Come, and Bring Your Tools
Delivered By
C. C. Risenhoover
Delivered On
September 11, 2016
Central Passage
Nehemiah 4:6
Attached Document
Open Document
Description

COME, AND BRING YOUR TOOLS

Nehemiah 4:6

          Rebuilding the walls of Jerusalem was important to Nehemiah…and to all the people who tackled the job.  Nehemiah 4:6 is a definitive and insightful verse, which tells us: “…for the people worked with all their heart.”

          The walls of America’s churches have been broken and breached by the culture in which we live.  Led by the Holy Spirit…we must continually work with all our hearts to repair those walls and save as many people as we can.  I use the terminology “as many as we can” because there’s no way we can keep all of Satan’s minions outside our walls.  The depravity of all humankind is too great for that.

          While the work that Nehemiah and his people did was difficult and backbreaking…it was necessary to keep them safe from the attacks of their enemies…and to allow them to worship God in the way they had been instructed.  And that’s just as true for Christians today.

          While rebuilding the walls Nehemiah’s people faced constant opposition.  And like most of us they became weary and discouraged.  But they didn’t quit.  They completed the task…and were eventually victorious over their attackers.

          We’re going to be victorious, too…but not in our lifetime.  Christianity is not about temporal things and temporal pleasures.  It’s about eternal life.

          When I ask people to accept and trust in Jesus…I can’t promise them that their faith in Him is going to provide temporal things, temporal pleasures or good health and happiness.  What I can promise is eternal life with Jesus.  If you want more than that…go to a prosperity preacher and believe his lies…if you can.

          If you bring your tools and gifts here…I can promise is that wall repair will be going on continuously…at least until the rapture or until you die.  There’s no place to escape the depravity of man on this earth…no part of a church wall that Satan isn’t attacking 24 hours a day…and no wall that isn’t breached from time to time.

          It doesn’t matter how sweet the fellowship of a church seems…someone is peeved.  And sooner than later…that seething and resentment surfaces…usually over some Mickey Mouse something that has nothing to do with what Christ purposed for His church.

          One of my responsibilities is to try to keep you from becoming discouraged at the never-ending task of keeping the church focused on its true purpose.  There are times when we all tend to become discouraged…and there are times when we all grow weary in the battle to build and be all that God wants us to be in Christ Jesus.

          For example, you don’t have to look for trouble…it stalks you…especially in your work for the Lord.  But isn’t that what Jesus promised.  And in 2 Timothy 3:12, Paul said “…everyone who wants to live a godly life in Christ Jesus will be persecuted, while evil men and imposters will go from bad to worse, deceiving and being deceived.”

          When you’re working for the Lord…count on trouble…often in the form of mockery and intimidation.  Nehemiah wrote: “When Sanballat heard that we were rebuilding the wall, he became angry and was greatly incensed.  He ridiculed the Jews, and in the presence of his associates and the army of Samaria, he said, ‘What are those feeble Jews doing?  Will they restore their wall?  Will they offer sacrifices?  Will they finish in a day?  Can they bring the stones back to life from those heaps of rubble – burned as they are?’  Tobiah the Ammorite, who was at his side, said, ‘What they are building – if even a fox climbed up on it, he would break down their wall of stones!’” (Nehemiah 4:1-3).

          Nehemiah 4:7-8 tells us: “But when Sanballat, Tobiah, the Arabs, the Ammorites and the men of Ashdod heard that the repairs to Jerusalem’s walls had gone ahead and that the gaps were being closed, they were very angry.  They all plotted together to come and fight against Jerusalem and stir up trouble against it.”

          In verse 11 Israel’s enemies said, “Before they know it, or see us, we will be right there among them and will kill them and put an end to the work.”

          An unregenerate person doesn’t understand why anyone would want to trade a life of temporal things and pleasures for a life of sacrifice in the service of the Lord.  And an unregenerate person has a genuine dislike for a redeemed sinner.

          Jesus said, “If the world hates you, keep in mind that it hated me first.  If you belonged to the world, it would love you as its own.  As it is, you do not belong to the world, but I have chosen you out of the world.  That is why the world hates you.  Remember the words that I spoke to you: ‘No servant is greater than his master.’  If they persecuted me, they will persecute you also.  If they obeyed my teaching, they will obey yours also” (John 15:18-20).

          People from the tribe of Judah were the first to complain about the work on the wall…and the reason is apparent when you read Nehemiah 6:17-18.  They were in bed with the enemy.

          It doesn’t shock us when trouble comes from without…but when it arises from within it often leaves us devastated.  We should not be surprised, because Jesus had people on His team that were ready to discourage Him at a moment's notice.

From that time on Jesus began to explain to his disciples that he must go to Jerusalem and suffer many things at the hands of the elders, chief priests and teachers of the law, and that he must be killed and on the third day be raised to life.  Peter took him aside and began to rebuke him.  ‘Never, Lord!’ he said.  ‘This shall never happen to you!’  Jesus turned and said to Peter, ‘Get behind me, Satan!  You are a stumbling block to me; you do not have in mind the things of God, but the things of men.’'  (Matthew 16:21-23).

          The best defense for trouble in a church is a good offense.  When trouble came, Nehemiah went on the offensive.  He encouraged five attitudes that need to be implemented in the church today.

          Attitude one is prayerfulness.  Nehemiah prayed, “Hear us, O our God, for we are despised.  Turn their insults back on their own heads.  Give them over as plunder in a land of captivity.  Do not cover up their guilt or blot out their sins from your sight, for they have thrown insults in the face of the builders” (Nehemiah 4:4-5).

          The battles we face in the realm of faith should be bathed in prayer.  Philippians 4:6 tells us, “Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God.”   And 1 Peter 4:7 says, “The end of all things is near.  Therefore be clear minded and self-controlled so that you can pray.”

          Attitude two is alertness. “But we prayed to our God and posted a guard day and night to meet this threat” (Nehemiah 4:9).  Prayer should always be coupled with watchfulness.  You don’t have to look for a demon behind every bush…but you need to be alert to the deceptive tactics of the enemy.

          We’re not to be ignorant of his many devices.  In 1 Peter we’re told to “Be self-controlled and alert.  Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour.”  And 2 Corinthians 11:14 says “…for Satan himself masquerades as an angel of light.”

          Attitude three is preparedness.  Nehemiah said, “From that day on, half of my men did the work, while the other half were equipped with spears, shields, bows and armor.  The officers posted themselves behind all the people of Judah who were building the wall.  Those who carried 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.  Then I said to the nobles, the officials and the rest of the people, ‘The work is extensive and spread out, and we are widely separated from each other along the wall.  Wherever you hear the sound of the trumpet, join us there.  Our God will fight for us!’” (4:16-20).

          Be as prepared for war as you are for work…ready for either at a moment's notice.  Ephesians 6:10-18 tells us to “…be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power.  Put on the full armor of God so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes.  For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms.  Therefore put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand.  Stand firm then, with the belt of truth buckled around your waist, with the breastplate of righteousness in place, and with your feet fitted with the readiness that comes from the gospel of peace.  In addition to all this, take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one.  Take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God.  And pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests.  With this in mind, be alert and always keep on praying for all the saints.”

          We’re to wear all that the armor all the time…so that we’ll be ready to stand for Jesus when trouble finds us.

          Attitude four is unitedness.  Nehemiah said, “Then I said to the nobles, the officials and the rest of the people, ‘The work is extensive and spread out, and we are widely separated from each other along the wall.  Wherever you hear the sound of the trumpet, join us there.  Our God will fight for us!’  So we continued the work with half the men holding spears, from the first light of dawn till the stars came out.  At that time I also said to the people, ‘Have every man and his helper stay inside Jerusalem at night, so they can serve us as guards by night and workmen by day.  Neither I nor my brothers nor my men nor the guards with me took off our clothes; each had his weapon, even when he went for water’” (4:19-23).

          God’s people were separated along the wall…and Nehemiah knew that distance between God’s people was a negative thing.  In 1 Corinthians 1:10, Paul wrote: “I appeal to you…in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that all of you agree with one another so that there may be no divisions among you and that you may be perfectly united in mind and thought.”

           Church unity demands that we be in tune with one person…and that one person is Jesus Christ.  Ephesians 4:3 tells us, “Make every effort to keep the unity of the Spirit through the bond of peace.”

          Attitude five is determination.  Nehemiah said, “So we rebuilt the wall till all of it reached half its height, for the people worked with all their heart.”  And he further said, “Neither I nor my brothers nor my men nor the guards with me took off our clothes; each had his weapon, even when he went for water” (verse 23).

          Don’t get sidetracked by attacks from without or from within.  Work with “all your heart.”  When trouble arises in the wall repairing process…our determination must be greater than that of the opposition.

          When Elijah saw what Jezebel was up to…he “…was afraid and ran for his life…” (1 Kings 19:3).

          Peter started out walking on the water“But when he saw the wind, he was afraid and, beginning to sink, cried out, ‘Lord, save me!’” (Matthew 14:30).

          Keep your eyes on Jesus…not on the evil winds that are blowing at us from every direction.  Hebrews 12:1-2, tells us, “Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles, and let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us.  Let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy set before him endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.”

          Jesus and His church is worth fighting for.  The enemy…within and without…doesn’t want you sacrificing to the Lord.  The enemy doesn’t want you engaging in worship of God.  The enemy doesn’t want you building a house for God.

          Jude, the brother of James, said it this way in the third and fourth verses of his brief letter: “Dear friends, although I was very eager to write you about the salvation we share, I felt I had to write and urge you to contend for the faith that was once for all entrusted to the saints.  For certain men whose condemnation was written about long ago have secretly slipped in among you.  They are godless men, who change the grace of our God into a license for immorality and deny Jesus Christ our only sovereign and Lord.”

          We have already allowed the enemy to silence our praise…empty our altars…and extinguish our testimony.  We need to fight for what we have left.

          To the Church in Sardis Jesus spoke through John in Revelation 3:2 and said: “Wake up!  Strengthen what remains and is about to die, for I have not found your deeds complete in the sight of my God.”

          Nehemiah reminded the workmen that if they didn't take a stand that they…as well as their families…would perish at the hand of the enemy.  The same is true of us…and those families are larger than the people who share our name or bloodline.

          Some of those family members are under attack right now…and we’re not to shoot them just because they’re wounded.  Paul gave us direction in Galatians 6:1-2, when he wrote: “…if someone is caught in a sin, you who are spiritual should restore him gently.  But watch yourself, or you also may be tempted.  Carry each other’s burdens, and in this way you will fulfill the law of Christ.”

          Have we for too long looked the other way while the enemy has ravaged the church?  Have we for too long allowed the enemy to tantalize our children…traumatize our homes…terrorize our hearts…and tranquilize our worship?

          I pray that you will say, “Not on my watch.”  I pray you will bring your tools…your gifts…and be ready for battle…that you will today begin working “with all your heart.”

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