First intercede, then seek provision, then act on the inspiration of God, the heart of God that we have sought and got!
[SW138] 04/26/2014 message notes by Rev. Susan J. Wynn ©2014
“Rebuilding the Church — His Inspiration and Strength”
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. Then we act upon the inspiration of God, the heart of God which we have sought and got!
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 — Intercession
Chapter 2 — Christ’s provision
Chapters 2 and 3 — His Inspiration and Strength
Chapter 4 — Defeating the Enemy
Chapter 5 — Conviction regarding sin
Chapter 6 — Discernment
Chapters 8 and 9 — Repentance
Chapter 10 — Consecration
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.
Nehemiah interceded for Jerusalem after his countrymen brought him the sad news that the city was in great distress and reproach, with its wall broken down and its gates burned with fire.
He asked the Lord for favor with King Artaxerxes, and reminded the Lord of His promise to return them to Jerusalem if they returned to their God.
He found favor, indeed! The king sent Nehemiah with authority, timber, officers of the army and horsemen to rebuild Jerusalem.
Nehemiah now arrived in Jerusalem. After three days, he and a few men secretly went out under cover of night to survey the damage. He likely rode a horse.
He told no one “what my God was putting on my heart to do for Jerusalem.”
That’s the key scripture for this message. All that Nehemiah did was inspired by the Lord! All Scripture is inspired by Him (2Timothy 3:16, 2Peter 1:20-21). All men and women must be, to rebuild Jerusalem then and to rebuild the church now.
And when it is truly the Lord’s inspiration, He will give you His strength, and many will join hands with you to rebuild, just as with Nehemiah. Not all will join you. But many will.
Not all followed Jesus, and ultimately, even His closest disciples abandoned Him. He would like a pretty poor leader, by today’s standards. So would Paul, who lost his head for Jesus, and Peter, who was crucified upside down. What failures, some said. But they were inspired by the Holy Spirit, shepherding the church faithfully and teaching believers that they needed to be filled with all the fullness of Christ. That’s how to rebuild — not by might, not by power, but by the Holy Spirit!
Beloved, beware of who you follow. Many leaders are leading people through the broad gate, and many follow them down the wide path that leads to destruction (Matthew 7:13-14). I say this because I love you.
Nehemiah did not look to Egypt:
Isaiah 30:1 “Woe to the rebellious children,” declares the LORD,
“Who execute a plan, but not Mine,
And make an alliance, but not of My Spirit,
In order to add sin to sin;
2 Who proceed down to Egypt
Without consulting Me,
To take refuge in the safety of Pharaoh
And to seek shelter in the shadow of Egypt!
3 “Therefore the safety of Pharaoh will be your shame
And the shelter in the shadow of Egypt, your humiliation.
I tell you, beloved, we have been looking to Egypt. We have been looking to business practices, making our pastors CEOs, and we have been trusting in Management by Objectives (MBO) — Peter Drucker has become our advisor! We consult “pop” psychology instead of our Father in heaven. How do I know this? Our great ideas are not scriptural. Therefore, the Lord has humiliated us and made us a reproach.
Nehemiah did not trust in horses and chariots:
Isaiah 31:1 Woe to those who go down to Egypt for help
And rely on horses,
And trust in chariots because they are many
And in horsemen because they are very strong,
But they do not look to the Holy One of Israel, nor seek the LORD!
Nehemiah did not seek the support or assistance of the pagan nations around him, but rather, spurned it:
Nehemiah 2:19 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.”
Nehemiah did not forge ahead under his own inspiration. He interceded, got the heart of God, and God inspired him.
But if our leaders are blind to the spiritual condition of the church, they will not intercede for her. If they seek worldly ways to grow the church, they will ultimately fail:
Isaiah 5:21 Woe to those who are wise in their own eyes
And clever in their own sight!
So Nehemiah told no one what his God had put on his heart to do for Jerusalem, until he had inspected the damage. In some spots, the wall was so broken down that he could not pass through on his mount.
Then he returned and spoke to the people:
Come, let us rebuild
The hand of my God has been favorable to me
The king supports us
I tell you, beloved, they will say, “Let us arise and rebuild” and will put their hands to the work!
The Enemy will mock, despise and accuse. But like Nehemiah, who sought and got God’s heart, we will say to the Enemy:
Nehemiah 2:20 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.”
The sheep gate will be consecrated, and there will be no bolts or bars. Access will be free for every sheep of the Good Shepherd!
Side by side, the people will work, united in purpose.
The gates and walls will be rebuilt!