1. Praise God for the victories
- 1 Corinthians 15:57
- Leader notes
- Gratitude is a super power. We have to learn how to praise God for the victories in our life. Nehemiah came to Jerusalem to rebuild the walls so that worship could continue safely for the people of God, and when this happened, he instituted city-wide worship.
- People are seldom happy mainly because they have habits and patterns of ingratitude. If you don’t stop to give God glory for his work in your life, no one else will do it for you.
- 3. When you focus on what you lack you lose what you have, but when you focus on what you have you gain what you lack.
- Question for reflection: When you think about the many blessings in your life, what stands out to you the most as a special blessing or work of God in your life and why? (Think about your health, family, friends, occupation.) Take a moment right now and give God praise for that one thing.
2. Generosity keeps us spiritually fit
- Matthew 6:19-21
- Leader Notes
- We see the principle of the “first fruits” throughout the scriptures, because generosity is a marker of Spiritual maturity.
- God the Father gave us His only begotten Son. This was the greatest example of generosity.
- God is the source of all our provision. From the time of Adam and Eve, we have felt like provision was all up to him.
- Generosity is a realization and confession of our total dependence on God. When we walk in generosity, we admit that we need to rely on God for His provision above all.
- Question for reflection: When you think about the things you own that are the most valuable, how would you describe your relationship to those material possessions? How would you feel if those possessions were damaged or stolen? How is God inviting us to view this “treasure” under the lens of Matthew 6:19-21?
3. Continual improvement is necessary
- James 4:17
- Leader Notes
- Nehemiah found that the children of Israel began to allow empty religious practice to creep into their lives.
- Your salvation cannot be improved on. It’s perfect in Jesus.
- Once we are justified, the sanctification process begins. We move from the process of salvation (“justified”) to growing in Christ (“sanctified”).
- We are all in the process of sanctification until Jesus comes back. In this spiritual process, continual improvement is necessary.
- When we trust Jesus with our life, we begin to make different decisions. When it comes to our walk with Jesus, we have to always be working on it.
- Question for reflection: Take a moment and take a quick self inventory of your daily habits. Which ones bring you closer to Jesus and therefore generate more joy and hope in your life? Which habits take you down an unhealthy and discouraging path? Invite someone who is “safe” to hold you accountable for cultivating spiritual/practical habits that make you more like Jesus, and stepping away from the habits that are holding you back from growing.
4. Consecration is key
- Romans 6:13
- Leader Notes
- Influence is something that happens both actively and passively whether we’re aware of it or not. God wants you to be under the constant influence of the Holy Spirit. This is what consecration is all about, and it is key to our life in Christ.
- Even the Church struggles with identity at times. The church tends to lose its saltiness because it is not set apart from the world.
- We have been called to become passionate about being set apart by and for God. We cannot allow the culture to define who we are.
- Nehemiah always knew the process of restoration is hard, but he also knew that God was always willing to fight that battle on his behalf.
- Question for reflection: What areas of your life do you see that have intermingled with the world, that you need to set apart for the Lord? (Take a look at your relationships, your workplace, your habits.) Also with these few principles discussed today from the book of Nehemiah: Praising God for every victory, practicing biblical generosity, continuous spiritual improvement and walking in consecration, what is God’s next best step for you and your community?
Optional Follow-up Questions:
- What makes you say that?
- How do you feel about that?
- How would you explain your answer to a non-Christian friend or neighbor?
- Why did God design it to work that way? Why not just do (whatever else) instead?
- What would you say to someone who disagrees with that?
- Why do we really have to do it like that? Why can’t we just go (some other route) instead?