God has given to his ministers a flame of fire. This torch represents the ultimate mission of every man whom God has called. He is, by the decree of scripture, to repair the world and bring the only salvation of Jesus Christ to light so all men may see what is the fellowship of the mystery. The word “repair” means many things. It can mean redemption, restoration or renewal. It can mean healing, help and health.
Your anointing has been given to you to break the yokes that bind people and keeps them from devotion to the Lord Jesus and from their true potential. God has enlisted you in His armed forces to change that in every life by your example, your dedication, your preaching, your leadership and your life. Yes, we can do it through Jesus Christ.
The Hebrews have a saying among them called, “Tikkum Olam,” which means, “repair the world.” They take this saying very seriously and many of their young people are urged by their parents to participate in community projects that will help make a difference. Therefore, they fulfill their inner need to be a part of something other than themselves, which promotes goodwill in the world.
In the ministry you will experience many things that cause brokenness in your own life. But more importantly, you will find that the people you are working with are extremely troubled and in need of repair, so I would like to deal with both aspects.
Apostolic ministers are empowered by God to be more than pathfinders. We are path-makers. Many of the hurting people we minister to need someone to become a trailblazer – to cut a path that has never been traveled. Some need more discipline. Some just need a friend. Regardless of what they need, you are called upon to blaze the trail and make it happen. The good news is, through God’s help you can become a “repairer of the breach.”
It makes no difference what kind of promise you receive from the Lord – there is a problem attached to it. When Israel approached the Promised Land, they faced their Jordan at flood stage. They also faced giants and mighty walled cities. Still, they didn’t back off one bit. They continued their journey until they passed over.
If you are going to obtain a ministry that repairs the world, this kingdom will not come to you without much tribulation. You will have to embrace problems as friends and not treat them as strangers.
If you do not learn to deal with problems and the emotional effect they have, it could cause you to prematurely burn-out. God wants to show you two things: how to recover yourself, and how to restructure your life. We have all experienced something of brokenness: hearts, homes, health, finances, dreams, and relationships. They are all as breakable as bones and they’re equally curable, though harder to set. We may not all be basket cases, but it’s certain we all need the Doctor.
Some of our problems are real, others are imaginary, but whether it is a perceived threat or real, the only true faith that defeats such things is one that expresses itself when you can say, “I believe in the ultimate, the consummate, the conclusive, the absolute, the final, the genuine – the real…..God.” God knows that you are unique, that we all have a capacity to care, to hope and to believe. That’s why God wants to rebuild your personality, your hopes, your future – so you can move into the second phase of “repairing the world,” by working with the King to repair others.
Let’s deal with what you do when you are hurting. How do you repair yourself? How do you rebuild your passion, once it has been drained by a disappointment or by some setback? There is a very simple answer that goes beyond what we have already discussed in previous lessons. You need six kinds of friends to help you in the ministry. These people can come from family, your local church or other ministers. Relationships are the best way to repair your spirit once it has become discouraged.
Six Friends You Need in the Ministry
You need friends that will lift you up. Paul had Ananias – the first word out of his mouth was “Brother”. Although Ananias had doubts about the genuineness of Paul’s conversion, because of the visitation from the Lord, he was able to move past his doubts and be that kind of friend to Paul.
You need a friend that will let you out. Paul escaped Damascus by being let down by a rope in a basket. Many times we talk ourselves into a corner, where we say things the wrong way and they could be taken wrong and used to hurt us. You need a friend that will hold the rope, even when there is tension on the line. As a matter of fact, you want someone who is not afraid of the tension because if they let go, you will take a mighty fall.
You also need a friend that will let you in. Barnabas was that kind of friend to Paul. He stuck with him even though there were those who wouldn’t join themselves with him. His friendship released Paul to become the Apostle that God had called him to be. It was through the ministry of Barnabas that Paul gained the acceptance with the young church that he needed in order to be successful in his ministry. You need people that will include you in their group.
You need friends that will level you out. Paul stirred up so much trouble that his friends planned a strategic withdrawal from public ministry. They sent Paul home through Caesarea and the churches had rest (Acts 9:31).
You need friends that will look you up. In Acts 11:26, Barnabas found Saul to remind him of his destiny and renew his vision.
You need friends that you can lean on and call on when you need them to bring your cloak and your books. (II Timothy 4:9-12).
The only way to develop friends is to be the kind of friend you want to have. This is a scriptural method of gaining friends. If you’re to have friends, you must show yourself friendly. Now, let’s talk about Nehemiah, and how he repaired his world.
The trend today is to read self-help books. Such books can’t help but provide too little. Charlie Brown was asked the question, “How come we keep losing when we’re so sincere?” Charlie answers, “We’re not good enough.” We all have felt inadequate for the task. So we must find the power source that will enable us to fulfill our destiny.
Lessons from Nehemiah
The book of Nehemiah is a step-by-step process for rebuilding broken things, especially if you are the broken thing. We immediately discover a means to rebuild ourselves and others too. God’s purpose has been firmly founded on the premise of you discovering what you are all about.
the you God had in mind from the beginning
the you that along the way has been taunted, tainted and tangled by test and trauma
the you the Helper is ready to bring to fulfillment and to your highest destiny.
God must be invited to conquer our past. When you discover your Creator is the Lord of all human history, it’s easier to believe He can overrule your past and beget a different future.
Nehemiah brought a helper to join with him in his effort to lift to higher levels those who had escaped and survived the captivity. Hanani one of my brethren came with men from Judah; and I asked them concerning the Jews who had escaped, who had survived the captivity, and concerning Jerusalem Nehemiah 1:2.
It had been ninety years since the Jews had returned from captivity to build the Temple and 70 years after its completion, the city was still without walls. This grieved Nehemiah because a city with no walls was a blight upon the name of its people and a reproach upon the name of their God. So, he began to pray, weep, mourn and fast.
His concern for the comfort and fulfillment of his people transcended his own security, prestige and convenience. This is the key to true ministry.
1. We find him interceding (chapter 1)
2. Risking his life (chapter 2)
3. Securing their safety (chapter 4)
4. Obligating himself in their interest (chapter 2)
5. Unselfishly giving of his own resources (chapter 5)
6. Committing himself to the completion of a task that will remove their shame (chapter 6).
This is where many ministers fail – because the new birth isn’t the end of God’s program for us. We all want to grow but the pathway to growth is usually cluttered with obstacles, and the obstacles are usually present or problem hangovers from your past – past lifestyle, past habits, past attitudes or past sinning. We are forgiven but the fact of past sin is often seen in some of its remaining fruit. The blood washes every stain away but often scars remain that you as a minister must learn to deal with.
Salvation solves the problem of our relationship with God, but it doesn’t always dissolve the problems in our life. It opens the door to solutions but we must teach people to walk through them.
Nehemiah’s mission was to lift his people beyond their return to Jerusalem and complete their recovery by restoring the capital city. Nehemiah’s ministry was empowered because he knew the authority that was given him by the King.
(1) Sent by the King
(2) Sent to lead – taught them to move forward in the rebuilding process.
Nehemiah means, “the consolation of God” – derived from nacham – to breathe strongly, to pity, to console and from Yah – the sacred name of God….in short, “the consoling breath or spirit of God”. In the context of “pity which becomes active in the interest of another” – it parallels the Holy Ghost’s work in our lives. Our ministry needs to become a consolation to people. Work on your ability to comfort people and get them to take the necessary steps to repair the damage of their past.
Unlike all the King’s horses and all the King’s men who were unable to put Humpty together again, we have a King who has a better program – and with much more than mere horsepower.
You Can Put People’s Lives Back Together
And they said to me, The survivors who are left from the captivity in the province are there in great distress and reproach. The wall of Jerusalem is also broken down, and its gates are burned with fire Nehemiah 1:3.
Relationship and rulership are fundamental to our created purpose, and both have been broken by the Fall. The restored relationship is primary but does not conclude God’s purpose in life for us. His desire is our return to restored rulership – a recovery of self-control, personal identity, stabilized temperament and character. Here it is the need for discipline and yes, standards.
In ancient times the city gates were the seat of local rule. The elders made decisions in the gates that affected the daily life of the city. Some people have a life with God but no evidence of it affecting life’s daily details.
Israel was embarrassed because of this discrepancy – Restored to the land, but still cowed by the existing rubbish that remained. Nehemiah is a handbook on recovering what has been lost by sin. Here is the hope that our restored relationship with God can be matched by a restoration of rulership
- By regained self-control (gates)
- By a reconstruction of the shattered dimensions of our self-understanding and purpose (walls).
Israel had built their temple and praised their God, but the surrounding rubble was still a sad and embarrassing evidence of their past sinning. So they needed a discipline from Nehemiah that would renew their sense of determination in order to realize their purpose. Without purpose people will perish.
The Lord wants to reinstate His rule in me, just as He has reinstated my relationship with Him. To start we must see: (a) the need and goal of such recovery and (b) the fact that the time it takes for our recovery process may differ from others. Someone who has been raised in a “good” home may take a much shorter time to allow the full dominion of Christ’s rule to penetrate their personality.
Someone whose life is totally shipwrecked will have many more problems to work through. If there is one principle that Pentecost has failed on, it is this one. This may be the number one reason we have failed to disciple people. People today may have been sexually or emotionally abused by parents, involved in drugs, the occult, trapped in abusive marriages, or be in their 2nd, 3rd or 4th marriage with all the attendant problems. It will naturally take a long time (usually years) to work through all the problems – although they are truly born again.
“Sheer grit and determination is honorable while it lasts. But despite the fact that weariness usually takes over with time, grit and determination aren’t God’s way. Such so-called discipleship is nothing more than works built on grace, and given time, the temporary walls of self-worked righteousness will crumble.” The rebuilding stage of Christian life is normal and its pathway clear: first, identify your “broken walls and burned gates” and then, rediscover your ultimate purpose in Jesus Christ and align your habits and life to him – the one who makes all things new.
Sometimes the broken, burned walls are not the result of personal sin – but due to an inherited condition (family attitudes, abuse, etc.). Other times it has been handed down from an earlier generations’ failure. This is a very important point that must be understood if you are to become a Nehemiah in the pulpit.
You Must Learn How to get People to Understand Their Make-Up
Every one of us are made up of three components:
- Spirit – Hebrews. 4:12. The Temple is to be likened to the inner man – the human spirit. Sin destroys our relationship with God but rebirth makes renewed worship and fellowship with God a possibility. As is it was in Nehemiah’s day, the temple was built first. That’s an absolute must.
- Soul – Luke 1:46-47. The City must be restored because it is the center of rule for the surrounding territory. It can be likened to the center of individual choice – the human soul. The impact of sin in the personality deteriorates the human capacity and will to live under God’s will and rule. You must learn how to put the will back in people who have no ability to make right choices.
- Body – I Thessalonians 5:23. Israel was intended to be a land of peace and fruitful harvest. The human body is the channel that God uses to manifest His Kingdom witness or it might manifest actions which contradict or violate God’s purposes. We must present ourselves, Holy and Acceptable to him.
Notice that Nehemiah basically focused his concern on the wall, which relates to the need for our focus on our souls. Once the spirit has been renewed by the new birth experience, we all have to take a journey to establish God’s government over our souls. Anyone, left to himself, will not be able to overcome fleshly desires because of the breach that exists in all of us. So our divine mandate is to repair that breach.
Paul told us that he had to travail again over the Galatians until Christ be formed in them. This travail is a spiritual concern over those who have been reborn, yet are still “broken” souls. Although Paul addressed them as saints, they sometimes still fall into past practices. Even though their spirit had been reborn, Paul calls to them to no longer walk with a darkened understanding (a worldly mind) or as those who live “past feeling” – led by worldly emotions. He was dealing with soulish behavior, since the understanding (intellect) and feelings (emotion) are operational there – in the soul. It is more than coincidence that it is the walls which caused Nehemiah’s tears and our souls which cause the Holy Spirit to grieve
In today’s hurting society we must remember that hurting people hurt other people. Many times when you are hurt by people that you minister to, they are most likely hurting other people. Therefore, it is your divine mandate to discover a means to repair yourself and then stay on the wall so you can build again what has been destroyed by the sins of many generations and in the end, “thou shalt be called, the repairer of the breach.”