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Summary: To accomplish the great work God is calling us to, we need everyone to join the team and do their part.

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Great Work Requires a Great Team

Nehemiah 2:17-3:32

August 13/14, 2005

Don Jaques

MAIN IDEA: To accomplish the great work God is calling us to, we need everyone to join the team and do their part.

Great works for God are accomplished when everyone does their part:

1. “Spiritual” leaders are not above physical work.

2. Other leaders need to be willing to work hard in the trenches.

3. Those with “special talents” are not exempt from service.

4. Even those who seem like unlikely candidates can do their part.

INTRO:

Give “Epaphroditus Award” to Mark Richards.

Go through Nehemiah’s story and 4 applications

Nehemiah 2:17 Then I said to them, "You see the trouble we are in: Jerusalem lies in ruins, and its gates have been burned with fire. Come, let us rebuild the wall of Jerusalem, and we will no longer be in disgrace." 18 I also told them about the gracious hand of my God upon me and what the king had said to me.

They replied, "Let us start rebuilding." So they began this good work.

19 But when Sanballat the Horonite, Tobiah the Ammonite official and Geshem the Arab heard about it, they mocked and ridiculed us. "What is this you are doing?" they asked. "Are you rebelling against the king?"

20 I answered them by saying, "The God of heaven will give us success. We his servants will start rebuilding, but as for you, you have no share in Jerusalem or any claim or historic right to it."

What follows in Nehemiah 3 is a long list of all the servants who went to work rebuilding the wall of Jerusalem under Nehemiah’s leadership. (show map) It’s an easy chapter to just skim over, full of unfamiliar names of people and places around the ancient city of Jerusalem that don’t mean much of anything to us today. But woven through this list of names are a few very important principles about just WHO is takes to accomplish an important work for the Kingdom.

Let’s start by reading 3:1.

Nehemiah 3:1 Eliashib the high priest and his fellow priests went to work and rebuilt the Sheep Gate. They dedicated it and set its doors in place, building as far as the Tower of the Hundred, which they dedicated, and as far as the Tower of Hananel.

Great works for God are accomplished when everyone does their part:

1. “Spiritual” leaders are not above physical work. (3:1)

The priests don’t get out of doing the hard physical work of rebuilding gates and a section of the wall. They don’t go off to have a prayer meeting or make excuses about how they are in their priestly clothes.

It’s interesting to note that of all the people listed – the priests are listed first. That’s because the spiritual leaders of a community must be involved in physical service as well. They are not exempt – but have an obligation to serve as an example in this type of work.

If a great work for the Kingdom is going to happen – those who are the spiritual leaders must be willing to get their hands dirty and put a little sweat into it!

TRANS: Now let’s jump down to verse 5…

Neh. 3:5 The next section was repaired by the men of Tekoa, but their nobles would not put their shoulders to the work under their supervisors.

2. Other leaders need to be willing to work hard in the trenches. (3:5)

What a shame to be remembered throughout history like this! The nobles – those in authority and power in Tekoa, a nearby village, refused to do their part. They would not put their shoulders to the work.

Let me tell you, when there is work to do for the kingdom of God, there is no room for those who would say “That kind of work is beneath me!” How can we forget the example of our Lord Jesus, taking off his outer robe, taking the role of the lowest slave, and washing the dirty feet of his disciples. You know what he said about it when he was done?

John 13:14 Now that I, your Lord and Teacher, have washed your feet, you also should wash one another’s feet. 15I have set you an example that you should do as I have done for you.

And don’t forget what Jesus said to his disciples once when they were arguing amongst themselves about who was the greatest.

Luke 22:24 Also a dispute arose among them as to which of them was considered to be greatest. 25 Jesus said to them, “The kings of the Gentiles lord it over them; and those who exercise authority over them call themselves Benefactors. 26 But you are not to be like that. Instead, the greatest among you should be like the youngest, and the one who rules like the one who serves.

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