dwellingplace of God was not to be in tatters or forsaken!

Now let's be careful here, because we do not believe that God dwells in temples made by hands, or even church buildings made by hands; we are the church, we are the temple of the living God, living stones, built up as a holy people unto the Lord. Therefore we are God's house, and we are not to neglect ourselves, the presence of God in us! We ought to support the ministry of the gospel, we ought to support financially the work of God, we ought to look after the welfare of God's servants - but let's bring it into the New Testament age. What did Paul say in Romans 12 verses 1 and 2? 'I beseech you therefore brethren', by what?, 'by the mercies of God', thanking God for the good things that you have been given by Him - all those things ought to lead you to repentance! 'I beseech you therefore, that you present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service: And be not conformed to this world', as J. B. Phillips says, do not be pushed into its mould, 'but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may do that good and acceptable, perfect will of God'.

Well, we're back at the start, aren't we? That total surrender to the obedience of God's holy Word - how you are you there? Giving your body - are you neglecting the house of God? You, and your dedication to the Lord, it can all be summed up in that. If we're ever to see a revival of God's work in this place, or in any place, there has to be a revival in personal holiness in our homes, our habits, in society, and in our worship.

If we're ever to see a revival of God's work in this place, or in any place, there has to be a revival in personal holiness in our homes, our habits, in society, and in our worship...

I've shared this with you before, as I close, but I'm going to do it again because it's so powerful - and you'll probably not remember it anyway! In the Isle of Lewis revival, which I mentioned about Duncan Campbell, before the awakening the men of God in that place knew that they were in dire straits spiritually speaking. They lived in a place that had once experienced the refreshing of God's Spirit and the presence of the Lord. But their spiritual vitality had grown cold and indifferent, and in view of the situation it was shared by the Free Church Presbytery of Lewis that they should make a declaration as God's leaders in that place. In the Stornoway Gazette, the newspaper, and in the West Coast Advertiser, publicly - just like Nehemiah - they expressed their deep concern. This is the quotation of it, I'm not going to comment on it, I'm going to leave it with you - you mightn't agree with them all in everything they believed, but nevertheless they were men of God.

Listen: ''The Presbytery of Lewis, having taken into consideration the low state of vital religion within their bounds, and throughout the land generally, call upon their faithful people in all their congregations to take a serious view of the present dispensation of divine displeasure manifested - not only in the chaotic conditions of international politics and morality, but also and especially in the lack of spiritual power from Gospel ordinances, and to realise that these things plainly indicate that the Most High has a controversy with the nation'! They go on: 'The Presbytery affectionately plead with their people, especially with the youth of the church, to take these matters to heart and to make serious inquiry as to what must be the end should there be no repentance! They call upon every individual, as before God, to examine his or her life in the light of the responsibility that pertains to us all - that haply, in divine mercy, we may be visited with a spirit of repentance and may turn again unto the Lord whom we have so grieved with our iniquities and waywardness'. Amen.

Don't miss part 13 of the Building For God Study Series: "In Honour Of The Ordinary"Jump To Top Of Page

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Transcribed by:
Andrew Watkins
Preach The Word.
August 2004
www.preachtheword.com

This sermon was delivered at The Iron Hall Assembly in Belfast, Northern Ireland, by Pastor David Legge. It was transcribed from the twelfth tape in his 'Building For God' series, entitled "A New Call To Personal Holiness" - Transcribed by Andrew Watkins, Preach The Word.

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