[SW136] 04/12/2014 message notes by Rev. Susan J. Wynn ©2014
“Rebuilding the Church —Provision”
First we intercede standing in the gap between a broken church and a God who heals brokenness. Then we seek the provision necessary to rebuild.
Jesus has shown me something in the Book of Nehemiah. It’s about today’s church, and what she must be taught and how she must be exhorted. In Nehemiah, the Lord reveals the necessary steps to rebuilding:
Chapter 1 — Interceding
Chapter 2 — Requesting Christ’s provision
Chapters 3 and 4 — Possessing God’s strength and wisdom
Chapter 5 — Convicting regarding sin
Chapter 6 — Discerning
Chapters 8 and 9 — Repenting
Chapter 10 — Consecrating
Chapter 13 — Cleansing
Ezekiel 22:26-31 describes the spiritual condition of Israel that led to the Babylonian exile of Judah (southern Israel) about a hundred years after Samaria (northern Israel). Judah had sinned greatly against the Lord, and refused to listen to the prophets the Lord sent to them, who warned them to repent. And so God sent them into exile in Babylon for 70 years.
Having heard the report that the remnant in Judah was under great distress and reproach, Nehemiah interceded for the sons of Israel, asking the Lord to forgive, and reminding Him of His promise that, if they would return to Him, He would return them to Israel. He asked the Lord for mercy when he went before King Artaxerxes.
It was not by might, nor by power, but by the Spirit that Jersusalem and its walls and temple would be rebuilt (Zechariah 4:6). Only by the power of the Holy Spirit, in Spirit-filled believers, will the church be rebuilt.
As intercessors for today’s church, we ask the Lord Jesus Christ, head of the church, to have compassion on His church. Unlike Nehemiah, thought, we do not deal with a pagan king as an intermediary used by God — we go to the King of kings and Lord of lords, the One who is above all things:
Colossians 1:16 For by Him all things were created, both in the heavens and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or rulers or authorities — all things have been created through Him and for Him. 17 He is before all things, and in Him all things hold together. 18 He is also head of the body, the church; and He is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead, so that He Himself will come to have first place in everything.
The earth is His, and all that is in it (Psalm 24:1)!
He preserves His promise to those who love and obey Him (Nehemiah 1:5)!
We can come before Him and ask whatever we will, and He will do it:
John 14:12 “Truly, truly, I say to you, he who believes in Me, the works that I do, he will do also; and greater works than these he will do; because I go to the Father. 13 “ Whatever you ask in My name, that will I do, so that the Father may be glorified in the Son. 14 “If you ask Me anything in My name, I will do it.”
The Lord sees our sadness of heart over the brokenness in the church (Nehemiah 2:2). But we are not afraid, as Nehemiah rightfully was afraid of the pagan king. No, perfect love casts out fear of punishment:
1John 4:18 There is no fear in love; but perfect love casts out fear, because fear involves punishment, and the one who fears is not perfected in love.
Hebrews 4:16 Therefore let us draw near with confidence to the throne of grace, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need.
Oh, our King lives forever! As we sit at the table with the Father, Son and Spirit, the Son will ask us, “What would you request?”
Our desires are Your desires, Lord Jesus. We have come to do Your will, O Lord; Your Law is written in our hearts (Psalm 40:6)!
We will say, “Send me to Your broken church, that we may rebuild it” (v. 5).
“Whom shall We send, and who shall go for Us?” Isaiah said, “Here am I! Send me!” He saw the Lord highly exalted, with the train of His robe filling the temple. His heart was cleansed by the coal of fire touching His lips, in Isaiah 6!
It will please the King of kings to send us (v. 7), and we will return to Him at the appointed time.
Our fathers were in the church, and we want to bring it back to what it was in those days. The church was with Christ at one time, but now all but a remnant have been exiled from God’s presence.
What must we ask our King for?
— First, authority. We must have authority to pass through Enemy territory, from the One who is greater than our Enemy, Satan:
Luke 10:19 “Behold, I have given you authority to tread on serpents and scorpions, and over all the power of the enemy, and nothing will injure you. 20 “Nevertheless do not rejoice in this, that the spirits are subject to you, but rejoice that your names are recorded in heaven.”
Beloved, in today’s church, few have asked for Christ’s authority to pass through Enemy territory. Therefore we are blindsided and ambushed, deceived and destroyed.
We cannot ask for Christ’s authority over Satan if we are disobedient. But if we will ask Him to change our hearts, so we love and obey Him, He will surely grant us the authority we lack!
— Second, timber. Nehemiah needed natural wood.
We need the whole message of the Cross, from the bounty of the King. What is the whole message?
God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son. We all know that one.
Why was that necessary? He was, indeed, a sin offering to cover our past sins.
But the message of the Cross goes beyond that — it is the rest of the story, the part which must be in place for the church to be rebuilt.
God sent Jesus Christ that we may have His Spirit, His heart, His love, His nature, with our old, rebellious nature crucified, in a moment of time!
That is the timber by which the church will be rebuilt — the whole message of the Cross! We must ask Him to put steel in our backbones so we boldly speak it!
In today’s church, beloved, the message of the Cross is the message of the “CRO.” It is half the message. It leaves out the “SS” which is Sin Sickness. That is a disease only Christ can heal, and that by way of His work on the cross and afterwards, when He rose from the dead after three days. He ascended to the Father, was glorified, and poured out the Holy Spirit, who fills us with God’s holiness and gives us a new heart, a new nature!
Yes, we continue to grow in grace and in the knowledge of Jesus Christ, but we no longer resist as the Lord molds and shapes! We have given up our rights to ourselves! We are dead, and now He lives in us (Galatians 2:20).
We must return to building on the one foundation, Christ, so our work will not be found by Him to be wood, hay and straw.
1Corinthians 3:11 For no man can lay a foundation other than the one which is laid, which is Jesus Christ. 12 Now if any man builds on the foundation with gold, silver, precious stones, wood, hay, straw, 13 each man’s work will become evident; for the day will show it because it is to be revealed with fire, and the fire itself will test the quality of each man’s work. 14 If any man’s work which he has built on it remains, he will receive a reward. 15 If any man’s work is burned up, he will suffer loss; but he himself will be saved, yet so as through fire.
As the Nehemiahs for today’s church, we call that all pastors once again build on the foundation which is Christ!
When we ask the Lord for the authority and the whole message of the Cross, He will go beyond what we have asked. He will send with us (Verse 9) officers of the army and horsemen — angels, ministering servants:
Hebrews 1:13 But to which of the angels has He ever said,
“ SIT AT MY RIGHT HAND,
UNTIL I MAKE YOUR ENEMIES
A FOOTSTOOL FOR YOUR FEET”?
14 Are they not all ministering spirits, sent out to render service for the sake of those who will inherit salvation?
They will assist us when the Enemy hears of the church’s rebuilding and is displeased that we seek her welfare, just as Sanballat and Tobiah were displeased!
But our Lord has won the victory. Satan has nothing in Him (John 14:30). And we walk in Christ’s victory, when we have called the Father to do the whole gospel in us (Luke 11:13)!
Jesus Christ WILL have a church glorious, without spot or wrinkle, holy and blameless (Ephesians 5:27). But just as with Nehemiah, He wants those who love and obey Him to participate in the church’s rebuilding (Ephesians 4:11), even to the measure of the stature which belongs to the fullness of Christ (Ephesians 4:13).
Will you join me, O remnant, and rebuild the church? The One we go to for provision will certainly provide.
Next week, we will celebrate His victory, on Resurrection Sunday. Then we will return to Nehemiah and learn the next step to rebuilding.