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Illus: Once, a man was taking a stagecoach across the country. When he went to buy his ticket, he was informed that first class seats were P100. Second class seats were P50. Third class seats were P25. The man looked in the stagecoach and all the seats looked the same to him, so he bought a third class seat. The man congratulated himself on saving money.

Well, after a while, the stagecoach started up a mountain road. After about 30 minutes, the bus came to a steep hill. The stagecoach stopped and the conductor stood up and said: "First class passengers, please remain seated. Second class passengers, get out and walk. Third class passengers, get out and push!"

This next year is going to be an exciting time for this congregation.

I truly believe that next year around this time, we’ll own a piece of land here in Camp 7.

But it’s not just going to happen by itself.

If we’re going to move forward as a congregation,

If we’re going to buy this land and keep growing as we should,

Then all of us need to get involved.

All of us need to sacrifice.

All of us need to do what we can to make this happen.

The church around the world today has too many FIRST CLASS PASSENGERS —

People who just sit back and let others do the work.

And the church has too many SECOND CLASS PASSENGERS —

People who just walk away when there’s work to be done.

What the church needs is more THIRD CLASS PASSENGERS —

People who’ll get out and push!

People who will help with the work of the church.

People who will sacrifice some personal comfort and pleasure for the sake of the work of God.

Today we’re beginning a new series of Sermons from the book of Nehemiah.

And as we look at this Old Testament book, the theme for our series is going to be all about

DOING GOD’S WORK IN CAMP 7

The first thing we need to do in our new series is look at some historical background:

Way back, about 1,000 years before Jesus was born, David became king of Israel.

After David, his son, Solomon was king,

But after Solomon, the kingdom was split in half:

the southern half became known as Judah

and the northern half was still called Israel.

Well, both these kingdoms had bad king after bad king

Both kingdoms were worshipping other gods and living immoral lives.

but the northern kingdom was a little bit worse than the southern kingdom, so God punished them first.

God allowed the Assyrians to conquer the northern kingdom, but not the southern kingdom.

But even after the northern kingdom was disciplined by God,

the southern kingdom still didn’t learn their lesson,

so God allowed them to be conquered as well — about 130 years later.

But by that time, the Assyrians had been conquered by the Babylonians.

So it was King Nebuchadnezzar of Babylon who carried the southern kingdom away into exile.

Well, 47 years later, the Babylonian Empire was conquered by the Persian Empire under King Cyrus.

So the Jews, who had been the slaves of the Babylonians, now became the slaves of the Persians.

Cyrus is the king that we read about in the book of Ezra who allowed the Jews to begin returning home again.


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