We have begun to note one of the books in the Old Testament which reveal one of the stories that God the Holy Spirit has chosen to have in writing for our instruction. We noted a brief outline of the spiritual principles behind the 10 gates recorded for us in the book of Nehemiah. Each of the gates speak of different experiences in our Christian life that we need to go through. Their order and position is very specific and gives us insight into the types of doctrinal principles God takes each of His children on.
The Sheep Gate. NEH 3:1,32 which speaks of the gate which the sheep and lambs which were used in the sacrifices were brought through.
The Fish gate which speaks of evangelism or the new believer sharing the good news or the Gospel with others, NEH 3:3.
You will recall what our Lord said to Peter and his brother Andrew who were fishermen in MAT 4:19, He said to them, “Follow Me, and I will make you fishers of men.
The Old Gate. NEH 3:6, which speaks to us of the old ways of truth meaning that TLJC as the living word in JOH 1:1 never changes in HEB 13:8 Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today, yes and forever.
This gate refers to the old ways of truth that never change.
The Valley Gate. Referring to being humbled through trials and tribulations. The Christian needs to remember that in the natural nothing really grows on the mountain tops, but it certainly does down in the valleys.
PSA 119:64-67, The earth is full of Thy lovingkindness, O Lord; Teach me Thy statutes. Thou hast dealt well with Thy servant, O Lord, according to Thy word. Teach me good discernment and knowledge, For I believe in Thy commandments. Before I was afflicted I went astray, But now I keep Thy word. It is good for me that I was afflicted, That I may learn Thy statutes.
The Dung Gate. NEH 3:14 speaking all the garbage and rubbish God removes from our soul.
HEB 10:22, let us draw near with a sincere heart in full assurance of faith, having our hearts sprinkled clean from an evil conscience and our bodies washed with pure water.
The Fountain Gate. NEH 3:15, which speaks to us of the living waters of the Holy Spirit that cleans our lives and empowers us for our Christian life.
Water Gate. NEH 3:26, which is a picture of the word of God and its effect in our life. Then there is the Horse Gate; NEH 3:28 which speaks to us of warfare.
The East Gate. NEH 3:29; known by the Jews for one particular event – the coming of the Messiah. The east gate opens and looks toward the Mount of Olives and we know that when Jesus returns He will return to this mount. (ZEC 14:4).
The Inspection Gate. NEH 3:31- the final gate which speaks to us of the judgment seat of Christ where our lives are inspected and rewarded. We are called to live our lives with eternity in view, caring more for the things of eternity than the temporal that we see around us.
2CO 4:16-18, Therefore we do not lose heart, but though our outer man is decaying, yet our inner man is being renewed day by day. For momentary, light affliction is producing for us an eternal weight of glory far beyond all comparison, while we look not at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen; for the things which are seen are temporal, but the things which are not seen are eternal.
There are a few more important points in this chapter which needs to be noted. We have looked at the gates and their spiritual meaning, but there are other points from the lives of the workers that we can learn from. First of all, we need to note that there was a team effort.
Reading through the chapter, one of the first things that we see is that the whole process was a team effort. If the walls and gates were going to be rebuilt then everyone would have to play their part. This is a picture of how the church is meant to function. The pastor is not meant to be a one man band that does everything while the others rest and sit in their padded seats.
EXO 18:17-18, And Moses’ father‑in‑law said to him, “The thing that you are doing is not good. You will surely wear out, both yourself and these people who are with you, for the task is too heavy for you; you cannot do it alone.”
We all have different gifts but it is for the edification of all.
EPH 4:11-13, And He gave some as apostles, and some as prophets, and some as evangelists, and some as pastors and teachers, for the equipping of the saints for the work of service, to the building up of the body of Christ; until we all attain to the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to a mature man, to the measure of the stature which belongs to the fulness of Christ.
Notice that the gifts that people have are for the equipping of the saints in their works of service. This is what we learn from Nehemiah. Some may have been gifted in particular areas and they were to work in those areas, but all helped in whatever way they could.
The point is that everyone had something to offer. For example, look at NEH 3:8, Next to him Uzziel the son of Harhaiah of the goldsmiths made repairs. And next to him Hananiah, one of the perfumers, made repairs, and they restored Jerusalem as far as the Broad Wall.
Maybe you are uncertain of your gift and what God is calling you to do with your life. Or maybe you have bought the lie that you don’t have anything to offer. If that is you then remember Hananiah! He was a perfumer by trade and yet he was still willing to get in there, get his hands dirty and help do his part by repairing part of the wall. If a perfumer can build a wall then you also can help in someway in the building of the church.
NEH 3:10, Next to them Jedaiah the son of Harumaph made repairs opposite his house. And next to him Hattush the son of Hashabneiah made repairs.
NEH 3:23, After them Benjamin and Hasshub carried out repairs in front of their house. After them Azariah the son of Maaseiah, son of Ananiah carried out repairs beside his house.
NEH 3:30, After him Hananiah the son of Shelemiah, and Hanun the sixth son of Zalaph, repaired another section. After him Meshullam the son of Berechiah carried out repairs in front of his own quarters.
So, each one of those gates signifies something about your spiritual life. Now, there’s one of those gates that didn’t need to be rebuilt and there’s a reason why it didin’t need to be rebuilt. We see the enemy attacking from without, the opposition of the “enemies of the Cross” as Paul calls them in PHI 3:18. We also see the enemy trying to attack from within, trying to eat away and tear and wear down the faith of God’s people.
DAN 7:25, And he will speak out against the Most High and wear down the saints of the Highest One,
However, in ISA 40:29-30, He gives strength to the weary, And to him who lacks might He increases power. Yet those who wait for the Lord Will gain new strength; They will mount up with wings like eagles, They will run and not get tired, They will walk and not become weary.
Remember MAT 11:28-30, “Come to Me, all who are weary and heavy‑laden, and I will give you rest. Take My yoke upon you, and learn from Me, for I am gentle and humble in heart; and you shall find rest for your souls. For My yoke is easy, and My load is light.”
ISA 40:31, Yet those who wait for the Lord Will gain new strength; They will mount up with wings like eagles, They will run and not get tired, They will walk and not become weary.\
GAL 6:9 And let us not lose heart in doing good, for in due time we shall reap if we do not grow weary.
HEB 12:3 For consider Him who has endured such hostility by sinners against Himself, so that you may not grow weary and lose heart.
The point is that the enemy within and without are going to try to lead the Jews into acts of disobedience and evil so that the work can’t be accomplished. There is always opposition of some kind when the people of God are trying to go forward. However, remember EXO 1:12, But the more they afflicted them, the more they multiplied and the more they spread out, so that they were in dread of the sons of Israel.
Before Nehemiah came on the scene, Ezra was faithfully laboring. And before Ezra came on the scene, Zerubbabel was faithfully laboring. The Temple has been built, beginning with the altar; you always have to begin with the Altar which pictures the Cross. That also relates to the gate that they began with in rebuilding the wall a fascinating story,
The point is that when Nehemiah was called by God and led by God to go to Jerusalem to do the work, he was beginning some things but he was continuing others. Ezra and others had been faithfully laying a foundation in the teaching of the Word.
The marvelous thing about this story is that these people pull together and devote themselves to a common goal which God has brought them together to accomplish. And it’s not easy, and there’s so few of them, and Nehemiah just looks at them, and he wonders, how can we possibly accomplish so great a work with such a small group of people? They devote themselves to the work and they form a team. And the marvelous thing is that by forming a team and focusing on that common goal, God begins to do something within the hearts and souls of those people that results in something only God can bring about, and that is revival within a nation. And that is our desire for this nation ‑ a revival in our families, in our marriages, in our churches, etc.
This brings us to the Doctrine of Unity in the Royal Family of God.
Point 1. What is Unity?
First of all, let me tell you what it is not. It is not emphasis on people. Emphasis on people rather than on Bible doctrine, especially the mystery doctrine of the Church Age, has destroyed unity among members of the royal family of God, the body of Christ.
For our study, unity is defined in six different ways.
a. The status of being combined with others to form a greater whole, 1CO 12:13, GAL 3:27. We have been combined with other believers through the baptism of the Spirit at the moment of salvation.
b. The status of being harmonious with other members of the royal family of God, PHI 2:2, Bring to completion my inner happiness [in your life] by thinking the same things, this is something that does not exist today, generally speaking.
c. The state of being complete, which means a maximum number of believers executing the PPOG and becoming invisible heroes. A maximum amount of invisible heroes in the pivot not only changes the nation, but it also provides a tremendous amount of toleration among believers. Toleration is a word that somehow has slipped away from Christianity.
d. Complete accord among believers regarding divine viewpoint mental attitude especially in the mystery doctrine of the Church- age. This doesn’t mean we agree with each other about everything; far from it. But it does mean there is a general consensus about divine viewpoint in these areas among mature believers.
e. Complete harmony among believers regarding mental attitudes, motivations, decisions, and actions related to the PPOG of God.
f. The absence of fragmentation which means the absence of judging, bickering, slandering, gossiping, jealousy, bitterness, hatred, anger, revenge motivation and function, vindictiveness, violence, hypersensitivity, self-pity, guilt, and implacability. The two great enemies of unity among the members of the body of Christ which always bring fragmentation are ignorance of doctrine and life in the arrogance complex. Another enemy of unity among believers is wrong emphasis. The present trend of Christianity is to emphasize relationship with people over relationship with God, or to assume that a good relationship with people means a good relationship with God. Both are false.
Point 2. The Solution to Enemies of Unity.
The answer to the problem of people emphasis taking precedence over God emphasis is found in two major functions of the Christian life. The first is consistent perception, metabolization and application of Bible doctrine so that mystery doctrine is understood and metabolized. That dispels ignorance. Secondly, the mastery of the utilization of the ten problem solving devices of the PPOG dispels arrogance. And these two functions are tantamount to the life beyond gnosis, EPH 3:19, and the life beyond dreams, EPH 3:20.
EPH 3:19, And to come to know the love for Christ which is beyond gnosis, so that you may filled up with all the fullness of God.
“Being filled up with all the fullness of God” means you use those ten problem solving devices: the rebound technique, the filling of the Spirit, the faith-rest drill, grace orientation, doctrinal orientation, personal love for God the Father, impersonal love for all mankind, +H or sharing the happiness of God, a personal sense of destiny, and occupation with the person of Christ. So being filled with all the fullness of God means execution of the PPOG. It means ignorance is replaced by cognizance, and that arrogance is replaced by tolerance, the function of virtue-love as a problem solving device.
ROM 12:2, Stop being conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renovation of your thought, that you may prove what the will of God is, namely, the good of intrinsic value achievement [advance to spiritual maturity], the well-pleasing to God [function of ten problem solving devices], the mature status quo [execution of the PPOG].
People have goofy ideas about worldliness. Dressing in a flashy manner. Having too many things in life. Listening to rock music and all of this is nonsense. Worldliness is a system of human viewpoint thinking. That’s why ROM 12:2 says, Stop being conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renovation of your thought, Worldliness is a system of human viewpoint thinking. When your thought pattern is renovated it means ignorance is replaced by cognizance, and that arrogance is replaced by tolerance, the function of virtue-love as a problem solving device.
In the next verse, this passage goes on to teach what worldliness is. The most worldly people in Christianity are those involved in self-righteous arrogance and resultant legalism. Legalism is worldliness.
ROM 12:3, For I say through the grace which has been given to me to everyone who is among you: stop thinking of self in terms of arrogance beyond what you ought to think, but think in terms of sanity for the purpose of being rational without illusion as God has assigned to each one of us a standard of thinking from doctrine.
Arrogance is the major cause of fragmentation and problems among people. A standard of thinking from doctrine takes the place of worldliness. A standard of thinking from doctrine includes motivation, thought, decision, and action related to the mystery doctrine of the Church-age and the unique factors of this dispensation. This verse mentions the word thinking three times. Unity is based upon thinking, not upon action as most people assume.
Point 3. The Role of Christian Fellowship Related to Unity.
People emphasis taking precedence over God emphasis results in destroying the benefits which develop from Christian fellowship. Christian fellowship is never a substitute for fellowship with God. The believer cannot grow spiritually or execute the PPOG through Christian fellowship and its attendant evils called sharing. Sharing is merely a case of the blind leading the blind, and both reside in the ditch of reversionism. Sharing ignores the gift of pastor-teacher and the importance of the function of that gift in the communication of the mystery doctrine of the Church-age. Fellowship with God is the result of perception, metabolization, and application of the mystery doctrine of the Church-age.
Fellowship with God is a part of the PPOG, while fellowship with other Christians is merely a result at best; at worst, it is a distraction from doctrine. It is an option, not a mandate. Christian fellowship is never a substitute for perception, metabolization and application of Bible doctrine or learning Bible doctrine from whomever is your right pastor-teacher. God always provides a right pastor for positive volition. Remember that your right pastor must be a prepared person.
Point 4. What is the key to unity among believers?
The key to unity among believers is accurate teaching of Bible doctrine by qualified pastor-teachers and positive response to it.\
EPH 4:11-12, And He gave some as apostles, and some as prophets, and some as evangelists, and some as pastors and teachers, for the equipping of the saints for the work of service [the work of the ministry], to the building up of the body of Christ; until we all attain to the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to a mature man, to the measure of the stature which belongs to the fulness of Christ. As a result, we are no longer to be children, tossed here and there by waves, and carried about by every wind of doctrine, by the trickery of men, by craftiness in deceitful scheming; but speaking the truth in love, we are to grow up in all aspects into Him, who is the head, even Christ,
A qualified teacher of Bible doctrine possesses the following.
He is a male believer, 1TI 3:1. As such, he has the spiritual gift of pastor-teacher, EPH 4:11. He has the proper preparation for the function of his spiritual gift, 1TI 5:17. The proper preparation demands exact and functional knowledge of the original languages of Scripture, and a thorough exposure to all phases of Biblical systematic theology. Unprepared pastors must depend on someone else for isagogics and exegesis. So, if a pastor is not prepared in the original languages, he must also have a pastor who feeds him exegesis constantly. Both unprepared pastors and evangelists must have their own pastor-teacher. The gift of evangelism demands that the man has a pastor-teacher.
The evangelist must get most of his information from his pastor-teacher through non-face-to-face teaching if he’s on the road a great deal. So every evangelist must have a pastor. If he does not have a pastor, he will suffer in his ministry. The gift of evangelism does not imply the man has any more knowledge of Scripture than does the layman in the pew. However, accuracy in the presentation of the Gospel demands perception of especially Christology and soteriology. Because of the nature of the evangelistic lifestyle, the man with the gift of evangelism cannot always sit in his own congregation. But he must be fed like all other believers. While he has a spiritual gift of communication, it is not a spiritual gift designed to function in the church. It is one that causes unbelievers outside the church to listen to the Gospel message as he communicates it. All spiritual gifts must be fed by the pastor-teacher, including evangelism.
God always provides the right pastor for positive volition. God never denies doctrinal teaching to positive believers who cannot or do not assemble with other believers. Everyone’s right pastor is not found in the same geographical periphery. In most areas of this country today, no accurate Bible teaching exists; no doctrine is taught from the pulpits.
Point 5. The Message of the Pastor Is the Key to Unity among Believers.
It is the message of the pastor that is the key to unity among believers.
EPH 4:14-16, As a result, we are no longer to be children, tossed here and there by waves, and carried about by every wind of doctrine, by the trickery of men, by craftiness in deceitful scheming; but speaking the truth in love, we are to grow up in all aspects into Him, who is the head, even Christ, from whom [Christ] the whole body, being fitted and held together by that which every joint supplies [joints represent the pastor-teacher], according to the proper working of each individual part, causes the growth of the body for the building up of itself in love.
The pastor as a workman doesn’t run around and call on people. He’s not a glad hander. He’s not the leader of a lonely hearts club or the MC for the dating game. His job is to study and teach.
- The Gates of Nehemiah – Part 1 (biblestudynotesilove.wordpress.com)
- Biblical Perspectives of Loving and Caring for Own People (yobindreams.wordpress.com)
- Daily Tidbits 4/23 – Flowers (littleguyintheeye.wordpress.com)
- Farmer Wendell Berry tells it like it is (thebovine.wordpress.com)
- Biblical Perspectives of Loving and Caring for Own People – II (yobindreams.wordpress.com)
- NEH Summer Institute in Experimental Philosophy (peasoup.typepad.com)
- The Strength of the Lord in Us (alookintomymind.wordpress.com)
- NEH Institute in Experimental Philosophy, Summer 2012 (experimentalphilosophy.typepad.com)
- Wendell E. Berry Lecture ‘It all turns on Affection’ (expandingwisdom.wordpress.com)