Article: A Call To Build – Onyechi Oguagha
Nehemiah 2: 17-18:
King Nebuchadnezzar of Babylon had invaded Judah, laid siege on Jerusalem and carried its people off to exile in Babylon.
Jeremiah 29: 10-11: They were to be there for 70 years. Truly, the night may be filled with pain, but joy comes in the morning. What an awesome promise of God. After 70 years of captivity, God was bringing His people home. Zerubbabel, Ezra and others were used by God to rebuild the temple, and now, God was using Nehemiah to repair the city walls. In rebuilding, Nehemiah would not merely be repairing the wall, but the lives of the people who lived inside the city walls.
I want to leave us with two challenges: Rise Up and Build Up.
1: Rise Up:
To build, you must Rise Up. To fully understand how serious and urgent this is, we are going to go back in time to the 70th year of the captivity of the Jews. Ezra 1: 1-8: In the first year of King Cyrus of the Persian Empire, in order to fulfill the prophecy of Jeremiah, he issued a decree concerning the temple of God in Jerusalem. God moves the heart of men. He moved your heart to become his disciples, didn’t He? If God could move the heart of a pagan king to respond to the prophecy concerning his people, what would he do for us His church?
Isaiah 45: 1-4, 11-13: Here’s how powerful this is: In one of the most amazing prophecies of the Bible, Isaiah predicts Cyrus decree to free the Jews… 150 years before Cyrus was born, the prophet calls him by name and gives details of Cyrus’ benevolence to the Jews.
King Cyrus was the most powerful man on the face of the earth. When he issued the decree, he signs it and affixes a royal stamp on it, which means it cannot be annulled by anyone even after the king dies. Not even the king himself could annul what he wrote. That is powerful. So, this is the authority that was given to the Jews to go back home and rebuilt the temple of the Lord.
The people left to do the work, but something happened: They forgot they had authority and they gave in to fear. Ezra 4: 1-24: They gave in to fear for almost the entire reign of Cyrus, until the second year of Darius the king, who succeeded Cyrus. Cyrus the Great reigned between 29-31 years…559-530BC. So, we could see that because the Jews forgot the authority they had, the temple of God was left idle for at least 30 years. Brothers and sisters, we must not think that this could not happen to us. If we fail to ignore history, we are doomed to repeat it.
To fully comprehend the power that these people were given which they failed to tap into, let’s look at Ezra 6: 1-5. Now, here’s how king Darius responded to the decree of his predecessor: Ezra 6: 6-15: They finally completed the temple in 6 years, but it had come too late for a generation of the Jews. An entire generation of God’s people never had a chance to worship him in the place where His Name dwelt. And, this is after 70 years of captivity. They had to wait another generation, close to 40 years, before they could claim the blessings that God had given them. Could this happen to us today? When you have this amount of authority, why would you allow anyone to interfere with your work? Why would you give in to fear or even laziness? You have authority.
The king of Persia, Artaxerxes, had also given authority to Nehemiah to go and rebuild the walls of Jerusalem that were in ruins and to repair its gates… Rise up is more than a call to ‘get up’. It’s means to stir up, to strengthen. The fact that you have authority doesn’t mean that Satan would not oppose you. Faith must be tested before it could be trusted. It’s what you do with the test that would determine how genuine your faith is. Would you rise to the occasion, or would you falter?
Nehemiah knew he had authority and wouldn’t allow the fear that had crippled the previous builders to derail him. He has learnt from failure…greatest teacher. What about us today as a church? Matthew 28: 18-20: Jesus had authority and he had transferred that authority to us. So, we now have his authority, just like the Jews were given the authority of Cyrus, Darius and Artaxerxes, kings of Persia.
We have to spring forward, Rise on Up, and start rebuilding. Everyone’s hand should be on deck. Don’t sit around and risk a generation being lost because you are afraid to rebuild, or because you just don’t want to get with the program. But, we’ve proven ourselves to be a church that Rises Up when we see a need.
2: Build Up:
Proverbs 29: 18: “Where there’s no vision, the people perish”.
God wants his church to have a vision. We can’t build without a vision. And, we need a vision to Build Up. The only limitation is that of imagination. Imagine what God can do through you, through your BT and through your Congregation. God always looks through the eyes of faith…not at what is, but at what can be.
Vision sees what’s possible; faith makes it happen.
-Vision for the salvation of lost souls: Nobody is confused with regards to the tremendous need for people to be saved. Our world is lost, you see it, I see it. Just watch the news.
The vision is for every BT in this church to help somebody come to faith this year. What’s your vision for your friends and family members? We build up the Kingdom by having a vision that God could add to our numbers daily those who are saved (Acts 2: 47).
-Vision for your life: What’s your vision for your own spiritual life? I know that you are not here because you’ve got nothing better to do. God has chosen you to serve him and make a difference in this world. If you search deep into your soul, you’d know that what I’m saying is true. Don’t believe otherwise. Grab the vision that God has put in your heart, and let faith move you.
“Opportunity is missed by most people, because it is dressed in overalls and looks like work”—Thomas A. Edison.
While men seek better methods, God seeks better men. Men are prone to trust methods or organizations to accomplish certain goals, but God wants better men, who are surrendered completely to Him, through whom He can accomplish His goals…to Build Up His church. Interesting thought: The walls of Jerusalem were Built Up to keep out what would harm. What have we let in that we should have kept out? Excuses, fear, faithlessness, lack of unity, Unrighteousness… And the gates were for letting in that which would help. We definitely need to build up our spiritual defensive walls…great time with God (BS/Prayer/meditating on the Word of God/growing in our faith. It’s time to let others get into the Kingdom.
Ecclesiastes 3: 3:
Break down doubt…Build Up faith
Break down isolation…Build Up fellowship
Break down individualism…Build Up the WAM.
Break down formalism…Build Up true worship
Break down immaturity…Build Up discipleship
Break down selfishness/silence…Build Up evangelism/involvement.
Isaiah 62: 10: There’s a call in Isaiah to Build Up the highway so that people could come into the Kingdom. In the Kingdom, we should always build up, not tear down.
1 Corinthians 3: 10-15: We must build up with quality materials because God expects nothing but our very best. Quality materials would require the best of our time, energy, heart, soul and strength. Nehemiah was able to Rise Up to the challenge and Build Up the Walls of Jerusalem and restore it’s Gates.
Citizenship in a Republic is the title of a speech given by the former President of the US, Theodore Roosevelt at the Sorbonne, in Paris on April 23, 1910: One notable passage on page 7 of the 35-page speech is referred to as: “The Man In The Arena”.
“It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs, who comes short again and again, because there is no effort without error and shortcoming; but who does actually strive to do the deeds; who knows great enthusiasms, the great devotions; who spends himself in a worthy cause; who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement, and who at the worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who neither know victory nor defeat”.
Rise Up NIGERIA…GHANA…SIERRA LEONE..GUINEA…THE GAMBIA…GUINEA BISSAU…WAM… and let’s Build Up the Kingdom. Let us Spring Forward and claim the promises that are ours in Jesus!