01 Nov Are You Better at Dealing with People or Things?
– [Announcer] Nehemiah chapter seven. “Now, when the wall had been built and I had set up the doors and the gatekeepers, the singers and the Levite had been appointed, I gave my brother Hanani and Hananiah the governor of the castle, charge over Jerusalem for he was a more faithful and God fearing man than many. And I said to them, Let not the gates of Jerusalem be opened until the sun is hot. And while they are still standing guard, let them shut and bar the doors. Point guards from among the inhabitants of Jerusalem. Some met their guard posts and some in front of their own homes. The city was wide and large, but the people within it were few and no houses have been rebuilt. Then my God put it into my heart to assemble the nobles and the officials and the people to be enrolled by genealogy. And I found the book of the genealogy of those who came at the first, and I found written in it. These were the people of the province who came up out of the captivity of those exiles who Nebuchadnezzar the King of Babylon, had carried into exile. They returned to Jerusalem and Judah each to his town. They came with Zerubabel, Joshua, Nehemiah, Azaraia, Raamiah, Nehamani, Mordecai, Bilshan, Mispereth, Bigvai, Nahum, Baanah. the number of the men of the people of Israel, the Son of Parosh, 2,172, The Sons of Shephatiah 372. The sons of Arah 652. The sons of Pahath-Moab, namely the sons of Joshua and Joab, 2,818. The sons of Elam 1,254. The sons of Zattu, 845. The sons of Zaccai, 760. The sons of Binnui, 648. The sons of Babei, 628. The sons of Azgad, 2,322. The Sons of Adonikam, 667. The sons of Bigvai, 2067. The Sons of Adin, 655. The sons of Ater namely of Hezekial, 98. The sons of Hashum, 328. The sons of Bezai, 324. The sons of Hariph, 112. The Sons of Gibeon, 95. The Men of Bethlehem and Netophah, 188. The men of Anathoth, 128. The men of Beth-Azmaveth, 42. The men of Kiriath-Jearim, Chephirah and Beeroth, 743. The men of Ramah and Geba, 621. The men of Michmas, 122. The men of Bethel and Ai, 123. The men of the other Nebo 52. The Sons of the other Elam 1,254. Sons of Harim, 320. The Sons of Jericho, 345. The Sons of Lod, Hadid and Ono 721, The Sons of Senaah, 3,930. The priests, the sons of Judea, namely the House of Joshua 973. The sons of Emmer 1052. The sons of Pashhur, 1,247. The sons of Harim, 1,017. The Levites, the sons of Jeshua namely of Kadmiel of the sons of Hodevah, 74. The singers, the sons of Asaph, 148. The gatekeepers, the sons of Shallum, the sons of Ater, the sons of Talmon, the sons of Akkub, the sons of Hatita, the sons of Shobai, 138. The temple servants. The sons of Ziha, the sons of Hasupha, the sons of Tabbaoth, the sons of Keros, the sons of Sia, the sons of Padon, the sons of Lebana, the sons of Hagaba, the sons of Shalma, the sons of Hanan, the sons of Giddel, the sons of Gahar, the sons of Reaiah,, the sons of Rezin, the sons of Nekoda, the sons of Gazzam, the sons of Uzza, the sons of Paseah, the sons of Besai, the sons of Meunim, the sons of Nephushesim, the sons of Bakbuk, the sons of Hakupha, the sons of Harhur, the sons of Bazlith, the sons of Mahida,
the sons of Harsha, the sons of Barkos, the sons of Sisera, the sons of Temah, the sons of Naziah, the sons of Hatipha. The sons of Solomon’s servants, the sons of Sotai, the sons of Sophereth, the sons of Perida, the sons of Jaala, the sons of Darkomn, the sons of Giddel, the sons of Shifphatiah, the sons of Hattil, the sons of Pochereth-Hazzebaim, the sons of Amon. All the temple servants and the sons of Solomon servants were 392. The following were those who came up from Tel-Melah, Tel-Harsha, Cjerub, Addon and Immer but they could not prove their father’s houses nor their dissent, whether they belong to Israel. The sons of Deliah, the sons of Tobiah, the sons of Nekoda, 642. Also of the priests, the sons of Hobaih, the sons of Hakkoz,
the sons of Barzillai who had taken a wife of the daughters of Barzillai the Gileadite and was called by their name. These sought their registration among those enrolled in the genealogies, but it was not found there so they were excluded from their priesthood as unclean. The governor told them that they were not to partake of the most holy food until a priest with Urim and Thummim should arise. The whole assembly together was 42,360. Besides their male and female servants of whom there were 7,337, and they had 245 singers, male and female. Their horses were 736, their mules 245, their camels 435, and their donkeys 6,720. Now, some of the heads of father’s houses gave to the work. The governor gave to the treasury 1,000 darics of gold, 50 basins, 30 priest garments, and 500 minas of silver. And some of the heads of father’s houses gave into the treasury of the work 20,000 darics of gold and 2200 minas of silver. And what the rest of the people gave was 20,000 darics of gold, 2,000 minas of silver and 67 priest garments. So the priests, the Levites, the gatekeepers, the singers, some of the people, the temple servants and all Israel lived in their towns. And when the seventh month had come, the people of Israel were in their towns.”
– The all Howie, Howie, Howie, welcome to Trendy Church. And this is a big weekend for us. It’s our fall fest, y’all. And for those who are joining us online, it’s a big huge party that we throw. We’ve got a huge carnival outside. What we like to say is heaven’s gonna be a party so we throw parties to practice. Say amen. All right, so here’s where you find yourself here at Trinity Church. My name’s Pastor Mark and I tend to go through books of the Bible. And we’re in a book of the Bible called Nehemiah. It’s a book that’s a few thousand years old, but it’s a significant important book. And it tells us that there’s two kinds of people in the world. There are people who build things and people who break things. Amen. And so if you just moved to Arizona, welcome. You’ve left those people, welcome to the other people. Okay, here’s where we find ourselves. There are people that build families, communities, churches, businesses, ministries. And there are people who seek to break them. When those things are broken, rather, they need to be rebuilt. That’s where we’re at in in Nehemiah. God had his people build this great city called Jerusalem, surrounded by walls to protect it. In the center of the city was the temple. It was the place like the church where people would come to worship God and all of that got broken. So they needed to rebuild what had previously been built. Their day is much like our day. Sometimes when people come to the Bible think, well, it’s an old book. It’s not, it’s eternal. It tells us not just what happened, but what always happens. Tell me if this doesn’t sound familiar. This is the context for Nehemiah 7. And politically, they had a godless government that God’s people didn’t like. Can I get an amen? All right, in addition, number two, their economy was in a major economic downturn, there were supply chain issues and it was really hard to fuel up your camel. Can I get an amen. Amen? Number three, crime was surging ’cause they did not have a border wall to protect them from people who came to do them harm. Can I get an amen?
– [Audience] Amen.
– Amen. And lastly, many of the churches had gone, woke or apostate. They had walked away from Bible believing faith. They didn’t really love the Lord, they weren’t obeying the Lord. So God’s people were super frustrated. Can I get a amen? All right, so what are they gonna do?
They’re either gonna complain or they’re gonna change things? That’s where we find ourselves politically, economically, culturally and spiritually. We can either make excuses for why things are bad or we can make plans to build something better. And the problem in their day was it had been 141 years since it was broken. The city walls were broken, the culture was broken, the government was broken, the temple was broken, the church was broken. It had been 141 years, nothing changed. And then all of a sudden God put his hand on one guy named Nehemiah, raised him up with a vision. And then God’s people provided the pro vision so that they could affect change in 52 short days. They did what could not be done in 141 years. So what we’re gonna look at today are some basic biblical principles for leadership and teamwork. I’m not gonna go verse by verse through the chapter as I normally do. It’s a long list of names. You can read it for yourself. You can grab a free study guide on the way out or if you’re online, go to realfaith.com. And in the story you’ll get the study guides sign up for daily devotions. Lots and lots of resources. But what I wanna ask is, how did one group of people do something that no one else can do for 141 years? How did God’s people come together and band together to make a difference in their life and for legacies that would ensue after them? That’s what we’re gonna look at. And I want you to think in terms of how did these principles of unity and teamwork and mission and purpose and value apply to our marriage, our family, apply to our business, our ministry, our church. Wherever you find yourself, where is the difference that you can make? So we’re gonna deal with it it quickly. Here’s the first big principle, build it, then fill it. Nehemiah 7. “When the walls had been built and I had set the doors, the city was large, but the people in it were few, lot of land, not yet a lot of people and no house had been rebuilt. Then my God put it into my heart…” And my question to you today is what has God put into your heart? What is the burden that you have? What is the need that you are burdened for? To assemble the nobles, those are the people with power and money. The officials, those who have governing authority and the people to be enrolled by genealogy. That’s according to their family ancestry and history. These were the people of the province who came up out of the captivity of those whom Nebuchadnezzar, the King of Babylon, had carried into exile. 141 years later, the Babylonian king invaded them and broke the city that they had built. Now they’re going back to rebuild it. They returned to Jerusalem and Judah city and region each to his own town. The whole assembly together was 42,360 besides their male and female servants of whom there were 7,337.” Here’s the big idea. You gotta build it before you fill it. Before we can have change, there needs to be a place for people to gather so that God can change them. You build it before you fill it. This was the case with our world. God created the Bible says or built the heavens and the earth, then he filled it with people and then God filled the people with the Holy Spirit. And here God has the city rebuilt and then he fills it with people and then he fills the people with the Holy Spirit. The big point is this, a lot of the work that needs to happen for people to have life change, needs to occur before the people arrive. In the same way, if you wanna help people at a hospital, you better first build a hospital. If you wanna build a church, you better first get the church before you get the people. If you’re pregnant, I would just recommend getting a home before the child shows up. You need a place to put people so that they can enjoy life and flourishing. You gotta build it before you fill it. So what it says here, they rebuilt the city walls, they re hung the gates. They were getting ready to reopen the temple. There was a lot of land, but not a lot of people. But the people were coming. This is not unlike our day in Arizona. There
are some people here, but there’s a lot of land and there’s a lot of people that are coming. So all around our region there is preparation, building and filling. Everywhere you go, it seems like you see a crane. There’s construction happening all over our valley. Building, building, building. That just tells you it’ll be filling, filling, filling. And what we see here is that God’s people are part of this plan. My question to you would be this. Nehemiah says that this is what God put in his heart was to build a city and a church for God’s people. What has God burdened you to build or rebuild? Is it a business? Is it a family? Is it a ministry? Is it something for the community? Is it something for your grandkids? What has God burdened you to build or rebuild? Every one of us has this sphere of influence that God has entrusted us. And in that area we need to seek God’s will for our burden to see the ways in which we can bless others and to advance what God is doing in the world. And so then we learned that people and things need to be stewarded. I taught the men this on Wednesday night. You men can join us on Wednesday night at 6:30 for Real Men. It’s a great time. Best place to be. We got more dudes than any sports bar in town. And they’re better dudes. Lot of trucks, a lot of beards. Mom recently, she show up, she said, “Looks like you pastor a sports bar.” “Yeah minus the beer, yeah, for sure that’s exactly what we’re doing.” But what I told the men was a steward is two things. God is the owner and I am the manager. God is the owner. Okay God, your money, how do you want me to spend it? God, your house, what do you want me to do with it? God, your people, how do you want me to love and lead them? And what we see here is in chapter seven, to summarize, Nehemiah has to steward or manage a lot of things. It mentions walls, doors, gates, houses, mules, horses, camels, donkeys, gold, silver and garments. A lot of things to manage. In addition, there are people to manage. It’s naming here. We just read the list. Roughly around 50,000 people were named by their family of origin and household. The point is this, if you’re gonna lead in business, if you’re gonna lead in politics, if you’re gonna lead in church or ministry, or if you’re gonna lead your family, you need to steward things and people, think in your life right now, all the things that God has given you to steward, where you live, what you drive, what you wear, what you make. See, we read this and we think, oh this is really weird. Why are they talking about horses and camels? ‘Cause they needed parking stalls. It’s just like your car. In the same way, it’s just getting a plan to welcome as many people as possible. What are the things that God has called you to steward and then who are the people that God has called you to steward? And here it names these people by name. How many of you are better at stewarding things? You’re good with real estate, budgets, timelines, schedules, logistics. How many of you, that’s you? I know you wanna raise your hand. You like things to be organized, so raise your hand. It just feels good. Amen. Okay, how many of you, you’re better with people. Like you’re not good with math, but you’re good with people. You can’t find your car keys, but if somebody’s crying, you’re gonna hug ’em. That’s you, amen. ‘Cause you’re crying too, ’cause you can’t find your car keys. So the way this works is oftentimes these people work better together. Some people are better with things, some people are better with people. So my wife, Grace and I, we’ve been married 30 years, I’m better with things, budgets, schedules, forecasting, planning. Grace is better with people. That’s why our kids still talk to us because of Grace. And so we work better together. And in every position of leadership, this can be a family, a ministry, a business, whatever God has entrusted to you, you gotta think, am I better at leading and managing and stewarding things or people? And if I’m weak in one area, I can either grow in that area or I can find
someone else that is strong in those things. For us, we called that marriage. That’s how we worked that out. And what happens is here you’re starting to see as people come to their city and come to their ministry, and I need you to know this, we’re in the fastest growing city in county, in America. Lots of people are coming here, okay? And we love them, we wanna welcome them. I hope they bring water just as an aside, I’m not sure how this is all gonna work. And we’re trying to prepare for all of the people who are coming as they were trying to prepare for all the people who were coming. Jerusalem was being flooded with people who were sick of living in dangerous cities where godless governments were making it hard for them to live out their faith in freedom with their family. Can I get an amen?
– [Audience] Amen.
– And so as they were coming, God’s people were trying to determine, okay, how do we best prepare to welcome these people to our city and to our church? And so their ministry and their influence is growing. That leads to the next principle. Growing team moves from generalist to specialists. Nehemiah 7:1. It mentions these three groups, the gatekeepers, the singers, and the Levites had been appointed. They didn’t appoint themselves, they were appointed by God and they were then confirmed by the leader. And the point is simply this. When an organization is small, it tends to be more generalists that are doing the work. As it gets bigger, it’s more specialists. More specialists. I’ll give you an example. Here it mentions these three groups, the gatekeepers. These are the people that would oversee neighborhoods within their city. They had just rebuilt the wall. They had re hung the gates in the doors. The gatekeepers were the people who weren’t working primarily at the temple or church. They were working away in a neighborhood where they lived. Today we would call these home life group leaders. We have homes that are open, scattered across the region where people are doing ministry to and with those who live near them. They’re not primarily coming in to the ministry, they’re doing ministry at their house. That would be the gatekeepers. In addition, there are the singers. They’re mentioned 18 times. This is your band, these are your creatives. Just think, converse high tops and high creativity. This is the band. And so they have a very specialized role, very specialized role. And their work is primarily at the temple or church where they’re leading God’s people in worship. And then the third category or group are the Levites. They are working both in the local ministry and in the local neighborhoods. They’re both hand. And what they’re equivalent of would be like staff or pastors or ministry leaders. They’re loving people, they’re praying for people. They’re teaching bible studies, they’re doing hospital visits. They’re officiating weddings and funerals. They’re doing all of the things that we would kind of think a pastor should do. And these three groups are very specialized. Let me give you an analogy because what happens in any organization that grows, there are going to be some growing pains. This is true all the way down to your family. How many of you have added a kid and things changed and if you’re pregnant, buckle up. And then we have five kids. Every time a kid was added, things changed. And so as an organization grows and that organization could be as small as a family, it could be as big as our city. It could be from the micro to the macro. As an organization grows, the way it’s led needs to change. A buddy of mine, he’s a pastor, he’s got a great analogy. I’ve shared it before, but I’ll share it again ’cause I only have a limited number of analogies so I’m gonna pull
an old file. Here you go. So the way he says it is when an organization starts, the founder or senior leader is like a decathlete. If you’ve ever seen the Olympics, the decathlete does what? Everything. They do all the events. And then as the organization gets a little bit bigger, the leadership is more like golf. So we’ll find the old guys in the room. So golf, what’s golf like? Golf is four guys in a cart complaining about the government and lying about their score. That’s called golf, okay? And so what happens in golf it’s for, but it’s informal. It’s not big schedules and long lists of things that are being managed. It’s not a complex meeting event schedule, it’s informal, but it’s for people kind of talking and working it out. And then as an organization grows, again, it moves from decathlete to golf to basketball. Any Suns fans? Okay, one, great. Great, great, that’s great. No Suns fans, okay, great. All right. Well, just pray we can reach some Sun fans. Apparently we’re weak in that demographic. So when it comes to basketball, in basketball, who’s kind of the coach on the floor leading everything? The point guard. The point guard. And so in basketball, everybody’s got a position and they kind of have to specialize, but it’s still one team and everything needs to be run by the point guard. So if you’re in a medium-sized organization, one department says, “Well we want to do this. Well, let me run it by the leader.” They need to set up everything. In a medium-size church, this would be okay, “Youth pastor, you can do that. Worship leader, you can do that. Kids ministry director, you can do that.” But the senior leader needs to touch the ball for anything to actually get activated. And then you move from basketball to football. Any football fans? Okay, two. All right, You’re doing better than the Suns. All right, that’s great. I won’t even ask about the Diamond backs. So we just don’t have that much faith. We’re growing in faith. We’re not there yet. So what happens in football, how many of you played high school football? And if you, okay, I played high school football. Were you good at it, Mark? No, that’s why I have another job on Sundays now. But when I played high school football, the players would try out and you kind of take whoever tried out. That’s why I made the football team. And what happens in a high school football team, you can play multiple positions. So on offense, I played quarterback on defense, I think I played free safety. And in football it’s actually not a team, it’s a bunch of teams. There’s an offense, a defense, a special teams. They’re not all on the field at the same time. They don’t have the same playbook or the same coach. Some players get to play multiple positions. Then you go to college football. Any college football fans? Four, this is unbelievable. I mean, really? Like, okay, this is crazy. I woke the golfers up, the basketball guys didn’t even register on the Richter scale. Now we’re at college football. Everybody’s like, Yay, yay. Go Sun devils. And by the way, why did we have to pick the devils of mascot? Anyway. So what happens in college football, you go out and you recruit talent and now there’s more people and there’s more money. And now you have to specialize in a position. And the odds of getting hurt are a lot higher ’cause it’s a lot faster. And then you go to pro football and in pro football, man, you recruit in the best talent. It costs a lot of money. Mistakes are very costly and everything is very public and there’s lots of pressure. The point is this, as an organization grows, the game has to change. And some of you have been in an organization that started like a decathlete and then it became golf and then basketball and then high school football and then college football and then pro football. Well, you’re seeing here in Nehemiah, they’re going from decathlete to pro football. I mean, tens of thousands, hundreds of thousands of people are coming and moving in and all of a sudden everything changes. And make this very important note in your soul. As things change, the game changes and don’t
attach a moral value to an organization’s size. Some of you are like a little organization is good, a big organization is bad. Others will say a big organization is good, a small organization is bad. What I would say is every organization, be it a business, be it a ministry, be it a church needs to be whatever God has called it to be. Grace has five kids too. I’ve got five kid so does Grace. It’s just how we roll. And so the way it works, I have one child, what’s our shortest child? 5’2. And Zach, how tall are you? 6’2, okay. So I have a 5’2 and a 6’2 child. We have others in the middle. Pray for me. I’m now in the front row of my own Christmas photo. It’s a situation. So I have a kid who’s little, and I have a kid who’s big and I have some kids in the middle. Is it better or worse to be tall or short? Doesn’t matter as long as they’re healthy. I love my tall son, I love my short daughter. I kiss her on the head and I can’t kiss him on the head ’cause he is 6’2 and he won’t let me. But anyways, I love ’em both the same. And what can happen is when you’re in an organization, it’s like raising a kid. How many of you raised a kid and there was a certain age that you really loved? How many of you loved the babies? And were you like, no, fluids come out and they scream. Every day’s Halloween. How many of you you love the little years when they could walk and talk? And how many of you love the teen years? Okay, we’re back to the Suns fans, one. You’re like, yay. How many of you like it when they launch and they’re off the payroll and they’ve grown up? Woo, okay, all right, well the Holy Spirit just fell on our meeting, all right? You’re all like, woohoo. Okay, great. The point is this, every organization goes through maturing and as it’s growing, it’s changing. And the key is just to allow it to be whatever God destines and determines for it to be. And as the game changes, you just gotta change. And so what we’re seeing here is this leadership team is growing, the levels of the organization are expanding, the expenses are exploding, the complexity is elevating. But it’s a good thing ’cause it means more people are gonna be welcome to the city, welcome to the church and welcome to the Lord. The next principle is that as an organization gets bigger, the leadership teams get smaller. You’ll see that here. Nehemiah 7:2. “I gave my brother Hanani and Hananaih.” I’m sure that wasn’t confusing. “The governor of the castle charge over Jerusalem for he was more faithful and God fairing than many.” He was faithful and he feared God. Those are the most important criteria for senior leadership. So what’s happening here? Their ministry is growing, their city is growing. Some of you, this is your business, this is our church, this is the places that you are serving. They are growing. The principle for leadership in the Bible is this twofold, singular headship, plural leadership. Singular hardship is there needs to be one leader. Two heads is a monster. So you want one head, the trinity is one God, three person’s Father, who’s the singular head, Son Jesus Christ and Holy Spirit, plural leadership. Who in this story is the singular head? Nehemiah. Who are the plural leaders? I’ll read it ’cause I don’t remember it ’cause I went to public school. But Hanani and Hananaih, Hanani is his brother. He was mentioned all the way back in 1:2. He can trust his brother. He’s got a lot of opposition,
enemies, critics, fake news, PR, smear campaigns, legal threats, lots of attacks, infiltration of leadership. He needs somebody he can trust. And what he determines is, I can trust my brother. He loves the Lord and he loves me. I can trust him. In addition, Hananiah is mentioned as early as chapter three. He’s been there in the ministry serving faithfully for a long time, maybe from the beginning. And what it talks about is they fear God and they’re faithful. When they go to make a decision, they wanna do what’s right in the eyes of God. And if they’re going to give you their word, you can count on them to see it through to completion. How many of you are
business owners or leaders and it’s hard to find those kind of people? They will do what’s right in the sight of God and they will do what they say they will do. And what he says is these are good men. And so what he’s done here, he’s got people who are leaders, but they’ve been with him a while. The Bible says in the New Testament, “Don’t be hasty in the laying on of hands.” In the Bible, leaders that are chosen need to be this close. You need to know them, you need to get to know them and it takes time. And here they have been proven in their character over time. So when it comes to choosing leaders, let me say this, competency, I’m so incompetent, I can’t even say competent. Competency is proven quickly, character is proven slowly. And a lot of times in leadership we’re looking for competency, not character. And the truth is you need both. You need both. But competency you can check quickly. Hey, could you write me that computer code? Could you tune up that carburetor? Could you balance that checkbook? Could you deliver that door dash? Okay, you can do this. You did it. Competency easy, character hard. If you’re a leader, once you see competency, your tendency could be to overlook character. But let me say this, competency might get you in a position, but it’s character that keeps you in that that position. And so what Nehemiah is saying here, there’s lots of new people, true or false, at this point it’s going pretty good. Do you think there were any people that were looking to be hired as senior leaders in the organization? Oh, the walls built, the gates are hung, the doors are hung, people are safe, they’re not gonna kill us, I’m applying. The question is, what’s your character? The people that are sometimes there from the beginning, God grows them with the organization. And sometimes we think I need to go outside of the organization and find somebody who’s done this before. And the point is, if they haven’t done it here, how do you know that it’s gonna work here? So he is looking for people with competency and character and he names the senior leaders. And here’s the big idea. The relationship comes before the role. Nehemiah 7:61- 64, “The following were those who came.” All these people are coming just like right now. People are moving to Arizona, people are moving to the valley, people are coming to church, but they could not prove their father’s houses nor their dissent whether they belonged to Israel. The sons of, I’m just gonna summarize all of this, “a Deliah, Tabiah, Nekoda, also the priest, the sons of Hobaiah, Hakkoz and Barzillai.” Did he say it right, he doesn’t know but that’s what you get. So there you go. “These sought their registration among those enrolled in the genealogies, but it was not found there so they were excluded from the priesthood.” What happens is the ministry and the church and the city, it’s all growing very quickly and there are some new people who show up and here’s what they’re saying, we’re leaders, we’re here to lead. And what he says is, we don’t know you. Just because they succeeded somewhere else doesn’t mean they’re going to work in your organization. Has anyone here who’s a business owner, HR, got a great resume, hired somebody that killed it somewhere else and then came and killed you? Has that ever happen? Just because they say that they have succeeded doesn’t mean they’re gonna be successful with you. And just because they say they’ve done something somewhere else doesn’t mean they’re going to do it for you. Any if you ever had a resume that was maybe breaking one of the 10 commandments and not entirely telling the truth? I mean, this is what happens. People will sell themselves, but oftentimes what they’re saying isn’t entirely accurate. And what he’s not saying is that these people are bad or disqualified. What he’s saying is, we don’t know you and we can’t verify. And so the role has to precede the relationship. What can happen in any organization when there’s pain, you want to alleviate that pain by rushing
someone to fill that hole or that gap. So just because they fill the role doesn’t mean they’re going to fit the organization unless you also have the relationship. Organizations are not just tasks, but they’re a series of relationships between human beings. And just because someone might be able to do the task, if they’re not relationally wise and warm, they’re going to cause a lot of pains and problems. And so what Nehemiah says is, you say you were on staff at this church or you have this ministry, or you went to that Bible college or this seminary or your 27th generation ministry or whatever the case may be. But what he says is, we don’t have a relationship. You need to come, get to know us, we get to know you. We’ll take a look down the road. Many leaders make this tragic error of rushing people into roles before they build a relationship and Nehemiah does not do that. In addition, Nehemiah starts to create policy. As an organization grows, your pains require policies. So here’s what we read that a good policy reduces misery. Nehemiah 7:3. “And I said to them, let not the gates of Jerusalem be open until the sun is hot. And while they are still standing guard, let them shut and bar the doors, appoint guards from all among the inhabitants of Jerusalem, some of their guard posts and some in front of their own homes.” So what he’s doing here, we would call this policy. All of a sudden God’s people have got a bit of a policy manual. Hey, how many of you like these? Okay, again, we’re back to the Suns fans. One of you, okay. How many of you don’t like policies? The problem is most policies cause misery. They don’t prevent misery. The point of a good policy is to prevent misery. This may seem trivial, but they have walls in circling their city with gates and doors. They have not had walls, gates, and doors for 141 years. So do you think anybody knows what to do with the gates and the doors? They have no idea. They’re, I don’t know, what is that? That’s a door. It opens and closes. I dunno what to do it. So what you need is a policy. Otherwise what you’ve got, you’ve got a whole city where different people are opening it up at different times according to different convictions for different people. And that is not how you secure a borderer. Somebody’s gotta make a policy. Can’t just let everybody come and go as they please. Just something to pray about. Okay, so what happens here if different people are opening the doors and gates at different times, now you have security issues. Let’s say at your house, how many of you, you’ve got some walls around your house and then you’ve got walls in your house and then you’ve got a door on your house. Did any of you have any policies for the door? Yeah, okay, let’s just do it. What are some of the policies regarding the door to your house? Lock it? Make sure it’s closed. Lock it. Which one of you is responsible to check the door to make sure it’s closed and locked before going to bed? If your wife raised her hand come to real men on Wednesday night. You need help. Honey, that door’s open, I’ll pray for you. Go get ’em sweetie. Because there are two kinds of people, there are people trying to build things and people trying to break things. So you need some security and some policy to safeguard things from the guys who wanna break it. Here’s the good news though. Eventually they get the city secure, they get the church open and there’s this flood of roughly 50,000 people are named by name. That’s unbelievable. And they’re named by name because here’s the big idea. Do you know who matters? Everyone matters. To God, everyone matters. Everyone’s made by God. Everyone was made in the image and likeness of God. Everyone is known by God. Everyone is loved by God. God loves everyone. Doesn’t mean he agrees with everyone. Doesn’t mean he approves of everyone. But everyone matters to God. And so God names these people because God knows our name. Let me say this friend, God knows your name. God doesn’t just see a sea of
faces in humanity. He knows people by name. Our God is not only incredibly magnificent, He’s incredibly personal. God knows you. God loves you. Yeah, he knows and loves the whole world and everybody on it. He knows you by name and he calls you by name to be in relationship with him. And he shares his name with you. The name Christian originally was given to us by our critics and enemies in Acts 11 around verse 26. And they used it as a derogatory term to mock us. Oh you’re a Christian, you’re trying to be a little bit like Jesus. And we’re like, heck yeah, that’s exactly what I’m trying to do thank you for noticing. And so not only does God know us by name and call us by name, he gives to us his name. And here we see that everyone matters. There’s a lot of people that we don’t like, but they still matter. There’s a lot of people we don’t enjoy, but they still matter. There’s a lot of people we don’t agree with, but they still matter. And so what we see then is all of these people come to this ministry, it explodes, the city fills up, the temple fills up. There’s gonna be a revival at the end of this book. And it’s God’s people’s generosity who fund hospitality. Nehemiah 7:73-72, “The heads of the father’s houses.” So the men decided, you know what? We’re gonna go first with generosity gave to the work. The governor, who is that? It’s Nehemiah, it’s Nehemiah. Nehemiah is humble. What he doesn’t say is here’s how much I gave. He’s like, Oh the governor. You’re like, Who’s the governor? He’s like, I’m the governor. The governor gave to the treasury thousand darics of gold. 50 basins, 30 priest garments, 500 minas of silver. Second category some of the heads of father’s house gave the treasury the work, 20,000 darics of gold and 2,200 minas of silver. And then everybody else gave 20,000 darics of gold and 2,000 minas of silver and 67 priest garments. So here’s what I love about going to church, coming to worship. It’s free. Is anything else free? Can you go to a sporting event for free? Oh, can you go to a restaurant and say, “You know what? I prayed about it and I just don’t feel led to give.” They’re like, what? You can’t go to a movie for free. You can’t go to any event for free. Historically, for thousands of years on the earth the one place you can go that’s free is to worship God because people who love God give generously so those who don’t know God can come freely. What we have here in this section is a great example. It says, the first biggest donor to their ministry was Nehemiah. And it talks about darics. If you’re a guy named Derek, here’s your new life first, you’re golden. Okay, so daric was a Persian gold coin. It’s also called a drakma in the Bible it was 98% pure gold, 2% other medals to allow it to harden. It was a third of an ounce. It was enough to buy an ox or a pay a soldier’s salary for a month. A mina was a Babylonian silver coin. One mina equals 60 shackles ’cause I know you were trying to do the math in your head. One shackle equals a month wage, 60 shackles would be a year’s wage. So here’s what it’s saying. One third of all that was given to open the city and the church so that everybody could come and hear about the Lord, the number one top giver was Nehemiah. He gave a third roughly. The next was all of the business leaders and those who were more affluent and they gave about a third. And then all of God’s people gave the remaining third. I tried to do the math. My estimate is, this project was over $1/2 billion and it was worth it because people got to worship God and people got to live their life as God’s people. And I just wanna say too, it’s kinda interesting for those of you who join us online, the timing of this text is interesting. We’re we’re having our fall fast. Okay, you guys want me to finish ’cause you wanna go outside, right? Let’s just be honest. I mean some of you right now, I mean, you’re already trying to figure out how to get in the bouncy house before I’m done. That’s what you’re trying to figure out. When you go outside, there’s a 50 foot Ferris wheel, there’s slides, there’s a carnival,
there’s fun, your kids are having a blast, there’s snacks and it’s free ’cause people who love Jesus love you and they paid for it. And let me just say it’s a joy to have you and they’ve been praying for you and giving is our way of loving. We have people come all the time to our events and they’ll be like, “How much is it?” It’s free 99, it’s free 99. They’re like, “Well how do you guys pay for it?” “Well, God’s people give generously because they love deeply.” And it opens this opportunity to explain to people the heart of our God. Say, “Well, how does that work?” Well, our God gives and he forgives. And when we give and for forgive, we get to share in his joy. And heaven is a party that never ends. There’s no taxes. Jesus picks up the tab. Can I get a amen? So last point here and then I’ll wrap it up maybe. If you’re new, I say stuff like that, not ’cause we’re ending. Just ’cause I feel like maybe I’m losing you. A unified team can see supernatural results. Nehemiah 6:15, I’m going back. “The wall was finished in 52 days.” Now here’s what’s crazy. I told you previously, how long had there been a succession of failed attempts to rebuild the wall? 141 years. Fail, fail, fail, fail, fail, and then success in 52 days? How did that happen? Because unified people get supernatural results. And so there was a case study earlier in the Bible where some ungodly people tried to build something. They tried to build Babylon, Babel the tower of Babel. The bad guys were trying to build heaven on earth without God, rather than waiting for God to come down to them, they were gonna go up and be God. And God looked at them and God said, “They’re unified, if they remain unified, nothing is gonna stop them.” And so God scattered the people and confused their languages. The point is this, unified unbelievers are stronger and more powerful than divided believers. I’ll say it again. Unified unbelievers are more powerful and stronger than divided believers. That’s why the enemy is always trying to divide believers. You’ve seen it throughout Nehemiah if you’ve been with us. Critics and enemies attacking, threatening, PR, all kinds of legal shenanigans, just trying to get people to turn on one another and turn against each other. Here what we see is the power of unified believers. The unbelievers that are unified are powerful. But when believers are unified, we are more powerful because God anoints what he appoints. If you’re doing what God has told you to do, God will show up and do it through you and with you. And so God blesses their efforts. Here’s what I’m telling you. We’re in a world that is economically, politically, culturally, socially, generationally, technologically divided. And a divided world more than ever needs a united church. There’s a supernatural unity that comes when God’s people pull together and say, “We’re gonna do what God has told us to do.” And so the key is for Nehemiah, he finds his place in this big mission. He prays and he fasts and he journals. And God burdens and breaks his heart in chapter one. And what he says is, this is my part. Here’s what I’m gonna give and here’s where I’m gonna serve. And then all the people do the same. They meet with God, they pray, they journal. Okay, God, what do you want me to give? Where do you want me to serve? And God’s people all do their part. And that unity together provides supernatural results. They do what was not done for 141 years and they do it in a mere 52 days. And let me tell you why they went to all this effort. While every church ministry goes to this kind of effort, why our church and ministry goes to this kind of effort. Here’s the big idea. It’s all about Jesus. That’s the big idea. You read the book and you’re like, “Well, what’s the big deal?” Well, because they’re wanting to see Jesus come. The whole point of Jerusalem was to be the headquarters for ministry that God would come to Jerusalem as Jesus Christ, that the temple would be open so that he could fulfill all of the sacrifices that were for sinners to be forgiven, that he would be the
very presence of God, that he would be the priest who would mediate between people and God. Jesus Christ is coming to this place for these people. He is God, become a man. He comes from the new Jerusalem to Jerusalem, he passes through these gates, through these walls, through these doors. He comes to this temple and he is this God that they are waiting for. The whole point of human history is Jesus Christ. The big idea of the entire Bible is Jesus Christ. The Bible has lots of stories, but they’re all part of the big story. And that’s about Jesus Christ. It’s all about Jesus. It’s always about Jesus. It’s only about Jesus. And people make sacrifices. They take risks. They move their family. They give generously. They serve wholeheartedly because they want other people to meet Jesus. Jesus has changed their life and they want others to see life change through Jesus Christ. Jesus comes and he ultimately lives without any sin. And Jesus says something, my friend, for those of you who are new, we want you today to be new to meeting Jesus Christ. Some of you are like, “What did you do? Throw a party to get me here so I get saved?” Yes, thank you for paying attention and coming. We’re almost to our goal. And the point is simply this. Jesus says He’s God. You need to know that there is no other religion that has its founder in the history of the world declaring himself to be God other than Jesus Christ. And then we murder him. We put him to death because he says he’s God. Three days later, he rises from the dead to prove to us that he is God. And then Jesus ascends into heaven. You need to know that Jesus Christ is alive right now. That Jesus Christ is ruling and reigning right now. That Jesus Christ is being worshiped in the unseen realm right now. That Jesus is healing prayers right now. That Jesus is healing people right now. And if you feel a stirring in your soul, that is Jesus Christ who knows you by name, calling you by name. The whole point of their ministry is that Jesus would come and the people would love Jesus. The whole point of our ministry is that Jesus would come again and the people would love Jesus because Jesus loves people. There is a God, his name is Jesus Christ. There is forgiveness of sin. His name is Jesus Christ. There is hope for your future. His name is Jesus Christ. There is healing for your marriage. His name is Jesus Christ. There is a future for your children and his name is Jesus Christ. And there is a hope for the nations. And his name is Jesus Christ. And he loves you and he knows you. And if you don’t know him right now, he’s calling you into relationship with him. He wants to forgive you. He wants to embrace you. He wants to love you. He wants to change you. And he will never leave you nor forsake. He will never lie to you nor betray you. Here we are thousands of years later, we’re worshiping the same God. And the Christian Church is the biggest movement of any sort kind in the history of the world. Nations come and go. This nation came and went. Kings and kingdoms come and go, but the King of kings, he rules and reigns forever. We would invite you to be part of the church of Jesus Christ. We would invite you into a personal relationship with Jesus Christ. We would tell you that all of your answers are found in Jesus Christ and it is simply recognizing that you are the problem and he is the solution. That we are sinners and he is our savior. And the whole reason we’re here is because we love Jesus. We love you and we love that you have come to join us.