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Nehemiah 6:1-19
Stephen Caswell © 2000
A melon farmer's crop of melons were disappearing fast from his field.
Thieves were continually stealing the melons under the cover of night's darkness.
The farmer became desperate and in an attempt to save his crop from the vandals he decided to put up a sign.
The sign had on it a skull and crossbones, and it read: *One of these melons is poisoned.*
Only the farmer knew that it was not true.
Sure enough, for two nights not a melon was missing.
But, after the third night, the farmer noticed that the sign had been altered.
Someone had scratched out the word one and replaced it with another word so the sign now read, *Two of these melons are poisoned.*
Thinking to save his crop through /deception/, he lost it all!
People in places of /spiritual/ leadership not only have the pressures that all leaders face, but they must also battle an infernal enemy who is a master deceiver and a murderer.
Satan comes either as/ a serpent who deceives/ or /a lion who devours/, and Christian leaders must be alert and spiritually equipped to oppose him.
It behooves God’s people to pray earnestly, not only for those in /civil/ authority, but also for those in places of /spiritual/ authority.
If Satan can defeat a Christian leader, he can cripple a whole ministry and discredit the cause of Christ.
*/The enemy’s main purpose was to generate fear in the heart of Nehemiah and his workers knowing that fear destroys faith and paralyzes life./*
6:9, 13–14 & 19 refer to fear.
Last Sunday we saw the enemy within; greed.
This time his attack was directed at God's leader, Nehemiah.
In chapter 6 we see four different scheme's.
Each scheme involved lies and deception.
*/They are: /*
Subtilty              II.
Slander             III.
Scare Tactics              IV.
/Firstly/  Subtilty
Sanballat's Request/
*Nehemiah 6:1-2a* /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), that Sanballat and Geshem sent to me, saying, Come, let us meet together among the villages in the plain of Ono./
/ /
Up to this point in the building program, Sanballat, Tobiah, and Geshem /opposed/ everything that the Jews did; but now they offered to /cooperate/ and help the Jews build the wall.
But they were lying.
They offered to meet Nehemiah in a village halfway between Jerusalem and Samaria, a quiet place where they could make plans on how to work together.
*/We’re willing to meet you halfway, was their approach.
Now, don’t be an unfriendly neighbor!/*
Sanballat and Geshem requested Nehemiah to meet them in a village out of town.
Surely this was not an unreasonable request.
He wanted to talk things over with Nehemiah.
They hadn't gotten on together until now, but it was time to bury the hatchet now.
Of course, the enemy’s strategy was,/ If you can’t beat ’em, join ’em—and then take over!/
Once the enemy gets a foothold in a ministry, he starts to weaken the work from within; and ultimately, the work will fail.
While cooperation in the Lord’s work is a noble thing, leaders must take care that they cooperate with the right people at the right time for the right purpose; otherwise they may end up cooperating with the enemy./
/When you invite the devil to join your team, expect him to change the rules and the goals; and expect to be defeated.
Sanballat used the subtle approach against Nehemiah this time.
Satan often tempts us this way.
*2 Corinthians 11:3* *says:* /But I fear, lest somehow, as the serpent deceived Eve by his subtilty, so your minds may be corrupted from the simplicity that is in Christ.
/ /
Nehemiah's Response/
/ /
*Nehemiah 2b-4*/ But they thought to do me harm.//
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?
But they sent me this message four times, and I answered them in the same manner./
/ /
He Knew They Meant To Harm Him
When your enemy pretends to be your friend, look out!
Nehemiah had the kind of spiritual discernment that leaders must possess if they are going to detect the enemy’s strategy and defeat it.
Nehemiah saw through Sanballat's scheme.
He was not deceived by the serpents subtilty.
He remembered how Sanballat had threatened himself and the Jews just a few weeks earlier.
/Why should he trust him now?/
He Was Convinced He Was Doing A Great Work
Second, he was convinced of the greatness of the work God had given him to do.
/If Nehemiah allowed himself to be distracted and detoured from the work God had called him to do, where would his people go for leadership?/
A leaderless project is an aimless project and eventually falls apart.
Leaders must be good examples and stay on the job.
He Had Nothing In Common With The Enemy
/ /
They had nothing in common with Sanballat and his crowd, so there could be no basis for cooperation.
Nehemiah had made that clear at the very outset of the project when he said to Sanballat, Tobiah, and Geshem, /you have no heritage, or right or memorial in Jerusalem, but we will rise up and build./
*Neh 2:20* God’s people are different from the people of the world and must maintain their separated position./
If Nehemiah had cooperated with Sanballat and his allies, how could he have led the nation to separate itself from the foreigners in the land?/
He would have been inconsistent.
*2 Cor 6:14-15 says:* /Do not be unequally yoked together with unbelievers.
For what fellowship has righteousness with lawlessness?
And what communion has light with darkness?
And what accord has Christ with Belial?
Or what part has a believer with an unbeliever?/
/ /
Appearance Of Goodness  -/ Friedrich Nietzsche/
To win certain people over, it is first necessary to give it a gloss of love of humanity, nobility, gentleness, self-sacrifice; and there is nothing you can't get them to swallow.
Beware of the serpent he is subtle and gently calls us to compromise.
/ /
The enemy offered to work together on the wall.
/Couldn't Nehemiah meet them half way? /Nehemiah wouldn't compromise with the enemy!
/Do you compromise your convictions when asked to smoke or drink or go to immoral movies?
Do you meet them half way so that you will be accepted?
/Be careful when people ask you to compromise your Christian standards.
One small compromise always leads to another./
/Nehemiah saw the  enemy's subtilty./
/We must be alert to Satan's subtle attacks too./
/Compromise always hurts us./
Are you careful when the enemy pretends to be on your side?
/You must be./ /
/ /
Nehemiah was doing a great work for God.
/Why should the work stop while he left it?
Are you committed to God's work here or are you divided in your Church attendance?
Unless you commit yourself to one Church how can you use your gifts and get involved?
/You will become a spectator, not a participator./
God wants people who will work on the wall, not go from one building site to another.
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