Summary: Six principles that Nehemiah practiced in building the walls. These six principles if followed will help in building the Kingdom of God in your area.

Historical Background

Because of King Solomon’s sins, the kingdom of Israel split into two parts. The northern tribes were ruled initially by Jeroboam and the southern tribes (Judah and Benjamin) were ruled by Rehoboam. Both kingdoms continued to be characterized by idolatry and immorality. And as God had forewarned, He judged all Israel. The northern tribes were taken into captivity by the Assyrians. Years later, those in the Southern Kingdom were deported by the Babylonians.

When the Medes and Persians captured Babylon, many of the children of Israel began to return to the land of Canaan. This happened approximately seventy years after their deportation.

The first group returned to Judah under the leadership of Zerubbabel in approximately 536 B.C. In spite of tremendous opposition from the Samaritans, they eventually succeeded in rebuilding the temple.

Ezra led a second group of Jews back to the promised land (see Ezra 7:1-10) nearly a century later. When they arrive, they discovered that those that had gone on before them and the children that were born during this time were in a state of spiritual and moral deterioration. They had intermarried with the unbelieving people in the surrounding nations and were engaging in horrible idolatry and other pagan practices.

Ezra faced the problem head-on and began to teach God’s laws. As usually happened, when God’s people are faithfully taught His will, they began to turn from their sins.

Ezra’s ministry set the stage for Nehemiah’s appearance in Israel. Under difficult conditions, he challenged the children of Israel to rebuild the walls of the city and eventually led them to reorder their spiritual, social, and economic life—a miraculous accomplishment.

This is the story of the rebuilding of the walls round about Jerusalem under the leadership of God's man, Nehemiah. Nehemiah has received a commission from the Lord to rebuild the walls of Jerusalem that were decayed and broken down and fallen, leaving the people of God without defense and leaving the people of God in despair.

I want you to notice with me six principles that Nehemiah practiced in building the walls.

The very first thing he did was to fix his focus. Look if you will in verse twelve of chapter two: “Then I arose in the night, I and a few men with me; I told no one what my God had put in my heart to do at Jerusalem…” Nehemiah had a mandate from God. Nehemiah was a man who knew how to get alone with God and if you read in chapter 1 you will find something about his character, he fasted, he prayed, he wept, and God had told him what to do. Have you done that? Have you gotten direction from the Lord? Or have you just been wandering aimlessly like a ship without a rudder, like a ship without a compass or a ship without a sail? Are you just putting yourself in neutral and letting life push you around? Or, do you have a focus, do you have a goal, do you have direction? Do you know what God has for you to do individually and do you know what God has for you to do as a church? I am here to tell you, God has a plan for your life, and God has a plan for this church. God has something that he wants you to do and He has a direction He wants this church to go in. What we need to do is find out what God’s direction is for us individually and then for us as a church.

You are special to God. God has a job for you to do and the same God who has called you is the God who's equipped you. You can't do what I do; I can't do what you do. You can't do what others do. They can't do what you do. But I want to tell you; God has a job for everyone. God has a plan for every life. And oh, I would to God that you would get alone and fix your focus on that plan to find the will of God for your life.

Too many people are simply drawing their breath and drawing their salary. They don't have a plan, a goal. They get up in the morning, gulp down a cup of coffee, read the funny papers, fight the traffic to work, go to work all day, come home, take an aspirin, watch the news, eat their dinner, watch a little television and go to bed. The next day, it starts all over again. That's their life. Oh, my dear friend, God has something greater for you. God has something more wonderful for you. What are you doing? Have you fixed your focus on the purpose of God?

God has a plan for this church. So many churches are not focused on the right thing. Many churches are focused on self and taking care of self when there is a world out there that is lost. His plan involves reaching as many as you can with the message of the Gospel and seeing as many get saved as you can. How you do that is something you need to pray about and get His direction on. As a church you need to focus on God and find out how He wants you carry out His plan of reaching the lost.

Nehemiah said, God had laid something on my heart and if you'll listen, God will lay something on your heart and I want you to focus on it. I want you to say like the apostle Paul, this one thing I do. Do you really have a goal in life? If not, why not? Are you focused on the things God wants you to focus on? God has a purpose for your life.

God has a purpose for this church. Do you know what that purpose is and what direction He wants to take you in? He has given you a pastor and He is putting things in his heart for this church. As he listens to God you need to listen to him and go in God’s direction.

Now, the second thing he did. Not only did he fix his focus, but also he found the facts. Let’s look at verses 13-15 as Nehemiah inspects the walls of the city.

He's out there getting the facts. He wants to see what the condition really is. He's not like an ostrich that sticks his head in the sand. He's saying really, what are the facts? And once he sees these facts, then he's ready to do God's work. And what were the facts that he saw? He saw that God's work was in ruins. He saw that the walls around the city of Jerusalem that had been a symbol of strength, a thing of beauty, and a thing that brought glory to God were in ruins.

Without walls you leave yourself open to the enemy. Without the wall of prayer, the wall of fasting, the wall of Bible study, the wall of strong families we open ourselves up to the attack of the enemy. It is time we rebuilt or fortified the walls of our lives and our church.

I want you to do what Nehemiah did and go out and make a survey and look and see for yourself what the situation is.

Now, I want you to notice the third thing that he did. Not only did he fix his focus on what God had told him, not only did he find the facts, but then he formed a fellowship. He got some people to help him. I want you to notice verse seventeen: “Then I said to them, ‘You see the distress that we are in, how Jerusalem lies waste, and its gates are burned with fire. Come and let us build the wall of Jerusalem, that we may no longer be a reproach.’”

Nehemiah did not believe in a one-man ministry. Nehemiah knew that there is strength in numbers and strength in unity and he knew that he could not possibly do it by himself and though God had called him to lead, he said, come, let us do it together. Oh, what strength there is unity.

Illustration: I was reading about geese that fly in a V formation and the reason they do that is: it conserves their energy. Each bird flies slightly above the bird in front of him, resulting in a reduction of wind resistance. The birds take turns being in the front, falling back when they get tired. The birds flying at the tips and at the front are rotated in a timely cyclical fashion to spread flight fatigue equally among the flock members. Studies show that geese flying in a formation like that can fly 72% further than one goose could fly by himself. Whenever a goose falls out of formation, it suddenly feels the drag and resistance of trying to go it alone and quickly gets back into formation to take advantage of the lifting power of the bird immediately in front.

Who taught them to do that? God did. What is God teaching us today? The same thing that he has put into nature. The lesson to be learned is this; we can do more together than any one of us can do by himself.

It is time to get focused and together say, let us arise and build. Repeat after me: “Let us arise and build.” {Have one individual say, “let us arise and build”; then have two say “let us arise and build,” etc.}

Do you know what Henry Ford who was a mastermind at organization and cooperation, said? Henry Ford said, “Coming together is a beginning. Keeping together is progress. Thinking together is unity. Working together is success.” Isn't that good.

No matter what you're doing, if you're even building your own personal life, you can't do it by yourself. The bible says that no man lives unto himself. Your family, husband, wife, boys and girls, you've got to do it together to build your family. If you have a business, you need to involve those people who are working for you, do it together, do it together, and form a fellowship.

Now, notice what he did. He fixed his focus and then after he fixed his focus he found his facts. He went out and he looked at the situation. He didn't just go off half-cocked. And after he did that he formed a fellowship. He got some people with him and he said folks, we're going to do it together and it's going to be wonderful and it's going to be glorious.

The fourth thing he did was he fortified his faith. Verse 18 – “And I told them of the hand of my God which had been good upon me, and also of the king’s words that he had spoken to me.”

I love that verse. I want God's hand to be good upon me. Don't you want his hand to be good upon you?

He reminded them of the Kings words. What had the king spoken unto him? What did he have? First of all, he had the king's permission, secondly, he had the king's protection, thirdly, he had the king's provision. We do too. From the king of kings, we have his permission. We have his protection. We have his provision and so, Nehemiah just simply rehearsed what the king had said unto them.

He knew that they needed to be fortified in their faith. He knew human nature fears the new. And when ever anybody says let us rise and do anything great and noble, there's always a sick feeling in the pit of our stomach that maybe it cannot be done. Well, friend, if God is leading, if God's good hand is upon us, then it can be done. And what he did, he just simply turned around for a little bit and reviewed the past so that he could face the future. And he's saying the God of yesterday is the God of tomorrow.

The fifth thing he did, not only did he feed their faith and remind them of the good hand of God that had been upon them, but the next thing he did, he faced the foe. Notice verses 19 and 20: “19 But when Sanballat the Horonite, Tobiah the Ammonite official, and Geshem the Arab heard of it, they laughed at us and despised us, and said, “What is this thing that you are doing? Will you rebel against the king?’” 20 So I answered them, and said to them, ‘The God of heaven Himself will prosper us; therefore we His servants will arise and build, but you have no heritage or right or memorial in Jerusalem.’”

Anytime God's people say in their personal life, or in their corporate life, let us rise up and build, all the host of hell will say, let us rise up and stop them. And the door to the room of opportunity swings on the hinges of opposition. Never forget it. And if you think there's an easy way, a cheap way, a lazy way to do the work of God, forget it.

When God calls us to build His Kingdom, do you think it's going to be easy, do you think it's going to be a piece of cake? Well, it's not. This is not a Sunday School picnic I'm calling you to, but a grim conflict. Now, these three wicked men were demon inspired and they represent the devil himself in this story. You see, you are coming against the demonized, mobilized forces of hell in this city. Whenever you decide to do anything great and noble and good there will be plenty of people right here in this city that will say let's stop them. They don't like anything that's built for the name of Jesus and the cause of Christ. Think of the names the Bible gives to the devil. Deceiver, liar, murderer, accuser, tempter, destroyer, the evil one, these things are enough to tell you something about the character of the one who will oppose us. But you know, opposition ought not to discourage us, it ought to encourage us.

There will always be a Sanballet, there will always be a Gesham, there will always be, the Arabian there, to say ahahahah, what do you think you're up to? What do you think you're doing? Well, face you foe with faith.

Now, the sixth and final thing I want you to notice that they did, not only did they face their foe, but they fulfilled their function. You can go home and read chapter 3 but let’s read the first three verse this morning. “1Then Eliashib the high priest rose up with his brethren the priests and built the Sheep Gate; they consecrated it and hung its doors. They built as far as the Tower of the Hundred, and consecrated it, then as far as the Tower of Hananel. 2Next to Eliashib the men of Jericho built. And next to them Zaccur the son of Imri built. 3Also the sons of Hassenaah built the Fish Gate; they laid its beams and hung its doors with its bolts and bars. And next to them Meremoth the son of Urijah, the son of Koz, made repairs…”

And on and on it reads like this. So and so built here, so and so built here, so and so did this and so and so did that and what a wonderful thing it was as each one of them filled his function, as each one of them found his place around the wall.

I want you to notice how they did it. Each one of them found a organized spot, at least there was a leader. They didn't just all go off and say, well, I'm going to do my thing. You see, God had a plan. And God gave this plan through his spiritual leadership to the people. And the people were willing to follow. The people recognized God's chain of authority and they were willing to follow God's man and they were willing to do what he directed them to do. Each person had a part in the work. Each person had a job to do. You see, no man can do everything. Everybody can do something. I'm only one, but I am one. I can't do everything, but I can do something. And what I can do, I ought to do, and what I can do and ought to do, that by the grace of God, I will do. Have you ever said that? Have you just said I'll do what I can do, be it little or be it much? You see, here was the principle, not equal gifts, but equal sacrifice. That was it, not equal gifts, I can't do what you can do. You can't do what I can do. But as you will notice here that every man had a job. There was a principle that everybody was involved.

There was a job for everyone. As you study this chapter just go home this afternoon, and read it over and you'll find that there were apothecaries there, there were goldsmiths there, there were priests there who were working. Some of them were young and some of them were old. Some of them were rulers. Some of them were laborers. Some of them were craftsmen, the rich were there, the poor were there, women and men, they were all doing their part, these are the people that God has working together. Why, some of them were from out of town. Look in, in chapter three, verse two - "Next to Eliashib the men of Jericho built.”

But guess what not everybody that was there worked. Look at chapter 3:5 – “Next to them the Tekoites made repairs; but their nobles did not put their shoulders to the work of their Lord.” There are always some of you nobles, you just sit back and you say, well, if they want to do it, just let them do it.

It is forever written in this book that there were certain people when there was a job to do, they didn't do it. I pray that will not be written of you. These are days of opportunity. Golden days, glorious days, don't you miss it, don't let the final record be written, and it be written of you, that when these great days, so rich with opportunity were here upon us, that you didn't have a part in it. God forbid that that should be forever written about you.

Illustration: Some little boys were sitting around being real quite and that's unusual for some little boys and a man asked them what are you boys doing? One of them said we're playing war. He said you are? You're awfully quite for playing war. He said well, we're all generals. Well, listen, generals, we need some soldiers and you noble generals, I want you to get into the fray, I want you to get into the battle.