3 December 2017 PM – Nehemiah 2:9-4:23 – EzNe17 – Scott Childs
Introduction: The rebuilding of the Jerusalem wall was a physical project, but it was also a spiritual project. It was a project that required God’s help. The wall had lain in the rubble for decades because no one had the spiritual insight and fortitude to rebuild it.
In your spiritual life there may be walls that are broken down that you know needs built up but for one reason or another you never make much progress. It may be your personal Bible study. It may be your time with God in prayer. It may be an area of personal separation. It may be the training of your children. It may be your marital relationship. It may be that your financial priorities are a mess. If you don’t know an area in your life that needs built up, ask God to reveal one to you.
Transition: The Jews under Nehemiah’s leadership rebuilt their faith in God while they rebuilt the city wall. Tonight we are going to examine four steps in their rebuilding that can help us build up our spiritual lives.
The first step in rebuilding is …
1. Motivation (2:9-20)
a. They saw the need (2:9-16)
1) Nehemiah inspected the condition of the wall (2:12-15). He saw the terrible condition it was in.
2) As you look at your spiritual life, what do you see? Is there a “wall” that is broken down and lying in decay?
3) You will never rebuild an area of your life until you clearly see the need as God sees it. Inspect your heart. Your spiritual condition is not what you try to portray to others on the outside. It is what God knows to be true deep down on the inside. Remember those piercing words God spoke to Samuel (1 Samuel 16:7) “But the LORD said unto Samuel, Look not on his countenance, or on the height of his stature; because I have refused him: for the LORD seeth not as man seeth; for man looketh on the outward appearance, but the LORD looketh on the heart.”
b. They recognized God’s leading (2:17-20)
1) Nehemiah talked to the people about the distress and waste around Jerusalem.
2) He then told them how God had led him and how the king had aided him (2:18). They believed it could be done! This strengthened the people for the work. It motivated them to action.
3) God wants to build up your weak areas. He wants to make you spiritually strong. He wants to give you victory over that besetting sin. He wants to heal and strengthen your relationships. (Colossians 4:12) “Epaphras, who is one of you, a servant of Christ, saluteth you, always labouring fervently for you in prayers, that ye may stand perfect and complete in all the will of God.” (Ephesians 6:10) “Finally, my brethren, be strong [allow yourself to be strengthened] in the Lord, and in the power of his might.”
4) God does not want everyone to be rich and prosperous like the false preachers today claim, but God does want you to grow in grace. (2 Peter 3:18) “But grow in grace, and in the knowledge of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ. To him be glory both now and for ever. Amen.” He wants you to be “… filled with the fruits of righteousness, which are by Jesus Christ, unto the glory and praise of God.” (Philippians 1:11)
The second step in rebuilding is …
2. Participation (3:1-32)
a. Individuals got involved
1) The work was far too great for just Nehemiah, but when the congregation banded together and each took a part, the work quickly progressed.
2) Note that the first workers listed were the priests (3:1). The words “next”, “after” and “but” in this chapter indicate that at least 34 groups worked on the wall.
3) As your pastor, I cannot rebuild you spiritually. I try to give you the spiritual tools needed, but you must work with God to rebuild your broken walls. Your participation is necessary.
b. Talent was not required
1) Building was not the occupation of many of the workers. They learned as they worked. Priests built (3:1), apothecaries built (3:8), some women built (3:12), rulers built (3:14), Levites built (3:17), gate-keepers built (3:29), goldsmiths and merchants built (3:32).
2) Never think that you are incapable of building up your spiritual life. God will teach you how if you are willing to work at it. (Jude 1:20-21) “But ye, beloved, building up yourselves on your most holy faith, praying in the Holy Ghost, Keep yourselves in the love of God, looking for the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ unto eternal life.” (1 Timothy 6:11-12) “But thou, O man of God, flee these things; and follow after righteousness, godliness, faith, love, patience, meekness. Fight the good fight of faith, lay hold on eternal life, whereunto thou art also called, and hast professed a good profession before many witnesses.”
The third step in rebuilding is …
3. Determination (4:1-6
a. They ignored the opposition
1) The devil opposed the work on the wall. The enemies mocked them (4:2-3).
2) Nehemiah gave the oppression to the Lord (4:4-5).
3) The devil does not want you to build up the broken walls in your life either. He wants you to remain broken down. Your flesh will oppose you. Your busy life will oppose you. If you begin to separate from sin and live for God carnal Christians may even oppose you.
b. They determined to work
1) The wall was joined together because the people had a mind to work (4:6).
2) If you will determine to work rebuilding your broken walls, God will bless and bring it together. (Psalms 1:1-3) “Blessed is the man that walketh not in the counsel of the ungodly, nor standeth in the way of sinners, nor sitteth in the seat of the scornful. But his delight is in the law of the LORD; and in his law doth he meditate day and night. And he shall be like a tree planted by the rivers of water, that bringeth forth his fruit in his season; his leaf also shall not wither; and whatsoever he doeth shall prosper.” (Luke 6:38) “Give, and it shall be given unto you; good measure, pressed down, and shaken together, and running over, shall men give into your bosom. For with the same measure that ye mete withal it shall be measured to you again.” Note God’s promise to those who add to their faith virtue, knowledge, temperance, patience, godliness, brotherly love, and charity: (2 Peter 1:8) “For if these things be in you, and abound, they make you that ye shall neither be barren nor unfruitful in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ.”
The fourth step in rebuilding is …
4. Supplication (4:7-23)
a. The people prayed
1) Opposition increased (4:7-8).
2) Nehemiah and the people prayed (4:9).
3) Spiritual rebuilding is not fast nor is it easy. It takes work. It takes determination. It also takes much prayer and dependence on the Lord. (Psalms 118:6) “The LORD is on my side; I will not fear: what can man do unto me?” (Psalms 55:22) “Cast thy burden upon the LORD, and he shall sustain thee: he shall never suffer the righteous to be moved.” (1 John 4:4) “Ye are of God, little children, and have overcome them: because greater is he that is in you, than he that is in the world.”
b. The people focused on the Lord’s goodness
1) They remembered the Lord (4:14).
2) They trusted that God would fight for them (4:20).
3) When spiritual rebuilding becomes difficult, set your eyes on the Lord. (Philippians 3:13) “Brethren, I count not myself to have apprehended: but this one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind, and reaching forth unto those things which are before,”(Philippians 3:14) “I press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus.”
Conclusion: It is time to repair the broken walls of your spiritual life. You CAN rebuild those broken walls if you will get motivated, participate, determine, and pray. (Romans 8:31) “What shall we then say to these things? If God be for us, who can be against us?” Humble yourself. Admit your needs. Get right with God. Determine to get the victory. Spend much time in prayer. You CAN do it! Will you begin tonight?
Song: You Can Have Revival, chorus 127