The Start of Rebuilding

Overcoming the Discouragement
That Keeps You From Rebuilding

(Nehemiah 2:17-3:1)

March 18, 2018 AM

Pastor Craig Ledbetter

Bible Baptist Church, Ballincollig, Cork, Ireland

Watch the Video of this Bible Message Listen to the MP3 Audio Download the Podcast


I.       Introduction (Isaiah 61:4)


A.    This month’s focus is on Rebuilding Broken Things and Battling Discouragement

B.    We are working through the Books in the Old Testament called Nehemiah and Ezra

C.    Listen again carefully to Isaiah 61:4, And they shall build the old wastes, they shall raise up the former desolations, and they shall repair the waste cities, the desolations of many generations.


1.      The Key words are


a.      Build

b.      Raise up

c.      Repair


2.      Those are not words like


a.      Destroy

b.      And trash

c.      And tear down


3.      But GOOD words – words of hope, and encouragement


D.    We live in an age when it is NOT usual that we repair, patch, or rebuild things


1.      Yes, things constantly get old, and break, and fall apart

2.      The question is, what do you do with something that breaks?


a.      Like cars


1)     Often, people decide to just get rid of an older car, and replace it with something newer

2)     I know people who would NEVER been seen driving a car over 5 or 6 years old

3)     Most insurance companies here in Ireland now will NOT insure you to drive a car that you might try and buy that is over 10 years old! Unbelievable!


b.      Like Mobile Phones


1)     Mobile phones that cost 500-600 euros, are disposed of in less than 3-4 years, and replaced with new ones that again cost 500-600 euros!

2)     There is a HUGE problem with handling the lithium batteries and toxic metals found in disposed of phones!

3)     When I was a child, we had ONE PHONE in our house and it was built to last for DECADES!


c.      Like TV’s


1)     The TV’s when I was a kid lasted forever, and had easily accessible parts that I and my brother learned to REPAIR!

2)     But today’s TV’s that cost a fortune, last only 4 or 5 years, and then are sold off on for 100 euros, and replaced with bigger ones


d.      Like Clothes


1)     I got clothes once or twice a year – at Christmas, and just before school started – PERIOD! They had to last me!

2)     Rarely do you find people wearing clothes that are more than 2 or 3 years old, or staying in the same job for more than 3 or 4 years

3)     I remember wearing PATCHED pants, and hand-me-down clothes from my brother – no problem


3.      Ladies and gentlemen, MY generation ACTUALLY CARED about the environment like many of you could not imagine!


a.      We drank from reusable glass MILK JARS

b.      We patched our clothes

c.      We drove cars for 20 years and more

d.      We went to bed at 10pm

e.      We had almost nothing made of plastic – everything was made of metal, or wood!

f.       And things LASTED for decades!


4.      Yet, most everything we purchase today is quickly wasted and thrown away and dumped for something new, and something cheaper, something popular

5.      Including even bibles!


a.      The NEW International version

b.      The NEW revised Standard version

c.      The NEW Jerusalem bible

d.      The NEW King James Version

e.      Our 20th century culture has made people – US PEOPLE – into consumers only who just use up and throw away!


6.      And especially FOOD


a.      BBC Radio 4 conducted research for its program Costing the Earth, which found that the UK wastes an estimated £20 billion worth of food a year. They arrived at this figure using statistics from the British Department for the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra). It works out at almost €1,000 worth of wasted food for every UK adult - a staggering sum that would go a long way towards feeding a hungry third world.

b.      Here is a staggering statistic... nearly half of the food produced in the United States each year gets thrown away. That's roughly $165 billion worth of edibles, effectively tossed in the trash.


7.      So, MOST of the things that we own, we will just simply throw away in just a few months or years

8.      Yet, when our grandparents had something break, they actually fixed it!


E.    What’s the Difference?


1.      We have so much – too much I think


a.      I was at Costa Coffee in Ballincollig earlier in the week, and a young women, maybe 25 ordered her coffee, and opened her wallet, and I couldn’t help but notice how huge it was, filled with credit cards, and loyalty cards and coupons, and 50 euro notes

b.      I had to stop myself from staring

c.      There is nothing wrong with having money and things

d.      But it does make for a lot of spoiled brats who easily throw things away because they don’t NEED to keep them – they can just buy something else!


2.      We only consume (James 4:1-3) – our culture only lives to just eat, and wear, and have. We are “consumers” – not savers, or builders, or patchers – just animals waiting for the next fad to come around and buy into!

3.      We live in ruin – nothing like what God had designed for us to live like


a.      Life has never been perfect

b.      But things are not better folks today

c.      When 7 and 8 year olds know more about sex than most of us did at 18

d.      When there are almost 50,000 heroin addicts in Ireland – one drug centre in Dublin is providing methadone to 12,000 addicts daily

e.      When so many people contemplate suicide EVERY day


4.      We are complacent living this way


F.     How do we get over that?


1.      Maybe there are some things that CAN be thrown away and SHOULD BE

2.      But I KNOW that there are some things that SHOULD be repaired, no matter the cost, and no matter the effort that it will take!

3.      That’s why we are studying THESE two great books – because they are all about repairing broken things!


II.   Message Part 1 – Overcoming Complacent Discouragement


A.    What Did Nehemiah Face? (Nehemiah 2:11-17)


1.      Nehemiah in Chapter 3 is standing near the north corner of the ruins of Jerusalem City ON DAY ONE of the biggest repair project you could ever imagine!


a.      He and his small band of men, women and children are getting one final look at the city as they pick up shovels, pickaxe’s, trowels, sledgehammers, and wheelbarrows!

b.      And what do they see?


2.      What was he looking at?


a.      An entire city in ruins – not just a corner, or a bit – but the entire thing

b.      A Lot of History


1)     400 years of history lay at their feet

2)     Going all the way back to king David, and his son Solomon

3)     They had both built the WALLS and the Temple in Jerusalem when Israel was at its peak, 400 years earlier! (1Kings 3:1; 9:15)


a)      1Ki 3:1  And Solomon made affinity with Pharaoh king of Egypt, and took Pharaoh's daughter, and brought her into the city of David, until he had made an end of building his own house, and the house of the LORD, and the wall of Jerusalem round about.

b)     1Ki 9:15  And this is the reason of the levy which king Solomon raised; for to build the house of the LORD, and his own house, and Millo, and the wall of Jerusalem, and Hazor, and Megiddo, and Gezer.


4)     Both the Temple and the walls had been completely destroyed


c.      There was a Lot of Rubble and Ruin


1)     From a defeat 160 years earlier when king Nebuchadnezzar broke down every building and wall and tower and gate

2)     There were heaps and piles of rubbish EVERYWHERE throughout the city streets of Jerusalem (4:2)


3)     Nehemiah and the people were not just looking at walls that were broken through, and thrown down and piled up…

4)     But they saw that the rubble had been BURNED, and scorched – everything was ruined – unusable – would have to be completely dumped

5)     Trash was scattered everywhere - rubbish attracts more rubbish


d.      This was the Results of a Lot of SIN (2Chron 36:11-21)


1)     Jerusalem was NOT really destroyed by an outside enemy

2)     But by their own personal sins

3)     Whether you agree with it or not, the FACT is, sin in all of us has never done one good thing for us! "For the wages of sin is death..." Romans 6:23


e.      And worst of all, a Lot of Complacency – everyone had gotten used to living this way


1)     Here it was, some 160 years later, Nehemiah and these people faced into…


a)      OLD wastes - they had been there for a long time

b)     Former desolations (unliveable conditions)

c)      Waste CITIES - not just a few instances of ruin

d)     Many GENERATIONS - had affected generation after generation


2)     And worst of all, the destroyed way of life that surrounded them, had become the norm – what everyone was used to – had grown up with


B.    So, here are the FACTS that apply to US here and NOW in 2018:


1.      The truth is, there is NOT ONE HOME, or ONE LIFE that does not have a load of waste and ruin in it


a.      Whether piled up in the past

b.      Or in the present

c.      Some ruins are visible, but most of our ruin is invisible (emotional, mental, spiritual)


2.      Strangely, we don’t feel like we have any NEEDS (Rev 3:14-17,19)

3.      So we end up so used to, and accustomed to ABNORMALITIES like…


a.      Divorces and Separations


1)     Divorce rate in Ireland - 4,162 people applied for a divorce in 2016 in Ireland

2)     Separation rate is high

3)     Percentage of Unhappiness? Widespread


b.      Arguing and fighting in the home


1)     At first it cut you, and embarrassed you that it would ever happen

2)     Then you both got used to it

3)     Now you don’t know how to talk without falling into an argument


c.      Sleeping in separate rooms

d.      Lying as a way of life – it is in this culture like I cannot believe

e.      Yelling - constant disrespect

f.       The ME focus instead of OTHERS

g.      Stealing as a way of life

h.      Pornography – as a normal thing for boys and men to view

i.        Staying up late – no ability to go to bed at a set time

j.        Depression – current statistics show almost 600,000 people in Ireland are on long term anti-depressants

k.      No God, or just trite creeds and flippant beliefs.

l.        And people think all the above is NORMAL?

m.   Is all of that just as bad as broken down city walls and gates and towers?


4.      Worst of all, MOST of you will not even try and rebuild - you will just continue to LIVE with what you currently have - the devil you know!


C.    What Nehemiah Knew Needed to be Done (Nehemiah 2:17,18)


1.      He had to TRY! He had to REBUILD!


a.      The need was not to build things like


1)     Weapons

2)     Palaces

3)     Schools

4)     Parks

5)     Or roads, or shops

6)     At least not yet!


b.      But rather to build WALLS - a LOT of walls, and Towers, and Gates

c.      I will teach you about WALLS another time


1)     And the KIND of walls that you USED to have around you (when you were a child and your parents and society surrounded you and looked out for you and protected you).

2)     I will thoroughly teach you about the walls that need to be rebuilt


2.      He had to take the LEAD – the first step – the initiative!


a.      Thank God for people with a burden, with a vision, with a heart to humble themselves and just start doing something to make a difference!

b.      We need such people today

c.      We need HUSBANDS who will take the initiative and start fixing their home

d.      We need CHRISTIANS who will take the initiative and start the Gospel conversations at work, and at school!

e.      Nehemiah knew these people needed someone to start the ball rolling!

f.       And he will willing for it to be HIM!


3.      And Nehemiah had to Finish the job – not just start it, but finish it!


a.      Most everyone is a good starter

b.      But very few are willing to stay at something until it is FINISHED!


D.    But HOW? How did all the people face into this impossible work?


1.      By trusting God’s enabling power (Neh 2:20)

2.      By following their leader - Nehemiah

3.      By obedient faith in the calling of God to do the impossible (Neh 2:20)

4.      By WANTING to build, repair, and restore – not dragged kicking and screaming, but they were personally motivated to ACT


a.      Check your heart

b.      Is it complacent with the way you are living?

c.      If it is, the Holy Spirit of God does not dwell within, because he is a BUILDER, a RESTORER, a CHANGE AGENT


5.      By focusing on restoring people’s WORSHIP and walk with God first (Ezra 1:1-3)


a.      The first work was on the rebuilding of Solomon’s Temple

b.      A guy named Zerubbabel and Ezra did that already!


6.      And now with Jerusalem’s Walls


E.    Let’s Apply all this to US


1.      Take a good, long, honest look at your home, and your heart and your LIFE


a.      What is it like in your head, and in your home?

b.      What are you like when you are alone watching TV? Or on your smartphone?

c.      What are your words like when you are angry?

d.      What does your wife or husband, or children wish would be fixed in your life?

e.      I bet there is a lot of things that should be cleared away and rebuilt from the ground up


2.      The call of God is for all men and women everywhere to follow OUR leader, the risen Lord Jesus Christ


a.      These people were encouraged to follow Nehemiah and Ezra

b.      But a greater than Nehemiah has come – His name is Jesus

c.      And He is not just a builder, but He is the SAVIOUR of all men

d.      1Timothy 4:10  For therefore we both labour and suffer reproach, because we trust in the living God, who is the Saviour of all men, specially of those that believe


3.      WANT to fix things


a.      Just like a drunkard, a drug addict… nothing can change until they WANT to change

b.      And nothing will really ever be repaired in your marriage, in your home, in your thinking, in your heart, until you really, passionately WANT it to be different, no matter the cost

c.      EXAMPLE: Matthew 5:6  Blessed are they which do hunger and thirst after righteousness: for they shall be filled


4.      Work on your WORSHIP and WALK with God first


a.      You want to stop being bitter against your wives gentlemen?

b.      You want your husband to love you more ladies?

c.      You desire to be able to sleep at night?

d.      You want to live free of guilt and hurt and the past?

e.      Start with God. Start with making a prayer list and finding a hiding place, and just talking with God and starting over with God

f.       THAT one step, will enable you to make all the rest of the steps you will ever have to take to have a godly, wholesome, full Christian life!

g.      I would say, many people in here are struggling to fix their conscience, when they need Jesus to save their SOULS first!


5.      And THEN start rebuilding the right kind of walls against sin and temptation and the devil – which we will focus on in another message


III.   Conclusion


A.    We live in an age when it is NOT usual that we repair, patch, or rebuild things


1.      We have so much – too much I think

2.      We only consume (James 4:1-3) – our culture only lives to just eat, and wear, and have. We are “consumers” – not savers, or builders, or patchers – just animals waiting for the next fad to come around and buy into!

3.      We live in ruin – nothing like what God had designed for us to live like

4.      We are complacent living this way


B.    How do we get over that? How Do We Overcome Complacent Discouragement?

C.    Like Nehemiah, We Each Need to Make A Decision to Face Ourselves…


1.      All the Past

2.      All the Obstacles – all the Rubble and Ruin of our homes and minds

3.      All the SIN that we have surrendered to

4.      And most of all, all the Complacency – get sick of being used to living this way


a.      The truth is, there is NOT ONE HOME, or ONE LIFE that does not have a load of waste and ruin in it


D.    We Need to Follow a Good leader!

E.    By the way, when the Lord Jesus looks at your and my life, guess what HE sees? Only ruin and waste and rubble – and yet HE BEGAN A GOOD WORK IN ME! Will you let him do the same in YOU?

F.     Work on our WORSHIP and WALK with God first

G.   And THEN you and I can finally start rebuilding the right kind of walls against sin and temptation and the devil – which we will focus on in another message