Summary: Beginning of a series entitled - Under Construction
Under Construction – Sermon #1
“A Godly Way for a New Beginning”
As we begin the year 2006, I look back on 2005 with amazement at the changes that God placed in our lives. First, I started to New Orleans Seminary to begin work on my Masters Degree. Second, in March, I had Gallbladder surgery. Third, Jen graduated from ‘Bama in May with her Masters degree. Fourth, I transferred from West End High School to Sardis High School that same month. Fifth, We resign at New Friendship after 6 years of service to God. Sixth, you call us as your Pastor. Seventh, I end up in the hospital and out of work for four weeks. And to the greatest of all, We’re Expecting!
In April of ’05 right before our Spring Revival, Jen and I prayed a prayer of total surrender to God for our lives and our family. Since that time, God has had us in a whirlwind. However, He has shown me ways that I need to change in my life over the next year. As I go through changes, God’s way, He, through the Holy Spirit, has led me to preach out of the book of Nehemiah for the next few weeks and title the series “Under Construction – God’s way”. I am convinced that each one of us in this room today are in need of a new beginning in our lives. New beginning with our spiritual lives, personal lives, and in basically everything.
Today, we look back to the year 446 BC and the reign of King Artexerxes. The man of the hour is Nehemiah, the chief cupbearer for the King. Notice, he is not a prophet, not a preacher, not a king, just a noble servant of the King. However, Nehemiah proves to us what total dependence to God will bring.
I. Nehemiah shows concern over his people
a. He asked Hanani the condition of the Jewish People after the attack.
b. Attack is found in 2 Kings 25:1-4 and 9-10
c. Vs. 3 – He finds out the the remnant is in great trouble – with much damage done to the city of Jerusalem.
i. Wall of Jerusalem destroyed
ii. Gates are burned with fire
• Nehemiah shows us that even in his position, he was concerned about the condition of others
o A cupbearer served as the chief taster for the King. If it was good enough for Nehemiah, it was good enough for the King. He was respected throughout the kingdom for his opinions.
o His concern was legitimate – these were his people.
• In order for us to have a new beginning in our lives, we must realize that the world does not revolve around you and I. We must have concern for the needs of others. Jesus had compassion. We should too.
II. Nehemiah shows action about his concern.
a. V.4 Nehemiah sat down, wept, mourned, fasted and prayed over a period of four months.
b. During these four months, he agonized over what God would have him to do in his life to bring Jerusalem back.
c. Notice his patience and routine.
i. Four months of solid weeping, mourning, fasting, and prayer
• When is the last time that you or I have agonized over a situation in our lives?
o This past Tuesday evening – I stayed up the majority of the night praying over different situations in my life and the life of my family. Jen doesn’t even know this.
o If we don’t get back from life and realize that the only way we are going to succeed is through God, we’ll never be successful.
o After praying, I had a serene peace fall over me – assuring me of what God wants in our lives.
o After praying, I had direction from God
o After praying, I was experiencing a new beginning in my life
• If we want a new beginning in our lives, we must show concern of what is going on around us and give the issues to God. If we try to solve them, we’ll fail miserably.
III. Nehemiah Prays!
a. Notice the prayer of Nehemiah:
i. Verse 5 – Brings God Adoration
1. “The Great and Terrible God”
a. Terrible defined as Awesome (NIV)
b. He grants God what He is due – our praise
ii. Verse 6- Asks God to hear his prayer.
1. “Please hear the prayer of thy servant.”
iii. Verse 6b- He confesses that sin is the problem
1. Notice – he did not confess any particular sin, but he showed that he knew that sin had a grip on the human’s heart.
2. He confessed his own guilt and the guilt of others.
iv. Verses 7-9- He quotes Deuteronomic Law to God in his prayer