Summary: We want to share a couple of insights about a vision for the new year
A. Opening illustration: Anyone make New Year’s Resolutions?
B. Background to passage: 446 BC, Nehemiah the cupbearer, after a bad report, broken heart, deep prayer
C. Main thought: we want to share a couple of insights about a vision for the new year
1) A Grand Motivation (v. 4-5)
a. Nehemiah’s burden from the first chapter had turned into a large-scale plan for God. He was going to go rebuild the walls of an ancient city. Why was this so important? This is the place that God had chosen for his Name to dwell. The Name of God was the summation of all that He is. His name is his glory. The glory of God is the manifest fullness of his character traits, attributes, and being together. Jerusalem was to be a display of the glory of the Holy One of Israel. Its welfare reflected the favor, power, covenant love, holiness, majesty, worth, grandeur of God. The city as a whole, and temple specifically, were to reflect his glory. How the city operated was to draw the nations to the superiority and awesomeness of God. The feasts and the festivals there and all their components pointing to God and the highest and the best of all treasures.
c. Illustration: Paul displays the worth of Christ by counting everything else as loss for Christ’s sake. “I count everything as loss because of the surpassing worth of Christ.” This means that the life that displays the worth of Christ — the unwasted life — is the life that uses everything to show that Christ is more valuable that it is. Money is used to show that Christ is more valuable than money. Food is used to show that Christ is more valuable than food is. Houses and lands and cars and computers are used to show that Christ is more valuable than they are. Family and friends and your own life are a place to show that Christ is more valuable than any of them. The way we display the supreme worth of Jesus in our lives is by treasuring Christ above all things, and then making life choices that show that our joy is not finally in things or even in other people, but in Christ….The reason you have life is to make Jesus Christ look great. There is one central criterion that should govern all the decisions you make in life and in death: Will this help make Jesus Christ look like the treasure he is?
d. We constantly be examining our motivation for doing all that we do. Even with activities that are the mundane or “necessary evils” in life, we are to do them for the glory of God. As we walk this road of faith, lesser motivations will subside, fail, wither, and fade away. The Glory of God is a motivation that will last for all eternity, so nothing done in its service will ever be lost. As you think about your grand motivation for life, start with today: Why are you here? Is it just a routine? Is it because it is expected of you? Is it to make you feel better about yourself? Is it to mend some brokenness? Don’t hear what I’m not saying, if you are not here for the right reason, then you should be somewhere else. Authenticity is an important value in our society. One thing it says is that you should be who you are! If you are simply expected to be here, it’s not who you are, so don’t be. I’m saying these lesser motivations are sinful, repent and believe the gospel that creation exists for his glory, the heavens declare his glory, the law and covenants reflect his glory, Christ came for his glory, died for his glory, rose for his glory, and saves us for the praise of his glory. Why did you come? Why do you work? Why do you study? Why do you have friends? How do you treat others? Does your pattern in life long for God’s glory? Edwards – 70 resolutions, begins like this: 1. “Resolved, that I will do whatsoever I think to be most to God's glory, and my own good, profit and pleasure, in the whole of my duration, without any consideration of the time, whether now, or never so many myriads of ages hence,” Now, as a church we must be motivated by the same goal: the magnification of the glory of God. As committees we ask, what can to do that will bring the most glory to God? Is what we are doing bringing the most glory to God? As a church, do people look at us and declare: what a mighty God they serve? The little boy who said that he didn’t know if he believed what the preacher said, but that the preacher sure did. Are we living together, serving together, loving each other, ministering to the least of these so that God would be glorified, or just so that we can have a larger attendance? The result may be the same, but the motivation is key.