Can’t Quit Now!
Nehemiah is an amazing Old Testament book and one of my all time favorite books in the entire Word of God as it contains some Tremendous Truth, Convicting Challenges, and Enduring Encouragement! All that is left for us to do is to apply these things found in Nehemiah to our lives today. Now before we really jump into the message, allow me to Set the Stage, the Scene, and the Scenario for where we will be up until this point in Chapter 4.
Up until this point Nehemiah had been the King’s Cupbearer, someone who was an important and trusted servant of the King, not just as a close advisor, but also because their responsibilities included preventing the King from being poisoned, whether accidentally, or as part of an assassination. So Nehemiah was an important figure, it was a position of high degree and it is during this time as the King’s Cupbearer that he learns of the trouble in Jerusalem. The wall was broken down, the gates set ablaze! Nehemiah’s city was laid waste and it made him very sad.
Now that is important to note because the King would take notice of Nehemiah’s sad countenance and this could have proven to be very dangerous for Nehemiah because part of his job description was to be of good cheer in the presence of the King and he wasn’t! The King could have had Nehemiah fired or even killed for being sad in his presence! How’d you like to work for someone like that? I know I wouldn’t!
So, the King asks Nehemiah why he was of a sad countenance and Nehemiah tells him asking his permission to go and help his city. Again, this request was very dangerous because Nehemiah was there to serve the King and now he was asking for permission to leave! Yet the King allowed Nehemiah to do so and he goes and finally views the ruined walls. Remember, up until this point, Nehemiah had only heard of the trouble Jerusalem was in but now he sees it! The task ahead of him would be a great one but he encouraged the people to arise and build because if they did, the God of heaven would prosper them!
Without getting into too much detail as this isn’t the point of the message but the first two books of Nehemiah has some great application for us as Christians today. Remember, all Scripture has a context and spiritual application. I’ve given you the context of these first two chapters, now the application.
The first thing Nehemiah teaches us is that we must have hearts willing and ready to receive a burden from God. We must have hearts that are willing and ready to allow God to show us what He wants done, what He wants us to do! Secondly, we must not only receive that burden from God but we must act on it. We must do something about it. It’s not enough just to know God wants us to do something, we must act on it! Thirdly, we must be willing to take risks in seeking to what God would have us to do! Not everything God calls us to do will be easy but it will be worth it if we take the risk to do it!
Fourthly, the rebuilding the walls was of great importance not only for safety and protection but also to separate God’s people from the world! The walls represented those things today that mark God’s people as distinct and different from this world! The same is true of us today wherein there is a need for us as Christians to keep up the spiritual walls of separation!
Now folks, you hear me and hear me good on this, this world will do all that it can to tear those walls down so that you’re no different than the world! So that you also look like the world, act like the world, and smell like the world! So not only was the rebuilding of the walls important for safety and protection but it was also for separation!
Verse 8 here shows us the safety and protection aspect of having a wall while verses 9-12 shows us the separation aspect. And again, the same is true today you must have walls of separation built up in your life so that you mark yourself as different from this world! We’re in the world, but we’re not of the world and that’s very important for us to remember.
So, we see that the very essence of the book is how Nehemiah, a Jewish court official of a Persian King is allowed to return with the king’s blessing to rebuild the wall and city of Jerusalem. Yet now we come to chapter 4 of Nehemiah and that is where we will tonight. Nehemiah has encouraged, challenged, and got the people willing to do a work for God. Yet as we will see just like in our day and age today he will and the people will face something that no Christian who is serious about living for and serving God is immune to, and that is opposition! Even though Nehemiah had official permission to rebuild the wall, there immediately came opposition from adversaries displeased to see God’s people prosper.
On a broader spiritual level, the book of Nehemiah, like Ezra, presents how that the enemy will always seek to oppose God’s work. No sooner had they endeavored to serve God than the adversary sought any way possible to stop them. To one degree or another, that remains true to this day. It is never easy to do a work for God, then or now. You mark it down, whenever God’s people arise to build, Satan arises to stop them. Satan and his cohorts will oppose you when you’re doing what God has called you to do!
Jesus Himself says in John 16:33 – “These things I have spoken unto you, that in me ye might have peace. In the world ye shall have tribulation:” but guess what folks, the verse and our Lord does not stop there! He goes onto say – “but be of good cheer; I have overcome the world.”
So yes, while in this life and in this world, we may and will face opposition and tribulation, we serve a God who has already overcame it all and because of that I believe we also as His children can overcome any opposition that comes our way!
Notice if you would please that eight word phrase at the end of verse 6 – “for the people had a mind to work.” With this phrase and the thought of we can overcome any opposition we face with God by our side in mind, I’d like to speak to you for a few moments here tonight on the subject, “Can’t Quit Now!”
Can’t Quit Now! Now before we get to the good stuff, the encouragement of tonight’s message of why we can’t quit now, we first must deal with the opposition that Nehemiah faced and the opposition that we as God’s people will face if we ever intend to do a work for God. And here in Nehemiah chapter 4, we see three of the five kinds of opposition that many Christians face even today. The other two are found in the first few verses of chapter 5 and chapter 6 but for our purposes here tonight and for the sake of time we will only be looking at chapter 4.
1. Opposition Faced
A. Opposition By Ridicule
Of these three verses, I want you to really notice verse 1. Sanballat who was a Samaritan official, as he heard of the commencement of the reconstruction of the wall of Jerusalem, “he was wroth, and took great indignation, and mocked the Jews.” In other words, when Sanballat saw we were doing a work for God, he was mad! He not only was angry that Jerusalem (the historic rival of Samaria) was being fortified but he even made mockery of it and what they were doing for God.
Does that not sound familiar folks? As is so often typical of Satan, opposition quickly arose to God’s work and it always begins from without. We live in a day and age where people get mad, get angry at churches and Christians for wanting to do a work for God! And they will make it known! Yet what’s even worst is instead of taking a stand for what they claim to believe in and what they know to be true, the same churches and Christians run away and hide when opposed by this world. Folks, that should never be the case. We stand upon a solid unmovable rock. Let the world get mad, keep serving God and doing great things for Him!
The verses goes on, Tobiah the Ammonite (from neighboring Ammon which today is modern Jordan), evidently an ally of Sanballat and the Samaritans, joined in condemning the project. He too ridiculed it publicly. Again folks, just look at the day and age we live in! Christians being mocked for their faith in the Lord Jesus Christ! They’re asked you believe what? Oh, that’s just some fairytale. That’s not true! You can’t really believe that! Christians all over are mocked because of their faith in the Lord and what they seek to do for Him. It’s opposition by ridicule!
B. Opposition By Anger
Verse 8 notice that they were so angry of the work being done for God, they were willing to fight and to harm so that the work might be hindered! Opposition by anger. Folks, you just keep up on current events and you’ll see reports all over of Christians in other countries who are being killed because of their faith! One story that jumps to mind as I just received another e-mail about it is that of Pastor Youcef in Iran who has been sentenced to death because he forsook Islam, was saved, and now seeks to spread the Gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ! No crime but because he has named the name of Christ, they want to put him to death!
Closer to home, you are all familiar with the story of Rachel Scott of Columbine High School who while eating lunch was asked if she still believed in God to which she said with no doubt or hesitation, yes! And because of that, she was killed! Because of her faith in the Lord Jesus Christ! Folks, there is coming a day, and to a point we’re already there, where we will face opposition by anger. Opposition from those that are willing fight and to harm us because of our faith in the Lord Jesus Christ and what we seek to do for Him!
C. Opposition By Discouraged Brethren
The final type of opposition that we as Christians can face and that is one from another and is also one of the worst because of the fact that we are suppose to be on the same page seeking the same things! This type of opposition is to be avoided at all costs because of the damage that it can do to the work of God that is trying to be accomplished.
Folks, you mark this down; no ministry or church will ever grow, go, and be what God would have it to be when all you have is a constant stream of analyzing, critiquing, complaints, and opposition! When there is nothing but an attitude of “well I’m not sure that can work” or “I’m not sure it can be done” or “that’s going to cost a lot of money” or “we have to get the committees approval,” folks, NEWSFLASH: it won’t work and it won’t be done! Such attitudes of negative nellies and people who constantly saying things can’t be done or drowning someone else’s vision for a great work to be done are a hindrance to their local church and the ministries of it and they ought to leave it to someone who has the vision to see things go forward!
Nowhere in the Bible where great things are being done for God or in years gone by that we read of great Christian men and women of God who have done great things for God will you ever find them hampered by the restraints of the “it can’t be done” crowd!
James 4:17 Therefore to him that knoweth to do good, and doeth it not, to him it is sin.
You want to know if you should do something or not? Ask yourself is it good, right? Will it further the Cause of Christ? Will it bring honor and glory to God? If the answer to those things are yes, like the old Nike commercial says, just do it! Folks, I am so tired of the opposition that we can face from each other fighting amongst ourselves while a lost world just outside those doors dies and goes to a very real Hell! Folks, we should be ashamed of the things that we allow to stop us from furthering the Cause of Christ!
Folks I want for those kids that we bring in to develop a love for God, for their church, for the ministry. I would love to see all of them one day serving God with their whole heart loving God, loving others, and doing great things for God but if they ever only see us being negative all of the time I can guarantee you they’ll want nothing to do with ministry! The same goes for a new Christian, they all need to see positive, upbeat, the ministry is great type of Christians! Not these people who are always negative, discouraged, disheartened, and always saying something can’t be done because with God anything we set our minds to can be done!
So yes, as Christians and a church seeking to do great things for our God, we can expect opposition. We can expect to be mocked, ridiculed, harmed, hindered, and even have those that are supposed to be on the same page as us start to oppose us! So the question then becomes; how do we overcome such opposition? Nehemiah shows us how here in chapter 4!
2. Overcoming Opposition
Nehemiah 4:4-5, 9
The public ridicule and opposition was not unnoticed by Nehemiah. Though they had not actually physically intervened, the public ridicule and opposition had an effect. It certainly brought discouragement and anxiety. Because of that that, the verbal attack of the adversaries was successful and Nehemiah likely had not anticipated such opposition in planning and embarking on his mission.
However, he turned to the only resource he had, the Lord. Two times he would pray. First, he prayed and asked God to take note of what they were going through. He asked God to deal with them, that is, make them captive even as we have been a captive people. Secondly, Nehemiah prayed and asked for God’s providential protection. Again, God answered his prayer. For though their enemies did huff and puff, threatening the work, they didn’t attack.
The simple lesson here is to take our problems to the Lord and ask Him to deal with them. Folks, you and I are going to face things that we can’t handle on our own. Nehemiah knew this, he knew he couldn’t handle the opposition by himself so what did he do? He turned to God! He knew God was there for Him! Folks, God is there for you! Whatever it is that you are dealing with, you have a God that will see you through it! All you have to do is go to Him! You want to overcome the opposition you face from this world? Turn to God in prayer!
B. Stay Focused
The work went ahead as planned. In the face of much opposition, they did what God had called them to do. “So we built the wall!” Nehemiah gives the simple reason why: “for the people had a mind to work.” They had joined the work with great enthusiasm even with the opposition they would face. Nehemiah could have easily threw in the towel, said “that’s it, works over” because of the opposition they faced. He could have quit, went back to being the King’s Cupbearer but the burden he had from God overcame any opposition he would face! You may be asking, why didn’t he just quit? I believe we find the answer in chapter 2.
Nehemiah knew who would strengthen them, prosper them, and protect them if only they would arise and build doing what God would have them to and that was God almighty Himself! They stay focused on the work, they would not quit! Christian here tonight, we have great things to do for God but we will face opposition and when that time comes, we’ll have a decision to make. Do we quit or do we just press on and build the wall?
Christian, we can’t quit now! Proverbs 24:10 says: “If thou faint in the day of adversity, thy strength is small.” Folks, we have great work to do and we must stay on the battlefield. Two words all Christians must cut out of their Dictionaries: Compromise, and Quit. Folks, we can’t afford to and this world can’t afford to have us quit. As we prepare to close here tonight, allow me to give to you several reasons just why we can’t quit now!
These were borrowed from Pastor Marc Dalton of Lakecrest Baptist Church in Waterford, MI. He gave this list to his church as he outlined a building plan for his church just weeks before his passing. Pastor Dalton said, we’re (talking about his church) not quitting! Christian, we can’t quit now!
-We Can’t Quit- The Lord loves us
-We Can’t Quit- people are depending on us
-We Can’t Quit- there is a Judgment seat ahead
-We Can’t Quit- children are watching
-We Can’t Quit- there are lost people to reach
-We Can’t Quit- there are S.S. Lessons to teach
-We Can’t Quit- there are folks to encourage
-We Can’t Quit- people to pick up
-We Can’t Quit- the choir is singing Sunday
-We Can’t Quit- The Nursery needs us
-We Can’t Quit- there are young people to train
-We Can’t Quit- someone has to pastor the lobby ministry
-We Can’t Quit- there are offerings to take
-We Can’t Quit- there are offertories to play
-We Can’t Quit- there are specials to sing
-We Can’t Quit- there are mics to set up
-We Can’t Quit- God has a plan for us
-We Can’t Quit- God’s grace is sufficient
-We Can’t Quit- Missionaries to support & encourage
-We Can’t Quit- buildings to repair, carpets to clean, & floors to sweep
-We Can’t Quit- someone has to do it
-We Can’t Quit- meals to prepare
-We Can’t Quit- letters to mail
-We Can’t Quit- marriages to build, Christians to grow, soulwinners to train
-We Can’t Quit- the visitor needs to be loved
-We Can’t Quit- the children’s ministry need us
-We Can’t Quit- There are folks in Nursing homes to love & reach
-We Can’t Quit- Public school students need us
-We Can’t Quit- not every creature has had a preacher
-We Can’t Quit- the Nude Dude with a Rude Mood is still out there to reach
-We Can’t Quit- another junior church to lead on Sunday
-We Can’t Quit- there are choirs to direct
-We Can’t Quit- there is another Generation coming
-We Can’t Quit- there is a Bible to Preach
-We Can’t Quit- there is a Bible to live
-We Can’t Quit- there is another Moody out there some where
-We Can’t Quit- there is another Suzanna Wesley to be found
-We Can’t Quit- there is another Lee Roberson out there
-We Can’t Quit- some child lost his daddy today
-We Can’t Quit- some wife was beaten today
-We Can’t Quit- some teenager is about to take their 1st drink
-We Can’t Quit- some backslider is about to quit on God
-We Can’t Quit- future trumpeters to train
-We Can’t Quit- we have goals to reach
-We Can’t Quit- The Lord is not finished with us yet
-We Can’t Quit- He is coming again
-We Can’t Quit- The Devil will get a Victory
-We Can’t Quit- The Angels are watching
-We Can’t Quit- Night-time is coming
-We Can’t Quit- Someone led us to Christ
-We Can’t Quit- Someone is praying for us
-We Can’t Quit- Someone is counting on us
-We Can’t Quit- Right is still Right
-We Can’t Quit- Wrong is still Wrong
-We Can’t Quit- we are the salt of the earth
-We Can’t Quit- we are the light of the world
-We Can’t Quit- because that is the easy way out
-We Can’t Quit- anybody can quit, takes strength to stay the course
-We Can’t Quit- because of His honor & Glory
-We Can’t Quit- we will see Him face to Face
-We Can’t Quit- He shed His blood for me
-We Can’t Quit- He Finished His Course
-We Can’t Quit- it is not about us
-We Can’t Quit- Saints in Heaven are watching us
-We Can’t Quit- our spouses are depending on us
-We Can’t Quit- our children need us
-We Can’t Quit- Heaven is Real
-We Can’t Quit- Hell is Real
-We Can’t Quit- The Devil is as a roaring Lion
-We Can’t Quit- Serving Christ is the greatest privilege known to Man
-We Can’t Quit- People have invested in us
-We Can’t Quit- we have a Cross to bear
-We Can’t Quit- Stephen gave his life for what we believe
-We Can’t Quit- Too many are already quitting
-We Can’t Quit- there is a Cause
-We Can’t Quit- think of the people we would disappoint
-We Can’t Quit- It is Real, It is Real, Oh I know it is Real
-We Can’t Quit- the Missionary needs us
-We Can’t Quit- Jesus is preparing a Mansion for us
-We Can’t Quit- Life is brief
-We Can’t Quit- We only have one life to give
-We Can’t Quit- we are to be found faithful
-We Can’t Quit- someone is praying for us
-We Can’t Quit- Sunday is Coming
Folks, we can’t quit now! Joshua as an old man, with the nation walking away from God, challenged the nation by saying you all do what you want, “but as for me and my house, we will serve the Lord.” Joshua said we are not quitting! Nehemiah faced tons of opposition yet he and the people said “we built the wall because we set our mind to work for God!” Nehemiah and the people said we are not quitting! The Apostle Paul was able to say “I have fought a good fight, I have finished my course, I have kept the faith:” The Apostle Paul didn’t quit! Yes, we will face opposition but let’s press on and build the wall because we can’ quit now!