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Today we begin a series that casts a vision over the New Year

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1 Today we begin a series that casts a vision over the New Year
Today we begin a series that casts a vision over the New Year. We believe God has declared and has spoken over us, “Together Glorious”. We believe God has a divine plan for us in He is declaring His glory over us. But what does glory mean? Romans 3:23 says “For ALL have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.” Everyone in this room has sinned. And sin is being defined as falling short of the glory of God. We have forfeited the glory of God. Glory is defined as having an appearance that demands respect. Before the fall of Adam and Eve, man had a presence and cover of glory. The glory of God was on him. It was an appearance that demanded respect. Man had glory being spoken over him.

GLORY HAVING A CONSTANT GOOD OPINION AND BEING IN RIGHT STANDING WITH GOD That glory was God having a constant good opinion with Him. It was being in right standing with the Creator. When the fall of man came, we lost our good opinion of God, and we lost our right standing with Him. But the wonderful news is, through Christ, our glory is restored. We are in a state of constant glory with Him and through Him. And in this New Year we believe that glory will be manifested together. Together with Christ, and together with both fellowships coming together, God’s glory will be manifested. ISAIAH 60:1-2 1 Arise, shine; For your light has come! And the glory of the Lord is risen upon you. 2 For behold, the darkness shall cover the earth, And deep darkness the people; But the Lord will arise over you, And His glory will be seen upon you. Did you hear that scripture? God is ready to bring new GLORY to us in this place. God is commanding us to ARISE. Arise comes from the Hebrew word, quwm, meaning to lift up, build up, stir up. This is the same phrase spoken over the daughter of Jairus who, in Mark 5, has passed away. Jesus speaks to her in verse 41 and says, Talitha Kum! Which means, “Little girl, I say to you, ARISE!” Jesus is calling us to arise. To get up from where we are. No matter what people say about you, blog about you, twitter about you; face book about you, or gossip about you! God is bringing HIS GLORY! Arise and shine! It is as we first ARISE! As we arise, then His glory will shine. Isaiah 60 speaks of an increasing darkness. We believe the world around us in this New Year will become increasingly dark, but the light of God; HIS GLORY, will be that much brighter. Arise and shine people! This is the year when we are Glorious Together; together with Him, in Him and through Him! As we explore this vision for the New Year; the visions of restored Glory and how we can experience “Together Glorious” we want to look at the book of Nehemiah. Let’s look together at Nehemiah.

3 NEHEMIAH 1:1-5 1 The words of Nehemiah the son of Hachaliah
NEHEMIAH 1:1-5 1 The words of Nehemiah the son of Hachaliah. It came to pass in the month of Chislev, in the twentieth year, 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.

4 NEHEMIAH 1:1-5 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, Let’s jump to verse 11…

5 NEHEMIAH 1:11 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. Israel had just experienced the third exile in the nation’s history. Jerusalem was torn down, God’s Temple was destroyed and the treasures were looted and stripped off, and Israel was sent into the Babylonian captivity. Approximately 70 years after the Babylonian exile, God moved the heart of of King Artaxerxes to allow the people of Israel to return to Jerusalem. Tragically, only 50K out of 3 millions of the Israelites returned to Jerusalem. 7 months later, in the year 535 BC, they started the work of rebuilding the Temple of God. The work of rebuilding the temple had been put to a stop through the intrigues of the Samaritans. After having been suspended for eighteen years, the work was resumed through the efforts of Haggai and Zechariah. They exhorted the people, which roused them from their lethargy, and induced them to take advantage of a change in the policy of the Persian government. The rebuilding of the temple was finally completed on 515 BC. Nevertheless, the walls of Jerusalem are torn down and the gates are burned and they were left in that condition for over 70 years. During this time, God gave a vision and a burden to His servant, Nehemiah who lived in Susa the Citadel. First thing to learn….

Nehemiah’s Situation, Our Situation How Jesus saw the situation According to Nehemiah 1:1, the month of Chislev is the month of December. The Citadel of Susa is the Winter Palace of King Artaxerxes, a Powerful Persian King. The citadel of Susa is a comfortable place where there’s protection (citadel is a fortress) and provision (abundance food and drinks). Nehemiah is the Cupbearer of the Persian King which was at that time, the most powerful kingdom on the face of the earth. A cupbearer is a very important position. It has to be someone who is trusted by the King. As a cupbearer, Nehemiah could poison the King. Considering that he was a Jew, a foreigner and supposedly a slave to the Persians, Nehemiah had a great career. He was living the equivalent of the “American Dream”, maybe we should call it the “Persian Dream” However, Nehemiah’s heart and mind were always filled with concerns for his brothers and sisters in Jerusalem. With her walls torn down and gates burned, Jerusalem was very vulnerable to the attacks of the enemies. Nehemiah lived in comfort and abundance, but he was always concerned for the well being of the people in Jerusalem. Our relationship with Christ has been established, our sins have been forgiven, we have been restored to son-ship. Heaven has practically landed on earth but why are there still brokenness? We must first realize the destruction Nehemiah faced is the foreshadowing of the destruction we all face. All of us, if honest, can testify to the ruined life. We have very little control over anything. Many of us have self destructed, and many of us have suffered hurt from outside of us. But as we stated in the beginning of our message, we all have sinned. We all have forfeited the Glory of God. All of us have places in the past, or maybe right now, we have places of ruin. A place where the enemy can enter in. It is interesting to note that the temple had been built, but the walls were destroyed. Many people try to enter into the presence of God, but the enemy still has an inroad to their conscious. They are living lives of condemnation and guilt. But Jesus, our Nehemiah, the one who wants to restore the Glory of God in us and through us, has already rebuilt the walls. But many of us are living as if they aren’t.

Nehemiah’s name means ‘Yahweh consoles’ or Yahweh comforts’. Nehemiah was the cupbearer to the King. He was in the palace in the presence of the king and when he heard of the destruction of his people, he was willing to leave the comfort and splendor of the king to accomplish restoration. Nehemiah left his COMFORT ZONE and followed GOD’S CALLING…. What about you and I? Psalm 40:2-3 says He lifted me out of the pit of despair, out of the mud and the mire. He set my feet on solid ground and steadied me as I walked along. He has given me a new song to sing, a hymn of praise to our God. Many will see what he has done and be amazed. They will put their trust in the LORD. We have been saved, we have been blessed, we have been brought to a comfortable place where we experience God’s provision, protection, presence and peace. Are we concerned with areas of brokenness surrounding us, first starts with our life, our family, our church, our city, people in our surrounding? Are we concerned with the well being of those who are not in Christ yet? Are we hearing the cry out of the people in our surroundings desperately seeking to be rescued from their muddied lives? At this point, you are probably thinking, “Oh that’s right, I need to be like Nehemiah! I need to leave my comfort zone and follow God’s calling like Nehemiah! I have to learn not be selfish like Nehemiah who were concerned of the well being of others!” NO! I can tell you straight up right now that we can’t be like Nehemiah! So stop trying with your own strength! Stop striving! We don’t need to try to be like Nehemiah cause we already have Jesus. Jesus is our Nehemiah! Philippians 2 says …

8 PHILIPPIANS 2:5-8 5 Let this mind be in you which was also in Christ Jesus, 6 who, being in the form of God, did not consider it robbery to be equal with God, 7 but made Himself of no reputation, taking the form of a bondservant, and coming in the likeness of men. 8 And being found in appearance as a man, He humbled Himself and became obedient to the point of death, even the death of the cross. Jesus was comfortable in Heaven, sitting on His throne. He is The Son of God, The King of Kings! He’s the Creator of Everything! He’s lack of nothing! But He left Heaven, He left His throne, He took off His crown and took the form of a bondservant. The Creator lowered himself into the likeness of His creations! He got everything, but he made himself nothing! So you and I can become everything He has created us to be. Nehemiah left Citadel of Shusan to rebuild the Wall of Jerusalem in order to save his brothers and sisters. Jesus left His throne and crown in Heaven in order to save you and I. What about you and I? Is there any family member that is not in Christ yet? Or maybe a coworker? Or a classmate? Or a friend? Are you willing to leave your comfort zone and start having that uncomfortable conversations with your friends who aren’t save yet? They may get offended and get mad at you. Are you willing to leave your comfort zone and follow God’s calling? But please understand, it’s not something that we do with our own strength. Romans 1:18 says, “The righteous shall live by faith”. It isn’t about something we do, but it is about believing what He has done through Christ. We live with faith in the finished work of Jesus Christ. As we believe in His work, and rest from ours, the walls of our life begin to be built up and guilt and condemnation begin to leave, as we look intently at Jesus, our builder and finisher of our faith. Praying from a point of victory not praying for victory… We also can learn by looking at Nehemiah as a foreshadowing of Jesus that Nehemiah had…

Nehemiah Us Jesus Nehemiah, when hearing of the broken, burned and destroyed walls and gates, began to weep. He mourned for many days! Jesus is our Nehemiah! It is interesting that about 500 years after Nehemiah wept for Jerusalem, Jesus also wept for the city as recorded in Luke 19. This is not something we have to do with our strength. Bob Pierce, the Founder of WorldVision, says “Let my heart be broken with the things that broke God’s heart.” This should be the foundation of what we do. How is Jesus broken over our community? Let our heart be broken with those things. Again don’t try to be like Nehemiah. Don’t try to do it with our own strength! We don’t try to have a burden! We can’t weep if we don’t really have the burden for these people. When we are in a relationship with Jesus, we will know His heart! We will desire what He desires. Just like the song we just sang “Hosanna” One of the lines says “Teach me how to love like you have loved me…Break my heart for what breaks yours” When we are in a relationship with someone we love, his or her burden becomes mine, when he or she cries, I also cry. The thing is we have somebody who know exactly what we are going through… Hebrews 4: says

10 HEBREWS 4: For we do not have a High Priest who cannot sympathize with our weaknesses, but was in all points tempted as we are, yet without sin. 16 Let us therefore come boldly to the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy and find grace to help in time of need. “For we do not have a great high priest who cannot sympathize with our weaknesses, but One who has been tempted in all things as we are, yet without sin. Therefore, let us draw near with confidence to the throne of grace, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need.” Jesus our High Priest is understanding of our failings and weaknesses. He is asking us in this New Year to Arise into His Glory! Stop being condemned and stuck with how you have been labeled or how others think or say of you. Stop being held back from all the blessings He has for you in this New Year. Jesus was willing to be so moved by our brokenness that He left the splendor of His Father, to serve us. He wants us to wake up to the fact of what is, and leave what was. God wants to build you up in this New Year. Grab hold of the vision God has of you! Receive it by faith and proclaim He is your High Priest. He is your right standing with God. He was broken so you could be whole! Receive it today. We can also learn, not only did Nehemiah recognize the problem, and was willing to represent the people, he …

Nehemiah raised his word a prayer, Jesus Raised cup, he is the cup for us Nehemiah is recorded in chapter one, praying. He raised his voice to heaven and humbled himself. He started fasting and interceding for the people in Jerusalem. He pleaded God to be attentive to his prayers. He took on the sin of his people. He confessed the sins of the people and made those sins his own. Nehemiah offered drinks to the King as a Cupbearer, offered his word of intercession to God and he also offered himself to the people of Jerusalem. Do you realize this is just what Jesus has done for us? Hebrews 9:11-12 says

12 HEBREWS 9: But Christ came as High Priest of the good things to come, with the greater and more perfect tabernacle not made with hands, that is, not of this creation. 12 Not with the blood of goats and calves, but with His own blood He entered the Most Holy Place once for all, having obtained eternal redemption. Nehemiah offered drink offerings to the King, but Jesus was the drink offering to the world. A divine exchange took place. Jesus became what we were, so we could become what He is. We have been Blessed so WE CAN BE A BLESSING… Romans 1:18 says, “The righteous shall live by faith” Praying from a point of victory not praying for victory… The Challenge… Lets be an offering for Jesus… In our personal life, Are you willing to offer your life to Jesus? Are you willing to be an offering for your family? Are you willing to sacrifice for your family instead of demanding? Are you willing to serve for your wife and children instead of be served? Are you willing to be an offering for your community? Are you willing to welcome everyone to our church, including those that are different from us, maybe those who are smelly? Are you willing to get messy? What about offering to the world? Often we don’t even pay attention to what’s going on in other parts of this world? Ps. Danny is leaving for Africa tomorrow… I am about to show you a video which maybe very graphic, but there are realities similar to this in other parts of the world. Are you willing to help these people building the torn down walls in their lives?


14 So the theme this year is Together Glorious
So the theme this year is Together Glorious! God wants to rebuild the ruins in our lives, our family, our city for the glory of His name! The reality is, nothing can change until we realize… our Nehemiah is Jesus!

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