Living from the unseen to the seen: From heaven to earth
Click HERE to listen to the sermon series
Over the next few weeks we are going to look at the book of Nehemiah
under the title, “Nehemiah; the people of God on mission.” About 160 years
after the destruction of Jerusalem by the Babylonians and 90 years after the
return and rebuilding of the temple, Nehemiah is called by God to rebuild the
walls surrounding Jerusalem. With no walls, the Jewish people were subject
to any attack of those who wanted to see them kept weak and vulnerable.
The more I’ve read and thought about Nehemiah the more I’ve realized that
the situation they found themselves in describes the spiritual and moral state
of Australia and often the church. I think there are a few key strategies that
are undermining the walls of Jesus’ Church and leave us vulnerable to enemy
Relativism: Relativism says that there is no absolute truth and that “what is
true for you is not true for me.” Relativism encourages us to hold “truth”
loosely because we might just find out some new truth that makes what
appears absolutely true now to be false. In the end it is just a sophisticated
term that mimics the first temptation by Satan, “Did God really say…” As a
result Relative Christians hold the bible loosely, don’t have any foundation to
stand upon and are vulnerable to the greatest vice, Pride.
Offense: Jesus said things that cause us to stumble are “bound to come.”
Paul said that the temptations we face are “common to all people.” When
others offend us (sometimes actual, sometimes perceived) it can give us
cause for holding onto that offense or forgiving that person. Holding onto
offense gives ground to the enemy, grieves the Holy Spirit and leaves us
powerless and ineffective.
Existentialism/materialism: Existentialism is a fancy term that humanity
came up with last century but which the bible has long exposed. When God
is rejected, people reject their ultimate meaning and purpose. Because we
yearn for meaning we have to try and find something else to “fill” the hole
that only God can. Existentialism focuses on the experiences of life as
determining meaning, while materialism says things will satisfy us. Bucket
lists, SKI’s (spending the kids inheritance) and “He who dies with the most
toys wins,” are all examples of existentialism and materialism.
Paul said to the Corinthians that, “We are not unaware of the devils
schemes” 2 Corinthians 2:11. I believe Nehemiah is both an encouragement
and a warning for us to build the walls of our faith and church so that we are
both secure against attack, and a safe place for people to find refuge.