Summary: The "Rebuilding Faith" series focuses on seven steps to experiencing a renewal of faith. Using the REBUILD acrostic, each steps prepares the audience for taking one more step in their journey of faith.
Session Three: Believing God’s Faithfulness
Scripture Focus: Nehemiah 4
A Word to Session Leaders
This third session is all about the faithfulness of God. At the same time, I want to take an opportunity to speak from one teacher/pastor to another as I express my gratitude for your own commitment and faithfulness to teaching the Word of God. I have often shared that it’s easy to write sermons/messages, but it is very difficult to write good sermons/messages. Thank you for your commitment to studying and preparing weekly for leading this in your own small group. I pray that these sessions have been a blessing in your own journey of faith.
Introduction to Session Three
In the third session, we are moving into Nehemiah 4. As you move through the book of Nehemiah, you will notice that chapter 3 covers all of the workers that were involved in the task of rebuilding the walls of Jerusalem. So for the sake of moving ahead in this journey, this week will go beyond that chapter to the point where Nehemiah is speaking once again with the people on the ground. As we study together this week, I believe you will see again and again the faithfulness of God no matter the obstacle.
Referring the Group to the “Rebuilding Faith” Diagram
Diagram available at http://www.michaelrhodge.com
Take a moment at the beginning of this third session to once again familiarize your group members with the “Rebuilding Faith” Diagram. By the end of this series, group members should be able to fairly well recite the key words for each step. Being able to do this will increase the likelihood that this material will come to mind again as your group members face struggles of faith in the future.
In our last session, you’ll remember that Nehemiah faced a decision. Would he remain in the comfort of the palace or would he step out by faith in order to be God’s tool for restoring the focus of His people? And the parallel application that I hope you gathered last week is that we all face that same decision. Will we remain where it’s comfortable in our faith…or will we step out? Will we ask God what is that NEXT step in our faith, or will we be content to stay right where we are?
And so this week, we’re moving beyond where we are personally falling short in our faith to that pivotal point where we decide if we are going to trust in God’s faithfulness. And the reason that this is such an important part of our journey is because our belief in God’s faithfulness determines EVERYTHING about how we move forward in these 7 steps.
• If I believe that God is faithful no matter the obstacle/challenge I face, then I’ll lean on Him daily.
• If I believe that God is faithful in using folks just like each of us, then I’ll open my eyes to those opportunities that come my way on a daily basis!
So everything in our study today is supporting that ONE key truth – Believing God’s Faithfulness.
And the first thing that I want us to see in this session is this…
I. God is Faithful to Meet us Right Where we Are
Key Scripture: Nehemiah 4:1-3
After your group reads Nehemiah 4:1-3, take a moment to discuss the question below.
Discussion Starter: As we consider our first point – “God meets us right where we are” – what clues do you find in verses 1-3 to tell you how would you describe the situation in Jerusalem still?
Possible Answers: The walls were still not rebuilt. They weren’t very impressive yet (a fox could break them).
Well as we move through our 3rd session, we’re going to definitely see progress, but we begin by noticing that all was not well so far in the world of Nehemiah!
Surveying the Characters
As our group looks at these first few verses, our attention is drawn back to the first session. You may remember from our first session that Sanballat was one of the Persian officials residing in Judea and he served in a “governor” type role. And so while the king may have been alright with this rebuilding project, the local leaders weren’t. And with good reason – it threatened their grip on the people! And that fear is demonstrated in the response of Sanballat. Vs. 1 says, “he was furious and very indignant”.
(Insert your own illustration here along the same idea and point)…
Imagine this scene. Imagine my son (who is 8) is going around telling everyone that he was going to destroy me in a game of basketball. I mean he’s going to embarrass me big time! But then I get word of his big talk. Now am I going to be furious that he’s saying this about our future game? Of course not! Why? Well, it’s because at least for right now…there’s no chance that he’s actually going to beat me. Now that will change very quickly in the years to come…but for now his words would be empty.