Summary: This sermon challenges church leaders to step up to the plate and follow God's direction so they can be successful in his Kingdom's work.
A. The story of Nehemiah:
1. It was about 445 B. C. and some of God’s people were still living in the old Babylonian Empire which was now ruled by the Persians.
2. God had allowed his people to be taken captive as punishment for their disobedience to him.
3. After seventy years of captivity, God raised up Cyrus the Persian and he allowed those who wanted to to go back to the land of Israel.
4. A man named Zerubbabel had led the first group of exiles back and some years later a man named Ezra led a second group.
5. Nehemiah lived in the same time frame.
6. The Jews that had already returned had completed rebuilding the Temple but the walls around the city and the gates remained in shambles for the next seventy years. In this time, walls and gates represented protection.
7. Nehemiah was the cupbearer for the Persian king Artaxerxes.
8. One day in the fall one of his brothers- along with some other men from Judah, arrived in Persia and Nehemiah asked them how things were going in Jerusalem.
9. They told him the walls had been torn down and the gates of the city burned.
10. When Nehemiah heard the news, he sat down for days and cried, fasted, mourned and prayed for God to tell him what to do.
11. Jerusalem was the Jew’s holy city and the capital.
12. But the people needed someone to lead them to rebuild the city and its walls.
13. The next spring Nehemiah decided to do something. He had prayed about it and knew what God wanted him to do.
14. He was serving the king his wine, and the king noticed he was sad so he asked Nehemiah what was wrong.
15. Nehemiah related how his home town was in ruins and how he wanted to go there to lead the people to rebuild it.
16. Amazingly, the king agreed to let him go.
17. When Nehemiah got to Jerusalem, he assessed the situation, formulated a plan, equipped the people, and despite opposition from his own people and enemies, led them to complete the rebuilding of the wall in 52 days.
B. Who is a leader?
1. One who is paid staff? Most churches are smaller membership churches and have no full time paid staff except the pastor.
2. One who is non paid or a volunteer? And do they have the same authority as those we pay? And the same responsibility?
3. Or is it the person who is pursuing God’s will for their personal life and wants to lead others to do the same whether they are paid or not?
4. Are we all ministers?
I. Godly Leaders Are Sanctified
A. How do we know Nehemiah was?
1. His response to the news of the broken down walls and gates gives an immediate clue.
2. Knowing the importance of the Temple and the city led to his reaction.
3. He mourned, fasted and prayed about what to do.
4. Had he not been sanctified, he wouldn’t have cared.
B. The word can be troublesome and defined differently by Christians but we can all agree it means we are concerned with godly things and growing in our relationship with God.
C. We are not satisfied where we are but want to know more about God, do more for him and be clued in to his will for our life.
D. The old statement is true; “God cannot use a dirty vessel for His glory.”
E. We can’t effectively lead others when we aren’t being effectively led by God’s Spirit. We will take God’s people down the wrong road and it will always lead to defeat.
F. Henry Blackaby-author of Experiencing God, states, “I cannot rest at night unless I know that this servant is what You want him to be.”
G. Mike Gilchrest states; “A servant is one whose heart is set on being obedient to his master.”
H. James reminds us; “The effectual fervent prayer of a righteous man availeth much.” (5:16)
I. When we are walking closely to God as leaders, we will perceive as Nehemiah did what God wants us to do and where he wants us to lead those he has given us to lead.
J. If you are leading and no one is following, take stock of your life.
K. Sin produces static in our life that keeps us from accurately hearing God.
II. Godly Leaders Are Spirit Filled
A. Possessing the Spirit and being filled by Him are radically different things.
B. How do we know Nehemiah was? Again by his actions and his response to the news.
C. He was interested in godly matters and in using his skills to build God’s Kingdom.
D. Remember the significance of Jerusalem, the temple and the walls.