April 13, 2014 | Sermon Notes

Posted on Apr 13 at 09:13am

Nehemiah | Another Jesus comes to Jerusalem

Nehemiah 13:4-11

1. Carelessness, in our spiritual lives, leads to callousness toward God’s heart.
2. Callousness toward God allows us to center all things on ourselves.
3. Centering all things on ourselves and being religious doesn’t mix in God’s eyes.

Matthew 21:12-13

4. The gospel keeps our hearts alert, sensitive, and full of grace.

April 6, 2014 Sermon Notes

Posted on Apr 06 at 09:25am

Nehemiah // Confession

Nehemiah 9:1-3

Regular confession is a mark of a people who are being transformed by God’s grace

What does confession, that leads to transformation, look like?

1. Regularly open your heart through worship and the Word (Nehemiah 9:1-5)
2. Remember God’s character and ways in the world and with you (Nehemiah 9:6-37)

Nehemiah 9:16-21

Nehemiah 9:29-31

​God  is all-powerful and yet intimate enough to know what’s in our hearts (Nehemiah 9:6-8)

God hears the cries of those afflicted and burdened and delivers freedom as well as a new beginning (Nehemiah 9:9-15)

​God responds to our sins and rebellion against Him with mercy and patience. He doesn’t forsake us but continues to pour out grace upon us (Nehemiah 9:16-21)

God conquers our fears and enemies and brings us to new places of rest (Nehemiah 9:22-25)

​God corrects us when we sin and then delivers us when we cry out to Him. When we take advantage of His love, He still extends mercy and forgiveness. He does not forsake us (Nehemiah 9:26-31)

​​​3. Respond to God from His perspective, not yours (Nehemiah 9:32-37)

Nehemiah 9:32-33

​​4. Return to God through Christ.

Confession is the first step and repentance is the second. When joined together, they bring about transformation.

​​​​”When grace introduces us to repentance, the two of us become best friends. When anything else introduces us to repentance, it feels like the warden has come to lock us up.” – Bill Thrall, Bruce McNicol, and John Lynch

​​​5. Reconcile to others if you have hurt them them.

​​​See Matthew 5:23-24

​​​​6. Reach out to others to help you grow through confession.

​​Confession is a difficult discipline for us because we all too often view the believing community as a fellowship of saints before we see it as a fellowship of sinners. We feel that everyone else has advanced so far into holiness that we are isolated and alone in our sin. We cannot bear to reveal our failures and shortcomings to others. We imagine that we are the only ones who have not stepped onto the high road of heaven. Therefore, we hide ourselves from one another and live in veiled lies and hypocrisy.

​​But if we know that the people of God are first a fellowship of sinners, we are freed to hear the unconditional call of God’s love and to confess our needs openly before our brothers and sisters. We know that we are not alone in our sin. The fear and pride that cling to us like barnacles cling to others also. We are sinners together. In acts of mutual confession we release the power that heals. Our humanity is no longer denied, but transformed.

Richard Foster, Celebration of Discipline

​​​Who can help you grow through confession?

Ideally, ​​same gender, spiritually-mature, someone you can trust and will invest time in your development.

March 30, 2014 Sermon Notes

Posted on Mar 30 at 09:36am

Nehemiah // What Does Transformation Look Like?

Nehemiah 8:13-18

You can wipe out a generation of people. You can burn their homes to the ground, and somehow they’ll still come back. But if you destroy their achievements, and their history, then it’s like they never existed. – The Monuments Men

A. Time spent studying the Word (Nehemiah 8:13)
B. Obedience that is displayed immediately (Nehemiah 8:14-16)
C. Obedience that is displayed outwardly (Nehemiah 8:14-16)
D. Obedience that is displayed genuinely (Nehemiah 8:17-18)

1. Exceeds custom, tradition, and mediocrity

2. Depends upon the constant intake of the Word

March 16, 2014 Sermon Notes

Posted on Mar 16 at 09:43am

Nehemiah // Transformed

Nehemiah 8:1-18

What are the marks of a people ready to be transformed by the Word of God?

1. Awakened to the Word (Nehemiah 8:1-8)

A. Desire to hear the Word (Nehemiah 8:1-3)

We own more Bibles than we will ever use, but we are slowly starving to death because we have lost our appetite for Scripture. – Krish Kandiah

“Americans revere the Bible but, by and large, don’t read it.” – George Gallup Jr. and Jim Castelli

B. Ready your heart to meet God (Nehemiah 8:5-6)

C. Understand and apply it (Nehemiah 8:7-8)

Bible reading has become the religious equivalent of sound-bite journalism. When people read from the Bible they typically open it, read a brief passage without much regard for the context, and consider the primary thought or feeling that the passage provided. If they are comfortable with it, they accept it; otherwise, they deem it interesting but irrelevant to their life, and move on. There is shockingly little growth evident in people’s understanding of the fundamental themes of the scriptures and amazingly little interest in deepening their knowledge and application of biblical principles. – George Barna

2. Examined by the Word (Nehemiah 8:9-12)

A. Open your mind and your heart (Nehemiah 8:9) – When we look into the Word of God, we see a reflection of God and the reality of our own lives.

B. Recognize and receive grace (Nehemiah 8:10-12) – The good news of the Scriptures: grace through a sacrifice brings us back to God.


1. Begin reading the Scriptures for yourself.

2. Begin reading the Scriptures with greater intentionality.

3. Begin reading the Scriptures with other people.

4. Begin walking through the Scriptures with other people.

March 9, 2014 Sermon Notes

Posted on Mar 09 at 09:15am

Nehemiah // The Joy in Perseverance

Nehemiah 6:1-16 & Nehemiah 7:4-6

Life is hard, but when we persevere there is great joy ahead.  There is joy from finishing the work and joy from God being glorified.  In spite of opposition, Nehemiah did not stop, give up, or run away.  He trusted in God and kept fighting!  Because of his completion of the work, the people of God returned to Jerusalem and God was made glorious once again in His city!

Nehemiah’s Perseverance

1. I Will Not Stop

Nehemiah 6:1-4

– Neighboring enemies developed schemes to destroy Jerusalem again

– No matter the opposition, Nehemiah stayed laser focused on what God had asked him to do

– Nehemiah knew that if he stopped it would show weakness and possibly open up the door for the enemy

2. I Will Not Give Up

Nehemiah 6:5-8

– Sanballat accused Nehemiah of preparing Jerusalem to revolt

– Sanballat accused Nehemiah of trying to become king

– Sanballat was trying to intimidate Nehemiah from rising in power

– Nehemiah rejects these accusations

– Nehemiah recognizes they were trying to scare and discourage them

– Nehemiah decides to turn to God and ask for His help!

 3. I Will Not Run Away

Nehemiah 6:9-14

– Never Trust a Man on House Arrest (joke)

– Another plot is formed by Shemaiah to distract and or kill Nehemiah

– Shemaiah tries to get Nehemiah to enter the temple

– Nehemiah discerns well and refuses to run away

– Nehemiah recognizes their scheme and acts in faith, not fear

The Joy in Perseverance

Nehemiah 6:15-16

– Imagine the feeling of laying that last brick!

– Stress of physical labor for that long, 52 days

1. God is Feared

– When you realize your lack of power is when you become fearful

– ALL the surrounding nations were intimidated (contrast going from the intimidators to the intimidated)

– The surrounding neighbors ultimately saw that this work was beyond Nehemiah’s power.

– Surroundings nations looked beyond Nehemiah, and feared his God

2. God is Glorified

– God ultimately received the glory, not Nehemiah or his other appointed leaders

– Something happened here in Jerusalem that was simply beyond their means! They were in awe!

– Illustration: This is why so many paid attention to Jesus.  He was doing things beyond the natural

3. His People Restored

Nehemiah 7:4-6

– “The city was large and spacious, but there were few people in it”… this represents that the complete restoration had not taken place yet

– Verse 6, “Then my God put it into my mind to assemble”

– Verse 6, “Each of them returned to his own town…”

Nehemiah endured ridicule, shame, and threats in order to not just build walls, but to reclaim what was truly God’s.  In a few hundred years, Jesus would come, walk through those gates and do the same.

Hebrews 12:1-3

Do not stop. Do not give up. Do not run away. Turn to Jesus. Trust in Him.

March 2, 2014 Sermon Notes

Posted on Mar 02 at 09:25am

Nehemiah // Relationships, Part 2

Part 1 was on February 16, 2014

Nehemiah 5:1-19


1. Sources of the Conflict (Nehemiah 5:1-5)

A. Lack of sensitivity to the needs of others.

B. Lack of seriousness about what God says

2. Solution to the Conflict (Nehemiah 5:6-13)

A. Think before you act — “I took counsel with myself.” (Nehemiah 5:6-7)

B. Identify and communicate the source of conflict clearly (Nehemiah 5:7-8)

C. Point to the standard (Nehemiah 5:9)

New Material

D. Practice what you preach (Nehemiah 5:10)


The sin or behaviour that you’re most critical of in other people is often the sin or behaviour that remains undetected in you.

Matthew 7:3-5

E. Restore with generosity (Nehemiah 5:11)


F. Commit to see it through (Nehemiah 5:12-13)

3. Sacrifice that Prevents Conflict (Nehemiah 5:14-19)

The path of Christianity doesn’t lead us toward a defense of our rights and privileges, it leads us to the cross.

Philippians 2:3

February 16, 2014 Sermon Notes

Posted on Feb 16 at 09:08am

Nehemiah // Relationships

Nehemiah 5:1-19

1. Sources of the Conflict (Nehemiah 5:1-5)

A. Lack of sensitivity to the needs of others.

B. Lack of seriousness about what God says.

Yet, exposure of the problem is not a bad thing.


Don’t be afraid of the pressure points that bring exposure to the problems in our relationships. This brings opportunity to deal with them.

2. Solution to the Conflict (Nehemiah 5:6-13)

A. Think before you act — “I took counsel with myself.” (Nehemiah 5:6-7)

B. Identify and communicate the source of conflict clearly (Nehemiah 5:7-8)

C. Point to the standard (Nehemiah 5:9)

February 9, 2014 Sermon Notes

Posted on Feb 09 at 09:17am

Nehemiah // Sacrifice

Main idea: In order for God to fulfill all He planned for us and others, it requires sacrifice.

Matthew 26:36-39

​1. Look patiently past the immediate burden and toward its future reward.

Looking to Jesus, the founder and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is seated at the right hand of the throne of God – Hebrews 11:2

​​2. Depend fully on God because you are weak and others are too.
3. Fight regularly to surrender your will until the Father completes his will through you.

February 2, 2014 Sermon Notes

Posted on Feb 02 at 09:39am

Nehemiah // Perserverance

When we take a step to make a real difference for God, here’s the timeless axiom we can expect to experience: Our greatest personal victories are almost always followed by periods of intense opposition (Chip Ingram, Holy Ambition, 157).

Main idea: How we persevere in the face of opposition determines whether we accomplish what God has put in front of us.

Nehemiah 4:1-23

The enemy’s oldest weapon is a barrage of words. In the form of ridicule, it needs no factual ammunition, not even argument (Derek Kidner, Ezra and Nehemiah, 98).

Why angry?

1) These opponents fear losing influence or control.

2) These opponents have been at odds with the Jewish people — hatred and division from the past.

1. Words that distract (Nehemiah 4:1-6)

A. You don’t have the ability to do this.

B. The task is too big.

C. Nehemiah’s Response: pray and continue to work (4-6).

It is a prayer for God to act on behalf of His justice in the world, not act to carry out our personal vengeances.

2. Words that paralyze (Nehemiah 4:7-9)

A. This will result in you and your family getting hurt.

B. Nehemiah’s response: pray and take wise, next steps.

3. The influence of words: lose heart and focus (Nehemiah 4:10-12).

A. We’re overwhelmed and others say we should give up.

B.  Nehemiah’s response: return to the task together with new tactics and fresh urgency (15-23).

January 26, 2014 Sermon Notes

Posted on Jan 26 at 09:02am

Nehemiah // Unity

We learn from the New Testament that there are two things you cannot say any longer when you become a Christian. The first is, “You do not need me.” The second thing is, “I do not need you” – Pastor Ray Stedman

Nehemiah 2:17-20

1. Common Need (Nehemiah 2:17)

While Nehemiah was discontent about the condition of the city, the people apparently were content to live in the rubble and ruin.

Sometimes it takes a stranger to see sharply what has been softened by familiarity – Derek Kidner in Ezra and Nehemiah

2. Common Motivation (Nehemiah 2:18-20)

Looking back, Nehemiah saw God’s provision. Looking ahead, Nehemiah saw God’s power. At the heart of the mission, God’s glory restored among His people.

3. Common Task (Nehemiah 3:1-32)

A journal of the workers and the construction begun on more than 40 sections of Jerusalem’s walls along with 10 gates.

A. Shoulder to Shoulder.

B. Every person a contributor.

C. Diversity of people, not professionals.

January 12, 2014 Sermon Notes

Posted on Jan 12 at 09:10am

Nehemiah // Revealed

Main idea: Before Nehemiah’s hands move into action, his heart is opened before the Lord to find His faithfulness, forgiveness, and provision for God’s task.

Nehemiah 1:4-6

1. Recognize God through prayer and fasting (Nehemiah 1:4-6) // Nine prayers in the book. Much of this prayer based on the book of Deuteronomy.

A. Prayer as a priority, not a last item on the checklist.

His prayer is passionate (Nehemiah 1:4)

His prayer is persistent, “day and night” (Nehemiah 1:6)

His prayer is patient — four months (Nehemiah 2:1)

40 Days of Prayer and Fasting: how can you be involved?

1. Pray using theme and 3 prayer points daily: Personal time including the Scriptures (view the guide and weekly emphasis on the Prayer Page)

2. Prayer Gatherings: Tonight’s church-wide prayer service, Bible Studies, Life Groups, Families.

 3. Prayer Sharing, Prayer Wall (hallway between Apex and Welcome Center), Online Prayer Wall.

 4. Fasting: Purpose: Seek, depend, and hear from God (Get a guide to fasting here)

B. Prayer brings perspective (Nehemiah 1:5-6)

God’s greatness.

God’s overwhelming love and mercy.

God’s readiness to hear and see.

2. Repent of our unfaithfulness (Nehemiah 1:6-8)

A. Repentance is marked by ownership of our sins, not modify them based on the actions of others (Nehemiah 1:6)

B. Repentance is measured by the Word of God (Nehemiah 1:7)

Pride gets in the way of genuine repentance. It leads to self-dependency, self-determination, and self-righteousness.

 Isaiah 57:15

Proud v. Broken Bookmark

The goal of a broken spirit isn’t to feel terrible about ourselves. It’s just to be accurate, to grasp a fresh view and understand the chasm between God and us. – Chip Ingram in Holy Ambition.

C. A lack of repentance brings consequences (Nehemiah 1:8)

D. Repentance is the first step toward the promise of restoration (Nehemiah 1:9-10)

3. Request in alignment with God’s agenda, not ours (Nehemiah 1:11)

Nehemiah will have to come empty-handed (because of his sin) but not uninvited (by the mercy of God and the promises of restoration). – Derek Kidner

Alignment with God’s heart and desires brings clarity to the underlying immediate decisions and responsibilities.

Christian leaders can become so entranced by the brilliance of their plan that they cannot be bothered to familiarize themselves with God’s. – Richard Blackaby

January 5, 2014 Sermon Notes

Posted on Jan 05 at 08:55am

Nehemiah // Broken

Nehemiah 1:1-4

1. Nehemiah’s contentment. (Nehemiah 1:1)

A Gallup poll concluded that Americans had never before confessed to so much Christian activity yet making so little difference in how we live — clear evidence that thousands who have trusted Christ as Savior are shuffling along in hazy uncertainty. – Howard Hendricks, foreword in Holy Ambition by Chip Ingram

2. Nehemiah’s brokenness. (Nehemiah 1:2-3)

A. Personally
B. Taylors
C. Mission outside Taylors

3. Nehemiah’s first move: seek God. (Nehemiah 1:4)

God never does something great through us until He does something significant in us. – Chip Ingram, Holy Ambition