Summary: This is the last sermon of the series and covers Nehemiah 13. There are at least 4 major problems that Nehemiah had to address after he came back to Jerusalem for a second time.
A. Let’s start with this cartoon.
1. This mother stands at the door of her son’s room, and the room is a mess – toys and clothes are scattered everywhere.
a. Have any of you mothers and dads come upon a scene like this?
b. It’s an everyday experience for you, isn’t it?
c. You clean up the kitchen and put the toys and clothes away every night, but then the next day happens, and you have to do it all over again.
2. What I like best about the cartoon is the little boy’s explanation: “I blame entropy.”
a. Kids, you might want to keep that excuse in your catalog of excuses.
3. Albert Einstein called the Second Law of Thermodynamics “the most basic law of science.”
a. Closely related to the Second Law of Thermodynamics is the fact that everything in our universe, when left to itself, tends toward more and more disorder.
b. This is called “The law of entropy.
c. We might call it “The Law of Disorder.”
4. The fact that everything tends toward disorder in our universe is a phenomenon experienced by every person every day of his or her life.
a. Most everything in our world and life goes from a state of order to disorder.
b. Like this cartoon, for the parent, the Law of Disorder is seen practically every day as they walk into a toy room after the kids are through playing.
c. What about the car owner? What happens to the car over time? It starts out as a beautiful perfectly working machine. Does it stay that way?
d. What about the computer owner? It starts out as a speedy machine, lightning fast, with no troubles, but it doesn’t stay that way for very long.
e. One more example is the garden…you get the garden in perfect shape, nicely plowed, de-weeded, and planted, but then what happens?
f. We won’t even get into the disorder of home ownership, or your desk at work, or the top of your dresser in the bedroom!
B. But what is true of disorder in the physical world, is true of disorder in the spiritual world.
1. The church began and was set up just as God wanted it, but then what happened over time?
a. Falsehood and human innovation infiltrated the church.
b. That’s why reformation and restoration are necessary ongoing activities.
2. What about the Wetzel Road congregation?
a. We can get all our ministries and get our membership relationships in good order, but before long chaos and disorder set in.
3. And what about our individual spiritual lives?
a. We can get our spiritual attitudes, priorities and habits all headed in the right direction, but then before long our spiritual lives are off course.
4. Rather than blame it on the law of entropy, we need to blame it on the work of Satan and sin.
5. That’s why church leaders must give constant attention to the church, and why each of us must give constant attention to ourselves.
C. Today we are completing our sermon series from Ezra and Nehemiah.
1. I wish we could conclude Nehemiah’s story with a beautiful and happy ending.
2. Wouldn’t it be exhilarating and encouraging if we discovered that the children of Israel continued to serve God faithfully for years to come – even after Nehemiah left Jerusalem to return to Susa to serve King Artaxerxes? Unfortunately, it didn’t turn out that way!
3. Within a relatively short period of time, God’s people returned to their old ways of doing things – which included violating God’s laws and allowing the world to press them into its mold.
D. I’m sure Nehemiah scratched his head and wondered how this could have happened.
1. Throughout our entire sermon series, we have seen God’s people be restored and renewed.
2. They returned to Jerusalem and rebuilt the temple of God and the walls of Jerusalem.
3. And they had experienced spiritual renewal and revival through Ezra’s reading of God’s Word to them and the teaching he and the Levites had done.
4. As we saw last week, they publicly committed themselves to “Keep and to observe all the commandments of God” (Neh. 10:29).
5. And a number of their leaders had signed a sealed document committing themselves to do this.
E. So I’m sure that when Nehemiah eventually left Jerusalem to return to his duties as cupbearer to King Artaxerxes, his heart was filled with joy.
1. I’m sure his joy had more to do with what had happened to God’s people, than his own accomplishments.
2. I’m sure he had great hopes for God’s people, and he had no regrets regarding the 12 years he’d spent in Jerusalem serving as governor.
3. I’m confident that he felt that all he had personally suffered and sacrificed was worth it in view of Israel’s response and accomplishments.