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Dad, Is Your God Awesome (A Father’s Day Sermon from Nehemiah) June 15, 2008

Posted by roberttalley in Father's Day, Nehemiah, Religion, Sermons.
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DAD, IS YOUR GOD AWESOME?

Nehemiah 4:7-15

 

Today, I am talking to dads. It is Father’s Day and it is appropriate to speak to dads. The lessons of this sermon are appropriate for all of us, so I trust that you who are not dads will listen carefully also.

 

I.                    We see from the story of Nehemiah that we should expect opposition to God’s purposes in our lives from all directions (4:1-6:14). This is not surprising. Paul, at the end of his life, wrote, “All who would live godly in Christ Jesus shall suffer persecution. It is interesting to note, however that the greatest opposition came when the work was half done (4:6). They had started well but the real question was whether they would finish well.

 

The Opposition…

The Reaction

Ridicule (4:1-3)

Prayer (4:4-5) and Positive Action (greater diligence in working; 4:6)

Planned attacks (4:7-8)

Prayer and Positive Action (posting of guards; 4:9)

Physical exhaustion and fear of death (4:10-12)

Posting of the guard according to families (4:13,16-18) and Encouragement of the people (4:14,20)

Economic crisis and greed (5:1-5)

Anger, Serious Thought, Rebuke (5:6-7) and Positive Action (caused the people to pay the debts; 5:7b-11)

Planned attack on the leadership (6:1-2)

Refused to come (6:3)

Slander (6:5-7)

Denial (6,8) and Prayer (6:14)

Plans discredit the leadership (6:13)

Refused to come (6:11-13) and Prayer (6:14)

 

Dads, there will be opposition to you leading your family into spiritual maturity. There is not important work done without opposition. Let me read a few excerpts from an email of a missionary couple in Slovakia whom we know, Don and LeAnne Waite.

 

“In one of our last updates we told you about the VBS we held in Rakusy on Monday, May 26th.  You know there was a large crowd of people that came and that things went well until the last minutes of the afternoon.  You know that the back window of the van was shattered as we tried to leave the village…  

            …On Friday afternoon Don, Michael and Justin decided to visit Marian and Maria.  They were not in church last week – very unusual for them.  This is the couple that has been such a help in recent weeks – the same couple who has faced persecution in their home.  When they visited Marian wasn’t home and they spoke with Maria.  Maria was visibly shaking.  She told Michael they couldn’t come on Sunday.  She said she didn’t feel well.  Michael said, “Maria, it is Friday.  How can you know if you will feel well on Sunday?  What is really the matter?”  She then broke down and said their family has been pressuring them not to come to the services.  Pray for that family.  We feel so bad for them.  It is so typical of the way the Catholic church operates to put pressure on the family in this way.  They are withholding baptism from Ivan, the oldest son’s child because Marian and Maria are attending services here.  Most of us have never faced this kind of persecution.  Pray for Marian and Maria.  They are so new to the Christian life and they have grown so much in the past few months.  Our hearts ache for them…”

 

            The next day the following email was written. “Greetings.  We are once again coming to you asking you to pray for Marian and Maria.  I mentioned in our update yesterday that they were facing pressure from family and the Catholic church in the village where they live.  They haven’t been in church for the past two weeks because of this; but they have stopped by each week and have called after the Gypsy service to ask how things went. 

 

They stopped by the house this morning to talk to us.  Don was out when they arrived and I called Stevens to come over.  Don returned part way through our visit.  We aren’t sure exactly what the situation is since their Slovak is hard to understand; but it seems that after Don, Michael and Justin visited on Friday there were some problems.  Marian was at work when the men were there and when he got home he found their son arguing with Maria.  The end of it was that they slept outdoors in a park somewhere Friday night and then went to the town that Maria’s mother lives in on Saturday.  We think they slept somewhere in a park again last night.  If our understanding is correct their son, who owns the house where they all live, has given them until Friday to find a place to live.  Don is gone to take them back to the house now.  We aren’t sure if the situation is really as serious as it sounds as the Gypsies are often very emotional.  They are looking for somewhere to live here in Kezmarok and have asked us to help them find a place.   They can’t afford much in rent so finding something will be a challenge.  Pray with us that this situation will be resolved.  They have promised to come to us or Stevens before they spend another night sleeping outdoors. 

            Marian plans to go with the men on visitation Wednesday.  They plan to be here for their discipleship time of Friday and have said they are coming to church on Sunday.  Pray that God will protect them and give them peace, wisdom and strength to stand in the midst of the persecution they are facing.  Pray that God gives us wisdom in how we can help.”

 

Why is it possible to do in the face of such opposition, what is right? Because these men know and recognize that God is great and awesome and encourage and strengthen their heart with that truth.

 

II.                 What kind of encouragement does Nehemiah provide for the fathers?

1.      Nehemiah prays with his people (verse 9).

2.      Nehemiah commands them to take responsibility for their family (verse 13).

3.      Nehemiah reminds that God is great and awesome. Although Nehemiah did take proper actions, he left the outcome in God’s hands.

III.               Nehemiah did not build the wall. The Jews did not build the wall. Their great and awesome God built the wall (Compare 4:1-3, 15 with 6:15-16).

IV.              In what ways was Nehemiah an example to the workers?

a.             Compare 1:5 with 4:14! He could with confidence proclaim God’s greatness and awesomeness, because he had expressed it privately outside of the limelight. This prayer was the beginning of four months of constant and consistent prayer for the building of the wall in Jerusalem. The central motivation for this prayer was the greatness and the awesomeness of God. In fact all of the motivations to which Nehemiah appealed in accomplishing the work in Jerusalem, including the family relationship, are submitted to the character of their God.

b.            4:18, 23 – He was at his place in God’s work.

c.             He prayed (4:4-5).

 

The question remains, why does God allow opposition to His work (9:29-32)?

 

29    And testified against them, That You might bring them back to Your law. Yet they acted proudly, And did not heed Your commandments, But sinned against Your judgments, ‘Which if a man does, he shall live by them.’ And they shrugged their shoulders, Stiffened their necks, And would not hear. 30  Yet for many years You had patience with them, And testified against them by Your Spirit in Your prophets. Yet they would not listen; Therefore You gave them into the hand of the peoples of the lands. 31  Nevertheless in Your great mercy You did not utterly consume them nor forsake them; For You are God, gracious and merciful. 32  “Now therefore, our God, The great, the mighty, and awesome God, Who keeps covenant and mercy: Do not let all the trouble seem small before You That has come upon us, Our kings and our princes, Our priests and our prophets, Our fathers and on all Your people, From the days of the kings of Assyria until this day. 33  However You are just in all that has befallen us; For You have dealt faithfully, But we have done wickedly.

 

Sometimes God allows opposition, so that we might understand His greatness and awesomeness in His dealings.

 

INVITATION FROM SPURGEON BASED ON THIS PASSAGE OF SCRIPTURE:  But I have not been speaking to all who are here. Some of you do not pray, some of you cannot set a watch. The message for you is, “Ye must be born again.” You cannot attempt Christian duties till first you have the Christian life; and the only way to get the Christian life is to have faith in the Lord Jesus Christ. Come to the fountain which he has filled with his precious blood; wash there, and be clean; and then, quickened by his Spirit, set a watch. I am looking to see some people brought to Christ at this service, for although I have been preaching to God’s people, if they will watch for you, and pray for you, there will come a blessing to you through their watching and praying. The Lord grant that it may come to many of you! “Seek ye the Lord while he may be found, call ye upon him when he is near.” May many seek and find the Lord to-night; and may many call upon him in truth! “Whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord, shall be saved.” God grant that it may be so to everybody here, for Jesus’ sake! Amen.

 

Thanksgiving Sermon from Nehemiah November 11, 2007

Posted by roberttalley in Nehemiah, Religion, Sermons, Thanksgiving.
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    THANKSGIVING AFTER A GREAT WORK

    Nehemiah 12:27-13:1

    We are to be thankful at all times but it is especially important that we show thanksgiving after God accomplishes a great work in our lives. It is important because through thanksgiving we recognize that it is God who has blessed the work of our hands. That should be the meaning of the American Thanksgiving holiday. We are thankful for what God has done. Whether you primarily emphasize family or country or some other great work during this Thanksgiving season, thanksgiving is the recognition that only God can make these blessings possible. In this passage we find the Jews celebrating the help of God in building the wall and providing them protection from their enemies. What we want to look at are the elements of the dedication of this wall and their thanksgiving to God

    MORE THAN JUST A WALL 

     One obeys what he knows to be true already. They gathered on the day of the Feast of Trumpets (Numbers 29:1-6).

    One builds on the success God gives (the wall built in 56 days).

    One turns to God in the face of trouble (intense opposition).

    1. With an attitude of agreement

    2. With an attitude of worship

    3. With an attitude of confession. They mourned because of their disobedience (verses 9-11).

    4. With an attitude of joy. They responded to God’s Word (verse 12).

    The dedication ceremony was the conclusion not only of a great work but also of a renewed covenant with their God. This happens multiple times in the Old Testament. What is the importance of the renewal of the covenant by every generation? For one thing, it was preventative. Periods of time when the covenant was not renewed like the time of the Judges and much of the period after Solomon always led to sin and judgment.

    THE BACKGROUND 

    They heard the Word of God (Nehemiah 8:1-9:3).

    A. How does one go about acquiring a desire to hear God’s Word (8:1-3)?

    B. How should we approach God’s Word (8:4-6, 9-12)?

    C. What are the three steps in studying God’s Word (8:8, 12)?

    1. Find out what it says, “…read distinctly…” (verse 8).
    2. Find out what it means, “…gave the sense of it…” (verse 8).

    3. Find out how it should be applied, “…understood the words that were declared…” (verse 12).

     The Dedication Ceremony Was a Ceremony of Thanksgiving and Joy and Singing (12:31-44; see especially verse 43).The Peace Offering (Sacrifices) is Costly.

The Peace Offering is a Public Confession.

Rev. Daniel Baker’s Addresses to Young Men is quoted by Spurgeon as saying, “It is a bad fireplace where all the heat goes up the chimney: true religion spreads joy over all around. Yet the fire warms first the chimney in which it burns, and grace comforts the heart in which it dwells. Nobody will be warmed by a cold hearth.” 

The Peace Offering is to Involve Every Person including Children.

The Result of the Dedication Ceremony was Twofold (12:44-3:3). Their mourning over their sin was necessary but it was the joy of the Lord in response to the Word of the Lord that resulted in good works.

D.L. once said, “I never knew a case where God used a discouraged man or woman to accomplish any great thing for him. Let a minister go into the pulpit in a discouraged state of mind, and it becomes contagious: it will soon reach the pews, and the whole church will be discouraged. So with a Sabbath-school teacher: I never knew a worker of any kind who was full of discouragement, and who met with great success in the Lord’s work. It seems as if God cannot make large use of such men.”

They become generous. Generosity is an indication of the status of your relationship to God.

They dealt with sin. Holiness is also an indication of the status of your relationship to God. Let’s look at 2 Corinthians 6:11-7:1. If you are in the Word, striving to obey the Word, you will purify yourself, not because you understand the rules that God has given but because you understand and are thankful to the God who gives the rules.   D. On what three levels do people react to God’s Word? Intellectual (8:1-8)Emotional (8:9-12)

Volitional (with the will; 8:13-18)

They recognized who God is (9:5b-6). You do not learn God through prayerful meditation. You learn God from His Word.

Martin Luther’s understanding of the biblical use of the word “justification” is what transformed him from a miserable monk looking for relief from the fear of God to a pillar of strength against the forces of hell.

They continued by recounting what God has done for them beginning with Abraham (9:7-37) and the relationship of mercy that God has maintained with them. To praise God for His character without reveling in His works of power and His works of ministry is an empty praise. God is not some static being, some vague presence, He is an active person interested in a relationship with His people.

They committed themselves to obedience to God’s Word based on their understanding of God’s Word (9:38-10:39).

Links to Sermons based on Nehemiah 12 November 7, 2007

Posted by roberttalley in Joy, Links, Nehemiah, Religion, Sermons, Thanksgiving.
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http://www.biblebb.com/files/spurgeon/joyofhis.txt (Spurgeon)

http://www.pbc.org/library/files/html/4166.html (Stedman)