Summary: God encourages to steady the course no matter how rough the seas or the attack from enemies. He has a work for us to do.
A Mind to Work
Prairie Baptist Church – 11/29/09
Text: Nehemiah 4:1-6
Key verse: Nehemiah 4:6 - So built we the wall; and all the wall was joined together unto the half thereof: for the people had a mind to work.
Premise: God encourages to steady the course no matter how rough the seas or the attack from enemies. He has a work for us to do.
After the list of the workers in chapter three, we see Nehemiah dig his heals right in.
Here, the key verse of this whole chapter, indeed maybe the whole book, says that the people had a mind to work.
They were loyal and dedicated to the task at hand.
I wonder what would happen if we applied the same standards of loyalty to our Christian activities that we expect from other areas of our lives? If your car starts once every three tries, is it reliable? If the postman skipped delivery every Monday and Thursday, is he trustworthy? If you don’t go to work once or twice a month, are you a reliable employee? If your fridge stops working for a day or two every now and then, do you say, “Oh well, it works most of the time.”? If your water heater provides an icy cold shower every now and then, is it dependable? If you skipped a couple of electricity bill payments do you think the Electric Company would mind? If you fail to worship God one or two Sundays a month in your church, would you expect to be called a faithful Christian? We expect loyalty and reliability from things and other people - isn’t it reasonable then that God just might expect the same from us.
As is usual, opposition starts from the very beginning.
There will always be people opposed to the work that a Christian is doing
The world opposes us and mocks us for what we believe
Sadly, there are sometimes people within the church that become enemies within and make it a hardship for others to be encouraged and do their work.
1. What the Enemy Will Do
A. Resent – 4:1
i. Anger and frustration over someone doing something that they are opposed to
ii. This can come even when the cause is right, and it often does
iii. Ecclesiastes 7:7-9 - 7Surely oppression maketh a wise man mad; and a gift (bribe) destroyeth the heart. 8Better is the end of a thing than the beginning thereof: and the patient in spirit is better than the proud in spirit. 9Be not hasty in thy spirit to be angry: for anger resteth (settle down and remain) in the bosom of fools.
B. Recruit – 4:2a (2And he spake before his brethren and the army of Samaria,)
i. They will often try and get others to join them
ii. They look for those who are just as critical and biased as they are
iii. Proverbs 29:22 – An angry man stirreth up strife, and a furious man aboundeth in transgression.
iv. Evil does not fare well standing alone – Matthew 12:14 - Then the Pharisees went out, and held a council against him, how they might destroy him.
C. Ridicule – 4:2b-3
i. A young fellow by the name of Sammy liked to hang out at Mom and Pop’s Grocery Store. Pop didn’t know what Sammy’s problem was, but the other boys would tease him all the time, calling him "Slow Sammy", and punching him on the shoulder as they passed. To mock him for being slow, they would offer him a dime and a nickel, telling him he could have just one. They said he always took the nickel because it was bigger. One day after Sammy took the nickel, Pop pulled him to one side and said, "Son, don’t you know they’re making fun of you? They think you don’t know that the dime is worth more than the nickel. Are you really grabbing the nickel because it’s bigger, or what?" "No," Sammy said, "but if I took the dime they’d quit doing it!"
ii. The enemy will often find ways to belittle and tear down what others are doing
iii. Several tactics are used:
a. Attack ability (What are these feeble Jews doing?)
• Designed to make the workers feel inadequate
• Accusations of weakness and inability, whether skills or knowledge
• The problem: if the Jews were really that weak, why is Sanballat getting so worked up about their proposed efforts?
b. Attack lack of workers (Are they going to restore it for themselves?)
• Literally “Will they leave the building of the fortified walls to themselves?” (Keil)
• The work of God is not done in strength of numbers.
Gideon was reduced to 300 to fight an army of tens of thousands