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Summary: Joy in the Christian Life is one of the most important benefits and qualities we can have, but our life must be lived according to God’s Will and Purposes for us to have that joy. Lessons from Nehemiah can help us have that joy.

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Who’s the shortest man in the Bible? = Nehemiah = "Knee-high-miah"

+ But if you study the life of Nehemiah nothing could be further from the truth

+ He’s one of the giants of the Old Testament = He’s among the best of the best

+ And yet how familiar are we with him? = How often have you heard a sermon about him?

+ And yet he both IS a great character and he HAS a great character

+ There’s so many qualities about Nehemiah that we could learn from, benefit from

+ So many lessons within story of ook of Nehemiah that we could directly apply to ourselves

I believe the Lord would have me begin a series on the joys of the Christian life

+ Galatians 5:22 BUT THE FRUIT OF THE SPIRIT IS LOVE, JOY, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith,

+ Everything with God starts with love = But joy is close behind

+ And so to understand what joy is as a Christian = And how to guard those joys = Important

But the moment we set that as a topic we must understand we’re only going to have joy in the Chrsitian life if our life is lined-up with God’s Will and Purposes

+ We’ll not have true joy if we are not truly within the Will of God

+ And I’ve become convinced that we need to examine the Will of God

+ Not just for our own life individually = But collectively as a church

That’s why I want to start down this path that can lead to joy with Nehemiah

+ I want to look at Nehemiah = Look at his personal traits = Personal qualities of character

+ Look at the highlights of the book that bears his name

+ Esp. with regards to the motivating purpose of his life = How it was accomplished

+ Some of the big picture lessons from the book = How they directly apply to us today

+ And to admonish and encourage us that if we can grasp those applications = L earn those lessons = Turn lesson into practice and bring our lives in line with God’s Will and Purposes

+ Then we can explore what true Biblical joy is

+ And we can look at some of the most common joy-robbers

+ And we can consider how to prevent the theft of our joy

This morning I want to lay out the case for Nehemiah

+ To examine the major qualities of Nehemiah’s character

+ That really ought to make him one of the greatest heroes in all the Bible

+ To anyone who says they love God and want to love Him better

Now yes we ought to strive to be like Jesus = But He was perfect

+ And there’s always going to be a sense within us which we know we’re going to fall short of that perfection = We ought to try for it = To strive for it

+ But I think it can help us to look within the life of another imperfect human being

+ Who was real and flesh and blood

+ Whose life is laid out for us in such a way that he comes to life before our eyes

+ And we can watch that life played over and over again as much as we want

+ And study it to the depth of detail that we can learn what he knew

+ And try to do the things that he did = Try to master the skills that he demonstrated

+ With the great and grand and glorious purpose of making us more what God wants us to be

And as we as individuals become more of what God wants us to be

+ And we do it together collectively then we as a church = A body of Christ

+ Will be more what Christ wants us to be

+ And we can be greatly used of God = A mighty witness = A strong tower

+ A great lighthouse in our Jerusalem = And when we go forth to our Judea, and Samaria

+ Through our missions to the uttermost parts of the earrth

Who was Nehemiah? = Consider that quesiton with me for just a few moments

+ Who was Nehemia? = What was he like? = What were his goals? = What drove him? = What was his passion?

+ Well we have a pretty good record in the Word of God = Let’s take a look

[easton] Nehemiah = "comforted by Jehovah"

+ Really we could stop right there on that fact and camp out a while

+ How else are we going to have real and lasting joy in this life

+ Apart from the unique comfor that only God Himself can give

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