1. Hello, listening friends.
2. If you have joined this broadcast for the first time,
3. we are in the middle of a series of messages from the book of Nehemiah.
4. Last time, we saw that the building project was almost completed.
5. Every ploy that Nehemiah’s enemies tried to use to stop the project had failed.
6. Since they could not destroy the wall, his enemies decided to try to distract the man.
7. First, they tried to get Nehemiah to compromise.
8. They sent messages to him four different times.
9. They said, “Let’s get together.”
10. “Let’s negotiate.”
11. “Come meet with us on the plains of Ono,”
12. and Nehemiah said, “No,” every time.
13. “I am doing great work for God and I cannot come down.”
14. Four times, Nehemiah said, “I will not come down.”
15. Nehemiah did not want to compromise or to hear their opinions.
16. Have you ever noticed that some people have an opinion about everything?
17. Yet there are very precious few people who have convictions.
18. Do you know the difference between ‘opinion’ and ‘conviction’?
19. An opinion is something that we hold.
20. A conviction – that is something that holds us.
21. It grips our heart and will not let go.
22. Sometimes, however, we are tempted to compromise our convictions.
23. Once, there was a man who was so gifted and, yet,became a terrible failure.
24. When someone asked his friends why this man failed,
25. his friends simply responded and said,
26. “He wrote on his own brow the words ‘For Sale.’”
27. The Apostle Peter was very concerned that young Christians would be led astray by false teachers,
28. false teachers who had a “For Sale” sign written on their brows.
29. These false teachers sold out for popularity or personal gain.
30. They did so by compromising the truth and changing it to apostasy.
31. Peter said that, in these last days, believers will be tempted to compromise and sell out.
32. You will be tempted to re-think what you believe about the Bible.
33. You will be tempted to re-evaluate your faith.
34. You’ll be tempted to re-evaluate your commitment.
35. You’ll be tempted to re-evaluate your virtue and your morality.
36. You will be tempted to capitulate;
37. however, when you are tempted, be like Nehemiah and say, “No.”
38. Say it once.
39. Say it twice.
40. Say it a thousand times.
41. When they found that their enticement to get Nehemiah to compromise did not work,
42. Nehemiah’s enemies tried a second method.
43. They tried to destroy him.
44. Look with us a verses 6 and 7 of Chapter 6.
45. They tried intimidation by public threats and lies.
46. They said, “You did not come when we invited you privately;”
47. “then, we are going to destroy you publicly.”
48. “We are going to tell that you don’t care about the building of the wall.”
49. “You are just making a place in the sun for yourself.”
50. “We are going to send a word back to the King of Persia that you are making yourself a king.”
51. “In other words, Nehemiah, we are going to spread false rumors about you.”
52. “We are going to malign you.”
53. “We are going to intimidate you”
54. “until you come to us and compromise.”
55. His enemies thought that, if they could not break Nehemiah’s will,
56. they will try to break his spirit with slanderous accusations.
57. They were saying, “Nehemiah, we are going to say that all you care about is yourself.”
58. “You want to be a king.”
59. “You are going to lead a rebellion against the King of Persia.”
60. “You are making a profit off your own people.”
61. Oh, my friend, but how untrue all of this was!
62. Nehemiah had much better quarters and much better comfort back in Persia in the King’s palace.
63. With self-denial, he was feeding 150 guests daily.
64. He was always encouraging others and doing what God called him to do.
65. He went from the prestigious job of cup-bearer to the King of Persia.
66. to being a brick layer, a night watchman and a worrier for God;
67. yet, the slanderous, treacherous lies were being spread everywhere by Sanballat and Tobiah and Geshem.
68. The saddest part of this kind of attack is that most people relish this kind of gossip.
69. There are newspapers and magazines all over the world that specialize in spreading gossip and not truth,
70. because many people enjoy hearing stories that malign people’s character.
71. It is part of man’s sinful nature.
72. In verse 8 of Chapter 6,
73. Nehemiah categorically denied the charges.
74. He had a transparently clear conscious.
75. His life was an open book.
76. He knew their criticism was neither honest nor constructive.
77. On the contrary, its purpose was to be destructive to God’s plan.
78. It is important to listen to fair-minded criticism,
79. because none of us is perfect and we all make mistakes along the way;
80. and, therefore, if we have made a mistake,
81. we must be quick to apologize.
82. Next, we must ask for forgiveness,
83. and, then, we must move on;
84. but when unfair and untrue criticism ensues,
85. it can sap your energy and your strength;
86. but, in those times, all you need to do is this:
87. remind yourself of the words of the Lord, Jesus, when He said,
88. “Blessed are you when men shall revile and persecute you and say all manner of things evil against you falsely for My name’s sake;”
89. and, in Nehemiah’s case,
90. when enticement to compromise and intimidation failed,
91. Nehemiah’s enemies tried a third, and final, approach in verse 10 to 14 of Chapter 6.
92. What did Nehemiah’s enemies do?
93. They went out and hired a false prophet in order to scare Nehemiah into running to the Temple.
94. That false prophet sent a messenger saying he couldn’t come to see Nehemiah because he was confined to bed;
95. but that false prophet said that the Lord told him to tell Nehemiah,
96. and they said, “Tell them that these people are going to kill you and you had better run to the Temple;”
97. but, in verse 11, Nehemiah steadfastly refused and said to them,
98. “Should such a man as I flee?”
99. Nehemiah knew that this was a murderer and no prophet.
1. Nehemiah had learned to test the spirits by the truth of the Word of God.
2. First, God told Nehemiah to stay, not to run away;
3. but, that’s not all.
4. Secondly, and most importantly of all,
5. Nehemiah knew what the Word of God in the book of Numbers, Chapter 1:51, 3:10 and 18:7 said.
6. No one except the Levitical priests could enter the holy place for sanctuary.
7. Nehemiah knew that the Word of God said that any violation of this law was punishable by death.
8. Nehemiah knew that he was a layman, not a priest, and that he could not go into the sanctuary of the Temple.
9. My listening friends, I want you to listen to the central fact as I come to conclusion.
10. God’s Word and God’s authority were Nehemiah’s refuge, and not the Temple;
11. yet, throughout the ordeal, no matter how personal the attacks have come,
12. Nehemiah never sought revenge.
13. He merely handed his enemies over to the Lord to deal with them according to His justice.
14. Look, as we conclude, into verses 15 and 16 of Chapter 6.
15. Oh, people said it was impossible.
16. Nehemiah cannot rebuild the walls,
17. but that’s when God said, “It is possible.”
18. Nehemiah said, “God did it.”
19. What was accomplished was supernatural.
20. God did it.
21. All of the praise and the glory are due to God.
22. I want to tell you more about Nehemiah and the celebration of the completion of the wall on our next broadcast.
23. Please tune in so that we can meet again.
24. Until then, I wish you God’s richest blessing.