Sermons

Summary: Message 1 in our exposition of Nehemiah. This is the introduction to the series and focuses on Nehemiah's actions leading up to the rebuilding of the wall.

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Chico Alliance Church

"Preparing to Build"

MAIN THEME

Secure walls support superior worship.

Crumbled walls cultivate corroded worship.

INTRODUCTION

Most all of us have been involved in a building project of one kind or another; on a large scale or a small scale. We all, to some degree encounter that internal drive to accomplish, do, make, or invent. Any kind of building requires some of the very same elements. Whether it is a skyscraper or a shed, a corporation or a congregation, a large firm or a small family, there are some standard principles common to all. The building process requires plans, goals, deadlines, leadership, work, organization, cooperation, energy, commitment. The process of building often brings obstacles, opposition, mistakes, set-backs, interference, depression, discouragement.

In this short book named after its author, we have a blueprint for effective building that can apply to building or growing almost anything. God has seen fit to record and preserve some principles of growth as effectively demonstrated through this prayer pilgrim named Nehemiah. We hope to discover principles related to leadership effective growth that will be usable on every level of life. We have a dream for God's growth here at Chico. We have dreams for our families, our Sunday School, our relationships. If we long for lasting growth, we must learn to do it God's way. Throughout the next six months we hope to discover and put into practice some of God's principles of growth gleaned from the journal of a man who lived it and who was directed by the Holy Spirit.

Gene Getz in his little commentary lists only a few of the relevant topics and tips to be found in this Journal.

*How to pray when there seems to be no human solution to our problems

*How to blend human and divine factors when facing these predicaments.

*How to keep God's sovereignty and our human responsibility in proper balance.

*How to "plan our work" and "work our plan" and at the same time rely on God as our divine resource Person.

*How to handle discouragement in ourselves and others.

*How to set goals and achieve them when everything around us seems to be thwarting our efforts.

*How to motivate others when morale is rapidly deteriorating.

*How to cope with personal anger and other negative emotions.

*How to accept promotion and success without abusing or misusing our privileges.

*How to respond to those who make false accusations against us and malign our motives.

*How to face and solve the toughest problems in our own lives first.

*How to lay the foundation for genuine revival among the people of God.

HISTORICAL SETTING

The placement of the book of Nehemiah along with Ezra and Esther has caused considerable confusion over the years. They are sandwiched between the period of the judges and the poetry books. These three books actually belong to the period of Jewish history called "The Return". Israel had been in God's obedience training school for some time.

It all started with one moldable pagan whom God singled out to be a channel of blessing to the world. His name was Abram later renamed Abraham. From Abraham, God began to cultivate a special people for His own possession. He blessed them and cultivated them not because THEY were great, but because HE WAS GREAT. To Abraham was born Issac, the son of promise, from the dead womb of Sarah. We follow Jacob into Egypt where the children of Israel multiply at an accelerated rate to the dismay of the Egyptian Empire. The intimidated Egyptians struggled to squelch this fruitful people through hard labor and even infanticide. The tribulations cycled for some 400 long bitter years in spite of their desperate cries for help. Just when the people felt that God no longer cared, He heard their cries and raised up a leader who would miraculously usher them out of Egypt to the land promised to their father Abraham hundreds of years before.

After a time, a united kingdom was established in the land that continued for some 120 years under the leadership of three kings, Saul, David and his son Solomon. After the death of King Solomon, civil war broke out under Rehoboam and Jeraboam directed a good portion of the Northern tribes to form their own separate kingdom called Israel. The remaining tribes then became known as the Southern Kingdom or Judah.

After 19 evil kings and significant spiritual corruption, God brought discipline to the Northern Kingdom through the fierce Assyrians who conquered and scattered them around 722 B.C. The Southern Kingdom survived for a time latter forming a period called the "Surviving Kingdom" under the leadership of 20 kings only eight of which followed the Lord. After a final string of sorry sovereigns and a siege of repulsive rebellion by the people, God delivered discipline upon Judah through Babylon. Babylon executed destruction on the city and carried off the people around 586 B.C. and left a small group of devastated people. Lamentations 1:1-5

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