Summary: This sermon focuses on Nehemiah.
Last evening I began a new series that will weave in and out of both our morning and evening messages for the next few weeks.. A series that will focus on the life and ministry of Nehemiah.
With that in mind would you turn in your Bibles to Nehemiah chapter 1 beginning in verse one.
In verse one Nehemiah is introduced by only the words Nehemiah the son of Hachaliah. Nehemiah is given no further introduction, but there are few things that we can infer from the context of our passage.
First, Nehemiah is a captive in a foreign land. We are not sure if he was born a captive or had been deported as a child or a teenager. As he writes this book, he is in Shushan.
Second, As God did for Daniel, he did for Nehemiah. Both were trusted and in good standing with the King. Nehemiah was given the job as the King’s cup bearer. While this role may seem insignificant it was extremely important. Nehemiah was to taste all food and wine before the King ate it.-To insure no poison was ever present. This role kept Nehemiah in the king’s direct presence for every meal.
Third, Nehemiah must have had a God fearing heritage. For in the midst of his captivity where he was surrounded by foreign gods, material blessings, competing values, and separation of any family influence, Nehemiah still not only believed in the one true God, but he trusted in him.
Fourth, God placed inside of Nehemiah a God directed and God given purpose.- A deep longing, a homesickness for his homeland. A deep connection to the pain and suffering of his people. We see this connection in verse 4 when Nehemiah hears a report of Jerusalem.
Fifth, Nehemiah not only trusted in the one true God, but he had a personal relationship with God. We see this relationship fleshed out in his prayer found in verses 5- 11.
In the midst of this religious heritage, God given purposes, and personal relationship, God gave to Nehemiah his eyes for the future. He gave to Him Vision.
If there is one thing that is missing in our church and its leaders today is vision. I want to take a few minutes now to briefly define it, but over the next few weeks I want to more specifically and clearly paint a picture of exactly what it vision is, and how we can personally connect to our own personal vision.
This vision is always god given and God directed. Now while the average person may have the right to dream his own dreams and develop his own picture of what his future could and should be, we as followers of Christ have surrendered our lives to follow Christ and His plan. We gave up our right to be in charge when we accepted Christ and agreed to follow Him.
Ephesians 2:10 – “For we are God’s masterpiece. He has created us anew in Christ Jesus, so that we can do the good things He planned for us long ago.”
Andy Stanley in his book Visioneering says- “Without God’s vision, you may find yourself in the all too common position on looking back on a life that was given to accumulating green pieces of paper with pictures of dead presidents on them. Accumulating money or stuff is a vision of sorts. But it is the kind of vision that leaves men and women wondering. Wondering if there was more. Wondering what they could have done – should have done – with their brief stay on this little ball of dirt.”
As Christians, any vision that we can think up, will always fall short and leave us wondering.
We serve an intensely creative God. We talk about the fact that no two snowflakes are alike, but God has never made two of anything alike. God’s vision for you does not include trying to fit into someone else’s mold. Unless you discover God’s unique vision for your future, your life may very well be a rerun.
What would happen in our churches today and in our own Christian lives today if each of strived to connect to God’s vision and purpose for our lives.
Over the next few weeks I want to share some important building blocks necessary to connecting with God’s vision and our part in bringing that vision into reality.
Building Block #1 – A vision begins as a concern
A God ordained vision will begin as a concern. You will
hear or see something that gets your attention. Something will bother you about the way things are or the way things are headed.
Unlike many passing concerns, this will stick with you.
You will find yourself thinking about them in your free time.
You may lose sleep over them.