Lesson 4: The Impact of Nehemiah on our Future

Lesson 4 Study Notes

  • Well, friends, Bishop Andy C. Luther here again in this mini-course on the life of Nehemiah the Builder. This mini-course consists of four lessons that I am doing in this mini course. Now, by way of quick review, lesson one, centered around the telling of the story of Nehemiah. For those who may not have been familiar with the story of Nehemiah, we took ample time to talk about who was


Nehemiah and where that story is located in the Bible. Then lesson two, we looked at five specific doctrines and beliefs that we have that's based upon the story of Nehemiah. Items like anthropology, and satirology, and ecclesiology, and kingdom, those are just a few of the items that we talked about in that particular lesson. And then, of course, we came back last week and we talked about practical application of the


story of Nehemiah to where we are today. What are some of the things that we are obliged to do as a result of the Nehemiah story? Now, today's lesson is very similar somewhat to last week's lesson. And while last week's lesson was captured in the context of the contemporary. This lesson looks at what we can look forward to in the future based upon the story of Nehemiah.


How should the story of Nehemiah fuel and drive our behavior, those things that we are committed to, those items that garner our attention, those items that we should be involved in because of our knowledge and our understanding of the story of Nehemiah. Now, again, I'm so appreciative of your time, and I know that my previous lessons have been perhaps a little long even for me and I'm going to try and shorten this last lesson if for no other reason than to express to you my appreciation in your


taking time to participate and be a part of my dilemma, as I see it, is that we don't know Bible stories the way we have in the past. And so this is part of my effort to kind of reacquaint the faith community with these stories of old that are found in both the Old Testament and the New Testament. But I didn't want to just restrict myself to the telling of the story. I wanted to look at its impact and implications on our lives today. And as you will see in the lesson that I am about to unfold, our lives in the future. So with all of that said, let me hurriedly jump to our lesson of the Nehemiah story.


So last week we focused upon how the story of Nehemiah impacts what we do today. What do we find ourselves compelled to do, obliged to do, because we appreciate it, we understand, and we comprehend what the moral and the meaning of the story of Nehemiah is for us.


And so that's what we revolved around last week. Now this week, in our last lesson, we will look at how the story of Nehemiah will influence how we behave in the future. It is not sufficient, beloved, for us to hear the story of Nehemiah and think it is


a quaint and cute story entertaining and perhaps even a little informative, if it does not impact how we act not only today, but how we will behave even in the future. So I want to look specifically, not so much at the influence of Nehemiah today, but more importantly, for this lesson, the impact of Nehemiah for our tomorrow.


How will it drive and fuel our patterns of behavior in the future? There are four areas that I'd like to focus upon and bring to your attention. Item number one, leadership development, mentoring and training future leaders based on Nehemiah's leadership model. Now remember, Nehemiah did not have to go to Jerusalem, but his sense of personal responsibility and accountability compels him to leave the comforts of where he was and relocate as an immigrant, so to speak, back to Jerusalem to do what he could not to complain,


but to remedy the situation that he saw. Now, is that lesson, that passion, that baton that we need to pass to the next generation. Now, here is the reality, and I am more and more in touch with my own mortality every day that I live.


I recognize that none of us are or will be here forever, myself included. And two things are going to happen in the future. The day will come when I can no longer do what I am currently doing. The day will come when I will be no more. And part of my responsibility is to


make sure that there is somebody behind me who is watching, who is learning, who is studying, a protege of some sort who can pick up the baton or take the baton that I pass to them and move it further along down the road, far into the future. Nehemiah did not do all that he did for his work, get this beloved, for his work to stop at the latter prophets in the Old Testament, Malachi, Zechariah, and Zephaniah, and some of the other prophets, they were not contemporaries of Nehemiah. They did not live when Nehemiah.


And we just have to believe that what Nehemiah started with Ezra, was continued with Zephaniah, was continued with Habakkuk, was continued with Amalekite. Why? Because Nehemiah instilled in the next generation and in future generations, the same personal responsibility and the same personal accountability that brought him back to Jerusalem in the first place. And what I'm saying


and suggesting to you in the context of this lesson, beloved, is that we have an equal responsibility, not just to do what we're doing, but to make sure that somebody is watching what we are doing, so that when the time comes, when either we can no longer do or we are not available to do, whoever has been watching, whoever has been mentored,


whoever has been trained, will be able to walk through that door of opportunity and continue the assignment that God gave to us. Whatever assignment you have, beloved, you have a responsibility to pass it on, not to hoard and not to greedily take it unto yourself for just yourself, but to pass it along.




Because the assignment is greater than the individual. Let me say that again. The assignment is greater than the individual. So one of the four things that I want to talk about in this lesson is the very real responsibility that all of us have on whatever level of functionality where we are currently performing


to make sure that we pass it on and that we enlist and recruit those who will outlive ourselves, but will take what we have started and continue it in the future. The second item is community empowerment, engaging in community development projects


inspired by Nehemiah's vision for restoration. I've had both occasion and opportunity to literally travel around the country, and I campaigns that I see as far north as Boston, as far south as Miami, as far west as Los Angeles, projects and campaigns and community efforts named after Nehemiah. Here locally in the Brooklyn area, Johnny Ray Youngblood, a contemporary and good friend of mine, launched the Nehemiah Project and has


done wonderfully well with that particular project. There are similar projects named Nehemiah in Chicago, in Detroit, in Dallas, in Atlanta, in San Francisco, in San Diego, but not just in the largest cities, but in the smaller locales as well.


That means that the work of Nehemiah has inspired. We are 2,500 years from the life and the career of Nehemiah, and yet his life and what he did in Jerusalem has inspired generations for the last 2,500 years. Maybe not to do what he did in Jerusalem, but to do what they could wherever they were located.


One of the reasons that I believe that the story of Nehemiah is so important is because I believe that it will continue to inspire unborn generations, to raise the level of responsibility, responsibility and to produce projects and campaigns that will address the suffering and the plight of people and will improve their lives where they are.


And then I talked about the current impact and influence of social justice and advocacy. I want to talk about it not just in terms of right now, where we are now, but also in terms of the future. This is one of those items that operates in


my estimation both now and in the future. Sometimes we feel like the current generation does not have the appetite for change that we had. Now, I was born in 1954. I came of age in the mid-1960s, the early 1970s.


And so I was a part of the Black Power Movement. I was a part of the militancy wing of the modern civil rights movement. I was a part of the things that gives me pause is when I see students today at the time of this taping, there are a number of protest activity going on on college campuses, and there is a myriad of opinions and responses and comments as to whether or not that's what young people ought to be doing


or not be doing. It is not my purpose or intent to get involved in that debate. I will admit to say that I feel it would be hypocritical, on my part, to wage war and be critical of the current generation's appetite for protest when I was so involved in protest during my youth.


My greater point is that the need for change is not gonna stop where we are right now, but there will be a continued need for change. And as we move off the scene, as we grow and become unavailable, So this advocacy and this insistence on social change


needs to be picked up in the future. And just as I have in the past been inspired by the story of Nehemiah to personally engage and participate in social justice and social advocacy during my day, I anticipate that the story of Nehemiah will continue to inspire future generations


to raise their voice, to exercise their civic right and responsibility to speak truth to power and insist on the right thing being done because it is the right thing to do. And then I close beloved in this final lesson in this mini course on Nehemiah with spiritual renewal,


creating opportunities for spiritual renewal and revival within churches, that's local, and communities that's wider than just where you say, amen, hallelujah, and praise the Lord. There have been several times in history over the last several hundreds of years, that the church has been under assault and attack by more formal lessons in this area has to do with the age of reason, the age of enlightenment. Individuals like Ropes Pierre and Thomas Paine


and Voltaire nearly drove the church out of business in the 17th and 18th century and coming to the rescue of the Church was the First Great Awakening and the Second Great Awakening. And while we refer to them as the First Great Awakening and the Second Great Awakening, they were revival movements. It was a season of spiritual renewal. And it seems as though when secularism makes an assault upon the sacred and the spirituality of the church, then the response of the church is to search out spiritual renewal. So, we have seen revival campaigns happen down through the years because the faith community ought always have an appetite for spiritual renewal. And I would recall your attention to the partnership of Nehemiah


with Ezra. Nehemiah could not have done what he did without the spiritual renewal of Ezra. And Ezra could not have done what he did without the sense of faith in action that was demonstrated by Nehemiah. In light fashion, one of the assets and the values of the Nehemiah story, not just today, but even in the future, beloved, is that it will inspire us to reach for God, to maintain our covenant, and to maintain our fellowship with the Lord our God. Let us not forget that the Southern Kingdom was besieged


by Nebuchadnezzar, and the Bible says that God used Babylon and Nebuchadnezzar to punish the people because they had fallen away from God. Let us not be guilty of the same item. Let us not fall away from God. With all of the activities and opportunities, the myriad of opportunities that we have to do something else,


either on Sunday or take time away from our time of meditation and prayer and fasting, with all of those opportunities constantly available to us as we are bombarded by options and alternatives. Let us not get to the point where God has to do to us what he did to the Southern Kingdom to restore his relationship with him. Yes, we have so many items that we can be involved in.


There are so many things that garner and beckon and clamor for our attention. There's not a day that goes by where we could not be doing something else rather than that which is spiritual.


But if the story of Nehemiah impacts you at all, if there's any lesson that you learn from the story of Nehemiah, Nehemiah would not have been necessary in the first place if the people had not fallen away from God. So I encourage, admonish, us all to maintain our spiritual renewal so that a new Nehemiah won't be necessary in


our future because we maintain our covenant, our relationship, and our fellowship with God. Well, again, friends, that takes up all of my time, and I thank you for yours. You have been most patient and most supportive, and I am grateful that you have allowed me to speak into your lives in this particular fashion, to tell the story, to look at classic theology doctrines and beliefs that are a derivative of the story that we told.


And then look at current relevance and current practices that we have adopted as a result of the story and then look toward our future. Not only our future, but the future of the faith community and the future of those who will come behind us, who will do in their day,


 what we have striven to do in our day. Go in peace, go in love, go in joy, go in happiness, go in joy, go in happiness, for the author of the same most certainly goes with you.
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