Andrew Fountain - Rebuilding Jerusalem / Mobilizing the Church

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Sermon notes - Rebuilding Jerusalem / Mobilizing the Church

  • Over the past year the core leadership at Newlife has been formulating our core vision
    • Really it’s the vision Jesus gave us: to make disciples of all nations and bring them up into maturity
  • We’ve been communicating this vision in different ways, but today I want to focus on what I believe it looks like for 2018
  • I just have two words:

Mobilize Everyone

  • I want to look at a story about Jerusalem that teaches us some practical things regarding how to mobilize the church

A story that happened over 2000 years ago has a lot to teach us about Newlife church today

  1. The Jerusalem problem
  2. Victory
  3. Relevance to Newlife Church

The Church

  • Every part is needed and valued
  • Depending on the Power of Jesus in Prayer

The Story

The divided kingdoms

The divided kingdoms

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Introduction

  • Remind of captivity
    • Kingdom divided after the death of Solomon
    • Northen Kingdom (Israel) became corrupt faster and was taken into captivity by the Assyrians
    • Southern Kingdom (Judah) became increasingly idolatrous
    • resisted the prophets and were taken by the Babylonians

The siege of Lachish

The siege of Lachish

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Jehu bows before the Babylonian King

Jehu bows before the Babylonian King

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  • Black Obelisk (substantiates the biblical account)

The cities are left in ruins

Subaru excavations

Subaru excavations

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  • Two generations later
    • a small percentage returned with Ezra
  • State of the city of Jerusalem
    • very few lived there (11:1–2) —rubble and desolation
    • a vicious circle, just like some inner cities have become
    • but vital if the Jews were not to become mixed in with the nations

Back in Babylon

The Persian Capital, Persepolis

The Persian Capital, Persepolis

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  • The Persian Empire had overthrown the Babylonians
    • The emperor Artaxerxes ruled from India to Greece
  • Nehemiah’s job: cupbearer

Jerusalem

  • Jerusalem is a picture of the church -both worldwide and local
  • They loved Jerusalem—Psalm 137
    1. How shall we sing the LORD’s song
            In a foreign land?
    2. If I forget you, O Jerusalem,
            Let my right hand forget its skill!
    3. If I do not remember you,
            Let my tongue cling to the roof of my mouth—
      If I do not exalt Jerusalem
            Above my chief joy.

Nehemiah

  • One day Nehemiah got news about the state of Jerusalem
  • He was very upset and prayed: Nehemiah 1
  • The King asked him a question: Nehemiah 2:1–4
    • prayer answered more than he could ask or think
  • This book is like his personal journal, written as the Spirit inspired it
  • Three points:
    1. The Events
    2. The Labour
    3. The Battle

Lachish Gate

Lachish Gate

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1. The Events

  • Nehemiah arrived and visited the walls
    • Four Km of them (had been up to 7m thick in some places about width of a regular street)
    • Heaps of rubbish (Read 2:11–16)

Jerusalem is a picture of the church, both worldwide and local

  • When you compare us to what God wants us to be, we are in an awful mess.
  • We could get compressed by the infighting, weakness, false teaching and lukewarmness.
  • We are way short of what God is intending us to be
  • He had opposition (2:19–20 Ancient archaeological records mention all three of these)
  • He was wise (did this in secret)
    • Good organization, yet his confidence was in God
  • So with great enthusiasm, they started to build

2. The Labour

  • We are all called to help build it
  • Nehemiah 3
  • They each had their own part to build, not just “workmen” but...
  • priests v.1, goldsmiths & perfumers v.8, merchants v.32, daughters v.12
  • But some thought it was beneath them (v.5)

Map of the walls of Jerusalem

Map of the walls of Jerusalem

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Depressing?

The state of the walls

The state of the walls

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  • Sometimes building the church is depressing
  • Nobody would actually even live there to start with (chicken and egg)
  • You may be wonderfully gifted at embroidery but when dirt needs shifting...
  • Willing to be organized?
  • Many of them worked long hours
  • Many even left the harvest
  • Yet God says that for everything we give up for him we will receive back many times more

3. The Battle

  • There is nothing the Devil hates more than Christ’s church
  • First he attacked directly Nehemiah 4 -see notes
  • Satan tries to attach the local church, e.g.
    • sickness
    • personality conflicts
  • don’t be surprised! —We will meet opposition and discouragements
  • 4:1–3 mocks and ridicules
  • v8 actual hostility
  • v10-12 threats – low morale
  • later told the authorities to try to get the work stopped
  • later spread false rumours about an assassination attempt agains Neh to make him hide
    • Satan tries to shut us down by fear
  • Then Satan tried another approach:
  • Pretended to be friends
  • Tried to turn friends against Nehemiah
  • What is the remedy?
    1. Jesus said “Watch and Pray” See v.9
    2. They encouraged each other See v.14
    3. They were quick to help those under attack See v.16, 20

Conclusion: Nehemiah 6

  1. So the wall was finished on the twenty-fifth day of Elul, in fifty-two days.
  2. And it happened, when all our enemies heard of it, and all the nations around us saw these things, that they were very disheartened in their own eyes; for they perceived that this work was done by our God.

Takeaways for Newlife

  • Mobilize:
  • always praying
  • always be on guard
  • encourage each other
  • ready to help
  • Not be too proud to do the humblest tasks
  • Everyone involved (according to their ability)
  • The parts of our “wall”
  • Gifts and interests

We want you to be the person God wants you to be. (+we will train and mentor you)

Updated on 2018-01-16 by Andrew Fountain

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