Summary: This sermons examines some ingredients that will win a hearing for God’s people and God’s message.
When God’s People Are Heard
On April 19, 1775 a group of American militia fired the first shots that ignited the American Revolution. These courageous American patriots were determined to be heard by the British government and to remain free as a nation. Ralph Waldo Emerson wrote a song/poem about this immortal battle. This song contained the words “the shot heard round the world.” The essence of that song and the revolution was that America wanted to be heard.
Is not that God’s desire for His people? He wants them to be heard by the people of our world. There is an inspiring verse in Nehemiah chapter 12 that expresses this thought. Nehemiah had returned to Jerusalem and lead the Israelite people to rebuild the wall around Jerusalem. The Israelite people were beginning to get a ray of hope. At that point they participated in a celebration of God’s blessings. The Bible says “the joy of Jerusalem was heard afar off.” (Nehemiah 12:43 NKJV) The Israelite people were being heard by the nations surrounding them. That is the way it should be. The people surrounding our churches should hear the people of God.
I want to share an overview of Nehemiah chapters 11-13. In doing this overview I want to lead you to see three ingredients that caused the people of God to be heard.
1. The first ingredient was Participation. This is found in Nehemiah 11. All of the people participated in what God was doing. In Nehemiah 11 we find a count being made. They shared the names of the people who populated Jerusalem. The city was being re-established. Therefore, repopulation was essential. In Nehemiah 11:1 we discover that one out of ten Israelites were chosen to repopulate the city of Jerusalem. The rest of the Israelites were allowed to live in other cities. In Nehemiah 11:2 we discover that some people willingly volunteered to live in the city. This is equivalent to some people being drafted and some people volunteering for military service. After listing the draftees and the volunteers we find a list of the people:
- Who lived in Jerusalem (11:3-24)
1. Lay leaders (3-9)
2. Priests (10)
3. Levites (15-18)
4. Gatekeepers (19)
-Who lived in other cities (20-36)
There are two significant truths that pertain to this chapter in Nehemiah.
A. All of God’s people should be involved.
Did you hear about the company that makes blank bumper stickers? They are for people who do not want to get involved.
Illustration: A man called a pastor’s office at a church one day to inquire into membership in the church. He stated that he would not be able to get involved or anything, but he felt it was important to have some religious affiliation. The pastor advised this man that the church he pastored might not be the best fit for him, but he knew of a place where he would fit in quite nicely.
The man asked about a phone number, but the pastor only gave him an address. On Sunday morning, the gentlemen followed the directions and pulled up into the yard of a delapidated building. The roof was falling in, the doors were locked, and vines were growing into the windows.
This gentlemen called the pastor and told him that he had given him the wrong directions. "Oh no," the pastor replied. "Not at all. That is the place. That church has a membership roll filled with people who did not want to get involved or committed. That is what will always happen to a church whose members do not care about its success."
(Contributed to Sermon Central by Toby Powers)
Nehemiah wanted all people to participate. All of God’s people were expected to contribute to the re-establishment of Jerusalem. All of them were expected to be involved.
The same is true in the church. The church will be heard when all of God’s people are participating and involved in God’s work.
B. The second significant truth found in Nehemiah 11 is that all of God’s people are important. They listed the names of the gate-keepers. That seemed to be an insignificant group but Nehemiah thought they should be recognized. He thought they were important.
In the church every person is important. The nursery workers are important! The ushers are important! The greeters are important?
Illustration: Thirty years ago, the Miami Dolphins embarked on an unforgettable & unparalleled season. They had a 14-0 regular season, then a 3-0 run through the playoffs culminating with a Super Bowl victory. No other team has matched that record. Every year 30-some odd teams try, but for 3 decades, it stands alone. Sports enthusiasts have their opinions about who might be the “Greatest Team of All Time”, but one of the 1972 Dolphin team members put it best: “Perfection has a way of shutting peoples mouths.”