Summary: Diligence and vigilance mark the life of an effective Christian. It’s not enough to make a "one time commitment"- God calls us to a marathon of faith.
“The end is just the beginning”
Nehemiah 6:15 through 7:3
Last weekend...just one week ago...60 of our men were up on a mountain for a retreat. We were planning and had our ideas of what the weekend would look like. HOW we would keep the men busy and active and engaged…and then came the almost non-stop rain. Over 5 inches falling in the 40 hour span we were there...but it didn’t dampen the impact of the weekend!
We were praying that God would meet us on the mountain and He did.
He spoke through our guest speaker about ENGAGING the enemy, and CONFRONTING SIN with a “take no prisoner’s” attitude. He spoke to us about COMMUNICATION and how to LOVE our wives. He illustrated the “SERVANT’S HUMILITY” of Jesus in His washing of the disciples’ feet and challenged us to come back as a group of servant leaders in our church.
Friday evening...almost every man drove a nail through a piece of paper bearing the sins and struggles to a wooden cross as a symbolic at of recommitment.
Sunday morning...we opened up our closing meeting for a time of “SHARING” and TWO hours later...the men were still opening up their lives to each other and praying for each other.
WHAT DOES THIS MEAN FOR OUR CHURCH?
-Everything in our lives and marriages is perfect?
-That all church struggles and believers relationships are righted?
-That these men will never struggle with FEAR or PRIDE or LUST or ANGER again?
NO! In fact, I guarantee that some of these men came to church this morning with a little dread that some of their Christian brothers might walk up to them TODAY and ask how they are doing with that struggle that they surrendered last weekend...and they are ashamed because they “gave in”...they struggled again this past week!
MY GOAL this morning...and this is such a perfect place to be in Nehemiah...is to URGE the men from the retreat…and those who made commitments or recommitments to Christ in the services here last week...or at the women’s gathering yesterday...or at the “Just Give Me Jesus” conference a couple of months ago...or at Promise Keepers in the Fall...TO KEEP ON KEEPING ON...to “Walk by Faith” and to “Get up again by faith when you stumble and fall”.
“We conquer– not in any brilliant fashion– we conquer by continuing.” George Matheson
1.) God’s people WIN: Their commitment pays off
Nehemiah 6:15 & 16: “So the wall was completed on the twenty-fifth of Elul, in fifty-two days. When all our enemies heard about this and all the surrounding nations saw it, our enemies
lost their self-confidence, because they realized that this work had been done
with the help of our God.”
They’ve endured THREATS and OPPOSITION
They’ve endured mounds of RUBBLE and dreadfully difficult WORK
They’ve endured FAMINE
They’ve endured INTERNAL STRIFE and STRUGGLE………...but because
God gave Nehemiah a PASSION and a VISION for this task and they STUCK TOGETHER!!!
The wall is COMPLETED
The SPEED of the project’s completion shouts...God was in this!
Friends...this is a MIRACLE!
-It was only 9 months earlier that Nehemiah was in the court of Artaxerxes and hearing about the dilemma in Jerusalem for the first time.
-THEN he spent 4 months in PRAYER
**Think about this: The task was so HUGE...so DAUNTING that the Jews living in and around Jerusalem weren’t even TRYING to do anything about the broken-down walls.
But a PRAYED-UP, FIRED-UP man of God arrives and people complete the job in less than 2 months!
The RESULT of the project’s completion...their enemies lose their self-confidence
Sanballat, Tobiah and the rest of the enemies of this project have been pretty BOLD. They have viewed this as a battle of WILLS and WITS between themselves and Nehemiah…
Chapter 2, verse 10– They are upset that someone has come to help the Israelites.
Chapter 2, verse 19– They mock and ridicule the Jews and accuse them of rebellion.
Chapter 4, verse 3– They ridicule the work: “You call that a wall?...If a fox jumped...”
Chapter 4, verse 11– They threaten that they are coming to fight and kill the Jews.
Chapter 6 is FULL of threats and deceit and rumors
BUT now, even they recognize that this wall was rebuilt with the help of God and it really SILENCES all but one of these loud-mouths (and we’ll see why that one persists in a moment.)
Wouldn’t this be a great point for Nehemiah to end this account? To say, "It’s done!" Nehemiah...sign off! Conclude the book! You’ve helped the people
do what no one said could be done! The wall us UP...now put the GATES in place…
lock them...don’t worry about your enemies anymore!
You know better than that!!
Once you saw your need, came with repentance to Jesus Christ, committed yourself to a new way of thinking...acting...living, did the enemy shrug his shoulders and walk away?