The Servant God Uses to Build His City

Brent Aucoin April 8, 2018 Nehemiah 1
Outline

Download the Nehemiah Background Sheet

4 characteristics of the servant God uses to make a lasting difference in God’s redemptive plans

I. One Who is Concerned About More Than the Kingdom of Self

A. Immersed in God’s Word—not his own plans

Nehemiah 1:8-9 - Remember the word which You commanded Your servant Moses saying, “If you are unfaithful I will scatter you among the peoples but if you return to me and keep My commandments…I will gather you.

Leviticus 26:38-45 - But you will perish among the nations, and your enemies’ land will consume you. If they confess their iniquity and the iniquity of their forefathers, then I will remember My covenant with Jacob, and I will remember also My covenant with Isaac, and My covenant with Abraham as well, and I will remember the land…when they are in the land of their enemies, I will not reject them, nor will I so abhor them as to destroy them, breaking My covenant with them; for I am the Lord their God. But I will remember for them the covenant with their ancestors…

B. Able to engage with what God is doing—not with his own interests

Nehemiah 1:5 - I said, “I beseech You, O Lord God of heaven, the great and awesome God, who preserves the covenant and lovingkindness for those who love Him and keep His commandments,”

Leviticus 26:42 - …then I will remember My covenant with Jacob, and I will remember also My covenant with Isaac, and My covenant with Abraham as well, and I will remember the land…

POINT: If there is no Israel and no pure Israel, then there is no blessing and no redemption for the nations and God is shown to be a liar in His promises!

Nehemiah is most concerned with the redemptive plan of God, in being used of God to help Israel be pure religiously, and remain a sovereign nation for the fulfillment of God’s redemptive plan for the nations!

C. Able to mourn over what God mourns—not his own kingdom

Nehemiah 1:4 - When I heard these words, I sat down and wept and mourned for days; and I was fasting and praying before the God of heaven.

Matthew 5:4 - Blessed are those who mourn, for they shall be comforted.

II. One Who Strives to Love God

Nehemiah 1:5 - I said, “I beseech You, O Lord God of heaven, the great and awesome God, who preserves the covenant and lovingkindness for those who love Him and keep His commandments…”

A. Love shown through obedient repentance

Leviticus 26:40 - If they confess their iniquity and the iniquity of their forefathers...

Nehemiah 1:6-7 - Let Your ear now be attentive and Your eyes open to hear the prayer of Your servant which I am praying before You now, day and night, on behalf of the sons of Israel Your servants, confessing the sins of the sons of Israel which we have sinned against You; I and my father’s house have sinned. We have acted very corruptly against You and have not kept the commandments, nor the statutes, nor the ordinances which You commanded Your servant Moses.

B. Love shown through desiring God’s presence

Nehemiah 1:8-9 - Remember the word which You commanded Your servant Moses, saying, “If you are unfaithful I will scatter you among the peoples; but if you return to Me…I will gather them from there and will bring them to the place where I have chosen to cause My name to dwell.”

Nehemiah 13:14 - Remember me for this, O my God, and do not blot out my loyal deeds which I have performed for the house of my God and its services.

Deuteronomy 23:1 - No one who is emasculated or has his male organ cut off shall enter the assembly of the Lord.

Nehemiah was most likely a Eunuch. As a foreigner, in order for him to be around the king and queen of Persia like he was, he had most likely been castrated so that his seed would not be intermixed with or be a threat to the king’s dynasty or harem. We know of no children or wife of Nehemiah and the Greek translation of the Old Testament calls Nehemiah a “eunuch.”

Nehemiah 5:19 - Remember me, O my God, for good, according to all that I have done for this people.   

Nehemiah 13:14 - Remember me for this, O my God, and do not blot out my loyal deeds which I have performed for the house of my God and its services.

Nehemiah 13: 22 - For this also remember me, O my God, and have compassion on me according to the greatness of Your lovingkindness.

Nehemiah 13:31 - Remember me, O my God, for good.

Leviticus 26:40-45 - If they confess their iniquity and the iniquity of their forefathers,…then I will remember My covenant with Jacob, and I will remember also My covenant with Isaac, and My covenant with Abraham as well, and I will remember the land…But I will remember for them the covenant with their ancestors...

III. One Who Acts to Bring Comfort and Security Even When Acting Might Cost

Nehemiah 1:11 - O Lord, I beseech You, may Your ear be attentive to the prayer of Your servant and the prayer of Your servants who delight to revere Your name, and make Your servant successful today and grant him compassion before this man.

IV. One Whom God Subsequently Comforts in Return

Isaiah 56:4-6 - For thus says the Lord, “To the eunuchs who keep My sabbaths, and choose what pleases Me, and hold fast My covenant, To them I will give in My house and within My walls a memorial, and a name better than that of sons and daughters; I will give them an everlasting name which will not be cut off.”

David Foster Wallace was a fairly well-known American Writer and University Instructor in English and Creative Writing.

He was not known to be a Christian, he lived a life troubled by depression and He took his life in 2008.

However, three years earlier, he delivered a very well-known commencement address at Kenyon College in 2005.

That commencement address had wise insights on the human condition on par with the likes of C. S. Lewis….

I would like to read an extended quote to you from that address.

Remember please the context…he is speaking to graduates about how to build their lives and make a difference.

He says this…

in the day-to-day trenches of adult life, there is actually no such thing as atheism. There is no such thing as not worshipping. Everybody worships. The only choice we get is what to worship. And the compelling reason for maybe choosing some sort of god or spiritual-type thing to worship–be it JC or Allah, be it YHWH or the Wiccan Mother Goddess, or the Four Noble Truths,–is that pretty much anything else you worship will eat you alive. If you worship money and things, . . ., then you will never have enough, never feel you have enough. . .  Worship your body and beauty and sexual allure and you will always feel ugly. . . .

Worship power, you will end up feeling weak and afraid, and you will need ever more power over others to numb you to your own fear.

Worship your intellect, being seen as smart, you will end up feeling stupid, a fraud, always on the verge of being found out….

They are default settings. They’re the kind of worship you just gradually slip into, day after day, . . .

And the so-called real world will not discourage you from operating on your default settings, because the so-called real world of men and money and power hums merrily along in a pool of fear and anger and frustration and craving and worship of self. Our own present culture has harnessed these forces in ways that have yielded extraordinary wealth and comfort and personal freedom. The freedom all to be lords of our tiny skull-sized kingdoms, alone at the center of all creation. . . .  The really important kind of freedom involves attention and awareness and discipline, and being able truly to care about other people and to sacrifice for them over and over in myriad petty, unsexy ways every day.

That is real freedom. That is being educated, and understanding how to think. The alternative is unconsciousness, the default setting, the rat race, the constant gnawing sense of having had, and lost, some infinite thing.

Let me repeat the most salient quote…you can have …

The freedom all to be lords of our tiny skull-sized kingdoms, alone at the center of all creation

But the important freedom is “being able truly to care about other people and to sacrifice for them over and over in myriad petty, unsexy ways every day.”

Wow….if the graduates took David Foster Wallace at his wise words instead of simply mindlessly going through life…they might build their lives on something different than the majority of people. 

With that in mind, please turn to Nehemiah chapter 1.

That is on page 352 in the front section, the Old Testament, of the Bible in the chair in front of you.

We are resuming our Annual series this morning “Being Carefully How We Build.”

And today I have the privilege of launching our study on

“Becoming a Godly Leader” which is a study of the Bible book of Nehemiah

Now for those of you who are new to the study of scripture, you may not know the difference between a character like Nehemiah and a character like Abraham….that’s okay.

For those of you who have been around scripture for a while, you still may have trouble placing Nehemiah in his proper context in the flow of Scripture.

So let me give just a bit of help to both groups.

First, for the new to scripture folks.

  • In the beginning God created a beautiful and good creation with the first humans Adam and Eve.
  • Adam and Eve sinned and were banished from God’s presence
  • However, God still wanted a way for His creation to come back to Him so He started working through one people group… and promised that that people group would be a blessing to all other people groups and in particular one particular individual would come out of that people group, the Messiah, that would offer salvation to all.
  • That people group was Israel that was started through a man named Abraham.
  • Israel throughout the majority of its history failed to remain pure and loyal to the God who loved them.
  • Israel did become a kingdom but instead of being a blessing to all the nations, they became a blight.
  • God destroyed their kingdom and disciplined His people by sending them into exile where they were no longer a nation.
  • After a period of time, God reconstituted His people. And the people went back to their burned out, destroyed capital-city Jerusalem.
  • Like the city, the people were in very bad shape
  • The people were weak and in danger of just being assimilated into the rest of the people groups. 
  • This situation seemed to threaten the core of God’s plan to use a pure Israel to bring forth all of God’s promises of redemption to be a blessing to the nations.
  • How can Israel be a blessing if she doesn’t exist
  • That’s where Nehemiah comes in.

Nehemiah is

“The Servant God Uses to Build His City”

In considering Nehemiah, we also look at characteristics of ourselves if we are engaging ourselves in the activities that matter for eternity..outside our tiny skulled-sized kingdoms of self.

Now for those of you who have been around Scripture for a while and are just having a bit of trouble with the chronology,

Please look at the additional handout in your program today that has the title “Nehemiah Background Sheet

Would you all please pull that out…

Let me go over this background data briefly

Significant Dates in Redemption of Humanity

  • Creation—Adam and Eve, The Fall
  • Sometime after Creation—Noah and the Flood, God starts a “new creation.”
  • ~700 years after flood—Tower of Babel, a rebellion that resulted in the division of the nations
  • 2100 BC—Abraham—God chooses to bless the nations through one couple whom He would make into a nation.
  • 1440 BC—Moses at Mt. Sinai—Israel becomes a nation and makes a covenant with God—the 10 commandments.
  • 1000 BC—David and Solomon rule the Kingdom of Israel in its glory days. God makes a covenant with David that his descendent would rule forever.
  • 900 BC—Israel tragically splits into northern kingdom and southern kingdom
  • 722 BC—Because of idolatry (breaking the first commandment) God brings the northern kingdom to an end through the nation of Assyria.
  • 586 BC— Because of idolatry (breaking the first commandment) God brings the southern kingdom to an end through Babylon.
  • 539 BC—Babylon falls to Persia and exiles are permitted to go home. Only 50k return.
  • 538-15 BC—The 2nd Temple takes 23 years to rebuild. God’s presence does not return to the temple.
  • ~470 BC—Esther
  • 458 BC—Ezra leads second return. ~2k return, false accusations are filed against Israel accusing them of rebelling against the Persian King. All building stops.
  • 444 BC—Nehemiah leads 3rd return, allowed to build wall.
  • 400-0 BC—400 years of prophetic silence.
  • ~0 BC—Messiah arrives (Christmas!!!)
  • ~30 AD—Messiah’s death and resurrection (Easter!!!)

So with Nehemiah we are in 444 BC and God’s people are back home

But it’s not much of a home and they are in danger of losing their identity as a nation….

We will talk about that a bit later…Look at the back of your handout…

Salient Background on the man Nehemiah

  • “Nehemiah” means “Yahweh comforts.”
  • As one born in exile, Nehemiah rose through the ranks to be a personal servant of the Persian King Artaxerxes. Nehemiah serves the important role of the cupbearer (poison control) for Artaxerxes. Nehemiah is always at the king’s side.
  • Nehemiah is probably a eunuch. In Neh 2:7-he is able to appear in the queen’s presence. The Greek translation of the OT refers to him as a eunuch.
  • Nehemiah traveled over 1000 miles from Persia to reach Jerusalem.

Ok, with that background in mind let’s read Nehemiah chapter 1

              1            The words of Nehemiah the son of Hacaliah.

Now it happened in the month Chislev, in the twentieth year, while I was in Susa the capitol,

              2            that Hanani, one of my brothers, and some men from Judah came; and I asked them concerning the Jews who had escaped and had survived the captivity, and about Jerusalem.

              3            They said to me, “The remnant there in the province who survived the captivity are in great distress and reproach, and the wall of Jerusalem is broken down and its gates are burned with fire.”

              4            When I heard these words, I sat down and wept and mourned for days; and I was fasting and praying before the God of heaven.

              5            I said, “I beseech You, O Lord God of heaven, the great and awesome God, who preserves the covenant and lovingkindness for those who love Him and keep His commandments,

              6            let Your ear now be attentive and Your eyes open to hear the prayer of Your servant which I am praying before You now, day and night, on behalf of the sons of Israel Your servants, confessing the sins of the sons of Israel which we have sinned against You; I and my father’s house have sinned.

              7            “We have acted very corruptly against You and have not kept the commandments, nor the statutes, nor the ordinances which You commanded Your servant Moses.

              8            “Remember the word which You commanded Your servant Moses, saying, ‘If you are unfaithful I will scatter you among the peoples;

              9            but if you return to Me and keep My commandments and do them, though those of you who have been scattered were in the most remote part of the heavens, I will gather them from there and will bring them to the place where I have chosen to cause My name to dwell.’

              10          “They are Your servants and Your people whom You redeemed by Your great power and by Your strong hand.

              11          “O Lord, I beseech You, may Your ear be attentive to the prayer of Your servant and the prayer of Your servants who delight to revere Your name, and make Your servant successful today and grant him compassion before this man.”

Now I was the cupbearer to the king.

We are speaking today about

The Servant God Uses to Build His City

Four characteristics of the servant God uses to make a lasting difference in God’s redemptive plans.

Think about Nehemiah, think about yourself, think about how this point to Christ…

The first characteristic of the servant God uses to make a lasting difference in His redemptive plan is ….

I.                   One who is concerned about more than the kingdom of self

Remember, David Foster Wallace’s quote about our worship of self…We have “The freedom all to be lords of our tiny skull-sized kingdoms, alone at the center of all creation” But the important freedom is “being able truly to care about other people and to sacrifice for them over and over in myriad petty, unsexy ways every day.”

Now, I’m not sure David Foster Wallace understood how to accomplish true freedom, but Nehemiah did and lived it without taking his life…

But for a moment, consider

Nehemiah was tucked 1000 miles away from Jerusalem.

Jerusalem and Israel, Out of sight out of mind right?

With a cushy job (as much as poison control could be cushy) in the palace of the King of the world.

As long as he did his job, tasting the wine of the king, he was set for life!! Or death!!

Why was he not content to be the “lord of his tiny skull sized kingdom alone at the center of his world”

Because he was

A.     Immersed in God’s Word—not his own plans

As you read the book of Nehemiah and I would encourage you to do so.

It will take you about 45 minutes to read through its thirteen chapters..

But, as you read the book of Nehemiah you will encounter his prayers…

And His prayers all reflected great awareness of scripture…

For example when Nehemiah says in verse 8,

Neh 1:8 Remember the word which You commanded Your servant Moses saying, “If you are unfaithful I will scatter you among the peoples 9 but if you return to me and keep My commandments…..I will gather you.

The word of Moses He was referring to is most likely this portion of scripture from Leviticus 26

I want you to notice three things about this passage…1 confession, 2 covenant, and 3 God says “remember” over and over….

Lev 26:38‘But you will perish among the nations, and your enemies’ land will consume you. …40‘If they confess their iniquity and the iniquity of their forefathers, . . .42then I will remember My covenant with Jacob, and I will remember also My covenant with Isaac, and My covenant with Abraham as well, and I will remember the land… 44when they are in the land of their enemies, I will not reject them, nor will I so abhor them as to destroy them, breaking My covenant with them; for I am the Lord their God.45‘But I will remember for them the covenant with their ancestors, . . .”

What do we find Nehemiah doing in verse 6….

Confessing the his sins, the nation’s sins and the forefathers sins…

Nehemiah is immersed in God’s word….and there is something much larger than himself going on… in the world.

What enables us to live outside of our skull size kingdom is immersion in God’s word, which enables us to see and be a part of something much larger than ourselves….we are able to 

B.      Able to engage with what God is doing—not with his own interests

In Nehemiah 1:5 Nehemiah says…

5I said, “I beseech You, O Lord God of heaven, the great and awesome God, who preserves the covenant and lovingkindness for those who love Him and keep His commandments,

Nehemiah appeals to God on behalf of the “covenant”

What is the covenant that Nehemiah is talking about….?

Well going back to Leviticus 26:

42then I will remember My covenant with Jacob, and I will remember also My covenant with Isaac, and My covenant with Abraham as well, and I will remember the land

Nehemiah is most concern not about the Persian cushy job but the covenant the God made to Abraham that in Abraham’s descendants, nations like Persia would be blessed.

But something is drastically wrong seemingly in that plan….

  • There are about 60k of the nation of Israel left in around Jerusalem.
  • The remnant of Israel is facing difficult times
  • The temple to God is a faint shadow of its former glory under Solomon
  • They have a capital city, Jerusalem, that is burnt-out and without walls
  • They have people who are participating in interfaith marrying among the nations.

That was the beginning of what lead to the Israel’s kingdom demise in the first place when King Solomon married women from all the nations and adopted their religion…Israel is again threatened with impurity in the same way that lead to this mess..

There is nothing to protect the purity of the remnant from which the Promised Messiah would come

There is nothing to protect the national sovereignty of Israel

POINT: If there is no Israel and no pure Israel…then there is no blessing and redemption for the nations and God is shown to be a liar in His promises!!!!

This is what Nehemiah is most concerned about!!!

God will use Nehemiah to act to help secure the national sovereignty of Israel with…wait for it….

A wall….

I did not make this up….

Now, He is the Donald Trump of the Bible…And the USA is not Israel.

How many of you have seen the Black Panther?

In that movie there is a powerful line about, “We should build bridges and not walls”

However, at this point in history if there was no wall, there was no Israel and there would be no redemption bridge to the nations through the Messiah.

Nehemiah is most concerned with the redemptive plan of God in being used of God to help Israel be pure religiously and remain a sovereign nation for the fulfillment of God’s redemptive plan for the nations!

And when he sees God’s promises seemingly faltering…

He mourns

Because he is not living for the kingdom of self, he is able

C.      Able to mourn over what God mourns—not his own kingdom

Neh1:4When I heard these words, I sat down and wept and mourned for days; and I was fasting and praying before the God of heaven.

As we piece together the timeline in Nehemiah, from the moment he hears about the remnant of Israel to the moment he brings his request before the king is four months. Nehemiah prays daily for four months…

Nehemiah is not living in his tiny skull-sized kingdom alone in his world.

Let me ask a few Pastoral questions:

Are you living in your tiny skull-sized kingdom alone?

One of the ways to tell is for what do you mourn or to what do you give significant energies. Nehemiah gave four months to prayer and fasting….

  • Do you mourn over not enough vacation
  • Do you mourn over not enough money
  • Do you mourn over not enough praise from man?
  • Do you mourn over not enough me-time…

If you do, you are in default mode described by non-Christian David Foster Wallace and living in the kingdom of self…

The only way out is get in the word

See what God is doing in His Kingdom

Look around and see the masses…and mourn

Remember Jesus’ words:

Matt 5:4 Blessed are those who mourn, for they shall be comforted.

The second characteristic of the servant God uses to make a lasting difference in His redemptive plan is ….

II.                One who strives to loves God

Notice Nehemiah’s prayer…

5I said, “I beseech You, O Lord God of heaven, the great and awesome God, who preserves the covenant and lovingkindness for those who love Him and keep His commandments,

So what does his love of God look like? I think we find that in the rest of Nehemiah’s prayer…

A.     Love shown through obedient repentance

Remember what Word of God was in Nehemiah’s mind…

Lev 26:40‘If they confess their iniquity and the iniquity of their forefathers, . . .

God had said, “if they confess their iniquity….And what does Nehemiah pray?

              Neh 1:6let Your ear now be attentive and Your eyes open to hear the prayer of Your servant which I am praying before You now, day and night, on behalf of the sons of Israel Your servants, confessing the sins of the sons of Israel which we have sinned against You; I and my father’s house have sinned.7“We have acted very corruptly against You and have not kept the commandments, nor the statutes, nor the ordinances which You commanded Your servant Moses.

When you are living for the skull size kingdom of self—you will always have a problem confessing your sin and admitting your wrong.

Why?

 “Acknowledging something is wrong with self is the undoing of the kingdom of self.”

Therefore, those pursing the kingdom of self and building the kingdom of self never go there….

When was the last time you acknowledge your wrongdoing before God and those you sinned against?

If confession is not a regular part of your life…is it possible that because you are pursuing the kingdom of self, that being wrong terrifies you…because that destroys your building…

Also, notice in Nehemiah’s prayer…the one who loves God is shown through…

B.      Love shown through desiring God’s presence

Nehemiah’s concern was that Jerusalem and the people be a pure place for the presence of God to dwell…

Neh 1:8“Remember the word which You commanded Your servant Moses, saying, ‘If you are unfaithful I will scatter you among the peoples; 9but if you return to Me . . . I will gather them from there and will bring them to the place where I have chosen to cause My name to dwell.’

Nehemiah 13:14 Remember me for this, O my God, and do not blot out my loyal deeds which I have performed for the house of my God and its services.

Nehemiah longed for the presence of the Lord more than the power of his position at the Persian King’s right hand.

Nehemiah would build the wall around Jerusalem which housed the house of God…the temple….

In essence, all of Nehemiah’s work was to make Jerusalem and the people a fitting and secure place for the Lord to dwell.

However are you ready for a plot twist…What is fascinating about this however is that he was embarking on this knowing that he could no go into the temple of the Lord…..

 

Deut 23:1 “No one who is emasculated or has his male organ cut off shall enter the assembly of the Lord.

Nehemiah was most likely a Eunuch. As a foreigner, in order for him to be around the king and queen of Persia like he was he had most likely been castrated so that his seed would not be intermixed with or be a threat to the king’s dynasty or harem. We know of no children or wife of Nehemiah. And the Greek translation of the OT calls Nehemiah was a “eunuch.”

Nehemiah had been cut off from the earthly presence of God as he understood it to be found in the temple…but he still knew that the presence of God was the most precious commodity…

And because of this condition, I believe this is why we have these unusual prayers in Nehemiah...that you don’t normally have among the biblical characters….

Throughout Nehemiah, Nehemiah says….

  • Nehemiah 5:19 Remember me, O my God, for good, according to all that I have done for this people.
  • Nehemiah 13:14 Remember me for this, O my God, and do not blot out my loyal deeds which I have performed for the house of my God and its services.
  • Nehemiah 13: 22. . . For this also remember me, O my God, and have compassion on me according to the greatness of Your lovingkindness.
  • Nehemiah 13:31 Remember me, O my God, for good.

This is unusual but also remember in the passage that Nehemiah has so clearly in mind that God had said…

Lev 26:40‘If they confess their iniquity and the iniquity of their forefathers, . . .42then I will remember My covenant with Jacob, and I will remember also My covenant with Isaac, and My covenant with Abraham as well, and I will remember the land. . .45‘But I will remember for them the covenant with their ancestors, . . .”

So, Nehemiah, the Eunuch is appealing to God to be the instrument through which God acts to carry forth God’s redemptive plan…

Even though Nehemiah could never be in the direct lineage of the future Messiah….Nor could have a part in being fruitful and multiplying Israel

But He could strive to protect the remnant for God…

Talk about living for something other than yourself!!!

Which leads us here…

The third characteristic of the servant God uses to make a lasting difference…building for eternity in His redemptive plan is ….

III.             One who acts to bring comfort and security even when acting might cost

The last request in his prayer is…

              11“O Lord, I beseech You, may Your ear be attentive to the prayer of Your servant and the prayer of Your servants who delight to revere Your name, and make Your servant successful today and grant him compassion before this man.”

Nehemiah is not just praying…but he is praying and planning. He has a specific action plan in mind that he is asking the Lord to bless

And it has something to do with “this man”

Another plot twist….who is “this man?”

The surprising fact is that Nehemiah had the ear of the king of the known world, Artaxerxes and because he had the ear of the King of the Universe—God…….

Nehemiah was is the cupbearer of the King of Persia…

  • So, Nehemiah understands, he cannot be part of procreation to populate Israel
  • Nehemiah understands he cannot produce a lineage that could result in the Messiah…

But Nehemiah, whose Name means “Yahweh comforts” can possibly use his position to bring about security and comfort to God’s people and thereby continue God’s plan to bless the nations..through a future Messiah….

Wow, you talk about living outside of yourself

You talk about living outside of the tiny skull-sized kingdom of self!

But know this, Nehemiah’s request might end his life…

If you are the King of the known world, do you want to hear about the troubles of your hired help

Small troubles of about 60k people 1000 miles away?

Seemingly of no significance…

But we know in these 60k people, the nation of Israel, is huge significance because if they are wiped out the hope of the nations are wiped out!!!

Artexerxes couldn’t care less about a small dying out people 1000 miles away…

And Nehemiah’s request is one that might take his life

Nehemiah was willing to risk His life for the good of God’s redemptive God’s plan…for His namesake, Nehemiah, Yahweh comforts….

What are you willing to risk for providing comfort and security to others?

If the answer is not much….then you are living in the tiny skull sized kingdom of self.

The fourth characteristic of the servant God uses to make a lasting difference in His redemptive plan is

IV.            One whom God subsequently comforts in return

God will comfort the one who comforts others….

While Nehemiah could not be in the earthly physical presence of the Lord…notice what Isaiah promised to people like Nehemiah…

Isaiah 56:4For thus says the Lord,“ To the eunuchs who keep My Sabbaths, And choose what pleases Me, And hold fast My covenant, 5To them I will give in My house and within My walls a memorial, And a name better than that of sons and daughters; I will give them an everlasting name which will not be cut off.

Nehemiah would be in the eternal spiritual house of God and have a memorial…a name better than physical descendants…

And guess what?  Now you all know about Nehemiah—The Servant God Uses to Build His City….

But there is a Greater Servant…A Greater Nehemiah

  • One who was not concerned about his dwelling place in a palace but would leave it for the good of God’s redemptive plan
  • One who loved God fully and completely
  • One who treasured the presence of His Father but he also…
  • Was cut off not from the earthly presence of God but from the real spiritual presence of God because of our sin…
  • One who was not just willing to risk all for the Good of God’s People but indeed gave his life for the Good of God’s people.

That one is Jesus Christ the pure Israel.

The one who became because of His work the blessing to the nations…to bring them back to God in fulfillment of all the Covenant…

Conclusion

[Gospel Appeal]

[Believer appeal]

Are you

One who lives outside of the kingdom of self?

                             Immersed in His word, engaging with His plan

One who loves God

In obedient repentance

Loving above all else not the pleasures and treasures of this world but the presence of God

One who is acting in dependence even though it cost….

Remember God in Christ as you become like him will give you also a name that is immortalized like Nehemiah’s

You can either have

The freedom all to be lords of our tiny skull-sized kingdoms, alone at the center of all creation

That won’t last…

Or possess the important freedom of “being able truly to care about other people and to sacrifice for them over and over in myriad petty, unsexy ways every day.

But done through Christ and have a name that last forever…


Brent Aucoin

B.S. - Mechanical Engineering, Oklahoma State University
M.S. - Engineering, Purdue University
M.Div. - Central Seminary
Th.M. - Trinity Evangelical Divinity School
Ph.D. - Baptist Bible Seminary (Clarks Summit, PA)

Pastor Brent Aucoin and his wife, Janet, came on staff in July of 1998. Brent is the President of Faith Bible Seminary, Pastor of Seminary and Soul Care at Faith Church (Lafayette, IN); ACBC certified; instructor and counselor at FBCM; retreat and conference speaker.

View Pastor Aucoin's Salvation Testmony Video