Summary: How do you feel when you finish accomplishing a task for the Lord? When you finish that task, does it mean that you’re mission is accomplished? Every accomplishment, every victory, every step along the way is just a step in accomplishing the mission tha

I want to take you for a few minutes back to another scene in biblical history. Think back to the time when Israel first entered into the Promised Land. They had just wandered in the wilderness for 40 years. They stood on the banks of the Jordan and God gave them a new leader. God didn’t allow Moses to enter the Promised Land, so He told him to appoint Joshua in his place. So Moses publicly transferred his leadership to Joshua and then went off to die. And Joshua gathered the people together and led them across the Jordan River to the place that God had promised them. No sooner had they crossed the river than they had an enemy to confront. They knew that the city of Jericho was awaiting them. They sent spies in. They planned what they were going to do. They prepared. And now that they crossed the river, their assignment to conquer Jericho was waiting for them. Of course we all know the story of what happened. God told them to do something that seemed impossible. He told them to march around the city once a day for six days. Then on the seventh day, march around it again. But this time, seven priests would blow trumpets. And when the priests blew their trumpets, all the people were to shout at the top of their lungs. It sounded crazy, but they did it. And when they did it, God accomplished the impossible through them. He leveled the city walls so they could go in and accomplish their assignment. And they did. But then what happened? Then they could just lay back and say that their work was done, right? They had accomplished a great task for the Lord. Now they were done, right? Wrong—they were just getting started. That was just the first assignment along the way. They still had a whole Promised Land to take. The problem was, they didn’t. Sure, they went on to conquer parts of it. They went on to tackle more assignments along the way. But by the time you get to the end of Joshua’s life, they still hadn’t completed the mission. They settled down in the places they had conquered and left whole parts of the mission unaccomplished. And because they only partly obeyed the mission that God had for them, they were completely disobedient to Him. Judges 2:2 says, “But ye have not obeyed my voice: why have ye done this?” That’s a good question—why would they have done that? The same reason we get tempted to do it. Sometimes a little bit of success can be the worst thing for us, can’t it? We can accomplish a task and think that we’ve really accomplished something. We can reach a goal and think that we’ve arrived. Has that ever happened here in the past? We got the sanctuary done—we’ve really accomplished something. We built an Activities Building—we’ve arrived. We bought some property—now we’ve got it made. We built an addition—now we’re done. Those are all great things, aren’t they? But Jericho was a great thing too. It was a great assignment. And it was a great thing when that assignment was accomplished. But just because an assignment gets accomplished, doesn’t mean that the mission is accomplished. There is a huge difference. And Nehemiah knew the difference. You see, it would have been very easy to think that building a wall was the remnant’s mission. All up till this point, the whole focus has been on building the wall. Building the wall was a tremendous assignment. But Nehemiah knew that it was only an assignment. And an assignment is only one part of the whole mission. The mission of the remnant was to be a witness for God to the nations. God told them to do that by standing as a unique nation amongst them. Their uniqueness was to be on display in the city of Jerusalem by the way they lived and worked and worshipped. The first assignment in renewing that witness to the nations was to be accomplished in the rebuilding of the wall. In a completely miraculous way, God worked through Nehemiah and the remnant to get the wall built in 52 days. But the mission wasn’t accomplished. It had only just begun. Just like our mission isn’t accomplished. We can have successful assignments along the way. This church has been blessed with many successful assignments. But every accomplishment we have… every victory we win… every step along the way… is just a step in accomplishing our mission of fulfilling the Great Commission. And just like with Nehemiah and the remnant, every successful assignment should cause us to do three things. First, it should cause us to review the present reality. Look at how Nehemiah did that in verses 1-3:

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