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June 4, 2007 / beidson

Nehemiah, Building Campaigns and the New Jerusalem

Is a building campaign the most exciting thing that a church can experience? Hardly. But I’ve been in a few churches before that were going through capital fundraising campaigns to build a new building, and it seemed that many people were getting excited for the first time since they had attended. And inevitably, without fail, the pastor eventually found himself in Nehemiah, attempting to rally the congregation with a motivational sermon about erecting structures for God’s glory, even in spite of tremendous opposition. This defensive tactic placed any opposers, ill-willed or not, within the category of God-haters and glory-stealers.

At any rate, Nehemiah is a book about rebuilding, and there is much to be said about God’s glory and victory in spite of tremendous opposition. But really, my thoughts go immediately to 2 Peter 3 and Revelation 21, where we read that the Lord Jesus Christ will one day begin a new work, “rebuilding” what will have been laid to waste. And of course, Nehemiah is about the return of the Israelite exiles. But might we also see in this the hope of the resurrection, when what was in bondage will be set free (Romans 8:19), and what was old will be made new?
Perhaps we can preach Nehemiah when trying to rally the congregation to build the Family Life Center, but perhaps we can also use it to rally the troops for the Day of Judgment, the Day for which we now wait with eager anticipation, longing for the redemption of our broken down bodies. On that Day, we will rejoice along with Nehemiah, in the New Jerusalem, in the presence of Christ. Now that’s a “rebuilding” campaign to get excited about.

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