Summary: We must have the courage to expect righteousness.
KEEPING THE STANDARD
Th: Brave Hearts
Pr: WE MUST HAVE THE COURAGE TO EXPECT RIGHTEOUSNESS.
?: What? What should we be expecting and what
should we be watching out for?
TS: We will find in our study of Nehemiah 13:1-31 four
compromises that get in the way of righteousness.
The _____ compromise is…
I. DEFILING THE HOLY
II. NEGLECTING THE HELP
III. IGNORING THE RHYTHM
IV. BREAKING THE PROMISE
RMBC 06 Apr 03 AM
ILL Notebook: Standards (she smokes)
Nancy Campgana was waiting for a Manhattan sub-way when her attention was diverted by two men in their 20s engrossed in conversation just a few feet away. One was dressed in a torn heavy-metal T--shirt and had stringy black hair, two skull tattoos on his left calf and a ring through his bottom lip.
The other had greasy blond hair tied in a ponytail, six earrings, and a four-inch snake tattoo on his left forearm. "Hey, I finally went out with Kathy last night," the first man said.
"Well, how did it go, dude?" asked his friend, his hand clutching an open beer in a paper bag.
"Awesome!" came the reply. "She is one hot babe who really knows how to party!"
"So are you going to see her again?"
"Nah, man," the first guy answered, his exuberance suddenly subdued. "She smokes."
Well, at least he has some standards.
Do you have standards?
Are there things in your life that you know to be right and wrong?
As we come to our text today, we are going to see that Nehemiah as a very keen sense of right and wrong that puts him into motion.
You see, Nehemiah acts on what he believes.
This is a dynamic that we have observed all along in our study of this man.
1. In our study of Nehemiah, we have observed…
1.1 The rebuilding of the wall.
While serving King Artaxerxes, God laid on the heart of Nehemiah the fact the Jerusalem was in bad shape.
While the temple had been rebuilt years earlier, the wall was in ruins and the people were discouraged.
The king graciously gave Nehemiah permission to return to his homeland and rebuild the wall.
Nehemiah successfully completed this task.
It was, what we called, a holy ambition that was accomplished in the midst of criticism and threats.
But the rebuilding of the wall was not the only responsibility of Nehemiah.
Though he was, in reality, a political leader, he was also there for…
1.2 The rebuilding of their faith.
Nehemiah made sure that the people separated themselves from the foreign elements in their midst.
They had to humbly come before God and confess their sins.
Then they made concrete promises.
They committed themselves to Sabbath, to the support of God’s work and to purity in their marriages.
In so doing, they successfully rebuilt their faith.
Now, Nehemiah has returned to Susa, to serve King Artaxerxes.
We are not sure how long the time period is that he is in Persia, but it does seem to be a considerable amount of time.
As we come to our text today, our final study of Nehemiah, we see that Nehemiah is returning to Jerusalem.
And what he discovers is that, “While the cat’s away, the mice will play!”
The promises the people have made under Nehemiah’s supervision are compromised.
Their spiritual life, at best, is suspect.
It has been said…
2. “Faith is like a fire; it needs to be stirred and fed to keep it going.”
Our faith is meant to be active and practiced.
Faith in God is not designed to be sedentary.
We are to feed on God’s Word, and enabled by the Spirit of God, we are to make a difference in our world.
ILL Notebook: Holy Spirit (Campolo – fill me Lord)
Tony Campolo tells of an experience he had in a church that was of a Pentecostal bent.
There was a man who, in the throes of spiritual involvement, began to call out in a loud voice, “Fill me, Lord! Fill me, Lord! Fill me, Lord!”
To which an older woman in the congregation, who could control herself no longer replied, in a loud voice, “Don’t do it, Lord; he leaks!”
3. We need to recognize that we can get lazy about our faith.
There is no doubt that we must be vigilant.
We need to be careful about our faith, because something that seems insignificant can become a critical issue.
Like a slow leak in a tire.
Eventually, the car won’t be able to go.
Or how about a chunk of insulation?
Apparently, the damage it caused was able to destroy the space shuttle Columbia.
As we come to our study today, we need to recognize that the world system is like gravity to us.