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John Brown :: Nehemiah 2:11-20

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I. INTRODUCTION

A. As we have said before, when faced with building or re-building the spiritual walls in our life, our home or our neighborhood, we have 2 choices:

1. We can ignore the prompting of the Holy Spirit and eventually the conviction will go away! OR

2. We can face the challenge with the Lord's strength!

B. Nehemiah decided to face the challenge and his decision contained 3 important ingredients that are necessary today if we are going to re-build successfully!

1. Investigation.

2. Cooperation.

3. Determination.

a) Let's take a look

II. Neh 2:11-20 (NKJV) So I came to Jerusalem and was there three days. 12 Then I arose in the night, I and a few men with me; I told no one what my God had put in my heart to do at Jerusalem; nor was there any animal with me, except the one on which I rode. 13 And I went out by night through the Valley Gate to the Serpent Well and the Refuse Gate, and viewed the walls of Jerusalem which were broken down and its gates which were burned with fire. 14 Then I went on to the Fountain Gate and to the King's Pool, but [there] [was] no room for the animal under me to pass. 15 So I went up in the night by the valley, and viewed the wall; then I turned back and entered by the Valley Gate, and so returned. 16 And the officials did not know where I had gone or what I had done; I had not yet told the Jews, the priests, the nobles, the officials, or the others who did the work. 17 Then I said to them, "You see the distress that we [are] in, how Jerusalem [lies] waste, and its gates are burned with fire. Come and let us build the wall of Jerusalem, that we may no longer be a reproach." 18 And I told them of the hand of my God which had been good upon me, and also of the king's words that he had spoken to me. So they said, "Let us rise up and build." Then they set their hands to [this] good [work]. 19 But when Sanballat the Horonite, Tobiah the Ammonite official, and Geshem the Arab heard [of] [it], they laughed at us and despised us, and said, "What [is] this thing that you are doing? Will you rebel against the king?" 20 So I answered them, and said to them, "The God of heaven Himself will prosper us; therefore we His servants will arise and build, but you have no heritage or right or memorial in Jerusalem."

A. INVESTIGATION

1. In this area of INVESTIGATION I want to remind you of Luke 14:27-29 (NKJV) "And whoever does not bear his cross and come after Me cannot be My disciple. 28 "For which of you, intending to build a tower, does not sit down first and count the cost, whether he has [enough] to finish [it]-- 29 "lest, after he has laid the foundation, and is not able to finish,...

2. Nehemiah was not a foolish man; he didn't under-estimate the cost!

a) He took a "tour of inspection" around the city at night.

(1) The walls were so bad in places that he had to dismount to get around!

b) He didn't "over-spiritualize" the situation.

(1) Refusing to look at the difficulties and hardships of the task.

(2) Assuming God is something that He is not or that He will do something that He has not promised to do!

c) He looked at the facts, diagnosed the problems and rose to the occasion!

(1) If I can over-spiritualize or ignore the condition of my private life or marriage or the people around me, I will never see their "broken down" condition!

(2) If I refuse to see their true condition, they will never get any better!

B. COOPERATION

1. Nehe 2:17 (NKJV) Then I said to them, "You see the distress that we [are] in, how Jerusalem [lies] waste, and its gates are burned with fire. Come and let us build the wall of Jerusalem, that we may no longer be a reproach."

a) Nehemiah knew he needed the help of God's people to be successful.

(1) It was their God and His testimony was being made a mockery of!

(2) They shared the same God. They would share they same work of re-building.

(a) If there is no unity of vision, there will be no unity of purpose!

(i) In other words, if a man or woman doesn't see things the way the Lord does, their life won't change!

(ii) If a husband and wife don't see things the way the Lord does, their marriage won't change!

(iii) And if a church is not willing to unite for the cause of Christ, it too will get lost in unimportant issues, and the work of Christ will not get done!

(3) Nehemiah was able to translate the vision; therefore they all had the same purpose - TO RE-BUILD THE WALLS TO GOD'S GLORY!

b) Nehemiah worked from a planned strategy.

(1) In Chapter 3 we will see that he divided the work among 42 groups!

(a) Each group was committed to getting their particular task done!

(b) Each group saw the "big picture" and because of that, it minimized their jealousy.

(i) They knew they needed each other, therefore they appreciated each other for the work they were able to contribute!

(c) THERE WAS NO INDEPENDENT SPIRIT!

(i) Amos 3:3 (NKJV) Can two walk together, unless they are agreed?

(ii) Levi 26:8 (NKJV) Five of you shall chase a hundred, and a hundred of you shall put ten thousand to flight; your enemies shall fall by the sword before you.

(iii) God honors only One life, and that is the life of His Son!

(a) As we are in unity with that life we are honored and blessed. WE ARE STRONG!

(b) The strength of an individual, a family or even this church, or any other church, is its unity in Christ!

(c) The minute our vision changes from God's purposes to our own private "work", our strength is gone!

(2) Nehemiah set each group to work on the wall that was nearest to their own home!

(a) People are a little more apt to do good work and build a stronger wall if it is for the security of their own family.

(i) We too, must start "re-building" the walls closest to home first!

(b) Jesus spent the first 30 years of His life "building the walls" and preparing for the ministry that was ahead of Him!

(i) We too must be men and women of prayer and devotion in private so that we will be ready when we are called to public ministry!

(c) Jesus started his ministry in Jerusalem, His home!

(i) We too must start in our homes.

(a) In all honesty, we have to start the building or re-building process in our private lives before we can even begin in our families!

(b) Then we can "branch out" into our families, then into our church, and our neighborhoods, til eventually we may be accused as was Paul, "Acts 5:28 (NKJV) saying, "Did we not strictly command you not to teach in this name? And look, you have filled Jerusalem with your doctrine..

(ii) As Christians we must endeavor to bring and "keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace" in the home. Eph 4:3

(a) Mark 3:25 (NKJV) "And if a house is divided against itself, that house cannot stand.

(b) Please keep in mind that as Christians we are all "of the same house!"

(c) The church will also not be able to stand if it is divided against itself!

C. DETERMINATION

1. Nehe 2:19 (NKJV) But when Sanballat the Horonite, Tobiah the Ammonite official, and Geshem the Arab heard [of] [it], they laughed at us and despised us, and said, "What [is] this thing that you are doing? Will you rebel against the king?"

a) It seems that there is always a Sanballat, a Tobiah, and a Geshem when we try to build something for the Lord!

(1) They're always there, like these guys, to laugh at you and discourage you.

(2) But please notice that Nehemiah was determined because his calling was behind him, not in front of him!

(3) He had settled it with the Lord! So whatever happened from that point on didn't change the calling to re-build the walls.

(a) Nehe 2:20 (NKJV) So I answered them, and said to them, "The God of heaven Himself will prosper us; therefore we His servants will arise and build, but you have no heritage or right or memorial in Jerusalem."

b) He spoke with authority, boldness, and courage to these enemies!

(1) He knew that there would be a war with these guys!

(2) He knew that the work before him was going to be hard and tedious!

(3) But he also knew that it was God's will and would not give up until the work was done!

(4) He also knew better than to listen to the counsel of these ungodly men

(a) Psal 1:1-3 (NKJV) Blessed [is] the man Who walks not in the counsel of the ungodly, Nor stands in the path of sinners, Nor sits in the seat of the scornful; 2 But his delight [is] in the law of the Lord, And in His law he meditates day and night. 3 He shall be like a tree Planted by the rivers of water, That brings forth its fruit in its season, Whose leaf also shall not wither; And whatever he does shall prosper....

III. CONCLUSION

A. Does our lives and service to the Lord contain these 3 very important ingredients?

1. Investigation, cooperation, and determination.

B. INVESTIGATION

1. Have I really accepted that my life is not my own to do with as I please?

a) My "vision" for life must line up with the Lord's if there is to be unity!

2. Have I taken a "tour of inspection" lately to see what condition my "walls" are in?

a) Is it time to re-build?

b) How about those "family walls?"

c) How about any walls in the church that I can help to re-build!

C. COOPERATION

1. There was an old song that said, "We all need somebody - to lean on."

a) Scripture puts in another way, Phil 2:2 (NKJV) fulfill my joy by being like-minded, having the same love, [being] of one accord, of one mind. Phil 2:3 [Let] nothing [be] [done] through selfish ambition or conceit, but in lowliness of mind let each esteem others better than himself. Phil 2:4 Let each of you look out not only for his own interests, but also for the interests of others.

b) The right choice in friends can make a big difference in your Christian walk!

c) They can either lead you closer to the Lord or further away.

d) They can influence you to "sin less" or cause you sin more!

e) A small group of committed Christians can do an awesome work for the Lord!

(1) 12 of them changed the world forever!

2. We must keep our eyes on the "big picture", not the petty things of this world!

a) We are stronger when we love and serve each other in Christ!

b) But if satan can get us to get our eyes off Jesus and on each other, he has won!

D. DETERMINATION

1. In spite of the enemy's attacks and accusations, are you still in the war?

a) Is your calling and election sure?

(1) Is it behind you and not determined by what the Sanballats, and Tobiahs' say?

b) Are you listening to the counsel of the enemy, who doesn't want you doing the work in the first place?

c) Are you determined to finish what God called you to do? NO MATTER WHAT!

(1) REDPATH: "There is one kind of person for whom God can do nothing; it is the person who is absolutely satisfied with what he is at this moment in the sight of God."

CONTENT DISCLAIMER:

The Blue Letter Bible ministry and the BLB Institute hold to the historical, conservative Christian faith, which includes a firm belief in the inerrancy of Scripture. Since the text and audio content provided by BLB represent a range of evangelical traditions, all of the ideas and principles conveyed in the resource materials are not necessarily affirmed, in total, by this ministry.

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