Summary: With Nehemiah as the example, we look at how we are compelled to serve God if we are compassionate about the need.
Nehemiah – A Burden to Serve
Intro: The book of Nehemiah deals with the rebuilding of the wall around Jerusalem and the resulting revival of the Israelites around Nehemiah and the prophet Ezra. We’ve been talking about spiritual gifts – what they are, how we get them and how we can use them. Tonight we’ll look at this guy named Nehemiah. He is an unlikely sort to lead a revival of an entire nation, but we’ll see tonight how he used his gifts to do just that.
Nehemiah gets a report from some visitors that the remnant of Israel left in Jerusalem were not doing well and that they were in disgrace among the nations. How do you think you’d feel if that were you?
I. The Burden 1:3 & 4
A. What did he do?
i. “Those poor people… I hope they get their act together.”
ii. “Too bad for them. Somebody should do something about that.”
iii. He prayed (v. 5-11)
B. How did he pray?
i. Acknowledged God’s Sovereignty (Israel wasn’t doing that)
ii. Humbles himself (refers to himself as a servant)
iii. Confesses his sin (we must strive for righteousness to effectively use our gifts
iv. He asks God for success (He was praying in God’s will)
II. Nehemiah’s Gifts
A. Intercession (prayer)
B. Faithfulness (1:11 – 2:8)
i. His occupation was Sommelier (cup bearer)
ii. Earned the king’s trust
C. Wisdom (2:9 – 16)
i. He had a clear path laid to complete his journey (letters written for safe passage) (2:9)
ii. He surveyed the need before talking to the people (2:11-16)
i. One of the greatest gifts Nehemiah possessed was that of vision. He saw what was needed before he ever began the work.
ii. Where there is no vision, the people perish (Prov. 29:18)
E. Leadership (v. 17&18)
i. He clearly presented the need & the solution
ii. The work was delegated to others w/ different gifts
III. (When you have a burden to serve) Obstacles to overcome
A. There was opposition and distractions
i. Jealousy (some people have wrong motives)
ii. Negativism (We tried it before and it didn’t work)
B. Satan will oppose you if you are busy serving God
i. Eph 6:12 - For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places. (Put on the armor of God)
Conclusion: The result was that the wall was rebuilt and a revival of the Israelites took place. Once Nehemiah was faithful to use his gifts, the people glorified God in their obedience. Neh. 4:6 says “…the people worked with all their heart.” No longer were they a people in disgrace. They were joined together as one, worshipping and exalting God.