Summary: The godly carry the burden of pleasing their Lord and submission to His will. When God says go, they go. When He says stop, they stop.
Dealing With a Burden
Griffith Baptist Church – 8/17/08
Text: Nehemiah 1
Key verse: Nehemiah 1:4 - And it came to pass, when I heard these words, that I sat down and wept, and mourned certain days, and fasted, and prayed before the God of heaven,
The Order of the books and the years involved are this:
o Esther (478-464 B.C.)
o Ezra (455 B.C.)
o Nehemiah (445 B.C.)
Nehemiah was the king’s cupbearer – equivalent to a personal press secretary and valet
Here is what happens in this first chapter:
1. Nehemiah is in the palace in the capital – 1
2. Hanani, a flesh and blood brother of Nehemiah (7:2) and other men had come from Jerusalem and Nehemiah overhears them talking and asks them about two things. - 2
a. The Jews that had been liberated (escaped)
b. The condition of and situation concerning Jerusalem
3. The report – 3
a. The people are in great affliction (misery; calamity) and reproach (disgrace; scorn)
b. The wall of Jerusalem is broken down
c. The gates of the city are burned with fire
4. Nehemiah’s Reaction - 4
5. Nehemiah’s Prayer – 5-11
Here, Nehemiah is presented with the stark reality of his Jerusalem and it hits him like a ton of bricks. This is his burden now.
There are two types of burdens – (1) the burden of sin that weighs us down, and (2) the burden God gives us in our lives pertaining to His will and ministry.
The problem in our lives and churches today is that we have not learned to deal with and carry our burdens.
Today’s church has grown lukewarm and soft because truth has been watered down with mainly those things that build a healthy self image and rarely build the body of Christ: This takes labor, sweat, and sacrifice. Some people just don’t have it in them.
These are Carnal Christian, and carnal Christians are burdenless
o They don’t yearn for God to work through them
o They don’t have a genuine concern for the lost and their condition
o They don’t serve with a whole and submissive heart
The only burdens that they carry are the weights of sin, frustration, anger and selfishness.
The godly carry the burden of pleasing their Lord and submission to His will.
When God says go, they go. When He says stop, they stop.
But what are we told to do in Scripture?
Matthew 11:29-30 – 29Take my yoke upon you . . . 30For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.
Mark 8:34 – . . . Whosoever will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow me.
I know of a guy who saw an ant carrying a piece of straw much larger than he was. The man thought, "How interesting that the little ant can carry something so much larger than himself."
So he watched the ant in fascination. As he watched the ant, the ant came to a crevice in the ground. The crevice was too big for him to go down into and it was to wide to cross. The ant took the straw. Laid the straw down over the crevice. Walked across the straw and then picked up the straw and went on his way. The man thought to himself, "The ant turned his burden into a bridge.
That’s what God wants us to do with our burdens! - Mike Minix
What can we learn from Nehemiah about how to deal with our burdens?
Transition Statement: When you are burdened, it is personal
1. When you are burdened, it is personal – 4
A. Nehemiah sat down, wept, mourned, fasted and prayed
B. This was a personal concern of Nehemiah, he was affected by the condition of His home city
C. We ought to be touched by the conditions around us
D. There are walls that are broken down in our own lives:
i. The wall of godliness – living the way we want, one foot in the world
ii. The wall of unity – being divided in what is important in the church
iii. The wall of soul winning – we see people as objects instead of hell-bent souls
a. By the way, when we see people as potential tither’s or what they can contribute to the coffers of the church instead of souls, we are in deep trouble.
b. God does not bless our church because of money but because His people are about His business.
iv. The wall of friendship – not treating everyone in the body of Christ with love but being selective in our treatment of others. (James 2:1-7)
v. The wall of service – wrong motives in service or not serving at all