Recognizing the Need
A. Nehemiah is a book about re-building that which is broken down!
1. It's about seeing a work that needs to be done and allowing the Holy Spirit the freedom to use us to accomplish that work.
B. There are many things, as Christians, that either need building in our lives, or re-building.
1. It could be a career, or being a parent!
2. It could be as a Sunday school teacher, a Bible study leader, or a family devotional time that needs building or re-building.
(1) For us to be effective in any area we need to know what there is a Biblical way to build and there is a carnal way to build.
3. As we get involved in the task, it can be a wonderful, fulfilling experience or:
4. We can end up feeling inadequate, worthless, and frustrated to the point of never wanting to "get involved" again!
a) That is where studying Nehemiah and his success at re-building the walls around Jerusalem can be of great benefit to us.
C. God's greatest purposes can only be achieved in us inasmuch as we are willing to do things HIS way!
a) John 5:30 (NKJV) "I can of Myself do nothing. As I hear, I judge; and My judgment is righteous, because I do not seek My own will but the will of the Father who sent Me.
D. The book of Nehemiah gives us tremendous insight into the Biblical principles of re-building that which is broken down.
II. A LITTLE BACKGROUND
A. Nehemiah is a book of history like Ezra.
1. In fact, Nehemiah, Ezra, and Ester are of more recent date that all of the 17 historical books!
a) The first 6 Chapters of Nehemiah deal with the re-construction of the walls around Jerusalem, and the last 7 deal with the re-instruction of the people about the ways of God!
B. As you may remember, God's people have just spent 70 years in Babylon as slaves.
1. 50 thousand returned to Jerusalem to start over!
2. They were met with great opposition as they began to rebuild the Temple.
3. With only the foundation laid, they gave up and began to settle into their own homes and forget what the Lord wanted built.
a) Hagg 1:1-7 (NKJV) In the second year of King Darius, in the sixth month, on the first day of the month, the word of the Lord came by Haggai the prophet to Zerubbabel the son of Shealtiel, governor of Judah, and to Joshua the son of Jehozadak, the high priest, saying, "Thus speaks the Lord of hosts, saying: `This people says, "The time has not come, the time that the Lord's house should be built." ' " Then the word of the Lord came by Haggai the prophet, saying, "[Is] [it] time for you yourselves to dwell in your paneled houses, and this temple [to] [lie] in ruins?" Now therefore, thus says the Lord of hosts: "Consider your ways! "You have sown much, and bring in little; You eat, but do not have enough; You drink, but you are not filled with drink; You clothe yourselves, but no one is warm; And he who earns wages, Earns wages [to] [put] into a bag with holes." . . .
4. It has been more than 90 years since the first group returned and built the foundation for the Temple and the walls around Jerusalem remain desolate
a) The people are vulnerable to attack on every side and are kind of a "laughing stock" to everyone.
(1) You see the walls around a city stood for strength and protection.
(2) God needed someone who would be willing to rise to the occasion. Someone dedicated enough to even ask the Lord how He wanted him involved!
(a) That man was Nehemiah!
III. Nehe 1:1 (NKJV) The words of Nehemiah the son of Hachaliah. It came to pass in the month of Chislev, (November December) [in] the twentieth year, (of King Artaxerxes 445 BC) as I was in Shushan the citadel, 2 that Hanani one of my brethren came with men from Judah; and I asked them concerning the Jews who had escaped, who had survived the captivity, and concerning Jerusalem. 3 And they said to me, "The survivors who are left from the captivity in the province [are] there in great distress and reproach. The wall of Jerusalem [is] also broken down, and its gates [are] [burned] with fire." 4 So it was, when I heard these words, that I sat down and wept, and mourned [for] [many] days; I was fasting and praying before the God of heaven. 5 And I said: "I pray, Lord God of heaven, O great and awesome God, [You] who keep [Your] covenant and mercy with those who love You and observe Your commandments, 6 "please let Your ear be attentive and Your eyes open, that You may hear the prayer of Your servant which I pray before You now, day and night, for the children of Israel Your servants, and confess the sins of the children of Israel which we have sinned against You. Both my father's house and I have sinned. 7 "We have acted very corruptly against You, and have not kept the commandments, the statutes, nor the ordinances which You commanded Your servant Moses. 8 "Remember, I pray, the word that You commanded Your servant Moses, saying, `[If] you are unfaithful, I will scatter you among the nations; 9 `but [if] you return to Me, and keep My commandments and do them, though some of you were cast out to the farthest part of the heavens, [yet] I will gather them from there, and bring them to the place which I have chosen as a dwelling for My name.' 10 "Now these [are] Your servants and Your people, whom You have redeemed by Your great power, and by Your strong hand. 11 "O Lord, I pray, please let Your ear be attentive to the prayer of Your servant, and to the prayer of Your servants who desire to fear Your name; and let Your servant prosper this day, I pray, and grant him mercy in the sight of this man." For I was the king's cupbearer.
A. What does this have to do with me? (Modern applications)
1. Every Christian needs to keep the walls in good repair around the city if his/her soul!
a) Perhaps at one time our relationship with the Lord was strong and wonderful.
b) But, often those walls begin to fall into disrepair, and when they do we are very vulnerable to attack from the enemy!
c) Not only are we at risk, but so are our families.
d) Perhaps you are sitting here this morning and the walls have been broken down for a long time!
(a) Maybe this is the morning you begin repairs.
(b) As with Nehemiah, the first step is allowing your heart to be broken!
(c) The next step is asking the Lord, "What do you want me to do?"
2. There is a wall to be built, and a testimony to be erected around the church!
a) We have finished the physical walls here at Calvary Chapel Central, but there are many spiritual walls that need to be built and re-built!
b) There are still many within a block of this place that are dying without Jesus.
c) There are still needs in our own church family that are going unmet.
d) There is still an even greater vision for Calvary Chapel Central that we are yet to accomplish.
(1) And all of our prayers should be that we would so greatly affect this part of town for the Lord that the whole area will be changed forever!
3. On a global scale, there is a witness and a wall of testimony to be built around the world for the Lord!
a) You see, 27th Ave. and Glendale is just our little "Jerusalem."
(1) How will Christians change a lost and dying world if we don't start rebuilding the walls that have fallen down?
(a) First in our own heart, then in our church, then in "Judea and the outermost parts of the world."
b) But, as Alan Redpath says, "There is no winning without warfare: there is no opportunity without opposition: there is no victory without vigilance."
c) "Every time God's people say, Let us arise and build,' satan says, Let me arise and oppose.'"
B. Please notice Nehemiah's preparation to re-build.
1. He left a significant career as cupbearer to the king!
a) He was able to do that because deep down in his heart, his interests were not for the Persian Empire or being rich or influential.
b) His heart was for God's purposes and God's people!
(1) When the Lord revealed His purposes for His people and how short they had fallen, it grieved Nehemiah's heart! Vrs 3-4
(2) But Nehemiah took it one step further, he let it change his outlook and even his actions!
(3) Now, one might say, "Well that was Nehemiah. How do we know if that is God's will for every Christian?"
(4) Well, Jesus is our ultimate example, and years later He would look out over Jerusalem, and weep because of the condition of His people!
2. I believe that we as Christians, must allow our hearts to be broken as we look out at the lost and dying!
a) Where will the church be in a few years if there are not a few of us who like Nehemiah, are willing to say, "Come, let us rise and build!"
(1) Murder is on the increase, rape is on the rise, incest is escallating, most Americans feel unsafe even in their own homes, yet I have to bring us back to the words of Haggai the prophet!
(a) "Thus speaks the Lord of hosts, saying: `This people says, "The time has not come, the time that the Lord's house should be built." ' " Then the word of the Lord came by Haggai the prophet, saying, "[Is] [it] time for you yourselves to dwell in your paneled houses, and this temple [to] [lie] in ruins?"
(b) It is definitely time for us to ask the Lord what needs to be built or re-built!
A. Are you and I willing to ask the Lord to give us eyes to see the need as He does!
1. Are we willing to honestly ask what need to be built or re-built?
2. We must be willing to see and face the walls that are broken down first in our own lives, then in the lives of God's people!
3. We must get alone with the Lord and morn over the wickedness of the human heart! (Mostly our own!)
4. I've got a question for you. When you look out at people, do you see them as a miserable bunch who never do anything right, or do you see them as victims
a) Matt 9:36 (NKJV) But when He saw the multitudes, He was moved with compassion for them, because they were weary and scattered, like sheep having no shepherd.
b) Luke 23:34 (NKJV) Then Jesus said, "Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they do." And they divided His garments and cast lots.
c) LET US ARISE AND BUILD!