FBCWest 540 | Praying and Working in the Face of Opposition
Recorded On: 01/29/2023
Hymn # 254 “Leaning on the Everlasting Arms”
SCRIPTURE READING – Proverbs 3:5 - 8
Giving of Selves and Our Offerings
OFFERTORY MUSIC – Pru Hungate
Praise and Worship
“At the Cross (Love Ran Red)”
“Raise a Hallelujah”
Proclamation of the Word
Message by Pastor Joe
“Resolved to Obey and Worship Only the Lord, God”
“Praying and Working in the Face of Opposition”
PRAYER TIME / Time of Reflection
“Another in the Fire”
Acknowledgements and Announcements
Benediction “There Is Freedom”
Nehemiah 2:17 & 18 People agree to do a good work
Nehemiah 2:19 Mocked by the opposition
Nehemiah 2:20 God will give you success Repairs are made of the walls and gates
Nehemiah 4:1 – 3 Opposition angry and mock what has been done
Nehemiah 4::4 & 5 Nehemiah prays because the people have become demoralized
Nehemiah 4:6 Half done because the people had a mind to work
Nehemiah 4:7 & 8 Opposition conspire to attack
Nehemiah 4:9 Prayer and action in response
Nehemiah 4:14 Nehemiah speaks and encourages the people
Nehemiah 6:15 The work is finished with the help of the God
Transcript of Service
We started a soccer mini series last few weeks over resolving to obey and trust God regardless of what other people say or do whatever laws may be passing. We took a look at the three Hebrew men who, when told that they were to bow down and worship the golden idol. They refused because that would be dishonoring to God and a violation of his commands. We also saw how a law was passed to to prohibit prayer to anyone other than to the King. And David continued his prayer life in each of these suffered consequences, though God protected them. And then we took a look at how the disciples continue to teach and preach in Jerusalem, even though that they were strictly informed not to and how they did so anyway, and they told them, Are we to obey God rather than men?
And so they were flogged and won, leaving that their rejoice, having been considered worthy to suffer for Jesus. Resolving to do something is important because we have a tendency to make the rules just very to fit the situation. And if we decide to do that ahead of time. One of the examples I give is if you don't decide the type of person you want to marry, whoever you end up with, you decide that that person is good enough. But if you've made a commitment that this is the qualities of person that I want, then you say, That's who I'm going to look for. Sometimes it is easier when things are laid out very clearly. You are to bow down worship or suffer the consequence. And we say, Well, no, I'm not going to do that. There is a saying that we have kind of a proverb in America that says it's the straw that breaks the camel's back.
Oftentimes we can take on certain crises and hold on, but it's the very simple thing that finally causes us to be defeated in this situation. We're going to take a look at Nehemiah. Nehemiah was the cup holder of the king, the Jew. The circumstance in the context is, is that Judah had been overrun by the Babylonians and many of the best and brightest of the Jews were sent in exile to Babylon. And then over a course of time to build a Persian empire. And then the Persian Empire came into and Nehemiah as a cup holder to the king was in a very unique position of confidence. And Nehemiah received a report that Jerusalem was in terrible shape. It was the walls and the gates were destroyed and the people were were suffering.
And because of that report, it was the Bible doesn't use this word, but depressed. He was down for it and he prayed as the aura had explained, that when Israel had sinned, if the people turned and saw God, that he would yield them and restore the land. So that's what Nehemiah began to do, to petition God to forgive him and the people for their sins and to restore the land. And one day at his job as a cop, there now is a cupboard to the king. You're supposed to be on the up. You're supposed to be positive. In this day, he wasn't used. His countenance was downcast because of his concern for his people. And the king asked him what was going on and then revealed to him the condition of Jerusalem and his concern for it. And the king said, Well, what do you want me to do about it? Since I like to go there and restore it? The king says, okay, how long is going to take? And then Nehemiah does it stop there? Most are said, okay, thanks, I'm taking mine. He goes, You know, I need a pass to go from province to province.
So they don't stop, okay? And, you know, and I need a credit card. I need you to authorize the expenditure of materials that I need to do what I need to do. The king said, okay, The new Maya didn't just say, okay, I'm going to go. He said, What is it that the people need? What is it that I can do?
And he took I won't say advantage, but he certainly said, I want to take the opportunity to get from the king what I can so that I can minister. And oftentimes, we see a need in ministry with it. I need to do that. I need to get involved. And sometimes we are satisfied with the first step. Nehemiah doesn't. So it's not just sufficient that he's going to go. I need I need to be able to get there safely and I need the materials to do what it is that I feel called to do. And so, so many times you'll hear people who they want to be a foreign missionary, they want to be this or that. But they haven't thought it through. They haven't said, how is it that I accomplish what it is I want to do? But Nehemiah does. He says These are the things I need. This is what I'm going to do. So Nehemiah gets to Jerusalem and near Maya because he knows of the condition of the people and the opposition. He decides to to do a recon order.
He he reconnaissance the walls. He does so at night and he sees what the problems are. And what and and he becomes to this. And in Mumbai, it says then I said to them, you see that the situation we are in, in Jerusalem is desolate and the gates are burned with fire. Come let us rebuild the walls of Jerusalem, that we will no longer be a reproach. I told them how the hand of God had been favorable to me, and also about the King's words, which He had spoken to me. Then they said, Let us arise and build. So they put their hands to the good work. I want you to notice that Nehemiah knows that he can't accomplish this by himself, but he tells the people, This is what we need to do, that the situation is bad, it's desolate, and we need to rebuild the walls because as long as the walls are down, the people are not going to be safe. They can build their houses. But if you build a house on an unprotected city, it will be raided time after time. So we need to protect the people and they determine we are going to agree to do not only work, but good work. And oftentimes in our ministry, we cannot accomplish it by ourselves. We need somebody else to assist us and to see that it is a good work, not just a work.
Good work. Well, when Sam Ballard, the Ahora, right? And so by the Ammonites official and Gershom, the Arab heard it, they mocked us and inspired us and said, What is this thing that you are doing? You are rebuilding rebellion against the king. Well, I answered them and said to them, The God of heaven will give us access. So I want you to notice something. Ministry just doesn't happen on a post. And one of the most difficult things for people to in ministry to do is to counter opposition. Now, it's important to know where the opposition comes from. So if my wife says, you know, you're a terrible preacher, that's fortunately, gee, that would cut me too quick. And I go, Maybe I'm not supposed to do what I feel led to do.
But maybe if people who never like me said, you know, you're a terrible preacher, maybe I don't need to listen to them. Or maybe what I did is is okay. Well, what can I do to make myself better? And then maybe I take some of their constructive criticism to try to improve. But there are people who just don't want you to do what you what you feel called to do, either because they oppose you, because they think we Christians are just weird and crazy and shouldn't preach or if you're effective, but all of a sudden now you need to follow what Jesus did and they want you to stay comfortable in your seat because they want to be comfortable in the seat. They don't want to challenge the status quo. So there will be opposition, but notice you answer them. It said the God of heaven will give us success. Therefore we, this servant, will rise and build. But you have no portion right or memorial in Jerusalem. Nehemiah takes the gloves off. He goes, The God of Heaven is going to give me success.
It's not my brilliance or my ability or these people who I've got to do a good work is no God will give us success. If God called you to do ministry, then God is going to call you to do it successfully. But he says, okay, I get it. You're the opposition. Well, when we're done, you won't be able to claim any credit for it, and there will never be a time when we're accomplished that. We'll say, as we oftentimes do when we do a building program, and all of a sudden this room is dedicated to us, some little old lady who gave us some money in this pews. Whatever we do, whatever they're saying, you're never going to have any markings on these walls or gates because you we're in opposition. Further along, it says now, it came about that when Sam Ballard heard that we were rebuilding the wall, he became furious and very angry and mocked the Jews. And he spoke in the presence of the brothers and the wealthy men of the marriage and said, What are these people Jews doing? Are they going to restore it for themselves?
Can they offer sacrifices? Can they finish in a day? And they revive the stone from the dusty rubble, even the burned one. But now it's heated up. They're going okay. Even if you try, you're not going to be able to do it. You can't accomplish what it is. Your your work is too hard for you. It's too difficult. You can't accomplish it. And one of the things that many people who are wanting to do ministry for the Lord often will be told, Well, you can't do it. You. It's not something that you can. Now, I'll give you kind of an example. Not in ministry. Since the time I was seven, I wanted to be a lawyer. I didn't come from a rich man. I didn't even come from a really a middle class. And we didn't have money. But I always wanted to be a lawyer. And my mother said, Well, you know, maybe you should, you know, take drafting classes because you know what? I'm not going well, I'm. Have you ever see me write? I can't draw a straight line. You know how this is before computer cards.
And so, you know, I was I don't know. I wanted I want to be a lawyer. Okay. Well, at a very young age, I told her that I wanted to get married. And she looked at me, and her first response was, I thought you wanted to be a lawyer, which is the first time she ever said because she thought I couldn't accomplish this. And my response to her was, I'm going to be, I just told you I'm getting married. But so when people do things kind of out of the norm or whatever, that you can't accomplish that we don't have the money for you to go to law school. You don't have whatever it takes to be that ministry that you want to do.
So you will find more people who will tell you you can't do it and you can't now to buy them. And I was dear him and said, even what they are building, if a fox should jump on it, he would break their stone walls. So now they're even being more ridiculed. They're being mocked. It's oh, even if they accomplish it, even if they build a wall, it'll be so weak. It'll be that if the a lightweight fox jumped on it, it would crumble down. So now you may appear to have success, but it's not real success. It's illusionary because it'll all just come crumbling. Yeah. Notice Niemeyer's response Zero. All our God, how we are the spine. We turn their reproach on their own heads and give it them up. Wander in the land of captivity. Do not forgive their iniquity and let not their sin be blotted out before you. Or they have demoralized built. So Niemeyer's response to this criticism isn't, Oh yeah, I'll prove you right. It's he seeks in prayer God's provision. He seeks two things. And one of the things you should always seek God's divine intervention in God's divine inspiration.
He's going, God, we have opposition. They're mighty, they're powerful. You take care of them. Help me figure out what to. So notice in this opposition and this prayer. But then I mean what you may decide to do. But I want you to notice the people have become the moral. We need to understand that when you do ministry, criticism has its effect on the people. Criticism all too often demoralized people we used to be in the pews are no longer there because somebody said something to them that hurt their feelings. It doesn't matter how much God love them, it's for that terrible person. So rather than even finding the church, they just don't go to church at all. Or because you sought your own desires rather than the Lord's. And then, Oh well, God doesn't do what God says and therefore I'm not going to worship him. Demoralization has its impact. Said it is the straw that breaks the camel's back and it nearby understands this. The people are demoralized. God come to their aid. Give us notice When Nehemiah does so often times as well, we have opposition. They don't want us to build it.
They say we can't do it effectively anyway and the people are demoralized, so we'll just give up. We'll quit. Not what you're doing. God's good work. So we built the wall and the whole wall was joined together to half its height for the people had a mind to work. Daniel got divine intervention in divine inspiration, and he had the people no longer demoralized. But having a mind to work. Oh, that. Our churches today had a mind for. Well, we have a mind to do now is to have the pastor do staff work and we observe it because they're the professional. Nobody needs to have a hospital visit. We'll call the pastor. Well, why don't you go?
There's a need for a Sunday school class for children. Raise your hand having a mind to work as opposed to a mind set, because I know this, that you would work for God. You don't work alone. And I'm not talking about the people talking about there is a connection and a presence when you're working for God that he's in a unique way, that of no one. Oh yeah, you can worship and that's wonderful. And there is a presence there and I don't want to discount that. But if the only connection you've ever felt that God is praising him and not working for him, you missed out on his friends. Have a mind to work in again. We have somebody at the end of this message who a lot of people didn't think could work out. But this is not a democracy when it comes to God. Ministry God call who he call when he call. And you have no impact on that call. No matter of fact, sometimes democracy doesn't work so well. All you got to do is take a look at the spies who checked out the landed and the majority said, you know, we can't do it.
You're ten People said, you know, they're too big or too small. We can't do it. There are two guys. I said, Aga Khan at a terrible business meeting that they got voted down. So just because somebody says you can do it, is it noon? If you say you can't do it? There is a plethora of experience of examples in the scriptures. Moses I can't talk and when he goes to Pharaoh, you can't shut him up. Aaron never gets a chance to say anything. Abraham's you know, he has a ton of kids all over. Once you get past, you can't do it and you get past, others can do it. And you say, God has called me to do it. And guess what? Do it now. When Sandler, the buyer, the Arabs and the Ammonites and the acid, I'd heard that the repair of the walls of Jerusalem went on and the breaches began to be closed.
They were very angry. You see, people don't like to be wrong. They said you couldn't do it and now you're proving them wrong. Well, they said it was it wasn't going to be worthy because the fox to knock it down. Well, now it's coming to fruition. All of them conspired together to come and fight against Jerusalem and they caused a disturbance. And so now it's gone from opposition is way of words to opposition in the way of arms that they're planning to attack Jerusalem. You see, the walls aren't ready to be built high enough to protect the city. It's at a vulnerable spot. But again, Nehemiah does what Nehemiah has always done and what we should do, what we pray to our God because of them, we set up a guard against them. They are not. You see, again, Nehemiah prays for divine intervention in divine inspiration. He says, We pray to God to protect us. And we decided to take action. We set up a guard. It'll go over and over. So basically what they do is they have some people having arms and some people working and they go back and they cope.
They try different ways to get their work accomplished, the work because they understand that the risk is real, that they want because of their anger to destroy them. But they're not going to stop the good work of God. So they take action to defend them as we ought to. We don't quit because there's opposition. We seek God's help and pray. And we work. We work and we pray. All too often it seems to be one or the other. I'm reminded of a saying of Martin Luther, which is the exact opposite of what we do. Martin Luther is attributed of saying, I have a whole lot to do today. I have so much to do. I don't know if I can accomplish it all. As a matter of fact, I have so much to do. It will take me 5 hours in prayer to accomplish it. Most of us think I have so much to do today. If I get 5 seconds of prayer rain, it'll be okay. It'd be amazing how much we can accomplish in prayer with God and in prayer with God.
Doesn't mean we give him our orders. We talk to him and He to us. And he inspires us and instructs us and allows us to do the things that we need to do. There have been times I have thought and thought about what is it we should do? Have no answer. I finally go, okay, I don't I don't know. Maybe, God, you have some ideas. And amazingly enough, God has some ideas, which is beyond all that. We can think that when I saw their fear, I rose and spoke to the nobles and the officials and the rest of the people. Do not be afraid of them. Remember, the Lord was great and awesome and fight for your brothers and your sons and your daughters, your wives and your houses. But not only does Daniel keep calling it down, no matter that Nehemiah prays and Nehemiah takes action, he also understands that he needs to encourage the people, encouraging the people. So he says, We pray, we do, we go and the people are encouraged, the people are prepared and they did it because and he gave them a number of reason to do it because it's a good work for God.
Do it for your brother and your sister. Your parents checked them. You gave them a number of reasons to take action in protection. And amazingly, verse 15 of the wall was completed on the 25th of the month of two and 50 to oh one. We read the scriptures quickly when they had opposition from day one, day 52, but they continued on Pray in the work and have a mind for. And when those in opposition said you could never accomplish it, it got accomplished in less than two months. What is it that could be accomplished if you decided to have a mind to work in ministry? So what can be accomplished in a short now that short of my time may be your entire life, but when you take the look of the prospect of who God is, your lifetime is just like an accomplishment, regardless of the opposition, regardless of being demoralized, regardless.
And so my current is to resolve to do the good work and that when you are criticized and mocked and ridiculed, just say in an obscure advice to begin with, then ask your permission to begin with my to obey you or God. God called me to do this and I'm going to work as hard as I can. I'm going to pray and I'm going to do I'm going to take action.
You have another little thing. The pathway to hell is paved with good intentions. There are so many Christians who have had great intentions to do right. Maybe if we started out doing small things intentionally, it might amaze you. Would God, You may think you're insignificant, but God is called is made you His job, but he withhold you any good thing that includes your good managed have a mind to don't let those in opposition to deferred deter you or the moral, but put your hand to the plow and don't look back.
That's what he's called into. And with his help you will accomplish and all God's people said.