A sermon idea based on Nehemiah 1 about how to get sick and tired of the status quo in order to experience spiritual breakthrough.
Basic Background on Nehemiah
- Nehemiah was the Cupbearer to King Artaxerxes.
- Nehemiah was written somewhere around 445 b.c.
- Esther was Artaxerxes’ stepmother.
- Ezra is presumed to have written Nehemiah.
- Nehemiah had two governorships, the first of which lasted one year and spans the first twelve chapters.
Remember Earl Pitts? He was a fictitious radio personality who issued complaints about America, especially surrounding politics. His rants may or may not have made actual sense, but the question he usually launched with has value: “You know what makes me sick?”
That’s a decent question. But a better question is: What is it that breaks your heart?
- About your culture… inequality? injustice? oppression?
- About your community… addiction? family issues? lostness?
- About your life… mediocrity? status quo?
This is a message about vision and leadership, but more importantly, it’s a series about depending on God to break some chains and change the situation for us as we rise to the challenges!
God is looking for some people who will get sick and tired of the brokenness in the world around them, AND, who will DO something.
Nehemiah 1:1-11 NRSV
 The words of Nehemiah son of Hacaliah. In the month of Chislev, in the twentieth year, while I was in Susa the capital,  one of my brothers, Hanani, came with certain men from Judah; and I asked them about the Jews that survived, those who had escaped the captivity, and about Jerusalem.  They replied, “The survivors there in the province who escaped captivity are in great trouble and shame; the wall of Jerusalem is broken down, and its gates have been destroyed by fire.”  When I heard these words I sat down and wept, and mourned for days, fasting and praying before the God of heaven.  I said, “O LORD God of heaven, the great and awesome God who keeps covenant and steadfast love with those who love him and keep his commandments;  let your ear be attentive and your eyes open to hear the prayer of your servant that I now pray before you day and night for your servants, the people of Israel, confessing the sins of the people of Israel, which we have sinned against you. Both I and my family have sinned.  We have offended you deeply, failing to keep the commandments, the statutes, and the ordinances that you commanded your servant Moses.  Remember the word that you commanded your servant Moses, ‘If you are unfaithful, I will scatter you among the peoples;  but if you return to me and keep my commandments and do them, though your outcasts are under the farthest skies, I will gather them from there and bring them to the place at which I have chosen to establish my name.’  They are your servants and your people, whom you redeemed by your great power and your strong hand.  O Lord, let your ear be attentive to the prayer of your servant, and to the prayer of your servants who delight in revering your name. Give success to your servant today, and grant him mercy in the sight of this man!” At the time, I was cupbearer to the king.
What to do when you’re sick and tired…
1. Spend a moment in mourning. (v. 4)
We need to feel the weight of the brokenness of the world around us. Get bothered! Get a burden!
Like the Apostle Paul in the city of Athens, whose heart was broken over the spiritual condition of the city and the culture…
Acts 17:16 MSG
The longer Paul waited in Athens for Silas and Timothy, the angrier he got—all those idols! The city was a junkyard of idols.
2. Spend some days in fasting and prayer. (v. 4)
Prayer is DOING something. It isn’t nothing. It’s a matter of tuning in and speaking to the God who moves the world.
Fasting is DOING something. It’s preparing our hearts to take seriously the things that God takes seriously.
These aren’t just religious rituals. These are things God calls on us to do to prepare our hearts to call on him!
Fasting demonstrates dependence on God. It shows that we recognize the heaviness of the moment enough to put down our forks and pay attention to God, and what God wants to do.
3. Continually practice repentance. (v. 6)
It’s never enough to recognize the brokenness around us. That leads to self-righteousness and bitterness. We must look at the brokenness within us. We must confess our part of the problem.
4. Beg God for a breakthrough!! (v. 11)\
Success, as God defines it, starts with taking up a cross. It comes as the result of the kind of change that only comes about through repentance.
What do you need to get sick and tired of today?
What do you need to pray for success in?