A. Last week in our study of Nehemiah we talked about the tremendous freedom we have in Christ!
1. In fact, the title was "Liberty or Bondage?"
2. Paul tells us in 1Cor 6:12 (NKJV) All things are lawful for me, but all things are not helpful. All things are lawful for me, but I will not be brought under the power of any.
3. Gala 5:1 (NKJV) Stand fast therefore in the liberty by which Christ has made us free, and do not be entangled again with a yoke of bondage.
a) If you remember, Nehemiah was faced with tremendous temptation to compromise his work and testimony for the Lord by "doing as all the other rulers had done:"
(1) He could have simply "overlooked" the high taxes, bondage, and slavery for his own gain, BUT HE DIDN'T!
b) Thank God for His grace and forgiveness when we sin, but they should not be excuses for sin!
(1) We must always keep in mind that David said in Psalm 51 "Obedience is better than sacrifice"!
(2) It is much better if we simply do what the Lord asks us to do, rather that having to repent all the time for sins we know are wrong to begin with!
(3) Nehemiah simply did what he was supposed to do as a Godly man and leader!
B. This morning, in our study, the crew completes the wall!
1. We will look at "why" Nehemiah succeeded in the re-building!
2. We will also study 3 more tactics enemy used against him to try and stop the wall's completion.
II. NEHE 6:1 (NKJV) NOW IT HAPPENED WHEN SANBALLAT, TOBIAH, GESHEM THE ARAB, AND THE REST OF OUR ENEMIES HEARD THAT I HAD REBUILT THE WALL, AND [THAT] THERE WERE NO BREAKS LEFT IN IT (THOUGH AT THAT TIME I HAD NOT HUNG THE DOORS IN THE GATES), 2 THAT SANBALLAT AND GESHEM SENT TO ME, SAYING, "COME, LET US MEET TOGETHER AMONG THE VILLAGES IN THE PLAIN OF ONO." BUT THEY THOUGHT TO DO ME HARM. 3 SO I SENT MESSENGERS TO THEM, SAYING, "I [AM] DOING A GREAT WORK, SO THAT I CANNOT COME DOWN. WHY SHOULD THE WORK CEASE WHILE I LEAVE IT AND GO DOWN TO YOU?" 4 BUT THEY SENT ME THIS MESSAGE FOUR TIMES, AND I ANSWERED THEM IN THE SAME MANNER. 5 THEN SANBALLAT SENT HIS SERVANT TO ME AS BEFORE, THE FIFTH TIME, WITH AN OPEN LETTER IN HIS HAND. 6 IN IT [WAS] WRITTEN: IT IS REPORTED AMONG THE NATIONS, AND GESHEM SAYS, [THAT] YOU AND THE JEWS PLAN TO REBEL; THEREFORE, ACCORDING TO THESE RUMORS, YOU ARE REBUILDING THE WALL, THAT YOU MAY BE THEIR KING. 7 AND YOU HAVE ALSO APPOINTED PROPHETS TO PROCLAIM CONCERNING YOU AT JERUSALEM, SAYING, `[THERE] [IS] A KING IN JUDAH!' NOW THESE MATTERS WILL BE REPORTED TO THE KING. SO COME, THEREFORE, AND LET US CONSULT TOGETHER. 8 THEN I SENT TO HIM, SAYING, "NO SUCH THINGS AS YOU SAY ARE BEING DONE, BUT YOU INVENT THEM IN YOUR OWN HEART." 9 FOR THEY ALL [WERE] [TRYING] [TO] MAKE US AFRAID, SAYING, "THEIR HANDS WILL BE WEAKENED IN THE WORK, AND IT WILL NOT BE DONE." NOW THEREFORE, [O] [GOD], STRENGTHEN MY HANDS. 10 AFTERWARD I CAME TO THE HOUSE OF SHEMAIAH THE SON OF DELAIAH, THE SON OF MEHETABEL, WHO [WAS] A SECRET INFORMER; AND HE SAID, "LET US MEET TOGETHER IN THE HOUSE OF GOD, WITHIN THE TEMPLE, AND LET US CLOSE THE DOORS OF THE TEMPLE, FOR THEY ARE COMING TO KILL YOU; INDEED, AT NIGHT THEY WILL COME TO KILL YOU." 11 AND I SAID, "SHOULD SUCH A MAN AS I FLEE? AND WHO [IS] [THERE] SUCH AS I WHO WOULD GO INTO THE TEMPLE TO SAVE HIS LIFE? I WILL NOT GO IN!" 12 THEN I PERCEIVED THAT GOD HAD NOT SENT HIM AT ALL, BUT THAT HE PRONOUNCED [THIS] PROPHECY AGAINST ME BECAUSE TOBIAH AND SANBALLAT HAD HIRED HIM. 13 FOR THIS REASON HE [WAS] HIRED, THAT I SHOULD BE AFRAID AND ACT THAT WAY AND SIN, SO [THAT] THEY MIGHT HAVE [CAUSE] FOR AN EVIL REPORT, THAT THEY MIGHT REPROACH ME. 14 MY GOD, REMEMBER TOBIAH AND SANBALLAT, ACCORDING TO THESE THEIR WORKS, AND THE PROPHETESS NOADIAH AND THE REST OF THE PROPHETS WHO WOULD HAVE MADE ME AFRAID. 15 SO THE WALL WAS FINISHED ON THE TWENTY-FIFTH [DAY] OF ELUL, IN FIFTY-TWO DAYS. 16 AND IT HAPPENED, WHEN ALL OUR ENEMIES HEARD [OF] [IT], AND ALL THE NATIONS AROUND US SAW [THESE] [THINGS], THAT THEY WERE VERY DISHEARTENED IN THEIR OWN EYES; FOR THEY PERCEIVED THAT THIS WORK WAS DONE BY OUR GOD. 17 ALSO IN THOSE DAYS THE NOBLES OF JUDAH SENT MANY LETTERS TO TOBIAH, AND [THE] [LETTERS] [OF] TOBIAH CAME TO THEM. 18 FOR MANY IN JUDAH WERE PLEDGED TO HIM, BECAUSE HE WAS THE SON-IN-LAW OF SHECHANIAH THE SON OF ARAH, AND HIS SON JEHOHANAN HAD MARRIED THE DAUGHTER OF MESHULLAM THE SON OF BERECHIAH. 19 ALSO THEY REPORTED HIS GOOD DEEDS BEFORE ME, AND REPORTED MY WORDS TO HIM. TOBIAH SENT LETTERS TO FRIGHTEN ME.
A. The reason for Nehemiah's success is two-fold:
1. The first reason: Nehe 6:16 (NKJV) And it happened, when all our enemies heard [of] [it], and all the nations around us saw [these] [things], that they were very disheartened in their own eyes; for they perceived that this work was done by our God.
a) It was God's work! It was God's will! And Nehemiah gave credit where it was due!
b) So many times as Christians we begin a work, then ask the Lord to bless it!
(1) But it is not our "job" to initiate programs for the Lord.
(2) The Lord is the "initiator" we are the "responders".
(3) Nehemiah let the Lord initiate and he responded with human cooperation!
(4) The Lord uses human perspiration to accomplish Divine inspiration.
(5) But, a work started with human perspiration alone will smell all the way through!
B. The 2nd reason for Nehemiah's success was his unreserved human cooperation!
1. Nehemiah had an "all out" "full-throttle" "uncompromising" willingness to not get distracted from the job at hand!
a) That is the focus of our teaching this morning!
III. WHAT GIVES A CHRISTIAN THE DETERMINATION TO RESIST THE ATTACKS AND FINISH THE WALL AT ALL COSTS?
A. In our study, the wall is almost complete.
1. The enemy's attacks are becoming more fierce and even more dangerous because they are more subtle that ever!
a) 1Pet 5:8 (NKJV) Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil walks about like a roaring lion, seeking whom he may devour.
b) 2Cor 11:13 (NKJV) For such [are] false apostles, deceitful workers, transforming themselves into apostles of Christ.
c) Please notice that 1Peter describes satan's character, while 2Corinthians tell of his methods!
(1) Please understand that it is when satan is in his "angel suit" that he is the most dangerous because he is harder to detect!
(2) Let's take a look at the first attack in this chapter!
B. Nehe 6:2 (NKJV) that Sanballat and Geshem sent to me, saying, "Come, let us meet together among the villages in the plain of Ono." But they thought to do me harm.
1. We will call this first attack of chapter 6, "Compromise with the world!"
a) Nehemiah 6:7b . . . . Come now therefore, and let us take counsel together.
(1) Psalm 1:1 Blessed is the man who walks not in the counsel of the ungodly,
b) Nehemiah couldn't talk with them and work on the wall. He would have had to compromise!
(1) He would have had to give up the "greater" to do the "lesser."
c) The world is always saying, "You've done your part, take a break, Come down and let's talk!"
d) Nehemiah was a fanatic, determined to finish this wall with all the human "perspiration" he could muster.
(1) The world, and some Christians are very uncomfortable with this kind of committed determination to complete any work of the Lord!
C. Nehe 6:5-7 (NKJV) Then Sanballat sent his servant to me as before, the fifth time, with an open letter in his hand. Nehe 6:6 In it [was] written: It is reported among the nations, and Geshem says, [that] you and the Jews plan to rebel; therefore, according to these rumors, you are rebuilding the wall, that you may be their king. Nehe 6:7 And you have also appointed prophets to proclaim concerning you at Jerusalem, saying, `[There] [is] a king in Judah!' Now these matters will be reported to the king. So come, therefore, and let us consult together.
1. We will call this second attack "False accusation and slander."
2. The "detractors" accused Nehemiah of being self-seeking, re-building the wall for his own purposes, and that he planned to set up his own kingdom!
3. b. It is sad, but when people can't get a Christian leader to compromise and do things their way, they often resort to slander.
a) Jame 3:6 (NKJV) And the tongue [is] a fire, a world of iniquity. The tongue is so set among our members that it defiles the whole body, and sets on fire the course of nature; and it is set on fire by hell.
b) If you have decided to be uncompromising in the things of the Lord you will be talked about, by family and friends as well as the world!
D. Nehe 6:10 (NKJV) Afterward I came to the house of Shemaiah the son of Delaiah, the son of Mehetabel, who [was] a secret informer; and he said, "Let us meet together in the house of God, within the temple, and let us close the doors of the temple, for they are coming to kill you; indeed, at night they will come to kill you."
1. And finally attack #3 which we will call, "The wolf in sheep's clothing."
a) Shemaiah claimed to be a prophet of the same God you and I serve!
b) Yet, he urges Nehemiah to shut himself up inside the Temple so as not to be killed.
(1) What Shemaiah was trying to get him to do was allowed only for the priests!
(2) Nehemiah's testimony would have been ruined if he had listened to him!
(3) Not to mention the strategic disadvantage that would have put him in.
(a) How could he lead and build from inside the Temple?
c) How subtle the enemy is to use one of the "prophets", someone Nehemiah thought to be "safe" and trustworthy, if you will, to get him to compromise!
(1) Even amongst Christians, there are those who are in "communication" with the enemy like Shemiah was with Sanballat and Tobiah!
(a) Many are willing to compromise a work for the Lord and a man of God for some personal benefit or gain!
(b) Sometimes that person is right in your own household!
(i) Matt 10:34 (NKJV) "Do not think that I came to bring peace on earth. I did not come to bring peace but a sword. Matt 10:35 "For I have come to `set a man against his father, a daughter against her mother, and a daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law'; Matt 10:36 "and `a man's enemies will be those of his [own] household.' Matt 10:37 "He who loves father or mother more than Me is not worthy of Me. And he who loves son or daughter more than Me is not worthy of Me.
(ii) It is very unfortunate when one spouse convinces the other to compromise in their commitment or service to the Lord out of their own convenience or fear!
(i) "Honey you spend too much time serving the Lord, I need you home 24-7."
(ii) Or how about, "I don't want you to go to the retreat, who will help me with the kids?"
(iii) As God's children, we need to seek His balance for home and service!
(iii) Notice also it was at a time when Nehemiah could have been very fearful for his own life!
A. Let's look at how Nehemiah handled the attacks!
1. With the first attack of chapter 6, "Compromise with the world!" he said:
a) Nehe 6:3 . . . I sent messengers to them, saying, "I [am] doing a great work, so that I cannot come down. Why should the work cease while I leave it and go down to you?"
b) He was sure in his calling, every thing else was a distraction!
2. With the second attack "False accusation and slander."
a) He faced it with direct and open denial!
b) Nehe 6:8 (NKJV) Then I sent to him, saying, "No such things as you say are being done, but you invent them in your own heart."
3. And finally, with attack #3 "The wolf in sheep's clothing":
a) Because of Nehemiah's close relationship with the Holy Spirit, he was able to see the "wolf in sheep's clothing."
b) Nehe 6:12 (NKJV) Then I perceived that God had not sent him at all, but that he pronounced [this] prophecy against me because Tobiah and Sanballat had hired him.
c) He faced the scandal and fear tactics with defiance!
(1) Nehe 6:11 (NKJV) And I said, "Should such a man as I flee? And who [is] [there] such as I who would go into the temple to save his life? I will not go in!"
4. Nehemiah refused to "come down" and interrupt the work for the Lord!
a) He reminds me of another, even greater man!
(1) This was said to Jesus as He hung on the cross!
(2) Matt 27:40 (NKJV) . . . . "You who destroy the temple and build [it] in three days, save Yourself! If You are the Son of God, come down from the cross."
(3) Jesus also refused to come down. He too was doing a great work!
(a) His compromise would have meant our death!
(b) They slandered Him also, as a winebibber, a gluttonous man, and friend of sinners!
(i) Nehemiah was able to say in Nehe 6:15 So the wall was finished . . . in fifty-two days.
(a) Jesus was able to say in John 19:30 . . . "It is finished!" but He did it in 3 days!