Faithlife Sermons

The Hidden Agenda

Summer Series 2017: Our Acts of Devotion to God (No.2)  •  Sermon  •  Submitted
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Identify the main area of our devotion to God

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INTRO: The main idea this morning is that we each discover our one sole purpose for being here, that one driving force in life, the one thing that we believe God wants us to do for Him.
The main idea this morning is that we each discover our one sole purpose, one driving force in life, the one thing that we believe God wants us to do for Him.
Now we all know that there are lots of demands upon our time; we all have a to do list as long as your arm. Having said that, there has to be one overarching priority around which everything else we do revolves.
At our last board meeting we took time to work on this very thing. We have been thinking about our Mission, Vision & Value Statement as a church. I suppose we could put it this way; we are trying, as a leadership team, to identify what the main thing is for Brooklands Church and Keep the main thing the main thing’.
That for me, is our Devotion to Christ. But our devotion to God comes dressed in many ways. In our reading this morning, Nehemiah is our example of someone devoted to a specific task.
That for me, is the way we show ‘Our Devotion to Christ.’ But our devotion to God comes dressed in many different garments. In our reading this morning, Nehemiah is our example of someone devoted to a specific task.
Nehemiah took a lot of people with him! It’s hard to give an exact number, but considering he rebuilt the walls pretty quickly, it was a formidable number! Sometimes the task we have to do for God will be confirmed by the number of people who stand with you. Sometimes, however, you have to go it alone.
Nehemiah 1:3 NIV
They said to me, “Those who survived the exile and are back in the province are in great trouble and disgrace. The wall of Jerusalem is broken down, and its gates have been burned with fire.”
Nehemiah took a lot of people with him! It’s hard to give an exact number, but considering he rebuilt the walls pretty quickly, it was a formidable number! Sometimes the task we have to do for God will be confirmed by the number of people who stand with you. Sometimes, you have to go it alone.
Nehemiah took a lot of people with him! It’s hard to give an exact number, but considering he rebuilt the walls pretty quickly, it was a formidable number! Sometimes the task we have to do for God will be confirmed by the number of people who stand with us. Sometimes, however, you have to go it alone.
Nehemiah took a lot of people with him! It’s hard to give an exact number, but considering he rebuilt the walls pretty quickly, it was a formidable number! Sometimes the task we have to do for God will be confirmed by the number of people who stand with you. Sometimes, you have to go it alone.
1. Nehemiah had a Profound Belief!

1. Nehemiah had a Profound Belief!

We know he had a profound belief because it showed itself in tears… 1: 6
Nehemiah 1:4 NIV
When I heard these things, I sat down and wept. For some days I mourned and fasted and prayed before the God of heaven.
Nem
Nehemiah 1:6 NIV
let your ear be attentive and your eyes open to hear the prayer your servant is praying before you day and night for your servants, the people of Israel. I confess the sins we Israelites, including myself and my father’s family, have committed against you.
He saw the people’s great need and wanted to do something about it. You have to understand that he didn’t just want to rebuild a broken wall! The destroyed wall represented something - and I want to talk about that ‘something’ this morning.
In order for Nehemiah to do something he needed a strong faith and assurance; it was a conviction that the urge in his heart was of God’s doing - and therefore the right thing to do. This became ‘his profound belief’. There is a big difference between a profound belief in something and someone’s ‘hobby horse’.
Sometimes certain people have got a ‘thing’ that they keep going on about. Well, Nehemiah didn’t have a ‘thing’, he had a ‘Profound Belief’. And it was genuinely a ‘God thing’; if you are going to have a thing, make sure it’s God’s thing!
The second point I want to make is really connected to the first, because if Nehemiah had a Profound Belief from God, then it would follow that...
2. Nehemiah had Profound Problems!
Sure enough, that is what we find. Nehemiah had a couple of profound problems to overcome. His first problem was a very obvious one. Most of chapter one is a prayer to God about this initial difficulty. Immediately after his prayer is verses 5-11, he states the problem simply.
Nehemiah had a couple of profound problems to overcome. His first problem was a very obvious one. Most of chapter one is a prayer to God about this initial difficulty. After his prayer, verses 5-11, he states the problem simply.
Nehemiah 1:11 NIV
Lord, let your ear be attentive to the prayer of this your servant and to the prayer of your servants who delight in revering your name. Give your servant success today by granting him favor in the presence of this man.” I was cupbearer to the king.
He was the Kings Cupbearer (1: 11)
Unfortunately, this was not a job where you casually handed your notice in. His profound beliefs were accompanied by profound answers to prayer. Not only did the King say, yes, how long will you need to do the job? But he also provided him with military protection and with provisions to do the repairs! This was a specific answer to prayer! He was on a roll.
He was the Kings Cupbearer (1: 11)
He writes,
He writes,
Nehemiah 1:9 NIV
but if you return to me and obey my commands, then even if your exiled people are at the farthest horizon, I will gather them from there and bring them to the place I have chosen as a dwelling for my Name.’
1 Corinthians 2:9 NIV
However, as it is written: “What no eye has seen, what no ear has heard, and what no human mind has conceived”— the things God has prepared for those who love him—
“My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.”
: 9

And because the gracious hand of my God was on me, the king granted my requests. 9

The other main problem Nehemiah struggled with came in the form of a man called Sanballat the Horonite, a Samarian Governor who wanted the city walls to remain destroyed. This was because the ‘Walls of Jerusalem’ signified the welfare of the people. This was the last thing he wanted. If the walls were down, the people were down, and if they were up, the people were up!
The details are a bit sketchy. It may simply be that because he was the Governor of Samaria, he loathed ‘the Sons of Israel’ (as one translation puts it). One scholar wrote a book about Sanballat being either the enemy within, or the enemy without! Either way you look at it, this problem was not going to go away.
His other main problem was Sanballat the Horonite , a Samarian Govenor who wanted the city walls to remain destroyed. that was because the ‘Walls of Jerusalem’ signified the welfare of the people.
Have you ever had that; you pray about one thing and almost immediately, it’s resolved. You pray about another and it just lingers there, like ‘a thorn in the flesh’! Remember Paul’s ‘thorn in the flesh’; no one really knows what it was. It was such an irritation. It just wouldn’t go away. But Jesus,
2 Corinthians 12:9 NIV
But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me.

“My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.”

The ‘thorn’ is not the important thing, the important thing is that God’s grace is sufficient for you! On at least three occasions, Paul pleaded with God to remove the problem… God’s answer on each occasion was ‘Sufficient Grace’.
And Grace he had and so did Nehemiah, and so will you. Finally...
Being the Governor of Samaria, who loathed the Sons of Israel,
3. Nehemiah had a Profound Impact!
VIZ. His influence for good was extensive. People tend to think of Nehemiah as someone who rebuilt walls. He wasn’t a bricklayer, he was an Administrator! In other words, he was a minister for the good of the people!

Nehemiah’s work was of the utmost significance for the life of God’s covenant people, contributing to the political, social, economic, and religious well-being of the fragile postexilic community.

VIZ. His influence for good was extensive. People tend to think of Nehemiah as someone who rebuilt walls. He wasn’t a bricklayer, he was an Administrator! In other words, he was a minister for the good of the people!
The rebuilding of the Walls of Jerusalem represented Nehemiah’s DEVOTION to God! There has to be something that represents or symbolises our ‘Devotion to God’. The rebuilding of the Walls of the great City of Jerusalem was a huge thing for the sons of Israel living either in captivity or in ruins in Judah.
The Devotion Nehemiah had for God was bigger than the walls he rebuilt around the city! That’s where the impact ultimately comes from.
By way of conclusion, when we hear the phrase, ‘The Hidden Agenda’ it usually refers to the secret goal that someone has kept from the public domain. Brother Lawrence had a hidden Agenda when for years, when he smuggled Bibles into the old Soviet Union. His hidden agenda today is ‘Background Believers’ in the Muslim world (if you have read that book).
When we hear the phrase, ‘The Hidden Agenda’ it usually refers to the secret goal that someone has kept from the public domain. Brother Lawrence had a hidden Agenda when for years, he smuggled Bibles into the old Soviet Union. His hidden agenda today is ‘Background Believers’ in the Muslim world.
Sometime people have to keep their God-given Agenda hidden, but mostly, its open and upfront. God’s Agenda for mankind was kept hidden and secret for a long time, but today, the secret is out; God has a plan for you in Christ Jesus His only Son, who died for you.
Colossians 1:26–27 NIV
the mystery that has been kept hidden for ages and generations, but is now disclosed to the Lord’s people. To them God has chosen to make known among the Gentiles the glorious riches of this mystery, which is Christ in you, the hope of glory.
col 1:
…?
What’s your Hidden Agenda? It is godly; is it birthed in tears? Is it your Profound Belief? Will it have a Profound Impact upon others for good. Does it align with God’s Hidden Agenda, the mystery hidden in past generations now revealed in God’s love for the world?
What’s your Hidden Agenda? It is godly; is it birthed in tears? Is it your Profound Belief? Will it have a Profound Impact upon others for good. Does it align with God’s Hidden Agenda, the mystery hidden in past generations now revealed in God’s love for the world?
Closing:
Nehemiah 4:21–23 NIV
So we continued the work with half the men holding spears, from the first light of dawn till the stars came out. At that time I also said to the people, “Have every man and his helper stay inside Jerusalem at night, so they can serve us as guards by night and as workers by day.” Neither I nor my brothers nor my men nor the guards with me took off our clothes; each had his weapon, even when he went for water.
Ch. 1: 4
Ch. 1: 11b
Ch. 2: 6
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