Summary: Nehemiah is often used to encouarge congregations to build a building. What Nehemiah did was encourage the remnant to rebuild the people and the walls of the city.
Intro: Nehemiah has always been used by pastors/teachers to encourage church congregations to build new facilities and buildings. I believe that a major portion of what is going on in Nehemiah is missed if we focus on building physically and miss out on building spiritually.
Jesus said in Matthew 5:14 “You are the light of the world. A city on a hill that cannot be hidden.” Jesus is calling Immanuel Baptist Church to be the City of God in the city of Carlisle. Immanuel is not called to be just another city among cities. Instead we are called by God to become the a citizens that live according to the principles of the Bible, that honors God with all we are, have, and do. He calls us to live as Philippians 3.20 people our citizenship in heaven. As citizens of Heaven it doesn’t mean that we disengage with the world. It does mean that we engage this world with the principles and person of Jesus Christ. I have nothing to offer the city of Carlisle but Jesus Christ. How do I offer Him to the city? I get involved in the lives of people he leads me to engage!! (Some of the ways He has led me to engage people)
Jerusalem, Zion is presented as the ideal city of God. It is the city that comes out of Heaven adorned as a bride for God in Revelation.
Listen to the truth of Titus 2:11-14
11After all, God’s saving kindness has appeared for the benefit of all people. 12It trains us to avoid ungodly lives filled with worldly desires so that we can live self-controlled, moral, and godly lives in this present world. 13At the same time we can expect what we hope for—the appearance of the glory of our great God and Savior, Jesus Christ. 14He gave himself for us to set us free from every sin and to cleanse us so that we can be his special people who are enthusiastic about doing good things. GWT
Why is it important to see God’s saving kindness (grace, salvation) has appeared for and not to all peole? You must be born again to be a citizen of the city of God. It is for the benefit of all people but only realized by those who receive and trust Jesus Christ.
This grace is supposed to be active in us to create the city of God. It trains us to avoid the life and lifestyle of the city of man around us. Why? It trains us to avoid as one translation says “to deny the lusts of this life so that we can live self-controlled, moral, and godly lives in this present world.”
But it also touches us to invest in the lives of those who have not experienced this great grace and a revolution of thinking and living.
Nehemiah is not just a story about rebuilding walls. It is a story of redemption where God uses someone willing to follow to restore the lives of people. It is about touching, healing, and helping those with broken hearts and lives. It is about God using His people to build the city of God in the city of man.
I. A concern over brokenness (Nehemiah 1.4)
A) The condition of the City (Nehemiah 1.2-3)
1) Distressed – Literally evil. They were under the social, economic, religious pressures of the region without the protection of the walls and gates of God’s city.
2) Disgraced --
Hanani didn’t color the report about the condition of the city. Maybe it’s time to stop mincing words when it comes to the city of Carlisle and the condition of Immanuel.
Why was the city in this shape? They had turned their back on the living God of Israel.
They had turned their backs on the mission God had given to them to be a city set on a hill for the world to see. A city on a hill has to be real about its broken walls and burned gates. The city also has to realize the desperate need for God to rebuild the walls for the stability and security of the city.
Security and stability do not come from the economy, the government, the giving, or the number of people involved. Instead it comes from God building walls that strengthen, support the city. What walls do we need to build? God wants to build walls of faith, forgiveness, compassion, truth, unity, confession, prayer, conviction, vision, commitment.
Have you heard the report of the city of Jerusalem? Have you heard the report about the city of Carlisle? The walls are down!! God is trying desperately to get us to see that even though most things appear to be ok all over the city walls are crumbling and collapsing.