We’ve Only Just Begun (Study Guide)

What did you learn from last Sunday’s sermon?

Q1: Was the rebuilding of the Jerusalem wall man-made or a supernatural feat?

Q2: Christians who accomplish great work are fueled by what?

Q3: Christians who accomplish great kingdom-work are fueled by what?

Q4: If the wall is built and Nehemiah and God won, why are there 7 more chapters?

Q5: Who did Nehemiah put in charge of Jerusalem and why?

Sermon Summary & Answers

Nehemiah tells us simply that the wall is built (without any boasting), and it only took fifty-two days. Remember that wall was 2.5 miles long, 25 feet of thickness, and over 30 feet of height. Only nine months had gone by since Nehemiah first heard from his brother that Jerusalem needed help. Nehemiah’s enemies realized that only God could have made this happen so quickly, and they lost their confidence to pursue their schemes. Pastor Wilson points out that we are to see a kingdom principle here: “What we do for the Kingdom – we are to do in the power of God.”

1 Corinthians 15:10
10 But by the grace of God I am what I am, and His grace toward me did not prove vain; but I labored even more than all of them, yet not I, but the grace of God with me.

“Those who we remember – those who are marked by God – those whose impact is lasting – – are those saints whose efforts are fueled by a power outside of themselves – – and thus, the accomplishment can only be understood in the light of God’s working.”

Pastor Steve Wilson

We see two related problems today in the church: self-righteousness that denies God’s sovereign work and the lack of desire to accomplish great kingdom-work. Do you have a desire? Will you pray for our church (and yourself) to have a clear vision for great kingdom-work; so that people will say that, “Only God could have done that!”

Nehemiah’s enemy, Tobiah, isn’t far behind. Yes, he did shrink for a moment when he realized God was involved. However, his jealousy and contempt for Nehemiah’s success revved-up a letter-writing campaign to stir angst among Jews who owed him allegiance (possibly debt) and scare Nehemiah. They were to speak well of Tobiah to Nehemiah and then report what he said. How many of us have encountered our own little Tobiah-tattletale who is just itching to be in the gossip-monger’s good graces? If they only realized how transparent their evil is (all credit to an omniscient Holy Spirit inside every believer). Nehemiah knew what was going on. He didn’t waste time talking to others about it. He took it straight to God.

Nehemiah 6:14
Remember, O my God, Tobiah and Sanballat according to these works of theirs, and also Noadiah the prophetess and the rest of the prophets who were trying to frighten me.

So, the wall is built, but we have seven more chapters to go. God won. What more is there to say? Well, the story isn’t about a wall being built. The story is about restoring God’s people, in God’s city, for THE PURPOSE OF WORSHIPPING GOD. Did I text scream that loud enough? Worshipping God is what everything has always been about at every moment in time. I pray we never lose focus on this.

Nehemiah begins preparing for worship by organizing singers, priests, and guards to protect the worshippers in chapter seven. Hanani, his brother, is the man who traveled 900 miles to tell him about Jerusalem nine months ago. He was put in charge of Jerusalem, along with Hananiah, the commander of the guard. Their heart for the people fits them for leadership.

“Give me a person of integrity who loves the Lord … that is the character of the person who can have authority delegated – – responsibility given.”

Pastor Steve Wilson

Nehemiah now looks around and sees that there are very few houses and very few inhabitants. His work has only just begun. This is the vein that runs throughout Christian history. We start with the gospels and the work of Christ, and now we must keep our hand hard at the work of building the kingdom. That is our cosmic purpose.


Melissa Strautman

Did you find this sermon summary helpful? Log on to gccbg.com/blog each week for the latest sermon study guide. Jessica will send the link out in the Midweek church emails. I’d love to hear your thoughts and suggestions. Please email me at thepew@gccbg.com.


Answers:

  1. yes, even the enemies noticed.
  2. Wheaties
  3. a power outside of themselves (God)
  4. because the story is about restoring God’s people, in God’s city, for THE PURPOSE OF WORSHIPPING GOD
  5. Hanani and Hananiah because they had spiritual integrity.