Looking To The Future

Looking To The Future

Looking To The Future

Nehemiah 7:1-73

The city walls were broken, the culture was broken, the government was broken, the temple was broken, It had been 141 years, nothing changed. And then all of a sudden God put his hand on one guy named Nehemiah, and gave him the call to go rebuild the city walls.  An impossible task.  But because God was in it, it got done.  And it got done in 52 short days, they did what could not be done in 141 years

Now there is some stuff in this passage that I am not going to get to… But if you want a more robust sermon on the census contained within this chapter, I would point you to the sermon given 4 months ago on November 6th on Ezra Chapter 2.  You can find it on our website or on our You-tube channel.

But our focus this morning is going to be on the first few verses of the chapter (vs 1-5)  


The Value of Preparation

  • Explain
    • With the temple rebuilt, with the city walls rebuilt, People were beginning to flock to Jerusalem.  The text tells us that there was a lot of space, but not a lot of people, but that was going to change.  
      • Josephus, a Jewish historian, tells us that when Jesus opened the gates of Jerusalem, and rode in on a donkey, the population of the city was over 2 million. More than 10 times the entire population of the returning exiles.
      • This is what Nehemiah was trying to prepare for. He knew this thing was going to get big, and he wanted to make sure that he was preparing well, and preserving the purity of God’s people, so the city would remain a city devoted to the Lord.  
    • Here is the concept…You have to build it before you fill it.
      • The World, The temple, The Father’s house, A hospital, if you want to help people at a hospital, you better first build a hospital. Pregnant
      • a lot of the work needs to happen for people to have life change, a lot needs to occur before the people arrive. Churches don’t magically appear one day.  It takes a lot of work and effort.  A Lot of building, a lot of discipleship, a lot of infrastructure.
        • Luke 14:28 -For which of you, desiring to build a tower, does not first sit down and count the cost, whether he has enough to complete it?
  • Apply
    • We should not be blind to the exact same thing here in Montrose.  Since Covid began, we have seen thousands of people moving to the Western Slope.  You might like that, or you might hate it, but it is happening and nobody can change it.  
      • These people are coming, and they will need a church home.  They will need to be discipled.  God is bringing them here for a reason.  But in order for them to have a spiritual home, there is work that must be done.  
    • Our preparation has a purpose!  How many churches do you know that feel aimless? Directionless?  The same sermon, the same Bible study, the same ministries, the same people.  And it just kind of becomes this Holy huddle…  No real mission, no real discipleship, no real growth in numbers or in maturity.  IT feels sort of dead… Church, our preparation has a purpose.
      • The trellis and the vine – as we prepare our trellis, we are doing it all for the purpose of the vine growing. 
      • Luke 12 – Parable of the unfaithful servant – who knew the master’s will, but did not prepare will receive a harsh punishment.
      • Just like Nehemiah, We are building and strengthening the people of God. Giving people a home.  


The Value of Multiplication

    • Explain
      • How does Nehemiah prepare? By multiplication.  He begins with leaders
        • Vs 2 – I gave my brother Hanani and Hananiah the governor of the castle charge over Jerusalem, for he was a more faithful and God-fearing man than many.
  • Multiplying leaders
        • With so many needs to be met, and so much work to be done, Nehemiah gives his responsibility away.  He creates the position and hands it off. This is a necessary thing! Can you imagine Nehemiah trying to do it all himself? He would be the bottleneck of all of Israel.  
          • Ever met a leader who can’t give anything away?  He has to have his hands in everything?  That is not a good leader.  Whether it be a church, a business, or an organization, That leader will eventually bottleneck the organization, and stifle its growth.  
        • 2nd Timothy 2:2 – and what you have heard from me in the presence of many witnesses, entrust to faithful men, who will be able to teach others also.
  • Multiplying workers
        • The need was great, so Nehemiah placed guards at the gates, and at the guard posts, and in the neighborhoods.  He appointed scribes, priests, officials, and singers.  He multiplied his workers, and grew the infrastructure to accommodate future growth.  
        • Matthew 9:38 – therefore pray earnestly to the Lord of the harvest to send out laborers into his harvest.
  • Multiplying Worshippers
      • He does all of this for the purpose of multiplying worshippers of God.  Next week we will see Ezra open the word of God, and we will see a great awakening in the hearts of the people.  An entire generation turns back to the Lord.  Isn’t that what we pray for here as well?  We pray for a great awakening to God.  But are we doing what we must do to prepare for the multiplication?  Are we going to be ready when it comes? 
        • And yes, We are talking about WHEN it happens, not if.  A day is coming when that is going to be a reality.
      • Habakkuk 2:14 – For the earth will be filled with the knowledge of the glory of the Lord as the waters cover the sea.
  • Apply
    • When a church grows, the game has to change. (Larry Osborne)
      • Decathlete – Golf – Basketball – Football (Highschool, College, Pro)
        • Some of you think a little church is good, a big church is bad. Others will say a big church is good, a small church is bad.  But the reality is that God builds His church, and every church needs to be whatever God calls it to be.  We must take care not to attach moral value to an organization’s size.
          • We delight in all of our children no matter the size, so does God love all His churches, no matter the size, so long as they are healthy.
      • So the question becomes what makes for a healthy church?
        • Ultimately that is a question of cultivating and protecting purity and holiness within the church.
        • 9 Marks of a Healthy church (you can get at our new bookstore)


The Value of Purity (5-73)

  • Explain
    • This list of names in Nehemiah 7 sets up what will be an effort to repopulate Jerusalem.  
      • Nehemiah 7:4 – The city was wide and large, but the people within it were few, and no houses had been rebuilt.  
    • So the walls are rebuilt, but who is going to live there?  How are they going to accomplish this?  Are the Israelites going to let people from the surrounding land live in the city? No.  They are to be a holy people, purified, and set apart.  So he brings out the list of authenticated Jews. People they knew who had come back to rebuild the temple in Ezra 2.  
      • There are roughly 50,000 people on the list, He is creating lists, taking names, Checking ID’s, In chapter 11 they are going to cast lots from among God’s verified people, on who will be able to repopulate the city.  
        • They are building something amazing, but they are doing it the right way for the Glory of God. 
    • He set up rules and policies on how to ensure that enemies were not getting into the city.  They defended the gates, ensuring that only those who were in the covenant of God would have access to enter and live there.
    • And just a reminder, this is all to fulfill the prophecy of Jesus Christ the messiah, the savior of the world, coming into the city of Jerusalem, on a donkey. 


  • 4 Things We Need For The Future (conclusion)
    • We Need Serious Discipleship – People who want to grow in maturity.  People who are willing to sacrifice their time, talents, and treasures to help others grow in maturity.  People who are willing to give up their netflix time, their social media time, their hunting and fishing time, to invest in others.  People who say, “ya know, its not about me, Its all about Him.”  Let’s work heartily as to the Lord.  
    • We Need Structure – Vs 3: talks about policies on when and who to allow into the city.  How is this whole thing going to work?  How are we going to make disciples of all the new people? How are we going to run the coffee bar? How are we going to reduce the risk in Celebration Kids?  We need this stuff. 
    • We Need Strong Leadership – Nehemiah picks people who have been with him for a long time.  He is looking for people of character, While competency can be proven quickly, Character is proven slowly. Competency matters, Character matters far more. 
      • Are you wanting to lead a ministry? Are you wanting to get into a position? How is your character?
    • We need Church Membership – In a much similar way as we have the Israelites seeking a pure nation, we find ourselves seeking a pure church.  Jeremiah 31:31-34 tells us that every believer in the new covenant will know God.  We live out this new covenant in the church.  And while there may be people who don’t know God who are in our services, (we welcome that actually).  We cannot allow those who do not know Jesus to shape, steer, lead, teach, and direct the church.
      • This is why we see church membership as important. This is how we come together as God’s people, to accomplish His purposes.


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