Nehemiah Part 4: Facing Opposition
Nehemiah 4 facing opposition
Often when the storms seem the darkest is when light breaks through. Is a revival of the church in America possible? If you only watch the news and never learn history you would think so. With the violent and callous rhetoric from people who disagree with the Christian faith, the abandonment of traditional moral values, and the increasing secularization of society it would seem that a revival is nowhere on the horizon. However, the great awakenings came at times when society least expected it. They came at times when society was plunged into deep sin and immorality. The problem is that we only have our own time in which we live as a reference so we think it was better in the past. I believe God is bringing an awakening. But even when God is moving, we can encounter opposition. Nehemiah encountered opposition when God gave him the vision to build the wall.
- The opposition is expected. You're going to have to risk offending the offendable in order to reach the reachable. Jesus told us that we would experience opposition it's just that many of us have grown up in a culture where the opposition was mostly academic rather than violent. You could sit down and have rational discussions with people that disagreed with you and share the gospel message. However in the past 10 yrs. especially the opposition has intensified its efforts to Silence the church in the public sphere through using legislative, legal acts as well as subversive tactics in news and entertainment media to attack biblical teachings on sexuality and identity , attack Christians rights to free speech and expression in the workplace and to undermine the rights of parents to raise and educate their own children in their own faith. However, we are called to have faith and not be ashamed of the message we bear.
- We can't allow ourselves to be fooled into thinking that this opposition means no one is interested in the truth. We need to have faith and push through and share the gospel and let people do with it what they will.
- We must resist the temptation towards cowardice. When the builders were receiving opposition via ridicule and intimidation. Some of their own countrymen turned against them. They became snowflakes that melted in the offended gaze of the outsiders. Not wanting to upset the non-jew they begged the builders to stop. The same thing happens in the church when the unbelieving world hurls accusations of hypocrisy, and bigotry
- some of our own say can you not mention sin and maybe not talk about hell because that might scare people away. What people would be scared away? Not anyone looking for Jesus. People looking for jesus are ready to hear truth those who are not are looking for Mary Poppins -a teaspoon of sugar makes the medicine go down. A candy-coated gospel that has no power to transform us and break the power of sin is not the gospel. We do a great disservice to all truth seekers when we bend to the will of those who claim to see yet are blind
- . Jesus said in john 9:39 that he came to make the blind see and those that see blind. Many people wrongly associate those enemies of Jesus. The Pharisees and the religious leaders with the overly conservative or uptight church. That is wrong. They wanted to crucify him. No, they represented the self-righteous people in power were trying to stifle the truth. But you say they were religious. Well, many in power today claim to be religious as well but they alter their religion to fit their political ideology and lust for power just like they did in Jesus day. And they look at the church and say we got to get rid of these people they interrupt our plans our agenda. Crucify them. They exist in every age.
So what can we do?
- Pray, prepare, defend, build
Pray- this was the first thing Nehemiah did. He appealed to God. to the one who is in control. The enemy is the devil. It’s a temptation to direct our anger at people but they are just under the impression that we are the ones standing in the way of their pursuit of happiness. It doesn’t matter if that’s not the case. they have had this message drilled into them. The devil has told them that the bondage of sin is an illusion and the church, the bearer of truth is the enemy holding them back. When in reality the truth they embrace is death and darkness. Only the spirit can break the illusion.
Prepare-the workers had a sword in one hand and a trowel in the other. They were aware and ready to fight but also steadily continued the work on the wall. Likewise, we need to know Gods Word and be aware of the battle but at the same time be focused on building Gods kingdom. Sometimes we can get so focused and anxious about the battle that we stop the work. We can't allow ourselves to be overcome. The best remedy for worry is steady preparation. Don wait for a crisis to get into the bible. Get yourself with the word now. So you are always ready.
Defend others who are standing for righteousness- by actively supporting their efforts to bring light and truth into the public sphere. I talked about the opposition that has been ratcheted up against the church but now I am seeing a response from the church that gives me hope. Pro-life legislation spreading across the country, encouraging testimonies from 1000s that have been transformed by the gospel and freed from sins that others said was impossible to be free from. And alternative media that breaks through the stereotypes Hollywood places on the church. Rather than being bullied into silence, many are standing strong and we need to support our brothers and sisters in the fight. It doesn’t matter how many try to censor the good news Jesus wins.
The bible is a book that is banned in many countries. There have more efforts to get rid of this book than any other in history. Why? Because there is a fire within these pages that sets people free and gives them hope. A hope which is the enemy of those would control our lives, those who lust for power.
Build the kingdom- its all about our focus we can keep. Our eyes on the distractions or we can keep focused on the building Gods kingdom paul said to timothy be ready to preach in season and out of season. Often it is hard to stand bold when it seems most your family and coworkers and even some professing Christians are under the spell of the enemy, believing the lies. But if you stand firm in time there will be a harvest of righteousness