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Put Down Your Cup

Re-examining Your Responsibility   •  Sermon  •  Submitted
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Put Down Your Cup

Introduction

Nehemiah opens up with him in the winter residence of the kings of Persia - in the courtroom of a foreign King (Neh. 1:1)
Nehemiah shows a deep concern for his brethren
He inquires about them and Jerusalem (Neh. 1:2)
He is in sadness because of them (Neh. 1:4)
Nehemiah shows a willingness to confront flaws
His flaws (Neh 1:7c)
Israel’s flaws (Neh. 1:7b)
Nehemiah shows a readiness to take responsibility to restore the people (Neh 1:11)

Nehemiah was “the cupbearer to the king”

[Give story of Ernie trying to play the saxophone with something in his hand]
For Nehemiah to have a clear picture of what he needs to do as a servant of God he would have to be willing “put his cup down!”
Nehemiah recognized that it would not be possible to carry out this responsibility to God and Israel while remaining a cupbearer to the Persian king. He had to put it down.
Only when we are willing to put the business of God first, we can have a clearer picture of what God requires of us. We need to “put the cup down”.
When the cup is down, when God has our full attention we will see:

God’s PURPOSE (Neh 1:2-3)

When Nehemiah heard the news it was too much for him to bear. He was overcome with sorrow but he knew that he was put there for a purpose the same way Esther was made queen “for such a time like this”.
This purpose comes out in Neh 2:17-18
What God has blessed you with is not for you, its primarily for His glory.
We must remember that God has a purpose for His church (Eph 3:10; 21; 1 Pet 2:5)
So put down the cup of pride, self-will, and indifference. Egos and opinions are not worth more than God’s purpose.

God’s PRESENCE (Neh 1:5)

This point does not refer to the full glorious presence of God, but His presence through prayer. The Father (Matt 6:9) The Son (Heb 4:15-16) The Spirit (Rom 8:26-27). Prayer invites the very presence of God and this is what makes it powerful.
Prayer:
Acknowledges that God is real and active
Acknowledges my defficiencies (flaws)
Gives an indication of my dependence on God’s direction
Exposes the heart for you to see (sometimes we just don’t like what we see)
DISCLAIMER: Prayer does not make God better.

Acknowledging the presence of God brings us to our knees in humility because we can see that we are powerless.

We are POWERLESS (Neh 1:6-7)

Sin makes us powerless (Isa. 59:1-2)
Nehemiah knew he was restricted because of sin that they had committed that led to the captivity.
Consider how sin (being away from God makes us powerless) makes us powerless Romans 5:6-10. Paul gives us a description of how we look because of sin.
Holding our cups of pride make it difficult to see how flawed we are consider Isa. 6:5
Only when I see my powerlessness I can tap into God’s strength (2 Cor 12:9)

God’s POWER (Neh 1:8-11)

Nehemiah’s intimate relationship with God is vividly displayed in this prayer.
Even if Nehemiah recognizes God’s purpose, God’s presence and that he is powerless, he cannot effect change until he taps into God’s power.
Nehemiah was cupbearer to the king yet he did not rely on”his” power but God’s.
We know that Nehemiah trusted the power of God because when he got the news he went to the King of kings first then the king of Persia
This message is profound to those living during this time; “Trust in God’s power” cf. Zech 4:6
Nehemiah has to trust in God’s power (God’s ability to perform). Consider the word “remember” (vs. 8) and “make successful” and “grant” (vs. 11)
Eph 3:15-16 Paul prays for power

Be Saved like the folks in Acts 2:38; they heard, they believed, they repented, and they were baptized.

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