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Nehemiah 4:1-23

BIBLICAL TRUTH EVERY WALL BUILDER SHOULD KNOW

Intro: Ill. The context and the background for the book of Nehemiah. The people are in the process of rebuilding the walls of the city of Jerusalem. It would have been difficult and backbreaking work for those involved, but it was necessary if they were to be safe from the attacks of their enemies and if they were going to worship God as His Law commanded them. As they labored to build the walls, they faced constant opposition to their work. They became weary and they became discouraged, but they never stopped their work. Eventually, they completed the task and were victorious over their attackers.

In a sense this evening you and I are wall builders as well. We are building walls between the world and the things of God. We build walls that separate our lives from the ungodliness that surrounds us on every hand. We build walls that are designed to protect the people and things we love from outside attack and destruction.

Since this is true, would you also agree that there are times when we too tend to become discouraged? There are times when we grow weary in the battle to build and be all that God wants us to be. I believe that there are some truths contained in this passage that can help us remain strong, faithful and active in the struggle to build the necessary walls of life. There are three primary principles taught in this passage that teach is Biblical Truth Every Wall Builder Should Know.

I. YOU DON'T HAVE TO LOOK FOR TROUBLE, IT KNOWS WHERE TO FIND YOU

(Ill. That is a truth we know all too well. It seems that trouble stalks us as we travel through live. Of course, no where is this more true than in our work for the Lord. If we are truly serving the Lord with fervency and dedication, we can be assured that trouble will arise, 2 Tim. 3:12.)

A. It Will Come From Without - In the form of mockery, v. 1-3; in the form of intimidation, v. 7-8, 11. Those who do not know the Lord are often the first to attack the lives we live and the service we render to the Lord. This is understandable because they do not comprehend what we are doing, and a righteous life stands as a rebuke to a godless life! We should not be surprised when attacks come from without, John 15:18, 20.

B. It Will Come From Within - In the form of Deception, v. 10; (These people from the tribe of Judah were the first complain about the work, and the reason is apparent when you read Neh. 6:17-18. They were in bed with the enemy!); In the form of Discouragement, v. 12.; (These people were those who dwelt beside the enemy. Those who live near and like the wicked are always among those who try to discourage the work and workers of God.) It rarely shocks us when trouble comes from without, but when it arises within, it often leaves us devastated! Whether it takes the form of deception, with someone living a hidden life of sin, or the form of discouragement, when someone questions the motives and goals of the church, it hurts deeply and can cause us to deviate from the course. (Note: We should not be surprised, Jesus had people on His team that were ready to discourage Him at a moment's notice, Ill. Peter - Matt. 16:21-23; Thomas - John 11:16.)

Remember, trouble has no problem finding you!

II. THE BEST DEFENSE IS A GOOD OFFENSE

(Ill. When trouble came, Nehemiah went on the offensive. He took matters into his own hands and devised a great strategy for battle. He encouraged 5 attitudes that need to be implemented in the church today!)

A. Be Prayerful - v. 4-5 - All of life, especially the battles we face in the realm of faith, should be bathed in the prayers of God's people, Phil. 4:6; 1 Pet. 4:7; 1 Thes. 5:17; Col. 4:2; Luke 18:1; Matt. 7:7-8; James 4:2.

B. Be Alert - v. 9 - Pray should always be coupled with watchfulness! (Ill. Gideon's 300 - Judges 7:1-7) I am not advocating looking for a demon behind every bush. I am advocating and alertness to the tactics and antics of the enemy. He is a deceptive and slippery foe, Gen. 3:1; 2 Pet. 5:8. We are not to be ignorant of his devices, 2 Cor. 11:14. Paul encouraged us to stand against the "wiles of the devil", Eph. 6:11. Jesus commanded His disciples to "watch and pray, that ye enter not into temptation", Matt. 26:41. (Ill. Bobby Leach a stuntman who survived a trip over Niagra Falls in 1910, but later slipped on an orange peel, hit his head and died!)

C. Be Prepared - v. 16-20 - These people were to be as prepared for war as they were for work. They were to be ready for either at a moment's notice. While we live our lives, we are to be ready to work for Jesus and to war for Him at the same time. This requires is dressing up in the "Whole Armor Of God", Eph. 6:10-18. The emphasis is on "whole". God wants us to wear all the armor all the time so that we are ready to stand for Him when trouble finds us. Too many aren't willing to wear "all" the armor "all" the time!

D. Be United - v. 19-23 - They were separated along the wall and Nehemiah knew that distance between his people was a negative thing. Sadly, many are "far one from another" in the church! Christ's goal for His church is that there be unity, 1 Cor. 1:10; Phil. 1:27; Eph. 4:3. To be in unity demands that we be in tune to the same person. When we are all in tune with Jesus, there will be harmony in the church. (Note: 100 pianos all tuned to the same tuning fork will be in perfect harmony!)

E. Be Determined - v. 6, 23 - This was a people determined to do a work for God. They could not be sidetracked by attacks from without or from within. They were a people with "a mind to work!" When trouble arises in the wall building process, there must be a determination that is greater than the opposition. A heart that is steadfastly minded to do the Lord's will regardless of the situation at hand will always win the day! The secret lies in what has our attention. Elijah became discouraged when he "saw" what Jezebel was up to, 1 Kings 19:3. Peter became discouraged when he "saw" the storm, Matt. 14:30. If we can determine to keep our eyes off the "storm" and on the "Savior", Heb. 12:1-2, it will go along way toward securing the victory in our lives. I think we need to be more determined to succeed for the glory of God than we are to fail! Be determined!

Remember, the best defense is a good offense!

III. SOME THINGS ARE WORTH FIGHTING FOR

(Ill. There was much at stake for these people. They were fighting for more than their lives. So are we!)

A. Our Faith Is Worth Fighting For - v. 2, 14 - Their enemies did not want them to sacrifice to the Lord. They did not want them to engage in His worship. Friends, there are many around us this evening who do not like the "old time way". They are opposed to shouting, to preaching, to honest, open, vibrant worship of a living Lord. I say what we have is worth fighting for! God is still looking for those who will worship Him in "spirit and in truth", John 4:24. He wants us to be ready to fight for our right to worship Him His way, Jude 3-4. We have already allowed the enemy to silence our praise, empty our altars and extinguish our testimony! We need to fight for what we have left, Rev. 3:2; and we need to recover that which we have lost, Rev. 2:4-5.

B. Our Families Are Worth Fighting For - v. 14 - Nehemiah reminded them that they were fighting for their families as well. If they didn't take a stand, then they and their families would perish at the hand of the enemy! Friends, our families are in trouble this evening! We need to fight the good fight of faith for them, bathe them in prayer, soak them in the word and battle the enemy tooth and nail to protect them if necessary. Of course, I would remind you that your family is larger than just those who share your name or bloodline. If you are saved, then all other saved people are your family as well. Some are under attack this evening and it is our duty to reach out to them in the love of Christ and help them with their battle, Gal. 6:2. We are not to attack our wounded, but we are to love them and humbly restore them to their place in the battle, Gal. 6:1. Sadly, many of us are ready to write people off for one failure! That is not the way of unity and it certainly is not the way of Christ!

C. Our Future Is Worth Fighting For - v. 14 - Nehemiah knew that if they caved in to the enemy now, the battle was over forever. Their would never be life in Jerusalem again. There would be no temple or worship of God in that city. Nehemiah knew that the time to stand was right now! We have turned our heads for far too long while the enemy has ravaged the church! For much too long the saints have allowed the enemy to tantalize our children; traumatize our homes, terrorize our hearts and tranquilize our worship. If we ever expect to salvage anything for the glory of God, then we must take our stand today! Tomorrow will be too late! We must determine that we will take our stand for God and that we will not allow the troubles and trials of life, the attacks of the enemy and fears we all feel from time to time, destroy us and the work of God we have been entrusted with. I call you tonight to take your stand for Jesus and for the future He wants us to have!

Conc: God wants us to be in the wall building business! I wonder what the Lord could do with us if we all determined that we would be all that He has called us to be? What could He do if His church took a stand for the things of God and refused to back down? What could He do if we determined to revive and protect old fashioned worship? What could He do if we were all the way His? He took a determined Martin Luther and sparked the Protestant Reformation. He took a determined D.L. Moody and shook two continents. He took a rag tag group of disciples and turned the world upside down. What can He do with us? The possibilities are only limited by what we are determined to do, and to allow Him to do, in our lives!



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