Just as the name suggests this gate which Nehemiah rebuilt was the one used to get rid of the rubbish and dung. I don’t know about you but even after being a Christian for over 40 years, I am still a work in progress and I still sin (even when I don’t want to or intend to) and get things wrong. However, I don’t write myself off. Even though I still sin, I know that the power of sin over me has been broken because of the work of Christ at the Cross. I repent when I know I have done wrong and the Holy Spirit convicts me and I am cleansed by the power of the blood of Christ. The rubbish is swept out of the door. When the accuser comes to me I just point to the blood of Jesus and he has nothing on me. The slate is wiped clean. I don’t use the grace of Christ as a licence to sin but I rely on the grace of God in my life to convict me of sin.
If there is still rubbish in your life or you are carrying it around then I encourage you to get rid of it. It is only choking the word of God and the fruit of the Spirit maturing in you. If we allow the Holy Spirit to work in our lives then He will convict us of sin. Keeping our hearts soft and not hardened by disobedience. What rubbish needs to be out of our lives today? Let’s be ruthless with it and get rid of it – once and for all.
The fish Gate was another gate which Nehemiah rebuilt. As followers of Christ we are called like the disciples of Jesus to be fishers of men. We have been given the great commission to go out and make disciples. It is the mandate from Christ to His church. If however we just put all of our efforts into catching the fish and seeing converts, but don’t disciple them properly afterwards, then we shouldn’t be surprised if we don’t see any growth or maturity.
Discipleship requires service, commitment, love and sacrifice. In order to walk alongside people, especially people who are hurting, we can need grace, patience and love in great abundance. The Holy Spirit can help us to develop the fruit of the Spirit in discipleship and teach us how to disciple others. We need to know the truth of the gospel ourselves in order that we can help others to mature in Christ and follow Him. The Christian life can be one of suffering, hardship and persecution because of our faith in Jesus and preparing people for that is a key part of discipleship.
Are the nets ready for the catch? If there is to be a great harvest of souls then we need to get ready to disciple them. If you are a follower of Christ then I encourage you to share your testimony and life with others who are new to the faith and disciple them. Help them and strengthen them to grow and mature in Christ and share your experiences with them. We all have something to offer in service to Jesus. Is there someone that you can take under your wing today or give a supporting hand?
Here are some questions for us? How and What are we building in our lives? First the How? I am encouraged by the example of how to build from Nehemiah Ch 3 in the Old Testament. The order in which Nehemiah describes how the gates and walls of Jerusalem were rebuilt is an example of how the Holy Spirit inspires us to build in our lives. Jesus said that he would build His church and the gates of hell would not prevail against it.
The Sheep Gate was the first gate to be rebuilt. This is the most important in our lives. We have to come to God through the Sheep gate. The bible teaches us that it is only those who enter in by Christ (the Shepherd and the Sheep gate) who can come into relationship with God. Have we come through the Cross – and really understood the power of the Cross in our lives? That the power of sin and death is broken. If we try and build on anything apart from the true revelation of Christ and the Cross we will be in difficulty. Christ is the cornerstone of our faith. We need to come in through the Sheep gate.
Christ warns us about those who don’t come in by the Sheep gate – not sheep but wolves in Sheep’s clothing – and false shepherds. John 10 -7 – Jesus says “Most assuredly I say to you, he who does not enter the sheepfold by the door but climbs up some other way, the same is a thief and a robber.” “But he who enters by the door is the Shepherd of the sheep – To him the doorkeeper opens and the sheep hear his voice and he calls his own sheep by name and leads them out. And when he brings out his own sheep he goes before them and the sheep follow him for they know his voice. Yet they will by no means follow a stranger but will flee from him, for they do not know the voice of strangers.” Jesus went on to explain: “Most assuredly I say to you, I am the door of the sheep. All who ever came before me are thieves and robbers but the sheep did not hear them. I am the door, If anyone enters by Me he will be saved, and will go in and out and find pasture. The thief does not come except to steal, and to kill and to destroy. I have come that they may have life and that they may have it more abundantly. I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd gives his life for the sheep.” Please beware of any teaching about Jesus which is contrary to what the Bible reveals to us about Jesus and weigh and test it against scripture. We need to come to Christ through a true revelation of the Cross and build on Him as the cornerstone of our faith.
I understand that the Sheep gate was the only gate that didn’t have locks and bars. To me this symbolises that the way to God is open through Jesus and it is open to everyone. It doesn’t matter who you are or what you have done. Nothing can disqualify you from receiving grace and forgiveness through faith in Jesus Christ and the redemptive power of the Cross. If you have never come through the Sheep Gate then I encourage you to confess your sins and take that step by faith today. Receive forgiveness and start a new life in Christ Jesus by the power of the Holy Spirit.
A visiting speaker encouraged us recently to be a bit of kindling and allow the Lord to set fire to us. A little fire can be all it takes – it can spread like wildfire as nature has shown us with the wildfires which took hold last year in various places. At this time we are to press in and not be discouraged. Don’t settle where you are but press on in faith. The breakthrough or miracle you have been waiting for or seeing in faith could be just around the corner.
We may face opposition just before we see the promise and answer come to pass. When Jesus was on the way to heal the sick daughter of the leader, Jairus, people came to tell him not to bother because the girl was already dead. Jesus refused to accept that and told them that she was not dead only sleeping. The people ridiculed him but Jesus silenced them, pressed ahead and the girl was raised up. People may ridicule you or try to stop you pressing in to what God has for you and the vision He has shown you.
When we step out in faith we are His vessels. It is the oil of His Presence and the power of the Holy Spirit flowing through us to do His good works which He prepared beforehand for us to do. The people who know their God will be strong and do mighty things. You may have people telling you opposite things to the promises of God and what God has revealed to you by His Holy Spirit. Do not listen to them and refuse to believe them. Stand on the Word of God. You may have to be bold and silence them. Fix your eyes on Christ. Lift up your head and see the King of Glory
In scripture John the Baptist said that Jesus was the one who would baptise with the Holy Spirit and fire. Tongues of fire appeared on the heads of those who first received the baptism of the Holy Spirit. I have been baptised in the Holy Spirit but I want to be on fire for Jesus. I believe this fire is purifying and empowering to enable the Holy Spirit to flow through us in power in signs and wonders to give a powerful witness to the gospel message of Christ. The Holy Spirit convicts of sin and glorifies Jesus Christ. People are saved and those who are suffering to healed and restored. Hold on to your promise and vision today and believe in faith. It will happen in His appointed time.
I felt that Jesus said the following to me this morning. I am the bread of Life. Whoever eats and drinks of Me will never hunger and thirst again. Some of My people are happy to feed on the crumbs from the table and the drips of My presence. I died so that they could feast on Me. There is everything laid up in My Kingdom -the resources of heaven which are available to My people if they would only believe. The Lord says- stop feeding on the crumbs and being satisfied with those. There is so much more of Me available says the Lord. Come and feast at My table. Realise that you are hungry. Stir up the hunger within you and do not be satisfied with the crumbs. Come and feast at My table. I have set a banqueting table before you – Come and eat and drink. There is everything available in Me. Why do you eat things which cannot satisfy you? Why do you drink things which cannot satisfy you? Eat and drink of Me. The fullness of Me. Every part of Me is available to you. My love, My truth, My grace, My freedom, My power, My Authority. It is all freely available to you. As you freely receive then freely give. Give without limits – pressed down abundant giving – for out of giving more then more can be received and overflow. Let the oil of My presence freely flow through you. The oil comes from refining through My spirit. Let Me flow through you. Do not turn the tap off. Blessings to all My children, Blessings.
The words of Isaiah 55 came again to mind. “Ho Everyone who thirsts, Come to the waters: Any of you who have no money, Come buy and eat. Yes come, buy wine and milk without money and without price. Why do you spend money for what is not bread and your wages for what does not satisfy. Listen carefully to Me and eat what is good, And let your soul delight itself in abundance.”
Later this morning our Pastor was talking about the nativity scene and what did we see when we looked at the picture. He saw Jesus lying in the manger and this was significant to him. He said Jesus is in the manger for a reason. The manger was the place of feeding for the animals- the French word “manger” to eat is the same root word. Jesus is in the manger because He is our spiritual bread and we all need to feed on Christ. He is our spiritual food. He is the gift of God freely given to us.
God wants us to be free. He is the God who sets the captives free. The God of deliverance. Jesus died and rose again so that we might live in spiritual freedom. I believe the church is entering into a season during which God is going to reveal by the power of the Holy Spirit the things in our lives or mind sets which are obstacles or hindrances to us living fully as Jesus wants us to live and doing His works. The power of the gospel working in and through us. Jesus wants to set us free from every oppressive work and lie of the enemy which is operating in our lives and restricting us. It might be fear, unbelief, guilt, lack of self-belief, un-forgiveness, trauma, depression, anxiety, sinful behaviour or addictions – there can be many things which hold us back and from stepping out in faith. Things which restrict the flow of the power of the Holy Spirit in and through us to others.
There is a word for this season from Isaiah 60 verse 1- “Arise, Shine – for your light has come and the glory of the Lord is risen upon you”. The Lord asked me -What is stopping you from rising – what is trying to stop you from doing things for me? What is stopping you from shining? What is tainting the light shining from you? In my case it was fear – fear which I didn’t even realise was there. The Lord showed me that a traumatic event in my childhood had left a mark of fear on my life. It wasn’t a gripping, completely debilitating fear which paralysed me but it still used to rise up out of the blue causing me to question and torment myself over things I had said or done. Decisions made and actions taken – Was I right or wrong. It caused me to worry about making mistakes and over analyse the decisions I had made. Thankfully the Lord set me free and healed me from this fear. Who the son sets free is free indeed – Fear no longer has a part in me because of Jesus’ finished work on the Cross and His resurrection power.
I encourage you to let the Holy Spirit reveal things which may be holding you back in this season or which may be tainting your light so you are not shining brightly for Him. Jesus wants you to be free and He alone can set you free.
Psalm 24 encourages us to open the gate and let the King of Glory, Jesus, come in. The one who is strong and mighty and mighty in battle. Gates are important places of influence and decision making. The elders gathered at the gates of the city to discuss and make decisions. Gates are opened to allow access or shut to refuse entry. This can be for protection and safety. Whoever enters through the gate brings their influence and authority with them. We all have gateways in our lives and minds. Every day we make decisions to permit or refuse things to operate in our lives and indwell our thoughts whether for good or bad . There are gateways in my home, my family, my work place, my town, my region and I want them to be opened for Christ and closed to evil. Not just a little bit open for Jesus but flung wide open. I encourage you to make a decision to swing wide the gate and let the King of Glory come into your situation whatever it is and wherever He needs to be. Trust him to help you overcome and strengthen you and bring freedom.
I believe there is power in prayer when believers come together in unity from different churches to pray about the gateways in their town. The local churches in our area did this for a season as God led us to pray at various gateways within the town. At one prayer meeting we stood on a bridge over the river which flows into and through our town. As we prayed, one of our group felt that we should all join hands and sing the words of the song “Swing wide the gate and let the King Come in” which is based on the verses in Psalm 24 and then the two people in the middle break hands and walk apart as a prophetic sign that we were opening the gate over our town to the Lord. As we did this and moved apart we looked down and a wooden gate was floating in the river and floated right underneath the bridge. We couldn’t believe our eyes at the time. The fact that a whole gate was floating down the river and that it passed just at that exact time we broke apart we believe was a heavenly sign from God. He had heard our prayers for our town and was showing us that the gate was opened. We are trusting God to bring that river of His presence into and to overflow through us in Christ Jesus so that we can bring His healing and restoring power to not only our town, but our region and nation. I encourage you to pray and believe for the same.