Sunday, August 10, 2014

The Gates in the Wall

Jerusalem wall gates

Reading: Nehemiah 3

Nehemiah wept over the broken wall of Jerusalem (2:1-3) then he called on the people –”Let us rise up and build” (v.18). Now we see in Chapter 3 what they built and how it applies to us today. We shall concentrate on the gates in the wall.

There is no overemphasizing the need for us today to build a spiritual wall around us. Every child of God needs to build a spiritual wall round himself for two reasons:

  1. For Protection: This will keep the outsiders out and protect us from sneaky attacks of the enemy. 
  2. For Separation: This will also keep the insiders in. This would cut down upon the growing worldliness of the Christians who had been associating freely with the surrounding unbelievers. Do not get me wrong – except we associate with the unbelievers we cannot win them to Christ but this is not the type of association I am talking about here. We should be in the world but not of the world.

The wall of Jerusalem had TEN gates and the names of these gates are in themselves a beautiful summary of the Christian life.

1. The Sheep Gate (Verse 1): This speaks of the Cross (John 10:11). This talks of salvation. It is the only Way to God.

2. The Fish Gate (Verse 2): This speaks of Soul-winning (Matthew 4:19). This is reminiscent of witnessing. So after salvation, we need to be soul-winners.

3. The Old Gate (also called Jeshanah Gate, NIV- Verse 6): This speaks of our Old Nature which needs to be starved and crucified. Paul wrote extensively of this in Romans 6:6 – Our old nature is crucified with Him on the Cross. There is the need for us to take good care of this gate. It is still with us. Let us daily re-crucify it.

Read More: The New Nature of the Christian

4. The Valley Gate (Verse 13): This speaks of our testing and suffering. The Bible talks of the valley of death. We now talk of mountain top experience and valley experience. We naturally do not want this gate in our lives but God has in His wisdom put it there. In Second Timothy 2:3 and 3:12 we see how suffering is an integral part of our Christian life. Let us see Second Corinthians 1:3-6: “Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our tribulation, that we may be able to comfort those who are in any trouble, with the comfort with which we ourselves are comforted by God. For as the sufferings of Christ abound in us, so our consolation also abounds through Christ. Now if we are afflicted, it is for your consolation and salvation, which is effective for enduring the same sufferings which we also suffer. Or if we are comforted, it is for your consolation and salvation.” We need the valley gate and if ours is broken down, there is the need to rebuild it.

5. The Dung/Refuse Gate (Verse 14):  This speaks of the works of the flesh; Waste and refuse before God. This speaks of our failures and things we don’t really want to talk about. There is the need for us to be reminded of the works of the flesh. In Romans 7:18, Paul writes –”In me that is in my flesh, there is nothing good” Let us also remind ourselves of this as it is in Galatians 5:16-21: “I say then: Walk in the Spirit, and you shall not fulfill the lust of the flesh. For the flesh lusts against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh; and these are contrary to one another, so that you do not do the things that you wish. But if you are led by the Spirit, you are not under the law. Now the works of the flesh are evident, which are: adultery, fornication, uncleanness, lewdness, idolatry, sorcery, hatred, contentions, jealousies, outbursts of wrath, selfish ambitions, dissensions, heresies, envy, murders, drunkenness, revelries, and the like; of which I tell you beforehand, just as I also told you in time past, that those who practice such things will not inherit the kingdom of God.” (NKJV)  We do not like this gate but it is very essential in our lives.

6. The Fountain Gate (Verse 15): This speaks of the Holy Spirit. If Paul was surprised to hear the Ephesian Elders say; “we have not so much as heard whether there be any Holy Spirit” (Acts 19:2); the Son of God and the Father  Himself must be saddened today by the shabby treatment Christians today mete out to the Third Person of the Trinity. Jesus Himself invited all believers to a full share of the Holy Spirit. Let us read it together in John 7:37 – 39: “On the last day, that great day of the feast, Jesus stood and cried out, saying, “If anyone thirsts, let him come to Me and drink.  He who believes in Me, as the Scripture has said, out of his heart will flow rivers of living water.”  But this He spoke concerning the Spirit, whom those believing in Him would receive; for the Holy Spirit was not yet given, because Jesus was not yet glorified.”- We very much need to have this gate repaired again. See also First Corinthians 3:16-17: “Do you not know that you are the temple of God and that the Spirit of God dwells in you? If anyone defiles the temple of God, God will destroy him. For the temple of God is holy, which temple you are.” 

7. The Water Gate (Verse 26): This has nothing to do with the Watergate Scandal that tossed the presidency out of Nixon in 1974. This speaks of the Word of God.  If the Americans had had the Biblical Watergate – there wouldn’t have been the Washington D.C. Watergate. We, Christians today need to repair the Water Gate in our lives. We need to study the word of God to show ourselves approved – “a workman who should not be ashamed, rightly dividing the word.” Second Timothy 2:15. The important thing we need today is the Word of God. Let us also see John 4:10-14: “Jesus answered and said to her, “If you knew the gift of God, and who it is who says to you, ‘Give Me a drink,’ you would have asked Him, and He would have given you living water.”   The woman said to Him, “Sir, You have nothing to draw with, and the well is deep. Where then do You get that living water? Are You greater than our father Jacob, who gave us the well, and drank from it himself, as well as his sons and his livestock?”  Jesus answered and said to her, “Whoever drinks of this water will thirst again, but whoever drinks of the water that I shall give him will never thirst. But the water that I shall give him will become in him a fountain Second water springing up into everlasting life.”  

8. The Horse Gate (Verse 28): This speaks of the believer’s power for the Spiritual warfare. Horses were used for warfare and an army is as strong as its horses. We are to realize that we are in warfare. In Ephesians 6:10-17, Paul reminds us that our warfare is not with flesh and blood but with Spiritual wickedness. The need therefore for us to put on the whole armour of God. In First Corinthians 9:26, Paul outlines for us how to be about this warfare, not beating the air or shadow-boxing but aim at the target. Today many Christians rather romance and play with the enemy than fight it. There is the need for us to return and repair the Horse gate for there is a fight to be fought and a race to be run – there are dangers to meet by the way. We need the Horse Gate.

 9. The East Gate (Verse 29): This speaks of the Return of Christ.  Let us read about it in Ezekiel 43:1-2: “Afterward he brought me to the gate, the gate that faces toward the east.  And behold, the glory of the God of Israel came from the way of the east. His voice was like the sound of many waters; and the earth shone with His glory.” (NKJV)  Sure enough Jesus will return to take His own and judge the unbelieving world. The early Christians lived in expectation of the return of the Lord. Paul writing to the Romans said: “And do this, knowing the time, that now it is high time to awake out of sleep; for now our salvation is nearer than when we first believed. The night is far spent, the day is at hand. Therefore let us cast off the works of darkness, and let us put on the armour of light.” (Romans 13: 11-12) The return of the Lord is nearer now than when we believed. Are you expecting the return of the Lord? Are you prepared? Blessed is that servant whom the Master will find waiting when He comes. We need to have this gate repaired.
10. The Miphkad Gate (Verse 31): This is also called in the Revised Standard Version, the Muster Gate and in the New International Version -The Inspection Gate. This speaks of the great assembly before the Judgment Seat of Christ. There is a great need for us to pay very great attention to this almost neglected gate. If the rapture is as soon as most Christians now believe, this gate will soon have a bee-hive of activities. It is therefore necessary that we pay close attention to First Corinthians 3:9-15:  “For we are God’s fellow workers; you are God’s field, you are God’s building. According to the grace of God which was given to me, as a wise master builder I have laid the foundation, and another builds on it. But let each one take heed how he builds on it. For no other foundation can anyone lay than that which is laid, which is Jesus Christ. Now if anyone builds on this foundation with gold, silver, precious stones, wood, hay, straw, each one’s work will become clear; for the Day will declare it, because it will be revealed by fire; and the fire will test each one’s work, of what sort it is. If anyone’s work which he has built on it endures, he will receive a reward. If anyone’s work is burned, he will suffer loss; but he himself will be saved, yet so as through fire.” and  Second Corinthians 5:10-11: “For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, that each one may receive the things done in the body, according to what he has done, whether good or bad. Knowing, therefore, the terror of the Lord, we persuade men; but we are well known to God, and I also trust are well known in your consciences.”(NKJV)

We have looked at these Ten Gates in the wall of Jerusalem and vis-a-vis its application to the life of the Christian. Some of them as in Jerusalem before the return of Nehemiah are broken down and burned. There is the need for us to rebuild and use them.

God help and bless you as you consider this.

No comments:

Post a Comment