Summary: How’s God’s Vision brings about unity, which can ultimately bring about Victory
a. The other day I was in a parking lot. It was a normal calm day, the weather great a breeze kept it cool and from getting to hot, just the right amount of clouds were out and the sun was weaving in and out of the clouds as guided shadows graced along the cars and blacktop. Over several dozen people were in the parking lot that day, caring bags as they were doing their first several days of shopping. Several had children with them and they were guiding them along to the front door as they were going to go in and get some pre-Christmas shopping finished. The next thing that happened was a car alarm began to go off. People everywhere began to run to that car to see if there was a thief about to break in. Each who had a child picked up the child and began to run hastily to the alarmed car. Several dozen circled it as they began to peek inside to see if they can become a hero and help this victimized vehicle. The security guard pulled up behind the crowd and began to circle around it to see if anything was going on inside. Everyone stepped back in amazement as they saw that it was a little child who had just merely touched the outside of the vehicle and this was the cause of the alarm. Now if anyone has been sitting here and listening they know that the events after the car alarm going off did not occur. The people did not stop in their tracks and come over the car to see what was going; they all ignored the sounding alarm and just went about business as usual. The security guard didn’t get out of his car near the alarmed car, he just pulled up next to it got the plates and then proceeded to go inside and have the number broadcast over a loud speaker so that everyone in the store could hear it and come outside and turn off the alarm. The alarm which was installed to protect, now only seems to annoy, I feel like that car alarm. People just want to turn off those annoying Christians, or they just ignore what we are saying. I believe that we Christians have been turned off. But we as Christians have made God that car alarm; we don’t want to listen to what God has placed on our hearts.
b. Big Idea: I have a challenge for you all today, when we listen to what God has placed on our hearts, magnificent things will occur, because God’s vision develops unity, and when unity occurs, victory can be declared.
c. Explanation of the whole text: A similar thing happened to Nehemiah in this way. Our text that we will be reading today will come from Nehemiah 2:11-20. The history before this passage sees the Israelites returning to the Promised Land after 70 years of exile in Babylon. Zerubbabel came with the first group of exiles and began to rebuild the temple out of the rubble. Ezra came with the second group of exiles and began to implement temple worship again. Nehemiah is returning with the third. Before coming with the third Nehemiah’s brother comes to him and tells him that the exiles have arrived but the city of Jerusalem lies in ruin because the walls are destroyed by fire. Nehemiah goes to the king and asks to go and rebuild them. He gets permission and then he leaves. Now we have come to our passage.
II. We then as Christians need to recognize when God has placed a vision on our heart.
a. He does this by wanting us to be patient. Read Nehemiah 2:11-12
i. Explanation: Nehemiah waited three days to see if this vision that God had placed onto his heart was one that would come about. Nehemiah waited in Jerusalem for three days waiting and being patient for the right time to go out and survey the land.
ii. Illustration: Shortly after starting her perfume business, Estee Lauder realized she had to persuade a cosmetics buyer to place her products in many stores throughout the country. At 9 AM, Lauder was in the offices of the American Merchandising Corporation, waiting to see Marie Westin, the cosmetics buyer. Since Lauder had no appointment, she was advised to come back another day. “I don’t mind waiting,” said Lauder. “I’ll wait until she has a few free moments.” Salespeople came and went. At lunchtime, the receptionist said Weston’s schedule was so full that getting in to see her was impossible. Again Lauder was told to come back later. “I’ll wait a little longer,” she persisted. Hours passed. At 5:15 PM Marie Weston came out of her office. She looked at Estee Lauder in disbelief, then admiration, and said, “Well, do come in. Such Patience must be rewarded.” Weston was impressed with Lauder’s cosmetics, but there was no room in any of the stores. Come back later, she was encouraged. Of course, Estee did. Eventually, Weston found room in several stores. Business began to boom. The Estee Lauder name became famous in the world of cosmetics.