Sermons

Summary: What happens when you’re successful? It might look differently you imagined… but let’s expect that you’re efforts will have an impact for good in the world… or at least in one person’s world. That’s called success.

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What’s easier to deal with success or failure?

no one likes failure, but success is more dangerous

52 days

Nehemiah is wildly successful

What happens when you’re successful?

It might look differently you imagined… but let’s expect that you’re efforts will have an impact for good in the world… or at least in one person’s world. That’s called success.

How will you handle it?

What if more blessings come your way?

If you do the right things in the right ways that benefit other people… eventually, you’ll be rewarded for your efforts…

not your timing

God’s timing

You’ll reap what you sow.

Then what?

Nehemiah is appointed Governor…

What if he felt entitled…

“I earned this… I sacrificed… now I’ll reap the benefits and get fat and lazy”

Beware of the dangers of success

What good will it be for someone to gain the whole world, yet forfeit their soul? Matthew 16:26

According to Jesus, it’s very possible to gain good things and lose the most important things.

Success is relative… thinking:

any promotion, opportunity

raise, or financial benefit

privilege or perk

Here is a principle to learn now, before you’re you’re successful (any more successful):

Just because you can doesn’t mean you should

I know you can justify it… but should you?

I realize you’ve worked hard… and rest and rewards are part of it… but don't take that too far…

This has always been a mission from God:

Not for me…through me, for them

Nehemiah’s example:

For the entire twelve years that I was governor of Judah—from the twentieth year to the thirty-second year of the reign of King Artaxerxes—neither I nor my officials drew on our official food allowance. 15 The former governors, in contrast, had laid heavy burdens on the people, demanding a daily ration of food and wine, besides forty pieces of silver. Even their assistants took advantage of the people. But because I feared God, I did not act that way.

Nehemiah: decision—I can justify it, but I’m not going to do it

Privileges and perks

Integrity drift

“Everyone else is doing it!”

Just because you can doesn’t mean you should

16 I also devoted myself to working on the wall and refused to acquire any land. And I required all my servants to spend time working on the wall. 17 I asked for nothing, even though I regularly fed 150 Jewish officials at my table, besides all the visitors from other lands! 18 The provisions I paid for each day included one ox, six choice sheep or goats, and a large number of poultry. And every ten days we needed a large supply of all kinds of wine. Yet I refused to claim the governor’s food allowance because the people already carried a heavy burden. Nehemiah 5:14-18 (NLT)

I could have… easily justify… but it would have been painful for the people, so I didn’t

Because the project is about the people—not about me

Protect your integrity/character

Integrity: alignment between what you say and what do

People outside the church don’t have a problem with Jesus

They have a problem with Christians who say one thing and do the opposite

To protect your integrity and influence…

Pass blessings through

Always have something you’re passing through… think about something now:

a gift

an opportunity

a blessing that you can bless someone else

an experience that would a lot to someone

Nehemiah coaching us to protect our hearts from the dangers of success, might say:

Receive gratefully

Pass on generously

Just because you can doesn’t mean you should

Notice the words

“gratefully”

“generously”

Those words matter because…

be careful that your heart doesn’t go bad in the middle of your sacrificing.

It’s possible to give away and deny yourself and to have a cold dark heart.

Can’t…

think you’re better

grow bitter

You can do the right thing with a bad attitude and be worse off…

Here’s Nehemiah’s secret to sacrificing and keeping his heart healthy:

Remember me with favor, my God, for all I have done for these people. Nehemiah 5:19 (NIV)

so subtle… but do you see it?

He trusts God…and he was always serving God to begin with.

We love God by caring about other people!

Jesus: Love God… Love others as yourself

you want to love God… love people

mercy, not religious rituals

You might think you understand this truth in your mind, but think about your life…

How often are you disappointed in people? How often are you hurt by people?

How often do people let you down?

Nehemiah sacrificed MUCH for the people, but…

He’s not looking for the people to repay him.

He’s not looking for at himself as better than the people.

He trusts that God sees… God cares… God will satisfy his soul

money cannot

status cannot

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