One Child of God Can Make a Difference (Philippians 4:13)
1. In our lesson we are showing from the Bible how "one child of God can make a difference." 2. This is an important principle for us to understand because many people feel that one person cannot accomplish very much by himself. 3. According to Philippians 4:13, each child of God "can do all things" when he depends upon the Lord for strength. 4. The Bible tells about many individuals who accomplished much as they served God. a. Moses overcame his self-doubts and excuses to become Israel's greatest leader. b. David defeated Goliath with the Lord's help. c. Gideon led his small army to victory over the Midianites. d. Esther became the queen of Persia and kept her people from being destroyed. e. Daniel became a leader in the Babylonian and Persian governments and protected God's people. 5. While all of these great people illustrate the point we are making, today we are concentrating on a man named Nehemiah. a. We will allow him to show us how one child of God can make a difference. b. We will also consider several of his characteristics that led him to make a difference. c. Let us begin our study by pointing out . . .
I. THE SETTING FOR THE EVENTS RECORDED IN NEHEMIAH
A. In 536 BC, the Israelites were released from Babylonian captivity. B. At that time Zerubbabel led about 50,000 Israelites to Jerusalem. C. In about 20 years the temple was rebuilt. D. Ezra led a group to Jerusalem in 458 BC. E. The events recorded in Nehemiah began in 445 BC. F. About 90 years had passed since the Israelites returned to Jerusalem. G. We are especially interested in . . .
II. THE EVENTS RECORDED IN NEHEMIAH 1-6
A. Nehemiah 1 1. (vs.1-3) Nehemiah learned about the condition of Jerusalem. 2. (vs.4) Nehemiah was affected by the news he learned. 3. (vs.11) As he prayed, Nehemiah asked God to help him. B. Nehemiah 2 1. (vs.1-8) Nehemiah received permission from the king to go to Jerusalem. 2. (vs.10) The enemies of the Israelites are introduced. 3. (vs.11-16) Nehemiah inspected the wall of Jerusalem. 4. (vs.17-18a) Nehemiah challenged the people to build the wall. 5. (vs.18b) The people accepted Nehemiah's challenge. C. (Nehemiah 3) The various groups who built the wall are listed. D. Nehemiah 4 1. Opposition from the enemies increased. 2. (vs.6) In a short time half the wall was built. E. (Nehemiah 5) Nehemiah settled an internal problem that developed. F. Nehemiah 6 1. (vs.1-13) The enemies tried to intimidate the Jews, and they tried to isolate Nehemiah from the people. 2. (vs.15) The wall was completed in 52 days. G. From the information we have covered, can one child of God make a difference? H. Let us turn our attention to . . .
III. NEHEMIAH'S CHARACTERISTICS THAT LED HIM TO MAKE A DIFFERENCE
A. Nehemiah had a heart of compassion, as demonstrated in 1:4. 1. His compassion led him to do something about the situation in Jerusalem. 2. (Matthew 9:36) The Lord's compassion led Him to do something about another situation. 3. (1 Peter 3:8) Christians are to have "compassion one of another." 4. A heart of compassion can lead a child of God to make a difference. B. Nehemiah had a sense of purpose. 1. Nehemiah revealed his purpose to the king (2:5), and he maintained it. 2. The Lord had a sense of purpose (Luke 19:10). 3. Christians are to have a sense of purpose (Galatians 6:10). 4. Having a sense of purpose can lead a child of God to make a difference. C. Nehemiah trusted in God completely. 1. This is reflected in: a. his prayers (1:4; 2:4) b. his responses to the enemies (2:20; 4:4; 6:9b). 2. The Lord trusted His Father (John 8:28-29). 3. Christians are to trust in God (1 Timothy 4:10). 4. Trust in God can lead a child of God to make a difference. D. Nehemiah faced and overcame obstacles. 1. He faced and overcame obstacles from the enemies and the Jews. 2. The Lord overcame obstacles throughout His ministry (John 16:33). 3. Christians are to imitate Nehemiah and Jesus (Romans 12:21). 4. The ability to overcome obstacles can lead a child of God to make a difference.
1. At the end of his life, Nehemiah knew that he had made a difference. 2. By building the wall around Jerusalem, he played an important role in preserving God's people until Christ came. 3. As each child of God does what he is able to do, a difference will be made. 4. We actually have an advantage over Nehemiah (Philippians 4:13). 5. Let us think seriously on these things as we look forward to a new year.