By:  Tim Chilvers

By: Tim Chilvers

Tim Chilvers is the Senior Pastor at Riverside Church.

Created On: 1 August 2021

Take Hold | S7: Light Despite The Shadows

Teaching Series Introduction:

We have a once in a generation chance. There is so much pain behind us, and so much possibility ahead. What if this is the moment? What if now is the time to throw off the past, and take hold of a future that really is different. What if now is the time to take hold of life?

TAKE HOLD: Session 7

TITLE: Light Despite The Shadows
BY: Tim Chilvers
DATE: 1 Aug 2021
BIBLE PASSAGE: Nehemiah (Chapter 13)

We are part of a much bigger story, and God is building something much bigger than us. Despite our ongoing failings, it’s so good to remember the difference that Jesus makes!

Children’s Resources:

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Youth Resources:

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Study Questions

There are three different sets of questions for you to use, whether you are exploring God’s word within your Life Group, in other group settings, or simply using them on your own. (If the below questions are blank, please know that we will be updating this blog post as soon as possible. We thank you for your patience and understanding).

A. DISCUSSION STARTERS

These are simple questions to provoke discussion together out of the talk (ideal if you are watching our Sunday Service online with others):

  1. What particularly struck you, or connected with you in Tim’s talk?

  2. Was there anything that you didn’t quite understand, or you’re not sure if you agree with in Tim’s talk?

  3. If there was one particular thing that you wanted to do or change, as a result of the talk, what would it be?

b. QUESTIONS TO EXPLORE

These are questions that are based on the talk and the surrounding themes:

  1. Have you ever been so focussed on achieving something particular, that you’ve forgotten something really important?

  2. In Nehemiah 13, we end the book on a bit of a ‘downer’. After the celebration of chapter 10-12, chapter 13 has three specific problems. What are they? (See vs 4-14; vs15-22; vs23-29) Describe the problems in your own words. 

  3. In verses 4-14, Nehemiah confronts the first problem. Read Nehemiah 2:19, 4:3-9 to give a bit of context. What did it signify to let Tobiah have a room in chapter 13? How might that apply to us today?

  4. In verses 15-22, we discover the second problem that Nehemiah needs to confront. For the follower of Jesus, do you still think the idea of having a ‘sabbath’ still applies? What impact do passages like Mark 2:24-28 have?

  5. The third challenge that Nehemiah faced is described in vs23-29. Passages like Deuteronomy 23:3-6 give a bit of background. Sadly passages like this have been misused throughout history to justify all sorts of racial separatism. What is the real danger that God wanted the Israelites to avoid? How might that apply to us today? 

  6. It seems that, just as the people are celebrating their successes in chapter 12, they took their eyes off some really important things. What might that means for you today?

  7. At the end of this Nehemiah series, take some time to pray that you be able to keep him ‘in the driving seat’ of your life and for our church.  

C. GOING DEEPER

These are questions to help you go a little deeper, by exploring the wider biblical context. 


  1. Have you ever got to the end of a project/activity and realised that you’d missed something really important? What does it feel like? 

  2. In Nehemiah chapter 13, the same is true for God’s people – after the party of chapter 10-12 there are three significant ways that they have gone wrong.  What are they? (See vs 4-14; vs15-22; vs23-29)

  3. To accompany these three problems, Nehemiah has to do something to correct each of them. What does he do? What role does ‘rebuking’ (v11,17,25) play in the life of a leader, and how might this be done well? What is the difference between ‘rebuking’ and ‘lording it over others’ (see 1 Peter 5:3)?

  4. In verses 4-14 we discover the first major problem. What is it, and why is it such a big problem (see 2:19, 4:3-9 for context)? Notice Nehemiah’s response (vs8-9). Compare this with Jesus in Luke 19:45-48. How is Nehemiah like Christ, and how do Jesus’s actions reveal that he is not just another leader like Nehemiah?  

  5. The second problem that Nehemiah faced is described in verses 15-22. For the follower of Jesus, do you still think the idea of having a ‘sabbath’ still applies? What impact do passages like Mark 2:24-28 and Hebrews 4:1-13 have?

  6. The final problem that Nehemiah needs to confront in chapter 13 is described in vs23-29. Read Deuteronomy 23:3-6 and 1Kings 11 to give a bit of background about the problem. Sadly passages like this have been misused throughout history to justify all sorts of racial separatism. What is the real danger that God wanted the Israelites to avoid? How might that apply to us today? 

  7. As you reflect on any things that you have learnt through the book of Nehemiah, what are the key lessons?

  8. Take some time to pray that you have God in the ‘driving seat’ of your life and that any lessons you’ve learned would bear fruit.

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Riverside is a church made up of people from a diversity of backgrounds and experiences all with one thing in common, our discovery of God and his amazing love. 

We are on a journey together to ‘help people get to know Jesus and grow as his followers’. 

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