Restoring Spiritual Vitality

Bible Book: Galatians  6 : 9
Subject: Spiritual Vitality; Restoration; Revival
Introduction

How easy it is for us to be a part of the Lord’s work and permit the spiritual motivation and passion to move from a blazing fire to a smoldering flicker.

When the Apostle Paul addressed the believers at Thessalonica, he referred to their “work of faith, labor of love, and persistence of hope in our Lord Jesus Christ.” He was commending them for their perseverance in the face of pressures from within and without.

The weariness of this passage speaks of a discouragement that eventually gives in and gives up.

Word used of servants who are tempted to slacken their exertion by reason of the weariness caused by prolonged effort.

When Is The Opportune Time For Discouragement And Defeat To Raise Their Ugly Heads?

Seems to always be the chapter after the last victory. What happened?

With Samson-The Flesh Prevailed

With David-The Flesh Prevailed

Mid Life Crisis (39-40 years old)

With Elijah-The Fire Fell

With Noah-The Flood Subsided

With Nehemiah’s Work-The Forces Pressed

Challenged: Physically, mentally, spiritually, emotionally, and relationally.

Leads to times of aloneness

Isolation leads to regrets

Solitude leads to refreshment

What is going on inside?

You feel empty, irritable, hopeless, difficult to concentrate, and vulnerable.

How does this make you feel?

Fearful

Ashamed

Guilty

Mark 14:38, “Watch and pray, lest you enter into temptation. The spirit indeed is willing, but the flesh is weak."

Romans 7:18. “ For I know that in me (that is, in my flesh) nothing good dwells; for to will is present with me, but how to perform what is good I do not find.”

Wonder if Paul reflected on his battles and pressures.

2 Timothy 4:7, “I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith.”

I. SHOW CAUTIONS TO LIFE’S POSSIBLITY (9)

“while doing good”

Ever heard these words, “So sorry to hear that; they were doing so good,” or “when they started, it seemed so promising.”

We will be remembered, not for how we started but how we finished.

New beginnings foster lots of ENERGY (Encouragement)

Long distances foster lots of ENEMIES (Discouragement)

Nehemiah 4:10, “Then Judah said, ‘The strength of the laborers is failing, and there is so much rubbish that we are not able to build the wall.’"

Judah was of the tribe of “bearers of burdens” in Nehemiah’s day.

Nehemiah’s Potential - Nehemiah 6:3 - “great work”

Nehemiah’s Problems - Nehemiah 4:10 - “so much rubbish “

Without the walls around Jerusalem the city was VULNERABLE and so are we!

Nehemiah led the people to have: (Chapter 4)

1. Mind to work (6)

2. Heart to pray (9)

3. Eyes to watch (9)

4. Ears to hear (20)

A. OPPOSITION

Nehemiah 4:1, “But it so happened, when Sanballat heard that we were rebuilding the wall, that he was furious and very indignant, and mocked the Jews.”

Charles Spurgeon said: “God has one Son without sin, but He never had a Son without trials.”

B. RIDICULE (2-3)-Criticism

Nehemiah 4:2-3, “And he spoke before his brethren and the army of Samaria, and said, ‘What are these feeble Jews doing? Will they fortify themselves? Will they offer sacrifices? Will they complete it in a day? Will they revive the stones from the heaps of rubbish — stones that are burned?’ Now Tobiah the Ammonite was beside him, and he said, "Whatever they build, if even a fox goes up on it, he will break down their stone wall."

Thomas Carlyle calls ridicule “the language of the devil.”

Some people who can stand bravely when they are shot at will collapse when they are laughed at.

Shakespeare called “ridicule”- “paper bullets of the brain“

When the enemy laughs at what God’s people are doing, it is usually a sign that God is going to bless His people in a wonderful way.

EXAMPLE:

Goliath ridiculed David.

Soldiers ridiculed the Lord Jesus.

“When the Christian dares to say that the only hope of the world is in the gospel of God’s redeeming grace, the whole force of modern civilization and education lines up against him and says, ‘You, with your feeble prayer meetings. You, with your silly little plan of getting people converted one by one. How can that possibly stand…You feeble little lot! (Nehemiah 4:1-9 March 10, 1986)

C. WHEN DID THIS ALL HAPPEN? (6)

In the midst of victory!

Nehemiah 4:6,”So we built the wall, and the entire wall was joined together up to half its height, for the people had a mind to work.”

At the half way mark.

D. CONSPIRACY/ATTITUDES (7-8)

Nehemiah 4:7-8, “Now it happened, when Sanballat, Tobiah, the Arabs, the Ammonites, and the Ashdodites heard that the walls of Jerusalem were being restored and the gaps were beginning to be closed, that they became very angry, and all of them conspired together to come and attack Jerusalem and create confusion.”

Surrounded by the enemy; Sanballat and Samaritans to the North, Tobiah and Ammorites to the East, Geshem and Arabs to the South, and Ashodites to the West

E. THREATS (10-13)

Nehemiah 4:10-13, “Then Judah said, ‘The strength of the laborers is failing, and there is so much rubbish that we are not able to build the wall.’ And our adversaries said, ‘They will neither know nor see anything, till we come into their midst and kill them and cause the work to cease.’ So it was, when the Jews who dwelt near them came, that they told us ten times, ‘From whatever place you turn, they will be upon us.’ Therefore I positioned men behind the lower parts of the wall, at the openings; and I set the people according to their families, with their swords, their spears, and their bows.”

1. Speaks of fatigue“strength”

2. Speaks of frustration “much rubbish”

3. Speaks of failure “we are not able”

4. Speaks of fear (11)

Proverbs 29:25. “The fear of man brings a snare, but whoever trusts in the Lord shall be safe.”

II. WE SHOULD HEED AND CLAIM HIS

PROMISES

“in due season, we shall reap”

Encouragement to support this promise

Nehemiah 4:14, “And I looked, and arose and said to the nobles, to the leaders, and to the rest of the people, ‘Do not be afraid of them. Remember the Lord, great and awesome, and fight for your brethren, your sons, your daughters, your wives, and your houses’”

“do not fear”-fear erodes your confidence; “remember the Lord”-memories of past victories

Hebrews 12:3, “For consider Him who endured such hostility from sinners against Himself, lest you become weary and discouraged in your souls.”

This is INSPIRATION for the long haul.

How about some INSTRUCTION to support the INSPIRATION

Proverbs 4:23, “Keep your heart with all diligence, for out of it spring the issues of life.”

Proverbs 4:23, Above all else, guard your heart, for it is the wellspring of life. NIV

Proverbs 4:23, “Guard your heart above all else, for it determines the courses of your life.” NLT

The fountains and wells for the East were watched over with special care. The heart is a fountain, out of it flows the rivers of life.

Don’t allow those streams to be tainted at the fountain head.

Solitude needed to relax, refocus, re-fire, relinquish, and re-engage.

Isaiah 40:28-31, “Have you not known?

Have you not heard? The everlasting God, the Lord, the Creator of the ends of the earth, neither faints nor is weary.

His understanding is unsearchable.

He gives power to the weak,

And to those who have no might He increases strength.

Even the youths shall faint and be weary,

And the young men shall utterly fall,

But those who wait on the Lord

Shall renew their strength;

They shall mount up with wings like eagles,

They shall run and not be weary,

They shall walk and not faint.”