Presentation on theme: "Lessons From The Book Of Nehemiah"— Presentation transcript:
1 Lessons From The Book Of Nehemiah Hand Me Another BrickLessons From The Book Of Nehemiah
2 “Then I said to them, "You see the trouble we are in, how Jerusalem lies in ruins with its gates burned. Come, let us build the wall of Jerusalem, that we may no longer suffer derision." And I told them of the hand of my God that had been upon me for good, and also of the words that the king had spoken to me. And they said, "Let us rise up and build." So they strengthened their hands for the good work.”(Nehemiah 2:17-18)
4 Builder Principles From Nehemiah Nehemiah was a builder who cared:A closer look at Nehemiah’s situation (1:1, 11)Two waves of returns – Zerubbabel rebuilt the temple and Ezra restored worship. He is still in captivity in Persia working as the king’s cupbearerNot just a butler or waiter. He tasted food to prevent poisoning. If its poisoned… bye-bye Nehemiah!Not seen as a slave – A close personal relationship. Often an advisor to the king. An important man!Much work has gone on in Israel and life was returning to normal, but the walls were still broken & burned
5 Builder Principles From Nehemiah Nehemiah was a builder who cared:Nehemiah receives news about Jerusalem that breaks his heart & crushes his spirit (1:2-4)He didn’t succumb to promotion erosion and get lost in pride… He still cared and had a selfless loveNehemiah asks what’s going on… Truly concernedTwo bits of bad news (1) Walls are down, so no protection (2) People are in distress & reproachNehemiah deep care is visible – He sits down, weeps, and fasts for many days. Possibly for 3 months!
6 Builder Principles From Nehemiah Nehemiah was a builder who cared:His care and thoughtfulness is consistent throughout this work effort:Some were upset because they knew he was there to seek the well being of the people (2:10)His passion was contagious… others cared (2:17-18)He moves among the people working with them (3)He armed people when they were afraid (4:15-18)He got involved in helping needy people (5)He cared about truth and righteousness, getting personally involved in enforcing it (13)He was no super-Jew, he wasn’t a prophet, and he didn’t work miracles. He was a normal guy. His power came from his love for God & others!
7 Builder Principles From Nehemiah Nehemiah was a builder who cared:When the walls of our spiritual lives, our relationships with others, and this church are in need of repair, do we care? (2 Cor 11:38; Rev 3:16)Are we too preoccupied to see problems?Are we broken to the point of taking any action?
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9 Builder Principles From Nehemiah Nehemiah was a builder from the knees up:Another way he showed his care was by hitting his knees in prayer (Neh. 1:4, 11)Vs 5ff records a prayer of his, but he didn’t pray once and be done. He “continued fasting and praying”This goes on for months – he is a very prayerful manWhen prayer and fasting are put together, we can know it’s a more intense and focused time of prayerHe believes in prayer… he knows its power. The way he prays immediately shows it was a habit in his life.
10 Builder Principles From Nehemiah Nehemiah was a builder from the knees up:Powerful prayer! Notice how he prayed (1:5-11)He praises God and recognizes God’s faithfulness… The problem wasn’t God’s, God kept His covenant!He takes personal responsibility for the problem… He includes himself in his confession. No blame.He embraces the promises of God and lays claim to them. He bases his hope and his action on them.He finishes his prayer by taking personal responsibility for the solution as well. He was God’s man.
11 Builder Principles From Nehemiah Nehemiah was a builder from the knees up:Prayer continued to play a central in his work. Most were short “in the moment prayers”Before making his request of the king (2:4-5)When being taunted – protection & justice (4:4-5)When “The Three Stinkbugs” caused problems, he fought back with prayer (4:9)When some frightened him with false accusations to the king, he prayed for strength (6:9)Prayed for God’s vengeance against those who purposefully defiled their religion (13:29)Often prayed “God remember me” (5:9; 13:14, 22, 31)
12 Builder Principles From Nehemiah Nehemiah was a builder from the knees up:God’s spiritual brick masons understand all the bricks are held together by prayer! (1 Th 5:16-18)In order to be a builder, we have to be people of prayerPrayer permeates all aspects of our lives and all the moments of our days.Four things prayer will do for us:Makes me wait for God, increasing my patienceClears my vision, so I see things as they really areQuiets my heart, replacing anxiety with peaceActivates my faith, putting my trust into action
13 “Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus” (Philippians 4:6-7)
14 Builder Principles From Nehemiah He was a builder who arose to action:His concern & prayers mattered, but he matched that by being willing to get involved (1:11)Took personal responsibility for the problem… now he’s taking personal responsibility for the solutionWas Nehemiah doubting God’s power to fix things? No! Why not just leave the matter in God’s hands?No doubt in what God could do, in fact, even greater faith is shown by his willingness to volunteerHe understood that God often used men and women to carry out His will and answer prayers… people who are willing to be God’s vessels
15 Builder Principles From Nehemiah He was a builder who arose to action:While Nehemiah was praying, he was also meditating, preparing, & planning (2:4-8)What if Nehemiah expected God to do it without his involvement? Just had prayed, waited, & watchedWe know he didn’t do that because he looked for the opportunity and was ready when it cameThere’s no indication that God told him how all of this would go down… He prayed for God to use him!He was ready for the king to open the door, he knew what he wanted, he knew what he needed, and he even knew how long he would be gone. Ready!Nehemiah was very active while he was praying!
16 Builder Principles From Nehemiah He was a builder who arose to action:He shows he understood there were two sides to the work being done (Nehemiah 2:17-18)He spoke of it being God’s work & gave God the gloryHe realized that God worked through the people and they needed to be motivated to buildEquation: God’s work + Man’s work = Successful workHe was consistently a man of action (5:16)His motivation was contagious, but it wouldn’t have been if he wasn’t personally involved himselfHis “diary” of wall repair is action packedHe shows us that a praying man is an active man
17 Builder Principles From Nehemiah He was a builder who arose to action:God’s builders today are people who pray with action… see themselves as vessels of God for His service (Col 4:2-4; 1 Cor. 15:58; 2 Pet 1:5,10)Why should we expect God to do great things among us if we aren’t willing to get involved ourselves?Some people don’t know what’s happening, some watch what’s happening, and some make things happen. Which one are you?Have you ever seen a builder, construction worker, with clean clothes? No!Can’t say, “I hope…” or “I wish…” if we won’t!Have you been praying for change and nothing is happening? Perhaps it’s because you aren’t happening!
18 Will You Be A Builder?“They said, "Let us rise up and build." So they strengthened their hands for the good work.” (Nehemiah 2:18)
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20 Builder Principles From Nehemiah …A builder who laid everything on the line:Remember Nehemiah’s work and position within the Persian Empire (Nehemiah 1:11)An important man – Stood between the king & his deathA trusted man – Close relationship to the king, more like an advisor than a servant, a place of powerYet this was also a position filled with great risks:These kings were difficult men – Proud & StubbornNot just a risk of being poisoned, but of not being pleasing to the king – The death penalty!These kings often acted on a whim which left those in close position to them getting hurt.Consider Esther’s situation (Esther 4:16-17) – She is the queen yet has to resolve, “If I die, I die”
21 Builder Principles From Nehemiah …A builder who laid everything on the line:When Nehemiah gets the opportunity he was praying for, he is still full of fear (Neh 2:1-3)For three to four months, he had been going before the king with his emotions in check, but not this timeNehemiah isn’t just afraid… He is very much afraid.Afraid of what? The king’s response? The work ahead? Likely the result of what the king had just saidSee, Nehemiah was just like us… He prayed for this moment. He planned for this moment. He dreamed of this moment. Yet he is scared in this moment!
22 Builder Principles From Nehemiah …A builder who laid everything on the line:He faces his fear with faith & takes on personal sacrifices & risks for God’s cause (Neh. 2:4-5)His willingness to get involved was going to cost him. He could lose his job, get exiled, or lose his life!He had already counted this cost and was preparedHe laid other things on the line: A place of power and prominence, a place of wealth and ease, comfort zone, friends and family, lifestyle, dreams, etc.Sacrifice & risk when so much was still unknown. Why do it? God’s work needed to be done!Courage came by his faith in God & persistent prayerRisk & sacrifice continued… Faced opposition, personal attacks, gave up pleasures, worked long hours, did what was uncomfortable
23 Builder Principles From Nehemiah …A builder who laid everything on the line:Today God’s builders are people of sacrifice and risk. Lay everything on the line (Luke 14:25-30)Satan knows what we treasure and what we will put ahead of our faith. He will exploit it, making us choose between it and our walls.Real progress always comes with risk and sacrifice… We cannot allow the fear to control us, but faith!We won’t always have to lay everything on the line, but are we willing to? Deciding in the moment does not work, we have to give it all to Jesus now!What if we faced choosing between our life and our faith? How do you hold back a builder who is willing to die for his faith? (Revelation 12:11)
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25 Builder Principles From Nehemiah …A builder with a specific plan for success:When Artaxerxes questions Nehemiah, he “set for him a time” – Time conscious (Neh. 2:6)When praying, he was also planning and preparing. He didn’t act impulsively but was a man with a plan!His thoughtfulness shows his seriousness & motivesNotice that it was when Nehemiah gave the king a specific time that the king approved the planFrom this point we see a focused Nehemiah who wouldn’t let anything derail the plan.We see his great character – Not only did the king approve the plan, but the king wanted him back!
26 Builder Principles From Nehemiah …A builder with a specific plan for success:Nehemiah had all of the practical details for his success worked out (Nehemiah 2:7-9)He knew it wouldn’t be cheap – he requests timberHe knew access would be difficult – he requests lettersThe king knew safety would be an issue – sends armyReal graciousness reigns… He was direct yet kind – “If it pleases the king” – then “It pleased the king”Finally, he arrives in Jerusalem. He spends the first three days surveying & planning (2:11-16)Many may have thought he was doing nothing, but this was some of the most important work he did!Why in the middle of the night? Minimizes opinions!When he finally speaks he can say, “Here’s the plan, here’s your place, now let’s get started!”
27 Builder Principles From Nehemiah …A builder with a specific plan for success:Successful builders purposefully plan for success and prepare for it (Eph. 5:14-16)Some say, “Just jump out in faith” as if faith excludes all planning & purpose. But real faith plans.Too often works are taken on and commitments made without envisioning how it will be accomplishedPlans need to be specific and practical. Big things happen through smaller thoughtful steps.
29 Builder Principles From Nehemiah …Motivated Builders With A Mind To Work:Walls have been surveyed & a plan formed, so the next step is to motivate the people (2:17-20)He could not accomplish this alone… He had a vision, but his dream had to become their dreamHe motivates by causing them to identify themselves with the problem & the solution – see “we” & “us”He motivates by identifying himself with them… He was not an outsider, but an insider. Not pointing the finger with blame saying, “Your mess, your work!”He motivates by focusing them on their condition and work ahead… needed good & genuine motivesHe motivates them by showing God’s hand in all of thisTheir response: A unified voice of motivation and commitment to work ahead… Prepared personally
30 Builder Principles From Nehemiah …Motivated Builders With A Mind To Work:We see in Nehemiah the same infectious spirit David had in facing Goliath (I Sam 17:29 – NKJV)The army of Israel, trained fighters, fled at his sightDavid goes to meet the giant… He is young, he is not trained in war, he has no army, his weapon is smallWhat motivated David? There was something, there was a cause, worth fighting for!
32 Builder Principles From Nehemiah …Motivated Builders With A Mind To Work:We see in Nehemiah the same infectious spirit David had in facing Goliath (I Sam 17:29 – NKJV)The army of Israel, trained fighters, fled at his sightDavid goes to meet the giant… He is young, he is not trained in war, he has no army, his weapon is smallWhat motivated David? There was something, there was a cause, worth fighting for!From this point we see a people with incredible zeal, focus, & determination (4:6; 6:15-16)
33 “So we built the wall. And all the wall was joined together to half its height, for the people had a mind to work.”“So the wall was finished on the twenty-fifth day of the month Elul, in fifty-two days. And when all our enemies heard of it, all the nations around us were afraid and fell greatly in their own esteem, for they perceived that this work had been accomplished with the help of our God.”
34 Builder Principles From Nehemiah …Motivated Builders With A Mind To Work:God’s builders today are still a people who are motivated with a mind to work (Romans 12:3-8)We too have a cause! There is a cause to stand for, fight for, sacrifice for, work for, and live for!In most local churches 90% of people want the church to grow, but only 10-20% will do the work it takes. What would happen if the other 70-80% got busy?Good leadership means nothing without driven and determined people following them.Good leadership understands so they encourage and motivate those around them.
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36 Builder Principles From Nehemiah A Builder Who Actively Encouraged Others:His encouragement factor was first seen in how he motivated others (Nehemiah 2:17-18)A great leader, but good leadership alone wouldn’t get this work done. It took their hands & strength“Let us build… Let us rise and build…” – He’s telling them that he will work alongside themNehemiah was a leader who wasn’t afraid to get his hands dirty. He led by example.He encouraged them by bringing them to see their real condition, but helps them turn their focus from their shambled state to a rebuilt future
37 Builder Principles From Nehemiah A Builder Who Actively Encouraged Others:Practically, he encouraged the people by personally getting to know each one (Neh. 3)Notice how he calls out each builder by name (vs. 1-4). He mentions about 75 names… its not pointless!He seems to be moving around the wall and get to know each builder individually… learns personal details about their lives (vs. 8-9)He takes special notice of the work done… Some built diligently and some built lousy (vs. 5, 20)He learns where people live, their family life, and moreHe is moving around the wall working side by side… A fellow brick mason personally involved (Neh. 5:16)
38 Builder Principles From Nehemiah A Builder Who Actively Encouraged Others:The encouragement factor continues… building, motivating, admonishing, supporting others:When discouraged he focused people on God & prayedWhen others faced financial hardship he sacrificedWhen the law was read and people were repenting, he went among them encouraging revivalWhat drastic measures were needed, he took difficult action to ensure righteousness and purityBuilders purposefully encourage (I Ths 5:11, 14)They understand the need for mutual edificationThey try to bring others in and get them involvedTo truly encourage, we have to get to know each other!Paul focused on building others up and surrounded himself with others who did the same! (Acts 14:22, etc)
39 Builder Principles From Nehemiah …Refused To Let Criticism Stop The Work:From the start he had to face negative criticism from Tobiah, Sanballat, & Geshem (Neh 2:19-20)They had been “concerned” because someone came seeking the welfare of the peopleThey mocked God’s people – “Jeered” and “Despised”The belittled God’s people – “What is this THING…”They scared God’s people – You are rebelling!Nehemiah speaks with directness & boldness… This is God’s work and you have no place here!
40 Builder Principles From Nehemiah …Refused To Let Criticism Stop The Work:When the wall is halfway done, criticism brings the work to a screeching halt (Nehemiah 4)Vs. 1-3: Belittled calling them feeble… Shift their focus to the rubble… mock the work saying a fox could break it down Destroying the morale!Nehemiah handles this criticism with prayer… The people keep working – “mind to work” (vs. 6)Vs : Enemies gather allies and threaten war… the people are scared stiff! The words of the critics take root in their hearts and they believe it!Nehemiah says, “Remember the Lord!” – He puts their faith and focus back. He gets them working again & makes a practical plan that settles fears (13-16)
41 Builder Principles From Nehemiah …Refused To Let Criticism Stop The Work:Next they turn to personally attack Nehemiah by discrediting him with criticism (Neh. 6:6-7)Especially painful due to the personal nature – This is dangers because if he’s gone the work endsThe “Ono Conference” would take him away from the work and provide them a chance to destroy himThey then spread rumors with an open letter – This means anyone and everyone can read it!They attack his motives and work – He’s building for an insurrection, he wants to be king himself, he has his own agenda – Personal & devastating!He handles it with openness and blunt honesty – He testifies of the false nature of the rumors and where they really originate. His character backed him up. He gets back to work! (vs. 8-9)
42 Builder Principles From Nehemiah …Refused To Let Criticism Stop The Work:God’s builders must be realistic… We will face criticism and we must handle it (I Pet 2:12, 3:16)As a builder you will be criticized and often it will be unfair. Your motives will be attacked, work belittled, effectiveness doubted. It will be personal, painful, and discouraging!Think about Jesus – His teaching, relationships, and works were constantly under fire unjustly.Sadly, sometimes criticism will come from within… even our own brethren. Friendly fire hurts most!Sometimes we can ignore it and it go away, but often it must be met and handled with frank open honestyNote: Sometimes it may be unfair, but still carry a morsel of truth. We need to identify that if its there and use it as motivation (Prov. 29:1)
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44 Builder Principles From Nehemiah A Builder Who Remembered The Lord:It would have been easy for the builders in Jerusalem to become obsessed with Nehemiah:The King’s Cupbearer – an important man in the empireHe was very motivational, inspiring people around himHe showed courage in standing up to their enemiesDid he realize this? Maybe, maybe not, but we never find him drawing attention to himselfThis book is only 13 chapters, yet Nehemiah refers to God over 75 times. He was a God-focused man!He focused people on God by prayer (4:4, 9)Whether people heard all his prayers or not, people certainly heard and saw him praying often11 prayers spoken of… “A builder from the knees up”When battles arise, first step is prayer… prayer warriorSays, “We prayed…” – Discouraged & disheartened, he refocused them on God by praying together
45 Builder Principles From Nehemiah A Builder Who Remembered The Lord:Simple but powerful encouragement: “Remember the Lord, great and awesome” (4:14-15)The work started with a focus on God – “I told them of the hand of my God…” (Neh. 2:18). But fear and mocking shifted that focus. Distracted hearts!Nehemiah brought them to think about God’s nature… their vision of God wasn’t “big” enough and so their trust and confidence was lacking“Remember the Lord” brought up many images – David and Goliath, walls of Jericho, Mount Sinai, Red Sea crossing, 10 plagues, flood, the creation… WOW!God had not changed! They were serving the same God! No reason for fear, timidity, or dismay!
46 Builder Principles From Nehemiah A Builder Who Remembered The Lord:As we seek to build, we must stay focus on God. Always remembering our Lord! (Is 40:38-41)He is the same God… Our God is GREAT and AWESOME!Trials too strong? Temptations too powerful? Work too difficult? Discouragement too deep? REMEMBER!Many times when the work on our walls slows down or ceases, our focus has shifted away from God. We aren’t “God-centered” – other things steal us awayAs we have opportunity to help struggling people, we must not fail to help them focus on God’s nature!
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48 Builder Principles From Nehemiah A Builder Who Resisted Complacency:If there was a time for Nehemiah to grow satisfied in the work & effort, this was it:Half way done… less left to do. Many slow down here.A major spiritual & physical battle had been fought, he was likely tired, and thus very susceptibleEnemies plans were defeated… a great morale boosterOn the other side, threats and opposition remained and it could have been an excuse to slow down or stopHe increases the activity & intensity (4:19-23)He prepares in case of war, but is also pushing ahead in the work. Seems to be working even harderWhy arm them? May have been as much about their confidence level… energizing the work base!He stays in work clothes all the time… only changing to bathe. Great determination and focus!
49 Builder Principles From Nehemiah A Builder Who Resisted Complacency:The book of Nehemiah is action packed. He is persistent. Why? He cared about the work!Successful builders are not super humans in faith. They accomplish much because they are relentless in their faith! (Mt 5:6; Phil 3:12-14)We must never allow ourselves to grow complacent or careless… always room for greater growth and service. Guard against satisfaction!Where’s the line for what’s enough in our serving the Lord? No line is drawn. We show our level of love and devotion by how much we do.Guard against allowing our awareness of our failures and weakness to be an excuse for lukewarmnessWhen we become satisfied, we quit growing! The pursuit of “just enough” will always leave us shy of “just enough” – Seek to excel! Seek the 2nd mile!
50 Builder Principles From Nehemiah …Who Immediately Addresses His ProblemsFrom the start it was clear battles would be a reality, but these were exterior (2:10, 19)Tobiah, Sanballat, & Geshem – They weren’t Jews, but gained power. They needed Jerusalem in disrepairThey try to discourage and dishearten the peopleNehemiah never lets this slide, addresses it directly.Now problems start arising from within… Their difficulties multiplied upon each other (5:1-5)A famine in the land – Fears & anxieties compoundedHeavy taxes levied by Artexerxes – Frustration & angerBorrowed money at high interest – DespairSell themselves into slavery – Hopelessness
51 Builder Principles From Nehemiah …Who Immediately Addresses His ProblemsHe handles this with directness and firmness, he doesn’t let it slide (Neh. 5:16-23)Rebukes the leaders for the problem – Does so publiclyLed the way in redeeming those sold into slaveryMade loans but refused to charge any interestHolds problem causers responsible & accountableWhy so bold? It hindered the work… was unloving, unmerciful, and unjust… but mainly it was a flat disregard for the laws of God! (Deut. 23:19-20)God’s builders dont ignore problems (2 Cor 5:1-6)Corinth ignored the problem – Paul rebuked them for this and emphasized the negative “leaving” impactIf we ignore problems, the problems are still there!Builders who care are motivate to act and speakWe see the importance, consequences, & potentialBut be Balanced… Don’t forget patience, love, & grace
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53 Builder Principles From Nehemiah A Builder Who Gave Serious Thought Before Taking ActionThoughtfulness is a consistent characteristic…Spent three months in prepare before going before the king… Not just praying, but planning & preparingThoughtful before the king in politeness & purposeWhen first arriving in Jerusalem, he surveys the walls at night… seeing the need and creating strategyBefore handing the difficult internal problem, Nehemiah takes counsel with himself (5:7)NKJV: “After serious thought” – Not being arrogant by refusing advice… making sure he handles it right!He’s angry… easy to get unbalanced, be too harshIt’s a difficult & intense problem… it could get uglyHe’s about to call the religious leaders on the carpetThis also calms his spirit before reacting to the issue
54 Builder Principles From Nehemiah A Builder Who Gave Serious Thought Before Taking ActionWhat if Nehemiah handled this the wrong way?There could have been a huge split in the peopleThere could have been an undermining of the authority of the leaders and a loss of confidence & trustThere could have been an end to the work on the wallThere could have been a personal loss of influenceGod’s spiritual builders are a thinking people… Given to “personal counsel” (Prov. 15:28; 29:11)Speaking before you think, saying whatever is on your mind is not something to boast about! Think first!In our zeal for truth & righteousness, seek balanceThoughtfulness will calm our hearts before actingEspecially when rebuking a leader (1 Tim. 5:22)Be a “thinker” to see if action is needed (2 Cor. 13:5)
55 Builder Principles From Nehemiah Two more builder principles we have already touched on…A builder who wasn’t side tracked by things that weren’t a priority (Neh. 6:1-4)A builder who always gave glory to God (Nehemiah 6:15-16)
56 Builder Principles From Nehemiah A Builder Who Inspired Others To Build After Him:He was a great builder, but he was only one manHe was limited by space – Could only be in one placeHe was limited by time – His work ended at his deathHe was limited by energy – He could only do so muchThe wall is finished! He may be done building walls, but he’s not done building people! (7:1-3)He would return to Persia… time to “pass the torch”Not looking for fame or fight, but for a faithful man who feared the Lord… A reliable and reverent man.He didn’t just provide for leaders to replace him, but leaders in all social and spiritual realms of the cityHe instructed, inspired, and encouraged – Built people!Nehemiah has no succumbed to promotion erosion… He’s not so prideful and insecure that he is afraid of the success, work, and leadership of others
57 Builder Principles From Nehemiah …Who Inspired Others To Build After Him:Moses was also a great leader. Unlike Nehemiah he didn’t recognize this need (Ex. 18:17-18, 21)He had much work to do any many problems to handle… His work was destroying him and he didn’t know it!Jethro could see it and courageously confronted MosesMoses was so consumed by leading he was blinded to the toll it took on him, his relationship, the peopleJethro’s focus – Trustworthy, honest, and God-fearingSpiritual builders must raise up other builders to work beside them and follow them (Eph 4:11-6)Don’t let the building and leading die off with you… Make sure we strengthen, develop, & spreadThe church is to be equipping saints for the work of ministry… growing leaders & Christ-likenessBut don’t push unfaithful people into leadership roles… This will cause more problems! (Prov. 25:19)
58 Is like a bad tooth and a foot out of joint. Confidence in an unfaithful man in time of troubleIs like a bad tooth and a foot out of joint.(Prov. 25:19)
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60 Builder Principles From Nehemiah A Builder Who Promoted Zeal For The Word:Most of Nehemiah’s work has been physical, but now he turns his attention to spiritual buildingA spiritual foundation laid – Praying & focusing on GodIf they just fixed the walls, they’d still be in disrepair. Needed to be revived, restored, & redirectedHow do you start a revival, restoration, and redirection? You go to the word of God!Next step: The Watergate Revival (Neh 8:1-6)Ezra is reading God’s word, but Nehemiah is there tooWhat’s the focus? God’s word! Not there for gimmicks, stories, entertainment, recreation, physical needsGod’s people call for His word with eagerness and a readiness to obey. God’s leaders faithfully respondEmotions naturally flow forth – They care about what they are hearing. Hearing God’s word, the truth, provokes worship, respect, and weeping.
61 Builder Principles From Nehemiah A Builder Who Promoted Zeal For The Word:Notice the response of the people… Godliness!Ask for the word – Spiritually hungry & thirsty. They want it. This isn’t instigated by the leaders!Attentive to the word – They listened… for six hours!Showed respect & reverence to the word – Stood, said “Amen,” bowed, and then obeyedGenuinely repented to the word – they wept then actedSpiritual revival resulted in obedience (8:14-18)Often people are convicted, but then forget. Not these!No debate or delay. No complaint. Full obedience!Sought to do all “according to the rule” – They wanted to please God so they wanted to get it rightGod’s builders hunger & thirst for the word. Respect & revere the word. Revival, restoration, & redirection. (I Pt 2:2; Hos. 4:16; Ps 42:1-2)
62 Builder Principles From Nehemiah A Builder Who Encouraged The Support Of Spiritual Leadership:So much focus has been on Nehemiah. Suddenly its Ezra in the spotlight (Neh. 8:1, 4a)A struggle for some leaders… Jealousy and selfishness can exist. Undermine and unsupportive at bestNehemiah is gracious – Doesn’t struggle against Ezra. This reading of the law was Ezra’s place, not his.Certainly he saw and appreciated great leadership!But Nehemiah is still leading… he’s leading in supporting Ezra and his work (Neh. 8:9-11)He stands beside Ezra – Shows approval & credenceHe reinforces Ezra’s words, emphasizes importanceHe encourages the people – don’t give up, get moving
63 Builder Principles From Nehemiah A Builder Who Encouraged The Support Of Spiritual Leadership:Others supported Ezra that day, standing beside him in his work (Neh. 8:4, 7-8)Each become his “right hand man” – Just stood thereEncouraged Ezra and endorsed him in the eyes of the people. Respect! Listen to what he is saying!Men worked through the crowds explaining what was taught and reemphasizing the message to themGod’s builders understand the importance of spiritual leadership, recognize it, get behind it, and support it. Assist and encourage those who lead. Guard against bitterness and jealousy of those in “spotlight” (I Thess 5:11-13; Heb 13:17)
64 Therefore encourage one another and build up one another, just as you also are doing. But we request of you, brethren, that you appreciate those who diligently labor among you, and have charge over you in the Lord and give you instruction, and that you esteem them very highly in love because of their work. Live in peace with one another.
66 “We want you to know, brothers, about the grace of God that has been given among the churches of Macedonia, for in a severe test of affliction, their abundance of joy and their extreme poverty have overflowed in a wealth of generosity on their part. For they gave according to their means, as I can testify, and beyond their means, of their own accord, begging us earnestly for the favor of taking part in the relief of the saints -- and this, not as we expected, but they gave themselves first to the Lord and then by the will of God to us… But as you excel in everything--in faith, in speech, in knowledge, in all earnestness, and in our love for you -- see that you excel in this act of grace also.”(2 Cor. 8:1-7)
69 And Pilate again said to them, "Then what shall I do with the man you call the King of the Jews?" And they cried out again, "Crucify him." And Pilate said to them, "Why, what evil has he done?" But they shouted all the more, "Crucify him." So Pilate, wishing to satisfy the crowd, released for them Barabbas, and having scourged Jesus, he delivered himto be crucified. And the soldiers led him away inside the palace (that is, the governor's headquarters), and they called together the whole battalion.And they clothed him in a purple cloak, and twisting together a crown of thorns, they put it on him. And they began to salute him, "Hail, King of the Jews!"
70 And they were striking his head with a reed and spitting on him and kneeling down in homage to him. And when they had mocked him, they stripped him of the purple cloak and put his own clothes on him. And they led him out to crucify him. And they offered him wine mixed with myrrh, but he did not take it. And they crucified him and divided hisgarments among them, casting lots for them, to decide what each should take.And it was the third hour when they crucified him. And the inscription of the charge against him read, "The King of the Jews."Mark 15:12-28
71 “…This is my blood of the new covenant” For this is the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel after those days, declares the Lord: I will put my laws into their minds, and write them on their hearts, and I will be their God, and they shall be my people. And they shall not teach, each one his neighbor and each one his brother, saying, 'Know the Lord,' for they shall all know me, from the least of them to the greatest. For I will be merciful toward their iniquities, and I will remember their sins no more." (Hebrews 8:10-12)
73 Lessons From The Book Of Nehemiah Hand Me Another BrickLessons From The Book Of Nehemiah
74 Builder Principles From Nehemiah …A builder who stood uncompromisingly & passionately for truth & righteousness:Background events since the Watergate RevivalSpirituality, love for the word, repentance, obedienceThen vows were made (Neh. 10): (1) Fully follow all God’s laws; (2) not to intermarry with idolatrous nations; (3) carefully keep the Sabbath; (4) Tithe so priests & Levites could devote to spiritual workThings looks great! Nehemiah returned to Persia to work as the king’s cupbearer. Eventually he gets permission to return to Jerusalem. What revival?He didn’t return to all new problems… the old problems had returned. Vows broken. Spirituality lost.
75 Builder Principles From Nehemiah …A builder who stood uncompromisingly & passionately for truth & righteousness:Problem One: Tobiah was being allowed to live inside the temple… Shocking! (Neh. 13:6-14)He consistently opposed the work… Why was someone so bent on wrong, in a place built for right?He handles this with personal firmness – Literally tosses all Tobiah’s stuff out on the front lawn!He is not soft. Nehemiah is very angry and it is visible. His anger is justified. His anger is controlled.Nehemiah has the room cleansed… Fumigates the stink out of it! All remembrance gone, holy again!This was hindering the worship and spiritual service of God’s people! Priests & Levites had to go back to work because of the room made for Tobiah
76 Builder Principles From Nehemiah …A builder who stood uncompromisingly & passionately for truth & righteousness:Problem Two: The Sabbath day was being allowed to be profaned (Neh. 13:15-22)Sabbath looked like any other day! Work and business was going on… Did they forget the captivity?Nehemiah immediately confronts the leaders – They are responsible. They should’ve known better!Nehemiah took physical steps to prevent disobedience. He shuts the gates, puts servants there as guardsNehemiah personally threatens anyone who would break the laws of God. “I’ll lay hands on you!”He acted with toughness and boldness. He probably made enemies. But the message got through!
77 Builder Principles From Nehemiah …A builder who stood uncompromisingly & passionately for truth & righteousness:Problem Three: They were intermarrying with the nations around them (Neh 13:23-31)They broke direct commands from God. God not only commanded… warned & promised consequencesAgain, there is a keen awareness of the pain of captivity to which this sin directly ledPervasive Problem – Half the kids didn’t know Hebrew!He handles this with strength & toughness – Curses, physically beats, pulls out hair, holds responsible for sin and changeCourageous – He goes after the High Priest’s family!Leadership in his prayer… not only prays about the sin but about placing righteousness in its place
78 Builder Principles From Nehemiah …A builder who stood uncompromisingly & passionately for truth & righteousness:God’s builders are people who are able to get worked up about things. They will get mad.Luke 2:14-17; Romans 12:9; Jude 1:23Take truth and righteousness seriously. Understand the consequences of error and sin.They become passionate and involved. Take action!
79 Builder Principles… A Builder Who Cared A Builder From The Knees Up A Builder Who Arose To ActionA Builder Who Laid Everything On The LineA Builder Who Had Specific Plans For SuccessA Builder With A Mind To Work & Was MotivatedA Builder Who Encouraged OthersA Builder Who Refused To Let Criticism Stop God’s WorkA Builder Who Remembered The LordA Builder Who Resisted Complacency & CarelessnessA Builder Who Immediately Addressed His ProblemsA Builder Who Gave Serious Thought Before Taking ActingA Builder Who Was Not Sidetracked By Things That Weren’t A Priority
80 Builder Principles… A Builder Who Always Gave Glory To God A Builder Who Inspired Others To Build After HimA Builder Who Promoted Zeal For God’s WordA Builder Who Encouraged Support Of Spiritual LeadersA Builder Who Stood Passionately And Uncompromisingly For Truth And Righteousness
81 “Then I said to them, "You see the trouble we are in, how Jerusalem lies in ruins with its gates burned. Come, let us build the wall of Jerusalem, that we may no longer suffer derision." And I told them of the hand of my God that had been upon me for good, and also of the words that the king had spoken to me. And they said, "Let us rise up and build." So they strengthened their hands for the good work.”(Nehemiah 2:17-18)