Beloved, if we ask, the Lord will give us discernment, and with that, we will be one step closer to a rebuilt church!
[SW141] 06/14/2014 message notes by Rev. Susan J. Wynn ©2014
“Rebuilding the Church — Discernment”
Jesus is showing 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 — Spiritual Warfare
Chapter 5 — Conviction of sin
Chapter 6 — Discernment
Chapters 8 and 9 — Repentance/Public Confession of Sin
Chapter 10 — Consecration
Chapter 13 — Cleansing
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!
But in the midst of the building, the Enemy who is Satan will mock, despise and attack us.
How do we defeat him? Spiritual warfare! Remember that we cannot blame Satan for the sin that has caused the church to become broken down. Our own lust is at the root of all sin. Our leaders must convict us of our sin, so we will turn from it.
The next element necessary to the rebuilding is discernment.
Discernment. Daniel had it, and refused to eat the king’s unclean delicacies (Daniel 1:8). Jesus had it, and refused to listen to Satan’s entreaty to worship him. Paul and John and Peter had it, and knew how to identify false teachers and false brothers (2Timothy 6:3-5, 1John 4:1ff, 1John 1:6 and 2Peter 3:17ff, to name just a few references)! Discernment. It comes from the Lord, and not the world.
When all of Israel’s enemies heard that the wall had been rebuilt and no breach remained in it (though the doors had not been set in the gates), they used Satan’s favorite weapons: deception, slander and fear.
They sent a message to Nehemiah. “Come, let us take counsel together.”
“Let us take counsel together.” The Lord asks, “Who have you taken counsel with lately, beloved?”
Or do you say, like Nehemiah did, “I am doing God’s work here. Why should I stop to meet with you?” The message was sent four times, and four times, Nehemiah responded that way.
From the beginning, Nehemiah DISCERNED that his enemies could not have a part in the rebuilding (2:20). He heard of their mocking, how they despised Israel. They had plotted to fight Israel, and the people feared, but Nehemiah heard of it and equipped the people for battle, and so their plans were frustrated, broken and annulled (4:15).
And these say, “Come let us take counsel together?” They must think Nehemiah has a very short memory! How is your memory, beloved? Do you remember what Satan has said of you? Do you remember his mocking and how he despises you? Have you heard of his plans and asked the Lord to equip you for battle by filling you with His Spirit so Satan’s plans are frustrated, broken and annulled? Why, then, would you take counsel with him now? Why does the church join hands with those who hate Christ?
Our word to Satan must be, “Get thee behind me, Satan,” per Matthew 4:10. And we must know God’s Word and thereby, God’s heart and God’s nature, in order to DISCERN Satan’s nature. And we must DISCERN that it is necessary to have Christ’s nature in us in order for Satan to have to obey when we say, “Begone!”
When you refuse Satan, he will slander you, just as Sanballat and the rest did to Nehemiah (6:6-7). “You seek power, you seek to rule, you’ve appointed your own prophets to say you should lead.” But Nehemiah said, “These accusations are from your imagination.”
Satan is a liar and the father of lies. There is no truth in him. For him, to lie is to speak in his native tongue, it is to speak from his own nature (John 8:44).
When Satan’s lies come at you, do you run to your Good Shepherd? Do you run from the stranger’s voice (John 10), or do you listen to him? Run from the stranger’s voice! Know and believe the Word of God (in your heart) and you will be able to DISCERN!
Nehemiah DISCERNED that his enemies were trying to use fear, which births discouragement. Then the work stops. Nehemiah DISCERNS this truth. So what does Nehemiah do? He prays, “Now, O God, strengthen my hands!” What do you do when Satan tries to make you fear? Are you discouraged? Then you have fallen for his tactics. Stand up now. Cry out to the Lord, “Strengthen my hands!”
Strengthen (2388 chazaq) to fasten upon; hence, to seize, be strong (figuratively, courageous, causatively strengthen, cure, help, repair, fortify). O God, fasten upon my hands and seize them, making them strong so the rebuilding may be completed in YOUR strength!
Next, Nehemiah DISCERNS that one of his fellow Israelites, Shemaiah (ShemaYAH, which means “he hears from God”), is trying to bait him, to make him sin.
O beloved, beware! Even from those who call you brother, those who call themselves Christians, who say they hear from God, you may hear Satan speak tempting words.
The Enemy will say, people seek your life — run and hide in the temple! Sounds like a good idea. What better place to hide than in the Lord’s house? But if you are hiding, you do not trust God.
Nehemiah DISCERNED this, and he also knew the Word of God. He could not go into the temple and live (6:11). Beloved, he was cupbearer to King Artaxerxes. It was the custom of pagan kings to castrate any men who worked closely with them, so the men would have no sexual desire toward the king’s wives and concubines. Nehemiah was an eunuch. He was emasculated (Deuteronomy 23:1), and thus barred from the temple. To go in would be a sin against God. So he refused.
[NOTE: Praise be to God, since His Son Jesus Christ came and died and rose and ascended, He has now lifted that ban (Isaiah 56:3-5). “To them I will give in My house and within My walls a memorial.”]
Nehemiah DISCERNED that God had not sent ShemaYAH, for he encouraged Nehemiah to sin!
O beloved, are you with people who say it’s alright to continue to sin against God once you have come to Christ? Do these say they hear from God? If you have asked the Lord for His DISCERNMENT, you will not listen to them.
Satan hires people like ShemaYAH for this reason: that you may become frightened and act accordingly so that Satan is able to say you feared and hid, so he can reproach you (6:13).
Remember Satan, O God, for what he has done. And beloved, remember that we do not war against flesh and blood, but against powers and principalities:
Ephesians 6:12 For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the powers, against the world forces of this darkness, against the spiritual forces of wickedness in the heavenly places.
What is the result, when we have DISCERNMENT? The wall is finished (6:15-19) the worship begins (7:1ff), and God is glorified, for He promised and it is DONE, and has proven Himself faithful to His Word (Psalm 138:2)!
EXHORTATION TO BELIEVERS AND THE CHURCH-AT-LARGE:
Do you have discernment from God and therefore refuse Satan’s invitation to take counsel with him?
Do you have discernment from God, so you know the Good Shepherd’s voice and run from the voice of the stranger?
Do you have discernment from God, so you know Satan’s tactics?
Do you have discernment from God, so you ask Him to clothe you with His armor and fill you with His Spirit and His Word, so Satan cannot harm you?
Do you have discernment from the Lord, so you refuse to sin, even when a brother, one who calls himself a Christian, says, “But I hear from God, and He says it is alright”?
Do you have discernment so you know whether you may test the spirits of men?
1John 4:1 Beloved, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits to see whether they are from God, because many false prophets have gone out into the world . . . 5 They are from the world; therefore they speak as from the world, and the world listens to them. 6 We are from God; he who knows God listens to us; he who is not from God does not listen to us. By this we know the spirit of truth and the spirit of error.
Through this message, you are convicted that you have sinned, that you have taken Satan’s bait, that some hireling has spoken and you have believed him. If you will agree with God, He will cleanse you of your sin and fill you with His Spirit so you have DISCERNMENT. And He will rebuild your wall and set its gates in place.
But there is yet more — there must be revival with public confession of sin(Nehemiah 8-9), then dedication and purification (Nehemiah 10). These must happen in you individually, and also in today’s church-at-large, so we may be rebuilt to be the church of the Book of Acts, and the world may know that the Father sent His Son:
John 17:23 ” in them and You in Me, that they may be perfected in unity, so that the world may know that You sent Me, and loved them, even as You have loved Me. 24 “Father, I desire that they also, whom You have given Me, be with Me where I am, so that they may see My glory which You have given Me, for You loved Me before the foundation of the world. 25 “O righteous Father, although the world has not known You, yet I have known You; and these have known that You sent Me; 26 and I have made Your name known to them, and will make it known, so that the love with which You loved Me may be in them, and I in them.”