Summary: Exposition of Nehemiah 6:1-16 about the qualities of the godly who finish strong

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Text: Nehemiah 6:1-16, Title: Finishing Strong, Date/Place: NRBC, 10/14/07, PM

A. Opening illustration: story of Greg Louganis’ victory in the ’88 Olympics, pp. 76-77, Nehemiah, Boice

B. Background to passage: After dealing with some external conflict against the work, and taking some time off to call a community meeting to deal with internal conflict, Nehemiah is nearing the end of his initial burden. And so the attacks become much more personal against Nehemiah. But when the going gets the toughest, the toughest lead like Jesus and finish strong. And in a generation of quitters, church hoppers, never finishers, the church of Jesus Christ needs some people that will commit to service and endure to the end.

C. Main thought: So in the text, God shows us four things required of the godly who finish strong.

A. Requires Proper Focus (v. 1-4)

1. When Nehemiah’s opponents see that the project is nearing completion. They decide to change their strategy a bit. They appear to look like a political candidate that is conceding an election. “Come on down, and we will drink to your new governorship, and work out our differences. But Nehemiah knew that without the gates in place, the whole project could suffer destruction at the hands of an enemy. And Nehemiah has a good order of priorities, and adequate self-discipline to say no four times.

2. Matt 6:33, John 6:27, Phil 3:8, Heb 12:1,

3. Illustration: "It took me until I was fifty-five years old to think about all this in any detail", he went on, "and by that time I had lived through over twenty-eight hundred Saturdays. I got to thinking that if I lived to be seventy-five, I only had about a thousand of them left to enjoy." "So I went to a toy store and bought every single marble they had. I ended up having to visit three toy stores to round-up 1000 marbles. I took them home and put them inside of a large, clear plastic container right here in the shack next to my gear. Every Saturday since then, I have taken one marble out and thrown it away." “When you fully comprehend that there is more to life than just here and now, and you realize that life is just preparation for eternity, you will begin to live differently. You will start living in light of eternity, and that will color how you handle every relationship, task, and circumstance. Suddenly many activities, goals, and even problems that seemed so important will appear trivial, petty, and unworthy of your attention. The closer you live to God, the smaller everything else appears. When you live in the light of eternity, your values change. You use your time and money more wisely. You place a higher premium on relationships and character instead of fame or wealth or achievements or even fun. Your priorities are reordered. Keeping up with trends, fashions, and popular values just doesn’t matter as much anymore.” –Rick Warren, “It sounds bad but it’s true, we all must choose to cheat. It’s simple, the problem is not a lack of discipline or time management, it is simply lack of time. With only 24 hours in each day, we cannot do everything. We think we can give 100% to our family, 100% to our job, 100% to our hobbies, 100% to our leisure, but that’s 400%! It can’t be done. Any time we set a priority we have said that something else in that moment is less important. Anytime we say ‘yes’ to something we’ve also said ‘No’ to something. It’s a fact of life, we have to choose to cheat. The key is learning when and where to cheat.” It’s true isn’t it? We are faced with choices all the time that put one thing over another. Oh, many of us would say our priorities are God, family, work and leisure, but how many really live out that verbiage?” –Andy Stanley

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