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Sunday, August 30, 2015

Stepping into Your Purpose

Notes: Stepping into Your Purpose
Nehemiah 1
Pastor Pedro Garcia
Sunday, August 30, 2015 — 8:00 a.m.

One of the things that is true of all of us is that God created us with a specific purpose in mind.

Psalm 139:13-15 NKJV
[13] For You formed my inward parts; You covered me in my mother's womb. [14] I will praise You, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made; Marvelous are Your works, And that my soul knows very well. [15] My frame was not hidden from You, When I was made in secret, And skillfully wrought in the lowest parts of the earth.

Ephesians 2:10 NKJV
[10] For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand that we should walk in them.

The reason God saved us is not only to get us to Heaven. We are to find our calling.

2 Timothy 1:8-9 NKJV
[8] Therefore do not be ashamed of the testimony of our Lord, nor of me His prisoner, but share with me in the sufferings for the gospel according to the power of God, [9] who has saved us and called us with a holy calling, not according to our works, but according to His own purpose and grace which was given to us in Christ Jesus before time began,

Nehemiah learned his purpose while he was working and being faithful to God.

We are to be faithful with what is in our hands now, not just what we think is down the road.

Nehemiah 1:1-4 NKJV
[1] The words of Nehemiah the son of Hachaliah. It came to pass in the month of Chislev, in the twentieth year, as I was in Shushan the citadel, [2] that Hanani one of my brethren came with men from Judah; and I asked them concerning the Jews who had escaped, who had survived the captivity, and concerning Jerusalem. [3] And they said to me, "The survivors who are left from the captivity in the province are there in great distress and reproach. The wall of Jerusalem is also broken down, and its gates are burned with fire." [4] So it was, when I heard these words, that I sat down and wept, and mourned for many days; I was fasting and praying before the God of heaven.

This is the backdrop of the book of Nehemiah. He finds out that Jerusalem is devastated.

Nehemiah did not just sit around and cry about it. He did something about that. He let his purpose impact his life.

1. Nehemiah had clarity and identity.

We need to know who we are and Who's we are.

Colossians 1:16 NKJV
[16] For by Him all things were created that are in heaven and that are on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or principalities or powers. All things were created through Him and for Him.

We were created by God for the glory of God.

We are not defined by what we do for ourselves, we are to be defined by who we serve.

Nehemiah lived to glorify God.

Just because he was the cup bearer for the king did not define him.

Nehemiah 2:1-3 NKJV
[1] And it came to pass in the month of Nisan, in the twentieth year of King Artaxerxes, when wine was before him, that I took the wine and gave it to the king. Now I had never been sad in his presence before. [2] Therefore the king said to me, "Why is your face sad, since you are not sick? This is nothing but sorrow of heart." So I became dreadfully afraid, [3] and said to the king, "May the king live forever! Why should my face not be sad, when the city, the place of my fathers' tombs, lies waste, and its gates are burned with fire?"

Nehemiah did not let his vocation stop him from serving God.

Daniel also stood his ground instead of bowing down to the culture around him. Are you someone that stands your ground?

A person that stands for nothing will fall for anything.

Don't let people label you or let them dictate your identity.

Don't let anything in your past define who you are.

Galatians 2:20 NKJV
[20] I have been crucified with Christ; it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me; and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself for me.

Be clear in your identity.

Live in the grace of Christ Jesus.

2. Boldness in our faith.

It wasn't just enough for Nehemiah to pray and fast. He also took action.

Don't let things pass by as you are sitting and praying about it. You need to pray and take the action in boldness.

Nehemiah prayed and then rises up.

Nehemiah 2:4-6 NKJV
[4] Then the king said to me, "What do you request?" So I prayed to the God of heaven. [5] And I said to the king, "If it pleases the king, and if your servant has found favor in your sight, I ask that you send me to Judah, to the city of my fathers' tombs, that I may rebuild it." [6] Then the king said to me (the queen also sitting beside him), "How long will your journey be? And when will you return?" So it pleased the king to send me; and I set him a time.

The king gave Nehemiah his request and then Nehemiah boldly asked for more.

Nehemiah 2:7-8 NKJV
[7] Furthermore I said to the king, "If it pleases the king, let letters be given to me for the governors of the region beyond the River, that they must permit me to pass through till I come to Judah, [8] and a letter to Asaph the keeper of the king's forest, that he must give me timber to make beams for the gates of the citadel which pertains to the temple, for the city wall, and for the house that I will occupy." And the king granted them to me according to the good hand of my God upon me.

Nehemiah got to Jerusalem and saw the opposition waiting for him.

As we all know, where God sends us, the enemy is trying to oppose us.

Nehemiah 2:19-20 NKJV
[19] 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?" [20] 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."

3. Determination through distraction.

This is critical, distraction is thrown at us to keep us from the plans and purpose of God.

Nehemiah was not distracted:
Nehemiah 2:20 NKJV
[20] 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."

He heard what the opposition had to say and then got back to work.

But the opposition always continues:
Nehemiah 6:1-2 NKJV
[1] Now it happened when Sanballat, Tobiah, Geshem the Arab, and the rest of our enemies heard that I had rebuilt the wall, and that there were no breaks left in it (though at that time I had not hung the doors in the gates), [2] that Sanballat and Geshem sent to me, saying, "Come, let us meet together among the villages in the plain of Ono." But they thought to do me harm.

These guys were trying to hurt Nehemiah. They wanted to destroy him. These are the challenges that all leaders will face.

You don't have to be a famous leader, if you are being obedient to the call of God as a leader, then you will face opposition.

Don't be surprised by opposition, expect it.

Nehemiah 6:3-7 NKJV
[3] So I sent messengers to them, saying, "I am doing a great work, so that I cannot come down. Why should the work cease while I leave it and go down to you?"
[4] But they sent me this message four times, and I answered them in the same manner. [5] Then Sanballat sent his servant to me as before, the fifth time, with an open letter in his hand. [6] In it was written: It is reported among the nations, and Geshem says, that you and the Jews plan to rebel; therefore, according to these rumors, you are rebuilding the wall, that you may be their king. [7] And you have also appointed prophets to proclaim concerning you at Jerusalem, saying, "There is a king in Judah!" Now these matters will be reported to the king. So come, therefore, and let us consult together.

Nehemiah responded:
Nehemiah 6:8-9 NKJV
[8] Then I sent to him, saying, "No such things as you say are being done, but you invent them in your own heart." [9] For they all were trying to make us afraid, saying, "Their hands will be weakened in the work, and it will not be done." Now therefore, O God, strengthen my hands.

Nehemiah showed determination through this distraction.

Some things are just for God to do for us. Do not take on all the battles that come your way while you are doing God's work.

Never seek to live for approval of man.

Don't listen to the voices of the crowd. They will keep you from all that God has for you.

God wants to do even greater things than we can ever imagine.

Pray that God will give you the strength to live for His purpose.

Have you entered into the purpose God has for you?

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