WHEN DID THIS INTIMIDATION START? 6:1 Nehemiah 6:1 (NASB) Now when it was reported to Sanballat, Tobiah, to Geshem the Arab and to the rest of our enemies that I had rebuilt the wall, and that no breach remained in it, although at that time I had not set up the doors in the gates…
WHAT IS THE NATURE OF THE INTIMIDATION? 6:2-19
DISTRACTION through a personal request. 6:2-4
Nehemiah 6:2 (NASB) … then Sanballat and Geshem sent a message to me, saying, "Come, let us meet together at Chephirim in the plain of Ono." But they were planning to harm me. 3 So I sent messengers to them, saying, "I am doing a great work and I cannot come down. Why should the work stop while I leave it and come down to you?" 4 They sent messages to me four times in this manner, and I answered them in the same way.
A Timeless Principle: You defeat distractions by emphasizing your PRIORITIES.
DEFAMATION through a public letter. 6:5-9
Nehemiah 6:5 (NASB) Then Sanballat sent his servant to me in the same manner a fifth time with an open letter in his hand. 6 In it was written, "It is reported among the nations, and Gashmu says, that you and the Jews are planning to rebel; therefore you are rebuilding the wall. And you are to be their king, according to these reports. 7 You have also appointed prophets to proclaim in Jerusalem concerning you, 'A king is in Judah!' And now it will be reported to the king according to these reports. So come now, let us take counsel together." 8 Then I sent a message to him saying, "Such things as you are saying have not been done, but you are inventing them in your own mind." 9 For all of them were trying to frighten us, thinking, "They will become discouraged with the work and it will not be done." But now, O God, strengthen my hands.
Notice four characteristics of a rumor found in this letter:
The source is most often UNKNOWN.
They are filled with EXAGGERATION and inaccuracy.
It is designed to lead to personal HURT and misunderstanding.
Rumors – rather than facts – are employed by those whose motives are EVIL.
Nehemiah shows us four good moves to make when we are slandered:
Nehemiah calmly DENIES the charge. (v. 8a) Then I sent a message to him saying, "Such things as you are saying have not been done…
He puts the blame where it BELONGS. (v. 8b) … but you are inventing them in your own mind."
He reveals their hidden MOTIVES. (v. 9a) For all of them were trying to frighten us, thinking, "They will become discouraged with the work and it will not be done."
He takes his personal hurt to GOD. (v. 9) But now, O God, strengthen my hands.
DANGER through a subtle conspiracy. 6:10-16
Nehemiah 6:10 (NASB) When I entered the house of Shemaiah the son of Delaiah, son of Mehetabel, who was confined at home, he said, "Let us meet together in the house of God, within the temple, and let us close the doors of the temple, for they are coming to kill you, and they are coming to kill you at night."
Nehemiah 6:11 (NASB) But I said, "Should a man like me flee? And could one such as I go into the temple to save his life? I will not go in."
It would affect the MORALE of the people. "Should a man like me run away?"
He realized this was not in tune with what God had said to him.
Nehemiah 6:12 (NASB) Then I perceived that surely God had not sent him, but he uttered his prophecy against me because Tobiah and Sanballat had hired him.
Nehemiah 6:13 (NASB) He was hired for this reason, that I might become frightened and act accordingly and sin, so that they might have an evil report in order that they could reproach me.
Nehemiah 6:14 (NASB) Remember, O my God, Tobiah and Sanballat according to these works of theirs, and also Noadiah the prophetess and the rest of the prophets who were trying to frighten me. 15 So the wall was completed on the twenty-fifth of the month Elul, in fifty-two days. 16 When all our enemies heard of it, and all the nations surrounding us saw it, they lost their confidence; for they recognized that this work had been accomplished with the help of our God.
HOW DO I PRESS AHEAD IN SPITE OF INTIMIDATION?
I need a compelling PURPOSE.
Nehemiah 6:3 “I am doing a great work and I cannot come down!”
A Timeless Principle: Great lives are produced by a COMMITMENT to a great cause.
Matthew 22:37 (NASB) And He said to him, " 'YOU SHALL LOVE THE LORD YOUR GOD WITH ALL YOUR HEART, AND WITH ALL YOUR SOUL, AND WITH ALL YOUR MIND.' 38 "This is the great and foremost commandment. 39 "The second is like it, 'YOU SHALL LOVE YOUR NEIGHBOR AS YOURSELF.'”
Matthew 28:18 (NASB) And Jesus came up and spoke to them, saying, "All authority has been given to Me in heaven and on earth. 19 Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit, 20 teaching them to observe all that I commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age."
I need a clear PERSPECTIVE.
James 1:5 (ESV) If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask God, who gives generously to all without reproach, and it will be given him.
False Evidence Appearing Real
2 Timothy 1:7 (NIV) “For God did not give us a spirit of timidity, but a spirit of power, of love and of self-discipline.”
1. I need continual PRAYER.
Luke 18:1 (NIV) "Jesus told His disciples that they should always pray and not give up."
2. I need a courageous PERSISTENCE.
The Bible tells us that there are only three things we should flee from: “Flee from sexual immorality. All other sins a man commits are outside his body, but he who sins sexually sins against his own body.” 1 Corinthians 6:18 (NIV) “Therefore, my beloved, flee from idolatry.” 1 Corinthians 10:14 (NASB) “For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evil. Some people, eager for money, have wandered from the faith and pierced themselves with many griefs. But you, man of God, flee from all this, and pursue righteousness, godliness, faith, love, endurance and gentleness. Fight the good fight of the faith. Take hold of the eternal life to which you were called when you made your good confession in the presence of many witnesses.” 1 Timothy 6:10-12 (NIV)
Galatians 6:9 "Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up."
HOW TO HANDLE A PROMOTION Nehemiah 5:14-19
September 13, 2020
Pastor Patrick Allen
PROMOTION: An Axiom to Remember.
“Adversity is sometimes hard upon a man; but for one man who can stand prosperity, there are a hundred that will stand adversity!” - Thomas Carlyle, a Scottish essayist and historian
Why is prosperity a bigger “trap” than adversity? Prosperity often gives us an increase in three areas:
POSITION: Become more. Climb the corporate ladder.
POWER: Do more. Control more.
PRIVILIGE: Have more. Get more perks.
Psalm 75:5 (NLT) “Don’t lift your fists in defiance at the heavens or speak with rebellious arrogance. 6 For no one on earth - from east or west, or even from the wilderness - can raise another person up. 7 It is God alone who judges; He decides who will rise and who will fall.”
A Timeless Principle: The promotion and continuation of every child of God is because of the Lord’s GOODNESS and grace
1 Corinthians 10:12 (NIV) "So, if you think you are standing firm, be careful that you don't fall!"
PROMOTION: An Example to Follow. Nehemiah 5:14 (NASB) Moreover, from the day that I was appointed to be their governor in the land of Judah… 1. THE REACTION TO THE PROMOTION. 5:14a
There seems to be reluctance on the part of many Christians to step into leadership roles, both in the church and in the community. There may be a number of reasons for this:
Some don’t feel qualified – responding to a negative narrative.
Some are dealing with the repercussions of past mistakes and choices.
Some don’t understand the benefits of being “stretched.”
Proverbs 29:2 (NASB) “When the righteous increase (lit. move forward) the people rejoice, but when a wicked man rules, people groan.”
2. THE RESPONSE IN THE POSITION. 5:14b-18 Nehemiah 5:14 (NASB) Moreover, from the day that I was appointed to be their governor in the land of Judah, from the twentieth year to the thirty-second year of King Artaxerxes, for twelve years, neither I nor my kinsmen have eaten the governor's food allowance.
I Will Be Tempted to Misuse My PRIVILEGES. 5:14b
Nehemiah 5:15 (NASB) But the former governors who were before me laid burdens on the people and took from them bread and wine besides forty shekels of silver; even their servants domineered the people. But I did not do so because of the fear of God. 16 I also applied myself to the work on this wall; we did not buy any land, and all my servants were gathered there for the work.
I Will Be Tempted to Abuse POLICIES. 5:15-16
Nehemiah 5:17 (NASB) Moreover, there were at my table one hundred and fifty Jews and officials, besides those who came to us from the nations that were around us. 18 Now that which was prepared for each day was one ox and six choice sheep, also birds were prepared for me; and once in ten days all sorts of wine were furnished in abundance.
I Will Be Tempted to Abandon the PROJECT. 5:17-18a
Nehemiah 5:18b (NASB) Yet for all this I did not demand the governor's food allowance, because the servitude was heavy on this people.
I Will Be Tempted to Ignore the PEOPLE. 5:18b
PROMOTION: Our Relationship with the Lord.
I DEEPEN my reverence for God.
Realize that God PUT me in this position.
Psalm 75:6 (TLB) "For promotion and power come from nowhere on earth, but only from God. He promotes one and deposes another."
Realize that God is HOLDING me accountable.
Proverbs 9:10 (NASB) “The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom."
Hebrews 13:17 (NLT) “Obey your spiritual leaders and do what they say. Their work is to watch over your souls, and they know they are accountable to God. Give them reason to do this joyfully and not with sorrow. That would certainly not be for your benefit.”
2.I DEVELOP a love for people.
A Timeless Principle: Image-managers focus on what they can GET. Leaders focus on what they can GIVE. Psalm 78:72 (NIV) "David shepherded them with integrity of heart; with skill he led them."
1 Thessalonians 2:8 (NIV) “We loved you so much that we were delighted to share with you not only the gospel of God but our lives as well, because you had become so dear to us.”
3.I DISCIPLINE myself for eternal rewards. Nehemiah 5:19 (NASB) Remember me, O my God, for good, according to all that I have done for this people.
Nehemiah 5:16 (NASB) I also applied myself to the work on this wall; we did not buy any land, and all my servants were gathered there for the work. A Timeless Principle: Image-managers focus on their RIGHTS. Leaders focus on their RESPONSIBILITIES.
PROMOTION: What Do I Do Now?
Hebrews 6:10 (NIV) "God will not forget your work and the love you have shown Him as you have helped His people and continue to help them."
Romans 8:28 (NASB) And we know that God causes all things to work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose. 29 For those whom He foreknew, He also predestined to become conformed to the image of His Son…
I want you to do three things in prayer right now: First, I want you to thank God for the privileges, perks, and pleasures that He has given you in the past. Those promotions that have brought a new level of abundance to you. Second, I want you to acknowledge that God will use both the adversity and the prosperity in your life to make you more like Jesus Christ. Put yourself in His hands, trust Him to finish this work. Third, if things are not rosy right now, admit that to God. But with it, reiterate again to God, your trust in Him and your thankfulness that He is working in all things!
Nehemiah 5:1-18 Sunday, September 6, 2020
Pastor Patrick Allen
Mark 3:25 (NASB) “If a house is divided against itself, that house cannot stand."
THE HISTORICAL SITUATION. 5:1-5 Nehemiah 5:1 (NASB) Now there was a great outcry of the people and of their wives against their Jewish brothers. THE COMPLAINTS OF THE PEOPLE.
Nehemiah 5:1 (NASB) Now there was a great outcry of the people and of their wives against their Jewish brothers. 2 For there were those who said, "We, our sons and our daughters are many; therefore let us get grain that we may eat and live." 1. There was a shortage ofFOOD. vv. 1-2
Nehemiah 5:3 (NASB) There were others who said, "We are mortgaging our fields, our vineyards and our houses that we might get grain because of the famine." 2. They had to over-MORTGAGE their homes. v. 3
Nehemiah 5:4 (NASB) Also there were those who said, "We have borrowed money for the king's tax on our fields and our vineyards. 3. They were having to borrow money to pay TAXES. v. 4
Nehemiah 5:5 (NASB) "Now our flesh is like the flesh of our brothers, our children like their children. Yet behold, we are forcing our sons and our daughters to be slaves, and some of our daughters are forced into bondage already, and we are helpless because our fields and vineyards belong to others." 4. They were having to sell themselves into SLAVERY. v. 5
But these hard times … were not the root problem. THE CAUSE OF THE PROBLEM.
Exodus 22:25 (NIV) “If you lend money to one of My people among you who is needy, do not be like a moneylender; charge him no interest.” (cf. Deut. 23:19-20; Lev. 25:35-37).
A Conflict Consideration: The root cause of internal conflict and discord is always a SELFISH spirit.
James 4:1 (NIV) "What causes fights and quarrels among you? 2 Don't they come from your desires that battle within you? You want something but you don't get it."
THE CURE FOR CONFLICT. 5:6-13 Nehemiah 5:6 (NASB) Then I was very angry when I had heard their outcry and these words. STEP 1: Take the conflict SERIOUSLY. 5:6
Ephesians 4:26 (NASB) "Be angry and yet, do not sin."
Nehemiah 5:7a (NASB) I consulted with myself… STEP 2: THINK before you speak. 5:7a
James 1:19 (NIV) "Be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry. 20 For man's anger does not bring about the righteous life God desires."
A Conflict Consideration: How do I think it through? As the old MasterCard commercial said, “Think about the possibilities!” Write down all the possible reasons and causes.
Nehemiah 5:7 (NASB) I consulted with myself and contended with the nobles and the rulers and said to them, "You are exacting usury, each from his brother!" STEP 3: PRIVATELY confront the offending party. 5:7b
Matthew 18:15 (ESV) “If your brother sins against you, go and tell him his fault, between you and him alone. If he listens to you, you have gained your brother. 16 But if he does not listen, take one or two others along with you, that every charge may be established by the evidence of two or three witnesses. 17 If he refuses to listen to them, tell it to the church. And if he refuses to listen even to the church, let him be to you as a Gentile and a tax collector.”
Lessons along the Way:
Confrontation can be for everybody’s GOOD.
If I don’t confront the problem it gets WORSE, not better.
The longer I wait, the HARDER it is to confront.
A Conflict Consideration: Effective leaders must have the COURAGE to confront.
Titus 3:10 (NIV) "Warn a divisive person once, and then warn him a second time. After that, have nothing to do with him. 11 You may be sure that such a man is warped and sinful; he is self‑condemned."
Nehemiah 5:7c (NASB) Therefore, I held a great assembly against them. 8 I said to them, "We according to our ability have redeemed our Jewish brothers who were sold to the nations; now would you even sell your brothers that they may be sold to us?" Then they were silent and could not find a word to say. 9 Again I said, "The thing which you are doing is not good; should you not walk in the fear of our God because of the reproach of the nations, our enemies? STEP 4: PUBLICLY deal with public divisions 5:7c-13
Nehemiah levels three accusations at these leaders in verses 7-9.
He indicts them for charging outrageous interest rates to fellow Jews.
He charges them with allowing permanent slavery of Jewish debtors.
He accuses them of losing their distinctiveness in the eyes of the surrounding nations.
What Did Nehemiah Have Them Do? Nehemiah 5:10 (NASB) "And likewise I, my brothers and my servants are lending them money and grain. Please, let us leave off this usury.
DETERMINE to stop the wrong. 5:10
Nehemiah 5:11 (NASB) "Please, give back to them this very day their fields, their vineyards, their olive groves and their houses, also the hundredth part of the money and of the grain, the new wine and the oil that you are exacting from them."
MAKE specific plans to correct the wrong immediately, regardless of the sacrifice involved. 5:11
Nehemiah 5:12 (NASB) Then they said, "We will give it back and will require nothing from them; we will do exactly as you say." So I called the priests and took an oath from them that they would do according to this promise.
DECLARE plans for correction in a promise before God and others. 5:12
Nehemiah 5:13 (NASB) I also shook out the front of my garment and said, "Thus may God shake out every man from his house and from his possessions who does not fulfill this promise; even thus may he be shaken out and emptied." And all the assembly said, "Amen!" And they praised the LORD. Then the people did according to this promise.
REALIZE the seriousness of the promise that you’ve made. 5:13
Nehemiah 5:14 (NASB) Moreover, from the day that I was appointed to be their governor in the land of Judah, from the twentieth year to the thirty-second year of King Artaxerxes, for twelve years, neither I nor my kinsmen have eaten the governor's food allowance. 15 But the former governors who were before me laid burdens on the people and took from them bread and wine besides forty shekels of silver; even their servants domineered the people. But I did not do so because of the fear of God. 16 I also applied myself to the work on this wall; we did not buy any land, and all my servants were gathered there for the work. 17 Moreover, there were at my table one hundred and fifty Jews and officials, besides those who came to us from the nations that were around us. 18 Now that which was prepared for each day was one ox and six choice sheep, also birds were prepared for me; and once in ten days all sorts of wine were furnished in abundance. Yet for all this I did not demand the governor's food allowance, because the servitude was heavy on this people. STEP 5: SET an example of unselfishness. 5:14-18
1 Corinthians 11:1 (ESV) Be imitators of me, as I am of Christ.
A Conflict Consideration: You can only ask others to do what you are ALREADY doing!
Ephesians 4:3 (NIV) "Make every effort to keep the unity of the Spirit through the bond of peace."
"By this shall all men know that you're My disciples, that you love one another." John 13:35
DEALING WITH DISCOURAGEMENT: ITS CAUSES AND CURES
Nehemiah 4:1-23 Sunday, August 30, 2020
Pastor Patrick Allen
THE TACTICS OF DISCOURAGMENT. 4:1-8 Nehemiah 4:1 (NASB) Now it came about that when Sanballat heard that we were rebuilding the wall, he became furious and very angry and mocked the Jews. 2 He spoke in the presence of his brothers and the wealthy men of Samaria and said, "What are these feeble Jews doing? Are they going to restore it for themselves? Can they offer sacrifices? Can they finish in a day? Can they revive the stones from the dusty rubble even the burned ones?" 3 Now Tobiah the Ammonite was near him and he said, "Even what they are building - if a fox should jump on it, he would break their stone wall down!" TACTIC #1: RIDICULE. 4:1-3
Why is constant ridicule so effective?
It attacks our sense of SELF-WORTH.
Ridicule is a substitute for REASON.
Ridicule OVERSTATES the facts and implies false facts.
Ridicule is CONTAGIOUS.
Nehemiah 4:6 (NASB) So we built the wall and the whole wall was joined together to half its height, for the people had a mind to work. 7 Now when Sanballat, Tobiah, the Arabs, the Ammonites and the Ashdodites heard that the repair of the walls of Jerusalem went on, and that the breaches began to be closed, they were very angry. 8 All of them conspired together to come and fight against Jerusalem and to cause a disturbance in it. TACTIC #2: RESISTANCE. 4:6-8
Nehemiah 4:11 (NASB) Our enemies said, "They will not know or see until we come among them, kill them and put a stop to the work." 12 When the Jews who lived near them came and told us ten times, "They will come up against us from every place where you may turn," TACTIC #3: RUMOR. 4:11-12
Two characteristics of rumors (v. 12): 1. They are always spread by those CLOSEST to the enemy. "Those Jews who lived near them."
2. They are EXAGGERATED when repeated. "Then they told us ten times over."
THE EFFECTS OF DISCOURAGEMENT. 4:9-12 Nehemiah 4:9 (NASB) But we prayed to our God, and because of them we set up a guard against them day and night. 10 Thus in Judah it was said, "The strength of the burden bearers is failing, yet there is much rubbish; and we ourselves are unable to rebuild the wall." 11 Our enemies said, "They will not know or see until we come among them, kill them and put a stop to the work." 12 When the Jews who lived near them came and told us ten times, "They will come up against us from every place where you may turn," EFFECT #1: Loss of STRENGTH.
EFFECT #2: Loss of VISION.
EFFECT #3: Loss of CONFIDENCE.
EFFECT #4: Loss of SECURITY.
DEALING WITH DISCOURAGEMENT. 4:13-23 Nehemiah 4:13 (NASB) … then I stationed men in the lowest parts of the space behind the wall, the exposed places, and I stationed the people in families with their swords, spears and bows. 1. INDENTIFY YOUR VULNERABLE AREAS. 4:13
Colossians 3:12 (NASB) So, as those who have been chosen of God, holy and beloved, put on [wear continually] a heart of compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience; 13 bearing with one another, and forgiving each other, whoever has a complaint against anyone; just as the Lord forgave you, so also should you. 14 beyond all these things put on love, which is the perfect bond of unity.
Nehemiah 4:13 (NASB) … then I stationed men in the lowest parts of the space behind the wall, the exposed places, and I stationed the people in families with their swords, spears and bows. 2. UNIFY YOUR EFFORTS TOWARD A COMMON GOAL. 4:13
Nehemiah 4:14 (NASB) When I saw their fear, I rose and spoke to the nobles, the officials and the rest of the people: "Do not be afraid of them; remember the Lord who is great and awesome, and fight for your brothers, your sons, your daughters, your wives and your houses." 3. DIRECT ATTENTION TO THE LORD. 4:14
Nehemiah 4:4 (NASB) Hear, O our God, how we are despised! Return their reproach on their own heads and give them up for plunder in a land of captivity. 5 Do not forgive their iniquity and let not their sin be blotted out before You, for they have demoralized the builders.
Proverbs 26:4 (NIV) "Do not answer a fool according to his folly, or you will be like him yourself."
What do you talk about to the Lord? First, we can begin by calling to mind the things the Lord has said. We put into our minds the promises of God. Isaiah 26:3 (ESV) You keep him in perfect peace whose mind is stayed [fixed] on You, because he trusts in You. Philippians 4:6 (NIV) “Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. 7 And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.” Romans 8:31 (NLT) “If God is for us, who can ever be against us? 32 Since God did not spare even His own Son but gave him up for us all, won’t God, who gave us Christ, also give us everything else? … 39 Whether we are high above the sky or in the deepest ocean, nothing in all creation will ever be able to separate us from the love of God that is revealed in Christ Jesus our Lord.”
Second, we can remember the Lord by calling to mind who He is and what He has done.
Nehemiah 4:15 (NASB) When our enemies heard that it was known to us, and that God had frustrated their plan, then all of us returned to the wall, each one to his work. 16 From that day on, half of my servants carried on the work while half of them held the spears, the shields, the bows and the breastplates; and the captains were behind the whole house of Judah. 17 Those who were rebuilding the wall and those who carried burdens took their load with one hand doing the work and the other holding a weapon. 18 As for the builders, each wore his sword girded at his side as he built, while the trumpeter stood near me. 4. MAINTAIN A BALANCE IN OUR THOUGHTS AND ACTIONS. 4:15-18
Nehemiah 4:19 (NASB) I said to the nobles, the officials and the rest of the people, "The work is great and extensive, and we are separated on the wall far from one another. 20 At whatever place you hear the sound of the trumpet, rally to us there. Our God will fight for us." 5. DETERMINE A RALLYING POINT. 4:19-20
Nehemiah 4:21 (NASB) So we carried on the work with half of them holding spears from dawn until the stars appeared. 22 At that time I also said to the people, "Let each man with his servant spend the night within Jerusalem so that they may be a guard for us by night and a laborer by day." 6. DEVELOP A MINISTRY OF SERVICE TO OTHERS. 4:21-22
Nehemiah 4:23 (NASB) So neither I, my brothers, my servants, nor the men of the guard who followed me, none of us removed our clothes, each took his weapon even to the water. 7. REFUSE TO QUIT. 4:23
ORGANIZING FOR MAXIMUM MINISTRY Nehemiah 4:1-32
Pastor Patrick Allen August 23, 2020
REVIEW: Facing our Challenges
Begins with PRAYER.
Is followed by PLANNING.
Then we PRESENT the plan and motivate people.
PRINCIPLES FOR MAXIMUM MINISTRY PRINCIPLE #1: Keep it SIMPLE.
Organizational Observation: The STRONGEST organizations are the simplest.
PRINCIPLE #2: Work with those who WANT to work.
Nehemiah 3:5 (NASB) Moreover, next to him the Tekoites made repairs, but their nobles did not support the work of their masters.
Organizational Observation: Love everybody, but then MOVE with the movers.
PRINCIPLE #3: Learn to DELEGATE well.
Tasks to Do in Delegation:
BREAK major goals into smaller tasks, cut problems down to size. Nehemiah attacks this huge problem of building the wall by breaking it down into bite size pieces.
DEVELOP clear job descriptions. Every one deserves to know what's expected. This guards against the problem of competing expectations.
MATCH the right person with the right task. The wrong person in the wrong task causes all kinds of motivational problems. Understand what the task is all about and understand what the person is good at and get them together.
Organizational Observation: If it’s everybody’s responsibility, then it’s nobody’s responsibility. Someone has to assume SPECIFIC responsibility.
PRINCIPLE #4: Allow for OWNERSHIP.
Organizational Observation: Allow people to develop and work in their OWN areas!
PRINCIPLE #5: ENCOURAGE teamwork.
"Coming together is a beginning, keeping together is progress, thinking together is unity, working together is success."
Ecclesiastes 4:9 (NLT) Two people are better off than one, for they can help each other succeed. 10 If one person falls, the other can reach out and help. But someone who falls alone is in real trouble.
Organizational Observation: To be organized you need to provide a supportive climate of TRUST and TEAMWORK.
PRINCIPLE #6: SUPERVISE the work.
Organizational Observation: Establish clear lines of AUTHORITY and RESPONSIBILITY. They not only have clear job descriptions, but they have clear lines of authority.
Organizational Observation: People do what you INSPECT, more than what you expect!
PRINCIPLE #7: Give recognition and APPRECIATION.
Take time to learn NAMES.
Develop ways to let people KNOW they are doing a good job..
Nehemiah 3:20 (NASB) After him Baruch the son of Zabbai zealously repaired another section, from the Angle to the doorway of the house of Eliashib the high priest.
Nehemiah 3:12 (NASB) Next to him Shallum the son of Hallohesh, the official of half the district of Jerusalem, made repairs, he and his daughters.
Organizational Observation: Good organizations RECOGNIZE and REWARD effort.
Romans 14:12 (NIV) "So that each one of us will give an account of himself to God."
1 Corinthians 15:58 (NASB) Therefore, my beloved brethren, be steadfast, immovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, knowing that your toil is not in vain in the Lord.
Romans 12:4 (NLT) Just as our bodies have many parts and each part has a special function, 5 so it is with Christ’s body. We are many parts of one body, and we all belong to each other. 6 In His grace, God has given us different gifts for doing certain things well. So if God has given you the ability to prophesy, speak out with as much faith as God has given you. 7 If your gift is serving others, serve them well. If you are a teacher, teach well. 8 If your gift is to encourage others, be encouraging. If it is giving, give generously. If God has given you leadership ability, take the responsibility seriously. And if you have a gift for showing kindness to others, do it gladly.
"All Scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness, that the man of God may be complete, thoroughly equipped for every good work." 1 Timothy 3:16 (NKJV)
MAKING A VISION VIABLE Nehemiah 2:11-20
Pastor Patrick Allen August 16, 2020
NEHEMIAH’S JOURNAL: A Review In facing new challenges and opportunities, … you begin with PRAYER, … then you PLAN. But, the next step is to PRESENT it to people who will cooperate with you.
MAKING A VISION VIABLE Nehemiah 2:11 (NASB) So I came to Jerusalem and was there three days.
WAIT for the right timing.
What was Nehemiah doing during those three days?
He was probably RESTING, recovering from a long journey.
PRINCIPLE: Never make a major decision when you're TIRED. Fatigue clouds your perspective.
He may have been PRAYING and PLANNING.
He was building CURIOSITY.
Ecclesiastes 3:7 (NCV), "There is a time to tear and a time to mend. There is a time to be silent and a time to speak." Ecclesiastes 8:6 (NASB) For there is a proper time and procedure for every delight, though a man's trouble is heavy upon him.
Nehemiah 2:12 (NASB) And I arose in the night, I and a few men with me. I did not tell anyone what my God was putting into my mind to do for Jerusalem and there was no animal with me except the animal on which I was riding. 13 So I went out at night by the Valley Gate in the direction of the Dragon's Well and on to the Refuse Gate, inspecting the walls of Jerusalem which were broken down and its gates which were consumed by fire. 14 Then I passed on to the Fountain Gate and the King's Pool, but there was no place for my mount to pass. 15 So I went up at night by the ravine and inspected the wall. Then I entered the Valley Gate again and returned.
Get the FACTS first.
Nehemiah 2:16 (NASB) The officials did not know where I had gone or what I had done; nor had I as yet told the Jews, the priests, the nobles, the officials or the rest who did the work.
So, how do we protect God’s vision from a premature death?
By doing your own RESEARCH. He wasn’t relying on anecdotal evidence.
By initially INVESTING God’s vision in a few positive people.
Proverbs 18:13 (NLT) Spouting off before listening to the facts is both shameful and foolish. Proverbs 14:15 (NLT) Only simpletons believe everything they’re told! The prudent carefully consider their steps.
Nehemiah 2:17 (NASB) Then I said to them, "You see the bad situation we are in, that Jerusalem is desolate and its gates burned by fire. Come, let us rebuild the wall of Jerusalem so that we will no longer be a reproach."
IDENTIFY with the people.
The best ideas are not mine or yours - they're OURS.
Nehemiah 2:17 (NASB) Then I said to them, "You see the bad situation we are in, that Jerusalem is desolate and its gates burned by fire. Come, let us rebuild the wall of Jerusalem so that we will no longer be a reproach."
EMPHASIZE the seriousness of the problem.
How did Nehemiah do it?
First, he appealed to their SELF-ESTEEM.
He appealed to a higher motive, which was concern for God's GLORY.
But, the greatest motivation in life is not external, nor internal, but ETERNAL.
Nehemiah 2:17 (NASB) Come, let us rebuild the wall of Jerusalem so that we will no longer be a reproach."
ASK for a specific response.
In making God’s vision viable, you’ve got to see both the REAL and the IDEAL. See what is and what can be.
Nehemiah 2:18 (NASB) I told them how the hand of my God had been favorable to me and also about the king's words which he had spoken to me. Then they said, "Let us arise and build." So they put their hands to the good work.
ENCOURAGE with a personal testimony. 2:18
Nehemiah links God’s VISION with the existing SITUATION. He superimposes what He could see God doing over the picture.
First, he tells them about how God had called him to lead the project. "I also told them about the gracious hand of my God upon me."
The second part he tells them how circumstances confirmed his calling. "I also told them what the king had said to me."
How you can tell if this vision has been caught.
There is first a VERBAL commitment – “Let us…”
This is followed by a PERSONAL commitment – “So they put their hands to the good work.”
Nehemiah 2:19 (NASB) But when Sanballat the Horonite and Tobiah the Ammonite official, and Geshem the Arab heard it, they mocked us and despised us and said, "What is this thing you are doing? Are you rebelling against the king?" 20 So I answered them and said to them, "The God of heaven will give us success; therefore we His servants will arise and build, but you have no portion, right or memorial in Jerusalem."
ANSWER opposition quickly, sincerely, and confidently. 2:19-20
The opposition's first strategy is RIDICULE.
The second thing they try is INTIMIDATION.
Nehemiah refused to argue. Instead he points out the SOURCE of his idea, burden and vision.
Nehemiah exposes the MOTIVES of the opposition.
1 John 3:13 (NIV) "Don't be surprised, my brothers, if the world hates you."
They will question your MOTIVES, your INTENTIONS, and even your CHARACTER.
1 Peter 3:15 (NIV) “But in your hearts set apart Christ as Lord. Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have. 16 But do this with gentleness and respect, keeping a clear conscience, so that those who speak maliciously against your good behavior in Christ may be ashamed of their slander.”
PREPARING FOR THE ROAD AHEAD
NEHEMIAH 2:1-10 PASTOR PATRICK ALLEN AUGUST 9, 2020
NEHEMIAH’S STEPS IN PREPARATION Nehemiah 2:1 (NASB) And it came about in the month Nisan, in the twentieth year of King Artaxerxes… STEP 1: He prayed about it CONTINUALLY. 2:1a
Why does God delay in answering our prayers?
Waiting refines our vision. It also allows our burden to grow or shrink.
It gives us time to bring Jesus into the picture, not as a temporary consultant, but as the owner and supervisor of our vision.
It also give us – like it did for Nehemiah - time to assess the situation, looking at both the opportunities and the obstacles.
Proverbs 13:16 (NLT) Wise people think before they act; fools don’t - and even brag about their foolishness.
Three Key Questions for Our Church:
Where are we now as a church?
Where do we want to be?
How will we get there?
Nehemiah 2:1b (NASB) … that wine was before him, and I took up the wine and gave it to the king. Now I had not been sad in his presence. 2 So the king said to me, "Why is your face sad though you are not sick? This is nothing but sadness of heart." Then I was very much afraid. 3 I said to the king, "Let the king live forever. Why should my face not be sad when the city, the place of my fathers' tombs, lies desolate and its gates have been consumed by fire?" 4 Then the king said to me, "What would you request?" So I prayed to the God of heaven. STEP 2: He seized the opportunity to PRESENT his burden. 2:1b-4
Nehemiah 2:3 (NASB) I said to the king, "Let the king live forever. … 5 I said to the king, "If it please the king, and if your servant has found favor before you … 7 And I said to the king, "If it please the king…” STEP 3: He was polite and RESPECTFUL. 2:3a, 5a, 7a
Nehemiah 2:5 (NASB) I said to the king, "If it please the king, and if your servant has found favor before you, send me to Judah, to the city of my fathers' tombs, that I may rebuild it." STEP 4: He had a GENERAL goal. 2:5
Pastor Pat’s General Goal: Strengthen Hydesville Church during this time of pastoral transition for greater effectiveness.
Two Questions: 1. What do we want to be? 2. What do we want to do? Two Common Errors:
We set them too low or too high and make them inflexible.
We try to accomplish them too quickly.
Nehemiah 2:6 (NASB) Then the king said to me, the queen sitting beside him, "How long will your journey be, and when will you return?" So it pleased the king to send me, and I gave him a definite time. 7 And I said to the king, "If it please the king, let letters be given me for the governors of the provinces beyond the River, that they may allow me to pass through until I come to Judah, 8 and a letter to Asaph the keeper of the king's forest, that he may give me timber to make beams for the gates of the fortress which is by the temple, for the wall of the city and for the house to which I will go." And the king granted them to me because the good hand of my God was on me. STEP 5: HE HAD SPECIFIC STRATEGY. 2:6-8
1. He ESTABLISHED a “road map.”
2. He ANTICIPATED what was needed to successfully compete the project.
3. He ASKED for help.
Proverbs 21:1 (NIV) "The king's heart is in the hand of the Lord and He directs it like a water course wherever He pleases."
Nehemiah 2:9 (NASB) Then I came to the governors of the provinces beyond the River and gave them the king's letters. Now the king had sent with me officers of the army and horsemen. 10 When Sanballat the Horonite and Tobiah the Ammonite official heard about it, it was very displeasing to them that someone had come to seek the welfare of the sons of Israel. STEP 6: He ANTICIPATED obstacles. 2:9-10
Proverbs 22:3 (NLT) A prudent person foresees danger and takes precautions. The simpleton goes blindly on and suffers the consequences.
Proverbs 27:12 (TLB) "A sensible man watches for problems ahead and prepares to meet them."
CHALLENGES: The Common Factor. Nehemiah 2:8b “And the king granted them to me because the good hand of my God was on me.”
Proverbs 16:1 (TLB) "We can make our plans, but the final outcome is in God's hands."
Three Key Questions for Prayer:
Where are we now as a church?
Where do we want to be?
How will we get there?
THE CHALLENGE PRESENTED. 1:1-3 Nehemiah 1:1 (NASB) The words of Nehemiah the son of Hacaliah. Now it happened in the month Chislev, in the twentieth year, while I was in Susa the capitol, 2 that Hanani, one of my brothers, and some men from Judah came; and I asked them concerning the Jews who had escaped and had survived the captivity, and about Jerusalem. 3 They said to me, "The remnant there in the province who survived the captivity are in great distress and reproach, and the wall of Jerusalem is broken down and its gates are burned with fire."
So, what is our challenge at HCC?
Matthew 6:33 (NKJV) But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added to you.”
NEHEMIAH’S RESPONSE 1:4-11 Nehemiah 1:4 (NASB) When I heard these words, I sat down and wept and mourned for days; and I was fasting and praying before the God of heaven. RESPONSE #1 – Nehemiah was PERSONALLY concerned with the need – He allowed it to affect him.
Nehemiah 1:5 (NASB) I said, "I beseech You, O LORD God of heaven, the great and awesome God, who preserves the covenant and lovingkindness for those who love Him and keep His commandments… RESPONSE #2 – Nehemiah went to God FIRST – He presented his need in prayer.
He focused on God through WORSHIP and PRAISE .
He CONFESSED sin that would be an obstacle. Nehemiah 1:6 (NASB) … let Your ear now be attentive and Your eyes open to hear the prayer of Your servant which I am praying before You now, day and night, on behalf of the sons of Israel Your servants, confessing the sins of the sons of Israel which we have sinned against You; I and my father's house have sinned. 7 We have acted very corruptly against You and have not kept the commandments, nor the statutes, nor the ordinances which You commanded Your servant Moses.
He REMINDED God of His promises.Nehemiah 1:8 (NASB) "Remember the word which You commanded Your servant Moses, saying, 'If you are unfaithful I will scatter you among the peoples; 9 but if you return to Me and keep My commandments and do them, though those of you who have been scattered were in the most remote part of the heavens, I will gather them from there and will bring them to the place where I have chosen to cause My name to dwell.' 10 They are Your servants and Your people whom You redeemed by Your great power and by Your strong hand.
Matthew 16:18 (NASB) “… I will build My church…”
He brought his desires to God with CONFIDENCE .
Nehemiah 1:11 (NASB) "O Lord, I beseech You, may Your ear be attentive to the prayer of Your servant and the prayer of Your servants who delight to revere Your name, and make Your servant successful today and grant him compassion before this man." Now I was the cupbearer to the king.
Hebrews 10:19 (NIV) Therefore, brothers and sisters, since we have confidence to enter the Most Holy Place by the blood of Jesus, 20 by a new and living way opened for us through the curtain, that is, His body, 21 and since we have a great priest over the house of God, 22 let us draw near to God with a sincere heart and with the full assurance that faith brings, having our hearts sprinkled to cleanse us from a guilty conscience and having our bodies washed with pure water.
RESPONSE #3 – Nehemiah made himself AVAILABLE to meet the need.
LET’S BEGIN: Starting with Prayer … 1. PRAYER MAKES ME WAIT.
2. PRAYER CLEARS MY VISION.
3. PRAYER QUIETS MY HEART.
4. PRAYER ACTIVATES MY FAITH.
GOD’S AMAZING GRACE “The Lord is gracious and merciful; slow to anger and great in lovingkindness.” Psalm 145:8
“The Lord is gracious and merciful; slow to anger and great in lovingkindness.” Psalm 145:8
You can’t understand the Christian life at all unless you understand grace.
Dick Halverson, who was Chaplain of the United States Senate once defined grace this way: “There is nothing you can do to make God love you more and nothing you can do to make god love you less.”
FIVE ASPECTS OF SAVING GRACE
G—GRACE IS GOD’S GIFT TO ME.
“For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, being justified as gift by His grace through the redemption which is in Christ Jesus.” Romans 3:23, 24
Grace is the fundamental difference between Christianity and every other religion.
Jesus Christ already did it. He paid for your salvation on the cross and now it’s a free gift to you.
R—RECEIVE GOD’S GRACE BY FAITH
God’s gift is received by faith. “For by grace you have been saved through faith; and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God; not as a result of works, so than no one may boast.” Ephesians 2: 8, 9
“For this reason it is by faith, in order that it may be in accordance with grace.” Romans 4:16a
II Samuel 9:1-13—Young Disabled Boy named Mephisbosheth.
A—AVAILABLE TO EVERYONE
“So that the promise will be guaranteed to all the descendants, not only to those who are of the Law, but also to those who are of the faith of Abraham, who is the father of us all.” Romans 4:16b
“For whoever will call on the name of the Lord will be saved.” Romans 10:13
C—GOD’S AMAZING GRACE COMES THROUGH JESUS CHRIST.
“For the Law was given through Moses; grace and truth were realized through Jesus Christ.” John 1:17
Because Jesus paid the price of admission.
“But the free gift is not like the transgression. For if by the transgression of the one the many died, much more did the grace of God and the gift by the grace of the one Man, Jesus Christ, abound to the many.” Romans 5:15
“I do not nullify the grace of God, for if righteousness comes through the Law, then Christ died needlessly.” Galatians 2:21
E—GOD’S GRACE IS EXTENDED THROUGHOUT ETERNITY.
“For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.” Romans 6:23
“Therefore the Lord longs to be gracious to you, and therefore He waits on high to have compassion on you. For the Lord is a God of justice; how blessed are all those who long for Him.” Isaiah 30:18
LUKE 15 THE PRODIGAL SON/ THE SCANDALOUS FATHER
Perry Noble says it best: “We should make it hard for people to get to hell from our zip code.”
Scribes – while the Pharisees were the protector of the reputation of Israel’s God, the Scribes were the protector of the reputation of Israel’s law.
Tax- gatherers - the Living Bible paraphrases these next terms – dishonest tax collectors and other notorious sinners.
Sinners- the people of the street whom the Pharisees looked upon with contempt because they did not know the Law – John 7: 33, 45-49.
One author put it this way, “The younger and infamous prodigal son, embodies the utter madness, the blinding insanity that seeps into our souls and shrouds our minds when greed becomes our god, when we decide that there’s only one line worth embracing as a life mantra: Give me! Everything goes south for that young kid hell-bent on a good time. Steely-eyed, he demands his family inheritance.”
The Sound of Silence from the Older Brother
Q. What steps are you taking to prevent a ‘parting?’
Q. How are you living out James 5: 19, 20? ‘My brethren, if any among you strays from the truth, and one turns him back, let him know that he who turns a sinner from the error of his way will save his soul from death, and cover a multitude of sins.’
Where is the ministry of reconciliation in your life? ‘Therefore, if any man is in Christ, he is a new creature; the old things passed away; behold, new things have come. Now all these things are from God, who reconciled us to Himself through Christ, and gave us the ministry of reconciliation, namely, that God was in Christ reconciling the world to Himself, not counting their trespasses against them, and He has committed to us the word of reconciliation.’ II Corinthians 5: 17-19
‘A recent survey uncovered a scandal. Nine out of ten people who have walked away from churches were never asked why the left. It’s an indictment that so many leavers said that no one seemed to notice they’d gone. That’s careless.’ Leslie Francis
Vs. 11-13 -- The Far and Distant Country -- Godly Fathers Give Their Children Permission to Fail
There are seven phrases that describe the younger son’s life after he left home:
He squandered his estate with loose living.
He had spent everything
A severe famine occurred in that country.
He began to be in need.
He was sent in to the fields to feed swine.
He was longing to fill his stomach with the pods that the swine were eating.
No one was giving anything to him.
Four Definitions of Sin
Breaking God’s law.
Rebellion against God.
Ignoring God and Neglecting Other People
Sin is breaking a relationship. Vs. 14-19 -- The Return Home Godly Fathers Always Hope and Pray for the Return of their Children
“He began to be in need’ vs. 14 – One of the first evidence of insanity is loss of memory.
Q. Why doesn’t the Son go home?
Henry Drummond said it so well: ‘How many prodigals are kept out of the Kingdom of God by the unlovely characters of those who profess to be inside.’ Godly Fathers Protect Their Children from Unnecessary Shame and Ridicule
Rob Parsons put it memorably: “We need to pray that the returning prodigals will meet the Father before they bump into the elder brother.
***The Crucial question why does this younger son return? What makes this young man come to his senses?
A. Dale Bruener writes, ‘The younger son is brought to his senses because of the memory of the Father.’ He thinks about what his father is really like, how he would react, what he would say and he makes a decision to come home.
The younger son rehearses a speech way before he takes off for home. Three parts to his speech:
Confession of sin.
Affirmation of the consequences of sin.
His offer to pay for the debt.
Vs. 20-24 -- The Scandalous Father –A Stunning Welcome– Godly Fathers Shower Their Children with Love and Grace
When the Old Testament prophet sought for words to describe the utter humiliation of God’s people, he used the imagery of bare legs to portray their shame: ‘Remove your veil, strip off the skirt, Uncover the legs, cross the rivers, Your nakedness will be uncovered, Your shame will be exposed. Isaiah 47: 2-3 There was a transfer of shame.
The father lets his younger son say the first part of the speech. The father lets his son say the second part of the speech. But notice carefully where the father cuts off his son’s speech. God will not hear our offer to pay the debt! Why? Because His Son (Jesus Christ) has paid the debt for our sins.
Rejoicing Father: Nothing is more important to a Godly Father than Loving His Children and Celebrating Their Return to Their Faith in God.
Everything the Father does in Jesus parable is culturally unexpected and scandalous.
‘My brethren, if any among you strays from the truth, and one turns him back, let him know that he who turns a sinner from the error of his way will save his soul from death, and cover a multitude of sins.’ James 5: 19, 20
Bibliography The Wycliffe Bible Commentary The Bible Knowledge Commentary The Exposition Commentary –Warren Wiersbe Luke- Volume Two – Kent Hughes The Gospel of Luke – William Barclay The New International Commentary on the New Testament – Geldenhuys Outline Studies in the Gospel of Luke –Griffith Thomas Mastering the New Testament –Bruce Larson Commentary on Luke –Marshall The Gospel According to Luke – Morgan Word Pictures in the New Testament – Robertson Ryle’s Expository Thoughts on the Gospels—J.C. Ryle The Prodigal God –Timothy Keller What is the Father Like? – W. Phillip Keller The Parables of Jesus – James Montgomery Boice The Parables –Brad Young Good News About Prodigals – Tom Bisset Finding the Lost – Kenneth E. Bailey The Cross and the Prodigal – Kenneth E. Bailey Poet & Peasant and Through Peasant Eyes –Kenneth E. Bailey No Perfect People Allowed – John Burke They Like Jesus but Not the Church –Dan Kimball Creating a Prodigal Friendly Church – Jeff Lucas Will Your Prodigal come Home? Jeff Lucas
The Corona Virus and The Church and What It Is Teaching Us
The Holy Task of Listening and Caring—James 1:19
We Are Focusing on The Physical Needs of Our Church and Community.
We Are Really Beginning to Understand the Importance of a Small Group.
We Are Learning to Pray More for Our Ministry Than Our Misery.
We Are Learning That Most Ministry Happens and Should Happen Outside the Church Building.
We Are Learning How to Be Shepherds in Unique Ways.
We Are Living the “Oikos Principle”.
When believers are forced out of the context of “going to church”, when they are forced to stop “going to church,” they just might be compelled to start “being the church.”
95% of Christian conversions are generated through personal relationships that is shared between a believer and someone who is close to them.
Acts 10:1; 16:14, 15; 16:31-34
Don’t Look Back.
We are living in exile, separated from our place and local of worship, our traditions. This is our “exile moment”.
God is still calling us to love Him with all our heart and with all our soul and with all our mind. God is calling us to love our neighbor as ourselves. Loving God and loving our neighbors has always been radical.
Don’t look back—Look forward.
“Not that I have already obtained it or have already become perfect, but I press on [so that I may lay hold of that for which also I was laid hold of by Christ Jesus. Brethren, I do not regard myself as having laid hold of it yet; but one thing I do: forgetting what lies behind and reaching forward to what lies ahead, I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus.” Philippians 3:12-14
Psalm 133 UNITY
David’s Background Growing Up – neglect, favoritism, strife, discord, envy *I Sam. 16:6-13 – His brothers, father 17:28-30 – His oldest brother – Eliab
As A Young Man – Rage of jealousy, wrath, animosity, hatred, attempted murder *I Sam. 18:1-10 – Saul*19:8-10 – Saul – David became a target.
20:31:33 – Saul & Jonathan 23 – Saul *24 – Saul goes on a campaign with 3,000 men to take David’s life. 26 – Saul
As A Leader – Hostility, revenge *I Sam. 30:1-6 – David as a military leader II Sam. 2:18-3:6 – David fighting Saul’s left-over resistance – David walked into a divided nation. *3:1 *6:16 – Marital dissension, dealing with false accusations. 10:1-19 – Pressures and stress of maintaining a secure nation. Syrians got talked into a bad alliance. 11, 12 – Falling in sin, the cover-up, the confession, the scars 12:10 – The prophecy that the sword would never depart from his house.
As A Father II Sam. 13:1-14 – Dealing with incest, rape, molestation 13:20-30 – Domestic violence, murder 13:28-30 – Ammon and his brothers are killed by Absalom’s servants 14, 15 – Rocky relationship with his son Absalom 14:28 15:1-6 – Absalom’s conspiracy for a corporate take over 16:1-7 – Being harassed by Shimel 18:9-15 – Absalom is chased and murdered.
New Testament reveals its share of squabblesDisciples of Christ – Matt. 20:20-27 – Arguing over who is going to sit where in heaven Matt. 16:22 – Disputing with Christ John 21:20-22 – Questioning ministerial assignments Early Church – Acts 5:1-11 – Ananias and Sapphira – Lied about their tithe – Even the H.S. worked today like it did in the early church; their church parking lot would be full of hearts and ready to haul people away. 5:1,2 – First Church Board Meeting – There was lying; there was discord I Corinthians – Arrogance, immaturity Phil. 4:2 – Friction in the kitchen III John 10, 11 – Diotrephes--Power – monger
VS. 1 – Behold, how good and how pleasant it is for brothers to dwell together in unity
Q. What keeps us from experiencing unity?
Selfishness, empty conceit, lack of humility—Philippians 2:1-8
Pleasures that wage war in your own body—lust; greed; ulterior motives (working on your own agenda); friendship with the world; lack of submission to God and your spiritual leaders—these are the source of division and quarrels—James 4:1-8
Satan is the source of division and quarrels—Matthew 13:39; 16:23
*Not difficult to experience unity for a short duration. But to maintain unity, harmony and peace for a long time requires God’s grace.
Interesting word picture - unity of the head and body; when the head and the body are of one mind. Unity beginning at the top – in leadership.
*True unity smells good.It permeates the environment around it.
Extravagance, abundance and generosity are key attributes of love and unity. The anointing of the high priest was marked by extravagance, abundance, generosity. “The fact that the holy anointing oil of the tabernacle and temple was never made in smaller quantities than 750 ounces of solids compounded with five quarts of oil, and was so profusely employed that when applied to Aaron’s head it flowed down over his beard and breast, to the very skirts of his garments.” Hugh Macmillan The Ministry of Nature.
John 17 – Christ’s High Priestly Prayer –
vs. 1-5 – Prays for Himself
6-19 Pray for His disciples
20- 26 Pray for all those yet to believe
21-23 At the heart of the prayer was the theme of unity.
Six blessings of unity – (1) goodness, (2) pleasure, (3) anointing, (4) dew, (5) God’s blessing, (6) eternal life.
*Only God can give eternal life Threefold repetition – Coming down – vs. 2a – descending Coming down – vs. 2b – descending Coming down – vs. 3a – descending
True Unity is First Vertical –
Begins with a relationship with God – peace Christ provides
Maintained by obedience to His word – Josh. 1:16-18
True unity, like all good gifts (James 1:17) comes from God.
What True Unity Is Not:
Unity is not mere union – Samson tied the tails of 300 foxes together and lit them on fire. Judges 15:4,5
Unity is not mere uniformity – Wearing the same uniform.
Unity is not unanimity - total agreement on all details.
Unanimity on earth is what the New Age movement calls an ‘altered reality’ . . . it doesn’t happen on this planet.
What True Unity Is:
Originates with God – Trinity (God the Father, God the son, God the Holy Spirit) Oneness, Diversity (?) Love.
Comes from God – John
We Imitate God – John 17:21
Our claim to belonging to the same family depends on our likeness to Christ – Matt. 5:9
Absence of Pride – Romans 12:3 – Unity and Humility are tied to each other
Spirit of Acceptance
Comment – Oh, the people in church are so shallow, I’m into deep open relationships. Where is the acceptance of someone who is just learning to be transparent and open up? Counseling – When my husband/wife gets his act together, then this relationship will happen. Question: How long has your life been totally together? Reality – pride, puffed up arrogance feeds discord and dissension. Humility precedes unity and preserves it. Deep Conviction of Your Need For Others.
Unity comes through regular, spirit-led, corporate worship – Ezra 3:1.
Unity involves compromise – Abraham and Lot.
Unity takes time and effort – It is never automatic or instantaneous.
Unity is centrifical to our Christian faith – I Cor. 1:10
Unity is the catalyst of corporate prayer – Matt. 18:19
Unity is the focal point, purpose, and driving force in sharing the gospel – Phil 1:27
Phil 2:1-11 – Unity is hard work.
“The Christian brotherhood is so unique, sacred and lasting, that a lack of unity is a disgrace.” Charles Spurgeon
PSALM 139 Experiencing God as Your Loving Creator (Part Two)
LIFE LESSON 5: GOD’S WORLD IS DARKENED BY SIN vs. 19-22
Author Max Lucado writes: “A few years back, three questions rocked my world. They came from different people in the span of a month.
Question 1: Had you been a German during World War II, would you have taken a stand against Hitler? Question 2: Had you lived in the South during the civil rights conflict, would you have taken a stand against racism? Question 3: When your grandchildren discover you lived during a day in which 1.75 billion people were poor and 1 billion were hungry, how will they judge your response?” The Psalm shifts the attention to the evil in this world and how it destroys the good God desires for so many, so he prayed an intense prayer. It is a prayer that expresses hatred for all that is evil and all that casts a dark shadow over the good God intends. Nehemiah 1: 1-4 Have you really sat down and thought long and hard about the condition our society is in? Have you really sat down and thought about how devastating alcohol, marijuana, speed and all the other drugs are to our society, what it is doing to our young people and even adults? “It is an act of profound faith to entrust one’s most precious hatreds to God, knowing they will be taken seriously.” Prayer is combat. Prayer brings us before God—and there, before God, we find ourselves grappling with “the world rulers of this present darkness, against the spiritual hosts of wickedness in the heavenly places.” Ephesians 6: 12 There are hard-won Gethsemane struggles where we are locked in combat. When we take the Psalms as our guide, we find that people who pray have a lot of enemies, and that they spend a lot of their praying time dealing with them. Eugene Peterson writes: ‘There is hardly a page of the Psalms that isn’t left smoking by a pungent curse:
Break the arm of the wicked and evildoer --10: 15
Upon the wicked He will rain snares; fire and brimstone and burning wind will be the portion of their cup—11: 6
For Thou wilt make them turn their back; Thou wilt aim with Thy bowstrings at their faces –21: 12
For God scattered the bones of him who encamped against you –53: 5
O God, shatter their teeth in their mouth –58: 6
May they be blotted out of the book of life, and may they not be recorded with the righteous—69: 28
So, pursue them with Thy tempest, and terrify them with Thy storm –83: 15
But he clothed himself with cursing as with his garment, and it entered into his body like water, and like oil into his bones—109: 18
He will judge among the nations, He will fill them with corpses, He will shatter the chief men over a broad country—110: 6
I hate them with the utmost hatred; they have become my enemies—139: 22
Hate is our emotional link with the spirituality of evil. Our hate needs to be prayed, not suppressed. Jesus did not emerge from the wilderness to negotiate in sweet reasonableness but to do battle: “I have come to cast fire upon the earth; and how I wish it were already kindled!” Luke 12: 49
Do you hate what you see happening in our county and society?
The Psalmists identify the enemy and they respond in outrage. They hate what they see. Hate is often the first sign that we care. This in no way means that prayer legitimizes hate – it uses it. “For the wrath of man shall praise Thee; with a remnant of wrath Thou shalt gird Thyself. Psalm 76: 10 God hates evil. God hates haughty eyes, lying tongue, hands that shed innocent blood, a heart that devises wicked plans, feet that run rapidly to evil, a false witness who utters lies, and one who spreads strife among brothers –Proverbs 6: 16-19 The fear of the Lord is to hate evil; pride and arrogance and the evil way, and the perverted mouth, I hate.’ Proverbs 8: 13 “For I hate divorce.” says the Lord, the God of Israel, “and him who covers his garment with wrong,” says the Lord of hosts. “So, take heed to your spirit, that you do not deal treacherously.” Malachi 2; 16 David looked at life and said, “There is no room for compromise: I have undivided loyalty to the Lord God of heaven.” David also saw that there is no room for inaction or neutrality. “In Germany the came first for the Communists, and I didn’t speak up because I wasn’t a Communist. Then they came for the Jews, and I didn’t speak up because I wasn’t a Jew. Then they came for the trade unionists, and I didn’t speak up because I wasn’t a trade unionist. Then they came for the Catholics, and I didn’t speak up because I was a Protestant. Then they came for me, and by that time no one was left to speak up.” Martin Niemoller
“There is an appointed time for everything. And there is a time for every event under heaven—a time to love, and a time to hate; a time for war, and a time for peace.” Ecclesiastes 3: 1, 8 “Hate evil, you who love the Lord.” Psalm 97: 10 “Hate evil, love good, and establish justice in the gate!” Amos 5: 15 “Let love be without hypocrisy. Abhor what is evil; cling to what is good.” Romans 12: 9
“Hate, prayed, takes our lives to bedrock where the foundations of justice are being laid.” Eugene Peterson
Because God is holy, righteous and pure I denounce and hate___________________. Because God hates evil and wickedness I will_________________________________. Search Me You Must Choose Prayer: Lord, help me not buy the lie the world hands me. Give me the courage to align my life with You, whatever that means, and to choose to believe what you declare about me rather than what I can see in the light of this dark world. Lord, please show me my purpose in Your plan. Help me cooperate with your plan so that it can be fulfilled. Amen!
PSALM 139 Experiencing God as Your Loving Creator
Intro—What we think about God and what we think about ourselves and what we think about our relationship to God determines everything else that makes up our world—other people, our culture, our relationships with people, God’s Word, the world, sin, faith and obedience. Wrong ideas about God will ultimately lead to wrong ideas about who we are and what we should do which can lead to a wrong path, wrong life and the wrong eternal destiny. RIGHT KNOWLEDGE OF GOD = FULFILLED LIFE
Q. Do You Like What You See in the Mirror?
Problem –Dissatisfaction seems to be part of human nature. Q. What Does God Say About You?
There are three attributes of God that come forth from this psalm:
God is Omniscient –God knows everything—vs. 1-6
God is Omnipresent –God is everywhere at once—vs. 7-12
God is Omnipotent –God is all-powerful—vs. 13-18
LIFE LESSON 1: GOD KNOWS YOU vs. 1-6 GOD SEARCHES YOU AND ME
GOD UNDERSTANDS YOU AND ME
GOD KNOWS YOU INTIMATELY AND EXHASTIVELY—vs. 1, 2, 4, 14
There are no secrets with God.
Hebrews 4:13 LIFE LESSON 2: GOD IS PURSUING YOU vs. 7-12
God isn’t going to let you run away. Psalm 139: 7-10
God is in a Different Category Altogether –vs. 11, 12
You Are Desirable to God!
The Scriptures are filled with references that show that God values us so much more than we think He does, especially when we are feeling like a nobody.
God calls His people “the apple of His eye”.
His beloved, chosen, holy, dearly loved.
The very hairs on your head are numbered and known by God.
We are told that there is no person or anything that could ever separate us fro the love of god in Christ. Nothing!
Remember the First Time Someone Wanted You?
LIFE LESSON 3: GOD SAYS YOU’RE AWESOME vs. 13- 16a
“When I consider Your heavens, the work of your fingers, the moon and the s tars, which You have ordained; what is man that You take thought of him, and the son of man that you care for him? Yet You have made him a little lower than God, and You crown him with glory and majesty! You make him to rule over the works of Your hands; You have put all things under his feet, all sheep and oxen, and also the beats of the field. The birds of the heavens and the fish of the sea, whatever passes through the paths of the seas. O Lord, our Lord, how majestic is Your name in all the earth!” Psalm 8: 3-8
THE MIRACLE OF HUMAN CONCEPTION AND BIRTH: Eugene Petersen said, “In the presence of birth, we don’t calculate—we marvel!” “For You formed my inward parts; You wove me in my mother’s womb!”
How Are You Made?
LIFE LESSON 4: GOD HAS A PLAN FOR YOU vs. 16b-18
God Thinks About You Constantly
God Has a Plan for You
“For I know the plans that I have for you,’ declares the Lord, ‘plans for welfare and not for calamity to give you a future and a hope.” Jeremiah 29: 11 “For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand so that we would walk in them.” Ephesians 2: 10
You Are a Vital Part of God’s Plan
“Or do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit who is in you, whom you have from God, and that you are not your own? For you have been bought with a price: therefore, glorify God in your body.” I Corinthians 6: 19, 20
God’s desire is that every person would come to faith in Him. “For this is good and acceptable in the sight of God our Savior, who desires all men to be saved and to come to the knowledge of truth. For there is one God and one mediator also between God and men, the man Christ Jesus, who gave Himself as a ransom for all the testimony borne at the proper time.” I Timothy 2: 3-6 “The Lord is not slow about His promise, as some count slowness, but is patient toward you, not wishing for any to perish but for all to come to repentance.” II Peter 3: 9
God’s desire is that every believer in Christ would mature. “And we proclaim Him (Jesus Christ), admonishing every man and teaching every man with all wisdom, that we may present every man complete in Christ.” Colossians 1: 28 “But grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. To Him be the glory, both now and to the day of eternity. Amen!” II Peter 3: 18
There are two potential obstacles that could keep God’s plan from being fulfilled in your life:
The level of your cooperation
The level of your commitment.
Stop, Listen, Yield
PSALM 34 The Goodness of the Lord
David faked like he was crazy, mentally deranged—letting saliva drip down his beard to the point that the King really believed he was just another crazy, deranged, mentally unstable person – I Samuel 21: 10-15 Achish bought it and kicked David out of his land.
“The God and Father of the Lord Jesus, He who is blessed forever, knows that I am not lying. In Damascus the ethnarch under Aretas the king was guarding the city of the Damscenes in order to seize me, and I was let down in a basket through a window in the wall, and so escaped his hands.” II Corinthians 11: 30-33
The first part of this psalm is a song, part two is sermon. The first part is devotional, the second part is doctrinal.
David’s Praise – vs. 1-10 What David Resolved—vs. 1-3
“I will bless the Lord at all times; His praise shall continually be in my mouth.”
“And we know that God causes all things to work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose.” Romans 8: 28
What David Remembered –vs. 4-6
David’s Testimony of Deliverance—vs. 4-7
“Then you will walk in your way securely and your foot will not stumble. When you lie down, you will not be afraid; when you lie down, your sleep will be sweet. Do not be afraid of sudden fear nor of the onslaught of the wicked when it comes; for the Lord will be your confidence and you will keep your foot from being caught.” Proverbs 3: 23-26
“The wicked flee when no one is pursuing, but the righteous are bold as a lion.” Proverbs 28: 1
Here is the secret to conquering your fears: “They looked to Him and were radiant, and their faces shall never be ashamed.”
“Look expectantly to the Lord”
What David Realized – vs. 7-10
1. God Protects – vs. 7 “The angel of the Lord encamps around those who fear Him, and rescues them.”
The Prophet Elisha
“Now when the attendant of the man of God had risen early and gone out, behold, an army with horses and chariots was circling the city. And his servant said to him, ‘Alas, my master! What shall we do?’ So he answered, ‘Do not fear, for those who are with us are more than those who are with them.’ Then Elisha prayed and said, ‘O Lord, I pray, open the servant’s eyes and he saw; and behold, the mountain was full of horses and chariots of fire all around Elisha.’” II Kings 6: 15-17
2. God Provides—vs. 8-10
“O taste and see that the Lord is good, how blessed is the man who takes refuge in Him!”
The psalmist is challenging every person—Try God and see.
“And without faith it is impossible to please God, for he who comes to God must believe that He is and that He is a rewarder of those who seek Him.” Hebrews 11: 6
“O fear the Lord, you His saints; For to those who fear Him there is no want. The young lions do lack and suffer hunger; but they who seek the Lord shall not be in want of any good thing”—vs. 9, 10
One author put it this way: “The good you enjoy (vs. 12) goes hand in hand with the good you do” (vs. 14). Real satisfying joy is always found in doing the will of God.
Lessons for Disciples—vs. 11-22
If you really want to achieve a full life in the Lord then it begins with a spirit that is totally open to listening to the instruction concerning the fear of the Lord.
David’s Sermon – vs. 13-20
1. Take Heed to Your Words – vs. 13 “Keep your tongue from evil and your lips from speaking deceit.”
2. Take heed to Your Walk—vs. 14 “Depart from evil and do good: seek peace and pursue it.”—vs. 14
3. Take Heed to Your Works-- 34: 15, 16 “The eyes of the Lord are toward the righteous and His ears are open to their cry. The face of the Lord is against evildoers, to cut off the memory of them from the earth.”
Learn from David’s Example--vs. 17-20 “The Lord is near to the broken-hearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit.” Becoming a Christian never means a trouble-free existence. P.C. Craigie writes: “The fear of the Lord is indeed a fountain of life, the key to joy in life and long and happy days. But it is not a guarantee that life will be always easy…It may mend the broken heart, but it does not prevent the heart from being broken; it may restore the spiritually crushed, but it does not crush the forces that may create oppression.”
Deliverance is one thing. Exemption from trouble is another.
The reality of the Christian life and the reality of the promise of prayer does not mean that God will change every difficult situation in your life. But God will preserve you as long as He has work for you to do.
“But now, thus says the Lord, your Creator, O Jacob, and He who formed you, O Israel, ‘Do not fear, for I have redeemed you; I have called you by name; you are Mine! When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; and through the rivers, they will not overflow you. When you walk through the fire, you will not be scorched, nor will the flame burn you. For I am the Lord your God, The Holy One of Israel your Savior!’” Isaiah 43: 1-3a
Bibliography The Bible Knowledge Commentary ---Walvoord and Zuck Wycliffe Bible Commentary Exploring the Psalms –Phillips Volume One – Psalms 1-41 The Treasury of David – C.H. Spurgeon Volume 1 Psalms 1- 57 Psalms 1- 72—Derek Kidner Psalms 1-41—James Montgomery Boice
HOPE DISPITE COVID-19 Let me give you at least four reasons David was hopeful and that we too can be hopeful for:
I. WE CAN HAVE HOPE OF AN ETERNITY WITH GOD.Psalm 62:1- Truly my soul finds rest in God; my salvation comes from him.
II. WE CAN HAVE HOPE OF OUR SINS BEING FORGIVEN Psalm 65:3."Though we are overwhelmed by our sins, you forgive them all"
III. WE CAN HAVE HOPE OF GOD'S UNCONDITIONAL LOVE Psalm 103:11- "For his unfailing love toward those who fear him is as great as the height of the heavens above the earth".
IV. WE CAN HAVE A HOPE OF A PURPOSE FOR LIVING Psalm 138:8. "The LORD will work out his plans for my life-for your faithful love, 0 Lord, endures forever."
Three Things That Have Helped Me Keep Hope During Covid 19 l) TURN TO GOD FOR COMFORT. II Cor 1:3All praise to God, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ. God is our merciful Father and the source of all comfort.
2) TURN YOUR TRUST IN GOD II Cor 1:10 - ...on Him we have set our hope that He will continue to deliver us"
3) TAKE CONTROL OF YOUR THOUGHTS Romans 12:2 And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind
By reading the Psalms, you will see that David had a personal relationship with God. THIS IS THE BASIC FOUNDATION FOR HOPE
He makes me lie down in green pastures: 1. Free from all fear. 2. Free from friction with others of their own kind. 3. Free from the torment of flies and parasites. 4. Free from hunger. He leads me beside quiet waters:
Three main water sources for sheep:
Dew on the grass.
Springs and streams
He restores my soul:
Two Conditions that Allow Sheep to Becomes Cast More Easily:
Sheep look for the soft spot. I Corinthians 10: 12, 13
Sheep are weighed down by their own wool.
Hebrews 12: 5-11 God restores our souls by showing over and over to us His grace, His mercy, His encouragement, His promises (7,000)
Matthew 11: 28-30
He guides me in the paths of righteousness for His name’s sake:
Q. How do you let God guide me on the right path?
Admit I need a guide.
Ask the Lord in faith for direction.
Listen for God’s response.
Trust God when I don’t understand.
Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death:
First, understand that there are five facts about valleys to remember
Valleys are inevitable.
Valleys are unpredictable.
Valleys are impartial.
Valleys are temporary.
Valleys are purposeful.
What to do when you go through ‘dark valleys’:
Refuse to be discouraged.
Remember that God is with me.
Rely on God’s protection and guidance.
Always remember—you go “through” valleys.
Shadows are always bigger than the reality.
Shadows cannot hurt you.
There is no shadow without a light somewhere.
The shadow of a dog can’t bite you. The shadow of a sword can’t stab you. The shadow of a shark cannot kill you and the shadow of death cannot harm the child of God.
‘Many are the afflictions of the righteous, but the Lord delivers him out of them all.’ Psalm 34: 19
I fear no evil, for You are with me:
Your rod and your staff, they comfort me: Shepherds in David’s times were always armed. Staff- long stick with a crock at the end of it. Rod—club-like piece of wood to seriously hurt any predator.
You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies:
You have anointed my head with oil; my cup overflows: Summer time= fly time—warble files, bot flies, nose flies, deer flies, black flies, gnats, mosquitoes.
Three Great Qualities about Oil:
Smoothness of touch.
Brightness to the sight.
My cup overflows:
Our cups overflow with three things:
With Hope. ‘Now may the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, so that you will abound in hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.’ Romans 15: 13
With Love. ‘And may the Lord cause you to increase and abound in love for one another, and for all people, just as we also do for you.’
I Thessalonians 3:12
With Joy. Jesus said, “Until now you have asked for nothing in My name; ask and you will receive, so that your joy may be made full.” John 16: 24
Surely goodness and lovingkindness will follow me all the days of my life, and I will dwell in the house of the Lord forever:
God’s two footmen are goodness and lovingkindness. Goodness takes care of our steps and lovingkindness takes care of our stumbles. Leaving behind us a trail of peace, goodness, grace, mercy and love.
Three Comforting Truths:
God is watching over me.
Psalm 145: 17-20a
God’s grace is working in me.
‘And He said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, power is perfected in weakness.” Most gladly, therefore, I will rather boast about my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may dwell in me.” II Corinthians 12: 9 ‘But He gives a greater grace. Therefore, it says, “God is opposed to the proud, but gives grace to the humble.” James 4: 6
Heaven is waiting for me!
‘Therefore, being always of good courage, and knowing that while we are at home in the body we are absent from the Lord---for we walk by faith, not by sight---we are of good courage, I say, and prefer rather to be absent from the body and to be at home with the Lord.’ II Corinthians 5: 6-8 John 14: 1-3
Psalms—Boice Volumes 1-3 Wiersbe’s Expository Outlines on the Old Testament Psalms—Derek Kidner The Bible Knowledge Commentary The Wycliffe Bible Commentary The Expositors Bible Commentary Exposition of the Psalms--Leupold Exploring the Psalms—Phillips The Treasure of David—Volumes1-3—C.H. Spurgeon The Book of Psalms—Arno C. Gaebelein The Me I Want to Be—John Ortberg I Am Always With You—Chip Ingram Answering God—Eugene Peterson Outlive Your Life—Max Lucado