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George Mueller is just one of many faithful kingdom servants throughout church history.
He was a German born follower of Jesus who ended up in Bristol England, pastoring a church for over 60 years and ministering among the likes of Charles Spurgeon and DL Moody in the 19th century.
Mueller is not best known as an eloquent orator like Spurgeon, or a faithful missionary like Hudson Taylor.
One of his greatest achievements was his cares for orphans during his lifetime.
He saw the care for orphans as an application to the love for God and all people and he rescued many of these children from an early death by his care.
He did so by faith and prayer, trusting God would provide the needs of the children, WITHOUT EVE SOLICITING OR ASKING OTHERS FOR MONEY.
Mueller built 5 orphanages in England and cared for over 10,000 orphans over his lifetime.
In a biography of Mueller, AT Pierson writes of Mueller’s influence on England was so impactful that “fifty years after Mr. Mueller began his work, at least one hundred thousand orphans were cared for in England alone.”
Of course, he did all this as he pastored the same church and cared for his family.
These stories are not supposed to seem extraordinary.
They are merely simple followers of Jesus who were emboldened with a passion from God to carry out his good name in the world, and they faithfully did so for his glory.
Our passage in Nehemiah chapter 2 today is a similar story.
In God’s faithfulness, he raised up an ordinary Nehemiah to accomplish God’s purposes in extraordinary ways.
We saw last week in chapter 1 that Nehemiah was an exile in Susa, the Persian capital city, and by God’s grace, Nehemiah was elevated from common man to cupbearer of the king.
God sent news to Nehemiah that the walls of Jerusalem were still in disrepair and not secure from enemy opposition.
Nehemiah seeing the need before him would respond with action.
Nehemiah is a shadow of Christ who acted faithfully to meet the needs of sinners across the world.
In our great destitute state, separated from God because of sin, the Father sent the Son on a mission of redemption.
The son, the Lord Jesus carried out the mission faithfully, meeting the need before him in order that the name of God would be glorified and people could be saved from the wrath of God upon sin.
Above all, Christ should motivate us to move faithfully to accomplish God’s work in this world.
We should be accomplishing what I call Kingdom Mission Work until our last dying breath.
This work is done, not by superheroes of the faith but simple plain Jane faithful Christians like Nehemiah, George Mueller, you and I.
Today, we are going to look in Chapter 2 and from it see how God used Nehemiah to carry out God’s kingdom mission in his life.
God is calling you to be a part of this as well.
Not to sit idly by in the stands with the spectators just watching the time pass by.
God calls all believers in Jesus, through the mouth of Paul to “fight the fight of faith (1 Tim 6:12) which means that all believers are supposed to be used by God to carry out his purposes on this earth.
Let’s look at how God did this in Nehemiah and be challenged in what God is calling us to do.
Passion about God’s Kingdom (vs.
(Nehemiah was sad and mourning over the plight of his people and promises of God)
It was four months after hearing this news that Nehemiah could no longer hold his emotions from the king.
Edwin Yamauchi- “the king’s servants were expected to keep their feelings hidden and to display a cheerful countenance before him.
So far Nehemiah had managed to do this; now his burden was in his eyes.”
Expositors Bible Commentary, Ezra, Nehemiah.
Page 684
Chapter 1 indicated that Nehemiah prayed to God for mercy before the King.
This implies that Nehemiah was intending to request to go back to Jerusalem and the countenance of his face led the king to initiate the conversation by the look of Nehemiah’s face.
The HB text illustrates Nehemiah’s countenance as pure misery, or sadness, when you just cannot hold back how upset you are about something.
This sadness is not the culmination of a difficult day.
Remember that Nehemiah held closely to the promises of God.
In his prayer, he asked God to remember his promises to His people, to let them gather to the place He had chosen for them.
This sadness is rooted in his love for God’s people, his people, and in the promises of God to do a work for His glory.
What does Nehemiah do with this zeal for God and observable need?
He responds with action!
As we observed last week, that action begins with prayer.
Prayer over this impulse that he has to do something.
I love this because God often gives us this passion for His work and the first thing we should do is…stop and pray!
Nehemiah, like many before him and after him were called by God to do great things for the glory of God.
Nehemiah was emboldened to carry out this mission of rebuilding the walls and it starts with a passion and zeal, given by God, to an individual believer, who responds by faith with obedience, no matter the cost.
Is this passion and zeal from the Lord?
How do we know if its from the Lord?
First of all, is it centered around God’s glory or man’s glory?
Nehemiah wanted to do what was necessary to accomplish the promises that God made to his people.
Nehemiah’s zeal came from God’s word.
In the book of Acts, Simon the sorcerer wanted the power of God to accomplish great feats to gather more financial wealth and glory.
Is God bringing other people along side you to see this need and maybe affirm or join you in the efforts?
Nehemiah was met with support from a pagan king and was granted a request to go back to Jerusalem.
He later receives the resources needed from those kings under Persian rule.
Zerubbabel and Ezra were blessed with other Jews who were willing to resettle in the promised land.
The apostle Paul was given support in Antioch and sent out by those leaders with Barnabas to plant churches.
God will send you leaders and supporters of any work that He is calling you to carry out in his name.
This might not be a large group to go with you to plant a church but it is a large group who affirm your gifting to do so.
I can look back throughout the history of God’s people and I see courageous men and women who have take a step forward towards a passion and zeal to accomplish God’s specific gifting on their lives.
That gifting is used by Father, given by the Spirit, and accomplished by the Son so that God’s work in their world, through the church, might be accomplished.
That gifting God wants you to use, for his glory.
We have studied 1 Tim 4:14
1 Timothy 4:14 (ESV)14 Do not neglect the gift you have, which was given you by prophecy when the council of elders laid their hands on you.
2 Timothy 1:6 “6 For this reason I remind you to fan into flame the gift of God, which is in you through the laying on of my hands,”
Timothy’s gift was preaching and pastoring God’s people and Paul was encouraging Timothy to continue pursuing the use of that gift in the church.
Peter writes,
1 Peter 4:10 “10 As each has received a gift, use it to serve one another, as good stewards of God’s varied grace:”
Paul states,
1 Cor 12:4-6 “4 Now there are varieties of gifts, but the same Spirit; 5 and there are varieties of service, but the same Lord; 6 and there are varieties of activities, but it is the same God who empowers them all in everyone.”
I would blend all of these OT and NT ideas together and state that God saves us by his grace and gifts his people accordingly with special gifts of his Spirit in order that they might use those gifts to do amazing things for God’s glorious name.
Nehemiah was gifted with leadership and therefore God used that gift to accomplish a kingdom task.
What’s your kingdom task?
Its not apostleship because God has closed the book on that.
Its not being a pastor, ladies, for Scripture calls only men to lead the church.
But all followers of Christ are called by God to salvation in Christ and gifted by the Spirit to serve the church with that gift.
What task for His Kingdom have you been wrestling with in your heart.
He has given you a passion for something for His glory and let me encourage you to act on it.
I am not talking about your plans to build a deck on your house, or go on a cruise.
I am talking about Kingdom Mission that brings about exalts God’s name on the earth!
It could be starting a workplace bible study.
It could mean joining a mission team overseas.
It could mean starting orphanages to enrich physically and spiritually the lives of orphans in our world.
Have you prayed and prayed for clarity in this direction.
Have you sought support from others to see if they affirm this in you work?
Friend, do not be passive with God’s gift and service that He desires from you.
ACT in obedience!
Courage in light of God’s Power (vs.
Acting in this direction of God’s Kingdom task might be crazy scary.
Your mind is flooded with all kinds of fear and anxieties about the repercussions of your choice.
I have been there!
I was working full time in the banking industry when I was convinced that God wanted me to leave that career behind and pursue full-time ministry.
I was terrified.
So was Nehemiah.
Nehemiah 2:2-5 “2 And the king said to me, “Why is your face sad, seeing you are not sick?
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