Freedom Follows Following: From Heap of Rubble to Wall of Hope

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Sermon Notes

 

One Common Enemy 

1 Peter 5:8-9
8 Be alert and of sober mind. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour. 9 Resist him, standing firm in the faith, because you know that the family of believers throughout the world is undergoing the same kind of sufferings.

 

Pushforward Truths

  • You are comprehensibly known by God and completely loved by Him.

  • God is enough and you are enough in God.

 

Billboard Material 

Nehemiah 4:1-3
When Sanballat heard that we were rebuilding the wall, he became angry and was greatly incensed. He ridiculed the Jews, 2 and in the presence of his associates and the army of Samaria, he said, “What are those feeble Jews doing? Will they restore their wall? Will they offer sacrifices? Will they finish in a day? Can they bring the stones back to life from those heaps of rubble—burned as they are?” 3 Tobiah the Ammonite, who was at his side, said, “What they are building—even a fox climbing up on it would break down their wall of stones!”

 

Sanballat and Tobiah publicly ridiculed 3 things

  1. Personhood

  2. Production

  3. Product

 

1. Personhood

Half Truth – Feeble / Truth – Chosen by God 

1Peter 2:9a
9 But you are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, God’s special possession…

 

2. Production

Half Truth – Unable / Truth – Capable in Christ 

Philippians 4:13
13 I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me. 

 

3. Product

Half Truth – Dead / Truth – Reborn in Christ

1 Peter 2:4-9
4 As you come to him, the living Stone—rejected by humans but chosen by God and precious to him— 5 you also, like living stones, are being built into a spiritual house to be a holy priesthood, offering spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ. 6 For in Scripture it says: “See, I lay a stone in Zion, a chosen and precious cornerstone, and the one who trusts in him will never be put to shame.” 7 Now to you who believe, this stone is precious. But to those who do not believe, “The stone the builders rejected has become the cornerstone,” 8 and, “A stone that causes people to stumble and a rock that makes them fall.” They stumble because they disobey the message—which is also what they were destined for. 9 But you are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, God’s special possession, that you may declare the praises of him who called you out of darkness into his wonderful light. 10 Once you were not a people, but now you are the people of God; once you had not received mercy, but now you have received mercy.

 

The pushforward to ridicule is prayer.
Natural words can be overcome with supernatural ones.

 

Nehemiah 4:4
4 Hear us, our God, for we are despised. Turn their insults back on their own heads. Give them over as plunder in a land of captivity. 5 Do not cover up their guilt or blot out their sins from your sight, for they have thrown insults in the face of the builders.

 

3 Characteristics of Pushforward Prayers

#1 Pushforward prayers are emotional. 

#2 Pushforward prayers are not passive but are pointed. 

#3 Pushforward prayers give way to pushforward progress. 

Nehemiah 4:6
6 So we rebuilt the wall till all of it reached half its height, for the people worked with all their heart. 

 

The second pushback was a plot.
The pushforward to a plot is more prayer and a plan.

Nehemiah 4:7,8
7 But when Sanballat, Tobiah, the Arabs, the Ammonites and the people of Ashdod heard that the repairs to Jerusalem’s walls had gone ahead and that the gaps were being closed, they were very angry. 8 They all plotted together to come and fight against Jerusalem and stir up trouble against it. 9 But we prayed to our God and posted a guard day and night to meet this threat.


A Pushforward Plan

13 Therefore I stationed some of the people behind the lowest points of the wall at the exposed places, posting them by families, with their swords, spears and bows. We don’t turn our brain off in a spiritual fight.

 

A Pushforward Reminder

14 After I looked things over, I stood up and said to the nobles, the officials and the rest of the people, “Don’t be afraid of them. Remember the Lord, who is great and awesome… Our courage has a source deeper than our abilities.

 

Pushforward Purpose

...and fight for your families, your sons and your daughters, your wives and your homes.” There is more at stack here than just our own lives.

 

Pushforward Result

15 When our enemies heard that we were aware of their plot and that God had frustrated it, we all returned to the wall, each to our own work. 

 

Final Observations

  1. Big things only get done together. 

  2. You can be reborn. 

  3. Together we have a purpose! 

1 Peter 2:9-10
9 But you are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, God’s special possession, that you may declare the praises of him who called you out of darkness into his wonderful light. 10 Once you were not a people, but now you are the people of God; once you had not received mercy, but now you have received mercy.