Summary: The ABC of rebuilding. A) Assess the situation. Admit there’s a problem B) Be Bold. God is with you C) Commit to change
“Come let us rebuild the wall of Jerusalem” Neh 2:11-20 WGBC 22/9/02
Joke: your dog can’t swim!
- God is at work here. There are good things happening in the church. Alpha. (one church had 90 visitors) Christmas. Unity.
o Seems strange to me that EVERYONE doesn’t want it!
- Can’t stop myself believing in God!
o Ingrained! In my nature. Is evidential and logical
ask myself- are they just in denying the facts!
A) Appraisal - “Come let us rebuild…. in disgrace” v17
But denial is not just a river in Egypt, you know! Or just in unbeliever’s lives
Denial is in Christian’s lives, too!
- Illustr: Steve Price (Deacon) “you would say that”. (about us not being able to find youth pastor/caretaker) “…. you’re a ‘belief’ person… and that’s what you believe’. Now- look at the facts and possibilities. Reality.”
Maybe it’s more prevalent in our ‘church’ lives than we think.
Nehemiah is not in denial
- to be the man God wants him to be in this situation, a clear appraisal of the reality of the situation is needed. Admission of truth (that could have been the ‘A’)
The truth of the situation IS
- the walls have been broken down. The gates have been destroyed by fire. Couldn’t even get through the fountain gate, because of the rubble. The city lies in ruins. Those people who remain have deserted the faith.
o The truth is: it doesn’t look good
Can we be that truthful about our churches? Our own personal situations… crumbling walls… spirituality
- sometimes our ‘spirituality’ is the greatest block to ‘reality’ and healing!
- “I’m fine, brother! Walking in victory!. Hallelujah”
o but, in fact, FINE= Feeling In Need of Encouragement
o feeling rough. Actually, having doubts.
But daren’t discuss these in certain circles as
• They’ll think we’re losing it. Won’t know how to react. May scold us!
Why Philip Yancey is so releasing. He’s saying what we’re thinking, but too frightened to talk about!
- “how’s things in the church you go to?”
o “brilliant! It’s revival.” But, in fact everyone wants to leave (and that includes the pastor)
o (like the truth is going to discredit the Master)
Truth is: we have no idea what real revival is like. In fact- sometimes an emphasis on this can keep us from reality as it keeps us dreaming of ‘maybe’ rather than appraising the situation realistically
- and so finding God’s solution.
God is a God of TRUTH
Look how Nehemiah appraises… does his homework!
- v11 stayed 3 days. Now, there’s getting a realistic appraisal, for you!
- V12 “I had not told anyone what God has put on my heart”
o If you want the truth about how people feel about how we represent Jesus- don’t tell them you’re a Christian… and ASK! (You’ll get it with both barrels, sometime!)
o Stand in your streets and OBSERVE. (don’t preach. Appraise… assess)
- V13. here’s what else you do (or don’t do if you don’t want the truth)- go out at night!
o That’s when you really find out what people believe, and how they act. Believers and pre-Christians alike
As they think no one else is watching
o Go walk round the walls at night
(how would Jesus react if he walked round our churches, houses, lives at night?)
Realistic appraisal is so important. And Nehemiah is intent on getting it
- diagnosing the rot, decay, cancer, illness is essential to recovery… rebuilding
Nehemiah appraises that
- they’re in disgrace (v17b) and the walls are down… and SOMETHING NEEDS TO BE DONE
He doesn’t go ‘hallelujah! It’s all hunky dory… and revival’s coming… and I can see these walls up by faith’ (though he may do)
Douglas McBain Summarises:
“There are two problems in the church today. Churches in decline and ministers (people) in denial”
And, friends…. things are good here… and actually Winchester seems to be a spiritual enclave (though we’re only just holding our own)
- but walk around the walls of the churches in our country.
o There’s less and less people in them!
o Stats: in 30 years- no one in Bappo churches (of course it won’t quite be like that. Exponential decay. It takes ages for churches to close- even when God wants them to! Denial, again!)
An honest appraisal of our situation is
- the walls are down. In disgrace (and God ISN’T too fussed about clearing His name, it seems)
- we’re more American than we are British
- we think ‘worship’ is ‘singing’- and so we’ve propagated the idea that you can come ‘worship’ on a Sunday but do what you want ‘in the night’. Have separated sacred and secular. Partitioned our lives
o the unbelievers can see right through it