We’re better together

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Hello how we doing? Hope Church is one of the ministries that we support as a church financially and so to be able to go there and and speak as well is a huge honor God’s doing great things through LifePoint Church through each of your generosity and and through the staff and so it’s just cool to be a part of that pastor Nathan asked me this last week if I would speak for him this week as he was at Hope and I said sure said what what do you want me to talk on you want me to to speak on what’s on my heart do you want me to continue in Nehemiah he said it would be great if you continued in Nehemiah and I said okay cool I said what chapter we’re on he said chapter three and it dawned on me why that was so great to him because chapter three is literally like a hundred polysyllabic names and places that means just long names that are hard to pronounce right but God in His goodness the more you read something the more you go through it you see that God is just so good there’s so much depth to the word and the word is alive and you know we’re a church that goes through the Bible book by a book and one of the things that that means is we don’t have to come up with topics because the Word of God covers all topics and it it does a good job all on its own and so we happen to be in in chapter 3 you will see some similarities to when I preached a few weeks ago about about a united body there are some of the same messages in here and then there’s some other stuff that’s pretty deep as well I’m a really literal person I believe in reading the entire passage so you are going to have to suffer with me for a few minutes as we read every single one of these names in this in this chapter but it’s important and I think you’ll understand why in just a little bit before we do that I would like to invite some of my friends from the worship team back out here or up yeah did we lose Robert there he is okay so like I said this is a really long passage right so what I’m gonna do during this is I’m gonna have these two men they are going to make America great again and build us some walls okay disclaimer that is not a view of LifePoint Church so as I’m doing this they’re going to build what they think would be a really good wall to keep us all safe here at LifePoint Church chapter three verse one Eliashib the high priest and his fellow priests went to work and rebuilt the Sheep Gate. They dedicated it and set its doors in place, building as far as the Tower of the Hundred, which they dedicated, and as far as the Tower of Hananel. The men of Jericho built the adjoining section, and Zakkur son of Imri built next to them. The Fish Gate was rebuilt by the sons of Hassenaah. They laid its beams and put its doors and bolts and bars in place. Meremoth son of Uriah, the son of Hakkoz, repaired the next section. Next to him Meshullam son of Berekiah, the son of Meshezabel, made repairs, and next to him Zadok son of Baana also made repairs. The next section was repaired by the men of Tekoa, but their nobles would not put their shoulders to the work under their supervisors. The Jeshanah Gate was repaired by Joiada son of Paseah and Meshullam son of Besodeiah. They laid its beams and put its doors with their bolts and bars in place. Next to them, repairs were made by men from Gibeon and Mizpah—Melatiah of Gibeon and Jadon of Meronoth—places under the authority of the governor of Trans-Euphrates. Uzziel son of Harhaiah, one of the goldsmiths, repaired the next section; and Hananiah, one of the perfume-makers, made repairs next to that. They restored Jerusalem as far as the Broad Wall. Rephaiah son of Hur, ruler of a half-district of Jerusalem, repaired the next section. Adjoining this, Jedaiah son of Harumaph made repairs opposite his house, and Hattush son of Hashabneiah made repairs next to him. Malkijah son of Harim and Hasshub son of Pahath-Moab repaired another section and the Tower of the Ovens. Shallum son of Hallohesh, ruler of a half-district of Jerusalem, repaired the next section with the help of his daughters. The Valley Gate was repaired by Hanun and the residents of Zanoah. They rebuilt it and put its doors with their bolts and bars in place. They also repaired a thousand cubits of the wall as far as the Dung Gate. The Dung Gate was repaired by Malkijah son of Rekab, ruler of the district of Beth Hakkerem. He rebuilt it and put its doors with their bolts and bars in place. The Fountain Gate was repaired by Shallun son of Kol-Hozeh, ruler of the district of Mizpah. He rebuilt it, roofing it over and putting its doors and bolts and bars in place. He also repaired the wall of the Pool of Siloam, by the King’s Garden, as far as the steps going down from the City of David. Beyond him, Nehemiah son of Azbuk, ruler of a half-district of Beth Zur, made repairs up to a point opposite the tombs of David, as far as the artificial pool and the House of the Heroes. Next to him, the repairs were made by the Levites under Rehum son of Bani. Beside him, Hashabiah, ruler of half the district of Keilah, carried out repairs for his district. Next to him, the repairs were made by their fellow Levites under Binnui son of Henadad, ruler of the other half-district of Keilah. Next to him, Ezer son of Jeshua, ruler of Mizpah, repaired another section, from a point facing the ascent to the armory as far as the angle of the wall. Next to him, Baruch son of Zabbai zealously repaired another section, from the angle to the entrance of the house of Eliashib the high priest. Next to him, Meremoth son of Uriah, the son of Hakkoz, repaired another section, from the entrance of Eliashib’s house to the end of it. The repairs next to him were made by the priests from the surrounding region. Beyond them, Benjamin and Hasshub made repairs in front of their house; and next to them, Azariah son of Maaseiah, the son of Ananiah, made repairs beside his house. Next to him, Binnui son of Henadad repaired another section, from Azariah’s house to the angle and the corner, and Palal son of Uzai worked opposite the angle and the tower projecting from the upper palace near the court of the guard. Next to him, Pedaiah son of Parosh and the temple servants living on the hill of Ophel made repairs up to a point opposite the Water Gate toward the east and the projecting tower. Next to them, the men of Tekoa repaired another section, from the great projecting tower to the wall of Ophel. Above the Horse Gate, the priests made repairs, each in front of his own house. Next to them, Zadok son of Immer made repairs opposite his house. Next to him, Shemaiah son of Shekaniah, the guard at the East Gate, made repairs. Next to him, Hananiah son of Shelemiah, and Hanun, the sixth son of Zalaph, repaired another section. Next to them, Meshullam son of Berekiah made repairs opposite his living quarters. Next to him, Malkijah, one of the goldsmiths, made repairs as far as the house of the temple servants and the merchants, opposite the Inspection Gate, and as far as the room above the corner; and between the room above the corner and the Sheep Gate the goldsmiths and merchants made repairs.

Praise God we did it we made it so as you can tell by listening to that this is a huge project how huge of a project is it it was about four and a half miles worth a wall and they completed it in 52 days okay you all live in San Tan Valley right it takes six months to do a quarter-mile of hunt highway all right they did this in less than two months they they completed this entire project it obviously took a ton of people a ton of man work from what we know it was volunteer work which makes it even more incredible and we’ll talk about that a little bit more but you have this many people involved without good leadership it would be hard to make the wall look good so what did you guys come up with put that together there’s not even locks on that gate man is this heaven did you make heaven this time did you make heaven this time is that what that is so and then you’ve got like this jogging path on top I like that that guy’s got an uzi or something anyways so you can see when we get you get a couple of people involved and try to build a wall it can be a complicated thing thank you guys.

In short, The purpose of Nehemiah 3 is to show what unity looks like in the body. It’s to show what can happen when you have believers in the same cause getting together and trying to do something that is way bigger than themselves. As believers, as people, just human nature, we were designed for glory. We were designed to long after things that are much bigger and greater than us. Since the beginning of time men have put paint on their face and wore their battle garbs and they’ve gone out war. Now we call it football, right? And this is the way that we’re wired. We love this stuff and what it is, is something that God has put inside of us to know that there is something bigger than us and grander than us. And we get to be a part of it in his vision and in his plan.

And so there’s this huge problem we find in chapter 1 chapter 2 Nehemiah’s heart breaks over the state of the wall of Jericho or Jerusalem and he goes there and just God does all this really cool stuff and then chapter 3 is the chapter that talks about who how many people it took to get it done and they got it done very very fast important message that we see throughout chapter 3 is what it takes to have the unity to get something like this done and what kind of leadership it takes to get something like this done couple weeks ago pastor Nathan declared that everyone in this room is a leader maybe not leaders of a big corporation but a leader in some way God has put a sphere of influence around each and every one of us and I think this this chapter is great at defining what that can look like and there’s so much more than what I’m about to read but these are the things that just pop out right off the top we need dedicated leaders who can help everyone work toward the common vision think about right now just take a moment and think about some of the problems that you see in our society and our in the church maybe a LifePoint at the church in enlarge and think about what you could do to help everyone work toward the common vision most places that I’ve ever worked for had a they had a mission statement even if it’s a secular company there’s a mission statement we want to do this this and this right and when you have everybody at that company excited and working toward that same vision really great things happen if people only partially buy in or it’s only some of the people that buy in then you can see that and it can be kind of a mess a leader must not mind if the credit goes to others so in this passage there is a Nehemiah mentioned but it’s not our Nehemiah so the man who God gave the plan and who was able to get all these people to work so hard for him is not even mentioned in this chapter why I don’t know I don’t know a leader must motivate people so it’s interesting to know here that there were definitely people who would benefit from the wall that were a part of this it talks about this man built the part that was across from his house so on and so forth but then we hear of other people who came from other towns to help build they didn’t get paid they did it on their own time some of them were wealthy men by the the titles that are given to them and they came and they poured themselves out and without a leader to motivate that would have never happened it just doesn’t happen a leader must give proper recognition I think chapter 3 shows the heart of God in a big way because there’s so many things that we do that we feel like they go unnoticed whether it’s taking care of our kids or or helping out somebody at the store or whatever those things feel like they go unnoticed but the truth is they don’t go unnoticed to God God cared enough to take an entire chapter and dedicate it to the people who did his work a leader must not get distracted by those who are not cooperative I think all of us have worked with somebody who was not cooperative right and here’s the beauty of it in this in this life we can get really upset always trying to be responsible for other people’s actions we can grow old really quickly if we’re always worried about what everyone else is doing but this is a freeing thing to be able to do the right thing even when everyone else is doing the wrong thing and so a good leader doesn’t allow the people who cram six hours of work into an eight-hour day doesn’t allow that to affect him he works the entire time says in Nehemiah 3:5 that the passing nobles of Toccoa refused to join the project I’m imagining it was out of petty pride but what do you do in those situations we all have something that we’re fighting for and there’s people around us that we know could be such a benefit but they’re not what do we do we can worry about them or we can continue to do what God has called us to do to accomplish God’s purpose we must be willing to do our part the people heard Nehemiah’s vision and they responded in chapter 2 verse 18 it says let us arise and build this is a convicting part of the passage and again we talked about this a few weeks ago but there’s so many things around us that we see need to be done even in this church at our homes and our neighborhoods but so often we find ourselves either too busy or too good to complete the tasks and they just go undone they were willing to cooperate and coordinate with one another for the overall cause what is the overall cause here you’ve got God’s holy city it’s been decimated everyone at least had heard of a vision of what it should look like God gives this plan to Nehemiah he comes and shares this audacious this huge project and the overall cause is to help that’s the people inside to be safe but also does just see God’s City restored right just to see the goodness of God on display in his in his city some people worked right in front of their houses others came from outlying cities to help but it was still a uniform wall I think that’s important because in our culture and in our minds we get stuck in our own little bubbles you know like the most important family is the one inside of my bubble right and the problem with that is if we have this me and mine mentality then there are so many things around us that that are left undone there are so many people that could have been reached with the gospel of Jesus there are so many people who could have been fed and supported and taken care of but we’re so worried about protecting ourselves that we don’t reach out and help the workers were willing to complement each other and even do less desirable jobs for the overall cause okay so I don’t know if you caught this but there’s literally a gate called the dung gate right and it’s the dung gate it’s the poo gate okay somebody had to work on the poo gate and somebody stepped up and they worked on the poo gate and this is to me so funny because there are again there’s the all these jobs and things that we say you know what I’ll do this but I won’t ever do that some workers were willing to work outside of their areas of strength it said that the priests worked on the sheep gate the city officials worked as well I think that would be such a sight to see you know I hear at LifePoint most of our pastors were in in construction but a lot of pastors I’ve known are not handy guys as far as that stuff goes so you got the priests out there they’re building stuff and and the construction guys probably had to come back and fix it but it’s okay God still gave them credit for what they did and it was a beautiful thing so the things that I just laid before us are the pieces of this this chapter that really pop it’s really obvious it comes out and you say okay I can see I can see all those pieces as I was preparing for this message there was still a piece of it that was missing and this morning as I was praying and just seeking the Lord really on a lot of different things this idea popped into my head and and I think this is really beneficial and challenging to us as a church but what the Lord put in my heart is we have this story of all these people working together they come from different backgrounds different ethnicities all of these different places and I guarantee you they didn’t have the same political views maybe not even the same religious views or the same theology views and I also guarantee you that they probably did not like each other right there’s probably someone’s cousins aunts mother’s sister’s brother that offended somebody down the line and there was these grudges and what’s so awesome about this story is they were able to work around those things to see the overall project and what can be so discouraging is I feel like as a culture and as a country we can’t get past our problems with one another and therefore we never see any solutions to these horrific things that happen all around us you know we just had another horrific event this week multiple lives were lost and you turn to media and social media places that you would hope would be a place of comfort and it is anything but comforting everyone wants to fight about who should have guns who shouldn’t have guns why and why not and I’m not saying those aren’t conversations that need to happen I’m not saying that but I’m saying as believers most of us aren’t going to be in a place where we have the pull or the authority to do anything sure God calls up champions to go to go in and create movement in these but for most of us that’s not us and so I encourage us as believers instead of fighting about those things hit your knees and ask the Lord to heal this country because it is so broken our heart should break for every single person who lost their life or loved someone who lost their life our heart should be more concerned with where they went did they know Jesus and what more could have been done to make sure that they knew Jesus the solution is Jesus he’s the solution to all the chaos we see he’s the solution to all the hurt and heartache that we see I’m not in any way shape or form saying stand aside and watch it magically disappear that’s not what I’m saying what I’m saying is prayer works and we get together and we band together and we say God we’re hurting because we know your heart is hurting what can we do that’s when the walls start to be built and until you’ve asked God what’s your place in this tragedy what’s your role in this tragedy don’t post another thing to Facebook God is our common ground he’s our common ground you know Ephesians 6 says that we don’t wrestle with flesh and blood but we wrestle with the principalities and the evil darkness what that means is there is a spiritual realm that is so much more real than what we know and we get so hung up fighting with one another and the enemy is laughing and eating in his hands because he’s got us distracted and we can’t build anything when we’re distracted I’m passionate about social justice issues I really am and I think as believers we are called to be passionate about social justice not just one piece but but all of it as believers our hearts should hurt for those who are caught up in sex trafficking they should hurt for those who are caught up in addiction should hurt for those who lost family members due to violence and I’ll say it again but unless God has audibly called you to do something at least pray it’s the least and the most that we can do is to just hit the ground and ask God to do something to move mightily in this country because it’s falling apart America probably looks a lot like Jerusalem’s gates did we get distracted and I think these big issues are just a symptom of something that’s happening much smaller in each and every one of our lives think about how many conversations we have in a day where we get distracted by how we feel or or how it hurt our feelings or what it sounded like somebody was saying I had an argument with my wife last night and honestly literally what the fight came down to is she felt something I felt something and then we were fighting about our feelings right we weren’t even fighting about something that happened we were fighting about our feelings but we all know feelings can be very real and that’s oftentimes what happens when people fight about these social issues you fight about feelings you know what the answer to my fight was last night I may not understand you right now but I love you and you’re a good woman it was that easy that’s all I had to do but I wanted justice in that moment I wanted her to know that she wasn’t the only one there her I was hurt too and so we went round and round for a while and so God smacked me in the head like he always does and as I was praying this morning as I woke up just asking God to forgive me for being childish in so many ways Micah 6:8 kept going through my head it’s he has shown you O man what is good and what does the Lord require of you to act justly and to love mercy and to walk humbly with your God attack justly to love mercy and to walk humbly with your God If this isn’t our DNA this isn’t who we are we’ll never get anything accomplished see we take verses like this and our evil wicked hearts flip them right because I love when people act justly to me I love when people show me mercy and I love when those around me walk humbly but I don’t like to do it myself and so we listen to this and when we have these disagreements in these these arguments something’s off because it says to act justly to love justice we should love justice but we should love mercy and walk humbly just the same when I was a young believer somebody told me you know it’s not your job to enact justice that God enacts justice on behalf of his people right I took a lot of joy in that because at the time I saw like smite me all mighty smiter like this person made me mad God’s gonna take him out and then I began to see how foolish I was and how many times God’s mercy came over and over his grace upon grace upon grace instead of smashing me and beating me down and then it gets to this point when you’re a more mature Christian where someone does you wrong and your heart aches and you say God of mercy please show them grace please don’t allow them to have to go through what they deserve I don’t know about you but that’s that’s a powerful thing that’s how we build walls that’s how we fix things that are broken we have a heart for one another we love one another more than we love ourselves and when people wrong us we find our fault and we forgive them for theirs I forgive you for your opinion or what you said here’s what I did wrong that’s how we see movement we get in these fights and I said it’s a it’s a small example of a bigger a bigger problem and we get in these fights and again when that when that happens enemies just laughing he’s laughing cuz he’s got us useless we can’t do anything from that place and we’re distracted from God’s purpose and vision what I’m saying is if we keep God’s plan just like God gave Nehemiah a plan if we keep that in front of our faces if we remember that our one job on this this place is to bring glory to God because that’s what we were created to do That every choice we make every word we say every breath we breathe is a chance to bring glory to the God of the universe if we remember that if we keep that as our vision and it doesn’t change the way we treat people then we don’t fully understand the vision but if we remember that and we treat people through those lenses we’re gonna start to see some things change I’ll share a story to wrap it up and the purpose of this story is to see how culturally in America how we don’t really get the big idea about community and what it looks like to work together and and to live together and to do something together so there was some missionaries that went to a remote area of the Philippine Islands and they brought croquette with them the game croquet so they got all the people who to play together and they gave everyone a ball and a mallet to play and so they start playing the game and sure enough a you know a few minutes into the game there’s a chance for the one villager to knock the other one the other villagers ball out you can do that in croquet it’s a strategy so the missionary tells them to do that right and he looks at me say why would I do that so he ignores him and this happens many many times throughout the game and sure enough the first person finishes and nobody says anything they just keep going to keep going to keep going and when the last person hit their ball through the final through the final tunnel they erupted and they say we won we won we won we won and so he talked to some of the villagers later and they said this is a village knocking out a friend doesn’t make sense to us why would we rejoice when someone else is hurting see when one of us hurts all of us hurts when one of us rejoices we all rejoice and so of course we are ecstatic when everybody won because it was never about just me winning that’s an American mindset that’s a Western mindset and so I pray this morning that we would if there’s any semblance l to that LifePoint I want you to hear me this is a great church you are great people that do amazing things for the kingdom of God I didn’t pick the scripture but there is always a place to learn and always a place to say you know what I’m doing good at submitting this part of my life but not this part and there was some deep challenges in here for me as well but I want to encourage us through Nehemiah chapter 3 to keep her eyes on what the goal is the goal is to honor God the goal is to see people come to love him just like we do and the goal is to put others in front of ourselves so as we close I always think it’s a great idea to just take some time and reflect and just say God what were you speaking to me today what am i doing well what am I not doing well so I just want to take a few minutes band can come back up just ask God what are you what are you saying to me this morning what can I do what can I do to be a part of something that’s bigger than myself God of mercy and love we come to you today we’re grateful to be in this building we’re humbled to be before you Jesus and God I repent right now for the times that I haven’t loved people well for the times that my goals my desires were more important than yours but God we are a people here that wanna see you move we want to see your kingdom come on earth as it is in heaven Jesus show us where to stand up show is where to shut up show is where to pray and be present help us be like you Jesus Jesus as we partake in communion in just a second you’re the example you’re the blueprint you’re the plan you saw the depths of humanity’s depravity you saw the mess that we make with our lives and with the lives of others and you knew the only answer was to give yourself so you gave freely asking your father that we would not be held accountable for the things that we did but so often if someone steals our bike we want them locked up forever give us your heart Jesus God we fall short in so many ways and we repent but we bask deeply in your grace in your mercy we are confident in your grace and your mercy because we don’t have anything else we believe in you Jesus love you Jesus it’s in your name we pray amen we’re gonna transition into a time of communion and a time of Prayer prayer partners will be up front if you need to seek the Lord for any anything maybe illness or pain or financial issues or whatever it is maybe something in the word convicted you today we’ll have prayer partners up front for that and then at LifePoint Church we have communion every week it’s something that we didn’t always do but we we switched to it and it’s a beautiful thing and I believe that that’s how it should be one of the things that can happen is it becomes routine and communion is anything but routine giving your life so someone else can live is not routine so as we take communion today I ask that before you come up before you come up to any of the stations that you would ask God to remind you of how much he loves you we don’t need to be reminded of how wicked we are we all know But his body his blood is what redeems us it’s what makes us able to come up and take communion so even though we may take communion the same way every week I believe it’s up to us individually to make sure it doesn’t become routine now we remember his goodness in His grace.