Posts in the "Series" Category

Nehemiah: God Wants Us to Build Our Lives upon His Word

Sunday Sermon Series Nehemiah

Nehemiah 8


We have reached a turning point in the book of Nehemiah. The wall has been built and we are only halfway through the book. Let’s look at how the halves of this book fit together.

Nehemiah chapters 1-6

Nehemiah chapters 7-13

Nehemiah rebuilds the wall

Nehemiah rebuilds the community

“What God had put in my heart” (Nehemiah 2:12)

“My God put it in my heart to assemble” (Nehemiah 7:5)

Key word: work

Key word: assemble/gather

God wants me to invest my life in his work.

God wants me to center my life in a community that worships him.


These next three chapters have the building blocks of how we experience spiritual renewal. It’s important to come together and worship. There are different opportunities to do this at most churches. Our church has Sunday morning service/worship as well as Connection Groups (Sunday School) and Wednesday night discipleship classes.


Now let’s look at the first key to revival: The Word of God. Here are three correct responses to the Word of God.

  1. Hear the Word of God eagerly (Nehemiah 8:1-6). … The people listened attentively from daybreak to noon. They were standing there, listening, for hours. … Ezra and other priests read from the scrolls for about 50,000 people for hours. The people stood in reverence for the Word of God for hours. They were eager to hear God’s Word.  

  2. Receive the Word of God joyfully (Nehemiah 8:7-12; Philippians 4:4; 1 Peter 1:3-6). … The Levites were out among the crowd instructing the people about what they were hearing. The people realized their sins and started weeping. It is indeed sad when we realize our sins, but ultimately, we should take joy in the Word of God. Joy in our Lord is a strength for us. We need to know the Word and rejoice in it. … If you can internalize and take joy in the Word, in who you are in Christ, a son or daughter of the King, it can protect you from discouragement and depression.

  3. Obey the Word of God promptly (Nehemiah 8:13-18; Deuteronomy 31:10-12). … The day after the public reading, the heads of families came together and seeked to follow God’s Word and laws. They discovered that during this feast, they were to live in temporary housing. So the word was spread and the people built their tabernacles/tents and obeyed the Word of God.

Nehemiah: Recognize the Strategies of the Evil One

Sunday Sermon Series Nehemiah

Nehemiah 6


For the third chapter in a row, we see opposition to the wall being rebuilt. Let us reiterate that Nehemiah was following God’s will and still faced opposition. Just because we face opposition does not mean we are out of God’s will. Following God’s will could even get you killed.

  1. The devil will attempt to sidetrack you from what God wants to do (Nehemiah 6:1-2). … One of the strategies the devil uses is to get us off track. At this point in the project, the wall itself is done, but the gates still need to be finished. This was Sanballat’s last chance to stop the project, so he invited Nehemiah to a meeting with the intent of harming him.

    - Stay Focused on your mission by learning to say no (Nehemiah 6:3-4).  … You have to say no to some things so you can say yes to God. Nehemiah declined the invitation so he could continue the work.
    - Pray for strength (Nehemiah 6:8-9). … Nehemiah prays in light of this intimidation for strength. His prayer is short and to the point. At our church we call these roman candle payers. You can pray anywhere at any time.
    - Know the Truth (Nehemiah 6:11-13). … Nehemiah was able to thwart this strategy because he knew God’s law. He knew the Truth. (This is a great place for “Voice of Truth by Casting Crowns.)

  2. The devil will spread fake news to intimidate you (Nehemiah 6:5-7). … Sanballat spread rumors by sending an unsealed letter. He knew people would read an unsealed letter and spread the rumors. … The devil still uses this strategy today. For example, this article titled “The Bible Got It Wrong: Ancient Canaanites survived …” Yes, the Israelites were told to wipe out the Canaanites, but the Bible reports that they failed to do so repeatedly. The headline should read “The Bible Proved Right”

  3. The devil will send people to offer bad advice to entice you to sin (Nehemiah 6:10). … Sanballat sent a false prophet to give Nehemiah bad advice and tried to cause him to sin by going into the temple even though he wasn’t a priest.


The responses of Nehemiah might be summed up in the word shrewdness (Matthew 10:16). … Nehemiah acted shrewdly, just as Jesus tells us to do later in the New Testament.


When the Antichrist comes, these are three strategies he will use, and here are three passages that show this:

  • Rev 1613-14 … The frogs represent words as the Antichrist, Devil, and a false prophet speak lies.

  • 2 Thess 2:9-12 … The Antichrist’s message is a lie.

  • Daniel 11:32 … He will use flattery to corrupt those who do not know the Truth.


Clearly one of the most important weapons we have against the Devil is the Truth we find in God’s Word.


Conclusion:

The work and will of God will succeed (Nehemiah 6:15-16). … The wall was completed in 52 days. They started in August and finished in October. Despite the opposition they faced, it only took 52 days to rebuild the entire wall around Jerusalem. Their enemies were afraid because they realized it was completed with the help of the God of Israel.

Nehemiah: Oppose Injustice and Help the Poor

Sunday Sermon Series Nehemiah

Nehemiah 5


Nehemiah faces another major problem that takes his attention away from building the wall. He has to deal with an economic crisis. … Nehemiah was following God’s Will and still faced problems. A lack of problems does not mean you in God’s Will and having problems does not mean you are out of God’s Will.


There were three reasons for the economic problem.  

  1. Heavy taxation by Persian empire

  2. Famine

  3. Rebuilding effort has taken people away from the harvest


The Problem (Nehemiah 5:1-5). … The people were exploiting each other. The ones who had food charged outrageous prices and those who had to buy food were being forced into debt, even into selling their sons and daughters. They also had to pay high taxes to the Persian empire.


Nehemiah’s Action (Nehemiah 5:6-11). … Nehemiah is “very angry”. Here, the same Hebrew word is used as where we saw when Sanballat was “very angry”. Sanballat had unrighteous, self-centered anger. Nehemiah has a righteous anger focused on helping others. Nehemiah spoke with the officials and nobles, accusing them. They were charging interest to their own people. He challenged them to stop charging interest and to give back what they had taken.


The People’s Response (Nehemiah 5:12-13). … The people agreed with Nehemiah and returned the money, the fields, and the slaves.

Nehemiah’s Economic Policy (Nehemiah 5:14-16). … Nehemiah was appointed governor and laxed the demands previous governors had instated. He did not demand food or money. Instead he shared what he had with his people.


What is God saying to you through this passage? How are you being led to oppose injustice and help the poor? … If God cares, so should we. God cares about the needy, the hungry, the homeless, the poor. We should also care about them and reach out to help them. … In our area, much of this population is poor due to poor choices or laziness, but that does not excuse us from having compassion on people who are poor. … There is an abundance of opportunities to help locally, nationally, and globally. Our church has ministries that server all three. … Why should we do this instead of spending the time and money on ourselves though? Paul tells us in 2 Corinthians 8:9 that it is because of the grace of God. By the grace of God, Jesus became poor, and through His poverty, made us rich.

Nehemiah: When You Join God In His Work, Expect Opposition

Sunday Sermon Series Nehemiah

Nehemiah 4


When you follow Jesus or join in God’s work, there will be opposition.

  1. Expect opposition from the world. … The “world” here is everyone not part of God’s people. That could include people in your family. … Sanballat opposes the wall because it affects his power. But this was also

    This opposition comes in two forms:

    1. Ridicule (Nehemiah 4:1-3). … Even today Christians are mocked. Some in the world encourage others to ridicule Christians (see Richard Dawkins). How should we respond to this ridicule? Do we respond with more ridicule and angry? No, we should respond with respect and with love. We should turn to God instead of taking vengeance on our own. Look at how Nehemiah responds. He prays for God to take care of it (Nehemiah 4:4-5). Nehemiah prays for justice. In the New Testament Jesus tells us to pray for mercy and forgiveness. That is not incompatible with Nehemiah’s prayer though.

    2. Attacks (Nehemiah 4:7-8). … When the ridicule failed and the wall continued to go up, the enemies prepared to attack. How did Nehemiah and friends respond? They prayed to God and posted a guard (Nehemiah 4:9). This is the perfect marriage of prayer and practicality. They pray and also prepare themselves. There is no conflict between prayer and practical action.

  2. Expect opposition from within the community of God’s people (Nehemiah 4:10-12). … The people working to rebuild the wall started complaining about the rubble. The rubble there was from when the Babylonians tore down the original wall. This rubble made it more difficult to put up the new wall because it had to be moved so they could work. Rebuilding is harder than building because of the rubble from past troubles. The rubble must be cleared, or even used, to rebuild. … Sometimes the enemy sows false disciples amongst true believers and uses them to discourage believers. Other times believers simply disagree or are mistaken in their action. … Nehemiah and the people stop building when it looks like attack is imminent. Let’s see what happened next.


Nehemiah told the people to fight (Nehemiah 4:14), and he said God would fight for them (Nehemiah 4:20). … There was no attack at that point. From then on half of the people worked on rebuilding the wall and the other half stood guard with spear and shield. … We are to fight and also that God will fight for us. We see here again the the pairing of practical action and faith. We do our best to fight our battles, but we also pray for strength to do so and we know God is right there with us, fighting by our side.

Nehemiah: God Wants You to Serve Him in Order to Advance His Kingdom

Sunday Sermon Series Nehemiah

Nehemiah 3:1-32


Nehemiah chapter 3 is all about work -- how individuals pitched in and did work together.

The people are rebuilding the gates of the wall. The gates were the critical entry and exit points to the city, and the places most likely to see an enemy to attack. Therefore, the work strategically started at each gate and worked out from there.


… The first ones to jump in and help were the priests. That would be pastors today. This is a great example of servant leadership. They weren’t the only ones helping though, others also helped rebuild the wall. … Even people from Tekoa, a place outside the city, helped rebuild. They were not going to get the same protection from the wall as those who live there, but they knew their temple was there and wanted to help. But not everyone from Tekoa helped; their nobles stayed behind. Matthew 20:25-26 shows us how leaders should act though; it tells us to be servant leaders.


The most important gift you have is your availability to serve the Lord.


… The people rebuilding the wall worked on sections near their own homes and far away from their homes. This is an example of how we must do God’s work both locally and far away. … In Nehemiah 3:11 we see Malkijah working on the wall, serving God. He is also mentioned in Ezra 10 when Ezra confronts him for marrying a non-Jew. Now he is rebuilding the wall. Don’t let past mistakes keep you from serving God. … Nehemiah 3:12 shows a family working to help rebuild the wall. It is good to serve God with your family. … The end of Nehemiah 3:30 shows us a man with a single room apartment (the Hebrew word for “living quarters” means the equivalent of “one room apartment”) work on the wall. Everyone can serve.


Two observations:

  • The church has to work together to accomplish God’s mission. … This wall was continuous and so is the Great Commission. We have an ongoing job to reach the lost. Every day, babies are born and they grow up and need to know about Christ.

  • The family plays a crucial role in God’s mission. … Serving God with your family gives a pattern for your family to follow.


[This next part is specific to my home church, but feel free to read it.]


So how does Serve Coffee County work?


We have organized five service opportunities in our community:

  1. College Street Elementary

  2. Life Choices Pregnancy Center

  3. North Coffee Elementary

  4. Westwood Elementary

  5. Student Ministry Space Renovation


At each of these locations, there are project coordinators who are leading the work being done.

We have all of the details in place -- we just need people to help us serve


That’s where you can help!


To be a part of Serve Coffee County, you can sign-up through a website: http://servecoffeecounty.com


All you have to do to sign-up is:

  1. Fill out the registration information

  2. Select the location(s_ and time(s) you would like to serve

  3. Each location has different dates and times for work days

  4. Select t-shirt size

  5. Hit submit


After you complete registration-- You will receive a confirmation email and you will be added to the rosters of each location you registered for.

Your project coordinator will contact you before the scheduled workdays to remind and prepare you for anything you need to bring.

Nehemiah: Join God in His Work

Series Nehemiah Sunday Sermon

Jeremiah 2


God wants us to join in His work. The word “work“ appears 17 times in the first 7 chapters. In John 4:34 Jesus says He is to finish the work of the One who sent Him.


How do I pursue God’s mission for my life?

  1. Be willing to wait (Nehemiah 2:1). … The month of Nisan (not Nissan) corresponds to April. It took Nehemiah four months before he could ask the king for permission to go rebuild the walls. Galatians 4:4 says when the time was right, God sent His Son. … God works on His own timing, not ours. …

  2. Face your fears (Nehemiah 2:2-3). … Nehemiah appears sad in front of the king. The king asked why Nehemiah was sad. Nehemiah was sad because Jerusalem was in ruins. He was also extremely fearful because the king had ultimate power and if someone made the king sad, he could have that person killed. Nehemiah was afraid he would make the king sad because he himself was sad, and also because he was to ask the king to reverse a decree he made about twenty years ago.

  3. Pray for guidance (Nehemiah 2:4-5). … Nehemiah prayed between the time the king asked the question and Nehemiah answered. My pastor calls this type of prayer “roman candle prayers” because they are quick prayers sent up to God.

  4. Trust God to provide for your needs (Nehemiah 2:6-9). … God provided resources and protection for Nehemiah through the king’s influence.

  5. Count the cost (Nehemiah 2:11-16). … Nehemiah examined the walls and gates. He could not make it all the way around the city though because some of the rubble blocked his way. He wanted to know how much it would cost to rebuild the wall. … Luke 14:25-30 tells us there is a cost to following Christ. Following Christ is not a casual endeavor; it requires full effort.

  6. Network (Nehemiah 2:17-18). … Nehemiah finally tells others his vision and gets them to help. He examined the cost on his own, but he does the work with others.

  7. Expect opposition (Nehemiah 2:19). … They faced opposition from the powers all around them. The opposers tried to twist Nehemiah’s motives and ridiculed and mocked him  and those helping him … Archaeologists have recovered other documents that confirms the names of the governors and kings mentioned in this verse.

  8. Be confident the purposes of God will succeed (Nehemiah 2:20). … Nehemiah has great confidence in the purposes God called him to do. He knew everything on this world is ultimately temporary. There are three things that will last forever: God, the Word of God, and the Son of God. Build your life on those three things.


Nehemiah: What Does God Want Me to Do with My Life?

Series Nehemiah Sunday Sermon

The theme of Nehemiah chapters 1-7 is that God wants you to invest your life in His work. … God has work for you, an assignment, a mission for you. This extends to all Christians, not just preachers. Look at Nehemiah. He was a cupbearer for King Artaxerxes. His job was to taste everything before the king to protect the king from poison. Nehemiah was not a preacher or priest or prophet, but God had an assignment for him.


Background of the Book of Nehemiah

  • 650 BC: First exiles taken to Babylon (including Daniel)

  • 597 BC: Second group taken to Babylon (including Ezekiel)

  • 586 BC: Jerusalem destroyed by Babylon

  • 539 BC: Persia conquers Babylon

  • 538 BC: First exiles return to Jerusalem

  • 536 BC: Temple construction begins

  • 520 BC: Haggai and Zechariah urge completion of temple

  • 516 BC: Temple construction is finished

  • 479 BC: Esther becomes queen of Persia

  • 458 BC: Second group returns to Jerusalem (including Ezekiel)

  • 445 BC: Nehemiah learns the walls are not rebuilt


The key to discovering the assignments God has for you: Be attentive to the burdens God places on your heart. You will find God’s work for your life where the needs of the world the burdens of your heart intersect. … In Nehemiah 1:1-4, Nehemiah is told that those who went back to Jerusalem are in not doing well and the walls are still down. He weeps. In Nehemiah 2:12 we see that God put it in his heart to go back and help complete the wall. John 16:8 says that the Holy Spirit is at work in the whole world, convicting people of their sin. The Spirit makes people feel guilty because He loves people. Guilt is what causes us to see our sin. John 16:13 shows us that the Holy Spirit guides us to do certain tasks. … Sometimes it’s hard to hear the promptings of God because we have so much going on. We need to be quiet and listen sometimes. Sometimes we try to do so many good things that we miss out on what we are actually called to do. Say no to some good things so you say yes to God things.


Evaluate your sense of calling to see if it is from God:

  1. Pray about it. … Prayer is a big deal in the book of Nehemiah. Prayer is one of the most common ways we hear God. It is how we seek direction from God.

  2. Check against scripture. … If it goes against scripture, do not do it. Read everything God promised to His people.

  3. Get ready to do something. Get ready to join Him. … Prepare for the task at hand. Ask God for help. Prayer and action go hand in hand.

God works through the Holy Spirit to guide us to do bring glory to God. But we have to be attentive enough to hear God’s word. It takes a tuned ear to hear God’s voice. Pray and study the Word to tune yours.