Together We Build

Sermon Transcript


Pastor Phil Winfield

Nehemiah 2:17-3:32

October 7, 2007

Grace Church of Des Moines, IA

4200 E. 25th Street
Des Moines, IA 50317


Online Sermons:

We have been teaching from the book of Nehemiah and God has used it.  Peoples’ lives are being touched and changed including mine and I am just so thrilled that you are here to share with us once again today.  So if you have your Bibles open here is what we are going to do.  We are going to open it up to Nehemiah chapter number two.

Well, we have been laying the foundation.  The first week we talked about the need to face reality.  No sense of trying to hide from the truth or going around it or trying to just forget about it.  Nope.  Face the reality of our lives.  Face the reality of our families, our community, our church, our culture.

The second thing we had to do was realize that God has always given us the right position and we can always pray.  Pray before you do anything else.  Pray first, pray early, pray often. Pray that God would help you as you are facing the reality of your life.

And then the third thing we learned was that we are not going to be able to go very far with fear.  Fear won’t help us.  We have to go through fear by faith.

Somebody says, “Well, you know, I’m just so glad that I came to know the Lord Jesus as my Savior because he took all my fears away.”

Well, that’s a great testimony. I wish I could give it.  I get scared to death sometimes.  I don’t know what the next step is and, boy, I’ll take next step by faith that God has spoken. And if we just do the next thing, but a lot of times it is a fearful step.  So we go on by faith.  Faith is hearing what God says and doing it.  And that is what we are supposed to do.

And then last week we found out that we are going to have to communicate what is going on in our lives with those that it affects.  And we are going to have to make an investigation, get down to the details.  Take a look at it.  Rome wasn’t built in a day and our lives won’t be rebuilt in five minutes.  We are going to have to look at what is going on in our life.  We are going to have to look at the problem areas and find out what it is.  We are going to have to investigate. Then we are going to have to communicate to those that love us and that we love here is what God is doing, help me.  I need you, you need me.

Now, the fifth week.  We are halfway through.  Here it is. Teamwork. That is what we are going to study today.  Teamwork.  We have to work together. And that is the key building block on your sheet.

And the key opposition is going to be: Uninvolved and unavailable.  I am not involved. I am unavailable.  I can’t help with this project.  I can’t help with myself.  People are going to have to fix me.  I can’t do it.  Others are going to have to do it.  So we are not supposed to do that.

Now, I have given a subtitle to this and you can write this on your sheet there.  The subtitle of Together we Build is “Don’t stay paralyzed.  Get organized.” And I want you to see in the Word of God, in Nehemiah chapter two, we haven’t stood and read yet, have we?  Have we read yet?  We didn’t read yet.  That was last service.  Stand to your feet, why don’t you, and let me read chapter two, verse 17.  Here is what it says.

Then I said to them, “You see the distress that we are in, how Jerusalem lies waste, and its gates are burned with fire. Come and let us build the wall of Jerusalem, that we may no longer be a reproach.”  And I told them of the hand of my God which had been good upon me, and also of the king’s words that he had spoken to me. So they said, “Let us rise up and build.” Then they set their hands to this good work.  But when Sanballat the Horonite, Tobiah the Ammonite official, and Geshem the Arab heard of it, they laughed at us and despised us, and said, “What is this thing that you are doing? Will you rebel against the king?”  So I answered them, and said to them, “The God of heaven Himself will prosper us; therefore we His servants will arise and build, but you have no heritage or right or memorial in Jerusalem.”

Well, when you come to chapter three—stay with me now, don’t go anywhere—when you come to chapter three you have some of the more redundant reading that you will find in the Bible.  It is similar to 1 Chronicles chapter four, five, six and following. It is just…it is a redundant bunch of reading.

You say, “Well, then, let’s just don’t read it. Let’s don’t study that.  Let’s go to something like John 3:16.”

No, no.  We don’t jump stuff and God puts things in the Bible for a reason.  Now, this is the inspired, inerrant, infallible, unchanging Word of God.  He took space in this book, an eternal book, he took space to write down things in this book about who was building where and who was next to him and what they were doing and where they built and who didn’t put their hand to the work.

Listen to God’s Word, chapter three, verse one, five verses only.

Then Eliashib the high priest rose up with his brethren the priests and built the Sheep Gate; they consecrated it and hung its doors. They built as far as the Tower of the Hundred, and consecrated it, then as far as the Tower of Hananel.  Next to Eliashib the men of Jericho built. And next to them Zaccur the son of Imri built.  Also the sons of Hassenaah built the Fish Gate; they laid its beams and hung its doors with its bolts and bars.  And next to them Meremoth the son of Urijah, the son of Koz, made repairs. Next to them Meshullam the son of Berechiah, the son of Meshezabel, made repairs. Next to them Zadok the son of Baana made repairs.  Next to them the Tekoites made repairs; but their nobles did not put their shoulders to the work of their Lord.

Drop down to verse number 12, if you would. “And next to him was Shallum the son of Hallohesh, leader of half the district of Jerusalem.”  Look at what it says.  “He and his daughters made repairs.”

Jump over to verse 23. “After him Benjamin and Hasshub made repairs opposite their house. After them Azariah the son of Maaseiah, the son of Ananiah, made repairs by his house.”

Drop down to 28: “Beyond the Horse Gate the priests made repairs, each in front of his own house.”

Verse 29: “After them Zadok the son of Immer made repairs in front of his own house.”

Drop down to verse 30. It says there, “After him Hananiah the son of Shelemiah,” and drop down to the bottom of the last phrase, “After him Meshullam the son of Berechiah made repairs in front of his dwelling.”

Interesting where they worked.

Would you bow your heads and let’s ask the Lord to bless.

Now, Father, we could look at these lists of names and we could look at these redundant verses and we could say, “Well, that’s interesting.  Someday we’ll understand it.”  But you didn’t give it to us for someday.  You gave it to us now.  When you said that there were so many things that Jesus did that was in this world that all the books of the world couldn’t contain it, you didn’t include all of those things, but you did include this list.  There is something here. Help us to understand your Word and apply it to our heart in Jesus precious name.  Amen.

Would you be seated?

Do you know that in order to not be paralyzed by the fears and the problems of our life we need to get organized?  And that is exactly what happens in chapter three. Nehemiah was a master administrator.  God had given him that gift and he motivated the people.  He found out who could do what and how they could work and who could work with whom and they put these people to the task of building the wall.  It was a community project. Each one had work to do all of his one, but each one had a work that was interrelated to everybody else.  Sometimes we don’t see it that way, do we?

We are building our life and we think that our life is our life and that is it and that’s all that matters and I don’t care what you do and you don’t care what I do.  I’m just going to build my life and don’t care if it hurts the rest of the world.  It doesn’t make any difference to me.
Well, that is not the attitude that we are supposed to have.  Each one of these people, they were given a task and they get organized.

Did you know today that people pulling together can get a lot more done than individuals pulling all by themselves?  Two people can get more done as a team than two individuals can apart.  “A threefold cord is not quickly broken,” the Bible says in Ecclesiastes. And when we can work together as a team and we can all pull together then what we can do is avoid pulling apart.

And I have got something to say to you this morning about the many families that are here of this church.  I want you to know that I am the pastor.  I am the shepherd.  Better spoken, I am the under shepherd of this church, the chief speaker and pastor.  And I want you to know I take that very, very, very seriously.  Men and women decide that they are going to disrupt and tear up their homes because of selfishness and because of lack of understanding of the project God has in process and so they decide they are going to just divorce their wives or divorce their husbands.

“Let’s start all over, get a new start.  After all God wants me to be happy and that is the most important thing in life is for me to have what I want and be happy and I know God always wants me to be happy. So I’m just going to go that direction.”

And so they just make choices.  I want to tell you that I am not the chief shepherd of this church, but I am the under shepherd.

You say, “Well, who is the chief shepherd?”

Do you have an answer to that for me?  Who is the chief shepherd of this church?

Jesus Christ.
Peter spoke about it. He said, “I am just an under shepherd.”  Paul explained that he was an under rower.  He was an under rower.  That’s what he was.  He was underneath in the galley and he was rowing at the behest and the calling of the one who is beating out the time. That’s all I am.  The one who is leading this church, he better be the one leading this church, is the Lord Jesus. And if he is not leading this church we don’t have a church.  We have just got an organization, a congregation of people that are coming together misguided, misled and without purpose.
But I am the under shepherd.  I am telling you as the under shepherd I am worried about a lot of families in our church because if they don’t come together they are going to pull apart.  And we are all that way.

I just heard this story read this week.  You know, this is football season.  I kind of get into college football, high school football.

And, by the way, Tennessee really did well this weekend.  I just want to let everybody know that.  They just really, really did well.

But anyway, I read and I thought this would really get you the idea.  How many of you know who Paul Bear Bryant is?  Any of you guys? Sure you do.  Paul Bear Bryant, coach at Alabama, well, since they came over on the Mayflower almost.

“But I am just a plow hand from Arkansas,” he said, “But I have learned how to hold the team together and how to lift some men up and how to calm some men down until there is finally one heartbeat together, a team, where we are committed to one another.  Then there are just three things I would ever like to say.  If anything goes back it is my fault.  If anything goes semi good then we did it together.  And if anything goes really, really well, then you guys get the credit.  That’s what it takes to win football games.”

And I am going to tell you. If we could get off the self centered mentalities of our lives it would make all the difference in our homes and in the workplaces where we work.  When it goes bad it is my fault.  When it goes ok we did all right.  When it goes really, really great give other people the credit.

And so he learned that.

And so what we are supposed to do is we are supposed to not stay paralyzed.  We are supposed to get organized.  We are supposed to pull together like one heartbeat working  together for what God wants us to do.
I want to look, now, at these recovery workers in this chapter three. We are not going to read every verse of it, but I would encourage you to do that.  It is very interesting some of the side comments that you will find in there.  But I want you to look at them and the first thing I want you to know from this passage of Scripture, if we are going to rebuild our lives, if we are going to just keep building, we are going face reality and we are going to pray and then we are going to have faith and we are going to do the initiation because of investigation.  And then we are going to have teamwork and work together. Then here are the elements that are going to be involved.

The first thing is that recovery and rebuilding calls for participation.  Write that down.  Participation. Every one working.  And there are several thoughts I would like to give you under that and that is that we as individuals need other people.  You show me the person that thinks he doesn’t need anybody, he doesn’t need anyone else, he is a Christian, he is all ok by himself.  All he needs is just, “Well, I’m all right.  I’m saved and I know the Lord and I read my Bible.  I just don’t need anybody else.”

Well, they are not investigating the Scriptures.  In Nehemiah they could have done a tremendous job at their own wall. They could have built their own wall and could have tuck pointed every brick and I mean it could have been perfect and that wall could have been perfect, but if you look next door and his wall is completely absent then have you kept out the enemy, have you protected the wall?  We need each other.  Listen.

Listen to this.  1 Corinthians chapter 12, verse 12.  “For as the body is one and has many members, but all the members of that one body, being many, are one body, so also is Christ.”  And here is the catch.  Here is the clincher.

For by one Spirit we were all baptized into one body––whether Jews or Greeks, whether slaves or free––and have all been made to drink into one Spirit.  For in fact the body is not one member but many.

And that is exactly the way that the body of Christ is supposed to operate.  That is the way families are supposed to operate. That is the way businesses are supposed to operate and organizations. They need each other.  We need other people.

We cannot say, “I don’t need anyone.”  It is an impossibility.  We can’t function without them.
The other thing is that other people need us.  Write that down.  Other people need us.  Ephesians chapter four, verse 15 and 16 says,

Speaking the truth in love, may grow up in all things into Him who is the head––Christ––  from whom the whole body, joined and knit together by what every joint supplies, according to the effective working by which every part does its share, causes growth of the body for the edifying of itself in love.

Other people need us.

I know people that come to church on a need to basis.  They come to church and they become part of the congregation. They participate when they have a need.  When things are going well and when things are going ok and, you know, they can just carry on by themselves, well, that’s fine.  “I just, you know, I’ll go to church at Christmas, Easter, a few other time during the year and that will be it.  And I’m fine.  You know, but if I run into trouble I know that that godly bunch of pastors on pastor Phil’s staff and I know that those wonderful deacons and elders and those youth workers and all of the volunteers in the youth department and all of those children’s directors and leaders and parents, I know that I can go over there and talk to them.  They are going to care about me. They are going to love me.  And so I know that when I need it I can go over there.”

Well, that’s a wonderful thing. It is wonderful to know that there is somebody that is going to have a sympathetic ear who is going to weep with those that weep and rejoice with those that rejoice.  That is wonderful that we know that.  But did it ever occur to you that it is a two way street?  Did you know that we don’t only come to church when we need help?  But did you know that we come over here not on the basis of need, but we also come because we are here because other people need us.  You like your hand to be shaken Sunday morning?  Then you better go over and shake somebody else’s hand because they like it, too.

I had a family quit this church because they saw me in public.  I didn’t see them.  They saw me.  They were convinced I saw them, ignored them, went the other direction.  They said, “Well, if that is the way that pastor is then I am never going to go back to that church anymore because he snubbed me in public.”

Well, I didn’t see them. My question is, if they saw me why didn’t they come running up to me and say hello to me and shake my hand?  People come to church.

“You know, I went to that church and that was the meanest bunch of people. They were so unfriendly. They just didn’t help anybody because I came in that church and they didn’t shake my hand.  They didn’t help me find the…I’m telling…I’m just not…”

Do you know what?  Do you know what we ought to do?  We ought to go out of our way to be as friendly as we can be personally because he that hath friends must show himself friendly.  Isn’t that simple?  Just go out of our way to be kind to other people, to help other people.

Other people need us.  And we can’t say that no one needs me.

That ought to be enough reason right there for us to just get involved and get involved in the groups, get involved in studying on Sunday morning.  By the way, if you don’t get in a group you are missing half this sermon.  You are missing them every week because the most of this passage of Scripture talks about the gates and I’m only going to talk about one of all the gates that are mentioned.
And so we need each other.  You need to be involved with other people.  We cannot say, legitimately, “No one needs me.”

Do you know?  I am a fanatic of the V-8 engine.  I love…I have got a friend in this church, brother Jack Zimmer, that has got a Chevy GT.  Jealous is not the word for me about that guy.  I’m just kidding.  But he has this Chevy GT and he just got it and there is nothing sweeter.  The only thing that sounds greater is a philharmonic orchestra than a V-8 engine when it is running right.  He steps down on that thing and I mean, boy, it purrs.

You know, I am not a very groomed sort of person.

You say, “What are you talking about?”

To get my V-8 Chevy pickup truck away from me gas is going to have to get to about six dollars a gallon.  I’m sorry. I just…you know, I love to be able to mash it and to take off.  I haven’t had any tickets, folks.  Do not make assumptions, all right?  Most of the policemen know me by name, but I have not had any tickets.

Now, listen to me.  A V-8 engine is a wonderful thing if all cylinders are firing.  But you pull a couple of plug wires or you, you can drop a couple of lifters or something like that and that thing is not working and I am telling you there is nothing more pathetic than that and I want you to know that this church, Grace Church and every church, your family, your business, your organization, whatever you are involved in, if everybody is participating then you are going to have something magnificent.  But if only a few are doing it you are going to have problems.  And in homes, which is my key area of concern, in homes upon which society itself is built, if we are not pulling together, we are pulling apart. And if everybody is individualistic and selfish and only thinks that this home is about what makes me happy instead of how I can do those things that are the best for my family, for my children, for my future, if I make decisions in light of my past record, in light of my present circumstances, in light of my future hopes, if I would do that then it would make all the difference in the world. We have to pull together.  We have to participate.  We belong to each other.

Romans 12:4-5 says,

For as we have many members in one body, but all the members do not have the same function, so we, being many, are one body in Christ, and individually members of one another.

We cannot say, “My life does not matter.”  You just can’t say it.  You can’t say, “I don’t need anybody.”  You cannot say, “Nobody needs me.”  And you cannot say, “My life does not matter.”  It is impossible…not and be a Christian because God’s Word says just the opposite.

Now, we can’t say something else.  We cannot say, “I don’t do windows.”

You say, “Is that in that Scripture?”

No, and it’s not in the sermon either, but I am adding it.

You say, “What do you mean by that?”

Well, look at verse number five.  It is interesting, isn’t it?  Look at verse number five.  It says, chapter three, verse five, “Next to them the Tekoites,” which that’s where Amos was from, “the Tekoites made repairs; but their nobles did not put their shoulders to the work of their Lord.”

Do you notice that?  Sometimes I think people get it in their mind when there is a task to accomplish, when we come together as a church family or we come together as a family, we don’t understand that it is the work of the Lord.  You know what?  We have missionaries that are all over the world?  When I say let us be faithful in giving so they can stay there some of you say, “Well, that preacher just wants my money.”

I don’t want your money.  I want these people to be able to stay on the job in far away places preaching the Word of God and so we need to be faithful in giving. It is the work of the Lord.
But it says the nobles didn’t lay their shoulder to it.  It actually says they wouldn’t stick their neck out. That’s what it actually means.  They would not…the nobles wouldn’t get involved.  The common man, they said, “Ok.  Tell me where to grab hold.”  And so they were organizing, they were putting people to work and I mean there are…you read the passage, jewelers, goldsmiths do it, perfumers do it, women do it, men do it, young do it, old do it, everybody gets involved, but there is this crowd that just stands over there.

Have you ever watched ants?  Do you know that if you watch a crew of ants doing something there is always a big crowd watching?  Do you know that in a beehive that everybody has to do something?  And even though only half the hive goes out every day the other half stays inside of the hive and does nothing but bat their wings so that it keeps it 10 degrees cooler than it would be if they didn’t?  Think about that.  We are supposed to participate.  Nobody can say, “I don’t do windows.”  Nobody can say, “I just don’t do it.”

You know, I have several thoughts about why these nobles didn’t want to do anything.

You say, “Pastor, does everybody in your church serve?”

No, but that’s our goal.

You say, “Pastor, does everybody in there lay their hand to the plow?  Does everybody grab hold, does everybody do something?  Is everybody pulling together?  Is every member of your church a minister?”

Well, I wish I could say so, but it is our goal.  I believe every church member, I believe every attender at Grace Church needs to be in a worship experience like this.  You need to be in a learning experience like a small group and you need to have a place of service to the body of Christ because you have been so gifted by God in heaven to serve the body.

Then you need to be a witness to the world.  Now, listen to me.  No, not everybody is doing something and I have got suspicions about why they don’t.

These nobles, first of all, they weren’t used to being accustomed…they were not accustomed to working alongside of the people who were getting their fingers and their hands dirty, were they?

You know, I love this church.  I love to come here because you have got everything from three piece suits for Heart Shraftner and Marks all the way down to shorts, flip flops and a pull over.  And thank God for a church that we just want you.  I don’t care anything. I just want you to come to church and hear the Word of God.  Aren’t you glad for a place of grace.  Just come to church.  Just come.  Come to church.

And, by the way, bring friends.  Don’t tell them how to dress. Tell them to come. Just get them here.  Let them come to church and hear the Word of God.

But I have got a sneaking suspicion these nobles weren’t accustomed to working alongside what they might consider lower classes of people.

There is something else about these nobles.  They may have been afraid to stick their neck out.  That’s what it actually means in that passage.  They were nobles.  They weren’t going to get down and lay their shoulders to the work of the Lord because, I believe, if you just let me whisper it to you, I believe they thought there might be financial ramifications.

You say, “What?”

I mean, I think they were afraid to really get down and get dirty and get with it and make a commitment and say, “There is the wall. It needs to be rebuilt for the glory of God.  Not mine, but thine. Not my will, but thy will.  I want to work on rebuilding this wall for the glory of God.”  I am sure that these nobles—we are going to find them later—they had business dealings with all of the people that were around them and they were afraid of what it might cost them in the greater picture of things. There are a lot of Christians that are afraid to come clean with God and grow because they are afraid, they are afraid of what it will cost them in their pocket.

The great sign of Satan that many Christians are bowing down to is the sign of the dollar bill. It decides everything. It decides where they will live, how long they will stay there, where they will move, what they will do.  It determines their level of spirituality.

“Well, I would never…I would never think about lying on that form. I am going to turn in my boss.  I’ll tell you.…”

“How about for $10,000…”

“Well, I’m never going to do it.”

“How about $20,000?”

“I would never…”

“How about $100,000?”

“Well, I think the Lord might forgive me for that.”

You know, these nobles wouldn’t put their shoulders to the task.  We’re supposed to do that.  Families can’t survive if everyone doesn’t do their part.  Roles in families are very important.

Now, please keep your tomatoes in your bags, knives, daggers, bows and arrows, just please let me say this without being killed. I am just a messenger.  I am not making the message.  Do you know that men…the Bible says in Ephesians chapter five that men have been given t their families to create an environment of unconditional love at home?  That’s right.
The Bible says, “Therefore men ought to love their wives as Christ loved the church and gave himself for it.”  Love their wives.  Now, that doesn’t mean you love your wife like a tool, you love your wife like a manipulation, you love your wife to get her to do what’s going on and if that tool doesn’t work you pick up a different one.

No, no, no.  Men have the role of creating an environment of love in their home where they live.  In other words your address is one thing and your home is a place of love unconditionally where you work and live together and men it is our responsibility.

Second of all, women have a role.

Oh, here is where I get in trouble.  Here is where I just absolutely reveal my counter cultural thoughts.
Women are here to provide help for the man to create the environment that is loving and to nurture it.

Adam was a flop until Eve came along. And Eve’s great purpose was to help Adam accomplish what it was that God had called him to do.  Women are here to provide help for the man to create the environment and to nurture it.
There is a third thing. Children are here to perpetuate and not hinder the process of a home glorifying God because God intends for those that come to know him and have children, according to Malachi, to put off godly offspring.

And I want to tell you the greatest detriment that could happen to a family to prevent godly offspring from coming into the world and growing up loving God is for that family to decide to disintegrate and go their own way because of personal preferences, discomforts.  Instead of working out, they find a way out.  Instead of working together in love, they give up.

Children are here to perpetuate and not hinder.

You say, “Well, why would you put it that way?”

Well, because—here we go again, pastor Phil, old guy telling you parents that your children cannot be in charge of your family to set the agenda for your family.  They don’t have the experience. They don’t have the understanding. They don’t have the wherewithal.  They don’t have the calling of God.  They don’t have the intellectual ability at the points in their lives to set the agenda for your family.
Can I say it once and again and once and forever?  Parents, you are totally free to be parents.  Parent your children.  Lead your children.  Plan your homes.  Love them.  Care for them.  Be there for them.  Enjoy them. Have fun with them.  But be in charge of your home. That one statement will change America.

Be in charge of your home. You are free to be in charge.

Let me hurry. Recovery calls for cooperation.  Everybody working together.  That is the key phrase that is used in this passage of Scripture over and over. It says next to them, next to him.  Isn’t that amazing?  They actually could be right next to somebody and work in concert.  Wouldn’t that be great if families were working together so well that they just didn’t pull against each other?  Wouldn’t be great if…how many of you…you have got to be honest within your…you know, from time to time in your home it is hard to figure out if you are on the same page.  Sometimes you are wondering if we are even in the same book.  Some of you think you are in different libraries.  Be honest.

Come on. Raise your hands up.  I mean, it’s just…how many…boy we have got to come together or we are going to come apart.  We have got to pull together.  We have to participate together and then we have to cooperate together.

What would a church look like?  What would a church look like where everybody was truly working together?  What would a family look like where there was a common goal, a common direction, a common purpose and that was the glory of God and that was the rearing of the children and the preparation of those children for the world in which they are going to live?

I didn’t say this in the first service, I am going to say it right now.  Do you know that God does not grade on a curve?  Are you aware of the fact that God does not have a floating standard of holiness and righteousness according to the culture in which we live?  Did you know that? Did you know that just because the world is winding around in a great circular motion toward degradation and not even knowing who God is, do you know that the standard of God does not change just because culture does?  Are you aware of that?  And are you aware that we, as leaders of our family, need to set the example for our children of what God would want and not what the world dictates?

What would a family look like?  What would a community look like?  Well, we have to understand that we have to cooperate because we are working for the same purpose, the much needed repairs.
Everybody understands in a home when a father or a mother or some child in the home is off track going the wrong direction. So don’t let a child that is in trouble divide the mom  and dad or a child that has a sickness divide the mother and father.  Don’t let the wife get into a sickness and let that divide the family.  Don’t let there be financial reversal and let that be the dividing…

No, no, no, no. Come together.  You need each other more than you ever have.  Please be careful about blaming each other about what is going on in a family.  Pull together or you will come part.  We must cooperate.  We must work together.  The same purpose is to make the needed repairs.  We have the…and we are working for the same person.

Ultimately we need to repair our lives and homes so that the Lord’s name will not continue in reproach. And, by the way, that is what God is interested in. He is interested in homes that give him glory.  He is interested in churches that give him glory.  He is interested in organizations and businesses that will give him glory.  He is interested in people that will point others to him by the way they do things.  We are working for the same purpose. We are working for the same person.  We need parents and we need teachers and we need preachers and husbands and wives and friends, we need everyone to give their best to the cause, helping to recover peoples’ lives and reclaiming the glory of God.

Finally, and probably the heaviest and the most important of anything I am going to say, this is weighty. Do you know what worth is?  When we say that Jesus is worthy it means he has substance. He has weight.

Well, this is a worthy statement I am going to make right now.  It carries tremendous weight.  Put stars around it.  Put big exclamation points behind it.  This is something that is huge.  I want you to see it with me in verse number 23.  I’ll tell you what it is in just a second.  It says in verse 23, it says, “After him Benjamin and Hasshub made repairs opposite their house.” And then later in the verse, “Ananiah, made repairs by his house.”

Verse number 28: “Beyond the Horse Gate the priests made repairs, each in front of his own house.”

Verse 29: “…in front of his own house.”

Verse number 30: “…in front of his dwelling.”

Recovery calls for participation. Recovering calls for cooperation.  Recovery calls for the right location.

“Ok, pastor, what is the right location for rebuilding and recovery?”

Do you know where they worked?  Do you know what they did?  He put them to work in their own homes, right in front of their own houses, right there with those people that they had the greatest amount of influence over.

It calls for the right location.  It is so important for us to understand—and I want to say this loud, clear and long—we are most responsible for our own house.  We are most responsible for our own house.

I am the under shepherd of this church. Brother Chris and brother Paul and brother Chuck and Jonathan and Josh and Carla and many others are helping on this leadership team along with a group of lay elders that…the best group of lay elders that God ever gave a pastor.  I am here to tell you this morning that my number one job is not pastoring this church.  My number…the place where I am going to be most held responsible for in my life is not for this group of people.  Now, let me just say this. Hebrews said, “Take heed and consider your pastors because they have to answer for your souls.”

Please don’t let me when I call you on the phone ask you where you have been, why you have not been in church.  Don’t get mad at me.  Please when I call you on the phone and you are a man or a woman and you are going down the wrong path and you have decided that you are going to find more happiness outside of your home than inside your home and you just know God wants you to be…please don’t be mad at me if I call you on the phone and plead with you and beg you and cry over you and beg you not to go that direction.  Please don’t be upset because the Bible…God has given me the responsibility of watching for your soul.  I am going to answer for you.
But I am going to answer for Philip and Sherry and Amber, for their spouses and their children far more than I am going to answer for you.  Each one built in front of his own house.  Do you know the place that you are the most responsible in this world?

You say, “Well, I messed up.  I tell you, I wish I could go back and turn the clock back.”

Listen, the Bible says he can restore the years that the canker worms have eaten. He can give you back those…he could start it all over again. The first thing to do is to pray.  Get on your knees and pray for those children that you didn’t rear the right way. Get on your knees and tell God almighty. Fast for them and pray for them and tell God that, “Ok, I messed up, but God you can reclaim my children.”

We are the most responsible for our own house.

Second of all we are most effective in our own home.  That is where you are more capable.  You are more capable and you are more effective with your own family than you are anybody else.  Why?  Because you have a vested interest. God gave them to you. They are your family. They are not somebody else’s family. Moses learned this.  He was the Savior of the Jews. He is on his road to Egypt. He is going to Egypt and when he gets there he is going to be the Savior. He is going to set those people free.  And on the way down there God met him in a wayside place, Exodus chapter four, he met him in a wayside place and was going to kill Moses because he failed with his son.

You mean he put his one son…the responsibility to circumcise his son above all the people of Israel? Absolutely, because God—you hear me and you hear me well—God can raise up another deliverer for his people, but he cannot raise up another father for his son.  God could raise up another person to build bridges and buildings, but he can’t raise up another father for your son.  He could raise up another person to type letters and send them out of the workplace.  But he cannot raise up another mother for your children.

Are you listening to me?

I am so counter culture.  I am so opposite of the…but let me tell you something.  How is our culture doing?  How are we coming?  How is that working for us?

Are you listening to me this morning?  The weightiest thing I am going to say to you before you go home is that we have got participate.  We have got to cooperate. But we have got to get in the right location.

You say, “Pastor, does that mean that we don’t ever work in the church or serve in the church?”

You know better than that.

“Pastor, I thought you were a missionary.  You are worried about people all around the world.”

I am.  I took my family to another country for 13 years to do that very thing.  But I didn’t’ do it without my family.

Would you bow your heads and close your eyes?


Jeremiah 2:17-20  (All Scripture references are taken from the New King James Version of the Bible unless otherwise indicated).

Nehemiah 3:1-5

Nehemiah 3:12


Nehemiah 3:23

Nehemiah 3:28

Nehemiah 3:29

Nehemiah 3:30


Ecclesiastes 4:12

1 Corinthians 12:12

1 Corinthians 12:13-14

Ephesians 4:15-16

Romans 12:4-5

Nehemiah 3:5


Nehemiah 3:23


Nehemiah 3:28

Nehemiah 3:29

Nehemiah 3:30

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