Grace Baptist Church Decatur, IL



  Sermon Series

Revelation PowerPoint Sermons Series               Gospel of Matthew PowerPoint Sermons Series

Acts PowerPoint Sermons Series


Holiday Sermons


Topical Sermons - free PowerPoint

Topical Series


Bible Study Lessons

Bible Study Series



Sales & Instant Downloads


Top Sermons










Audio / Video     PowerPoint     Text     Recommend     Subscribe     Help

Streaming Video:

[Note: Trouble with this video?  Run this quick, free update.]

All service songs used by permission.  CCLI #425103


Streaming Audio:

Download mp3 [left click to stream, right click to 'save as' for ipod or CD listening.]

Or, use the controls, below, just like you would a VCR.  Double-click the "Play" arrow to begin.  This page must remain open to continue listening. To browse the internet while you listen, open a new browser window by clicking on "File", then "New", then "Window".

PowerPoint Presentation:
Click here after starting sermon audio to bring up slides and visual aides which go along with the sermon. [May take 1-3 minutes to open.]  Once the first slide appears you can follow along with the message and use the arrow keys to advance the slides. How to edit and use


powerpoint_icon.gif PowerPoint Viewer can be used to view our pps slideshow files if you do not have PowerPoint



Please help keep this ministry free by honoring our system...


Please Choose:

  • Recommend this sermon to others.  [A new window will open.  Rate this sermon from 1 to 5 'stars' with just a click, then close.]
  • Post a brief testimony about Grace Notes at SermonCentral

  • Tell a Friend to Visit
    Once 3 other sermon seekers subscribe, mentioning your name, you get a free sermon series download!

  • Or, do nothing, it's still free!  But many thanks go to those who take a second to advance the gospel message for God's glory!
Help spread the Word by using the recommendation links,'s a proven system that keeps this ministry free!


Grace Notes Sermon Ministry:

Subscribe for free     Learn More


NOTICE!  Our sermons are free to download, copy and paste, edit and use as you see fit...but only our free subscribers get the newest messages, featured sermons, and some gifts we shower on them from time to time!


Nehemiah-Just An Ordinary Guy

Nehemiah 1:1-4


  • Recommend this sermon to others.  [A new window will open.  Rate this sermon from 1 to 5 'stars' with just a click, then close.]


The Bible sometimes compares the building of a work of God [church] with the building of a building.

Acts 9:31
31 Then had the churches rest throughout all Judaea and Galilee and Samaria, and were edified; and walking in the fear of the Lord, and in the comfort of the Holy Ghost, were multiplied.

"Edified" means to build up.  It's where we get the word edifice.  Jesus said He would build His church and the gates of hell would not prevail against it.


Of course, a church is not a building, it is a body.  The body of Christ.  The church is not an organization, it's an organism...a living, breathing entity.  It needs health, it needs growth, and God wants to build it, bless it, and grow it.

1 Corinthians 3:9
9 For we are labourers together with God: ye are God's husbandry, ye are God's building.


If we build people, the church will automatically be built.


ill.--a cattle rancher got saved and surrendered to preach.  He went to a Bible conference which was all about how to build a crowd.  Asked about it later, he said, "It was strange.  In all my years as a cattle rancher, I never had to go to a conference to learn how to get the cows to come to the feeding trough.  I always just figured that if you put out good feed, the cows will come."

        I'm not calling you a bunch of cows, just making a point!


My job is not primarily to build a church, but to put out good feed.  And so we should not be about building a church as much as building people.  You build a church one person at a time.


In every church there are 3 kinds of people:

1.     Destructionists - they tear down the work of God.

2.     Obstructionists - they get in the way of the work of God.

3.     Constructionists - they assist in building the work of God.


I'd rather die than be one of the first two.


Nehemiah is the perfect example of how to be the latter.  He led God's people in rebuilding the walls of Jerusalem which had been destroyed by the enemy.  It was the most amazing feat of engineering and construction that you will ever hear about.  They did the job in 52 days!


In this series we will learn lessons of leadership, organization, dealing with criticism and opposition, lessons on commitment and determination.


We will ask 3 questions:  What did it mean then?  What does it mean now?  What does it mean to ME?  We need to apply these principles to our lives.


Let's just 'lay the foundation' for this series on building.


In journalism class as a teen I learned that the first paragraph of a story is the most important, and that in it you should answer the who, the what, the when, and the where.  Nehemiah does this in the first couple of verses.


What is the book of Nehemiah?


v. 1          "The words of Nehemiah"

This is an autobiography.  His memoirs.  His testimony of what God did in him and thru him.


-God works for us = salvation

-God works in us = sanctification

-God works thru us = service


If I asked you now to write down how God is using you to build up the work of God, what would you have to write down?  Would what you write challenge and inspire others?


'The words of Nehemiah' were something worth writing because God was working in his life.


Who is Nehemiah?


"the son of Hachaliah"


There are 3 men who played an important role in rebuilding Jerusalem after it was destroyed by the Babylonians.  Zerubbabel, the prince, represented the political side.  Ezra, the priest, represented the religious side.  Then there's Nehemiah, who was a ordinary church member.  He was not a prophet, priest, or preacher.  He worked a secular job.


And you don't have to be a preacher to be greatly used of God!  Our Lord has a way of taking ordinary people and doing extra ordinary things thru them. 

ill.--D. L. Moody was never ordained to preach.  He was a salesman who got saved, and heard a preacher state that the world has yet to see what God can do with a man completely yielded to him.  And Moody said, by the grace of God, I'll be that man.  He had never been to school, and would butcher the English language.  They say he could pronounce Mesopotamia in 1 syllable!  But God transformed this ordinary guy into the mighty evangelist that he became.

        As a side note, Moody got a lot of hate mail, and much of it was anonymous.  One time in a meeting he came to the pulpit and found a small note folded there.  He opened it to find only one word inside, "Fool."  He told the crowd, "In my years I've received a lot of letters with no signatures.  But this is the first time I've ever received a signature with no letter!"


Anyway, there's no limit to what God can do thru YOU if you'll decide to let Him do it!


I used to try to get everyone on board with things in the church in order for them to succeed.  But I've stopped because I've come to realize that God chooses to use the faithful few.  It would be great to have a big crowd out for visitation, but God uses the faithful.  It would be nice if everyone would come out to prayer meeting and stay at the end when we pray, but really God doesn't want you to pray because you have to...only if you want to!


Years ago Jerry Falwell started his "Moral Majority".  That's a nice name and a nice thought, but truly if you are moral in America you are part of a minority.  It was the minority that believed God and got onto the ark with Noah.  It was the minority of the spies who saw the Promised Land as God's gift to Israel and the enemy as defeatable.  It was the minority who believed Jesus was the Son of God and the minority who followed Him even after He proved it by rising from the dead!  It has always been the minority who gets serious about serving God.

        And today, it's the minority who is truly faithful to church, and the minority who believes in creation instead of evolution, and the minority who believes in saving themselves for marriage [everybody's doing it!].  But I'm proud to report that just as it has always been in God's economy it still is today--the minority is right!


Nehemiah did what he did as a minority, and in the face of criticism, opposition, and many naysayers.  But one person, if he is with God, makes a MAJORITY!


What is Nehemiah?  A testimony.  Who is Nehemiah?  A loyal layman...


When did Nehemiah take place?


v. 1          'the month Chisleu in the twentieth year'

This corresponds w/ about November and December.  The 20th year means 'of the reign of Artaxerxes' which would be 445 B.C.  It was extremely difficult times.


v. 3          Great affliction and struggle for Israel.  Not their glory days.  Persecution was at its highest. 


And we should never think that we cannot accomplish great things in these difficult days.  God's will being accomplished is not dependent upon favorable circumstances, but only upon the power of our Almighty God!  And the darker our world becomes, the brighter our light can shine.  The more difficult the time, the more definite the testimony will stand out!


Some are giving in today and saying, you can't build a church today preaching doctrine and having standards.  People want to be entertained and pumped up and hear feel good sermons.


Well, we are growing.  On Sunday mornings we are now a medium sized congregation, and our evening services would be among the larger in town of those who actually still have evening services.  Don't think for one second that those who are coming out are doing so because they think I'm gonna tell a new joke--you've got another thing coming.  Anyone who has been here any time at all's the same old jokes recycled!


But we are preaching the meat of the Word, and there's a market for it.  Sure, it may be the minority, but we're growing and God is smiling!


Read Acts and the missionary journeys of the Apostle Paul and you'll see the greatest revivals happened in the most wicked cities steeped in idolatry and immorality!  Paul shined the light of the gospel and it pierced the darkness in a flourishing flood of heavenly rays!


In Nehemiah it is the most difficult of days, but just like today in America and in Decatur God wants to show Himself strong and true!


When did this happen?  In dark days.  Also, it was just another ordinary day in the life of Nehemiah. 


vv. 1b-2   It all sounds very nonchalant.  They made small talk and the subject came up.  One thing led to another, and very quickly Nehemiah was thrust into the ministry, leading the building crew!


God had a divine appointment arranged for Nehemiah on this day in order to change his life and accomplish God's will.


It was just an ordinary day for Moses when after 40 years of watching sheep day after day God spoke to him thru a burning bush.

It was just an ordinary day when David was called from the flocks to be anointed King of Israel, and that shepherd boy became a king.

It was just an ordinary day when Peter, James and John were fishing and mending their nets and then Jesus walked by...and they became fishers of men!


God can take an ordinary person on an ordinary day and do extra ordinary things.  Perhaps He's speaking to your heart about this right now!


It was an ordinary weekday when I first heard and understood the gospel and I got saved and my life has been very different than what it would have been...all for the better!


It was an ordinary invitation like a thousand others w/ my head bowed and eyes closed when God spoke to me at the age of 14 and called me into the ministry, and I'll never forget that moment and all that has followed it.


Large doors swing on small hinges.  And this could be your pivotal moment.


Granted, sometimes God gets our attention by shaking us in ways that aren't ordinary.  September 11th was an ordinary day until about 9 AM, but God used what I saw on my TV screen to get me to resign my comfortable assistant pastor position in a large place, making more than I make today, doing less.  God spoke to me that it was time for me to get 'out there' into the fields, white unto harvest!


Where did Nehemiah take place?


v. 1          "in Shushan the palace."

What was Nehemiah, the Jew, doing in the Babylonian King's palace?

        150 years before this the Babylonians had conquered Israel, destroyed Jerusalem, leading many of the Jews off to Babylon as prisoners?  Why did God allow this?  I believe it was because Israel repeatedly ignored God's pleas for them to abstain from idolatry.  They returned to idols over and again, and so God said, you want idolatry, I'll send you to the fountainhead of it all!  Be careful about what you want so badly.  God may give you what you are insisting, and give you a shove in that direction so you can see His way really was best after all.  Then you can learn the lesson better and come back to Him.

        100 years later, 50 years previous to Nehemiah's day, a group of Jews was permitted to return to Babylon and rebuild the temple, but the walls were never repaired. 


Who cares about the walls?  In those days, they were everything.  They stood for protection [sitting ducks], for separation [we need these walls still today], for glorification [curb appeal, for God's glory, not high class, but first class, clean, etc.], and for anticipation [the prophets had foretold that the walls would be rebuilt for the coming of the Messiah].


v. 3-4       When Nehemiah heard about the broken down walls it broke his heart.  It became his burden, and his responsibility to fix it.


Why was he in Shushan the palace?

v. 11b      It was a great position to have.  It was a lucrative government position like being in the Secret Service or bodyguard to the President, because you would taste his food first and be his personal assistant.  History tells us that to have this position Nehemiah had to be handsome, cultured, and knowledgeable.  And because he had daily access the king, he had great influence. 


Here was a man who had it made.  He lived the way the king lived, and ate the way he ate, and dressed the way he dressed.  In the lap of luxury.  Who cares about the sins of his ancestors and some walls a thousand miles away?  It wasn't his fault!


Many people don't want to know what's going on, because knowledge brings responsibility.  But Nehemiah's heart was broken by the news and he volunteered to do something about it.  He left comfort and security, trading it all for the rigors of a ruined city.  He exchanged prestige for poverty, and comfort for criticism, and royalty for ridicule.  He left an easy job to do an impossible task.


The lesson of this book:  The Kingdom of God and His Church are built by those who are willing to sacrifice and leave their comfort zone.


Comedian Flip Wilson used to say when people asked him what was his religion he would reply, "Jehovah's Bystander".  "I was invited to be  Jehovah's Witness but I didn't want to get that involved."  Jehovah has plenty of bystanders, but I wonder who God is calling right now on this ordinary day to do something extraordinary?


  • Recommend this sermon to others.  [A new window will open.  Rate this sermon from 1 to 5 'stars' with just a click, then close.]



Grace Notes Sermon Ministry:

Subscribe for free     Learn More


NOTICE!  Our sermons are free to download, copy and paste, edit and use as you see fit...but only our free subscribers get the newest messages, featured sermons, and some free gifts we shower on them from time to time!


Help keep this service free by recommending it

using the links above the sermon


All Sermons and PowerPoint Slideshow Presentations ©Copyright Jerry Shirley and Grace Notes Ministries® unless otherwise credited.  These resources are yours to use freely, but only in public worship services or private study groups and devotions.  They may not be sold, republished or retransmitted in any form without written permission.