Summary: Exposition of Nehemiah 11:1-12:26 about the measures taken to strengthen the city to the glory of God
Text: Nehemiah 11:1-12:26, Title: Intentional Impact, Date/Place: NRBC, 1/20/08, PM
A. Opening illustration: Tell about Armitage Baptist Church reaching out to Muslims in the city in the aftermath of 9/11. “If one percent of evangelicals living outside the inner city had the faith and courage to move in town, evangelicals would fundamentally alter the history of urban America,” Dr. Ronald Sider, Eastern Baptist Theological Seminary in Philadelphia, Someone asked me about those passages full of names the other day…
B. Background to passage: After the covenant renewal ceremony the focus of Nehemiah turns back to governmental and societal matters. But of course with biblical theology, there is no huge gap. Faith impacts every iota of life. And so flowing from the revival, their commitment having been renewed, their kingdom focus causes them to act to take steps to secure the future of Jerusalem now that it has newly repaired walls. Remember that Jerusalem was very integral to the spiritual life and religious practice of the nation, and therefore to the kingdom. Our cities are just as important today to reach and fortify for Christ. Charles Lyons calls them socio-cultural hilltops from which all trends and influence flow. And by and large, evangelical Christianity has taken their little plastic Jesus, who couldn’t take the heat, and left. And thus our cities are putting for the most vile and sinful influences that have come into our smaller towns like Tifton.
C. Main thought: In the text we will see how Nehemiah’s crew intentionally impacted Jerusalem
A. Seeking the Lord (v. 1)
1. The people used a fairly common OT method of determining God’s will—lots. Explain lots. They knew that they needed to repopulate the city with faithful men and women. They wanted God to be involved in every part of their lives, including decisions about government and about where a family should live. This is what true revival brings about. And no doubt they sought the Lord on how to strengthen the city in the first place.
2. Isa 30:1, Hos 4:12, Ps 2:8,
3. Illustration: tell about Katie’s mom and dad visiting churches in and around Charlotte so they could decide where they wanted to live, the IMB website allows you to pray for large urban centers in the world. India has over 20 cities with 20 million residents a piece, tell about the list of questions for evaluation at the end of each chapter in the book on being a missional church, and about the question that it asked this week about whether or not our church is transforming the community around us,
4. We must not compartmentalize faith any longer. Your faith and worldview should impact every area of your life. And we must live consistently with that worldview. We must impact our city for Jesus. If we want to have the greatest impact on our culture or our country or our county we must start in the urban centers of the world. And the first step in beginning that process is prayer and seeking the Lord. We must ask the Lord to give us a vision and a plan for how to transform our community. Then we must be willing to adapt and carry out the ministry in our town so that God’s will be accomplished.
B. Making Willing Sacrifices (v. 2)
1. The text states that these men who had been selected (which are tediously named below), made this decision to willingly move their families, their belongings, their businesses, their aging parents, their everything into a city which they do not know. This would have been a really big commitment, but they were willing because the kingdom is at stake and God had spoken through his man. They were committed to the advance of the kingdom at any cost! They would be satisfied as long as God is in it. They knew that this would be the plan to reestablish Jerusalem, and more importantly the faith in the One true God for the next several generations.
2. 1 Chron 29:9,
3. Illustration: Fifteenth century, Albrecht Durer & Albert rose and said softly, "No, brother. I cannot go to Nuremberg. It is too late for me. Look what four years in the mines have done to my hands! The bones in every finger have been smashed at least once, and lately I have been suffering from arthritis so badly in my right hand that I cannot even hold a glass to return your toast, much less make delicate lines with a pen or a brush. No, brother, for me it is too late." tell about FBC Woodstock getting two year commitments from 100 people to move from Woodstock to Las Vegas to be the core group for the church plant there. Pastor Dan Eidson of Victory Baptist signs his emails with “Anything for the Kingdom, Everything for the King,”