Summary: This was the sixth message in a series on Nehemiah.

Title: Don’t Let Distractions Stop You! Script: Neh. 6

Type: Series Where: GNBC 2-22-15

Intro: Do you have any unfinished projects lying around collecting dust? It’s so easy to get sidetracked isn’t it? I oftentimes have a list of unfinished projects. It takes tenacity to finish what we start because there are always so many competing distractions. One thing that clearly emerges from our study in the Book of Nehemiah is that life is a battle from beginning to end. In Ephesians 6:12 the Apostle Paul warns, “Our struggle is not against flesh and blood…but against the powers of this dark world.” We meet these powers of darkness in our text today. Here in Nehemiah 6, as in many other places in Scripture, we learn that the devil has two main ways of working. The first tactic is fear. Satan is prowling around, as Peter says in 1 Peter 5:8, “like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour.” But he has another battle plan as well. He not only uses fear, he also utilizes flattery. 2 Corinthians 11:14 reveals that Satan “masquerades as an angel of light.” He comes with enticing promises and flattering words, assuring us that what he proposes will cost us nothing. Whatever method the evil one employs, whether it be fear or flattery, his aim is to distract and destroy us. We need to be on guard against each of these approaches. Paul tells us in 2 Corinthians 2:11 that “We are not unaware of his schemes.” We need to be on guard because Satan is both a lion that devours and a serpent that deceives. Well, today, as we look at Neh. 6, we’ll notice how easy it can be for distractions to stop us from completing God’s work in our lives.

Prop: Exam. Neh.6 we’ll notice 3 ways to deal w/ distractions to completing God’s work.

BG: 1. Nehemiah was a high official in the Persian court of King Artaxerxes I at the capital city of Susa, which lay 150 miles east of the Tigris River in what is now modern Iran.

2. Book of Nehemiah covers a period of about 12 yrs., during first term as governor of Judah


Prop: Exam. Neh.6 we’ll notice 3 ways to deal w/ distractions to completing God’s work.

I. In Order to Deal w/Distraction We Must be “Tuned-In” to the Intrigue of Others. Vv.1-4

A. As Nehemiah is Faithfully Attempting to Complete is Task Others are Considering how to Undermine/Eliminate him.

1. The enemies of Jerusalem’s defenses change their tactics in order to stop the construction of the wall.

a. Here we go again…we see the hyena, the jackal, and snake reappearing in the life of Nehemiah. (Read v. 1) Sanballat, Tobiah, Geshem. In previous chapters they attempted to undermine the work of the construction of Jerusalem’s defenses by striking fear into the hearts of the workers. The attempt at discouragement failed directly due to the leadership of one determined man, Nehemiah! So, now they change their plan and tactics. Instead of instilling fear in the hearts of many people they will kill one man! So, in a display of political intrigue, the terrible trio come up with a plan to “take out Nehemiah”.

b. Notice the tactic: Nehemiah’s enemies all of a sudden want to become his friends! Christian, beware of someone who has been opposed to you and all of a sudden wants to be your friend. You jr./High school girls, beware of guys that want to be friendly all of a sudden. It’s ok to be rude sometimes. Four times (To this point.) they send a message to him: “Let’s meet in the plain of Ono.” Going to “Ono” was like offering an Iowan a chance to go to Florida in the winter time! Ono was on the Gaza coast. It was beautiful. It was a resort town. It was a place to get a little R&R. Maybe the trio were appealing to Nehemiah’s industrious nature. “You have worked so hard, you need a little rest and relaxation, come and sun your buns in Ono”. Yet, God gave Nehemiah insight and he said: “Oh no!” to “Ono”!

2. The enemy of our souls wants to distract and disrupt our lives.

a. The Bible is very clear on the existence of spiritual warfare. Peter warns "Be sober-minded; be watchful. Your adversary the devil prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour" (1 Peter 5:8). Our adversary or enemy, the devil, refers to Satan, who is a real entity, not a mythical creature or invention. Other titles of Satan include the tempter (1 Thessalonians 3:5), the wicked one (Matthew 13:19, 38), and the accuser of the brethren (Revelation 12:10).

b. Illust: Charles Colson, of Prison Fellowship fame, had a practice that whenever he was out on a speaking tour he would always have another man with him and go into the hotel room wherever he was staying. A little strange, you think? Over 20 yrs. ago now, Colson was going to be speaking at the federal penitentiary in Terre Haute, IN. Went into hotel for the night, as was practice, with traveling partner. When walked into the room was an unclothed woman! Let me tellyou, there is an enemy who wants to undermine you and me.

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