Jesus came into this world. In life, there are things that are obvious. Sometimes there are secret things. God gave Nehemiah a vision and went to Jerusalem to rebuild the city. Our reality is what God has given us. God will do things in personal holiness. (Nehemiah 2:11-19)
Speaker(s): Pastor Thomas Schaller
Sermon # 11668
7:00 PM on 4/24/2019
Good morning. Good evening. Would you stand with me and make small groups and pray together. We’ll start our service with small groups having prayer together.
Our deaf brothers and sisters over here are precious to us. We love you. Awesome.
We’re going to go right to the message tonight. A good little punch and then the offering and a song. I’m not talking about the end of the service at the beginning. I’m just telling you how it goes.
P. Dan played high school football with this gentlemen 50 years ago who is sitting on his right hand side and your friend or wife. Welcome. They were introduced to us through P. Dan. They’ve been watching on the internet in N. Carolina and they said let’s drive up and take a look at that church and meet P. Dan. Which of you were the better football player? Very good.
I have a mark on my hand. I did a magic marker so I remember to tell you we have a food Sunday night at 5:00. This is a church fellowship. You are welcome. I don’t know the price. Great food last time we did it. That was good. Bobbie Burinsky and Scotty and Herold. It’s at 5 on Sunday night.
That night I fly to India and I always like to think we go together because of the Spirit and the mission we have. I’ll be there for 9 days by God’s grace, – Mumbai and then Bangalore and then back home.
P. Scibelli I believe got in the plane this morning somewhere in the world. I think he arrives tomorrow night. Give him a little break. Give him and his wife a little bit of time to reconnect with each other and then you can go after him.
I love that prayer time. This is a praying church. Jesus came into this world, J.C. God, came into this world and people didn’t see him. They didn’t realize. Some did, the 12 or at least 11 and others. They knew who he was. It’s funny in life there are things that might be obvious. I’ll draw one of our pictures. Here is something or somebody that looks very great. You have a perception of a person and you process it and hopefully you realize that person or that group of people or that idea or that thing is not what you thought it was. God shows it to you. There is a story about that.
Joshua 9, I’ll point it out to you. This is just an introduction to the principle. Joshua 9 they were the inhabitants of Gibeon, vs. 3-5. Where were they living? They were living in Rosedale! The Jews were living here at Moravia Park Drive and these people were a tribe of people living here, Dundalk, Rosedale, and they wanted to give the Jews an impression they had travelled far because they were afraid of the Jews. They said these people will destroy us. Let’s pretend or give the impression we have travelled far and have come from far away. See this bread? It was fresh when we left home. See our shoes? They were brand new when we left home. We have traveled so far, ha, ha, ha. If you read the chapter, this is what they said. They lied. They deceived them. Ever been tricked? Ever bought a used car, a piece of land, a beachfront property in the desert? Ever bought a condominium that doesn’t exist in the planet? Ever been tricked, deceived, or misled by a person by the impression, by the outward things? This is what happened to them.
Joshua 9:12-14, what happened? They did not check it with God. They did not check it with God. Something about this. Something about God in your life. Christ was at the Last Supper. People are not understanding what is going on. They were insiders. The insiders at the Last Supper understood a little what he was saying. Later, when the Holy Spirit came strongly upon him, they remembered his words and they understood they were part of something extraordinary, that this is the Christ, the Messiah. This is the one where you have external impression and it sells you. You buy the whole thing, the whole enchilada, lock, stock and barrel. You think it’s this way but it isn’t this way. I say this not to hurt anyone because we have all done this. We have different words for it: cheated, deceived, and messed up. I should have been smarter. I wish I never met that guy or girl. I wish this never happened to me.
Take it and park there for a second. God’s grace is with you and I and he wants to show us things. Many times it’s not what it looks like. He wants to show us things that are looking good and aren’t and he wants to do something else. I don’t know how to draw it. I’m stuck. The wall around the city of Jerusalem in Neh. 2 was broken down. The wall around the city of Jerusalem virtually didn’t exist. It was destroyed by the Babylonians 70 years earlier. It was rubble, trash, destroyed, decadent, and animals coming and going. But it was processed through a man. He sees something others didn’t see. He has a calling. He sees something. It’s not there yet but he can see it. I want you to think about this tonight.
As we think about how God is with us in this world and we are different. We are people with an extraordinary capability. I’d love to say that like huge. Extremely capable, you and I. We may belittle ourselves because we’ve messed up and are disappointed, but I believe you and I have great spiritual intelligence. We have some ability so we can call the thing that isn’t something that is. That’s awesome.
Neh 2, are you following me? I mean mentally. Yeah, we followed you out to your car! This is awesome. It’s awesome. One of the characteristics of our new lives is faith. When you are a slave in Egypt and the Jews just celebrated their Passover. Someone help me. What’s that word in Hebrew when we say “it is enough?” DAYENU. They dance around the table, the Passover and they say we were slaves in Egypt but we have come out and God is enough. What he has done for us is enough. They say that word. I wish I could say it now right.
When Joshua went into the Promised Land, did they have any swords? When they came out of Egypt, did they bring bows or arrows or swords? They had nothing. They ate the bread fast; they ate the lamb. They brought the silver and gold and earrings and those kinds of things but they didn’t have anything. They were able to see what wasn’t there. They had a promise. Moses was their leader. They saw the Red Sea part and they danced on the other side of the Red Sea. They are saying God is enough.
This writer, Charles Krauthammer, who was on Fox News and a political analyst and he died. He and his son put together a book. I like reading his editorials through 40 years of time commenting on things. Good stuff. He was 24 at Harvard Medical school and dove into a swimming pool and broke his neck. He was paralyzed but he didn’t talk about it. He was modest. He had little muscular control in his hands but he was paralyzed. He finished medical school on his back reading….this is what he said. I don’t want my life to be defined by what has happened to me. I want life to be defined by what I can put in. What I am. These are my words. It’s in his book. The idea is correct. I like this.
If you look up at our picture, what you are in the top left may mislead you. You and I can deceive ourselves by what has happened to us but we need to process. This man in the middle is a Spirit filled person who is capable of finding it and living in the reality of the person of Christ. Are you paralyzed? Yes. It only means I do things a lot slower but I’m going to do things. Is it harder for you? Yes. I do things slower but I have something. I’m not saying the man was a believer. He was a brilliant Jewish man. I respect him for the way he was thinking regarding this. In some way, he is an example to us. We pray for each other we are able to get this right. There isn’t much there.
Neh 2:11-12 God had put something on my heart and I didn’t tell anybody. I didn’t want anyone to ruin it. I didn’t want anyone to discourage me. I didn’t tell anyone what God put in my heart. I’m going to live by myself before God. I see the destruction and I rode my animal, the ass, whatever it was for three days and nights and didn’t tell anyone what I was seeing or thinking about. We have so much power in our lives and we can keep it in a good way in our hearts. The walk you go on by yourself. You think about it and process this. What am I going to do? What do I really believe? What is the important thing? Where is God’s work? What is God doing? What could I do? My heart and mind is in the realm of the spiritual. My mind is renewed. My heart is stirred up when you find God’s will.
I was thinking of Sirpa Anderson who lived in Florida many years and had it in her heart to come here and help us. Her family and various things about her life. And we’ve known each other for more than 40 years. I’ve always known her this way. She is able to take something you don’t see but be able to see and that work in the heart, burning in the heart maybe or solidly there believing this is important. This is what I see. This is what I believe in.
What about all the other people? There is so much noise in the world they would laugh at me if I said I want Jerusalem rebuilt. They would laugh at me if I said I would believe God for the country of Indonesia and all the islands.
They started a ministry, Transworld Radio in 1952. This couple from the Middle East had a vision and it covered 80 percent of the whole world was covered by that radio work. Vision.
vs. 13. Dung port. What does that mean? I’m facing reality when I go to the dung port where they throw all the waste and excrement there too. I want to know the whole thing, the good news and the bad news. I want a real analysis of what I am looking at.
vs. 14. I couldn’t get through. It’s all collapsed and broken down.
vs. 15-16. The rulers didn’t know. They don’t need to know. Right now, God is working and I am dreaming. I’m dreaming. That’s all. I’m dreaming. Nobody sees a thing but I see it. It can happen. How does this work? I think some few elements here. We need the H.S. to show us. Who is this Jesus? He is Jeremiah, Elijah, some other prophet. No, the world says that but, no. I know he is the Messiah, the Christ. What is he going to do? Where is the kingdom? I don’t know. I’ve been alone with him. The Spirit is teaching me. I see the value of it, the authority of it, and the forgiveness of sin. I see salvations, Bible school, faith, prayer meetings and one day I see us going up and coming back. I can see it. I believe it. I read about it in the Scriptures. My soul cleaves to the dust but quicken me according to your word.
Read the Bible and meditate on the Bible. Have a high dosage reading time for some months through the summer. Reading the Scriptures and meditate on it. Mark up your Bible. Meditate on it and it will not leave your life. It will exalt you to more objective thinking.
You know what is missing here? These people here. They have come from very far. They didn’t check with God. In a way, they were not objective. They didn’t include God in the picture. Lord, before I buy this car, I want to check with you. I’ve bought my lemons, believe me. A car. A wife, that’s a big one. A husband, that’s a big one. My career, my education. Where I live. Where you want me to be. What you want me to do. I want to go to the world where God is saying I want you to go into all the world and preach the gospel to every creature.
Have high priority and seek first the kingdom of God. All these other things will be taken care of. Trust me with all your heart every day. If you are a mom and have to take care of the family, have a bigger thing. John Piper said in the book, This Momentary Marriage, – he said marriage is designed by God as – I’m saying this – as a mechanism to check my selfishness. Ha, ha, ha. Not too funny is it? Marriage is only for this life and God ordained it so it will be a check for me to see how I can walk with Christ and his grace and Spirit and truth in my heart, that I would learn to love my wife as Christ loved the church. I would be able to forgive the person I live with a lot the way he forgives me every day. Maybe it would help me in how I speak to my wife and the wife speaks to the husband.
There is a lot of room – I hope this diagram doesn’t confuse you. I’m trying to say my heart and mind is very powerful. I can decide how I think by God’s grace. When something is destroyed, I can walk around it for three days riding the animal and then come to a conclusion I see something others don’t see.
vs. 16. I remember being in Finland the first summer of 1975. I would go for a walk and say Lord, what are we going to do here? You sent us to this country. It’s by faith. We are walking these streets by faith. We are handing out tracks by faith. We don’t see anything. We had maybe four people in our little fellowship. We didn’t know what we were doing.
Is not this the point about the guy in the middle? His world isn’t determined by what has happened to him. He has the authority of God in his mind and heart. He is able to see what is not there and say this can happen.
vs. 17. P. Stevens, come, let us start a Bible school and we will send teams into all the world. Wow! What are you seeing pastor? I’m seeing people excited about this book. I see people obeying God and finding his grace. I’m seeing answered prayer, a vision, a Bible college and many other things.
“That will never happen.” If you say this to the wrong people, it will not reinforce what God has called you to do. We are fellowshipping with God and his people. Sometimes they don’t encourage. On the other hand, we are in the presence of a very encouraging group of people. We had an Easter play on another level. It was extraordinary. We have a mission program happening around the world. Great teachers in our day school. Maybe the best we’ve ever had. Bible college. Maps in the walls of our homes, -Afghanistan and Indonesia and other countries in the world. Not doing it mechanically but we don’t have something there but I’m going to walk around it. Think about it. Ask God. Worship God, and if he puts it in my heart, I’m going to start talking about it. And he’s going to do it.
vs. 18. Could we memorize that? Say it with me. Then I told them of the hand of my God which was good upon me. Then I told them of the hand of my God which was good upon me.
Don’t compare your family with another family. Be more objective. Then I told them of the hand of my God which was good upon me. God’s hand is good upon me.
Don’t compare someone’s economic status with someone else. The hand of my God which was good upon me. We all have different gifts and places in life. God is going to sort it all out and he is the judge.
Then I told them of the hand of my God which was good upon me. He was good on me. I could feel it and sense it.
I shared in the Bible school Monday night when we lived in Belair in 1989. Communism ended. We had a little dog. Bethany was 12, Amy 11 and Justin 9. I’d go for a walk at midnight walking the dog and I said in my heart, Lord, could I go on the mission field again? I had been in Finland. I want to go again. I would walk with the dog and think about it. Where would I go? Kenya, Africa. I went to the library and read about it. The Philippines. I thought about it. P. Matti was here and we talked about the Soviet Union. We had gone there in the 70’s and 80’s. We went to Dunkins and were talking about going there. We were drinking coffee and after one cup, maybe we can go. After the second and third cup, we are already there! We are going to move to the Soviet Union. We decided on Hungary. He went December of ‘89 to give us the thumbs up. Ulla was one of them. I said to pastor, I feel God’s leading. I want to go to Hungary. I had a job here, a house. We owned the house one year. Three kids and a dog. And other things. Just like all of us. I thank God for my wife who said we can do it. Let’s go.
We lived in this house one year. The house is not our life because God can do this. God can work this way. We might have a lot of reasons. The thing isn’t what you see or don’t see. What you are looking at is something you cannot see but is real. You cannot see Christ but he is real. You cannot see what God will do in your life but it is real. You don’t know what kind of love will come out of your heart but it will…you are surprised your life is a lot deeper or richer than what you thought. You are loving. You do not leave the church.
This is a good diagram for that. I leave the church. It seemed to be reasonable like a better decision. It seems this isn’t working out. I leave but do you know what you are doing? It’s not a good decision. It’s better to stay and listen and gain. You be around wise people and you end up being wise. You drink the same spirit and have the same spirit in your house. People come to your house and they say what kind of spirit? Where do you get that from? God, my church, and because I live by faith. We learn to rejoice, love, forgive, pray and call the things that aren’t as though they are.
We landed in Hungary that summer in 1990. We had Bible school right away and soon it was 400 people, 450 people. We started a Christian day school and an international school. We had a Christian nativity scene televised around the country on a number of Christmas seasons. We needed a donkey and the only way to bring it was to bring it on the subway. The donkey went down the steps on the subway with the trainer and he brought the donkey to the nativity scene. The only way to get horses for wise men was the police. So we had three policeman as wise men. Mary with the little baby said to the policeman, get down and worship him!
It doesn’t happen if you say it will never happen. It doesn’t happen if you live in subjective unbelief and what you call reality. Too many call reality, reality, when it isn’t reality. Hold it. We look not at the things that are seen for the things that are seen are temporal but the things not seen are eternal. The reality we are living in is something we have not made up ourselves. It’s something God manifests in this world and you and I are part of it. It’s good. Nehemiah had enemies, Sanballat and Tobiah.
vs. 19 they despised us we would even be thinking like this.
vs. 19. Sanballat and Tobiah, move along. You’re not part of this. You have nothing to do with this thing. You can’t think the way we do. You can go park your car wherever you want.
We are in charge right here in our hearts and minds. What we believe is what God put in our heart and he will do it. If you have a question about your personal holiness, it’s God that does it. If you have a question about addictions and bad habits, God will do it for you. He is for you and loves you. The Holy Spirit, word of God, God’s people and you will learn how to process these things in life, whether it looks like good and great, but it isn’t or looks bad but actually it’s awesome.
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