It’s one thing to see the brokenness in our city, but it’s another thing altogether to join the work of repairing it. Yet, it’s often the very act of joining the work of the Lord in our city that we see miracles happen to heal our city, we see miracle happen in our own lives as well. Who needs a miracle from God today to heal the brokenness in your life?
In Nehemiah chapter 3, Nehemiah recorded the names and work assignments of the Israelites who answered God’s call to rise up and join the work of repairing the broken walls of Jerusalem. God still calls His people to rise up and join His work.
Below is an automated transcript of this message:Thanks for listening to the podcast from Gary Combs and the preaching team at Wilson Community Church in Wilson, North Carolina. Check us out on the web at wccnc.org for more. And now here’s the sermon.
All right. Good morning. We’re continuing our sermon series through the book of Nehemiah. In Nehemiah, chapter three and some pastors and some commentators that I’ve read speak of this chapter as being one of the more difficult chapters., If you remember being here last spring, I preached the “unpreachable” chapter. In the book of Nehemiah, some had called chapter three the unpreachable chapter. And I didn’t mean to take on another one in the next year. It is often called a unpreachable chapter, but for a different reason. It’s because of the names; there’s so many names in chapter three.
And so we’re in Chapter three of the book of Nehemiah. We’re continuing to talk about Nehemiah’s vision to rebuild the walls and the gates of Jerusalem. The walls and gates represent protection. They represent a defense, and a city needs that to protect from those that would hurt and harm, especially those that are most vulnerable among us.
Nehemiah went to the people of Jerusalem and told them about his vision about the hand of his God upon him. They responded, let us rise up and build so they strengthened their hands for the good work. And this is where we get our theme from Nehemiah 2:18 Nehemiah had a vision, and the people of Jerusalem caught the vision and decided to join the work. So they not only caught the vision, but they decided to pitch in. And so that’s where we’re at in Chapter three. They’re joining the work, they’re pitching in. It’s one thing to see the brokenness of our city. It’s one thing to go on social media and talk about how bad things are and how things seem to be getting worse. That’s another thing altogether to pitch in and to join the work that God’s called us two together, not just to to talk about how bad it is, but two to begin to join the work and say how might we join the Lord as he would build up the broken and join the work in our city to see miracles happen and to see gates and walls rebuilt.
As we talk about our city as we talk about the region called Eastern North Carolina, this is the area that God has called this church to both this campus and our Rocky Mount campus. And God does his work through his people but he could do it other ways. But he founded the church. The church is the body of Christ, and it’s been his purpose to affect the world through the church.
I’ve had people say to me since we’ve started this vision, wouldn’t it be better just to give that million dollars to the city? Let’s just give it to the city and let them have it. Wouldn’t that help the city better than investing it in our church? And may I say to you I have a very simple answer to that. No, it would not be better. For seventy years we’ve had social welfare. We have systems in place. So security and welfare and these things and they are like a safety net for people that are homeless and hungry and so forth. Have we eliminated homelessness? Have we eliminated hunger? Have we eliminated addictions? I could go on. Has throwing money at it eliminated it? No. Why is that? Because just doing those things will not cause life change. Heart change must occur. There is only one answer and that’s Jesus. Now, do we need to feed the hungry? Absolutely. Do we need to house the homeless? Do we need to take care of the widow and the orphan? What has always been God’s purposes; that the church would do that? Now we’ve surrendered that too. .
This is the best place on planet Earth to invest your time, talent and treasure. I make no apologies about it. I have invested my life doing this, and it has been no waste and everything I’ve done here God has caused it to multiply. And the people that we are praying for right here their lives will not change without the gospel. And this is a gospel centered church. And it’s not just me, it’s you.
Look at your bulletin just for a second; look at the back. I’ve just been putting testimonies here. Here’s one from a gentleman named Michael. My life changing moment at WCC happened five years ago. God showed his love to our family through the generosity of his church. The outpouring of meals and prayers we received while our daughter battled for her life. I heard him verbalize this publicly and he talked about how God’s love through God’s church was expressed in physical ways. This is always the way God wants to affect our world and our city.
I make no apology about calling us to sacrifice together. It’s the best investment on planet Earth. I’m not angry, I’m excited. You look angry; no, I’m not angry. I’m excited. I made a decision some years ago that being the pastor of a church and planting a church was the most important job on planet Earth. More important than kings and presidents. More important than governors, this is the kingdom that will last forever. Nations will pass away, worlds, and peoples and tribes will be united into one kingdom someday called the Kingdom of Christ. And so I make no apologies. And neither did Nehemiah.
Nehemiah goes, and he says, I’m serving the God of Heaven. He’s the God over the Persian king. He’s the God over every nation and he goes to Jerusalem and he said, Hey, let’s fix this. God’s hand is upon us and they said, Let us rise up and build
So I am in chapter three, they joined the work and Nehemiah you can kind of see him going around with, I don’t know. He’s got a scribe following him and they’ve got like some sort of clay tablet, and they’re putting down these marks. He’s going around just like any leader, any great leader, any great contractor would do going around the city and making sure he puts a name with the assignment. That’s your gate. That’s your section. That’s your part. Well, I’ve got kids. I can’t go on that side. All right. You build the wall closest to your house, and they note that he built closest to his house. That’s what chapter three is about.
Chapter three is about joining the work that God had called them to do. And I believe today that God is still calling his people to join his work. Then we want God to do our work. God, I’m planning on working over here, and that’s how we pray sometimes. God get ready over here. I need you to help me. But really a more powerful prayer. Let’s just say, God, what are you up to today? I want to be there. I want to join you in your work . I want to do what you do. And so this is the call. And as we look at the text today, I believe we’ll see four truths to understand about joining God’s work now. J. Vernon McGee, when he looked at this chapter, he said Nehemiah, chapter three is an exercise in pronunciation. And because I need time to speak about these four truths and some of you are already worried about me because I usually give with you three points, I’m only going to read the first twelve verses and I would instruct you we put all thirty two in your bulletin, but when you get home, take some time to read the whole thing. You don’t have to read it aloud like I’m getting ready to do. But the rest of it reads just like the first twelve verses. So the first twelve verses have certainly give us a good taste. So I’m going to read the first twelve and you’ll pray for me.
“1 Then Eliashib the high priest rose up with his brothers the priests, and they built the Sheep Gate. They consecrated it and set its doors. They consecrated it as far as the Tower of the Hundred, as far as the Tower of Hananel. 2 And next to him the men of Jericho built. And next to them[a] Zaccur the son of Imri built.3 The sons of Hassenaah built the Fish Gate. They laid its beams and set its doors, its bolts, and its bars. 4 And next to them Meremoth the son of Uriah, son of Hakkoz repaired. And next to them Meshullam the son of Berechiah, son of Meshezabel repaired. And next to them Zadok the son of Baana repaired. 5 And next to them the Tekoites repaired, but their nobles would not stoop to serve their Lord.[b]
6 Joiada the son of Paseah and Meshullam the son of Besodeiah repaired the Gate of Yeshanah.[c] They laid its beams and set its doors, its bolts, and its bars. 7 And next to them repaired Melatiah the Gibeonite and Jadon the Meronothite, the men of Gibeon and of Mizpah, the seat of the governor of the province Beyond the River. 8 Next to them Uzziel the son of Harhaiah, goldsmiths, repaired. Next to him Hananiah, one of the perfumers, repaired, and they restored Jerusalem as far as the Broad Wall. 9 Next to them Rephaiah the son of Hur, ruler of half the district of[d] Jerusalem, repaired. 10 Next to them Jedaiah the son of Harumaph repaired opposite his house. And next to him Hattush the son of Hashabneiah repaired. 11 Malchijah the son of Harim and Hasshub the son of Pahath-moab repaired another section and the Tower of the Ovens. 12 Next to him Shallum the son of Hallohesh, ruler of half the district of Jerusalem, repaired, he and his daughters. Let’s stop there. This is God’s word.
The assignments, the gates , the section of the wall, the names, some of you are still trying to read. I see that good. Four truths to understand about joining God’s work. What do you normally do when you’re reading? I’ve got a lot of people reading through the Bible with me. What do you normally do when you hit a chapter like Chapter three, friends? What do you do? Be honest. What do you do? Down front, I got a “skip.” Don’t skip it. It’s all God’s word. It sounds like a laundry list. It sounds like work. Well, it is, but it’s still God’s word. And it has a purpose.
Can I share with you four truths that we can understand just by reading this chapter number one God calls us to work together in unity. God calls us to work together in unity. There’s this phrase that continues it occurs fifteen times in thirty two verses, and it’s this phrase ‘next to’ look at it , the first time in verse two. And next to him, the men of Jericho built. And it just keeps doing that like, Okay, you got this section of next to him and then next to him and next to them and just keeps going.
They’re working shoulder to shoulder, shoulder to shoulder. May I say to you that Satan cannot stop the church? Jesus said Upon this rock, I will build my church and the gates of Hades will not prevail against it. The only thing that I’ve ever seen in my twenty seven years of experience that really can stop the church is us and disunity, grumbling and complaining.
One of the marks of a church that is on fire for God is unity. And one of the marks of a church that affects its city is unity. Instead of the people outside the church going, what a bunch of hypocrites, look at them in there. But when they see a church that loves one another, is working together and is focused together, they may say the world is so messed up, I wonder what’s going on in there? How can I get in there and get some of that?
Unity is attractive because unity is not from the world. Unity is not from the evil one. It doesn’t come naturally from us from the flesh. It only comes from the spirit. They were in unity. We see the word next to fifteen time in thirty two verses. We see the word built ten times, built or build ten times and the word repair or repaired forty- two times in thirty two verses. How do you know Gary? I counted. You can do that, too.
When you read a chapter like this, ask the question, “What’s this about?” Looks like it’s about repairing broken down walls. Forty two times they they were doing that. Verse one. I like how verse one starts off. Then Eliashib the high priest rose up to the call. The vision was to rise up and he decided I’m going to do it. And he rose up. To do what? To build what gate? The sheep gate. He started there.
Let me go around this real quick because I like maps. Have I told you, I like maps? Here is the sheep gate. It’s called the sheep gate because that’s where they brought the sacrificial lambs into the temple. And this would be the gate, appropriately, that the high priest and his fellow priests and let us do that one. And it’s the only gate that was consecrated. There’s a lot of significance here. I preached through this some years ago . Well, you should have been there instead of four points, it was ten, because there are ten gates. And I preached the gates and how they share the gospel and how you must first enter through the sheep gate through Christ who is the sacrificial lamb? And so they built the sheep gate.
He lists the ten gates counterclockwise. He’s very orderly. That’s what he’s doing. And he says they built the sheep gate and they built it all the way to the tower of Hananel. They got the gate and also this section of all the tower of the hundred, the tower of Hananel. And then right in here, helping them was the men from Jericho. More on that later. But Jericho’s down here somewhere. They had to come up. I’ve been to Jericho. That’s straight up heel toe to Mount Zion. They came all the way up here to help build this section.
Then the fish gate. It is called the fish gate because it’s the place where they brought in fish from the River Jordan. It’s also closest on that side where the Mediterranean Sea is located. You could smell that gate before you came to it.
Here’s the old gate right here. Down here is the valley gate. And as we come on down, wouldn’t you have liked to been assigned to the Dung Gate? Somebody had to do it. He put it down. He wrote down. Who got that? The fountain gate and the water gate, not the one that Nixon dealt with. This is a different one. Some of the young people are going. What’s he talking about? Ask your parents,your grandparents or somebody here, They’ll tell you. And so coming on up through here, the horse gate. Now the horse gate is apparently where the horses came in. I can’t remember what that was about. The horse gate , the East Gate, which is where we call it the Golden Gate, where we say that the spirit of God departed. He talks about it and that the Messiah, when he returns, will return through the eastern gate .
Then the Muster gate was the place where David would often sit and say, encouraging words to his troops as that army was mustered as they would go out. So those are the ten gates. And as we look at those ten gates, we see that Nehemiah was an outstanding organizer. Forty five sections of construction are mentioned, including ten gates. And if you want to learn about leadership, studied the book of Nehemiah. It’s full of leadership principles. And then you might notice if you look at verse ten. Jedaiah, the son of Harumaph repaired opposite his house. There’s a number of those that are doing this in this section, and apparently he was someone maybe who had kids at home. Or maybe I don’t know what the reason was, but I feel like you would be highly motivated to build the wall closest to your house. Often they would build the house right up against the wall. So actually, one of the walls of your house would be the wall of Jerusalem. So you’d have three walls that you built out here for your house. But the Wall of Jerusalem would be the outer wall you’re doubly motivated to do a good job right there.
May I say to you, as we’re called to build up the broken to build up that which is broken down in our city that this city we share a common wall for their homes, their neighborhoods, and it’s appropriate to be aware of that. How did Christ pray before he left this earth? We often talk about the Lord’s prayer. But the Lord’s prayer in the sermon on the Mount was actually his model prayer, His teaching prayer. We find his actual last prayer in John seventeen, in one of his last requests of the father, he says, I am in them and you are in me. This is him talking to the father. I’m in the church. I’m in my disciples, father, and you’re in me. May they experience such perfect unity that the world will know that you sent me and that you love them as much as you love me. The world will know that they are mine and I am yours. And they are yours by their unity. Don’t you want to be part of a church that’s fulfilling the prayer of Jesus? I do.
Paul talks about the body of Christ in I Corinthians 12. He says the human body has many parts, but the many parts make up one whole body. So it is with the body of Christ, some of us are Jews, some gentile, some slave and some are free. But we’ve all been baptized into one body, by one spirit, we all share the same spirit, all of you together in Christ body and each of you are a part of it. Do you see the unity in Chapter three? Do you see the unity throughout the Bible?
A wise man some years ago said many hands make light work. I was thinking about these testimonies again. I I was just thinking about how Elizabeth Tedder and Crystal Bonta both here talked about how God had touched them through the body of Christ. Life change happens in this room, not just this room, but in all the rooms that you are meeting in during the week and those many, many community groups, those small groups, life changes happening.
Look what Elizabeth says. I have gained a new family in community group. I have met new people who I can trust and who will pray for me constantly. People at WCC have welcomed me with open arms. It didn’t matter that I was a single mom. They just wanted me to get closer to God with them. What a great testimony. She’s recognizing that the love of Christ was expressed to her through the body of Christ.
Crystal Bonta says the day after our first time at community group I was at work and had heart issues. I was taken to the hospital. My husband messaged our community group leader, and immediately we had people praying for us. Myself and my husband have grown so much here and our relationships with God in our marriage. When I had a very difficult time emotionally, I had a circle of friends praying for me and encouraging me. There have been so many relationships formed here at WCC. We now have so much more purpose to our lives and for our family.
This didn’t happen out somewhere in the street. It happened with a particular people in a particular place. And that’s the way life change always happens. Iron sharpens iron the church is that; the place where disciples are being made. And so the love of Christ is expressed through his people. And this happens in community. It’s the evil one that wants us to separate and try to do things on our own.
Here’s number two. Did you get that? I worked that one pretty hard. Number one: unity. Stay in unity. I see it in Chapter three don’t you Number two: God uses people from all walks of life. Did you see a carpenter or contractor anywhere in Chapter three? I didn’t. I saw a cup bearer in charge of some priests, some rulers. I saw a perfumer working in there. I don’t know how many perfumers we have in the house. The King James says apothecary. So this is like somebody who ran a pharmacy or of a perfume factory or something.
Somebody else was a goldsmith. So he was a jeweler. I guarantee that high priest had never lifted stones like that before. He had blisters up to his elbows. Good. They pitched in. I’m glad he went first. The high priest went first. They jumped that sheep gate. Because if I’m going to be part of this, I’m going to jump in and get my hands dirty, God. God uses people from all walks of life.
Now, I spent some time making this chart to try to think through. So let’s pop it up . Gate or wall section? Right here. Sheep gate, Fish gate. Okay, that’s right. Where I would have been working at the Old Gate Valley Gate Dung Gate Fountain Gate Water Gate Horse Gate. So there’s the gates and the sections of the wall. Here’s all the names. There’s a lot of them, and then the occupations, high priest , priests, Tekoites, nobles and then, by the way, they were listed because they didn’t work. They made the list, too, because they wouldn’t stoop to do the work. Goldsmiths, perfumers, rulers, priests, temple servants, gatekeepers, goldsmiths, temple servants, merchants, goldsmiths, merchants. Not one contractor, not one engineer. Fortunately, they didn’t have city inspectors they never would have been allowed to build.
Why didn’t God call a professional? Why did he call this haphazard bunch of people, none of them professional wall builders? Because then whoever that was would have gotten the credit. God deserves the credit, doesn’t he? So he called me. I guess I was an apothecary guy. I ran drugstores for twelve years. I was transferred here by the company I worked for. That’s how I ended up in Wilson. I thought that’s how I went. I thought they sent me here. It turns out God had me work for them for twelve years. sneaky I didn’t see it at first. His purpose is often hidden from us until we look back on our lives. So he called a businessman to plan a church.
I went to seminary. We took some personality tests and ninety percent of the room had stuff like shepherd. You know, like they give you these one word names like shepherd and counselor. I wondered what mine is going to be, you know? So I opened up mine and mine said Field Marshal. I asked the guy, “Am I supposed to be a pastor?” This thing looks like I’m supposed to be taking over the world or something. What is this?” And he goes, “Wow, we don’t see many of those; did you work in the business world?”
How can we reach our city? How can we reach a region? God, why did he call you here? Because you are a professional Christian? No, He wants the glory. First Corinthians, Chapter twelve. We’re looking at that again where he’s talking about the body of Christ. And here in verse four, he says there are different kinds of spiritual gifts, but the same spirit is the source of them all. There are different kinds of service, but we serve the same Lord. God works in different ways, but it is the same God who does the work in all of us. Or as he said to Moses when he said, “I’m not a very good speaker. He said to Moses, “Who gave man his mouth?”
Some may say, I don’t know if I can get up front and give my testimony. I’m an introvert. I don’t know if I could talk to somebody about my faith here. This question from God, “Who gave man his mouth?” questions ‘Is your Yes on the table or do you need to know what God wants from you first?’
Maybe you have a conditional ‘Yes.’ God doesn’t work with that, by the way. He doesn’t work with your conditional Yes. It’s conditional on what he tells me. That’s the condition.
I’ve told this story before, but I’m looking at my son here, Stephen, from my peripheral vision. So I’m going to tell one on him and on his siblings. So when he was young, maybe five, six, I would stand at the bottom of the steps and I would shout up the steps and say, “Stephen, you want to go with Daddy? and he would come running. Yes , he would run down the steps and then somewhere around eleven or twelve. I would ask,”Stephen, you want to go with Daddy? His question would be, “Where we going?” I would then ask, “ Hey, Jonathan, you want to go with Daddy”” Jonathan would come running. And then Jonathan turne around ten or eleven. “Hey, Jonathan…he would ask, “Where are you going?” Then I would ask “ Hey, Erin, do you want to go with daddy?” She would look at the boys and say, “ I’m going with Daddy.” I used to buy her stuff so she could go home and rub it in. Now I’m just an earthly daddy, but do you understand where my heart was? I really wanted them just to go with me; I was inviting them to go with me. I think there’s something of God’s heart revealed in that story, don’t you? He wants you to go with Him. He made you for himself.
As Augustine said, our hearts are restless until they find their rest in Thee. We were made for him. It didn’t matter what the work is. He says. Come join me. He cares more about your availability than he does your ability. Are you available? Will you show up? Will you commit?
Here is number three: God expects equal sacrifice, not equal gifts. God expects equal sacrifice, not equal gifts. Look at verse five; here again, I’m just pulling out examples. I could find multiple examples, but in the interest of time, I’ll show you this one. And may I make a couple observations about verse five; the Tekoites repaired, but their nobles would not stoop to serve their Lord. This is the only mention of the Lord in thirty two verses. Now, some translations (this is ESV) Some of your translations, end lt and others don’t even mention the Lord there. Because they take it to mean And from the Hebrew there, like lower case Lord or manager or supervisor. But I like the ESV translation I believe that the reason the Lords only mentioned once is because the fact that he’s not mentioned but once actually makes it jump out more.
Here’s a tip about how I lead my preaching teaching team. I usually say, If we’re reading the narrative like this, let’s find out if God’s verbally in there; if we can find the Lord God’s name in there and then see what’s around that and that’s often the theme or the points. And so when we saw this, I said, This is about serving the Lord, but it was stated in the negative they did not serve the Lord What list do you want to make? I believe that this is Nehemiah’s list of how the wall around Jerusalem got built. But I believe that God still keeping up with names.
He’s still keeping up with lists. I believe there might be a list about who is building the wall around Wilson, who’s building up the broken in Wilson. What list will you be on? Well, she was rebuilding the gate over there on the east side of Wilson, where the railroad tracks are and he was building over there in the North Side. But that person right there, they wouldn’t stoop. They wouldn’t do it. And their name makes the list, too. That’s a troubling thought, isn’t it? There it is. Wouldn’t stoop in other words, wouldn’t bend the neck. Wouldn’t put their shoulder to the task. The nobles, too noble to do it. But they’re people from Toccoa, by the way, you can look up that word, Tekoa in the Bible. They were from a walled city south of Jerusalem, a little south of Bethlehem. A pop of the map here
If you look up the word Tekoa, there’s a famous prophet from there. Does somebody remember who he is? Name starts with an A has four letters . Amos Amos came from Tekoa and then in verse twenty seven. Now we didn’t read verse twenty seven, but here’s what it says. It mentions that these Tekoites repaired another section. What so they marched all the way up from Tekoa, did the section they were supposed to do that Nehemiah told them to do, finished, went to Nehemiah and said. Is there anything else we can do? And he gave him another section opposite the great projecting towers; they worked on the East Side first. And then they asked, Is there anything else? And they saw on the West Side that there was a place and so they moved back and forth. Those Tekoites they were there to work. In fact, the word or that phrase. Another section is mentioned seven times. So there were several leaders, several workers who finished their assigned task and then went and did another section .
What is that principal? Here’s the principle. Some people are able to give more because they’ve been given more. Equal sacrifice, not equal gifts. So for them to sacrifice. Apparently they came from a walled city. They knew something about wall building and they got that thing done. They’re over on the other side. They were more gifted.
So if we look at today, some people are more gifted financially. Some people are more gifted with time, talent and treasure. They have different gifts, but it’s not about the amount. It’s about whether or not you sacrificed equally. No. Some people today would say, Well, that’s not fair about the Tekoites that’s not fair to them. They should have just went home. Or maybe they should just stuck around for the party. Why did they have to work so hard? Because they could. And so for some of us, sacrifice is at this level, and for others , it’s at this level. But that doesn’t matter. The level doesn’t matter. That’s between you and God. It’s that your sacrifice equal sacrifice, not equal gifts give according to your means.
Paul says in second Corinthians, whatever you give is acceptable. If you give it eagerly and give according to what you have, not what you don’t have. So you give according to where you’re at. Give sacrificial; in second Corinthians, chapter eight, verse three for I can testify that they gave not only what they could afford but far more and they did it of their own free will. So we give according to our means we give sacrificially.
And then finally we give generously because of Christ. Second Corinthians eight and nine. You know the generous grace of our Lord Jesus Christ. Though he was rich yet for your sakes, he became poor. So that by poverty, you could be made rich.
Now, you remember that card that you’ve picked up when you got here in your seat? Just take that home . Don’t write anything on it yet. When your kids see it. Hey, Mommy. Daddy! What’s that? We’re praying about that. We don’t know what that is yet, but we know this. We’ve made a commitment to make a commitment. And we’re doing whatever sacrifices. That’s what we’re going to do and talk about it with your kids; we are talking about it. We have a curriculum that we’re teaching them about generosity, and they’re going to be generous because they’re kids. We’re the ones who learned otherwise. So you take that home, you talk about it with your spouse. You talk about it with your kids, but don’t put a number down yet. We’re on a journey together.
Here’s what I say to you as your pastor. On the day that we celebrate whatever that number is, I’m going to lead the celebration because that number’s up to God success is in the Lord’s hands. I will be heartbroken if you don’t go on the journey with us, though, so that you have your name on the list that you have a gate or a section of the wall, a door or a section of the wall or a spotlight or something that, hey, that I was part of that, so that when we tell the story at thirty five years and forty years of the church’s life, if the Lord His coming and the Lord is willing, you’ll be part of the story. You’ll be a part of the story either way, but I don’t want you to be like verse five, like the nobles of Tekoa. So don’t compare yourself to others.
What would generosity look like for you? We’re growing in our generosity. It’s part of discipleship. Jesus talks more about money than he does heaven, hell or love. Why? Because money is one of our greatest sin areas. And the best way to break idolatry when it comes to materialism is to be generous. It breaks the grip that it has on our hearts, and I would not be obeying Jesus as a disciple maker if I don’t lead the way and show the way and preach the way of generosity.
Here’s number four. God remembers those who serve him. God remembers those who serve him. If you read all thirty two verses, you’ll go,what in the world is this about all these names? These difficult names? It’s like the Jews intermarried with the Babylonians and came up with names like Meshullam. God must really care about people and their identities and their names because Nehemiah wrote them down. But the Holy Spirit told him to do it. That’s our conviction about the word of God. This is the word of God he cares about. He remembers and rewards those who serve him. Nothing done for God is ever lost. You can’t out give God.
Everything we spend on ourselves we lose; everything we spend on earth is gone. But everything you serve God with is invested in the hereafter where moth and rust do not eat it up and thieves don’t break in and steal. What a list of names.
J. Vernon McGee, I’ll finish that quote I read earlier to read Nehemiah. I wish I could do it. Like dearly beloved to read Nehemiah Chapter three is an exercise and pronunciation. Frankly, you cannot be dogmatic about the pronunciation of these names. However, these individuals are known to God. They helped build the walls of Jerusalem. Someday they’re going to be rewarded for their labor. I believe that, don’t you? And someday there’ll be a conversation about what happened at that church in Wilson, North Carolina. And somebody’s going ask you, Were you there when that broke out? When that spiritual awakening broke out in Wilson starting in two thousand nineteen, when a group of pastors started, they meeting at Denny’s and talking about how we could meet more regularly at each other’s campuses and pray for each other.And so the spirit started moving. A rising tide raises all ships, so we’re not in competition with the other. Churches, we are not trying to build our own kingdom, we are making room for Jesus to build his kingdom God will not forget your work for him.
Hebrew six ten for God is not unjust to forget your work and labour of love which you have shown toward his name and that you have ministered to the saints He will not forget. He will not forget you teach the children. He will not forget. Do you hold the door open for saints to come in? He will not forget that you come in and stick these cards and the seats. Did you prepare these tables? He will not forget. Every act of service. Did you pray for the church? He will not forget. God rewards those who faithfully serve him.
Look what Jesus teaches. He says a day will come for those who have served him with what God has entrusted to them, where he will say, Well done, good and faithful servant. You’ve been faithful over a little. I will set you over much. Enter into the joy of your master. Whose applause do you seek? Let’s seek the applause of the one; let’s seek His approval. He will not forget. He will remember he rewards those who serve him. How will you respond to this chapter three? Will you join the work?
Let’s pray, Lord, Thank you for your word. Thank you, Lord Jesus that I know that the gospel is going out, that there are people here today when we talk about brokenness that the first place they think of is their own house. Maybe it’s a marriage. Maybe it’s a broken heart. Maybe it’s a child. Maybe it’s a parent. Maybe it’s a relationship. I don’t know. But Lord, I know this that you are the healer , that you’re the one who heals the brokenhearted. You’re the one who gives us a new heart. So I pray right now for that person that comes in that would admit it. I’m broken. I need help. Is that you? Would you admit it? That’s the first step to admit it. I need a savior. Would you admit it? I need a savior. Pray with me. I’m broken. I’m a sinner. I desire for the Lord Jesus to come into my life. Lord Jesus, I believe you died on the cross that you rose from the grave. Come and live in me. I want to be a child of God. Make me a child of God. Forgive me of my sins. I want you to be my Savior. If you’re praying that prayer right now believing the Bible says that you will be saved. Others are here today and you know the Lord, you’ve received Him as your savior. But this generosity thing scares you. You’ve yet to trust him with all that you are and all that you have, would you do it now? Lord, I’m praying this prayer. Do whatever you would do in me and through me. I’m yours. My yes is on the table. We pray this in Jesus name. Amen.