Wed Pm Worship Weapons of Mass Distractions
Text: Ne. 4:1-19 (King James Version)
"Father, I am your servant, willing and desiring to be used to bless your people."
The Fields are white and the laborers are
2. C.H. Spurgeon said, "If God does not save a man by truth he certainly will not save them by lies, and if the old gospel is not competent to work a revival, then we will do without the revival;
Nehemiah 6:1 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;)
Nehemiah 6:2 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.
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?
Nehemiah 6:4 Yet they sent unto me four times after this sort; and I answered them after the same manner.
One thing that clearly emerges from our study in the
Book of Nehemiah is that life is a battle from beginning to end. In Ephesians
6:12 the Apostle Paul warns, "Our
struggle is not against flesh and blood..but against the powers of this dark
world." We meet these powers of darkness in our text today.
Here in Nehemiah 6, as in many other places in Scripture, we learn that the devil has two main ways of working. The first tactic is fear. Satan is prowling around, as Peter says in 1 Peter 5:8, "like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour."
But he has another battle plan as well. He not only uses
fear, he also utilizes flattery. 2 Corinthians 11:14 reveals that Satan
"masquerades as an angel of light." He comes with enticing promises and
flattering words, assuring us that what he proposes will cost us nothing.
Whatever method he employs, whether it be fear or flattery, his aim is to always distract and destroy us. We need to be on guard against each of these approaches. That is why Paul says in
2 Corinthians 2:11 Lest Satan should get an advantage of us: for we are not ignorant of his devices.
We need to be on guard because Satan is both a lion that devours and a
serpent that deceives.
In Ne 4 the devil tried to use these tools to keep them
from rebuilding the wall:
Ridicule-we will be laughed at but we shouldn't back up or back down.
Discouragement-We sometimes get tired IN the work, but never OF the work.
Bodily harm-threats came but they battled and built with a trowel in one hand and a sword in the other.
bondage won't keep us down if we follow God's principles.
TOP 10 SIGNS YOU ARE BROKE
10. American Express calls and says: "Please, Leave home without it!"
9. You're formulating a plan to rob the church food pantry.
8. Long distance companies don't want you to switch.
7. You rob Peter...and then rob Paul.
6. You clean your house just for the purpose of finding change.
5. You think of a lottery ticket as your best investment.
4. Your bologna has no first name.
3. At communion you go back for seconds.
2. You can't even pay attention!
1. McDonalds is your source for all your condiments.
So now here in Chapter 6, the devil tries 4 more things.
1. The tool of distraction.
v. 2 The enemy wants to talk to Nehemiah, or so they say. 'Maybe we can work out a compromise.' Nehemiah knew they were not sincere. And when the devil can't defeat us as a roaring lion, he will try to approach us as an angel of light.
'Let's have a retreat together down in the valley.'
Let's cozy up. Then he tries to distract us to compromise.
ill.--a man was bear hunting up in Alaska. He was so
cold, he would really like to have a fur coat, it consumed his mind. He just
wanted to bag his game and get out of there. Then he saw his prey in the
distance, coming right towards him. He got the bear in his sights, and was about
to pull the trigger when the bear said, "Wait, can't we talk about this?" "I
guess it can't hurt." the man said. The bear said, "All I want is a nice meal,
and all you want is a fur coat...thanks for talking with me, because now we're
both gonna get our way!"
First the devil tries to cozy up to us in order to devour us. But once we are saved, he fails at that. Next, he tries to neutralize us thru entangling alliances. If you can't beat 'em, join 'em, and then take over!
Very subtle-why the valley of Ono?
Nehemiah 11:35 Lod, and Ono, was the valley of craftsmen.
Nehemiah is a craftsman, so he is especially tempted with this offer. Maybe he could get some ideas or tools to help with the wall. But it wasn't God's way...to join with the enemy to get ideas.
And we shouldn't go to the world for our ideas in building the church. Many churches are using worldly marketing strategies, and trying to attract people using worldly ways. Have you heard or seen some of the latest methods that some of these nightclubbish style churches are offering? Our goal should not be to get the crowd rocking, but to get them established on the Rock.
Nor should our goal be just to have a big attendance. Show me Jesus talking about high attendance? The churches He commended in Revelation were congratulated on the basis of values such as love, faith, patience, endurance, etc. Never once did He commend their attendance. But in American churches today, attendance is everything! It's the measure of success! Go to any pastor's conference. Everyone is asking each other about attendance, and immediately the pecking order is established. The guy with the big church is asked to speak and the guy with a small crowd, who may be in a tough area, and may have more wisdom and holiness, is disrespected...because our values have been warped.
We love our growth, but if we have to compromise to do it than forget it. Having a big crowd is not necessarily having a church.
ill.--our online community is getting very large, but that means very little. Interestingly, most of them think we are huge, based on our following. And based on our content and what they see and hear online. They are shocked when they hear the truth. Some relate to it and like it, and some seem disappointed like, "I knew it was too good to be true. I had the impression you were one of the greatest churches out there, but evidently not!" This proves the point pretty well now doesn't it?!
Nehemiah saw right thru the devil's attempt at distraction and compromise. He said, the valley of Ono? O No! Aren't you glad he said no no to Ono?
Nehemiah said no because he had:
- Spiritual discernment not to join with the enemy and use the world's ways and water down the message.
End of v. 2 - they thought to do me mischief. How did he know that? Spiritual discernment!
What they really wanted was to kill him. And the devil makes sin look nice but he wants to destroy you!
God's work must be done God's ways. The end doesn't justify the means.
Nehemiah understood that he had nothing in common with this worldly crowd, and therefore there was no basis for cooperation.
We need Christians with spiritual discernment, who will separate from the world, cut the old ties, and realize this great truth...
3 Can two walk together, except they be agreed?
- Supreme dedication.
v. 3 Anytime you leave what God has called you to do, there's always a step down. I have many other opportunities in this life, but they would be a step down from pastoring where God has called me to.
Some have encouraged me to go into politics. That's not
gonna work...no. 1, I've said way too much on tape and CD to ever make it there!
No. 2, even being President would be a
step down from doing what God has called me to.
Even My Wife in whom I am very proud of, who is called to be a good wife and mother. She could have many other opportunities and could make a lot of money at it, but it would be a step down from what God has called her to do!
I appreciate those who understand the difference between good and best. Doing good in the community is fine, but making an eternal difference is best. Many accomplish good in their careers, but it is temporary, and they view it as a means to fund their real heartbeat, which is not just doing good, but something far better and more permanent...doing what is best! Serving God, getting people saved, and building their lives thereafter!
As a church we want to do good, but our main calling is not to be the biggest food pantry. We want to give out the bread of life! Our Wed. nite fellowship is good, but the better meal-is the meat of the Word. Fellowship in the lobby is grand, but our high calling is to lead people to camp in Canaan! We need to lead people to the kingdom of Heaven and eternal riches of infinite value beyond comparison!
ill.--I have a passion to save America, but I must ask myself, what does that mean? Does that mean winning the election this November or winning the lost? Am I called to lead the charge to defeat healthcare or lead people to an appointment with the Great Physician? Is the mess in Washington worth a lot of my preaching attention? Do I want to talk about Obama just for the sake of standing on a soap box or should I talk about Jesus? What's my main calling?
I'm against abortion and gay rights, but these causes can take us over from the main thing. The best way to fight abortion is to lead girls to Christ. The best way to defeat the gay agenda is to lead homosexuals to the Lord!
We need to know the difference between good and best!
Nehemiah had supreme dedication to his main task, and wouldn't be distracted.
ill.--2 boys went fishing at a stocked pond, and their mom said 'if you catch enough we'll have a fish fry.' They came home empty handed. Mom asked them why.
They said 'there's a lot of snakes in that pond, and
they kept poking their heads up out of the water, so we threw rocks at them all
day and never got out our poles to fish.'
A lot of churches are much like that. They stay so busy throwing rocks at the sinners in the world and the scoundrels in Congress that they never do their real job of being fishers of men!
Fellowship is good, but discipleship is better. We cannot be inward focused, but outward. I like church league sports, but they can be all consuming and distracting from what God has called us to do.
Why didn't Nehemiah get distracted?
Spiritual discernment, supreme dedication...
- Strong determination.
v. 4 They are badgering him with persistence. They are trying to wear him down. But if it was wrong to come down the first time it was still wrong the fourth time or the fortieth time.
The measure of your character is what it takes to get you to quit. This world wears us down, and Satan isn't giving up on getting you out of the game. He isn't giving up...will you?
There are lessons here for us as a church, for we face
the risk of distraction. "Fightings and fears, within, without" is how the
songwriter put it. But we dare not allow ourselves to be distracted from God's
purpose for us as individuals, or as a church.
A Chicago youth pastor was taking a group of teenagers to Florida to do evangelism on the beach, where the people were! But his fear, of course, was distraction, and so to keep the teens on task, he assembled, from two pieces of lumber, a cross. Before they climbed on the bus to head south, he explained that they were going to take the cross with them everywhere they went: into restaurants, on the beach, to their rooms at night. At first, this was odd to them; lugging the cross around was even a bit embarrassing. Soon, though, it became for them a point of identification, a silent reminder of who they were and what they were about.
The night before going home, the youth leader gave each kid two nails, and explained that, if they wanted to live their entire lives committed to Christ, they were to nail one nail into that cross and keep the other. 15 years later, one of those youth, now a stockbroker, called the youth pastor and told him that he still had the nail-and that it served to remind him that, whenever he was tempted to lose focus, the core of his life was his commitment to Jesus. Keep working, Christian; keep trusting God. Keep seeking first His glory. Don't be distracted, but focus on the cross