Tuesday, September 12, 2017

Nehemiah and the Calvary Construction Crew #3 Opposition

Nehemiah and the Calvary Construction Crew #3 Opposition

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Today we are continuing our series on Nehemiah and the Calvary Construction Crew. Today we are going to cover several chapters from 4 all the way to the end of 6 and all these chapters deal with one subject, Opposition. It is the bulk of what Nehemiah had to deal with in rebuilding the wall of Jerusalem and it will be the same for us who take up that mantle of rebuilder today.

Let me introduce the subject with a story.
A hobo knocked on the door of an English pub called "George and the Dragon." A woman opened the door. He asked, "Could I have a bit to eat?" The woman screamed at him and began to curse and malign him. Finally, she slammed the door in his face. He knocked again and the woman opened the door. "Now," he said, "could I have a few words with George?"

Henry Ward Beecher was an abolitionist preacher who often received threats and hate mail.  Once he received a letter with only a single word written on it.  Opening the letter all it said was "Fool".  He took the letter to the pulpit and after showing it to the congregation said, "I have often received mail in which someone did not sign their name, but this is the first time someone signed their name and forgot to write the letter."

 In the Lord's work you will often find opposition, if the work is to continue how you handle opposition will determine whether the work will continue or cease.   Nehemiah faced tremendous opposition in his God called work of rebuilding the wall around Jerusalem.  If we can learn from his example we can also be successful despite the opposition we encounter.

Prepare for service

Nehemiah prepares himself to serve God.

He was a person of passion who cared for his nation, his family and His God.

He Prepared through prayer and fasting.
Neh. 1:4 And it came to pass, when I heard these words, that I sat down and wept, and mourned certain days, and fasted, and prayed before the God of heaven,

He was willing to sacrifice himself 
Neh. 2:4-6 Then the king said unto me, For what dost thou make request? So I prayed to the God of heaven. 5And I said unto the king, If it please the king, and if thy servant have found favour in thy sight, that thou wouldest send me unto Judah, unto the city of my fathers' sepulchres, that I may build it. 6And the king said unto me, (the queen also sitting by him,) For how long shall thy journey be? and when wilt thou return? So it pleased the king to send me; and I set him a time.

He secured authority
Neh. 2:7-8 Moreover I said unto the king, If it please the king, let letters be given me to the governors beyond the river, that they may convey me over till I come into Judah; 8And a letter unto Asaph the keeper of the king's forest, that he may give me timber to make beams for the gates of the palace which appertained to the house, and for the wall of the city, and for the house that I shall enter into. And the king granted me, according to the good hand of my God upon me.

He surveyed the ruins
Neh. 2:13-15 And I went out by night by the gate of the valley, even before the dragon well, and to the dung port, and viewed the walls of Jerusalem, which were broken down, and the gates thereof were consumed with fire. 14Then I went on to the gate of the fountain, and to the king's pool: but there was no place for the beast that was under me to pass. 15Then went I up in the night by the brook, and viewed the wall, and turned back, and entered by the gate of the valley, and so returned.

He also shared the burden he carried
Neh. 2:17-18 Then said I unto them, Ye see the distress that we are in, how Jerusalem lieth waste, and the gates thereof are burned with fire: come, and let us build up the wall of Jerusalem, that we be no more a reproach. 18Then I told them of the hand of my God which was good upon me; as also the king's words that he had spoken unto me. And they said, Let us rise up and build. So they strengthened their hands for this good work.

Have you prepared yourself to serve God?

I once heard a preacher make a statement that captured the times in which we now live.  He said, "Most Christians would rather serve God by convenience rather than by conviction."
What about you, how about your service to God?  What you have done to prepare in your service for God?

Have you prayed? Have you separated yourself from this world? Have you sought the Lord's authority through His church? Have you gathered what you will need in the future? Have you shared your burden with others?

If you don't prepare to serve God you'll make a poor servant of God and when opposition comes you'll quit.

Illustration: The Sad Story of an unprepared preacher

I have a friend a man I've known most of my life.  Like me he was raised in a Christian home, attended the same church I did as a child.  Later in life he was called into the ministry as well.  His life was marked by an unwillingness, an impatience to prepare.  He spent only a few semesters in college before leaving.  He tried to be a missionary for awhile but wouldn't take the time for deputation.  When he arrived on the field his family suffered greatly. His ministry always seemed to be trying to do great things without taking the time needed to achieve them. He's out of the ministry now.  His family doesn't really attend church much anymore.  He wanted to do great things but he would not take the time needed to prepare himself for those great things.

Prepare for Opposition Nehemiah 4

Six Attacks against Nehemiah

We’ll survey the next 3 chapters as we see the attacks against Nehemiah.

By Mockery Nehemiah 4:1-3
 But it came to pass, that when Sanballat heard that we builded the wall, he was wroth, and took great indignation, and mocked the Jews.  And he spake before his brethren and the army of Samaria, and said, What do these feeble Jews? will they fortify themselves? will they sacrifice? will they make an end in a day? will they revive the stones out of the heaps of the rubbish which are burned?  Now Tobiah the Ammonite was by him, and he said, Even that which they build, if a fox go up, he shall even break down their stone wall.

By Conspiracy and threats Nehemiah 4:7-8 (KJV)
 But it came to pass, that when Sanballat, and Tobiah, and the Arabians, and the Ammonites, and the Ashdodites, heard that the walls of Jerusalem were made up, and that the breaches began to be stopped, then they were very wroth,  And conspired all of them together to come and to fight against Jerusalem, and to hinder it.

By Internal sin Nehemiah 5:7-8 (KJV)
 Then I consulted with myself, and I rebuked the nobles, and the rulers, and said unto them, Ye exact usury, every one of his brother. And I set a great assembly against them.  And I said unto them, We after our ability have redeemed our brethren the Jews, which were sold unto the heathen; and will ye even sell your brethren? or shall they be sold unto us? Then held they their peace, and found nothing to answer.

By Compromise Nehemiah 6:1-4 (KJV)
 Now it came to pass, when Sanballat, and Tobiah, and Geshem the Arabian, and the rest of our enemies, heard that I had builded the wall, and that there was no breach left therein; (though at that time I had not set up the doors upon the gates;)  That Sanballat and Geshem sent unto me, saying, Come, let us meet together in some one of the villages in the plain of Ono. But they thought to do me mischief.  And I sent messengers unto them, saying, I am doing a great work, so that I cannot come down: why should the work cease, whilst I leave it, and come down to you?  Yet they sent unto me four times after this sort; and I answered them after the same manner.

By Slander Nehemiah 6:4-6 (KJV)
 Yet they sent unto me four times after this sort; and I answered them after the same manner.  Then sent Sanballat his servant unto me in like manner the fifth time with an open letter in his hand;  Wherein was written, It is reported among the heathen, and Gashmu saith it, that thou and the Jews think to rebel: for which cause thou buildest the wall, that thou mayest be their king, according to these words.

By Deceit Nehemiah 6:10 (KJV)
 Afterward I came unto the house of Shemaiah the son of Delaiah the son of Mehetabeel, who was shut up; and he said, Let us meet together in the house of God, within the temple, and let us shut the doors of the temple: for they will come to slay thee; yea, in the night will they come to slay thee.

The attacks today against God’s rebuilders

The attacks against us today are as almost exactly the same as the attacks against Nehemiah and all of God’s rebuilders throughout history.  The world and the Satan who empowers it will employ the tactics of mockery, threats, sin in the church, compromise, slander and deceit to try and stop the work we are called to do. Never have we seen it more true in our own nation than in this past decade.
Christians who stand for the truth are called haters. Parents who believe in protecting their children from exposure to the worst kind of perversions are taken to court and threatened with the removal of their children. Churches that oppose mayors who try to remove any privacy from sexual predators in restrooms are ridiculed and then sued by that perverted mayor. Television shows portray Christians as fanatics on the level of pagans sacrificing humans while the actual pagans are elevated to the level of saints under persecution by an evil Church.

If you are going to be a member of the Calvary Construction Company, rebuilding lives and souls in this present age then you better be prepared for the opposition that will come against you. It will be intense and it will put you through a trail of fire.  

Bunyan’s Resolve.       

John Bunyan, a Baptist preacher in the 1700s was arrested for not obtaining a license form the Church of England to be allowed to preach. He spent 12 years in prison. While his family struggled to survive. Several times he was offered his freedom if he would just give up preaching. This was his reply on one of those occasions. “I cannot do what you ask of m, M’lord. I cannot place my signature upon any document in which I promise henceforth not to preach. My calling to preach the Gospel is rom God, and He alone can make me discontinue what He has appointed me to do. As I have had no word from Him to that effect, I must continue to preach, and I shall continue to preach. If you let me out today I shall preach again tomorrow.”

Prepared to Stand Against the Opposition

Nehemiah Had Six Responses When Attacked

Prayed to God.
Nehemiah 4:4  Hear, O our God; for we are despised: and turn their reproach upon their own head, and give them for a prey in the land of captivity:
Nehemiah 4:9  Nevertheless we made our prayer unto our God, and set a watch against them day and night, because of them.
Nehemiah was first and foremost a man of prayer. Before any decision was made or any action committed, Nehemiah prayers..

Prepared for battle but continued to work
Nehemiah 4:13 Therefore set I in the lower places behind the wall, and on the higher places, I even set the people after their families with their swords, their spears, and their bows.
Nehemiah 4:16-18 And it came to pass from that time forth, that the half of my servants wrought in the work, and the other half of them held both the spears, the shields, and the bows, and the habergeons; and the rulers were behind all the house of Judah.  They which builded on the wall, and they that bare burdens, with those that laded, every one with one of his hands wrought in the work, and with the other hand held a weapon.  For the builders, every one had his sword girded by his side, and so builded. And he that sounded the trumpet was by me.
The rebuilders of Jerusalem worked while armed. They held a sword in one hand a trowel in the other as they rebuilt the wall.

Communicated with others
Nehemiah 4:18-20 For the builders, every one had his sword girded by his side, and so builded. And he that sounded the trumpet was by me.  And I said unto the nobles, and to the rulers, and to the rest of the people, The work is great and large, and we are separated upon the wall, one far from another. In what place therefore ye hear the sound of the trumpet, resort ye thither unto us: our God shall fight for us.
Nehemiah had a trumpeter by him and then made sure that in case of attack the others would know where to go by the sound of the trumpet and would respond with weapons draw ready to do battle.

Confronted the Internal Problems and Sin
 Nehemiah 5:7-8 Then I consulted with myself, and I rebuked the nobles, and the rulers, and said unto them, Ye exact usury, every one of his brother. And I set a great assembly against them.  And I said unto them, We after our ability have redeemed our brethren the Jews, which were sold unto the heathen; and will ye even sell your brethren? or shall they be sold unto us? Then held they their peace, and found nothing to answer.

Recognized the worth of the work He was called to do
Nehemiah 6:3 And I sent messengers unto them, saying, I am doing a great work, so that I cannot come down: why should the work cease, whilst I leave it, and come down to you?

Realized the person He was in God's work
Nehemiah 6:11 And I said, Should such a man as I flee? and who is there, that, being as I am, would go into the temple to save his life? I will not go in.

Our Reaction to Opposition

In the Lord’s Work as a member of the Calvary Construction Crew we must face the opposition and we can learn a lot from the way Nehemiah faced it while rebuilding the wall.

First, Pray to God.
Always our first action when we are attacked.  First and foremost, pray and from that point on we pray and pray and pray.

Prepare for battle but continue to work
We must deal with the opposition without losing sight of the work. We defend ourselves but continue to build the word God has called us to.

Communicate with others
Make sure others know, make sure they will respond when they are called.
Very hard to do when were hurt, when we are afraid, when we are under attack, but it must happen so that others can pray so that others can stand with you.

Confront the problem
Never believe that the opposition will simply go away.  It must be dealt with it must be confronted.

Recognize the worth of the work you do
You are a rebuilder of lives, you are a gatherer of living stones to build up a spiritual house for God to dwell in. What you do in telling others of the Gospel is the only work that counts toward eternity.

Realize the person you are in God's work
God uses the great and the small and none of us know exactly how God will use us, but what we must know is that God is using you, and that make you essential in God’s plan.


Thomas Edison's resolve Recently I was reading a brief but stimulating biography of Thomas Edison written by his son. What an amazing character! Thanks to his genius, we enjoy the microphone, the phonograph, the incandescent light, the storage battery, talking movies and more than a thousand other inventions. But beyond all that, Edison was a man who refused to be discouraged. His contagious optimism affected all those around him.

   His son recalled a freezing December night in 1914. Unfruitful experiments on the nickel-iron-alkaline storage battery, a 10-year project, had put Edison on a financial tightrope. He was still solvent only because of profits from movie and record production.

   On that December evening the cry "fire!" echoed through the plant. Spontaneous combustion had broken out in the film room. Within minutes all the packing compounds, celluloid for records and film and other flammable goods were burning. Fire companies from eight surrounding towns arrived, but the heat was so intense and the water pressure so low that attempts to douse the flames were futile. Everything was being destroyed.

   When he couldn't find his father, the son became concerned. Was he safe? With all his assets being destroyed, would his spirit be broken? Soon he saw his father in the plant yard running toward him.

   "Where's Mom?" shouted the inventor. "Go get her, son! Tell her to hurry up and bring her friends! They'll never see a fire like this again!"

   Early the next morning, long before dawn, with the fire barely under control, Edison called his employees together and made an incredible announcement. "We're rebuilding!"

   He told one man to lease all the machine shops in the area. He told another to obtain a wrecking crane from the Erie Railroad Company. Then, almost as an afterthought, he added, "Oh, by the way, anybody know where we can get some money?"

   Later, he explained, "We can always make capital out of a disaster. We've just cleared out a bunch of old rubbish. We'll build bigger and better on the ruins." Shortly after that, he yawned, rolled up his coat for a pillow, curled up on a table and immediately fell asleep.


Many times in the past the forces of opposition, the armies of Satan, the minions of the King of this world have believed that they have held the rebuilders in check. That through their ridicule, their threats, their conspiracy or their flattery they have overcome God’s workers, the Calvary Construction Crews armed with the Gospel of Christ and the Word of God. The opposition has forced them to hide in catacombs to have their services, have driven them out of the cities and into the mountains and forests, have made the worship in caves or basements of believer’s homes. The armies of Satan have arrested them, beat them, thrown them into arenas and fed them to wild animals or tortured them on instruments of pain and suffering. They must have thought they had won and the work of rebuilding lives and souls had ceased but they were wrong. For always somewhere and at different times the rebuilders would once again mount the wall with the Sword of the Lord in one hand and the trowel of hard work in the other and they would begin again. You and I are part of that great and sacred tradition, that honored fellowship of the saints. Let us stand against the opposition of today with God’s Word and God’s Work and rebuild the ruins around us.

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