And they said unto me, The remnant that are left of the captivity there in the province are in great affliction and reproach: the wall of Jerusalem also is broken down, and the gates thereof are burned with fire. And it came to pass, when I heard these words, that I sat down and wept, and mourned certain days, and fasted, and prayed before the God of heaven, And said, I beseech thee, O Lord God of heaven, the great and terrible God, that keepeth covenant and mercy for them that love him and observe his commandments: Let thine ear now be attentive, and thine eyes open, that thou mayest hear the prayer of thy servant, which I pray before thee now, day and night, for the children of Israel thy servants, and confess the sins of the children of Israel, which we have sinned against thee: both I and my father's house have sinned.
It’s Time to Restore!
Time to Unite, Time to Pray, and Time to Rebuild
In this particular chapter is where we meet with Nehemiah at the Persian Court. As we can see in the first chapter he is inquisitive concerning the State of the Jews and the city of Jerusalem. As he learns of the deplorable situation of the people and the city it is then he develops a strong desire to rebuild the city of Jerusalem. He begins this process in fasting and Praying, and seeking our heavenly father regards to the rebuilding for his people, and finally Nehemiah was a leader who was in great piety unto God not in policy. Even thou his place of employment were in the Luxurious palace of Susa, and he held royal possessions in his current position for he was the cupbearer to the King. His duty consisted of tasting the king’s wine and was guardian of the royal apartment. Now think about if you held such a position would you turn to go restore a city that has been destroyed. Yet out of his respect unto God and his covenant unto the will of God after hearing the news of the people of Israel he quickly surrendered unto the Lord to rebuild Jerusalem.
First of all it is important to understand how the cities where protected in history. In ancient times it was for secure reasoning that cities where built with Walls and Gates to protect the people. For the walls kept the enemies out and protected the city; whereas gates and towers secured the entrance to the city. Keep in mind that when the Babylonian’s captured the children of Israel is when Jerusalem walls and gates where destroyed.
Currently todays cities, states and nations are not secured by walls or gates but as we all know there city limits, state lines and country borders to identify the territory. Yet looking at society today when we turn on the CNN, ABC, NBC, CBS, Fox News every day we are facing some form of news good or bad. Over time there has been terrorist attacks and threats, robberies, the question of nuclear wars, political corruption, and so forth. There is a question that concerns me. How does any of these events affect the Church?
Does it affect the statistics of death by Gun fire in this world?
Does it affect the statistics of innocent lives lost due to terrorist attacks?
Does it affect the statistics of the laws man has changed to please man and dishonoring the Laws of God?
Does it affect the statistics of how we as God People are not standing United simply because of a denominational breakdown?
When we take the time to ponder these questions what come to mind. Well my brothers and my sisters in this message there are three points that we have to address.
1. How do we Unite
2. Let us Pray together
3. Where do we begin to rebuild
Now it is important to understand throughout the book of Nehemiah the verses are important because it is then he seeks God for understanding and direction on the proper steps to unite the people, to pray for direction, and rebuild Jerusalem. Such as the same that our Heavenly Father wants from his children today to unite as one and pray as one and rebuild as one. For in Psalms 23:3 He restores my soul. He leads me in paths of righteousness for his name’s sake. Psalms 51:12 Restore to me the joy of your salvation, and uphold me with a willing spirit. God wants his people to take back our possession and to reestablish our spiritual wholeness.
As we expound on the first point How do we Unite? First of all Nehemiah took a leap of Faith for he trusted in God’s Faithfulness regarding the proper steps to take in this process of restoration. Keep in mind that Nehemiah goes before the Lord in deep Prayer for guidance in Nehemiah 1:4-11. It is important that we Leap into Unity with the Lord for it is then that he reveals unto each of us his Ultimate Plan to restore not just the land but also the people. Therefore in the New International Version Nehemiah 2:17-18 reads: Then I said to them, “You see the trouble we are in: Jerusalem lies in ruins, and its gates have been burned with fire. Come, let us rebuild the wall of Jerusalem, and we will no longer be in disgrace.” I also told them about the gracious hand of my God on me and what the king had said to me. Think about it when you have a project at work, home or even in the Church that needs to be tackled. Yet this particular project that is before you requires a team to complete it; is this not when we begin to unite as one for the common goal of the project. For example, In Genesis 6:13-22 when God spoke unto Noah build an Ark for his family had found favor in God. Think about it Noah did built the Ark yet with the help of his 3 sons and wife they completed the task united together not divided. For we as God’s children allow division to seek and destroy. There is an old saying a House Divided cannot Stand but a United House will be Victorious. Understand that when the children of Israel where taken captive they were divided within the city of Jerusalem because they did not obey the will of God when he warned to surrender unto the Babylonians. Nevertheless God calls unto us to Stand in Unity. In the word of God in the Old testament unity is a sense of togetherness of people, fellowship and praise. For in both Psalm 133:1 Behold, how good and how pleasant it is for brethren to dwell together in unity! For in this scripture it pleases God we are join in unity. Such as in Psalm 34:3 O magnify the Lord with me, and let us exalt his name together. Understand that once we unite together and glorify our God together is when we begin to experience the prosperity and well-being of each other in God. For in the Ephesians 4:11-13 reads And he gave the apostles, the prophets, the evangelists, the shepherds and teachers, to equip the saints for the work of ministry, for building up the body of Christ, until we all attain to the unity of the faith and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to mature manhood, to the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ. To clarify this scripture is simple this question WHY CAN’T WE All JUST GET ALONG? Allow me to expound upon this point of unity; as I look at mankind in history and currently there has always been some form of division amongst each of us. Yet when a terrible situation arises such a terrorist all over the world it at that split moment that we unite for just a short season. If mankind would just allow our hearts to join together for the common good of this world things would change from hatred to Love, jealousy to support, disagreements to understand of differences. And as we join together we allow God love to shine through each of us in the purest form because we see no boundaries. Furthermore by having the key element in Jesus Christ’s prayer in John 17:20 -23 clearly states: My prayer is not for them alone. I pray also for those who will believe in me through their message, that all of them may be one, Father, just as you are in me and I am in you. May they also be in us so that the world may believe that you have sent me. I have given them the glory that you gave me, that they may be one as we are one— I in them and you in me—so that they may be brought to complete unity. Then the world will know that you sent me and have loved them even as you have loved me.
“Father, I want those you have given me to be with me where I am, and to see my glory, the glory you have given me because you loved me before the creation of the world. “Righteous Father, though the world does not know you, I know you, and they know that you have sent me. I have made you known to them, and will continue to make you known in order that the love you have for me may be in them and that I myself may be in them.” This prayer is known as Jesus Prayer for All Believers. He goes before the Heavenly Father to unite us as one body in him. Therefore it is important that during our prayer time we specifically pray for the following at all times;
1. Unity of the Church, which includes many nations and people
2. Unity in our Communities
3. Unity and harmony to permeate your homes and loved ones
4. Pray for Wisdom to bring unity where we live, work and serve
5. Most of all God’s Direction to show us what actions to take to build unity
We have to remove the carnal thoughts of social status, cars, clothes, attention, and resist the tendencies to fight with one another, get angry and have an attitude, mistreat, misuse and even abuse one another for when we allow those thoughts or actions to happen is when we are bearing a sinful fruit for it keeps us divided which does not help build the kingdom of God. We have to strive to be cooperative unto one another, Love and trust one another for in such thoughts and actions begins to strengthen our Faith in God by taking action just as Nehemiah did in his LEAP OF FAITH to restore and rebuild for the Kingdom of God. In order to stand strong in the Faith we have allow God’s will and his Holy Spirit to dwell within us fully. It is clear that our Faith is a gift for in Romans 12:3 God hath dealt to every man the measure of faith. For in this Faith is a supernatural ability by the power of the Holy Spirit for each of us has a unique gift from God that is to be used to build his kingdom this is where are unity becomes STRENGTH AND POWERFUL to overcoming the adversary. Therefore unite as one Body in Christ Jesus for in such an act together we can achieve the ultimate will for our Heavenly Father. To quote “UNITED WE STAND, DIVIDED WE FALL!”
Now that we have united as one in Christ Jesus it is clear that there are going to be some battles we have to fight together because the ways of the world will challenge our Faith in God. Yet we are to understand as it is clearly stated in Nehemiah 4:8-9 “They all plotted together to come and fight against Jerusalem and stir up trouble against it. But we prayed to our God and posted a guard day and night to meet this threat. This is where are Unity becomes more powerful in this restoration process for we will engage in physical, psychological, and spiritual battles against the enemy. Keep in mind that the Devil knows the word of God just as we do but the difference is that we allow our Strength in our Faith to help us defeat him. At this point we are utilizing our divine instruments for this spiritual defense for in 2 Corinthians 10:1-6 Now I Paul myself beseech you by the meekness and gentleness of Christ, who in presence am base among you, but being absent am bold toward you: But I beseech you, that I may not be bold when I am present with that confidence, wherewith I think to be bold against some, which think of us as if we walked according to the flesh. For though we walk in the flesh, we do not war after the flesh: (For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal, but mighty through God to the pulling down of strong holds;) Casting down imaginations, and every high thing that exalteth itself against the knowledge of God, and bringing into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ; And having in a readiness to revenge all disobedience, when your obedience is fulfilled. Do ye look on things after the outward appearance? If any man trust to himself that he is Christ's, let him of himself think this again, that, as he is Christ's, even so are we Christ's. For though I should boast somewhat more of our authority, which the Lord hath given us for edification, and not for your destruction, I should not be ashamed: That I may not seem as if I would terrify you by letters. For his letters, say they, are weighty and powerful; but his bodily presence is weak, and his speech contemptible. For it is in such instruments that Nehemiah used prayer and faith to fight the battles. For we have keep in mind that such battles are not ours it’s the Lord’s Battle which is clearly stated in Psalm 24: 8 Who is this King of glory? The Lord, strong and mighty, the Lord, mighty in battle! Understand we are united in our faith we must stand united in prayer for by taking such actions in prayer will makes us more than conquerors for in Romans 8:37-39 No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. For I am sure that neither death nor life, nor angels nor rulers, nor things present nor things to come, nor powers, nor height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord. And most of all keep in mind that Ephesians 6:11-17 is where we put on the whole armor of GOD to defeat the ways of this world and the ways of the devil. Understand that we have a fervent prayer just like Daniel for in his prayers unto our Lord he trusted totally unto him to protect him and keep in him the time of storms. Even the as God was with Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego as they were placed in the fiery furnace they jointly prayed together therefore GOD placed his arms of protection around them as clearly stated in Daniel 3:13-29. For there is an old hymn that has been sung for generations in the church and it is simply “Let us break bread together on our knees, Let us drink the cup together on our knees, Let us praise GOD together on our knees. When we fall on our knees with our face to the rising sun O Lord have mercy on us. Therefore we have to be vigilant in our praying and continuously encouraging each other efforts collectively and individually. As we pray collectively seek God to strengthen our Spiritual Alertness just as a soldier in war are alert to their surroundings during battle. Paying close attention to each step to through the war ground for there are bombs planted to destroy. For in 1 John 4:4 Ye are of God, little children, and have overcome them: because greater is he that in you, than he that is the world. Therefore be wise in our Vigilance, Encouragement, and Alertness we are training to defend our Heavenly Father at all times by praying, watching, fighting and praying some more.
It is obvious as we united in our Faith and united in Praying our mission is to reclaim and proclaim the way through Jesus Christ. And as we reclaim we begin to rebuild and restore our Covenant with our Heavenly Father. In order to fully begin to rebuild we have to be Obedient unto the God. For when we obey God, we are protected just as God did with Noah in Genesis 7:1 “I have found you righteous”; which ultimately saved his family from the destruction. Keep in mind that as we begin to Stand up for God by proclaiming his word to all people throughout the land; by being faithful in our daily lives presenting ourselves pleasing unto him, and by being steadfast and unmovable always abiding in the word of the Lord. See as we unite and pray the rebuilding becomes easier because it is in the unity God begins to restore his church in not just within the walls of the church but also restore by reestablishing his love throughout the land. In this process of restoration we have to value each individual’s contribution for God has given unto each us a talents or skills to assist in the rebuilding process. We must organize the effort masterfully by assigning the proper assignments to each person within the ministry and allow them the ability to Trust in God for the direction in the process. It is evident that by putting forth the effort we are reminded of the how we are to function in the body of Christ for 1 Corinthians 12:14-26 For the body does not consist of one member but of many. If the foot should say, “Because I am not a hand, I do not belong to the body,” that would not make it any less a part of the body. And if the ear should say, “Because I am not an eye, I do not belong to the body,” that would not make it any less a part of the body. If the whole body were an eye, where would be the sense of hearing? If the whole body were an ear, where would be the sense of smell? But as it is, God arranged the members in the body, each one of them, as he chose. If all were a single member, where would the body be? As it is, there are many parts, yet one body. The eye cannot say to the hand, “I have no need of you,” nor again the head to the feet, “I have no need of you.” On the contrary, the parts of the body that seem to be weaker are indispensable, and on those parts of the body that we think less honorable we bestow the greater honor, and our unpresentable parts are treated with greater modesty, which our more presentable parts do not require. But God has so composed the body, giving greater honor to the part that lacked it, that there may be no division in the body, but that the members may have the same care for one another. If one member suffers, all suffer together; if one member is honored, all rejoice together. In this scripture it is evident for us all to understand that each of us have strengths and weakness yet God continues to use each of us for the rebuilding of his Kingdom. Therefore my sisters and brothers the call to restore for God is clear that we have to be wise and faithful along with unity and praying at all times in the process. Understand that just as God had his gracious hand upon Nehemiah to restore Israel he has the same anointing for his people today to restore our communities, restore our schools, restore our land, restore our people, restore our leaders, and restore his church. For in the restoration we are to celebrate as we see a milestone reached therefore if you see someone in despair it is your obligation to be a help unto that person which is a form of rebuilding God‘s Kingdom. I must ask the question unto each of you today is you a REBUILDER FOR GOD? For being a rebuilder requires unity, prayer, and faithfulness in GOD and when we unite together is when 2 Chronicles 7:14 comes to life. Which clearly states; If my people who are called by name, will humble themselves and pray, and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and I will forgive their sins and heal their land. And with that the LOVE of GOD will guide each of you in his wisdom with strength and endurance for the race he has for each of us.
Now as I approach the close for this message it is clear that we have to order ourselves in God’s Word and allow our souls to be fulfilled with his direction and wisdom. And as we move forward in our mission to the rebuilding for our God there are a few points that is important:
1. Know that you have been called to rebuild
2. Rely on and utilize the power of Prayer
3. Be willing to take leaps of Faith for with Faith you can move mountains and uproot trees and even transform lives.
4. Maintain unity by walking according to the will of God in your life and constantly pray for unity of God’s people
5. Always wear your Spiritual Armor daily by praying and building up your spiritual attributes to be a blessing unto others.
6. Continually cry out for justice for others by treating them in justice.
7. Truly keeping your eye on the prize of the highest calling of God in Jesus Christ.
8. Always studying the word of God to fulfill his word according.
9. Know that we are all saved by Grace and his salvation is our fortress.
Recognize when we all turned our lives over unto God it was at that moment we begin to join in unity with Christ Jesus. For at the alter we surrendered our burdens unto him and allowed the Awesome Love of God to begin to fill our spirits and as we study his word it will begin to grow in us the desire to be obedient unto him. For God made each us a conqueror just by our salvation just by the confession of our sins and the belief that Jesus is the Son of God. By doing just this act of confessing we became new in the transformation in our restoration. Therefore let us all unite together in the word of God, Unite together in prayer and also unite together in rebuilding our churches for his GLORY. For in Psalm 18:27-35 For you save a humble people, but the haughty eyes you bring down. For it is you who light my lamp; the LORD my God lightens my darkness. For by you I can run against a troop, and by my God I can leap over a wall.
This God—his way is perfect; the word of the LORD proves true;
he is a shield for all those who take refuge in him.
For who is God, but the LORD? And who is a rock, except our God?—the God who equipped me with strength and made my way blameless. He made my feet like the feet of a deer and set me secure an the heights. He trains my hands for war, so that my arms can bend a bow of bronze. You have given me the shield of your salvation, and your right hand supported me, and your gentleness made me great. Our salvation is our refuge in Christ Jesus for he willingly sacrificed himself to save sinners like each of us. As we grow each day in Grace and his Word by such an action brings deliverance for his people. Just think of these words in this Song; For in these words Jesus said that we were worth the sacrifice.
You thought I was worth saving so you came and changed my life, You thought I was worth keeping so you cleaned me up inside, You thought I was to die for so you sacrificed your life, So I could be free; So I could be whole; So I could tell everyone I know. Hallelujah, Glory to the God who changed my life and I will praise you forever, I’ll worship you forever, I’ll give you glory forever, because I am free, because I am whole And I can tell everyone I know.