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God’s People in a Day of Crisis I - Part 1 of 3

Baptist Bible Hour / Lasserre Bradley, Jr.
The Truth Network Radio
September 3, 2020 12:00 am

God’s People in a Day of Crisis I - Part 1 of 3

Baptist Bible Hour / Lasserre Bradley, Jr.

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September 3, 2020 12:00 am

“And they said unto me, The remnant that are left of the captivity there in the province are in great affliction and reproach: the wall of Jerusalem also is broken down, and the gates thereof are burned with fire” (Nehemiah 1:3).

Delight in Grace
Grace Bible Church / Rich Powell
Cross Reference Radio
Pastor Rick Gaston

Oh, for a thousand tongues to sing my great Redeemer's praise, the worries of my God and King, the triumphs of his grace. This is LeSary Bradley Jr. welcoming you to another broadcast of the Baptist Bible Hour. I was encouraged the other day when a man called me and said that he listened to this program every day, and when I was finding out where he lived, he said he lived in upper state New York.

I thought, well, that's interesting. We don't have any stations up there. He said, well, I go to the website of one of the stations that carries the program, and I'm able to hear the program on a daily basis. So I'm thankful that many times the program is getting out in ways that we were not even aware, that there were people in that part of the country able to listen. I hope that you will pray for this effort, that the Lord will bless us to continue and supply the needs that we can stay on all these stations.

Our address is the Baptist Bible Hour, Box 17037, Cincinnati, Ohio 45217. Yes, not thy compassion's ache, they'll not, as thou hast been, thou forever will be. Great is thy faithfulness, great is thy faithfulness, morning by morning new mercies I see.

All I have needed thy hand hath provided, great is thy faithfulness, Lord unto me. I think that most of us would agree without any controversy that in many respects we can say we are living in a day of crisis. Certainly when we look at the conditions that prevail in our country, we can see some dramatic changes that have taken place. Some of the things that are commonplace today could never have been imagined some years ago.

The language that's used, the violence, the immorality, the fare that comes over TV on a regular basis, the spiritual coldness and indifference that's displayed even by many who profess to believe in God. All of these things tend to point to it being a dark day, a day of crisis. Now it's not my purpose this morning to attempt to take the role of the news commentator. I'm sure you've probably heard more news than you wanted to hear during the past week. If you've read the newspaper at all, you've listened to the news on television or radio, you know that bad news, depressing circumstances are perpetually out before us. And not only do we see a crisis as far as the conditions that prevail in a general way within our nation and around the world for that matter, that ultimately comes down to the crisis that individuals are struggling with in their own life and that families are encountering. All the pain and heartache that is witnessed on every hand.

When we see the lives that are disrupted by alcohol, by drugs, by sexual immorality, through divorce, marriages falling apart, parents ignoring their responsibilities toward their children to discipline them and give them the kind of love and care that they ought to be given. And even as we look at God's people across the land, I don't think anybody could dare say that this is a day of spiritual awakening and revival. Oh, there may be little evidences here and there when the Lord is stirring the minds and hearts of some of his people and special blessings being poured out. You remember in the lifetime of Elder Wilson Thompson, who was a pioneer preacher laboring in this part of the country. He was pastoring the church at Lebanon, Ohio at the time and heard that there was a great revival taking place in Cincinnati. And he was hopeful that indeed there might be evidence of God's work. And he came here and said he was so terribly disappointed when he saw how shallow this religious exercise was that had been called revival. How weak the messages were.

How lacking they were in preaching the truth of God's greatness and power and his sovereignty and salvation by his mercy. And so while there are places today where people will point and say, God is doing something special. Christianity Today and other religious publications have talked about the Toronto blessing. And there supposedly has been a mighty moving in Canada for a number of years.

And thousands of people from the United States have gone there. And they're experiencing what they call the laughing revival. And people break out into laughter and they consider this to be a spiritual blessing. We can talk about other movements which when closely examined in the light of the word of God, you see to be lacking something as far as adherence to the truth and to his word. So in many ways we can say that it's a crisis as far as the day is concerned with respect to true religion. So the question we want to ponder today is how God's people should respond.

How they should react in the day of crisis. And I know of no better portion to the word of God to go than to the book of Nehemiah. This is a book as you will recall we did some studies in a few years ago.

But looking at it in those series of messages certainly didn't wear it out. It's a wonderful portion of scripture and some tremendous lessons in it that need to be continually before us. So I speak to you on the subject God's people in a day of crisis. As the book of Nehemiah begins we find Nehemiah himself is the cupbearer to king Artaxerxes. Being a cupbearer was a prominent position an important one.

Just as there have always been political conspiracies there certainly were in that day and there were people who wanted to destroy the king. And one way was to put something in his food or in what he was drinking. So the king had a cupbearer and before he drank anything he let the cupbearer take a sip first. So if he survives it all right he says now I'll take a drink. Now a man like that's got to be trustworthy.

You've got to have a lot of confidence in him that he's on your side and that he's doing everything right. And Nehemiah of course was a Jew and was here at a distance from Jerusalem the city that he loved. But he respected civil authority and was able to function within this government in a godly way without compromising his testimony.

And so he had risen to a place of prominence and the king relied on him heavily. But his heart was in Jerusalem. He was thinking about the captives that were going back to the homeland trying to re-establish the city.

Wanting once more to see it beautiful for situation the joy of the whole earth. And he inquires of some of his brethren who have just returned from making a trip there. Verse 3 of Nehemiah chapter 1 says, They said unto me, The remnant that are left of the captivity there in the province are in great affliction and reproach. The wall of Jerusalem also is broken down and the gates thereof are burned with fire. Here we begin to see the description of the crisis. The people were in great affliction. The word affliction indicates being pressed, being in a tight place, pressure, trouble, trial, coming. How many here today can relate to that? You know what it is to feel the pressures of life. To have burdens and troubles that are difficult to bear.

Problems that seem to be without a solution. They were afflicted. They were in reproach. They were ridiculed.

Their enemies made fun of them. The wall of the city was broken down. The wall of the city in that day was tremendously important. They obviously weren't flying airplanes when they invaded. They came on horses and chariots and if there was a strong wall about the city and there were men on the wall to sound the alarm and there were soldiers there that might hurl their spears and darts at those that would invade.

It was certainly a great means of protection and fortification. But the walls were broken down and the gates thereof were burned with fire. Things were very much in a low state. The city was devastated. It was a desolate place at this time.

And furthermore, they were without leadership to make any positive moves to change the situation. People were cast down. You can imagine how depressing it was when they thought about what a wonderful, beautiful city Jerusalem had been.

They loved it. It spoke to them of being the very place where the Lord did abide in a special way. It was the place of the temple.

It was the place of the true order of worship in that day. But the city is in desolation. They look at it. They grieve over the situation.

But nobody seems to have an answer. No one seems to be able to take the role of leadership and move them toward resolving their difficulties. Their spirits are low.

They just don't see any hope. But here's Nehemiah at a distance from the situation. And when he hears the word, it's a different matter. When he gets the report about the conditions of that day, he's very much burdened. It came to pass that when I heard these words that I sat down and wept and mourned certain days. I really believe before there's ever going to be positive movement toward resolving any crisis, whether it's your own personal crisis or a crisis within your family or in the church or in the nation, people are going to have to mourn over the situation. They're going to have to be grieved by it. They're going to have to be unhappy with the status quo.

He sat down and wept and mourned certain days. Well, as we get the initial picture of what the crisis is in this portion of scripture, how really can we relate that to our day? Is it not a dramatic change when you think of how many school children have to pass through a metal detector to get into the school building today from what school was like in the years gone by?

Is it not a significant difference when the corruption, the sexual references, the crude and ungodly and inappropriate language that's used in so many of the TV programs is there as just an accepted thing today? Not only is it there for the world to absorb it, but many professed Christians become so influenced by it that they see there's no harm as far as they're concerned and they participate and it influences their thinking. And you see that God's own people are so easily influenced by the world. He says, love not the world, neither the things that are in the world. We're not to be conformed to the world. We're to be transformed by the renewing of our mind.

Now you think about this. You may assume that the world is having no influence on you. But if you spend a significant amount of your time in front of the television set and you're reading the daily newspaper and you're reading magazines and you're reading the books that are popular today and you're listening to what people say in the workplace, you're being bombarded with thinking that for the most part is contrary to biblical truth.

And if that's your daily diet, you're not strong enough, none of us are, to stand up against that in and of ourselves. Evil communications corrupt good manners. You constantly walk with people who are talking and thinking like the world, you will ultimately be influenced.

Now before we've concluded, we're going to talk about how to combat that, how to overcome it. Oh, how many who say, I've committed my life to Jesus Christ. I've represented my death to sin, to the flesh, to the world, through baptism and I've come forth to walk in newness of life. But they continually drift more and more toward the world. They want what the world has, they want the world's approval, they want to be accepted by the world, they want to fit in with the world and yet God says, the one that will be the friend of the world becomes his enemy.

Now there's no way you can get around it. There's no way you can say, I've got my own little unique plan here, I know how I can hold hands with God and the world at the same time. God says, you can not do it. Who's on the Lord's side? Joshua said, as for me and my house, we will serve the Lord.

It's a commitment that we've made. My mind is made up and as the spiritual leader of my household, I'm making that decision for all those in my household. As for me and my house, we will serve the Lord.

I realize that an experience of grace is a personal and individual thing. But I'm talking about the leadership that the Father is to maintain. His responsibility and obligation before God to make that commitment and to see that appropriate discipline is maintained in the household so that those under his direction are following in that course. How sad today to see so many young people going astray. How sad to see those that have been brought up in the church and under the influence of the truth. As soon as they reach an age that they're out of their own, they're gone. How great is that responsibility that God has given to parents to bring their children up in the nurture and admonition of the Lord. If there is not consistent teaching in the home and if that teaching is not being backed up by the example as to the way the parents live and the attitude that they maintain, the consequences become evident.

Oh, how serious is the matter. And then you find many people who are just plain discouraged. They become somewhat cynical. They've been disappointed in politicians. They've been disappointed in preachers. They've been disappointed in friends. They've been disappointed in relatives and frankly they're disappointed in themselves and they're just at the point to say, what's the use?

In their own life, the walls are broken down and the gates are burned with fire. They say, I don't know just what it is. I don't know what's wrong. I'd like to be lifted up. I'd like to rejoice. I'd like to feel the presence of the Lord but I feel cold. I feel barren. I feel empty. I feel pressured.

I got so much to do and whatever I'm doing, I think of other things I ought to be doing. I can't ever get caught up and I know I come to church and you're going to make me feel guilty preacher because you're going to get up in the pulpit and you're going to tell me I need to pray more and I know that and you're going to tell me I ought to read the Bible more and I know that and frankly there's just going to be some days I'm not going to come hear that because I don't want to have to feel guilty about my failure. And so the condition remains and the status quo. Things don't get any better.

They keep getting worse. You see, that's a crisis. That's a crisis. Sometimes people don't identify it as such but it's a spiritual crisis. And then there may be those that have a particular crisis in their own household, in their own life. There's tension within the marriage. There's a rebellious spirit on the part of teenagers. There's conflict between the things that are being demanded by the school system and what you really want to do and you finally get tired of fighting the battle and say, oh well, you know, whatever.

You just throw up your hands. That's the kind of crisis we read about here in the days of Nehemiah. Now what was the cause? How did things get in this shape? How could it be that a people who were chosen of God, favored by God, blessed by God, who had been promised that when they came into the land they'd be blessed above all of the peoples of the earth, God had cared for them, delivered them from Egyptian bondage, fed them and given them water to drink all through their wilderness wanderings, parted the waters at Jordan so that they came into the land, brought down the walls of Jericho, drove out nations before them when they would move forward by faith, trusting God, and said I'm going to give you the best of the land.

You're going to be prospered in every category. How did they finally reach this day of crisis? How did it finally happen that the enemies overrode them? Knocked down their walls, left the city in such a desolate state. Well after Nehemiah had wept and mourned and fasted and prayed, we began to see a confession was made.

Now see, some people once they see the plight, they take the first step and quit. They weep and they mourn. They don't do anything else and there's a place for weeping and mourning but there's a place to stop weeping and do something about the situation. He wept and mourned and fasted but he prayed. He prayed before the God of heaven and said, I beseech thee, O Lord God of heaven, the great and terrible God that keepeth covenant and mercy for them that love him and observe his commandments. Let thine ear now be attentive and thine eyes open that thou mayest hear the prayer of thy servant which I pray before thee now day and night. That phrase of itself no doubt would condemn most of us.

Do we really pray day and night? We may look at the situation and say, I'd like to see a change here. I'd like to see an improvement. Some might say from time to time, I'd like to see a revival in the church.

I don't want to be satisfied just with the thought of surviving. I'd like to see a revival. I'd like to see a spiritual awakening. I'd like to see the Lord pour out great blessing and many be in gathered and yet even as you might start to pray such a prayer you say, you know, maybe I better not pray too earnestly about that because if the Lord sent a revival I'm too busy to get involved. I wouldn't be able to fit one into my schedule. This wouldn't be convenient for me at all.

And so we don't really earnestly pray day and night. Nehemiah was concerned enough about this situation. He wasn't going to turn his head. He wasn't going to ignore it. He wasn't going to spend the rest of his days just weeping and mourning about it. He was going to call upon God and he says, let thine ear be attentive and that eyes open and hear the prayer of thy servant and for the children of Israel thy servants and confess the sins of the children of Israel which we have sinned against thee both I and my father's house have sinned.

How did they get to this desolate state? They had sinned. Nehemiah confesses his own sin and he confesses the sins of his people. I have sinned, my people have sinned.

We have failed. We have not honored thee. We have not respected thy word with sin. We have dealt very corruptly against thee and have not kept the commandments nor the statutes nor the judgments which thou commandest thy servant Moses. Nehemiah immediately addressed the problem.

He knew what the issue really was. We've been brought to this place not because God is weak, not because God was unable to protect the city and unable to defend us, not because God is unable to restore it, but because we have sinned. Now somebody might say, yeah there it goes. That's the way preachers always are. They got this simplistic view that they think the sin is at the heart of every problem and if they could just talk about something more positive. It is positive when we deal with things in an honest way and sin is at the heart of all of our problems. But the wonderful news of the gospel is there is a solution for it. When sin is confessed there is forgiveness. When sin is acknowledged there is grace supplied that we can overcome it and live righteously and godly in this present evil world. Well as we're talking about God's people in a day of crisis I don't think anybody would dispute the fact that we are indeed in a day of crisis.

Not only from the COVID-19 virus but with the general attitude of uprisings in this country where many would like to tear down the America that we have known and destroy the religious liberty that we treasure. Surely we need to be much in prayer that God will preserve us for his name's sake. I hope you'll take time to write us at the baptist bible hour box 17037 Cincinnati Ohio 45217. Now till we greet you next time this is LaSara Bradley Jr. bidding you goodbye and may God bless you. Oh watching and waiting looking above filled with this goodness raising this is my song praising my savior
Whisper: medium.en / 2024-03-18 06:03:28 / 2024-03-18 06:12:17 / 9

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