A Passion for the Glory of God (Nehemiah 1)

Perhaps more than ever before – I felt and continue to feel the eternal weight of the message from Sunday.  This week and last have been marked by constant wrestlings to identify the idols in my own heart that would keep me from walking like Nehemiah.  Those things that would hinder my pursuit of Christ-likeness.  It is my earnest prayer that God would raise up men and women at CLC who are convinced that we are not our own, and have a burning passion to see God’s glory made so clear, so visible in our neighborhoods, in our city and to the farthest edges of the globe!  As a church, in 2013, we are asking God to grow us together to become a people who are radically generous with the good news of the gospel. To this end brothers & sisters, I believe Nehemiah 1 is a beautiful starting place!

Nehemiah had burning passion for the glory of God, which led him to weep and mourn at the news from Hanani (1:2-4).  I ask you today – Do you ever consider the lostness of those in our city?  Of your neighbors?  Of your coworkers? Of your friends? When you look at the people of Tampa and you observe the utter lostness, what happens in your heart?  The implications to our answers are eternal.

Nehemiah was resolved to know God intimately, which led him to seek God earnestly (1:5-11).  No doubt, it was Nehemiah’s intimate relationship with God that stoked the fiery passion for his glory among all peoples.  Nehemiah’s resolve to know God was marked by a strong prayer life.  Nehemiah’s resolve to know God was marked by a stout knowledge of God’s word as he would claim the promises of God from Deuteronomy 9:29; 28:64; 30:1-5 in prayer.  We see Nehemiah take responsibility for his sin, repenting of the ways he and his household had neglected to live lives that would lead to the worship of God among the lost (1:6).  In the midst of all this Nehemiah fasted (1:4) – creating in himself a hunger for more of God.  I would pose the question to you that I’ve posed to myself over and over – What marks your pursuit of knowing God intimately?  Unhurried time at the feet of your God or busyness?  Feasting at the table of the King or feasting at the table of this world?  Repentance of sin or abuse of grace?  Hiding God’s word deep in your heart or accessing google when you need a Scripture reference?

Nehemiah’s supreme delight was in worshipping God, which led him to risk everything that the pagans would come to know God (1:11).  He risked his job, comfort, simplicity, acceptance, money, future and ultimately his life.  An old hymn goes this way – “Farewell all earthly treasures, I bid you all adieu. Farewell all earthly honor, I want no more of you.  I want my union grounded, on the Eternal Son.  Beyond the power of Satan, where sin can never come.”  The surpassing worth of knowing Christ far outweighs anything this world could offer us.  And the light and momentary afflictions are preparing us for an eternal weight of glory.  What is best about Nehemiah?  He points us to Jesus.  Out of a passion for the glory of the Father, Jesus wept over Jerusalem.  Jesus and the Father are the definition of intimacy and unity.  Jesus stepped out of the King’s household and entered a wrecked city.  Jesus delighted in the glory of the Father and that led him to a cross.  That led to our eternal joy in salvation.

God raise up men and women who delight to know Christ and him crucified.  Raise up men and women at CLC who will say, “I will do whatever necessary if some might come to know Jesus.”  Our greatest joy is found in Jesus.  Our supreme delight is found in Jesus.  Help us believe that.  Have your way among us this day – this week – this year.  Amen.

that all may know,


Posted on: January 9, 2013 - 10:41AM

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