God has an encouraging word for you and me today through the Bible-based preaching of Dr. Don Wilton. As we follow along, Nehemiah chapter 1, verse 1, the words of Nehemiah. May the Lord write his word upon our hearts this morning. I think probably that's the shortest scripture reading that I've had while I've been your pastor. We've just read what we're going to talk about and study from God's word this morning. There are 13 chapters in the book of Nehemiah. And for some reason, God has not allowed me to get any further than the first four words in the book of Nehemiah.
The words of Nehemiah. Our message this morning is entitled, What Kind of Man? What kind of man, Nehemiah? What kind of woman are you? What kind of teenager are you? What kind of mother are you?
What kind of person are you? You know, almost every day people die. We have funeral services many times a week. Every time I'm involved in a funeral service, I cannot help think of perhaps those four words, the words of Nehemiah. Because when we have a funeral service, there is a lot to be said about the person about whom we are talking on that particular occasion. If you were to die today, what words would be said about you? One of the joys that we have as ministers is to go to people's homes and to comfort them in their sorrow.
And family members always tell you things about the deceased. And when you stand and you preach the funeral message or when you're involved in paying tribute to that person, you think about the legacy of their life. And perhaps one of the greatest things that we could ever do as Christian men and women is to ask ourselves, what about our words?
What kind of man? What would be said about you and me today should the Lord Jesus Christ call us home? What would be said in this church tomorrow if your funeral service were to be conducted here in this community? You see, if we were to understand something of Nehemiah, we perhaps wouldn't be quite so prone to elevate him. After all, he is not mentioned in the New Testament at all. And some scholars would say that if he's not mentioned in the New Testament, then he's not really worthy of such a detailed focus and of such attention.
But there are other things about him that I want to tell you. Turn with me, for example, to Nehemiah chapter four. Turn there in your Bibles.
I love to hear those pages rustling of God's word. Nehemiah chapter four and verses four and five. Listen to what the Bible says. Nehemiah says this, Hear us, O God, for we are despised. Turn their insults back on their own heads. Can you believe that? Give them over as plunder in the land of captivity.
I mean, what is the matter with this man? Under Zerubbabel, first of all, and then under Ezra, after the Medes and the Persians had conquered Babylon, the Jews came back to Jerusalem. They even reconstructed the temple. And 14 years after the return of Ezra, Nehemiah comes in on the scene. And he's got the audacity to say this to these people who have been through so much and who have stood for so much.
He didn't just say that. Look at verse five. Can you believe this, folks? Do not cover up their guilt or blot out their sins from your sight, for they have thrown insults in the face of the builders. I'm ready to entertain a motion that we just forget about studying Nehemiah. How can this man call himself a man of God? He actually asked God not to forgive those people. Now, wait a minute. Let me show you something else Nehemiah did.
This just boggles my mind, folks. Do you know what he did? He even pulled out some of their hair. Now, turn with me to chapter 13, the last chapter, and verse 25, just so that you can read it for yourself.
Nehemiah chapter 13 and verse 25. Listen to what happened. I rebuked them and I called curses down on them.
I'm not going to read this. I beat some of the men and I pulled out their hair. What a deacons meeting.
I know some men have got no hair to pull out, but this is just ridiculous. I mean, how could anything good come out of a man like this? Well, you see, my friends, we're going to discover that God takes us as we are and God uses people. And God appoints people for his specific tasks.
And so there are several things that I want to suggest as we look at the overall fabric of the book of Nehemiah. First of all, he was a personality. You say, now, pastor, that's probably the least profound thing I've ever heard you say. What do you mean he was a personality? This man was a personality. He was a character, folks.
He just kind of was brimful with character. Do you know that there are basically four groups of character or personalities? Florence Littauer, in an excellent book that deals with personality. She outlines these four different groups. Now, I'm not going to spend a lot of time on them, but I've got them in front of me here.
Four groups. There's the talker, there's the worker, there's the thinker, and there's the watcher. Now, if you want the sophisticated name for this, there's the sanguine personality, that's the talker. There's the melancholic person, that's the thinker. There's the phlegmatic, he's the watcher, and there's the choleric, who's the worker.
Now, what's this all about? This man was a personality. Well, Florence Littauer tells us that the sanguine, listen, his emotion or her emotions, appealing personality, talkative, a storyteller, life of the party, good sense of humor, physically holds on to the listener, emotional and demonstrative, enthusiastic and expressive, cheerful and bubbling over, curious, I like that, good on stage, wide-eyed and innocent, lives in the present, changeable disposition, sincere at heart, always a child. Oh, what about his work ethic? Volunteers for jobs, does the sanguine, thinks up new activities, looks great, creative and colorful, has energy and enthusiasm, starts in a flashy way, inspires others to join him, charms others to work for him or her. What about friendships? The sanguine makes friends easily, loves people, thrives on compliments, seems exciting, envied by others, doesn't hold grudges, apologizes quickly, prevents dull moments like spontaneous activities. Anybody here like that?
Don't put up your hands. The melancholic, he has another personality, this is the thinker, listen, deep and thoughtful, analytical, serious and purposeful, talented and creative, artistic and musical, and musical, philosophical and poetic, appreciative of beauty, sensitive to others, self-sacrificing, conscientious, idealistic. What about his or her work ethic? Schedule-oriented, perfectionist. Have you ever met a perfectionist before? High standards, detailed conscience, persistent and thorough, orderly and organized, neat and tidy, economical, sees the problems, finds creative solutions, need to finish what he starts, like graphs and charts and you know, all the percentages all the time.
And what about friendships? This is for the melancholic, makes friends cautiously, content to stay in the background, avoids causing attention, faithful and devoted, will always listen to complaints, can solve others' problems, I like that. Deep concern for other people, move to tears with compassion.
Now what about the phlegmatic, the watcher? This is what she says, low-key personality, easy going and relaxed, calm, cool and collected, I like that. Patient, well-balanced, consistent, quiet but witty, sympathetic and kind, keeps emotions hidden. What about work ethic? Competent and steady, peaceful and agreeable, has administrative ability, mediates problems, avoids conflicts, good under pressure. What about their friendships? Easy to get along with, pleasant and enjoyable, inoffensive, good listener, dry sense of humor, enjoys watching people, has many friends, has compassion and concern.
And then we come to the fourth one, the choleric. And I'm going to suggest to you today friends that all of us have a bit of everything. I don't believe, unlike some people, that you just have one straight down the line, job description in your personality.
I think there's a little bit of something or two things in most people. Listen, I believe that Nehemiah fits the choleric personality. Listen, born leader, dynamic and active, compulsive need for change, must correct wrongs, strong willed and decisive, unemotional, not easily discouraged, independent and self-sufficient, excludes confidence, can run anything. He is goal-oriented, he sees the whole picture, organizes will, seeks practical solutions, moves quickly to action, delegates work, insists on production, makes the goal, stimulates activity, and he even thrives on opposition.
What about the choleric's friendships? Has friends, he will work for group activity, will lead and organize, is usually always right, excels in emergencies. You see friends, if we're going to understand this man called Nehemiah, we've got to understand that he was a personality. We're going to note the ferocity of his style. We're going to understand that he was rather robust in his manner. But I want you to also note that he was the right man. He was the right man. The Bible is going to teach us, my friends, even from the words of Nehemiah, that this robust, restless, forthright man was talented and uniquely gifted for the job that God had set before him. He was God's man for God's purpose, for God's timetable, for God's agenda. I'm more convinced today than I have ever been before that God raises up within the fabric of God's church, men and women and boys and girls who are God's people, for God's purpose, for God's agenda, according to God's way of doing things. God is presently actively engaged in seeking out men and women and boys and girls in God's congregation, whom he uniquely gifts for the job that he sets before him.
Why? Because there are no giftless children as far as God is concerned. But I want you to note also that he was a driven man. He was goal oriented. He was a driven man.
Nehemiah was a goal oriented person. He had a clear understanding of his core. He had a clear understanding of his purpose. He had a clear understanding of his function.
He understood his job description, and he knew exactly what it was that God wanted him to do. Forgive the interruption. We'll be back with the rest of today's message.
What kind of man? Nehemiah with Dr. Don Wilton. But there's been so much interest in so many people asking about the new book from Dr. Wilton.
Here's Dr. Don with the details. My book, Saturdays with Billy, is about an extraordinary relationship with a precious man who impacted lives across the world. You don't want to miss this opportunity to be inspired by his life too. The number to call for your copy of that new book from Dr. Wilton is 866-899-WORD. That's 866-899-9673. Or you can meet us online at tewonline.org. That's T-E-W for the encouraging word, online.org.
Join us today online at tewonline.org. Now back to today's teaching with Dr. Don Wilton. Do you know what God wants you to do today? Have you been decisive in your response to the outpouring of grace of God upon you in your own particular life? Let me look at all the dads here in this congregation. All the fathers here today. Gentlemen, are we men of integrity? Are we promise keepers? Are we willing to take a stand? Mothers, are you setting the example of righteousness in front of your children? Are you a personality who is the right person at the right time?
And are you driven by that which God has laid before you? But I also want you to note that Nehemiah was a very zealous man. You see, if you go down to chapter 1 and verse 11 in Nehemiah's famous prayer, we haven't even got there.
We'll get there in good time to Nehemiah's prayer. We cannot understand Nehemiah's prayer if we don't understand Nehemiah. We're not going to be able to appreciate the depth and the circumstance, the height and the glory of what it was that he was about. We're not going to be able to understand that this man who was cup bearer to Artaxerxes the king would have cried out from the depths of his very soul that God would pour out his shekinel glory upon the people of Jerusalem and that God would come down and make the impossible possible.
We're never going to be able to understand it out of understanding this man's zeal. Chapter 1 verse 11, he begins to talk about honoring and glorifying God. He talks about keeping the main thing, the main thing, unlike the lukewarm Laodiceans that we read about in Revelation. Well, if you go and see what God had to say to the church at Laodicea, you're going to understand that these were a people who were content with the status quo.
They were content to just simply drift along in a becalmed status. And eventually God spat them out of his mouth and said, I will have no part of you. Turn back, keep your finger in Nehemiah, but turn to Numbers. Numbers chapter 25. Numbers chapter 25, something in the life of Moses, a remarkable encounter.
Listen what happens. The Lord said to Moses, Pinus son of Eliezer, the son of Aaron the priest, has turned my anger away from the Israelites. For he was, listen to this, it's remarkable. For he was as zealous as I am for my honor among them so that in my zeal I did not put an end to them.
Look what happens here folks. It is a remarkable theological statement of deep significance that God says to Moses, I am going to connect the zeal of God with the zeal of God's man and God's people. And because the two of them meet at the same point, I will not punish those people. Are we going to discover in a little while that Nehemiah said, wait a minute, I don't want you to forgive these people, but it was the zeal and the passion of his heart that came out to almighty God and God was able to do exceedingly abundantly above all that we could ask or even think.
What a remarkable thing to think about. All that God would raise up in this community and in this church and in these United States of America, men who are zealous for the righteousness and the holiness of almighty God. People who are willing to take a stand. What an incredible thing to think that Nehemiah was a zealous man. Well, what is zeal? It's certainly not fanaticism. It's not wildness. It's not irresponsible behavior and enthusiasm. It's not pushy egotism. It is humble, reverent, business-like, single-minded commitment to knowing and doing the will of God.
That's what it is. A zealous man had a passion to be found at the center of all of God's grace. That's what he wanted. He wanted to know God. Well, he was not only a zealous man, he was also a committed man. He was committed as a leader. He was a mover and a shaker.
He was a compassionate man in service. He persuaded others to embrace what God had told him to do. Well, you can turn to Acts chapter 28.
We don't have time to do that this morning. But in the twilight of the Apostle Paul's wonderful ministry, you can read there that from morning until night, all day people came to the Apostle Paul. And what does the Bible say in Acts 28? He persuaded them concerning the kingdom of God, teaching them about the Lord Jesus Christ.
And then there's a staggering verse. Some people believe the things he taught and some people believe not. But that word persuasiveness there, it is the very essence and the heartbeat of the gospel message which burns in our hearts and souls. It is the same thing that must have consumed John Knox when he approached Scotland and cried from his toenails up, give me Scotland or I die. It is the same zeal with which preachers and men of God throughout the ages have told and shared the uncompromising, unsearchable riches of God in Christ Jesus.
This man Nehemiah, he was about the business of spiritual persuasion. You see my friends, you don't have to go to Brazil on a mission trip to be involved in persuasiveness with regard to the gospel. You don't have to go to Georgia. You don't have to go to Europe.
You don't have to go anywhere. Right here in Spartanburg, we've got people everywhere who desperately need to be persuaded that Jesus Christ is the way, the truth and the life and that no man can come unto the Father but by him. Oh, beloved friends, what a prayer. May I submit to you today that one is only a leader if one is followed, just the same as one is only a teacher if others actually learn when you teach them. Such was the case with God's prophet Nehemiah. He consciously and he deliberately shouldered responsibility of others' well-being.
He did it deliberately. He did it because God had told him. He shouldered the responsibility of everybody else's well-being.
That's no mean task for any person, any church or anyone who's prepared to take a stand for righteousness. But I want you to note further than that, he was a practical man. Now, I like this particularly. You see, when we talk about practical, we talk about the problem a lot of us have, don't we?
Especially me. You see, we can say a lot of things in theory but try and put it into practice. Ha, ha, ha, ha, uh-huh, mm-hmm. Now we start getting down to the stuff. That's very difficult, my friends.
You and I can say, oh, let's do this and let's do that and how about that? But how about getting down and putting it into practice? This man was a practical man. We're going to see some practical rules about spiritual leadership. What a wonderful lesson. This was a man who had the ability to make realistic plans and then get things done.
I like that. It's a wonderful lesson to me. He had management skills. Another thing we're going to discover is that he had organisational skills. He had an organisation. You cannot do anything if you're not organised properly. It's not going to work.
It's going to become haphazard. He knew that as he began to rebuild the walls and yet fight off the enemy at the same time but there was something about his organisation. His organisation that he instituted was not dependent upon the whims of his fan club or the complaints of his critics. He did what he did based upon his spiritual interaction, insights and integrity because of his relationship with God. God spoke. He wasn't swayed by all these things. You're going to find my friends as I'm going to find that Nehemiah constantly had malcontents yapping at his ankles right throughout everything that he did.
They were always there. The Samaritans and Sanballat and Tobiah, the Pharisees and the Sadducees and the people from within and the people from without, they didn't like it and the malcontents were there all the time yapping and napping and binding away at him all the time trying to trip him up but there were two things that Nehemiah put in place that are so biblical, my friends, it is not surprising that God did what he did through this man. First of all, he made sure that his own relationship with God was what it ought to be. You see, when your relationship with God is what it ought to be, your motives are going to be right and the second thing that he did was he surrounded himself with spiritual advisors. This man was not a law unto himself.
He made sure that his relationship with God was what it ought to be and then he surrounded himself with spiritual advisors and what was the consequence? Number one, he secured safe conduct for the building materials from King Artaxerxes. Number two, he organized and oversaw the building of the walls. Number three, he organized Jerusalem's defenses while they were busy rebuilding the walls. Number four, he defused discontent and even averted threatening strikes.
Number five, he conducted tricky negotiations with the community and with the business leadership. Number six, he imposed new rules regarding the Sabbath, regarding racial relations, regarding temple worship. This was the top man, God's man.
He had a lot of things hanging all over him. He had a lot of headaches and a lot of opposition, but oh, the joy that God gave to Nehemiah and his people. They rebuilt the walls of Jerusalem in just 52 days. They restored regular temple worship. They brought back regular instruction in God's law. They revived Sabbath observance. They literally restored godly family lives and living and lifestyle in the community of believers. What an unbelievable joy.
And how we revel in that unbelievable joy. I pray that you know the joy of following Jesus Christ. Perhaps as you've been listening to Dr. Wilton teach today, you've heard more than his distinctive South African brogue. You've heard the voice of God reminding you that he loves you. He has a plan for your life and a place for you in heaven. I pray that not only have you heard Dr. Wilton preach, but you now hear him as he comes into the studio just to share his heart. Are you ready to give your heart and life to the Lord Jesus Christ? Why don't you pray this prayer with me right now? Dear God, I know that I'm a sinner, and I know that Jesus died for me on the cross. Today I repent of my sin, and by faith I receive you into my heart. In Jesus' name. My friend, I welcome you today into the family of God.
This is exciting news. If today you gave your life to Jesus Christ or rededicated your life, Dr. Don has wonderful resources he wants you to have as you move into the next step. You can call us right now and let us know at 866-899-WORD. That's 866-899-9673. Or meet us online at www.tewonline.org. We want you to have these resources, and there are a number of resources there, but if you've given your life to Jesus, let us know about it. That's online at www.tewonline.org. Or call anytime at 866-899-9673.
Whisper: medium.en / 2023-11-27 07:57:36 / 2023-11-27 08:07:35 / 10