Summary: Through Nehemiah we learn the Godly way to overcome what could potentially become discouragement.
Introduction: John Hus Illustration
Background: Hard work is almost finished
Purpose Statement: Being a Committed Christian Means…
I. Never Letting Your Guard Down (v. 1, 8-9)
A. The Work is all but finished
1. The enemies make a concession speech
2. They were appealing to his pride
B. Never fall for the trap that your work is done
1. Paul’s warning in 1 Corinthians 10:12
2. Some of you never put your guard up, never use your armor
II. Always Using Discerning (v. 2)
A. Nehemiah’s potential failing
1. You like me, you really like me
B. A discerning heart listens for the voice of God
1. Indian Cricket Illustration
2. What’s important to you?
III. Being Relentless (vs. 3-4)
A. Repeatedly he is tempted, repeatedly he overcomes
1. He had work to do and no time for tricks or appeals to vanity
B. Never Give up
1. Winston Churchill quote
2. Never give up on God
IV. Not Being a Rumor Monger (vs. 5-7)
A. Evil lies spread quickly – Marivaux quote
1. Not one bit of truth in their accusations
2. Danger to Nehe if this gets back to the king
B. Don’t become a part of such evil
1. The Anonymous letter
2. There is a biblical way to settle differences [Matthew 18:15-17]
V. Live a Blameless Life (vs. 8-9)
A. Because Nehemiah was blameless he could refute the accusations
1. Young evangelist illustration
2. He was able to explain what these evil men were doing
B. Who are you REALLY?
1. Are there skeletons in your closet?
2. Remember my prayer a couple of weeks ago?
VI. Ultimately Depending Upon God For the First Five (v. 9)
A. Once again look at the awesome prayer life of Nehemiah
1. He was intimately focused upon God
2. He was successful because he was faithful
B. This is not some passive role on our part
1. In other words don’t just sit there do something
2. D.L. Moody quote
Conclusion: There is work involved in following Christ…
JOHN HUS ILLUSTRATION
John - Jan in Czech - was born in 1374 to a humble family. He spent much of his career teaching at the Charles University in Prague, Bohemia (in what is now Czechoslovakia). He was also the preacher at the Bethlehem Chapel in Prague. (Don’t let "chapel" mislead you. Three thousand people packed in to hear his sermons.)
Hus was highly influenced by Wyclif. Hus emphasized personal piety and purity of life. He stressed the role of the Bible as authority in the church, and consequently, he lifted biblical preaching to an important status in church services.
The archbishop of Prague told Hus to stop preaching and asked the university to burn Wycliffe’s writings. Hus refused to comply, and the archbishop condemned him. Meanwhile, Hus preached against the sale of indulgences, which were being used to finance the pope’s expedition against the king of Naples. The pope excommunicated Hus and placed Prague under an interdict-roughly meaning that the entire city was excommunicated and could not receive the sacraments. To relieve this situation, Hus left Prague, but he continued to preach in various churches and in the open air. And, like Jesus, "the common people heard him gladly."
Hus could only meet with trouble for such teachings. In 1415 he was summoned to the Council of Constance to defend his teachings. In being conducted there he was victim of one of the dirtiest tricks ever played on a Christian. He was promised safe conduct by the Emperor Sigismund. And he had the papal assurance: "Even if he had killed my own brother . . . he must be safe while he is at Constance." Yet, Hus was arrested soon after he arrived.
Hus, sick and physically wasted by long imprisonment, illness, and lack of sleep, protested his innocence and refused to renounce his alleged errors unless he could be shown otherwise from Scripture. To the council he said, "I would not, for a chapel full of gold, recede from the truth." Formally condemned, he was handed over to the secular authorities to be burned at the stake on July 6, 1415.
And so they make what Boice suggests looks like a political concession speech: “Nehemiah, it’s no use pretending that we haven’t been opposed to your project—we have. But you have succeeded in spite of us, and now there is no use to carry on our opposition. For better or for worse, we’ll have to live together. Let’s meet for a summit conference to figure out how.” Might have sounded reasonable—but Nehemiah saw through it all. He understood what their intent was: “to harm me!”
12 So, if you think you are standing firm, be careful that you don’t fall! (NIV)