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Rebuilding The Walls

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REBUILDING THE WALL

Nehemiah 1:2

Introduction

The Holy Spirit directs growth.

God has forgiven each of us thru our New Birth in Christ.  But sometimes, the inescapable factual evidence of our pasts will often trail us like some monstrous creature, always waiting to strike.

Understand that ‘there is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus.’ 

Yes, our salvation answered the problem of our broken relationship w/ God

No, our salvation does not dissolve every problem in our lives.

New life in Christ opens the door to solutions but only by walking thru that door and patiently pursuing Christ in all situations, will those problems all reach resolution.

The people in Jerusalem represent a people who have been given a new lease on life but who were continuously and repeatedly blocked and shamed by their inability to demonstrate complete evidence of renewal.  Their ‘rebirth’ is seen in their return to Jerusalem but their ‘recovery’ is not seen.   As a people, they represent born again believers who have accepted Christ into their lives but still seem unable to regain control of life issues that have been mangled in the past.

Historical Setting

Year – 446 B.C.

90 years have passed since 50,000 Israelite captives in Medo-Persia were set free to return to Jerusalem which had been destroyed and burned to the ground by the Babylon King Nebuchadnezzar some time before.

Upon their return, the book of Ezra tells us that their primary focus was on rebuilding the temple and it 20 years to complete (finally completed in 516 B.C.)

However, the walls of the city still lay in ruin

70 years later when Nehemiah bursts onto the stage of history, the walls have still not been built.  They had established a place of worship but were unable to secure a sound government w/ which to guide their lives. 

Types & Shadows[i]

A RESTORED TEMPLE OF PRAISE DOESN’T GIVE GOD MUCH GLORY IF ITS MEMBERS CANNOT MANAGE THE PRACTICALS OF LIFE

Temple –

  • Our reborn spirit through God’s gift of salvation
  • represents the church

Broken Walls –

  • represents the yet to be restored, broken pieces of our lives and personalities
  • represents the ability to defend ourselves and our families against all enemies
  • represents order and structure.  The gates of the walls is where government meetings would occur

The words of aNehemiah the son of Hachaliah.

It came to pass in the month of Chislev, in the btwentieth year, as I was in cShushan 1the 2citadel, 2 that dHanani 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

[ii]

Nehemiah – (name means “the consoling breath of God”) – a type or picture of the Holy Spirit.  How?

  • In the way he comes to lead their rebuilding process
  • In the way he helps them recover walls of restored government, just as they had a temple for restored worship
  • In the way Jerusalem’s mess became a testimony to God’s might

God is as committed to our restoration as He is to our Salvation!!

Man’s original purpose

The opening chapters of Genesis tell us what our original purpose was.  Three essential truths that are set forth are:

1.  Man was created in God’s image w/ a high destiny and purpose

2.  Man was given dominion over the earth – in other words he was placed in rulership over the earth.

3.  Our rulership would continue as long as we stayed in relationship w/ the Father

Both have been broken by the fall of man.  But God is looking to restore both back to us.  Most sermons are preached on the restoring our relationship w/ God, showing how the redemptive work of Christ has brought us back into right relationship w/ Our Father.  This is the first and most important message of the gospel for if you never accept His free gift, you will be eternally lost.

However, If we stop there at the point of acknowledging our need for a restored relationship, we will fail to recognize that God’s desire is for us to also have restored rulership!

Rulership – recovery of self-control, recovery of personal identity, recovery to walk in God’s divine authority.

Restored rulership is at the heart of what Nehemiah is all about.  The restored relationship had already occurred as represented by rebuilding of the temple.  However, Nehemiah focuses on a people called to restore their city’s appearance as a stronghold of righteousnss.

The words of aNehemiah the son of Hachaliah.

It came to pass in the month of Chislev, in the btwentieth year, as I was in cShushan 1the 2citadel, 2 that dHanani 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 eprovince are there in great distress and freproach. gThe wall of Jerusalem his also broken down, and its gates are burned with fire.” [iii]

  • Hanani’s explanation gives evidence of a people who have a solid, historical evidence of their restored relationship w/ God
    • He returned them to their land,
    • Blessed them as they rebuilt the Temple
    • Visited them as they reestablished worship

But, notwithstanding the restored relationship, the people recognized the incompleteness of their situation because without a wall:

  • The city was open prey to oppressors
  • With destroyed gates there was no place for government
  • They were a joke to their enemies

In short, they had a life w/ God but had no evidence that it affected their day to day living.

How about you? Are you born again but yet parts of your life are a contradiction to the power of the God we serve?  Can someone point a finger at you and say, ‘big deal! Some new birth, just look at the mess that is your life?’

How often we are like the people of Jerusalem.  We have a restored relationship w/ God but our sense of ‘who we are’ seems to elude us like a dream that we can almost remember when we wake up.  Have you ever struggled w/ questions in your life such as:

  • Why am I so shaken w/ fear?
  • Why can’t I shut out thoughts of depression and anger?
  • What causes my inability to defend against temptation?
  • Why do I have constant feelings of worthlessness?

The answer lies in allowing God to restore our sense of rulership over the world by His Spirit.

  • This is an ongoing process (if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature….it means there’s a new world of possibilities of victory in Christ Jesus but not that we will be perfected immediately)

 

Discerning between Spirit, Soul and Body

The Bible makes a clear distinction between the spirit, soul and body of man.  The soul and spirit are not the same:

Luke 1:46,47 Mary said to Elizabeth “My sould magnifies the Lord and my spirit has rejoiced in God my Savior

Hebrews 4:12 – “for the word of God is living and powerful and sharper than any two edged sword, piercing even to the division of soul and spirit

Parallel

Temple – parallels the inner man, the human spirit.  Sin destroys our capacity to have relationship and worship Him but salvation allows us to have renewed fellowship and worship Him in spirit and in truth

City – parallels the soul.  Just as the walls and gates have been ruined by sin, the impact of sin turns our will from the things of God to the things of the world.  Sin ruins are God minded focus

Surroundings – the body, originally intended as a place of beauty and peace.  With God, He can manifest His kingdom thru us but w/o Him, sin will be manifest thru us.

Nehemiah was frustrated that the temple had been built but the walls had not been restored.  Likewise, the Holy Spirit seeks to restore our souls.  This is what Paul meant in Eph. 4:22, 23

And be renewed in the spirit of your mind; 24 And that ye put on the new man, which after God is created in righteousness and truef holiness[iv]

The words renewed in the spirit of your mind show how the mind must be controlled by the “new” in their lives.  Chpters 1 & 2 show that Paul is talking to a group of believers who accepted the gift of grace but are still struggling with everything from anger, to crude and lewd talk, to lying and unforgiveness.  Simply put, their temple (spirit) was rebuilt but their walls (soul) still needed rebuilding.

 

 

Key to rebuilding the wall - Prayer

 

Nehemiah’s Prayer – Chapter 1:4-11

  • Essential to the process of rebuilding a life according to God’s promise and purpose
  • His prayer gives us some basic pointers on to the pathway to prayer

Verse 4&5– (And it came to pass, when I heard these words, that I sat down and wept, and mourned certain days, and fasted, and prayed before the God of heaven, 5 And said, I beseech thee, O LORD God of heaven, the great and terrible God, that keepeth covenant and mercy for them that love him and observe his commandments)

  •  

Begin w/ Worship

Commit to the Prayer

Confession in Prayer

Verse 6 - Let thine ear now be attentive, and thine eyes open, that thou mayest hear the prayer of thy servant, which I pray before thee now, day and night, for the children of Israel thy servants, and confess the sins of the children of Israel, which we have sinned against thee: both I and my father’s house have sinned[v]

Conclusion

Revelations 21:17-26

14 And the wall of the city had twelve foundations, and in them the names of the twelve apostles of the Lamb. 15 And he that talked with me had a golden reed to measure the city, and the gates thereof, and the wall thereof. 16 And the city lieth foursquare, and the length is as large as the breadth: and he measured the city with the reed, twelve thousand furlongs. The length and the breadth and the height of it are equal. 17 And he measured the wall thereof, an hundred and forty and four cubits, according to the measure of a man, that is, of the angel. 18 And the building of the wall of it was of jasper: and the city was pure gold, like unto clear glass. 19 And the foundations of the wall of the city were garnished with all manner of precious stones. The first foundation was jasper; the second, sapphire; the third, a chalcedony; the fourth, an emerald; 20 The fifth, sardonyx; the sixth, sardius; the seventh, chrysolite; the eighth, beryl; the ninth, a topaz; the tenth, a chrysoprasus; the eleventh, a jacinth; the twelfth, an amethyst. 21 And the twelve gates were twelve pearls; every several gate was of one pearl: and the street of the city was pure gold, as it were transparent glass. 22 And I saw no temple therein: for the Lord God Almighty and the Lamb are the temple of it. 23 And the city had no need of the sun, neither of the moon, to shine in it: for the glory of God did lighten it, and the Lamb is the light thereof. 24 And the nations of them which are saved shall walk in the light of it: and the kings of the earth do bring their glory and honour into it. 25 And the gates of it shall not be shut at all by day: for there shall be no night there. 26 And they shall bring the glory and honour of the nations into it. 27 And there shall in no wise enter into it any thing that defileth, neither whatsoever worketh abomination, or maketh a lie: but they which are written in the Lamb’s book of life.

[1]

Rebuild the walls of your life by letting the Holy Spirit restore you to rulership over:

Your home

Your life

Your church

Every thing that you touch

[vi]

    •  

[vii]


----

[1] The Holy Bible : King James Version. electronic ed. of the 1769 edition of the 1611 Authorized Version. Bellingham WA : Logos Research Systems, Inc., 1995, S. Re 21:14-27


----

[i]

a Neh. 10:1

b Neh. 2:1

c Esth. 1:1, 2, 5; Dan. 8:2

1 Or Susa

2 Or fortified palace, and so elsewhere in the book

d Neh. 7:2

[ii] The New King James Version. Nashville : Thomas Nelson, 1982, S. Ne 1:1-2

a Neh. 10:1

b Neh. 2:1

c Esth. 1:1, 2, 5; Dan. 8:2

1 Or Susa

2 Or fortified palace, and so elsewhere in the book

d Neh. 7:2

e Neh. 7:6

f Neh. 2:17

g Neh. 2:17

h 2 Kin. 25:10

[iii] The New King James Version. Nashville : Thomas Nelson, 1982, S. Ne 1:3

f true...: or, holiness of truth

[iv] The Holy Bible : King James Version. electronic ed. of the 1769 edition of the 1611 Authorized Version. Bellingham WA : Logos Research Systems, Inc., 1995, S. Eph 4:23-24

[v] The Holy Bible : King James Version. electronic ed. of the 1769 edition of the 1611 Authorized Version. Bellingham WA : Logos Research Systems, Inc., 1995, S. Ne 1:6

[vi] The Holy Bible : King James Version. electronic ed. of the 1769 edition of the 1611 Authorized Version. Bellingham WA : Logos Research Systems, Inc., 1995, S. Ne 1:4-5

[vii] The New King James Version. Nashville : Thomas Nelson, 1982, S. Ne 1:1-2

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