Summary: The final of four sermons on Nehemiah, also the introduction of our Corps Vision Statement.
The man came in and sat down, I’d say he was in his mid-thirties; he looked a bit rough around the edges and hadn’t shaved for a few days. We introduced our selves and the question was asked how are you surviving? “Well I can’t get the benefit right now so I’m doing a few burglaries, mind you it doesn’t affect any body, and nobody’s getting hurt!
While my fellow worker went to get him a food parcel I had the opportunity to talk to this bloke.
Being all bold and an officer cadet to boot, I asked “what do you reckon the world would be like if everybody followed the two great commandments?”
The reply was a fairly blank look; this bloke had never heard the two great commandments. “What do you mean?” he said.
“In a nut shell mate I said; “If everybody was to love God with all their heart and soul and mind and strength and to love their neighbour as their self.”
Another blank look and a few moments later was his reply, “no mate it wouldn’t work!”
All confident like, I asked, “Eh?”
He summed his reply up this way, “It wouldn’t work, because some body would always be out to rip somebody else off.”
I guess that my question hinged around everyone being on the same page with the two great commandments.
The truth is that we live in a world where not everyone is.
For the last wee while we did a series on Nehemiah and this sermon is to sum it up. Part of the point of it is on working together, as was the point of Tim Hawkins sermon big idea a few weeks ago which was, “were not spectators, …were (can anyone remember) players.”
Imagine this as Jesus ‘body’ here on Earth we all, that’s everyone who calls themselves by the name of Christ, Christians that is, are actually answering the call to live those two commandments, to Love the Lord and neighbour etc, and in doing so to make a difference.
Imagine what it would be like if we were all to do our bit in bringing God’s Kingdom here on Earth!
Think about this people would be meeting with our living saviour, and in their meeting with him, making decisions to live for him. The Holy Spirit would then come to abide with them as their helper, friend, encourager and counsellor. As a result of this happening life change would occur.
What would it be like, if this life change was like a contagious disease that spread the love of God to many, many others, Jesus compared it to yeast in dough, that made the bread expand and grow.
Christ’s body the church, growing expanding, lives changed, saved from the mundane existence that they are currently suffering, people free from addictions, fears, worries and day to day dramas that drag them down, living life like some badly written soap opera.
Attitudes changed from being that of; “I no longer serve just myself and the world, but a God who can, a God who will, and people experiencing the love of and the direction of / God in their lives.”
Lives changed, people living abundant lives, won for God’s kingdom, for eternity, people on mass praising God. People, Living for God and serving one another / really a bit like Heaven on Earth.
As we look back on our series on Nehemiah, we see that the vast majority of the people of Jerusalem became involved in the work of rebuilding that city’s walls. It did however become quite clear that there were some noblemen who ‘wouldn’t put their shoulders to the work.’ I guess if they were here now they’d feel fairly stink, image that being your record for thousands of years.
There was also opposition to the work they were doing; the wall was rebuilt by men carrying swords for defence.
The people also did make mistakes; Nehemiah being God’s agent on the ground had to refocus them on the task at hand. The result was that Jerusalem was a safe place for exiles to return to. It was a place where the God of Israel turned curses into blessings! Where his law was once again followed and where confession of sins occurred and where blessings followed.
He people of the city were again living vibrant energised and worthwhile lives.
These people who rebuilt the walls, the people involved in this work were not just the Stone Masons or Brick Layers, there were all sorts, there were Rulers, Perfume Makers, Priests, Residents, Labourers, Temple Servants and Goldsmiths to name a few.
Let me read you this from Nehemiah 3:12,”Shallum son of Hallohesh, ruler of a half district of Jerusalem, repaired the next section with the help of his daughters.”