Scripture: Nehemiah 7:1-73a
The truth that there will be a future division between believers and non-believers can make us uncomfortable. Reread Revelation 20:11-15. How does this passage affect you as a believer? How does it stir your heart when you think of those around you who are not believers?
The Scripture is also clear that present division is part of how God will establish his people (Luke 12:49-53, 1 Corinthians 11:19, Matthew 18:17). How have you seen this play out in your family, church, or elsewhere? Can you think of a time when division was clarifying for you?
God’s people should be distinct from the world and clearly identifiable. Do people you work with or in your neighborhood know that you are a Christian? How can you move towards being more distinctive? With whom do you need to take a risk and share the gospel?
If you are a believer and have not identified with Christ in baptism, consider why not. What is holding you back from taking that step? Ask God to humble you and give you courage to be obedient in this area.
Now that the wall around Jerusalem has been restored, God prompts Nehemiah to create a record of those who are present and committed to the work at hand. This is how he will establish and mobilize his people.
After the census, both the leaders and all of the people give towards God’s work. In the same way, we should be fully committed with our money, time, and energy to the local church.
Scripture is clear that at a future time, Jesus will divide and separate his people from the rest of the world. Those who trust in his work of redemption will be included, and all others will be excluded.
God also uses division throughout Scripture and in our present time to create boundaries and carve out a people for himself. This is why we practice church membership. It’s important to know who is fully vested and committed to God’s work.
As God’s people, we should be clearly distinctive from the world. Those around us should see that something is different in the way we live and how we are motivated. We embrace this distinctive identity by following Jesus and committing to the work of discipleship.