Summary: This is part five in a series dealing with the need for God’s people to break down the barriers that keep us from effectively building up the wall (God’s Kingdom). Having broken down those barriers we must build up the wall.
Breaking Down Barriers & Building Up The Wall (Pt. 5)
Sermon – 25 July 2004
We have been spending a fair amount of time in this series discussing for several weeks the barriers that have been erected within the church and have kept her from attaining to all that the lord would have her do.
I will not be covering that material again today – last week we spent ample time reviewing all that we had covered in the first three messages if the series.
Last week we began to look at the matter of building up the wall – as we discussed last week, the building of the wall is symbolic of the building of the Kingdom of God – a job that we have been charged with.
We looked at two matters regarding the building of the wall…
1. Take Up Our Positions – we looked at the text from Nehemiah 3 where we see the assembly of the families who were charged with the rebuilding of the wall as the people of Judah returned from the Babylonian captivity.
We saw that among these people who were rebuilding the wall there were no skilled masons or carpenters mentioned (thought there may have been some). What was mentioned was temple merchants, priests, goldsmiths and perfume makers.
God used people from all backgrounds and skill levels to accomplish the work he had sent them to do – they did not shrink back for lack of training or experience. They trusted in the Lord who had called them to do the work.
2. Take Out The Past - Nehemiah 4:10 Meanwhile, the people in Judah said, "The strength of the laborers is giving out, and there is so much rubble that we cannot rebuild the wall."
This rubble was the leftovers of Judah’s defeat at the hands of Nebuchadnezzar and it had become a hindrance to the labor they were doing for the Lord.
The ‘rubble’ of their past had become such a hindrance to them that they became discouraged in the work they had been called to.
Similarly, there are many in the church today who have ‘rubble’ from their past that Satan has used to discourage them from what god has called them to. Last week I focused in on unforgiveness but the principle is transcendent.
The Enemy will try to use the rubble from our past to keep us focused on our failures and not on the grace of God. That is one of Satan’s great schemes – too keep people focused on themselves and/or their sin and not on the grace of God that has set them free.
Jesus quoted Isaiah regarding himself and it also pertains to us…
The Spirit of the Sovereign LORD is on me,
because the LORD has anointed me
to preach good news to the poor.
He has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted,
to proclaim freedom for the captives
and release from darkness for the prisoners…
to bestow on them a crown of beauty
instead of ashes,
11 Also our enemies said, "Before they know it or see us, we will be right there among them and will kill them and put an end to the work."
12 Then the Jews who lived near them came and told us ten times over, "Wherever you turn, they will attack us." 13 Therefore I stationed some of the people behind the lowest points of the wall at the exposed places, posting them by families, with their swords, spears and bows. 14 After I looked things over, I stood up and said to the nobles, the officials and the rest of the people, "Don’t be afraid of them. Remember the Lord, who is great and awesome, and fight for your brothers, your sons and your daughters, your wives and your homes." 15 When our enemies heard that we were aware of their plot and that God had frustrated it, we all returned to the wall, each to his own work.
This text takes place at a point where the work has been going on and the wall has reached half it’s height (26 ft.). Now the enemies of Judah are coming against the work and trying to stop the work form continuing.
As we discussed last week, they have already been taunting them at their efforts to rebuild the wall.
But they are serious about stopping this work.
1. Take Down Satan’s Plot –
Our enemies said, "Before they know it or see us, we will be right there among them and will kill them and put an end to the work."
The enemies of Judah knew the secret to a successful plan of attack – they must get in amongst the people that they might divide and conquer them.