Summary: We all love to be remembered by others, but the best remembrance is by the Lord Himself and He wants each of us to be...one of the people He can never forget!
Text: Nehemiah 13:31 Remember me, O my God, for good.
Introduction: The bible says, “God remembered Noah,” because of God can’t forget obedience. (Genesis 8:1) “God remembered the covenant with Abraham, Isaac and Jacob.” (Exodus 2:24) The Lord cannot forget people who believe His words and those He makes covenant with. “The Lord remembered Hannah,” because of her humble prayer to be given a son that she would give back to Him. (1 Samuel 1:19) Finally, Nehemiah called upon the Lord to remember him five different times. Why would he ask for God’s remembrance? What blessing did he see in it? For there is only one thing better than our sins never being remembered again and that is to be forever remembered in the heart and mind of our Lord and Savior. It is what the thief on the cross asked for in his final breath.
NEHEMIAH WAS REMEMBERED...HE WAS A ZEALOUS MAN.
NEHEMIAH WAS ZEALOUS ABOUT BEING PASSIONATE.
His mind was focused.
He wasn’t a man who let things drift.
He knew what his goals were and would not be stopped.
He knew where he was going and took the steps to take others with him.
He reminds us of Jesus when He “set His face like a flint.”
Recently I found a book by Bishop J.C. Ryle, the first bishop of Liverpool, England on the subject of zeal, he wrote: Zeal is a burning desire to please God, to do His will, and to advance His glory in the world in every possible way. A zealous man is preeminently a man of one thing. He is more than earnest, hearty, uncompromising, wholehearted, and fervent in spirit. He sees only one thing, cares about one thing, lives for one thing, swallowed up in one thing, and that one thing is to please God. Whether he lives or dies, has health or has sickness, whether he is rich or poor, pleases people or give offense, whether he is thought wise or foolish, gets the blame or the praise, whether he receives honor or is given shame, He burns for one thing, and that one thing is to please God. Such a one will always find a sphere for his zeal. If he cannot preach, he will work and give money, he will cry and sigh and pray. If he cannot fight in the valley with Joshua, he will hold up the hands of Moses until the battle is won.
NEHEMIAH WAS ZEALOUS ABOUT PRAYER.
In the first chapter of Nehemiah the walls were down, morale was at rock bottom, God was not being honored in the city that bore His Name.
Nehemiah was nothing more than a high class slave (cupbearer)
Nehemiah prayed for and received favor and mercy with the king
In 52 days he rebuilt the city wall to about 10 feet high and thick with a total length of about 1.75 miles.
Nehemiah wrote that his success was, “with the help of our God.” (6:16)
The wall was not the end. He reinstituted the reading of God’s Word.
Nehemiah then declared his faith in words we all know so well; “the joy of the Lord is your strength” (8:9-12)
Soulshaping by Douglas Rumford is another great book on the spiritual life. Rumford writes about the signs of a healthy soul. He says zeal should not be confused with emotionalism, extroversion, or even with frenetic activity. It is better described as an unwavering confidence that results in a steady application of the truth of God in a person’s life.
When he found out about the plot of his enemies he tells us, “We prayed to our God.” (4:8-9)
When his enemies tried to frighten the people, he prayed (6:9)
Nehemiah was not self-reliant, but God reliant. He rejoiced in the faithfulness of God. He trusted, prayed and believed.
3. NEHEMIAH WAS ZEALOUS ABOUT HIS PURPOSE.
He was prepared to do anything within reason to get temple worship in order.
Pioneer missionary to China, India and Africa, C. T. Studd once said, “If Jesus Christ be God and died for me, no sacrifice is too great for me to make for Him.” C.T. Studd used the word sacrifice. It is a word not commonly used today. Yet it is the word that describes how life should be lived according to the kingdom pattern. This means that experiences of rejection even to death (or what feels like death) constantly precede experiences of resurrection in which we are made victorious again. But the resurrection doesn’t come until after death. It is this circle that the Lord leads His most zealous. As Paul wrote in Romans 12; I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service. And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God.