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Overcoming the Opposition

February 10, 2019 | Nehemiah 4 | exposition, generosity

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If you’re trying to live for the Lord, you will face opposition. Sometimes it comes from the world’s culture which is contrary to the life of the Spirit. Yet, often it comes from friends and family who don’t know the Lord, or who aren’t as committed to following and serving Him as you are trying to be. And sometimes, opposition comes from other Christians who either don’t understand or aren’t walking in the Spirit. But as Jesus said, you will have trouble and opposition in this world, but He has overcome the world.

In the book of Nehemiah, the people of God placed their faith in the Lord to overcome the opposition against rebuilding the walls of Jerusalem. We can place our faith in the Lord to overcome the opposition against doing the Lord’s work.

Joining the Work

February 3, 2019 | Nehemiah 3 | exposition, generosity

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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.

Sharing the Vision

January 27, 2019 | Nehemiah 2:11-20 | exposition, generosity

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How should we respond to the brokenness in our world? The people of Jerusalem responded by sharing the vision that God had given Nehemiah. In the book of Nehemiah, God put it in the heart of the cupbearer to the king of Persia to rebuild the walls of Jerusalem. After inspecting the brokenness of the city, Nehemiah shared his God-given vision to rebuild with the people of Israel and they committed to join him to rise up and build. God has given us a vision to rise up and build to make more room for the broken in our city.

Catching the Vision

January 13, 2019 | Nehemiah 1:1-11 | exposition, generosity

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The people recognized that their city of Jerusalem was in trouble. Its gates were ruined and its walls were broken down. When they heard the vision God had given His servant Nehemiah to rebuild, they caught the vision and said, “Let us rise up and build.”

Whenever God wants to get a work done, He lays hold of a people who are willing to rise up. The walls of Jerusalem had been ruined; a small remnant had returned; and there was much work that needed to be done. In 536 BC, Zerubbabel had taken about 50,000 Jews back and by 516 BC had rebuilt the temple. In 457 BC, there had been a small revival under Ezra, but now it was 445 BC, and God was looking for someone to go to the ruined city and restore safety and order. Nehemiah was that person. In the book of Nehemiah, God caused Nehemiah to rise up and catch a vision for his city, Jerusalem.

“And the people blessed all the men who willingly offered themselves to dwell at Jerusalem” (Nehemiah 11:2 NKJV).

August 16, 2017

Those who willingly volunteered to live in Jerusalem were praised by the Jewish people who had returned from exile to rebuild the city. Rebuilding the wall and the temple in Jerusalem had made the city a focus of controversy among the surrounding peoples who lived there. So, anyone who chose to live in Jerusalem was taking a risk and making a personal sacrifice in order to reestablish the city’s existence. It would have been much easier and more profitable to live in the surrounding country where there was more land to cultivate and less possibility of violence. Yet, these faithful few “willingly offered themselves” to live in the inner city of Jerusalem in order to rebuild and secure it.
Today, there are believers who “willingly” move to inner cities with the express purpose of living out the gospel and establishing a gospel presence there. They move their families to places around the world, “willingly offering themselves” to dwell wherever the Great Commission carries them. Such are to be blessed by the Lord and the people of God.

“Remember the word that you commanded…” (Nehemiah 1:8a ESV)

August 11, 2016

When Nehemiah heard the report about the broken down condition of Jerusalem’s walls, he fasted and prayed with weeping. As he poured out his heart to God, he reminded God to “remember” His Word. This seems a little strange doesn’t it? Asking the omniscient God to “remember” His own Word? Yet, many biblical prayers contain similar language. Like a child who goes to his father saying, “You promised I could have a cookie if I ate all my broccoli.” Nehemiah called on the Lord to remember His promise that if they returned to Him, He would “gather them and bring them” back to Jerusalem and make His Name “dwell there” again. Nehemiah called on God to remember His promise. The truth is, God loves it when His people repeat His Word back to Him in prayer. Of course, this implies that we know His promises, so that we are able to pray them back to Him. What promises are you asking God to remember?

“…we will not neglect the house of our God” (Nehemiah 10:39 NKJV)

August 15, 2015

After the rebuilding of the wall surrounding Jerusalem there was great enthusiasm for God’s Word and for the giving of tithes and offerings. The people willingly and joyfully entered into a covenant to be faithful in these things. Yet, before the walls were rebuilt, the people were filled with doubt and fear, resulting in neglect of God’s house. What was it about the broken down wall that caused their neglect? And what was it about the rebuilt wall that helped them refocus their priorities, putting God first?

“I am doing a great work, so that I cannot come down. Why should the work cease while I leave it and go down to you?” (Nehemiah 6:3 NKJV)

August 13, 2015

A leader learns when to say “Yes” and when to say “No.” In fact, learning when to say “No” may be one of the most important leadership traits, as many leaders struggle with being people-pleasers. Great leaders let their God-given vision determine when to say “Yes” or “No.” This guards them against being stopped or slowed by their detractors, no matter how influential the naysayers may be. Nehemiah knew that he was “doing a great work” that was given to him by God. He didn’t have time for critics who weren’t helping with the work. Especially since he knew that they were against the work itself. Saying “No” to those things that don’t contribute to God’s calling on your life makes room in your life for saying “Yes” to those things that truly matter.

“Do not be afraid of them. Remember the Lord, great and awesome, and fight for your brethren, your sons, your daughters, your wives, and your houses” (Nehemiah 4:14 NKJV)

August 12, 2015

Nehemiah led a volunteer workforce to rebuild the wall surrounding Jerusalem, while at the same time facing dissension from within and opposition from without. Yet, he challenged the people to remember two things: 1) Remember the awesome greatness of the God upon Whom you depend and 2) Realize that you will have to be ready to fight for your families according to His strength. This is a good two-part reminder for us today. Remember the Lord and fearlessly fight for your families!

“For the dedication of the new wall of Jerusalem, the Levites throughout the land were asked to come to Jerusalem to assist in the ceremonies. They were to take part in the joyous occasion with their songs of thanksgiving and with the music of cymbals, harps, and lyres” (Nehemiah 12:27 NLT)

August 17, 2014

Nehemiah organized the Levite singers and musicians into two groups and had them march along the top of the newly restored wall, singing and playing as they went. After circling the entire city of Jerusalem, the two choirs converged onto the Temple courts still singing and playing loudly. The sound of their joyous celebration could be heard from far away. Can you imagine being among that happy throng as they filled the air with praise? When a work is finished, celebration is in order. For us, Christ has finished the work of salvation and our entire lives should be marked by worship and praise. Let our celebration of God’s Son be heard among the nations!