I am not coming down
Title: I am not coming down, I doing a great work!
Text: Nehemiah 6:1-15
Our story today is about a man with a concern not particularly for himself but for the well being of his people who were now coming out of captivity. Nehemiah, the cupbearer for the king of Babylon, was a man on a mission to rebuild the wall of Jerusalem. Nehemiah was a humble leader of the Jewish people and a man of action. He stayed calm under pressure and he was focused on the task that the Lord committed to him. Nehemiah’s character is the character that a pastor should imitate. For one thing, we see a man of compassion for his people. He saw the need of his people and did something to meet it. As pastor you should have a heart for God’s children well being and be ready to do something to meet their needs. We also learn from Nehemiah is the importance of a pastor’s spirituality. In Neh 1:4 tells us that he not only wept and mourned about the condition of his people but he fasted and prayed. Nehemiah shows us as pastors that we must have a consecrated lifestyle. We must fast and pray seeking the Lord’s guidance. Even Jesus tells that there and some things that only can be handled by fasting and praying. It is through his consecrated lifestyle that Lord gives Nehemiah favor by allowing the king not only to give him release papers to go and rebuild the wall of Jerusalem but also send supplies with him. We, as believers and especially pastor’s should have the spirit of Nehemiah i.e. have compassion for people, a mission and an intimate relationship with the Lord so we can have favor with God. But don’t let it surprise you that when you begin working for the Lord, the enemy gets started! You were fine before you started serving and traditional. You were alright just warming a pew but when you started to answer the call to serve, the enemy raised his head! This is what happened to Nehemiah. At first the enemy laughed him to scorn when he said he was going rebuild the wall which seem to be impossible. But you know with God nothing is impossible. When the enemy saw that he was getting it done, they got mad and were ready to kill him. Isn’t that just like the enemy? People will laugh at you at first not taking you serious but when they start seeing the result of the glory of God in your life, they get mad and are ready to kill you maybe not physically, they will try to do it emotionally and psychologically! But know that, “no weapon formed against you will prosper” when you are doing the Lord’s work!
It is here that we enter our message for today. The passage opens up with Nehemiah’s enemies, Sanballat, Tobiah and Geshem heard that the wall of Jerusalem was near completion but there was no door on the gates. This was prime time for the enemy to attack. The enemy’s job is to look for openings in your life to destroy what you are doing for the Lord. He goes for the weakest and unguarded area in your life to try to stop you. But Nehemiah went on ahead anyway and did what the Lord has called him to do which is our first point which is...
I. Be Persistent
Nehemiah’s enemies tried to get him to stop what he was doing. They sent him a message to “come down from doing what you are doing and meet with us”. This was just a distraction trying to make Nehemiah lose his focus and not finish what the work of the Lord. Anything that distracts you from Jesus is from the enemy. Don’t get distracted. Stay up there and keep working! Don’t curse back. Don’t argue back. Keep on working. If you do anything, give God glory with praise and serving Him with gladness. That will make the enemy even madder but you will have the victory. Our problem is that we lose our focus and come down to their level. But you have to be persistent and focused. Look what Nehemiah says in verse 3. He tells his enemies “that I am doing a great work. Why should I stop and come down to you?” He was persistent. But don’t think that the enemy is going stop because you resisted him one time. The text tells us that the enemies sent the same message four more times. The enemy is persistent. He will try to wear you down until you give in. Also, if the enemy does not get you one way he will try another way. Look at verses 5-7. The enemy sent out an open letter trying to scandalize Nehemiah’s name attempting to make him afraid of moving forward. An open letter was a public document that all could read. It was the group list email of that day. In the letter, it said that Nehemiah was trying to start a rebellion, that he was trying to be king and that he was setting up his own prophets. These were all lies. Lies are intended to break your character and weaken your testimony by attacking you on an emotional level attempting to slow down your progress. You can’t let lies stop what you are doing because as soon as you do, the enemy has you. Nehemiah teaches us in verse 8 how to handle enemies lies. All he says is that what they said is not true and that they made it up in heart. In other words, “stop lying” and he kept it moving! He did not fight back. He just kept it moving”. He stayed focused. You have to stay focused on Jesus and don’t give room for the enemy. Be persistent in getting the work done. Nehemiah does not stop what he is doing to get back at his enemies but he does something else that we have to learn while we are doing work to build the kingdom of God and that is to…
II. Pray for power
Look how Nehemiah prays in verse 9. He says “O God, strengthen my hands”. Doing the work of the Lord, you will become weary and you will need strength. Prayer will give you strength in the time of need. Saints, you must have a prayer life to receive your daily bread for strength. Prayer will strengthen you and give you victory over your enemy. We have to learn to pray like Nehemiah prays, “God strengthen me so I can complete what you have given me to do”. Strengthen me so I can the parent I need to be. God strengthen me so I can serve. Strengthen me so I can work on this job that is getting on my nerves! You have to pray for strength. The old church adage is true: “Much prayer, much power, little prayer, little power, no prayer, no power!”
After this episode with the enemy, Nehemiah takes a break from his work. The text says that Nehemiah goes to the house (built in the wall) of someone he knows named Shemaiah. The name Shemaiah means “Yahweh has heard”. He is somebody that God hears. But there is a problem with this encounter. In verse 10, Shemaiah suggested to Nehemiah that he should lock himself in the temple because the enemy was trying to do him harm. In verse 11, Nehemiah responds “should a man like me run away or go into the temple?” Nehemiah rejects his so-called friend’s offer. Nehemiah shows no fear from his enemies. This reinforces that we should not fear our enemies because God did not give us a spirit of fear but of power, love and a sound mind. But what was so bad about going to the temple? Here is the problem. Even though Shemaiah asked him to go into the temple, Nehemiah didn’t go in because only the Levite priest could go into the temple according to the law. Even though it was a safe place, Nehemiah would have lost his integrity by listening to his so-called friend. But there is a bigger problem in the text. Shemaiah, the one that Yahweh hears, wants Nehemiah to do the wrong thing. It is a sad affair when church folk “the one’s that God hears” want you to do wrong and lose you integrity. That is why Bible tells us not only do we have to pray but also we have to watch which leads us to our next point.
III. Be Perceptive
You have to be perceptive about what is going on while you are doing the work of the Lord because the enemy will use the people of God to get you off track. Even in church as sad as it may be, we have to be aware of people motives. Look at verse 12, Nehemiah states “Lo, I perceive that God has not sent him…he was hired by the enemy”. Nehemiah discerned that Shemaiah’s motives were not of God. My brothers and my sisters, when things seem shaky, use your discernment the Lord gives you through the Holy Spirit. I John 4:1b states “, but test the spirits whether they are of God. God will never tell you something that won’t give Him glory. The Holy Spirit will give you discernment so you will have spiritual insight. The text says that Shemaiah, the one that the Lord hears was hired by the enemy. Lesson: We all have to watch out for who and what we are connected to outside of our faith! Because if you are not strong, you will bring that same spirit in the church and cause problems. That is why you have to be perceptive about who is around you. Being perceptive also teaches to focus our prayers. Look how Nehemiah prays next. After he discovers his enemies plot to try to get him to abort his mission, Nehemiah prays in verse 14 to the Lord “think upon or remember my enemy’s works”. God, you see what they have been doing to me. He is summonsing God to come see about his situation. When you pray like this you can be sure that God sees and knows all about your trouble. That is why you have to have a little talk with Jesus and tell him about your trouble he will hear you faintest cry and answer by and by. God answers Nehemiah prayer. In verse 15, the text says that the wall was complete just 52 days! When you are doing the Lord’s work, He will make things that seem impossible to do become possible. You thought is was impossible…(explain)
Celebration: Nehemiah persistence, perception and prayers paid off. He did not come down to his enemy’s level but he stayed up on the wall until his work was complete. He did not stop what he was doing for the Lord. He was not going to be distracted. But He was going to keep going until the work was done. And the wall was completed. My brothers and my sisters, don’t come down to your enemies. Don’t stop! Keep up the work! The Lord will be your strength. Just stay focused and don’t come down! Stay up there! God will give you strength. The Lord gives you the same strength that used when He stayed on the cross. He had the strength not to come down though the enemy taunted him. He did not come down though pain was ripping through His body. He did not come down while nails where tearing through his flesh. He did not come down when the blood was dripping from his brow. He did come down until the work was complete. God gives you the strength to persist when the work gets hard. That is why you can’t come down. Look at you neighbor and tell them I am not coming down. I am not going quit. I am not going to stop because I got the power of Jesus inside of me. That power is persistent for me. That power is perceptive for me. And that power prays for me. I got the power of the Holy Ghost. That’s why I can’t come down. I got too much power to sustain me, power to protect me, power to help me in my time of need! I ain’t coming down!