powerpoint - Trussville church of Christ

Lessons From The
Book Of Nehemiah
“Then I said to them, "You see
the trouble we are in, how
Jerusalem lies in ruins with its
gates burned. Come, let us
build the wall of Jerusalem,
that we may no longer suffer
derision." And I told them of
the hand of my God that had
been upon me for good, and
also of the words that the king
had spoken to me. And they
said, "Let us rise up and build."
So they strengthened their
hands for the good work.”
(Nehemiah 2:17-18)
• Nehemiah was a builder who cared:
– A closer look at Nehemiah’s situation (1:1, 11)
• Two waves of returns – Zerubbabel rebuilt the temple
and Ezra restored worship. He is still in captivity
in Persia working as the king’s cupbearer
• Not just a butler or waiter. He tasted food to prevent
poisoning. If its poisoned… bye-bye Nehemiah!
• Not seen as a slave – A close personal relationship.
Often an advisor to the king. An important man!
• Much work has gone on in Israel and life was returning
to normal, but the walls were still broken & burned
• Nehemiah was a builder who cared:
– Nehemiah receives news about Jerusalem that
breaks his heart & crushes his spirit (1:2-4)
• He didn’t succumb to promotion erosion and get lost in
pride… He still cared and had a selfless love
• Nehemiah asks what’s going on… Truly concerned
• Two bits of bad news (1) Walls are down, so no
protection (2) People are in distress & reproach
• Nehemiah deep care is visible – He sits down, weeps,
and fasts for many days. Possibly for 3 months!
• Nehemiah was a builder who cared:
– His care and thoughtfulness is consistent
throughout this work effort:
• Some were upset because they knew he was there to
seek the well being of the people (2:10)
• His passion was contagious… others cared (2:17-18)
• He moves among the people working with them (3)
• He armed people when they were afraid (4:15-18)
• He got involved in helping needy people (5)
• He cared about truth and righteousness, getting
personally involved in enforcing it (13)
– He was no super-Jew, he wasn’t a prophet, and
he didn’t work miracles. He was a normal guy.
His power came from his love for God & others!
• Nehemiah was a builder who cared:
– When the walls of our spiritual lives, our
relationships with others, and this church are in
need of repair, do we care? (2 Cor 11:38; Rev 3:16)
• Are we too preoccupied to see problems?
• Are we broken to the point of taking any action?
Lessons From The
Book Of Nehemiah
• Nehemiah was a builder from the knees up:
– Another way he showed his care was by hitting
his knees in prayer (Neh. 1:4, 11)
• Vs 5ff records a prayer of his, but he didn’t pray once
and be done. He “continued fasting and praying”
• This goes on for months – he is a very prayerful man
• When prayer and fasting are put together, we can know
it’s a more intense and focused time of prayer
• He believes in prayer… he knows its power. The way he
prays immediately shows it was a habit in his life.
• Nehemiah was a builder from the knees up:
– Powerful prayer! Notice how he prayed (1:5-11)
• He praises God and recognizes God’s faithfulness… The
problem wasn’t God’s, God kept His covenant!
• He takes personal responsibility for the problem… He
includes himself in his confession. No blame.
• He embraces the promises of God and lays claim to
them. He bases his hope and his action on them.
• He finishes his prayer by taking personal responsibility
for the solution as well. He was God’s man.
• Nehemiah was a builder from the knees up:
– Prayer continued to play a central in his work.
Most were short “in the moment prayers”
• Before making his request of the king (2:4-5)
• When being taunted – protection & justice (4:4-5)
• When “The Three Stinkbugs” caused problems, he
fought back with prayer (4:9)
• When some frightened him with false accusations to
the king, he prayed for strength (6:9)
• Prayed for God’s vengeance against those who
purposefully defiled their religion (13:29)
• Often prayed “God remember me” (5:9; 13:14, 22, 31)
• Nehemiah was a builder from the knees up:
– God’s spiritual brick masons understand all the
bricks are held together by prayer! (1 Th 5:16-18)
• In order to be a builder, we have to be people of prayer
• Prayer permeates all aspects of our lives and all the
moments of our days.
• Four things prayer will do for us:
– Makes me wait for God, increasing my patience
– Clears my vision, so I see things as they really are
– Quiets my heart, replacing anxiety with peace
– Activates my faith, putting my trust into action
“Do not be anxious
about anything, but
in everything by
prayer and
supplication with
thanksgiving let your
requests be made
known to God. And
the peace of God,
which surpasses all
understanding, will
guard your hearts
and your minds in
Christ Jesus”
(Philippians 4:6-7)
• He was a builder who arose to action:
– His concern & prayers mattered, but he matched
that by being willing to get involved (1:11)
• Took personal responsibility for the problem… now he’s
taking personal responsibility for the solution
• Was Nehemiah doubting God’s power to fix things? No!
Why not just leave the matter in God’s hands?
• No doubt in what God could do, in fact, even greater
faith is shown by his willingness to volunteer
• He understood that God often used men and women to
carry out His will and answer prayers… people
who are willing to be God’s vessels
• He was a builder who arose to action:
– While Nehemiah was praying, he was also
meditating, preparing, & planning (2:4-8)
• What if Nehemiah expected God to do it without his
involvement? Just had prayed, waited, & watched
• We know he didn’t do that because he looked for the
opportunity and was ready when it came
• There’s no indication that God told him how all of this
would go down… He prayed for God to use him!
• He was ready for the king to open the door, he knew
what he wanted, he knew what he needed, and he
even knew how long he would be gone. Ready!
• Nehemiah was very active while he was praying!
• He was a builder who arose to action:
– He shows he understood there were two sides to
the work being done (Nehemiah 2:17-18)
• He spoke of it being God’s work & gave God the glory
• He realized that God worked through the people and
they needed to be motivated to build
• Equation: God’s work + Man’s work = Successful work
– He was consistently a man of action (5:16)
• His motivation was contagious, but it wouldn’t have
been if he wasn’t personally involved himself
• His “diary” of wall repair is action packed
• He shows us that a praying man is an active man
• He was a builder who arose to action:
– God’s builders today are people who pray with
action… see themselves as vessels of God for
His service (Col 4:2-4; 1 Cor. 15:58; 2 Pet 1:5,10)
• Why should we expect God to do great things among us
if we aren’t willing to get involved ourselves?
• Some people don’t know what’s happening, some
watch what’s happening, and some make things
happen. Which one are you?
• Have you ever seen a builder, construction worker,
with clean clothes? No!
• Can’t say, “I hope…” or “I wish…” if we won’t!
• Have you been praying for change and nothing is
happening? Perhaps it’s because you aren’t happening!
“They said, "Let us
rise up and build." So
they strengthened
their hands for the
good work.”
(Nehemiah 2:18)
Lessons From The
Book Of Nehemiah
• …A builder who laid everything on the line:
– Remember Nehemiah’s work and position within
the Persian Empire (Nehemiah 1:11)
• An important man – Stood between the king & his death
• A trusted man – Close relationship to the king, more
like an advisor than a servant, a place of power
• Yet this was also a position filled with great risks:
– These kings were difficult men – Proud & Stubborn
– Not just a risk of being poisoned, but of not being
pleasing to the king – The death penalty!
– These kings often acted on a whim which left those
in close position to them getting hurt.
• Consider Esther’s situation (Esther 4:16-17) – She is the
queen yet has to resolve, “If I die, I die”
• …A builder who laid everything on the line:
– When Nehemiah gets the opportunity he was
praying for, he is still full of fear (Neh 2:1-3)
• For three to four months, he had been going before the
king with his emotions in check, but not this time
• Nehemiah isn’t just afraid… He is very much afraid.
• Afraid of what? The king’s response? The work ahead?
Likely the result of what the king had just said
• See, Nehemiah was just like us… He prayed for this
moment. He planned for this moment. He dreamed
of this moment. Yet he is scared in this moment!
• …A builder who laid everything on the line:
– He faces his fear with faith & takes on personal
sacrifices & risks for God’s cause (Neh. 2:4-5)
• His willingness to get involved was going to cost him.
He could lose his job, get exiled, or lose his life!
• He had already counted this cost and was prepared
• He laid other things on the line: A place of power and
prominence, a place of wealth and ease, comfort
zone, friends and family, lifestyle, dreams, etc.
• Sacrifice & risk when so much was still unknown. Why
do it? God’s work needed to be done!
• Courage came by his faith in God & persistent prayer
– Risk & sacrifice continued… Faced opposition,
personal attacks, gave up pleasures, worked
long hours, did what was uncomfortable
• …A builder who laid everything on the line:
– Today God’s builders are people of sacrifice and
risk. Lay everything on the line (Luke 14:25-30)
• Satan knows what we treasure and what we will put
ahead of our faith. He will exploit it, making us
choose between it and our walls.
• Real progress always comes with risk and sacrifice…
We cannot allow the fear to control us, but faith!
• We won’t always have to lay everything on the line, but
are we willing to? Deciding in the moment does
not work, we have to give it all to Jesus now!
• What if we faced choosing between our life and our
faith? How do you hold back a builder who is
willing to die for his faith? (Revelation 12:11)
Lessons From The
Book Of Nehemiah
• …A builder with a specific plan for success:
– When Artaxerxes questions Nehemiah, he “set
for him a time” – Time conscious (Neh. 2:6)
• When praying, he was also planning and preparing. He
didn’t act impulsively but was a man with a plan!
• His thoughtfulness shows his seriousness & motives
• Notice that it was when Nehemiah gave the king a
specific time that the king approved the plan
• From this point we see a focused Nehemiah who
wouldn’t let anything derail the plan.
• We see his great character – Not only did the king
approve the plan, but the king wanted him back!
• …A builder with a specific plan for success:
– Nehemiah had all of the practical details for his
success worked out (Nehemiah 2:7-9)
He knew it wouldn’t be cheap – he requests timber
He knew access would be difficult – he requests letters
The king knew safety would be an issue – sends army
Real graciousness reigns… He was direct yet kind – “If
it pleases the king” – then “It pleased the king”
– Finally, he arrives in Jerusalem. He spends the
first three days surveying & planning (2:11-16)
• Many may have thought he was doing nothing, but this
was some of the most important work he did!
• Why in the middle of the night? Minimizes opinions!
• When he finally speaks he can say, “Here’s the plan,
here’s your place, now let’s get started!”
• …A builder with a specific plan for success:
– Successful builders purposefully plan for
success and prepare for it (Eph. 5:14-16)
• Some say, “Just jump out in faith” as if faith excludes
all planning & purpose. But real faith plans.
• Too often works are taken on and commitments made
without envisioning how it will be accomplished
• Plans need to be specific and practical. Big things
happen through smaller thoughtful steps.
• …Motivated Builders With A Mind To Work:
– Walls have been surveyed & a plan formed, so
the next step is to motivate the people (2:17-20)
• He could not accomplish this alone… He had a vision,
but his dream had to become their dream
• He motivates by causing them to identify themselves
with the problem & the solution – see “we” & “us”
• He motivates by identifying himself with them… He was
not an outsider, but an insider. Not pointing the
finger with blame saying, “Your mess, your work!”
• He motivates by focusing them on their condition and
work ahead… needed good & genuine motives
• He motivates them by showing God’s hand in all of this
• Their response: A unified voice of motivation and
commitment to work ahead… Prepared personally
• …Motivated Builders With A Mind To Work:
– We see in Nehemiah the same infectious spirit
David had in facing Goliath (I Sam 17:29 – NKJV)
• The army of Israel, trained fighters, fled at his sight
• David goes to meet the giant… He is young, he is not
trained in war, he has no army, his weapon is small
• What motivated David? There was something, there
was a cause, worth fighting for!
• …Motivated Builders With A Mind To Work:
– We see in Nehemiah the same infectious spirit
David had in facing Goliath (I Sam 17:29 – NKJV)
• The army of Israel, trained fighters, fled at his sight
• David goes to meet the giant… He is young, he is not
trained in war, he has no army, his weapon is small
• What motivated David? There was something, there
was a cause, worth fighting for!
– From this point we see a people with incredible
zeal, focus, & determination (4:6; 6:15-16)
“So we built the wall. And all the
wall was joined together to half
its height, for the people had a
mind to work.”
“So the wall was finished on the
twenty-fifth day of the month
Elul, in fifty-two days. And when
all our enemies heard of it, all
the nations around us were
afraid and fell greatly in their
own esteem, for they perceived
that this work had been
accomplished with the help of
our God.”
• …Motivated Builders With A Mind To Work:
– God’s builders today are still a people who are
motivated with a mind to work (Romans 12:3-8)
• We too have a cause! There is a cause to stand for,
fight for, sacrifice for, work for, and live for!
• In most local churches 90% of people want the church
to grow, but only 10-20% will do the work it takes.
What would happen if the other 70-80% got busy?
• Good leadership means nothing without driven and
determined people following them.
• Good leadership understands so they encourage and
motivate those around them.
Lessons From The
Book Of Nehemiah
• A Builder Who Actively Encouraged Others:
– His encouragement factor was first seen in how
he motivated others (Nehemiah 2:17-18)
• A great leader, but good leadership alone wouldn’t get
this work done. It took their hands & strength
• “Let us build… Let us rise and build…” – He’s telling
them that he will work alongside them
• Nehemiah was a leader who wasn’t afraid to get his
hands dirty. He led by example.
• He encouraged them by bringing them to see their real
condition, but helps them turn their focus from
their shambled state to a rebuilt future
• A Builder Who Actively Encouraged Others:
– Practically, he encouraged the people by
personally getting to know each one (Neh. 3)
• Notice how he calls out each builder by name (vs. 1-4).
He mentions about 75 names… its not pointless!
• He seems to be moving around the wall and get to
know each builder individually… learns personal
details about their lives (vs. 8-9)
• He takes special notice of the work done… Some built
diligently and some built lousy (vs. 5, 20)
• He learns where people live, their family life, and more
• He is moving around the wall working side by side… A
fellow brick mason personally involved (Neh. 5:16)
• A Builder Who Actively Encouraged Others:
– The encouragement factor continues… building,
motivating, admonishing, supporting others:
• When discouraged he focused people on God & prayed
• When others faced financial hardship he sacrificed
• When the law was read and people were repenting, he
went among them encouraging revival
• What drastic measures were needed, he took difficult
action to ensure righteousness and purity
– Builders purposefully encourage (I Ths 5:11, 14)
They understand the need for mutual edification
They try to bring others in and get them involved
To truly encourage, we have to get to know each other!
Paul focused on building others up and surrounded
himself with others who did the same! (Acts 14:22, etc)
• …Refused To Let Criticism Stop The Work:
– From the start he had to face negative criticism
from Tobiah, Sanballat, & Geshem (Neh 2:19-20)
• They had been “concerned” because someone came
seeking the welfare of the people
• They mocked God’s people – “Jeered” and “Despised”
• The belittled God’s people – “What is this THING…”
• They scared God’s people – You are rebelling!
• Nehemiah speaks with directness & boldness… This is
God’s work and you have no place here!
• …Refused To Let Criticism Stop The Work:
– When the wall is halfway done, criticism brings
the work to a screeching halt (Nehemiah 4)
• Vs. 1-3: Belittled calling them feeble… Shift their focus
to the rubble… mock the work saying a fox could
break it down Destroying the morale!
• Nehemiah handles this criticism with prayer… The
people keep working – “mind to work” (vs. 6)
• Vs. 10-12: Enemies gather allies and threaten war… the
people are scared stiff! The words of the critics
take root in their hearts and they believe it!
• Nehemiah says, “Remember the Lord!” – He puts their
faith and focus back. He gets them working again
& makes a practical plan that settles fears (13-16)
• …Refused To Let Criticism Stop The Work:
– Next they turn to personally attack Nehemiah by
discrediting him with criticism (Neh. 6:6-7)
• Especially painful due to the personal nature – This is
dangers because if he’s gone the work ends
• The “Ono Conference” would take him away from the
work and provide them a chance to destroy him
• They then spread rumors with an open letter – This
means anyone and everyone can read it!
• They attack his motives and work – He’s building for an
insurrection, he wants to be king himself, he has
his own agenda – Personal & devastating!
• He handles it with openness and blunt honesty – He
testifies of the false nature of the rumors and
where they really originate. His character backed
him up. He gets back to work! (vs. 8-9)
• …Refused To Let Criticism Stop The Work:
– God’s builders must be realistic… We will face
criticism and we must handle it (I Pet 2:12, 3:16)
• As a builder you will be criticized and often it will be
unfair. Your motives will be attacked, work
belittled, effectiveness doubted. It will be
personal, painful, and discouraging!
• Think about Jesus – His teaching, relationships, and
works were constantly under fire unjustly.
• Sadly, sometimes criticism will come from within…
even our own brethren. Friendly fire hurts most!
• Sometimes we can ignore it and it go away, but often it
must be met and handled with frank open honesty
• Note: Sometimes it may be unfair, but still carry a
morsel of truth. We need to identify that if its
there and use it as motivation (Prov. 29:1)
Lessons From The
Book Of Nehemiah
• A Builder Who Remembered The Lord:
– It would have been easy for the builders in
Jerusalem to become obsessed with Nehemiah:
The King’s Cupbearer – an important man in the empire
He was very motivational, inspiring people around him
He showed courage in standing up to their enemies
Did he realize this? Maybe, maybe not, but we never
find him drawing attention to himself
• This book is only 13 chapters, yet Nehemiah refers to
God over 75 times. He was a God-focused man!
– He focused people on God by prayer (4:4, 9)
• Whether people heard all his prayers or not, people
certainly heard and saw him praying often
• 11 prayers spoken of… “A builder from the knees up”
• When battles arise, first step is prayer… prayer warrior
• Says, “We prayed…” – Discouraged & disheartened, he
refocused them on God by praying together
• A Builder Who Remembered The Lord:
– Simple but powerful encouragement: “Remember
the Lord, great and awesome” (4:14-15)
• The work started with a focus on God – “I told them of
the hand of my God…” (Neh. 2:18). But fear and
mocking shifted that focus. Distracted hearts!
• Nehemiah brought them to think about God’s nature…
their vision of God wasn’t “big” enough and so
their trust and confidence was lacking
• “Remember the Lord” brought up many images – David
and Goliath, walls of Jericho, Mount Sinai, Red Sea
crossing, 10 plagues, flood, the creation… WOW!
• God had not changed! They were serving the same
God! No reason for fear, timidity, or dismay!
• A Builder Who Remembered The Lord:
– As we seek to build, we must stay focus on God.
Always remembering our Lord! (Is 40:38-41)
• He is the same God… Our God is GREAT and AWESOME!
• Trials too strong? Temptations too powerful? Work too
difficult? Discouragement too deep? REMEMBER!
• Many times when the work on our walls slows down or
ceases, our focus has shifted away from God. We
aren’t “God-centered” – other things steal us away
• As we have opportunity to help struggling people, we
must not fail to help them focus on God’s nature!
Lessons From The
Book Of Nehemiah
• A Builder Who Resisted Complacency:
– If there was a time for Nehemiah to grow
satisfied in the work & effort, this was it:
• Half way done… less left to do. Many slow down here.
• A major spiritual & physical battle had been fought, he
was likely tired, and thus very susceptible
• Enemies plans were defeated… a great morale booster
• On the other side, threats and opposition remained and
it could have been an excuse to slow down or stop
– He increases the activity & intensity (4:19-23)
• He prepares in case of war, but is also pushing ahead
in the work. Seems to be working even harder
• Why arm them? May have been as much about their
confidence level… energizing the work base!
• He stays in work clothes all the time… only changing
to bathe. Great determination and focus!
• A Builder Who Resisted Complacency:
– The book of Nehemiah is action packed. He is
persistent. Why? He cared about the work!
– Successful builders are not super humans in
faith. They accomplish much because they are
relentless in their faith! (Mt 5:6; Phil 3:12-14)
• We must never allow ourselves to grow complacent or
careless… always room for greater growth and
service. Guard against satisfaction!
• Where’s the line for what’s enough in our serving the
Lord? No line is drawn. We show our level of love
and devotion by how much we do.
• Guard against allowing our awareness of our failures
and weakness to be an excuse for lukewarmness
• When we become satisfied, we quit growing! The
pursuit of “just enough” will always leave us shy of
“just enough” – Seek to excel! Seek the 2nd mile!
• …Who Immediately Addresses His Problems
– From the start it was clear battles would be a
reality, but these were exterior (2:10, 19)
• Tobiah, Sanballat, & Geshem – They weren’t Jews, but
gained power. They needed Jerusalem in disrepair
• They try to discourage and dishearten the people
• Nehemiah never lets this slide, addresses it directly.
– Now problems start arising from within… Their
difficulties multiplied upon each other (5:1-5)
A famine in the land – Fears & anxieties compounded
Heavy taxes levied by Artexerxes – Frustration & anger
Borrowed money at high interest – Despair
Sell themselves into slavery – Hopelessness
• …Who Immediately Addresses His Problems
– He handles this with directness and firmness, he
doesn’t let it slide (Neh. 5:16-23)
Rebukes the leaders for the problem – Does so publicly
Led the way in redeeming those sold into slavery
Made loans but refused to charge any interest
Holds problem causers responsible & accountable
Why so bold? It hindered the work… was unloving,
unmerciful, and unjust… but mainly it was a flat
disregard for the laws of God! (Deut. 23:19-20)
– God’s builders dont ignore problems (2 Cor 5:1-6)
• Corinth ignored the problem – Paul rebuked them for
this and emphasized the negative “leaving” impact
• If we ignore problems, the problems are still there!
• Builders who care are motivate to act and speak
• We see the importance, consequences, & potential
• But be Balanced… Don’t forget patience, love, & grace
Lessons From The
Book Of Nehemiah
• A Builder Who Gave Serious Thought Before
Taking Action
– Thoughtfulness is a consistent characteristic…
• Spent three months in prepare before going before the
king… Not just praying, but planning & preparing
• Thoughtful before the king in politeness & purpose
• When first arriving in Jerusalem, he surveys the walls
at night… seeing the need and creating strategy
– Before handing the difficult internal problem,
Nehemiah takes counsel with himself (5:7)
• NKJV: “After serious thought” – Not being arrogant by
refusing advice… making sure he handles it right!
• He’s angry… easy to get unbalanced, be too harsh
• It’s a difficult & intense problem… it could get ugly
• He’s about to call the religious leaders on the carpet
• This also calms his spirit before reacting to the issue
• A Builder Who Gave Serious Thought Before
Taking Action
– What if Nehemiah handled this the wrong way?
• There could have been a huge split in the people
• There could have been an undermining of the authority
of the leaders and a loss of confidence & trust
• There could have been an end to the work on the wall
• There could have been a personal loss of influence
– God’s spiritual builders are a thinking people…
Given to “personal counsel” (Prov. 15:28; 29:11)
• Speaking before you think, saying whatever is on your
mind is not something to boast about! Think first!
• In our zeal for truth & righteousness, seek balance
• Thoughtfulness will calm our hearts before acting
• Especially when rebuking a leader (1 Tim. 5:22)
• Be a “thinker” to see if action is needed (2 Cor. 13:5)
Two more builder principles we
have already touched on…
– A builder who wasn’t side tracked by
things that weren’t a priority (Neh. 6:1-4)
– A builder who always gave glory to God
(Nehemiah 6:15-16)
• A Builder Who Inspired Others To Build
After Him:
– He was a great builder, but he was only one man
• He was limited by space – Could only be in one place
• He was limited by time – His work ended at his death
• He was limited by energy – He could only do so much
– The wall is finished! He may be done building
walls, but he’s not done building people! (7:1-3)
• He would return to Persia… time to “pass the torch”
• Not looking for fame or fight, but for a faithful man who
feared the Lord… A reliable and reverent man.
• He didn’t just provide for leaders to replace him, but
leaders in all social and spiritual realms of the city
• He instructed, inspired, and encouraged – Built people!
• Nehemiah has no succumbed to promotion erosion…
He’s not so prideful and insecure that he is afraid
of the success, work, and leadership of others
• …Who Inspired Others To Build After Him:
– Moses was also a great leader. Unlike Nehemiah
he didn’t recognize this need (Ex. 18:17-18, 21)
• He had much work to do any many problems to handle…
His work was destroying him and he didn’t know it!
• Jethro could see it and courageously confronted Moses
• Moses was so consumed by leading he was blinded to
the toll it took on him, his relationship, the people
• Jethro’s focus – Trustworthy, honest, and God-fearing
– Spiritual builders must raise up other builders to
work beside them and follow them (Eph 4:11-6)
• Don’t let the building and leading die off with you…
Make sure we strengthen, develop, & spread
• The church is to be equipping saints for the work of
ministry… growing leaders & Christ-likeness
• But don’t push unfaithful people into leadership roles…
This will cause more problems! (Prov. 25:19)
Confidence in an
unfaithful man in
time of trouble
Is like a bad
tooth and a foot
out of joint.
(Prov. 25:19)
Lessons From The
Book Of Nehemiah
• A Builder Who Promoted Zeal For The Word:
– Most of Nehemiah’s work has been physical, but
now he turns his attention to spiritual building
• A spiritual foundation laid – Praying & focusing on God
• If they just fixed the walls, they’d still be in disrepair.
Needed to be revived, restored, & redirected
• How do you start a revival, restoration, and
redirection? You go to the word of God!
– Next step: The Watergate Revival (Neh 8:1-6)
• Ezra is reading God’s word, but Nehemiah is there too
• What’s the focus? God’s word! Not there for gimmicks,
stories, entertainment, recreation, physical needs
• God’s people call for His word with eagerness and a
readiness to obey. God’s leaders faithfully respond
• Emotions naturally flow forth – They care about what
they are hearing. Hearing God’s word, the truth,
provokes worship, respect, and weeping.
• A Builder Who Promoted Zeal For The Word:
– Notice the response of the people… Godliness!
• Ask for the word – Spiritually hungry & thirsty. They
want it. This isn’t instigated by the leaders!
• Attentive to the word – They listened… for six hours!
• Showed respect & reverence to the word – Stood, said
“Amen,” bowed, and then obeyed
• Genuinely repented to the word – they wept then acted
– Spiritual revival resulted in obedience (8:14-18)
• Often people are convicted, but then forget. Not these!
• No debate or delay. No complaint. Full obedience!
• Sought to do all “according to the rule” – They wanted
to please God so they wanted to get it right
– God’s builders hunger & thirst for the word.
Respect & revere the word. Revival, restoration,
& redirection. (I Pt 2:2; Hos. 4:16; Ps 42:1-2)
• A Builder Who Encouraged The Support Of
Spiritual Leadership:
– So much focus has been on Nehemiah. Suddenly
its Ezra in the spotlight (Neh. 8:1, 4a)
• A struggle for some leaders… Jealousy and selfishness
can exist. Undermine and unsupportive at best
• Nehemiah is gracious – Doesn’t struggle against Ezra.
This reading of the law was Ezra’s place, not his.
• Certainly he saw and appreciated great leadership!
– But Nehemiah is still leading… he’s leading in
supporting Ezra and his work (Neh. 8:9-11)
• He stands beside Ezra – Shows approval & credence
• He reinforces Ezra’s words, emphasizes importance
• He encourages the people – don’t give up, get moving
• A Builder Who Encouraged The Support Of
Spiritual Leadership:
– Others supported Ezra that day, standing beside
him in his work (Neh. 8:4, 7-8)
• Each become his “right hand man” – Just stood there
• Encouraged Ezra and endorsed him in the eyes of the
people. Respect! Listen to what he is saying!
• Men worked through the crowds explaining what was
taught and reemphasizing the message to them
– God’s builders understand the importance of
spiritual leadership, recognize it, get behind it,
and support it. Assist and encourage those who
lead. Guard against bitterness and jealousy of
those in “spotlight” (I Thess 5:11-13; Heb 13:17)
Therefore encourage one another and
build up one another, just as you also are
doing. But we request of you, brethren,
that you appreciate those who diligently
labor among you, and have charge over
you in the Lord and give you instruction,
and that you esteem them very highly in
love because of their work. Live in peace
with one another.
“We want you to know, brothers, about the grace of God
that has been given among the churches of Macedonia,
for in a severe test of affliction, their abundance of joy
and their extreme poverty have overflowed in a wealth
of generosity on their part. For they gave according to
their means, as I can testify, and beyond their means, of
their own accord, begging us earnestly for the favor of
taking part in the relief of the saints -- and this, not as we
expected, but they gave themselves first to the Lord and
then by the will of God to us… But as you excel in
everything--in faith, in speech, in
knowledge, in all earnestness, and in
our love for you -- see that you excel
in this act of grace also.”
(2 Cor. 8:1-7)
And Pilate again said to them, "Then what shall I do with
the man you call the King of the Jews?" And they cried out
again, "Crucify him." And Pilate said to them, "Why, what
evil has he done?" But they shouted all the more, "Crucify
him." So Pilate, wishing to satisfy the crowd, released for
them Barabbas, and having scourged Jesus, he delivered him
to be crucified. And the soldiers led him
away inside the palace (that is, the
governor's headquarters), and they
called together the whole battalion.
And they clothed him in a purple cloak,
and twisting together a crown of thorns,
they put it on him. And they began to
salute him, "Hail, King of the Jews!"
And they were striking his head with a reed and spitting on
him and kneeling down in homage to him. And when they
had mocked him, they stripped him of the purple cloak and
put his own clothes on him. And they led him out to crucify
him. And they offered him wine mixed with myrrh, but he
did not take it. And they crucified him and divided his
garments among them, casting lots for
them, to decide what each should take.
And it was the third hour when they
crucified him. And the inscription of the
charge against him read, "The King of the
Mark 15:12-28
“…This is my blood of the new covenant”
For this is the covenant that I will make with the house of
Israel after those days, declares the Lord: I will put my laws
into their minds, and write them on their hearts, and I will
be their God, and they shall be my people. And they shall
not teach, each one his neighbor and each one his brother,
saying, 'Know the Lord,' for they shall all know me, from the
least of them to the greatest. For I will be merciful toward
their iniquities, and I will remember their sins no more."
(Hebrews 8:10-12)
Lessons From The
Book Of Nehemiah
• …A builder who stood uncompromisingly &
passionately for truth & righteousness:
– Background events since the Watergate Revival
• Spirituality, love for the word, repentance, obedience
• Then vows were made (Neh. 10): (1) Fully follow all
God’s laws; (2) not to intermarry with idolatrous
nations; (3) carefully keep the Sabbath; (4) Tithe
so priests & Levites could devote to spiritual work
• Things looks great! Nehemiah returned to Persia to
work as the king’s cupbearer. Eventually he gets
permission to return to Jerusalem. What revival?
• He didn’t return to all new problems… the old problems
had returned. Vows broken. Spirituality lost.
• …A builder who stood uncompromisingly &
passionately for truth & righteousness:
– Problem One: Tobiah was being allowed to live
inside the temple… Shocking! (Neh. 13:6-14)
• He consistently opposed the work… Why was someone
so bent on wrong, in a place built for right?
• He handles this with personal firmness – Literally
tosses all Tobiah’s stuff out on the front lawn!
• He is not soft. Nehemiah is very angry and it is visible.
His anger is justified. His anger is controlled.
• Nehemiah has the room cleansed… Fumigates the
stink out of it! All remembrance gone, holy again!
• This was hindering the worship and spiritual service of
God’s people! Priests & Levites had to go back to
work because of the room made for Tobiah
• …A builder who stood uncompromisingly &
passionately for truth & righteousness:
– Problem Two: The Sabbath day was being
allowed to be profaned (Neh. 13:15-22)
• Sabbath looked like any other day! Work and business
was going on… Did they forget the captivity?
• Nehemiah immediately confronts the leaders – They
are responsible. They should’ve known better!
• Nehemiah took physical steps to prevent disobedience.
He shuts the gates, puts servants there as guards
• Nehemiah personally threatens anyone who would
break the laws of God. “I’ll lay hands on you!”
• He acted with toughness and boldness. He probably
made enemies. But the message got through!
• …A builder who stood uncompromisingly &
passionately for truth & righteousness:
– Problem Three: They were intermarrying with
the nations around them (Neh 13:23-31)
• They broke direct commands from God. God not only
commanded… warned & promised consequences
• Again, there is a keen awareness of the pain of
captivity to which this sin directly led
• Pervasive Problem – Half the kids didn’t know Hebrew!
• He handles this with strength & toughness – Curses,
physically beats, pulls out hair, holds responsible
for sin and change
• Courageous – He goes after the High Priest’s family!
• Leadership in his prayer… not only prays about the sin
but about placing righteousness in its place
• …A builder who stood uncompromisingly &
passionately for truth & righteousness:
– God’s builders are people who are able to get
worked up about things. They will get mad.
• Luke 2:14-17; Romans 12:9; Jude 1:23
• Take truth and righteousness seriously. Understand
the consequences of error and sin.
• They become passionate and involved. Take action!
Builder Principles…
• A Builder Who Cared
• A Builder From The Knees Up
• A Builder Who Arose To
• A Builder Who Laid
Everything On The Line
• A Builder Who Had Specific
Plans For Success
• A Builder With A Mind To
Work & Was Motivated
• A Builder Who Encouraged
• A Builder Who Refused To Let
Criticism Stop God’s Work
• A Builder Who Remembered
The Lord
• A Builder Who Resisted
Complacency & Carelessness
• A Builder Who Immediately
Addressed His Problems
• A Builder Who Gave Serious
Thought Before Taking Acting
• A Builder Who Was Not
Sidetracked By Things That
Weren’t A Priority
Builder Principles…
• A Builder Who Always Gave
Glory To God
• A Builder Who Inspired
Others To Build After Him
• A Builder Who Promoted
Zeal For God’s Word
• A Builder Who Encouraged
Support Of Spiritual Leaders
• A Builder Who Stood
Passionately And
Uncompromisingly For Truth
And Righteousness
“Then I said to them, "You see
the trouble we are in, how
Jerusalem lies in ruins with its
gates burned. Come, let us
build the wall of Jerusalem,
that we may no longer suffer
derision." And I told them of
the hand of my God that had
been upon me for good, and
also of the words that the king
had spoken to me. And they
said, "Let us rise up and build."
So they strengthened their
hands for the good work.”
(Nehemiah 2:17-18)