Summary: In every church there are 3 kinds of people: 1. Destructionists 2. Obstructionists 3. Constructionists ... Nehemiah is the perfect example of how to be the latter. Link inc. to formatted text, audio/video, PowerPoint.
Nehemiah-Just An Ordinary Guy
The Bible sometimes compares the building of a work of God [church] with the building of a building.
31 Then had the churches rest throughout all Judaea and Galilee and Samaria, and were edified; and walking in the fear of the Lord, and in the comfort of the Holy Ghost, were multiplied.
"Edified" means to build up. It’s where we get the word edifice. Jesus said He would build His church and the gates of hell would not prevail against it.
Of course, a church is not a building, it is a body. The body of Christ. The church is not an organization, it’s an organism...a living, breathing entity. It needs health, it needs growth, and God wants to build it, bless it, and grow it.
9 For we are labourers together with God: ye are God’s husbandry, ye are God’s building.
If we build people, the church will automatically be built.
ill.--a cattle rancher got saved and surrendered to preach. He went to a Bible conference which was all about how to build a crowd. Asked about it later, he said, "It was strange. In all my years as a cattle rancher, I never had to go to a conference to learn how to get the cows to come to the feeding trough. I always just figured that if you put out good feed, the cows will come."
I’m not calling you a bunch of cows, just making a point!
My job is not primarily to build a church, but to put out good feed. And so we should not be about building a church as much as building people. You build a church one person at a time.
In every church there are 3 kinds of people:
1. Destructionists - they tear down the work of God.
2. Obstructionists - they get in the way of the work of God.
3. Constructionists - they assist in building the work of God.
I’d rather die than be one of the first two.
Nehemiah is the perfect example of how to be the latter. He led God’s people in rebuilding the walls of Jerusalem which had been destroyed by the enemy. It was the most amazing feat of engineering and construction that you will ever hear about. They did the job in 52 days!
In this series we will learn lessons of leadership, organization, dealing with criticism and opposition, lessons on commitment and determination.
We will ask 3 questions: What did it mean then? What does it mean now? What does it mean to ME? We need to apply these principles to our lives.
Let’s just ’lay the foundation’ for this series on building.
In journalism class as a teen I learned that the first paragraph of a story is the most important, and that in it you should answer the who, the what, the when, and the where. Nehemiah does this in the first couple of verses.
What is the book of Nehemiah?
v. 1 "The words of Nehemiah"
This is an autobiography. His memoirs. His testimony of what God did in him and thru him.
-God works for us = salvation
-God works in us = sanctification
-God works thru us = service
If I asked you now to write down how God is using you to build up the work of God, what would you have to write down? Would what you write challenge and inspire others?
’The words of Nehemiah’ were something worth writing because God was working in his life.
Who is Nehemiah?
"the son of Hachaliah"
There are 3 men who played an important role in rebuilding Jerusalem after it was destroyed by the Babylonians. Zerubbabel, the prince, represented the political side. Ezra, the priest, represented the religious side. Then there’s Nehemiah, who was a layman...an ordinary church member. He was not a prophet, priest, or preacher. He worked a secular job.
And you don’t have to be a preacher to be greatly used of God! Our Lord has a way of taking ordinary people and doing extra ordinary things thru them.
ill.--D. L. Moody was never ordained to preach. He was a salesman who got saved, and heard a preacher state that the world has yet to see what God can do with a man completely yielded to him. And Moody said, by the grace of God, I’ll be that man. He had never been to school, and would butcher the English language. They say he could pronounce Mesopotamia in 1 syllable! But God transformed this ordinary guy into the mighty evangelist that he became.
As a side note, Moody got a lot of hate mail, and much of it was anonymous. One time in a meeting he came to the pulpit and found a small note folded there. He opened it to find only one word inside, "Fool." He told the crowd, "In my years I’ve received a lot of letters with no signatures. But this is the first time I’ve ever received a signature with no letter!"