Transcription | October 16, 2022 | The Book of Nehemiah | Every Leader Needs
We've been in a series in the book of Nehemiah, and really we've been talking about just godly leadership principles that Scripture makes available to us, specifically in the Book of the Empire. And so this morning, again, we're going to take a look at it, the Book of Nehemiah. We're going to talk about a few things that every leader needs.
And the moment that I see that, some of you start to think, well, I guess this message isn't for me because I don't consider myself a leader. The truth of it is that if you're not a leader yet, God probably desires for you to be at some point. At some point you're probably going to lead a family. You're going to lead a sector in your workplace.
You may lead an athletic team. You may lead a small group. You may coordinate, lead a ministry someday. It's hard to tell all the ways that God may even already want to be using you as a leader, that maybe you're just not yet prepared. And so what we want to see is some of those things activated. I believe that's even a part of making disciples and honoring the great commission of Jesus Christ.
And I was looking over even this morning, just some some people who I guess history would label as significant leaders. And it was intriguing to me that even men like Alexander the Great, who conquered so much of the world, was known towards the end of his life to to weep, because there was nothing left to conquer a man like Hannibal, who also history labels as a significant leader, he conquered so many other knights, warriors and kings that he collected three bushels of golden rings from his enemies.
And yet he committed suicide through poison. And no one even mourned his death. There was very little ceremony associated with his passing Julius Caesar, one of history's most well-known emperors, and led the Roman Empire at the place of his greatest achievement, was actually stabbed in the back, literally by some of his closest friends and brought to just a horrible death.
Napoleon, who conquered much of Europe, spent the last years of his life completely banished and alone in many ways. And you think about these people that that history would label as significant leaders. And yet it seems like that they were longing in some way, missing something in some way, even alone, to the point of some of them committing suicide.
It shows me that if we're going to be effective leaders, we must develop the practice of relying on God because you can conquer the whole world and still fill a void if you don't learn the principle of relying on God. And I want to show you in the book, in the Amaya, a man who was a cup bearer, who became a rebuild order, that God turned into one of the most significant leaders in all of Scripture.
We're going to read a few verses and just kind of paint a background for today's message. Nehemiah Chapter two verse 18. It says I also told them about the gracious hand of my of my God that was on me and what the king said to me. And they replied, Let's start rebuilding what had happened. Jerusalem had been brought to shambles.
The wall had been destroyed. Nehemiah was going to be a part of rebuilding the city of Jerusalem and specifically the walls. Verse 19 And so they began this good work. But when sand ballot and his alliances heard it, they mocked us. They ridiculed us. And I answered them by saying, The good, the God of heaven will give us success.
We, his servants, will start rebuilding. You skip over to chapter four. You look at verse 15. The storyline continues. It says, And when our enemies heard that we were aware of their plot and that God had frustrated it, I love that line that the enemy had a plot, but God frustrated it. We all return to the wall, each to our own work, and from that day on, half of my men did the work, while the other half were equipped with spears, shields, bows and armor.
And those who carried the materials did their work with one hand and held a weapon in the other. And each of the builders wore his sword at his side as he worked. But the man who sounded the trumpet stayed with me. And then I said to the nobles, the officials, the rest of the people, the work is extensive.
We're spread out and we are widely separated from each other along the wall. Some of you can relate to that in life. You feel pretty spread out right now. Wherever you hear the sound of the trumpet, join us there in our God will fight for us. I'm going to talk about the book of Nehemiah. Some things every leader needs.
Father, I ask you to help me to teach, to preach, to share your word with an anointing and a special grace and an unction God that only heaven can bring. Lord, let this moment not be in vain, but let it be used by you to provoke each of us to our next step in you, whatever that might be.
Lord, let it be done in Jesus name. And this church said, Amen. It's intriguing to me that when you start to read through this beginning stages of the Book of Nehemiah, that one of the first things that he did when he came to Jerusalem and he starts trying to persuade the people to join his cause in rebuilding the city, specifically rebuilding the walls.
He was intentional about putting specific people in specific places, specific people in specific places. Why that's interesting is because if you've ever tried to lead much of anything, you've probably come to understand that one of the most difficult things to do is to get the right person in the right place with the right plan. In fact, Thomas Jefferson made the statement that it is one of the most difficult things that any leader will ever attempt to do.
Putting the right person in the right place. Well, one of the ways that Nehemiah became effective, it is is told in the story of Judea, and it says that joining this Jedediah made repairs adjacent to his house. And so what Nehemiah did is he developed a pattern of these different parts of the wall that were broken down. The person that would be assigned leadership over that section of rebuilding, even the sections of rebuilding the gates that would be in the walls were typically assigned to people that lived right next to that construction zone.
I think what Nehemiah understood is that if you live close to it, you're going to have a greater sense of ownership associated with it, because you know what it is to be vulnerable in that place. And you know that if your house is going to be protected, you got to get this wall rebuilt. And when I was thinking through that, when I was praying do that, it led me to ask you this question this morning of what are you building at your house?
What are you building at your house? We may be working on our son's jump shot, but are we teaching him how to pray? We may be helping our daughter with her education, but is she learning the principles of God's word that in our marriages are we searching God's Scripture to find things that we can build upon to make that relationship stronger, even in regards to our finances?
Are we taking a biblical approach? What are you building at your home? At your house? Because what I have discovered is that nothing, nothing may require more self-discipline than the work in your own home. Isn't it amazing how that in our house we can sometimes become so comfortable that we start noticing all of these things that need to be done?
The reason is because comfort is the enemy of advancement. And so many times when we're in our home and it becomes a place of comfort as it should be, we get so comfortable that we stop taking note of the things that need to be maintenance or the things that need to be built. It's why there is such a thing as remodeling is because people live in a place over the course of time.
They get comfortable, they stop taking care of that property the way that they should. And eventually there are some things that need to be re built. What I have discovered is that comfort makes you vulnerable. So I want you to think about this for me, with me for a second. There are people in the in the days in which that Jerusalem was going to be attacked that are extremely comfortable in their home.
They have never seen the wall be penetrated. So even though there's places in the wall that are starting to crumble, it doesn't bother them too much because they feel safe. But then one day an attack comes and the attack takes advantage of the vulnerabilities in the wall. That's not been properly maintenance. And now these people that are in these homes right next to the wall are run through.
They are ransacked. They experience destruction. So many times we don't know how to appreciate the wall until it's fallen. Many times we don't know how to appreciate the security until it's lost. And so I think one of the reasons that Nehemiah picked those people to rebuild the wall in front of their home is because they knew what it was to lose it.
And they understood we need to get that back if we're going to be protected. And so sometimes we're not worried about protecting the marriage until it's on the rocks. And sometimes we're not worried about godly principles in all these other places in our lives until we're already at the place that there's been some kind of destruction that has taken place.
Comfort kind of lulls us to sleep. And we we don't realize, hey, I need to make sure sometimes we wouldn't have to rebuild if we would have maintenance. Maintenance things properly along the way. That's, I think, a word for some of us in our lives. And so so here's the thing. If you've ever experienced being spiritually ransacked, if you've ever experienced having to deal with spiritual rubble, if you've ever experienced having your security in the spiritual realm run through then now you know how to value the things that need to be rebuilt.
And so what can start to happen is maybe even now you're in the rebuilding phase of like, okay, I got the memo. I should have never been vulnerable in that place. I should have never have let the enemy take advantage of those crumbling rocks in the wall in that place. And and now you're like, okay, I need to rebuild.
You're getting motivated. You're like, I need to rebuild my prayer life. I need to rebuild my devotional time. I need to rebuild some of my relationships. I need to rebuild. Well, one of the things that I think you also have to realize, and we also learned this from the email, is that motivation without organization just leads to frustration.
And sometimes that's a mistake that someone experiences is when they get a lot of zeal and they just want to start doing stuff. And that's why the Bible says if you're going to have a vision, the first thing you need to do is write it, make it plain so that those who see it can run with it. And I think even sometimes when we're in the community and we feel motivated to do something good, we don't understand that one of the most important aspects of organization is communication.
Anybody ever been involved in youth league sports? I'm not going to get anybody, to be honest, on a Sunday morning because you know where I'm going and you're afraid. And one of the things that happens is we don't communicate. We've seen this happen in our church is that someone will be motivated to have a small group and they're so excited.
We're going to have a small group. We're going to get everybody involved and everybody is going to be a part of our small group until our small group is bigger than the whole church. It's going to be awesome. But you never tell anybody what time you're meeting and you cancel on the spur of the moment and there's no communication.
It's going to be a long day. I can I can already tell. I need the prayer support to kick in somewhere. We've actually discovered this in our church that many times the most effective small groups are the are the groups that are hosted by people who are extremely organized in their communication. And they limit the frustration of their participants.
And they make sure my wife and I have experiences. My kids have been playing sports since they were old enough to walk, and we have found the most rewarding and enjoyable teams that we have ever been a part of are when the coach or he chooses someone in an administrative role to just overly communicate. This is our plan.
This is our practice schedule. This is where we're going to be. And we attempt to do that as a church. And I understand sometimes we fail and sometimes we're not as good at it as we want to be. But like we strive to bring forth a biblical example of communication in keeping things as organized as we can that the best we can do.
And so when you when you get motivated and you get organized and there starts to be forward progress. I want you to understand, there is a devil he is loose, he's still real and he's going to try to steal, killing and destroy. And you will experience opposition. And what you'll discover is that one of the most significant test of leadership is how you handle opposition.
It's coming. The enemy is going to oppose you. That's what he does. And what we need to understand is that opposition is repetitive. The enemy's not overly creative. He just tends to counterfeit what God's already done. And so the enemy. It's not even that he's overly inventive. And so many times, if you've tried to even lead more than one project or lead more than one thing, you've discovered that what he did last time, he's probably going to try to do again this time.
And this is not an all inclusive list, but when you look at the book of Nehemiah, you actually see the repetitiveness of the enemy's opposition. One of the things he's always going to do is try to ridicule somebody who's trying to do something. The enemy is a bully. He was a bully and he will always be a bully.
Nehemiah Chapter four, verse one it says And when sand ballot heard that we were rebuilding the wall, he became angry and he was greatly incensed. And he ridiculed the Jews. He just starts making fun of them. Who do you think you are to even believe that you have the possibility to do something significant? Do you not realize that everybody before you tried and failed?
What makes you think that it's going to be any different? This is the way it's always been. This is the way it's always going to be. What is different about you? It's the same thing Goliath said to David when David stepped out to take on that giant. He looked at him and he says, Who do you think you are?
Some of you hear that internal narrative consistently in your life that you feel God beginning to stir something in you, to believe for your family. But the enemy starts bullying you. Some of you have incredible dreams for your kids, and even when you've tried to mention it to somebody else, they give you satire. They make little snarky comments as if to think, Who do you think you are that your kids are going to be?
All of that. You talk about a business idea or a business plan that God gave you because you know that there's something that he wants you to do in regards to advancing the kingdom more than just building a brand. And people look at you like, Really? And then it gets back to you what they actually thought. Even though they played nice when you opposition is repetitive and if the enemy can't bully you through ridicule, then you can guarantee he's just going to bring on a full fledged resistance.
Nehemiah Chapter four, verse seven. It talks about the fact that when Sand Ballot and his alliances heard that the repairs to Jerusalem's walls had gone ahead and that the gaps were being closed, they were angry. Watch this. And they formed a plot. They developed a seaspiracy to fight against it and to stir up trouble. Now, doesn't that sound like the enemy to stir up trouble?
Sometimes the enemy, when the ridicule cannot paralyze you, he will begin to resist you in such a way that he just tries to wear you down with fatigue. And you start to think, Is it really even worth trying to rebuild this? Is it really even worth trying to keep everybody organized? Is it really even worth putting up with all these things that they're saying about me and my family and my kids and anything and everything in between that I'm associated with?
And so this resistance and and the way that the resistance can come is in many different aspects, in many different forms. But the enemy will resist you if you are doing anything of significance. And many times their resistance is actually a testimony that you're headed in the right direction because the enemy is trying to intimidate you from getting where you're going.
You understand that the Bible said the gates of hell shall not prevail against you. That means that if you advance to the realm of the gates, you've already won. So that's why there's so much hail in the hallway, because if God opens a door even to the gates of hell, the enemy cannot close it. But if he can stop you on the pathway and the roadway to the gates, then that's where he gets his victory.
So I need to encourage somebody stay motivated in the Lord. I believe God for divine energy. Don't give up in the fight. Don't let the fatigue take hold. Your family still worth fighting for. The vision God's given you is still worth fighting for. Don't stop in the pathway. Opposition is repetitive. If the resistance doesn't work, then you can guarantee that the enemy is going to start some rumors.
Because some of us, the one thing we struggle with the most is being misunderstood. It grieves us when we're misunderstood because we want to be seen as ethical. We want to be seen as doing what's right. We want to be seen as a righteous example of the image of Christ in the Earth. And when somebody even perceives, though it may be false or incorrect, that we've done the wrong thing, it hurts and it hurts bad and the enemy will use rumor.
Nehemiah Chapter four, verse number 11. Our enemies said before they know it or see us, we will be right there among them. We're going to kill them. We're going to put an end to it so the enemies start starting this rumor. We're coming, we're going to make it stop. And then verse 12, it says that the Jews who lived near us came and told us ten times over that some of you right now just saw a vision of Biela or Freddie.
Didn't you like it right there? You saw it of the people, the Jews, the Jews. They're supposed to be with Nehemiah. And the very people that's supposed to be with him are the people that are packing the rumors. And this is where I just need to parenthetically insert something that there are many people in this place that I'm saying in this place of spiritual experience that struggle with.
They say, come on, and you're supposed to be a part of the rebuilding, supposed to be a part of the advancement. Be careful allowing the enemy to use you to come into a scenario. Well, now they say. Now they're saying, now they they said and it's always intriguing to me when I really start drilling down into those conversations how they never got a name.
Well, well, now they just told me not to tell you. Well, some friends you are all are showing up in the. No, see I said at the first service I didn't like I'd say at the second, but I'm still feeling froggy so I don't they say, you know, because you know, a lot of times you have invented they do find the courage to say what you always wanted to get out of your mouth and just yeah.
Didn't have the intestinal fortitude to formulate but yeah. We'll talk about that some other Sunday just strike that from the record this morning. They say rumors the enemy will start rumors. Jesus said it this way. Blessed are you. When men rival you and persecute you and say all manner of evil against you, falsely for so persecuted they the prophets that went before you.
Jesus said, you are blessed when somebody starts a rumor. Paul said, All who live godly shall suffer persecution. It tells us that persecution can actually be an affirmation to godliness in our life. Jesus said, Be careful of anyone that everyone speaks well of. Well, now there's one for you. Jesus himself said that if there's people that all you hear is good, good, good about them, you need to be really careful because it means that the enemy is not ridiculing, resisting or creating a rumor.
And there must be a negative reason as to why. So here's what we learn. Relying on God is greater than ridicule. The ridicule is going to come. But when you rely on God, it's greater than the ridicule. And that's exactly what Nehemiah is seen to be doing in Nehemiah four four, right after it says that he's ridiculed. The very next verse is here us God, for we are despised.
He just directed it to God. God, they're ridiculing me. I can't stop it. There's nothing I can do about it in the flesh but God, I'm asking you to hear me and help me to get through this. Here's the second thing. Relying on God is greater than resistance. Right after the Bible talks about the fact that Nehemiah was resisted, they plotted together, come up to fight, stir up trouble.
Watch this next verse. But we prayed to our God and posted a guard day and night. So they did some common sense things, but at the same time they decided, we're going to keep relying on God. We show you one more thing. Relying on God is greater than rumor right after the rumor is mentioned. Watch this. Then the Jews who live near came and told us ten times over they're going to attack you.
Watch what Nehemiah did very next verse or the next section. After I look things over, that's a word for somebody. This morning. I believe God wants to say that to somebody. You need to look things over. It's probably not as bad as the enemy is tried to make you believe that it is even the false narrative that is running in your head.
You need to look things over and you need to see that God has never failed you. So don't be afraid of them. Remember the Lord who is great and awesome and He will fight for your families. And He will fight for your sons. And He will fight for your daughters. And He will fight for your wives. And he will fight for your homes.
I'm telling you, that stirs my spirit this morning. Somebody needs to just look around and realize, yes, they're ridiculing you. Yes, they are resisting you. Yes, they have started some false rumors, but you keep relying on God because he is still awesome. He is still the first. He is still the last. He is still the beginning. He is still the end.
And he'll fight for your families, your sons and your daughters. Here's the deal. Relying on God is greater than any opposition. I heard the story of a little boy who was constantly picked on, just constantly. And so he would go to open a door handle. And the boys that he shared his room with would have put Vaseline on the door handle.
And it's just a prank, but it gets old. He would go to walk out a door and they would have set a pail of water above it, open the door, and the water would just dump over on him. He would go to get in the shower. They would find a way to break into the bathroom and throw cold buckets of ice on him.
He would go to get up in the morning and when he would put his feet in his shoes, they would have nailed the soles of his shoes to the floor, and they would just sit back and laugh and mock and ridicule. And one day these guys came to him and they said, you know what, we're we're sorry. We shouldn't have been doing this to you.
We've taken it too far, and we're never going to do this again. And the little boy said, You mean you're never going to throw ice on me in the shower again? No. You're never going to nail my shoes to the floor again. No, you're never going to dump a pail of water on me when I go out. I don't know.
You never going to put Vaseline on the door and we know we're never going to make fun of you again, never going to trick you. It said, okay, then I'll stop spitting in your soup. Some of you are wondering what that has to do with this morning's message. You sit there and look holy if you want to with your halos and crooked on your horns.
But you're the passive aggressive type. And the Lord came to tell you this morning, you can stop spitting in the soup. I know. Just. I got an amen from the sound booth. I know. I'm doing good right now. You can stop spitting in the soup and start relying on God. One of the things that God's going to do in your life is He's going to bring godly relationships.
Here's how I know that. Because the enemy will isolate you to annihilate you. So what he does is what happens in marriages. He gets you so busy. He gets you so spread out. He gets you so disconnected that you feel isolated. And then you start looking for answers and for fulfillment. In other places, he will isolate you to annihilate you.
You'll cause you to come to an incredible church and be a part of an awesome worship experience and gathering of people. And he'll make you feel like you're all alone and like nobody sees you. He'll cause you to scroll through Facebook and see all of everyone else's highlight reel and and yet feel as though no one even sees you.
He'll isolate you to annihilate you. And the same thing happened in the Amazons day. Chapter four, verse 19, it says. And then I said to the nobles, the officials, and the rest of the people, the work is extensive. It is spread out. And we are widely separated from each other along the wall. They're doing God's work. They're following God's plan, and yet they're spread out.
I've watched families in this day and age. I don't know that there's ever been a time in history where that to be so close, we're so spread out. Families stretched between this recital and this ballgame and this responsibility and this over time and just spread out. And so I just want to talk to you this morning about a few things that every leader needs as you remain motivated, as you overcome the comfort to keep advancing, as you get past the rumor mill and over and break through the resistance and don't let the ridicule paralyze you.
Just a few things every leader needs. First thing I want to show you that every leader needs is a trumpet, not what you were expecting. Nehemiah Chapter four, verse 18. But the man who sounded the trumpet stayed with me. But the man who sounded the trumpet stayed with me. Nehemiah is the leader. He is the chief executive officer.
And yet he knew that there would be times when he needed help. He also knew that there would be times when he would need to go and reinforce the people he cared about and that he was working for with help. And so he he designed it to where somebody could have a trumpet and stand beside him at all times.
And if there was the need for an alarm, if there was the need to decree, we are being attacked. He made sure that trumpet stayed next to him. And one of the things that I've learned is that the people that are the most successful in spiritual maturity are the people who are not afraid to admit they need a trumpet.
They refuse to do life by themself, and they refuse to approach life without someone praying for them. I've watched it happen over and over again. Organizations both for profit and nonprofit, church settings, ministry settings, people that are intentional about making sure that they have somebody on a prayer chain, somebody that will believe with them, Hey, my family's coming under attack.
Hey, man, today I'm struggling. Hey. Today it feels like the enemy is. And they reach out, they sound the alarm, and they announce, Hey, we're under attack. I need somebody to join me at this place and pray with me, which shows us that if that's going to be effective in sounding the alarm, we need some God centered relationships to our being a part of a small group is so important.
It's why not just blending in with the crowd is so important. You need to actually develop some meaningful connections with not only God but with other people. And that's what Nehemiah 420 talks about. It says, Wherever you hear the sound of the trumpet, join us there. Wherever you hear the sound of the trumpet. Join us there and our God will fight for us.
In other words, he's talking to some people who know his God. He's talking to those people who've got a testimony with his God. He's talking to the people that share his beliefs and share his faith. And he's saying, I got some relationships with some people who also know how to rely on God. Which brings us to the third thing that every leader needs, and that is keep relying on God.
It's what's brought you thus far, and it's what's going to take you further. So gets you a trumpet, get you some God centered relationships, and keep relying on God. Because when you hear the sound of the trumpet, join us there. Say it with me. Everybody ready? Begin our God. We'll fight for us. Even in church, online. I want you to say it with me.
Our God. We'll fight for us. Come on in this room one more time. Ready? Begin. Our God will fight for us. He will fight for you against the rumor. He will fight for you against the resistance He will fight for you against the ridicule. Get you some people around you that know the truth of that. Any two or three are gathered together in his name.
He will be in the midst. Get some people with you who still believe, if any two shall agree, touching any one thing, they shall have it get you some people who believe that even when the doctor's report keeps getting worse and people are mocking you for believing in a God who still heals, that you can come to the front of a building, be anointed by the elders and touched with oil, and believe that the same shall be healed through the prayer of faith.
You need to get some like minded people who don't always give you Sara when you're believing her. So I don't know what you're facing. I would assume that we're all in different levels of challenge. Maybe you're in the rumor phase, the resistance phase, the ridicule phase. Maybe you feel like you're dealing with the three fold core to the enemy.
But as they begin to play some music softly, I want to share this story with you that I heard. Bay Pirelli was known to be a really famous umpire in the days in which Babe Ruth played baseball. And on one particular instance, Babe Ruth, the great slugger, had went up to the plate and the game was on the line and he had a full count three balls, two strikes.
And as Babe stands there waiting for the pitch, it crosses the plate. And from Babe's view, it was clearly a ball. He's in Yankee Stadium, his home stadium. They believe over 40,000 people there on this particular day. They all believe it was a ball. And yet they Perelli, the umpire, calls it a strike and Babe Ruth turns around and looks at that umpire.
He says, What is wrong with you? Can you not see that that was a strike? 40,000 people in here believe that that was a ball. Do you not see it? It was a ball, man, not a strike umpire. Just looked back at him and he says, it really doesn't matter what anyone else thinks because my opinion is the only one that counts.
It's really how it is with God. It doesn't matter good, bad or ugly what everybody else thinks. His opinion is the only one that counts. And he has stated that he is awesome and that he will fight for you. He will fight for your family. He will fight for your sons. He will fight for your daughters. And he will fight for his plan to be made manifest in your life.
So who cares about all the other opinions and naysayers keep relying on God. When I ask every head to be bowed, every ought to be closed. Father, I thank you in the name of Jesus that we can approach you and that we can believe together that you are willing to meet us at the point of our need. God, I believe morning that I'm talking to some people both in this room and online that are really struggling with ridicule in some way, shape or form or fashion.
The enemy is trying to bully them and it hurts. Got somebody else? It's it's just the resistance. It's like every way they turn, it's the enemy is stonewalling them. And and they're really fatigued with the battle. Somebody else. God, it's it's the false accusations. It's the rumors. It's being misunderstood. But, Lord, we thank you for the reminder that your opinion is the only one that matters.
You are the one who possesses such power that you could speak the whole earth and creation into existence with just the utterance of your tongue. And so now, God, we invite you to speak into our life, to speak into our situation, and to fight for us. God specifically, right now, there are those of us that need to rely on you in a way that is beyond anything we've known in the past.
Somebody right now, God needs to see the cross of Jesus. They need to know that your son died to take away the sins of the world. And I pray, God, that they will find the courage to lift their hand up and say, I will rely on God for my eternity. I will rely on God for my sin issue.
I will rely on God to wipe the record books clean in regards to my failures and my shortcomings and my mistakes. Somebody else. God, it's not that they've never known you. It's just that they become distant. They feel disconnected. They feel far from you. And I pray, God that right now you will come into their life as they yield to you, as they lift a hand and say, God, I need a fresh start.
God, they will leave here knowing what it feels like to not lean to their own understanding, but to rely on you. So God, may we hear the swords in the spirit realm clashing on our behalf to know that you will fight for us or let it be done in Jesus name. And this church said, Amen.