Summary: Revival started with a foundation of prayer. Israel’s physical state was a reflection of their spiritual state. Nehemiah’s quest wasn’t just about rebuilding the walls and gates of Jerusalem. It was also about reviving the hearts and minds of the peopl
(This sermon is part of a series preached in the first few months of arriving at the church, which had been without a "preacher" for 3 years.)
Laying the Foundation for Revival
Show the Blueprints and Plans of our church from years past—class rooms, family life center, new worship area, more space, more people
What happened to those plans? Remained rolled up in a container, all but forgotten
Growth didn’t happen. In fact, Instead of growth, fracture.
Painful memories. Lost Dreams. Broken Relationships
Enough to make your heart break.
Beginning to feel what Nehemiah must have felt
His people, once the proud people of God, home of King David, the great warrior, man after God’s own heart, accomplished musician—songs for the temple courts,
Home of King Solomon, wisest man around, known to kings and queens from Asia to Africa, Europe, builder of the grand temple, expander of the beauty of the “city of God” Jerusalem
Now where were they?
Carted off, slaves, servants to a foreign king, serving a kingdom not under God,
Their city, even after some recent attempts to revitalize and rebuild, still was made vulnerable by broken down walls, made a disgrace with once strong gates reduced to ashes.
How did this all happen?
Their “physical state” was a reflection of their spiritual state. Was a result of their spiritual state.
Nehemiah could have called it quits. But he didn’t.
Instead, he turned to the only One that he could. the only One that could make a difference. The only One through whom revival could come.
Read Nehemiah 1
It wasn’t just about rebuilding the walls and gates of Jerusalem, although it certainly was that. It was also about reviving the hearts and minds of the people to love and obey God, about confessing their sins and returning to a relationship with their Lord.
In this prayer, Nehemiah lays himself, his people, and their need before the Lord, and comes away with the humility, power, and confidence to help rebuild the city he loves as well as rekindle the love of he and the people for their God.
Key Point: Nehemiah 1 Shows Us How We Can Lay a Foundation of Prayer So That Revival Will Come.
1. Revival Prayer Comes Through Those Who See the Need
Nehemiah was overcome by the need of his people—and he turned immediately to God
We really shouldn’t have to look far to see needs.
Ed just had to walk out in his backyard and step into some soggy ground to realize he needed to fix the leech field of his septic system
Then a few days later after one knowledgeable look, the doctor told Ed and Elaine that their daughter needed to be rushed to the hospital and treated for diabetes.
Ed has also shared many times that the life he was raised in and lived until recently showed him that not only did HE need the Lord, but as he might put it: “there’s some really messed up people out there.”
You really don’t have to look too far to see the need for the Lord’s healing touch:
• Successful business men that lead a horrible double life until exposed for what they are, as in the case of a well known anchor weather man in Miami (Bill Kamal)
• Internet sites filled with teens and young adults—normal looking on the outside (or not)—who are encouraging each other in bi-sexuality, suicide, anorexia, violent acts
• Homeless people that look for food in garbage cans as people stream in and out of a convenient store, buying what is “convenient” at convenient store prices (as happened in CIncy will transferring the children to Grandma and Poppa)
• People who are so absorbed in themselves or worrying about homeless people that they fail to reach out and buy a meal (that is ME sometimes!)
• Christians whose marriages are one argument, one internet site, one emotional affair, away from divorce
You can fill in your own blanks of the needs of the world and hurting Christians.
The Church actually the answer to ALL those needs—who is Jesus Christ
His Gospel message: “come to me all you weary and heavy laden, and I will give you rest” is tailor made to address the needs of the burdened, the lost, or as one preacher put it “the shrimps, and wimps and those with limps.”—really the Gospel is for all people
Jim Cymbala (as described in Fresh Wind Fresh Fire) looked around a saw a small rag tag group of church goers surrounded by a city of muggers, transvestites, drug addicts and more, and realized he was in trouble. He was overcome by his own inadequacy to lead the church, as well as his lack of answers for the world.
In his desperation, he began to search for answers, yearning for the power that can only come from God. At the end of his rope, he felt the Lord impress on him, deep within his soul, that God’s power would be with them, if only he and the church learned to call on His name to supply their needs.