OceanSide church of Christ
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HOW TO HAVE SUCCESS (3)
Victor M. Eskew
A. Today is the third and final lesson in our series: “How to Have Success.”
B. Our lesson has come from principles found in the book of Nehemiah. The great leader, Nehemiah, returned to the city of Jerusalem and rebuilt the walls thereof in a brief, 52-day period (Neh. 6:15).
C. We, too, are building walls, walls in the precious temple of God, the church.
1. I Corinthians 3:16a
Know ye not that ye are the temple of God…
2. The stones within this temple are individual Christians (I Pet. 2:5).
Ye also, as lively stones, are built up a spiritual house, a holy priesthood, to offer up spiritual sacrifices, acceptable to God by Jesus Christ.
D. In our efforts to build, we should long for success. Nehemiah helps us to see what must be done to have it.
I. COMMIT TO DILIGENT WORK
A. Nehemiah 4:6
So built we the wall; and all the wall was joined together unto the half thereof: for the people had a mind to work.
1. Note the words: “a mind to work”
2. The word “mind” means “heart, inner man, and will.” BDB gives this definition: “inclination, resolution, determination of will.”
B. Three verses:
1. Proverbs 21:5
The thoughts of the diligent tend only to plenteousness…
2. Ecclesiastes 9:10
Whatsoever thy hand findeth to do, do it with all thy might.
3. Romans 12:11
Not slothful in business; fervent in spirit; serving the Lord.
C. The key here is to be diligent in the right areas.
1. Numerical growth will come by soul-winning.
2. The example of the early church.
a. Jesus gave the apostles their marching orders (Matt. 28:19-20).
Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost: teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have command-ed you: and, lo, I am with you alway, even unto the end of the world.
b. In the book of Acts, these orders are obeyed. Four words found throughout the book reveal the success of the church.
1) Added (Acts 2:41, 47; 5:14; 11:24)
And believers were the more added to the Lord, multitudes both of men and women.
2) Multiplied (Acts 6:1, 7; 9:31; 12:24)
And in those days, when the number of the disciples multiplied…
3) Increased (Acts 6:7; 16:5)
And so were the churches established in the faith, and increased in number daily.
4) Grew (Acts 12:24; 19:20)
But the word of God grew and multiplied.
3. We can imitate the first century church. It will take diligent work in the area of personal work to do it.
II. CAUTION AGAINST ENEMIES
A. In a previous lesson, we discussed the need to confront our enemies.
B. We also have to be cautious against our enemies. Let’s look at Nehemiah’s example.
1. Sanballat, Tobiah, and Geshom were persistent enemies.
a. In Nehemiah 4:8, they conspired all of them together to come and to fight against Jerusalem, and to hinder it.
b. Here’s the message they passed on to the Israelites. They shall not know, neither see, till we come in the midst of them, and slay them, and cause the work to cease (Neh. 4:10).
2. Nehemiah was cautious and did three things:
a. He prayed unto God (Neh. 4:9).
b. He set a watch against them day and night (Neh. 4:9, 13)
c. He spoke encouraging words to the Jews reminding them of God’s part in the battle (Neh. 4:14).
…Be not afraid of them: remember the Lord, which is great and terrible, and fight for your brethren, your sons, and your daughters, your wives, and your homes.
C. We can, and must, do everything Nehemiah did.
1. We can pray when we need help (Heb. 4:16).
2. We can set a watch and arm ourselves with the sword of the Spirit, which is the Word of God (Eph. 6:17; see also I Pet. 5:8).
3. We can exhort one another with words like those in I Corinthians 15:57.
But thanks be unto God, which giveth us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.
III. CORRECT ERRORS WITHIN
A. Nehemiah 5:1-13 reveals a problem that developed within the Jewish people themselves (Neh. 5:1).
And there was a great cry of the people and of their wives against their brethren the Jews.
B. The problem: Excessively high interest was being charged on loans that individuals made to their brethren (Neh. 5:2-5).
1. Their lands and their vineyards were taken.
2. Their sons and daughters were being brought into bondage.
C. The problem confronted and corrected.
1. Nehemiah was very angry (Neh. 5:6).
2. He rebuked the nobles (Neh. 5:7).
3. He set a great assembly against them (Neh. 5:7).
4. He reminded them that their actions were bringing their brethren into slavery from which they had just departed (Neh. 5:8).
5. He exhorted them to walk in the fear of our God (Neh. 5:9).
6. He set his example before them (Neh. 5:10).
7. He exhorted them to leave off the usury and restore what was taken (Neh. 5:10-11).
8. The response:
a. The promise (Neh. 5:12)
Then said they, We will restore them, and will require nothing.
b. An oath taken before the priests (Neh. 5:18)
c. The fulfillment (Neh. 5:13b)
And the people did according to this promise.
D. Several things learned:
1. Problems can, and probably will, arise from within.
2. Problems must be confronted, not swept under the rug.
3. Those causing the problems need to be rebuked.
4. Solutions to problems exist and need to be sought out.
5. Those who are the problem-makers need to quit those actions that cause strife.
IV. COMPROMISE NOT WITH THE ENEMY
A. This point brings us back to the adversaries of Nehemiah. When they heard Nehemiah was closing in on success, they asked for a meeting in one of the villages in the plain of Ono (Neh. 6:2). As is always the case, the enemies thought to do mischief upon Nehemiah.
B. Nehemiah’s response to this meeting at Ono was: “O, no!” (Neh. 6:3)
And I sent messengers unto them, saying, I am doing a great work, so that I cannot come down: why should the work cease, whilst I leave it, and come down to you?
C. We must heed the example of Nehemiah.
1. Our enemies want to do us mischief.
a. Destroy our uniqueness
b. Nullify our message
c. Take numbers from our ranks
d. Remove us completely
2. Compromise is not an option (II John 10-11).
If there come any unto you, and bring not this doctrine, receive him not into your house, neither biddeth him God speed: for he that biddeth him God speed is partaker of his evil deeds.
A. Success for Nehemiah was the rebuilt walls of Jerusalem (Neh. 6:15).
B. Our success might not be quite as tangible, but when we set goals and reach them, we are being successful.