Stephen Caswell © 2000
I Can Watch Work All Day
British humorist Jerome K. Jerome said, /I like work, it fascinates me.
I can sit and look at it for hours on end./
When it comes to the work of the Lord, there is no place for spectators or self-appointed advisors and critics; but there is always room for workers.
Nehemiah faced a great challenge and had great faith in a great God, but he would have accomplished very little had there not been great dedication on the part of the people who helped him to rebuild.
Last Sunday we saw how Nehemiah challenged the people to go to the wall.
After he examined the work first hand he called them to rise up and build.
We saw how the people caught the vision and responded in faith.
But immediately the enemy opposed the work and Nehemiah rebuked him.
Nehemiah stood firmly on his convictions trusting God to vindicate him.
Today we see the result of Nehemiah's challenge.
The people rise up and build.
I would like to look at today's passage under three headings.
The Purpose II.
The Pattern III. The People
The Glory Of God/
Nehemiah was concerned about only one thing, the glory of God.
Israel was God's witness to all the nations.
Jerusalem was His special city.
God loves Jerusalem.
But because of sin He had allowed it to become /a ruin and a reproach/.
The Gentile nations delighted in mocking their Jewish neighbors by pointing to the dilapidated condition of Jerusalem.
However the time had come to change this.
Nehemiah desired to see Jerusalem rebuilt and fulfill its God given purpose.
We saw Nehemiah's concern for God's glory last week in *Nehemiah 2:17b:* /Come and let us build the wall of Jerusalem, that we may no longer be a reproach.
/The purpose of all ministry is the glory of God.
It is not work for work sake or the promotion of religious leaders or organizations.
*1 Corinthians 10:31 says:* /Therefore whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God.
Just A Job
Three men were hard at work on a large building project.
Someone asked them, /What are you doing?
I'm mixing mortar one said.
The second man said, I'm putting up this great stone wall.
But the third replied, I'm building a cathedral for the glory of God.
/It doesn't matter what our occupation is, we can just do the task to be paid or we can do it for the glory of God!
The same is true of our service in the Church.
The Growth Of The People/
Of course, the rebuilding of the walls and setting up of the gates also meant protection and security for the people.
Jerusalem was surrounded by enemies, and it seemed foolish for the residents to improve their property when nothing was safe from invasion or plunder.
Over the years, the citizens had become accustomed to their plight.
Like too many believers in the Church today, they were content with the status quo.
But Nehemiah's arrival changed all this.
A Church that doesn't grow soon withers and dies.
The Glory Of God/ Nehemiah was concerned with God's glory.
This was his motive for rebuilding.
/Is your motive for service God's glory?/
It should be!
Only this is acceptable.
The Growth Of The People / As we serve the Lord for His glory we ourselves grow.
God's people grow through service, not just learning the word of God.
God calls us to serve in His field not only to come and feed.
People who eat and never exercise become overweight!
Nehemiah was a leader who planned his work and worked his plan.
We should follow his example.
The work was far to great for him to complete alone.
He assigned the workers specific tasks to complete.
Thirty eight different workers are named in this chapter and forty two different groups are identified.
Many others were involved but aren't named.
Their service is just as important and God is aware of it.
Nehemiah assigned many workers their tasks near to their homes.
This was very wise since they had a personal interest in this section.
It also saved time in traveling to work.
The priests rebuilt the sheep gate as they had a particular interest in this because of the sacrifices.
Although the Church is an organism and not an organization it still requires organization.
For the Church to grow God has appointed leaders.
He has appointed pastors or overseers, administrators and deacons for this purpose.
Because the task was large, there was a job for everyone to do.
God's work is great requiring many laborers.
Today, many believers leave the Lord's work to just a few people.
They think that it is the job of the pastors and deacons.
Last Sunday night we looked at 1 Corinthians 12.
We saw how Paul compared individual Christians to members of the human body.
Each member is important having a special function.
A function that only they can do!
Do you believe that the Lord's work is just for one or two dedicated people.
D.L Moody confronted this sort of thinking in his day too.
However I believe it is more common today.
D.L. Moody On Church Work
A great many people have got a false idea about the church.
They have got an idea that the church is a place to rest in.
To get into a nicely cushioned pew, and contribute to the charities, listen to the minister, and do their share to keep the church out of bankruptcy.
The idea of work for them, actual work in the church, never enters their minds.
Yet, the great commission has been given to all believers.
/What ministry are you doing in God's work? /