Summary: Church just doesn’t happen. The church will be vibrant and fruitful if I (all of us) make it happen.
This is my church
Purpose: The work of the church won’t just happen. It takes all of us doing what God would have us do.
1. Nehemiah bullets
· Background of the fall of Israel (God had promised Israel that if they would obey him, He would always protect them and prosper them. But after David came Solomon, then a string of mostly bad kings who didn’t seek God or serve God. Finally after warning and warning his people through the O.T. prophets, God turned Israel over to the enemy. The Persians now rule over what had once been the proud Kingdom of Israel. The Jews were scattered throughout the kingdom, and a small remnant lived in a broken-down Jerusalem.)
· Read Nehemiah 1.
· Nehemiah was the cupbearer to Persian King Artaxerxes. He went to the King, told him about the plight of his people in Jerusalem and asked permission to go back and rebuild the wall. The King agrees and sends Nehemiah back to Jerusalem.
· Nehemiah returns to Jerusalem in chapter 2, surveys the damage and rallies the exiles to help rebuild the wall around the city. Not everyone was on board. There were some locals (some Persian and some Jewish) who weren’t on board. They ridiculed Nehemiah and tried to stop the progress at every turn, but Nehemiah was stubborn and single-minded.
· Read Nehemiah 3.
· Everybody worked together. Everybody had a place to serve.
2. That isn’t the most exciting chapter in the Bible. Nobody gets swallowed by a fish. Nobody walks in a fiery furnace. Nobody raises the dead. But there are lessons here for the church.
· Regardless of the size of the church, doing the work of the church is a big job. Think of all the things we’ve got to do around here.
· In vs. 10, 23, 28, 29 and 30, Nehemiah gets across that they each repaired the section of wall nearest their house. It was in their best interests. If they wouldn’t do it, who would?
· Let me ask you this: parents of teenagers. If the youth ministry of this church relied on you, what would it look like? Parents of children, how about you? If this church’s outreach to your neighborhood relied on you, would there be any outreach to your neighborhood? Rebuilding this wall was personal. The work of this church is personal too.
· The great (Eliashib the high priest: was the first mentioned in vs. 1) and the small came together for the work. It wasn’t just a few hired workers. Everyone joined in, and those who didn’t were singled out. (Life Application Bible note: Every group, even churches, will have those who think they are too wise or important or too busy to work.)
3. There’s not a person here this morning that doesn’t want a good church. I think almost every person here would agree that "Lost people matter most." And if lost people matter most, this church has a continuing job to do here in Portland. The job is big. The job is complex. The job needs about 1,000 details to be looked over, dissected, overseen and carried out. I’m horrible at details. How will that complex job ever be accomplished? Is the job too big for us? After all we’re just a cute little church in a cute little town. We’ll never be a big church. We’ll never have a big impact. We’ll just be a nice place for Christians to come and gather, right?
4. "This is my church".
It is composed of people like me. We make it what it is.
I want it to be a church that is a lamp to the path of pilgrims, leading them to Goodness, Truth and Beauty. It will be, if I am.
Its pews will be filled, if I help fill them.
It will be friendly, if I am.
It will do a great work, if I work.
It will make generous gifts to many causes, if I am a generous giver.
It will bring other people into its worship and fellowship, if I bring them.
It will be a church of loyalty and love, of fearlessness and faith, and a church with a noble spirit - if I, who make it what it is, am filled with these.
There, with the help of God, I shall dedicate myself to the task of being all the things that I want my church to be. (Source unknown)
5. Let me ask you this morning, "What will you do to help achieve the vision of this church?"
6. Don’t just go to church. Be the church.
7. Life Application Bible note Nehemiah 3:1 - "All the citizens of Jerusalem did their part on the huge job of rebuilding the city wall. Similarly, the work of the church requires every member’s effort in order for the body of Christ to function effectively (1 Cor. 12:12-27). The body needs you! Are you doing your part? Find a place to serve God, and start contributing whatever time, talent, and money is needed.
8. Prayer - God show me my place and put me to work!