Faithlife Sermons

Kingdom Mission Work

Living as Exiles for our Faithful God  •  Sermon  •  Submitted   •  Presented   •  40:55
0 ratings
Sermon Tone Analysis
View more →
George Mueller is just one of many faithful kingdom servants throughout church history. He was a German born follower of Jesus who ended up in Bristol England, pastoring a church for over 60 years and ministering among the likes of Charles Spurgeon and DL Moody in the 19th century. Mueller is not best known as an eloquent orator like Spurgeon, or a faithful missionary like Hudson Taylor. One of his greatest achievements was his cares for orphans during his lifetime.
He saw the care for orphans as an application to the love for God and all people and he rescued many of these children from an early death by his care. He did so by faith and prayer, trusting God would provide the needs of the children, WITHOUT EVE SOLICITING OR ASKING OTHERS FOR MONEY. Mueller built 5 orphanages in England and cared for over 10,000 orphans over his lifetime. In a biography of Mueller, AT Pierson writes of Mueller’s influence on England was so impactful that “fifty years after Mr. Mueller began his work, at least one hundred thousand orphans were cared for in England alone.” Of course, he did all this as he pastored the same church and cared for his family.
These stories are not supposed to seem extraordinary. They are merely simple followers of Jesus who were emboldened with a passion from God to carry out his good name in the world, and they faithfully did so for his glory.
Our passage in Nehemiah chapter 2 today is a similar story. In God’s faithfulness, he raised up an ordinary Nehemiah to accomplish God’s purposes in extraordinary ways. We saw last week in chapter 1 that Nehemiah was an exile in Susa, the Persian capital city, and by God’s grace, Nehemiah was elevated from common man to cupbearer of the king.
God sent news to Nehemiah that the walls of Jerusalem were still in disrepair and not secure from enemy opposition. Nehemiah seeing the need before him would respond with action.
Nehemiah is a shadow of Christ who acted faithfully to meet the needs of sinners across the world. In our great destitute state, separated from God because of sin, the Father sent the Son on a mission of redemption. The son, the Lord Jesus carried out the mission faithfully, meeting the need before him in order that the name of God would be glorified and people could be saved from the wrath of God upon sin.
Above all, Christ should motivate us to move faithfully to accomplish God’s work in this world. We should be accomplishing what I call Kingdom Mission Work until our last dying breath. This work is done, not by superheroes of the faith but simple plain Jane faithful Christians like Nehemiah, George Mueller, you and I.
Today, we are going to look in Chapter 2 and from it see how God used Nehemiah to carry out God’s kingdom mission in his life. God is calling you to be a part of this as well. Not to sit idly by in the stands with the spectators just watching the time pass by. God calls all believers in Jesus, through the mouth of Paul to “fight the fight of faith (1 Tim 6:12) which means that all believers are supposed to be used by God to carry out his purposes on this earth. Let’s look at how God did this in Nehemiah and be challenged in what God is calling us to do.

Passion about God’s Kingdom (vs. 1-2)

(Nehemiah was sad and mourning over the plight of his people and promises of God)
It was four months after hearing this news that Nehemiah could no longer hold his emotions from the king.
Edwin Yamauchi- “the king’s servants were expected to keep their feelings hidden and to display a cheerful countenance before him. So far Nehemiah had managed to do this; now his burden was in his eyes.”
Expositors Bible Commentary, Ezra, Nehemiah. Page 684
Chapter 1 indicated that Nehemiah prayed to God for mercy before the King. This implies that Nehemiah was intending to request to go back to Jerusalem and the countenance of his face led the king to initiate the conversation by the look of Nehemiah’s face.
The HB text illustrates Nehemiah’s countenance as pure misery, or sadness, when you just cannot hold back how upset you are about something. This sadness is not the culmination of a difficult day. Remember that Nehemiah held closely to the promises of God. In his prayer, he asked God to remember his promises to His people, to let them gather to the place He had chosen for them. This sadness is rooted in his love for God’s people, his people, and in the promises of God to do a work for His glory.
What does Nehemiah do with this zeal for God and observable need?
He responds with action! As we observed last week, that action begins with prayer. Prayer over this impulse that he has to do something. I love this because God often gives us this passion for His work and the first thing we should do is…stop and pray!
Nehemiah, like many before him and after him were called by God to do great things for the glory of God. Nehemiah was emboldened to carry out this mission of rebuilding the walls and it starts with a passion and zeal, given by God, to an individual believer, who responds by faith with obedience, no matter the cost.
Is this passion and zeal from the Lord?
How do we know if its from the Lord? First of all, is it centered around God’s glory or man’s glory?
Nehemiah wanted to do what was necessary to accomplish the promises that God made to his people. Nehemiah’s zeal came from God’s word.
In the book of Acts, Simon the sorcerer wanted the power of God to accomplish great feats to gather more financial wealth and glory.
Is God bringing other people along side you to see this need and maybe affirm or join you in the efforts?
Nehemiah was met with support from a pagan king and was granted a request to go back to Jerusalem. He later receives the resources needed from those kings under Persian rule. Zerubbabel and Ezra were blessed with other Jews who were willing to resettle in the promised land. The apostle Paul was given support in Antioch and sent out by those leaders with Barnabas to plant churches. God will send you leaders and supporters of any work that He is calling you to carry out in his name. This might not be a large group to go with you to plant a church but it is a large group who affirm your gifting to do so.
I can look back throughout the history of God’s people and I see courageous men and women who have take a step forward towards a passion and zeal to accomplish God’s specific gifting on their lives. That gifting is used by Father, given by the Spirit, and accomplished by the Son so that God’s work in their world, through the church, might be accomplished. That gifting God wants you to use, for his glory.
We have studied 1 Tim 4:14
1 Timothy 4:14 (ESV)14 Do not neglect the gift you have, which was given you by prophecy when the council of elders laid their hands on you.
2 Timothy 1:6 “6 For this reason I remind you to fan into flame the gift of God, which is in you through the laying on of my hands,”
Timothy’s gift was preaching and pastoring God’s people and Paul was encouraging Timothy to continue pursuing the use of that gift in the church. Peter writes,
1 Peter 4:10 “10 As each has received a gift, use it to serve one another, as good stewards of God’s varied grace:”
Paul states,
1 Cor 12:4-6 “4 Now there are varieties of gifts, but the same Spirit; 5 and there are varieties of service, but the same Lord; 6 and there are varieties of activities, but it is the same God who empowers them all in everyone.”
I would blend all of these OT and NT ideas together and state that God saves us by his grace and gifts his people accordingly with special gifts of his Spirit in order that they might use those gifts to do amazing things for God’s glorious name. Nehemiah was gifted with leadership and therefore God used that gift to accomplish a kingdom task.
What’s your kingdom task? Its not apostleship because God has closed the book on that. Its not being a pastor, ladies, for Scripture calls only men to lead the church. But all followers of Christ are called by God to salvation in Christ and gifted by the Spirit to serve the church with that gift.
What task for His Kingdom have you been wrestling with in your heart. He has given you a passion for something for His glory and let me encourage you to act on it. I am not talking about your plans to build a deck on your house, or go on a cruise. I am talking about Kingdom Mission that brings about exalts God’s name on the earth! It could be starting a workplace bible study. It could mean joining a mission team overseas. It could mean starting orphanages to enrich physically and spiritually the lives of orphans in our world.
Have you prayed and prayed for clarity in this direction. Have you sought support from others to see if they affirm this in you work? Friend, do not be passive with God’s gift and service that He desires from you. ACT in obedience!

Courage in light of God’s Power (vs. 2b-8)

Acting in this direction of God’s Kingdom task might be crazy scary. Your mind is flooded with all kinds of fear and anxieties about the repercussions of your choice. I have been there! I was working full time in the banking industry when I was convinced that God wanted me to leave that career behind and pursue full-time ministry. I was terrified. So was Nehemiah.
Nehemiah 2:2-5 “2 And the king said to me, “Why is your face sad, seeing you are not sick? This is nothing but sadness of the heart.” Then I was very much afraid. 3 I said to the king, “Let the king live forever! Why should not my face be sad, when the city, the place of my fathers’ graves, lies in ruins, and its gates have been destroyed by fire?” 4 Then the king said to me, “What are you requesting?” So I prayed to the God of heaven. 5 And I said to the king, “If it pleases the king, and if your servant has found favor in your sight, that you send me to Judah, to the city of my fathers’ graves, that I may rebuild it.””
Notice at the end of v 2, that Nehemiah is also overwhelmed with fear. Partially because the king was offended by Nehemiah’s disposition. Also the fear came from the fact that Artaxerxes had put a stoppage in Ezra 4:23 “23 Then, when the copy of King Artaxerxes’ letter was read before Rehum and Shimshai the scribe and their associates, they went in haste to the Jews at Jerusalem and by force and power made them cease.”
We looked at this flash forward in Ezra when Ezra includes this opposition to the work of rebuilding. Now Nehemiah, understanding that Artaxerxes had already played a part in stopping work on the rebuilding efforts, now is being asked to allow him back to rebuild. Nehemiah can see how his request might seem like an insurmountable task but he presses on with the request.
He shows tremendous courage in the face of fear. This is a great example of faith over fear. It helps the church see how leaders that God use all face fears and intimidations but God empowers them to overcome those fears so that His will is accomplished. He gives them courage.
Listen to the psalmist and king David,
Ps 31:21-24
Psalm 31:21–24 ESV
21 Blessed be the Lord, for he has wondrously shown his steadfast love to me when I was in a besieged city. 22 I had said in my alarm, “I am cut off from your sight.” But you heard the voice of my pleas for mercy when I cried to you for help. 23 Love the Lord, all you his saints! The Lord preserves the faithful but abundantly repays the one who acts in pride. 24 Be strong, and let your heart take courage, all you who wait for the Lord!
David was in a besieged city, and he was afraid. He thought God had abandoned him as King but God preserved him. David’s word to those who fear God,
Courage from Faith
The foundation is nor our own self-will, but God’s powerful character. He is omnipotent and therefore can do all things that he pleases. Our courage then comes by faith because we are trusting in God’s power to be manifested. For Nehemiah, he courageously requested from the king three things: to go back to Jerusalem to rebuild, to write a letter to his enemies for safe passage, and to provide resources from Asaph for wood to rebuild the gates. His requests were all astonishingly built upon faith and not fear. He didn’t shirk in fear thinking he was asking too much. Nehemiah knew God’s power had been manifested and recorded throughout human history and therefore his courage came from faith in His powerful God.
The response from this king:
neh 2:6 “6 And the king said to me (the queen sitting beside him), “How long will you be gone, and when will you return?” So it pleased the king to send me when I had given him a time.”
Neh 2:8 And the king granted me what I asked, for the good hand of my God was upon me.”
Let me tell you that if fear is keeping you from this task for God’s kingdom, turn from fear and be courageous. Fear incapacitates you from doing great works of God but courage in Him will allow you to prosper. As you trust in his power to save your sins in His Son, so you can trust him to accomplish anything in you that He pleases.

A Strategy for a God’s Work (vs. 9-16)

Vs 9-19, Nehemiah acts in courageous faith to plan his mission that God has sent him to accomplish. In verse 9-10, he along with solders of the Persian army, traveled back to Jerusalem. Nehemiah appears to travel through Samaria, which was under Persian rule and in doing so, he stirred he hornets nest. These Samaritans did not want the establishment of Jerusalem to continue and walls to be erected. This was a threat to their region and therefore we are introduced to the antagonists of Nehemiah.
Let stop here and say that threats to your work of the Lord should not only motivate you to continue because God has blessed your sending papers but the opposition should remind you that Satan opposes the growth of the Kingdom. These Samaritans, Sanballat and Tobiah are just further proof that the enemy of darkness will try to destroy and distract from God’s work, but God’s people must travel on down the Christian life, knowing God has orchestrated safe passage.
Once Nehemiah returns to the city, he begins his survey of the damage so that a plan can be determined. His plans are formulated with a covert nighttime inspection of the city walls. We can assume that this inspection was secretive because of the opposition that was received from their enemies. We are told that he inspects many of the gates that were torn down as well as the walls. Three of the gates inspected are mentioned in chapter 2.
three gates are mentioned in chapter 2: Valley, Fountain and the Dung gates
This the top portion of city
This is the overview of the city of Nehemiah’s day and the expansion is also seen in Jesus’ day.
Notice in vs 12 that Nehemiah tells no one on the plans “that God put into my heart to do for Jersualem.” What a powerful message of God’s work in Nehemiah to give him this zeal and passage for rebuilding. Listen, if God does not put that passion in you then in the dark days of despair and opposition, with lackluster results and shrinking budgets, then you will not persevere to your goal. But when its from God, his power goes with you to complete the task.
Elijah was sent to confront Ahab in 1 Kings 18. When he got there, he was confronted with himself and 850 pagan prophets, and 1 wicked king who stood against him. We know what happened on Mt Carmel that day when Elijah prevailed by the command of the Lord, and the power of the Lord showing the people of Israel that God does the impossible for His glory.
Nehemiah gets away to survey the work that was needed and then formulates his plan to rebuild. He does not promote his plan until he studies the need and comes to a viable solution to present. His survey of the broken city helps us understand how important understanding the big picture is when doing God’s work. That survey of the walls might represent for us a question like, “what does God want me to accomplish in this work?”
Any work that God wants carried out should involve careful planning and preparation prior to the work. For years, missionaries do not pack up their things and go on mission. They first strategize and plan for their work. They learn the language. They immerse themselves in the culture. Then they go and make disciples of all nations.
This aspect of planning for God’s work applies to discipling your children, reaching your neighborhood, sports team, or workplace to Christ. Have a strategy for the work that God has put on your heart. Discuss that strategy with other believer and let me help you come up with effective steps. Gather resources that you will need to accomplish the task and move forward in accomplishing that task for God’s glory.

Glory for God’s Name (v. 17-20)

We conclude with our final step in 17-20 as Nehemiah promotes his plan to the people of Jerusalem.
17 Then I said to them, “You see the trouble we are in, how Jerusalem lies in ruins with its gates burned. Come, let us build the wall of Jerusalem, that we may no longer suffer derision.”
Notice in 17, Nehemiah lays out the problem that needs to be addressed. But the reason to rebuild was so they no longer “suffered derison.” Different translations say “suffering disgrace” or “reproach.” What does he mean by this?
Nehemiah knows that the security of the people is necessary and therefore the walls are necessary. But overall, the great city of Zion or Jerusalem was God’s city, it reflected his presence in the temple, it contained his people and so it should not be laying in ruins. This was a disgrace to the glory and name of God for the city to look this way. Therefore, Nehemiah was concerned ultimately with the work of God so that God’s name would be honored above all.
I cannot stress to you enough how careful we must be when pursuing God’s work, making sure that our motives are to honor the name of the Lord and not the name on our driver’s license. When you are pursuing your own glory in ministry and service and difficulty comes, you will love heart for that mission. It will not be worth it. But if you are pursuing God’s glory, then you push on because it was never about you to begin with. Nehemiah reflects a healthy attitude in leadership as he rests in God’s glory as his motivation.
Ps 115:1 “1 Not to us, O Lord, not to us, but to your name give glory, for the sake of your steadfast love and your faithfulness!”
Nehemiah lays out the plan to the people, and concludes his presentation with the reminder that God’s good hand was upon him and the people were committed to rebuild with him. Even when that opposition came against them as the people committed to work with Nehemiah, Nehemiah affirmed that with God’s good hand leading the way in His work, He will bring success and prosperity as He has designed.
Nehemiah 2:20 “The God of heaven will make us prosper, and we his servants will arise and build, but you have no portion or right or claim in Jerusalem.””
In the end, whatever God has called you to accomplish, you give God your best effort and you trust the results to him. You should speak in faith as well, meaning, your companions and partners need to know that you believe God is going to move you forward and prosper your work. If God puts in your heart to accomplish something for his name, why would you doubt He will give it success. Trust in and patiently wait for his work to come to fruition as you carefully carry out his mission.
George Mueller had three reasons he started those orphanages in England:
“ 1. That God may be glorified, should He be pleased to furnish me with the means, in its being seen that it is not a vain thing to trust in Him; and that thus the faith of His children may be strengthened. 2. The spiritual welfare of fatherless and motherless children. 3. Their temporal welfare.”-
It seemed to me best done, by the establishing of an Orphan-House. It needed to be something which could be seen, even by the natural eye. Now, if I, a poor man, simply by prayer and faith, obtained, without asking any individual, the means for establishing and carrying on an Orphan-House: there would be something which, with the Lord's blessing, might be instrumental in strengthening the faith of the children of God besides being a testimony to the consciences of the unconverted, of the reality of the things of God. This, then, was the primary reason, for establishing the Orphan-House. . . The first and primary object of the work was, (and still is) that God might be magnified by the fact, that the orphans under my care are provided, with all they need, only by prayer and faith, without any one being asked by me or my fellow-laborers, whereby it may be seen, that God is FAITHFUL STILL, and HEARS PRAYER STILL.
Mueller Narrative
Related Media
Related Sermons