A sermon idea based on various passages from Nehemiah about spiritual breakthrough, spiritual warfare, and visionary leadership.
If you’re going to experience breakthroughs, you will most definitely have to fight some battles. The key is understanding which battles are worth fighting.
Some of the greatest advice I’ve ever been given…
If you’re going to become what God wants you to become, you’re going to have to walk through a fire somewhere.
He went on to say,
You can run from it this time, but you’ll have to walk through it eventually, IF you want to become what God wants you to become.
When you begin to experience breakthrough, hell gets mad. If you want to experience breakthrough, you’re in for a fight!
You’ve gotta learn to fight the right battles with the right weapons.
Your Three Biggest Enemies
Enemy #1: The World
It’s essential to note that “the world” that is our enemy is NOT people (flesh and blood, according to Paul). It isn’t your neighbor. And it isn’t nature. It isn’t the cosmos.
The “world” with which we must do battle are the false belief systems, subtly spread by the enemy, that seek to undermine our drawing close to God, adopting the right values, and living our lives for the right purposes.
Enemy #2: The Flesh
And what is the “flesh”? It’s your weaknesses, sinful desires, and self-destructive tendencies.
Enemy #3: The Devil
Whatever you may believe about the existence and nature of Satan, the Bible depicts, in the life of Jesus, a real and personal devil who appeared in Jesus’ life to tempt him. And the Bible paints a picture of this enemy as highly organized and ready for warfare.
1 Peter 5:8 NLT
Stay alert! Watch out for your great enemy, the devil. He prowls around like a roaring lion, looking for someone to devour.
In Nehemiah’s story, they take on different forms, and I think you’ll identify with what he faced. Let’s learn how to fight like Nehemiah…
Battle Tactic #1: When you’re unfairly criticized, remember who you are.
Nehemiah 2:18-20 NLT
Then I told them about how the gracious hand of God had been on me, and about my conversation with the king. They replied at once, “Yes, let’s rebuild the wall!” So they began the good work. But when Sanballat, Tobiah, and Geshem the Arab heard of our plan, they scoffed contemptuously. “What are you doing? Are you rebelling against the king?” they asked. I replied, “The God of heaven will help us succeed. We, his servants, will start rebuilding this wall. But you have no share, legal right, or historic claim in Jerusalem.”
Or better yet, remember WHOSE you are!
Battle Tactic #2: When the enemy attacks, you fight and you keep going.
Nehemiah 4:6-9 NLT
At last the wall was completed to half its height around the entire city, for the people had worked with enthusiasm. But when Sanballat and Tobiah and the Arabs, Ammonites, and Ashdodites heard that the work was going ahead and that the gaps in the wall of Jerusalem were being repaired, they were furious. They all made plans to come and fight against Jerusalem and throw us into confusion. But we prayed to our God and guarded the city day and night to protect ourselves.
- We work.
- We pray.
- We protect ourselves.
Battle Tactic #3: When you feel discouraged, you remember the Lord.
Nehemiah 4:10-14 NLT
Then the people of Judah began to complain, “The workers are getting tired, and there is so much rubble to be moved. We will never be able to build the wall by ourselves.” Meanwhile, our enemies were saying, “Before they know what’s happening, we will swoop down on them and kill them and end their work.” The Jews who lived near the enemy came and told us again and again, “They will come from all directions and attack us!” So I placed armed guards behind the lowest parts of the wall in the exposed areas. I stationed the people to stand guard by families, armed with swords, spears, and bows. Then as I looked over the situation, I called together the nobles and the rest of the people and said to them, “Don’t be afraid of the enemy! Remember the Lord, who is great and glorious, and fight for your brothers, your sons, your daughters, your wives, and your homes!”
You remember how good God is, how powerful he is, and how much he loves and defends his beloved children.
Battle Tactic #4: When you see others attacked, fight for them.
Nehemiah 5:9-12 NLT
Then I pressed further, “What you are doing is not right! Should you not walk in the fear of our God in order to avoid being mocked by enemy nations? I myself, as well as my brothers and my workers, have been lending the people money and grain, but now let us stop this business of charging interest. You must restore their fields, vineyards, olive groves, and homes to them this very day. And repay the interest you charged when you lent them money, grain, new wine, and olive oil.” They replied, “We will give back everything and demand nothing more from the people. We will do as you say.”
Battle Tactic #5: When you are tempted, remember your purpose!
Nehemiah 6:1-9 NLT
Sanballat and Geshem sent a message asking me to meet them at one of the villages in the plain of Ono. But I realized they were plotting to harm me, so I replied by sending this message to them: “I am engaged in a great work, so I can’t come. Why should I stop working to come and meet with you?”… Four times they sent the same message, and each time I gave the same reply… So I continued the work with even greater determination.
Remember, if you want to live out God’s purposes for your life and grow in spiritual maturity to become the whole person God intends for you to become, you will have to choose some battles and you’ll have to be ready for a fight.
Are you willing to fight for the freedom to live out God’s eternal purposes?