JOURNEY THROUGH THE O.T. #7: PERSEVERANCE AND PASSION
(July 2012 –Beausejour Church– Pastor Chris Jordan)
- To download a printable version of these notes, click HERE.
- To listen to this audio message or download the MP3, click HERE.
- I have good news for you this morning – the Gospel is good news!
- The good news is that we can defeat discouragement! We all get discouraged and feel like quitting – we lose our motivation, confidence and optimism.
- How do you know if discouragement is about to happen in your life?
- #1 way – you’re at the halfway point, the point of no return. (Marriage, job, transition)
- NEHEMIAH – A MAN OF PRAYER AND CARE FOR PEOPLE:
“1 The words of Nehemiah the son of Hachaliah. It came to pass in the month of Chislev, in the twentieth year, as I was in Shushan the citadel, 2 that Hanani one of my brethren came with men from Judah; and I asked them concerning the Jews who had escaped, who had survived the captivity, and concerning Jerusalem. 3 And they said to me, “The survivors who are left from the captivity in the province are there in great distress and reproach. The wall of Jerusalem is also broken down, and its gates are burned with fire.” 4 So it was, when I heard these words, that I sat down and wept, and mourned for many days; I was fasting and praying before the God of heaven.” (Nehemiah 1:1-4).
- Nehemiah was the King’s cupbearer – a servant – who risked his life for the King.
- His story starts with prayer and care – for people.
- This chapter contains a great model prayer – very similar to the Lord’s prayer.
- In Chapter 2, Nehemiah is before the King and God gives him favour to return toJerusalemto rebuild the walls of the city.
- NEHEMIAH – A MAN WITH A HEART TO REBUILD BROKEN WALLS:
“Then I said to them, “You see the distress that we are in, howJerusalemlies waste, and its gates are burned with fire. Come and let us build the wall ofJerusalem, that we may no longer be a reproach.” And I told them of the hand of my God which had been good upon me, and also of the king’s words that he had spoken to me. So they said, “Let us rise up and build.” Then they set their hands to this good work.” (Neh. 2:17-18).
- Nehemiah had a heartto rebuild what was broken.
- In Chapter 3, we seethe rebuilding begin: “Next to them the Tekoites made repairs; but theirnobles did not put their shouldersto the work of their Lord” (Neh. 3:5).
- In the work ofbuilding the Kingdom of God, there will always be slackers!
- NEHEMIAH – A MAN WHO OVERCAME DISCOURAGEMENT:
“Sanballat was very angry when he learned that we were rebuilding the wall. He flew into a rage and mocked the Jews, saying in front of his friends and the Samarian army officers, “What does this bunch of poor, feeble Jews think they are doing? Do they think they can build the wall in a day if they offer enough sacrifices? Look at those charred stones they are pulling out of the rubbish and using again!” (Neh. 4:1-2, NLT).
- Sanballat was their enemy who wanted to discourage the Jews and get them to fail
“At last the wall was completed to half its original height around the entire city, for the people had worked very hard. But when Sanballat and Tobiah and the Arabs, Ammonites, and Ashdodites heard that the work was going ahead and that the gaps in the wall were being repaired, they became furious. They all made plans to come and fight againstJerusalemand to bring about confusion there.” (v.6-8).
- When we get busy building the kingdom of God, the enemy will bring discouragement.
“But we prayed to our God and guarded the city day and night to protect ourselves. Then the people of Judah began to complain that the workers were becoming tired. There was so much rubble to be moved that we could never get it done by ourselves. Meanwhile, our enemies were saying, “Before they know what’s happening, we will swoop down on them and kill them and end their work.” The Jews who lived near the enemy came and told us again and again, “They will come from all directions and attack us!” (v.9-12).
- They were discouraged – losing courage. From enemies and friends!
- ILLUSTRATION: “Knock knock. Hey you guys, we’ve been hanging around the negative people, they told us they were going to come and kill you.” (3x).
- You need to be careful what kind of people you hang around with – are they negative?
- But you need to recognize when you’re discouraged so you can deal with it.
- You don’t need to run to drugs, alcohol or some other source – go to God!
SYMPTOMS OF DISCOURAGEMENT:
- Fatigue: “the workers were becoming tired.” (v.10a). Physical symptom.
- Frustration: “There was so much rubble to be moved, we could never get it done by ourselves.” (v.10b). They began to see themselves as failures. Mental symptom.
- Fear: “they made plans to bring about confusion.” (v.8). Spiritual attack.
- The Bible says, “God has not given us a spirit of fear!” (2 Tim. 1:7).
HOW TO OVERCOME DISCOURAGEMENT:
Discouragement is universal (it happens to everyone) and it is inevitable.
“These things I have spoken to you, that in Me you may have peace. In the world you willhave tribulation; but be of good cheer, I have overcome the world.” (John 16:33).
- You may not need this now, but one day you will face discouragement…
- PRAYER: Cry out to God for help.
“Then I prayed, “Hear us, O our God, for we are being mocked.” (4:4).
- He told God how he felt – we need get honest with God.
- David prayed: “Hear my cry, O God; Attend to my prayer. From the end of the earth I will cry to You, When my heart is overwhelmed; Lead me to the rock that is higher thanI.For You have been a shelter for me, A strong tower from the enemy.” (Psalm 61:1-3).
- Be God-gazers, not rubble gazers. Your focus will determine your feelings.
- Focus on rubbish, you will feel like rubbish. Focus on God’s love, you will feel loved.
- PEOPLE: Stay closely connected to God’s family.
“So I placed armed guards behind the lowest parts of the wall in the exposed areas. I stationed the people to stand guard by families, armed with swords, spears, and bows.” (Neh. 4:13).
- There is strength in numbers! We need each other – that’s why God gave us the church.
- If you’re going through a battle, share it with your brothers and sisters in the church.
- Let’s pray for one another, care for one another, and share one another’s troubles.
- PERSEVERENCE: Refuse to give up.
“Then as I looked over the situation, I called together the leaders and the people and said to them, “Don’t be afraid of the enemy! Remember the Lord, who is great and glorious, and fight for your friends, your families, and your homes! When our enemies heard that we knew of their plans and that God had frustrated them, we all returned to our work on the wall.” (v.13-15).
- When you start getting discouraged, remember all the things God has done for you.
- Get around other Christians and have them encourage you with their testimonies.
- PASSION: Focus on the good work of building God’s Kingdom.
“1 Now it happened when Sanballat, Tobiah, Geshem the Arab, and the rest of our enemies heard that I had rebuilt the wall, and that there were no breaks left in it (though at that time I had not hung the doors in the gates), 2 that Sanballat and Geshem sent to me, saying, “Come, let us meet together among the villages in the plain of Ono.” But they thought to do me harm. 3 So I sent messengers to them, saying, “I am doing a great work, so that I cannot come down. Why should the work cease while I leave it and go down to you?” 4 But they sent me this message four times, and I answered them in the same manner.” (Neh. 6:1-4).
- The enemy will try to discourage us, and also distract us.
- See Nehemiah’s passion: “I am doing a great work, I will not come down!”
- What good work are we to be doing?
- “1 “The Spirit of the Lord God is upon Me, Because the Lord has anointed Me To preach good tidings to the poor; He has sent Me to heal the brokenhearted, To proclaim liberty to the captives, And the opening of the prison to those who are bound; 2 To proclaim the acceptable year of the Lord, And the day of vengeance of our God; To comfort all who mourn, 3 To console those who mourn in Zion, To give them beauty for ashes, The oil of joy for mourning, The garment of praise for the spirit of heaviness; That they may be called trees of righteousness, The planting of the Lord, that He may be glorified.” 4 And they shall rebuild the old ruins, They shall raise up the former desolations, And they shall repair the ruined cities, The desolations of many generations.” (Isaiah 61:1-4).
PRAYER: For those who are discouraged and feel like giving up
Beausejour Community Church Website: www.beausejourchurch.ca
Pastor Chris Jordan’s Blog: https://pastorchrisjordan.wordpress.com/