Removing the Rubish
Ephe 6:11 (NKJV) Put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil. 12 For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this age, against spiritual [hosts] of wickedness in the heavenly [places].
A. Last week = talked about our common and old enemy (Satan)
1. We also talked about him using the same old tactics because they are still very effective.
2. We have seen, as with Nehemiah, that satan usually starts his opposition from the outside first, as he did with Sandbalat and Tobiah.
3. REDPATH: " . . .it is one of Satan's greatest victories when he just laughs you out of a work for God."
4. Nehe 4:2 (NKJV) And he spoke before his brethren and the army of Samaria, and said, "What are these feeble Jews doing? Will they fortify themselves? Will they offer sacrifices? Will they complete it in a day? Will they revive the stones from the heaps of rubbish--[stones] that are burned?" Nehe 4:3 Now Tobiah the Ammonite [was] beside him, and he said, "Whatever they build, if even a fox goes up [on] [it], he will break down their stone wall."
5. This morning we move to satan's second strategy = opposition from the inside!
a) You see if he can't discourage us from building or re-building by laughing and mocking us with people that are not close to us, - he will use the ones who are!
b) Let's take a look!
II. Nehe 4:10 (NKJV) Then Judah said, "The strength of the laborers is failing, and [there] [is] so much rubbish that we are not able to build the wall."
A. Nehemiah was a man called of God, commissioned by the king, and he had secured an army of helpers, yet now he is faced with tremendous discouragement.
1. Started out with great success, which was attacked on the outside by the scoffers.
2. Now, the opposition moves in a little closer!
B. Look where this discouragement comes from: JUDAH!
1. Gene 49:10 (NKJV) The scepter shall not depart from Judah, Nor a lawgiver from between his feet, Until Shiloh comes; And to Him [shall] [be] the obedience of the people.
a) Judah was the cream of the army; they were the strongest and the best!
b) They were the tribe from whence the Messiah would come; yet here they are, threatening revolt, and spreading discouragement!
(1) Nehemiah had expected it from Sanballat and his crew. Maybe even from some of his own people who were on the "fringe". But not from the strongest and the best, not from JUDAH!
(2) Nehemiah must have been discouraged! Those whom should have been sharing the burden and vision most deeply - had no vision at all!
(a) Nebuchadnezzer had completely destroyed Jerusalem during the invasion!
(b) The job of re-building was great. But, no work could be done until all the garbage was cleared and the original foundations had been exposed.
(i) Example: the "demo" work that had to be done on the new building before we could even begin construction!
(c) If the walls were built without clearing first, they would be unstable and ultimately fall again!
(d) For these men without vision that was a tedious, unglamorous, dangerous job: a waste of time!
c) 1Cor 3:10 (NKJV) 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. 1Cor 3:11. For no other foundation can anyone lay than that which is laid, which is Jesus Christ.
(1) Satan has always been trying to get us to build upon rubbish instead of the ROCK.
(2) But the Lord keeps sending men like Nehemiah to remind us to clear the rubbish first!
(a) Men like Martin Luther = back to God = Justification faith.
(b) Calvin = back to God = sovereign grace.
(c) Knox, Wesley, Moody and even Chuck Smith, saying, "Let's clear the rubbish and get back to the simplicity of God!
(i) Psal 127:1 (NKJV) Unless the Lord builds the house, They labor in vain who build it; Unless the Lord guards the city, The watchman stays awake in vain.
(d) In the church as well as in our private lives, if anything is not built upon the ROCK, it has to go!
(e) If it is not built upon the ROCK then it is built upon the "rubbish" and must be cleared so the foundation can be seen and the building process started over!
(f) This is the wood, hay, and stubble Paul was referring to in 1Cor 3:11 (NKJV) For no other foundation can anyone lay than that which is laid, which is Jesus Christ. 12 Now if anyone builds on this foundation [with] gold, silver, precious stones, wood, hay, straw, 13 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. 14 If anyone's work which he has built on [it] endures, he will receive a reward. 15 If anyone's work is burned, he will suffer loss; but he himself will be saved, yet so as through fire.
(g) Wood, hay, and stubble are rubbish. They burn!
A. satan will always try to get you and I to build upon the rubbish and miss the sure foundation!
1. Pride, unbelief, anger, temper, despondence, self-importance, evil desires, is all rubbish!
a) Sin makes a poor foundation.
2. Getting right with and serving God can't be left up to public opinion.
a) Remember JUDAH? The "cream of the army". The ones that in the past that seemed to be so spiritual and rock solid!
b) When Nehemiah needed them the most, they had neither vision nor burden for the work!
c) My bet is that it will be the "JUDAHS" in your life that will be the very ones discouraging you from the work that lies ahead.
(1) Even more that the Sanballats and Tobiahs!
(2) You see, the closer to home it is, the more discouraging!
B. REMEMBER: the rubbish has to be cleared, and the ROCK (the FOUNDATION) exposed before the re-building can begin!
1. I am going to give you a three-fold prescription for filling the spiritual dumpster!
a) #1 - Are you convinced of Roma 7:18(NKJV) For I know that in me (that is, in my flesh) nothing good dwells; for to will is present with me, but [how] to perform what is good I do not find. ?
(1) Are you convinced that if you are going to build or re-build anything that will last, it is at the cross, and only by the grace of God and by the power of His shed blood, - under the control of His holy Spirit?
(2) If we are not sure of that, the foundation will sink like wet sand.
b) #2 - We are God's temple. He built the foundation for that temple by getting rid of the rubbish!
(1) We had to admit and confess our sin and accept His forgiveness!
(2) The foundation is pure, we must endeavor to keep it that way! Sin Kills!
(3) Zech 4:6 (NKJV). . . . "This [is] the word of the Lord to Zerubbabel: `Not by might nor by power, but by My Spirit,' Says the Lord of hosts.
(4) We should be pursuing holiness yes, but there is nothing we can do to earn Heaven apart from Jesus!
c) #3 - We are CO-laborers with Christ!.
(1) 2Pet 1:5 (NKJV) But also for this very reason, giving all diligence, add to your faith virtue, to virtue knowledge, 6 to knowledge self-control, to self-control perseverance, to perseverance godliness, 7 to godliness brotherly kindness, and to brotherly kindness love.
(a) All of these must be built in His power, His strength, and with His enabling.
(b) 2Pet 1:8 (NKJV) For if these things are yours and abound, [you] [will] [be] neither barren nor unfruitful in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ.
C. Willful and intentional sin is a "veil" between you and the Lord that He Himself died to remove?
1. We can't build a decent life "on top" of it!
2. We must "clear it out" and start fresh and new as did Nehemiah!