Summary: Know your place in the body of Christ
INTRO: A job well done is to be celebrated and certainly Nehemiah along with God’s people were primed for worship after the rebuilding of the walls. God’s hand was upon Nehemiah as he sought to move God’s people forward in obedience. However, Nehemiah still had much work to do in PREPARING God’s people to be effective in their worship of the Lord. They had to learn what they BELIEVED inwardly about God needed to worked out in their BEHAVIOR before a watching world. For the worship of God to be at its best, the PEOPLE of God needed to be their best!
ILLUS: A missionary tells of a woman in India holding in her arms a weak, whining infant, while at her side stood a beautiful, healthy child. The man of God saw her walk to the banks of the Ganges River and throw the robust youngster to the crocodiles as an offering, and then turn toward home again still clutching the sickly child to her bosom. Tears were running down her cheeks when he stopped to question her concerning her shocking actions; however, she proudly replied in defense of her conduct, “O sir, we always give our gods the best!”
We must not be guilty of giving our best to the world and our least to the Lord!
PROP. SENT: The Bible teaches that God is a God of order…He sets the standards, not us. The leadership of the church must teach, preach, and serve the Lord in such a way that God’s good order is made known and practiced. In addition, God’s people must be found faithful in discovering, developing, and deploying their unique gifts if worship is to be pleasing to God. Do you know your place and are you fulfilling your part in God’s order of worship?
I. THE PREEMINENCE OF ORDER
A. Scriptural in Focus Neh. 7:1
1. Nehemiah knew that his job was not done just because the walls had been rebuilt – God’s people needed to be led into the lifestyle of worship and service.
2. Vital to Jerusalem ’s strength and vitality would be closely linked to their physical, spiritual, and intellectual development.
3. It’s interesting to note how Nehemiah led God’s people during their rebuilding of the citizenship of Jerusalem . He appointed the following leaders for the benefit of the nation…
a. Gatekeepers – protection and security (they would sound the alarm if enemies were approaching)
b. Singers – spiritual worship (full of worship and praise to the Lord)
c. Levites – teachers of the law and history
4. Just as Nehemiah knew God’s people had to be grounded in God’s word and led by godly leaders…WE NEED THIS SAME SCRIPTURAL FOCUS FROM THE LEADERSHIP IN THE CHURCH OF JESUS CHRIST TODAY!
ILLUS: “In a relativist and pluralistic age like ours, one of our greatest needs is for preachers, teachers, and homegroup leaders who will faithfully communicate the eternal truths of Scripture, and share them in a manner which will demonstrate their unique authority, crucial importance, contemporary relevance and timeless appeal.”
5. Of course, no leader is going to be perfect in the eyes of those he leads – not even the Lord Jesus Christ, the sinless Son of God, pleased everyone.
6. I’m sure, Nehemiah had people rise up and tell him what he was doing wrong and how he could be doing things better…yet Nehemiah led with a scriptural focus second to none.
7. The Word of God is the standard we are to acclimate our lives to. (Do not water it down – but preach the Word!)
8. The greatest thing a pastor can do is stick with the Word of God – the message does not change; the message does change lives!
B. Spiritual in Faith Neh. 7:2-3
1. Nehemiah’s brother, Hanani, was given charge over Jerusalem .
2. It was Hanani who had first reported Jerusalem ’s devastating and deplorable conditions to Nehemiah…Hanani obviously had a great heart for God and similarly, a great heart for God’s people. (Neh. 1:2-4)
3. Hananiah was the military leader of Jerusalem . He was faithful and feared God more than most men. Wouldn’t it be great if it was said of all our military leaders in America , that they too were, “faithful men
and feared God more than many.”
4. Isn’t that what the Lord is looking for in each of our lives and each of His churches?
5. He is looking for people who are faithful and fear Him!
ILLUS: “…to live a holy life--to reject sin…means living a life where the power of the Holy One, the power of the Infinitely Loving, Infinitely Powerful, Infinitely Wise, Infinitely Good God does His Loving, Powerful, Wise, and Good work in us, and in through us into the world. In choosing to live a holy life, we choose to exchange the bondage of sin and worldly satisfaction for the limitless, loving, powerful freedom of Christ.” - Jana Fischer