Sermon Prepared by James McCullen
Email Preach Him with Dr. Jim

Guidelines for the Ministry of Intercession # 2
Nehemiah 1:8 - 2:6

8 "Remember the word which You commanded Your servant Moses, saying, "If you are unfaithful I will scatter you among the peoples; 9 but if you return to Me and keep My commandments and do them, though those of you who have been scattered were in the most remote part of the heavens, I will gather them from there and will bring them to the place where I have chosen to cause My name to dwell.' 10 "They are Your servants and Your people whom You redeemed by Your great power and by Your strong hand. 11 "O Lord, I beseech You, may Your ear be attentive to the prayer of Your servant and the prayer of Your servants who delight to revere Your name, and make Your servant successful today and grant him compassion before this man." Now I was the cupbearer to the king. . . . .2:1 Nehemiah's Prayer Answered And it came about in the month Nisan, in the twentieth year of King Artaxerxes, that wine was before him, and I took up the wine and gave it to the king. Now I had not been sad in his presence.
2 So the king said to me, "Why is your face sad though you are not sick? This is nothing but sadness of heart." Then I was very much afraid. 3 I said to the king, "Let the king live forever. Why should my face not be sad when the city, the place of my fathers' tombs, lies desolate and its gates have been consumed by fire?" 4 Then the king said to me, "What would you request?" So I prayed to the God of heaven. 5 I said to the king, "If it please the king, and if your servant has found favor before you, send me to Judah, to the city of my fathers' tombs, that I may rebuild it." 6 Then the king said to me, the queen sitting beside him, "How long will your journey be, and when will you return?" So it pleased the king to send me, and I gave him a definite time. NASU
 

Introduction
Spurgeon Shared this: We saw in Venice a picture of St. Mark and other holy champions delivering the fair city from the devil, who had resolved to raise a great storm in the Adriatic, flood the lagoons, and drown the inhabitants of the "bride of the sea." The whole story is merely a legend, but even so the picture is capable of mirroring the truth that the intercession of saints and God's peculiar regard for them have oftentimes delivered the church.    Charles Haddon Spurgeon,
 
 

1.    The Guide Line of Commandments . . and Intercession. v 8 - 9



8 "Remember the word which You commanded Your servant Moses, saying, "If you are unfaithful I will scatter you among the peoples; 9 but if you return to Me and keep My commandments and do them, though those of you who have been scattered were in the most remote part of the heavens, I will gather them from there and will bring them to the place where I have chosen to cause My name to dwell.'
 

A.    Intercede Reminding God of the . . Proclamations of His Commandments. v 8 - 9

    "Remember the word which You commanded Your servant Moses, saying, "If you are unfaithful I will scatter you among the peoples; 9 but if you return to Me and keep My commandments and do them, ... "

        1.    Negative Proclamation. v 8
        2.    Positive Proclamation. v 9 a

Illustration Exod. 32: 9-12
9 The LORD said to Moses, "I have seen this people, and behold, they are an obstinate people. 10 "Now then let Me alone, that My anger may burn against them and that I may destroy them; and I will make of you a great nation." 11 Then Moses entreated the LORD his God, and said, "O LORD, why does Your anger burn against Your people whom You have brought out from the land of Egypt with great power and with a mighty hand? 12 "Why should the Egyptians speak, saying, "With evil intent He brought them out to kill them in the mountains and to destroy them from the face of the earth'? Turn from Your burning anger and change Your mind about doing harm to Your people.   13 "Remember Abraham, Isaac, and Israel, Your servants to whom You swore by Yourself, and said to them, "I will multiply your descendants as the stars of the heavens, and all this land of which I have spoken I will give to your descendants, and they shall inherit it forever.'" NASU

B.     Intercede Reminding Man of God's . . Promise of His Commandments. v 9 b
        ". . . though those of you who have been scattered were in the most remote part of the heavens, I will gather them from there and will bring them to the place where I have chosen to cause My name to dwell.'

        1.    God will Gather them from everywhere.
        2.    God will bring them back to Jerusalem.

Illustration
My children many times said Dad you promised. They were very good at reminding me of my promises for good are what the saw as pleasure. I asked them how come you do not remember the promises I make for discipline?

Illustration
One of the construction workers we have had working on our new building has been friendly as we would get an opportunity to meet. I wanted a good opportunity to talk to him about the Lord but it really did not come. This week as I was carrying a box to my car he held the door for me and opened the outside door. As he did we were between the two doors and I thought what a good time to talk to him about the lord.

I began to quiz him about his relationship with the Lord and he began to go all around the world with different philosophies and religions. In the course of the talking he said "but I believe the commandment "you should not kill."

This man then gave a little treatise on how we should not kill in war and etc. I know enough about him to know he is choosing the commands he want to obey. Most non-Christians are that way. What about God's People?

Application

In the text Nehemiah confesses the sin of neglecting the commands of God.
 
 

2. The Guide Line of Capability . . and Intercession. v 10


        "They are Your servants and Your people whom You redeemed by Your great power and by Your strong hand.

A.    Capability of God's . . People In Intercession. v 10 a
        "They are Your servants and Your people. . . "

Illustration God wants to save His People
In 1540 Luther's good friend, Frederick Myconius, became deathly sick. He himself and others expected that he would die within a short time. One night he wrote with trembling hand a fond farewell to Luther, whom he loved very much.

When Luther received the letter, he sent back the following reply immediately, "I command thee in the name of God to live because I still have need of thee in the work of reforming the church. . .The Lord will never let me hear that thou art dead, but will permit thee to survive me. For this I am praying, this is my will, and may my will be done, because I seek only to glorify the name of God."

Myconius had already lost the faculty of speech when Luther's letter came. But in a short time he was well again. And, true enough, survived Luther by two months!

Nothing makes us so bold in prayer as when we can look into the eye of God and say to Him, "Thou knowest that I am not praying for personal advantage, nor to avoid hardship, nor that my own will in any way should be done, but only for this, that Thy name might be glorified." book by O. Hallesby titled Prayer pg. 130-131

I think this man would have died without Luther's Intercession
 

B.    Capability of God's . . Power in Intercession. v 10 b
        ". . . whom You redeemed by Your great power and by Your strong hand."

Illustration Matt 17:14-21
14 When they came to the crowd, a man came up to Jesus, falling on his knees before Him and saying, 15 "Lord, have mercy on my son, for he is a lunatic and is very ill; for he often falls into the fire and often into the water. 16 "I brought him to Your disciples, and they could not cure him." 17 And Jesus answered and said, "You unbelieving and perverted generation, how long shall I be with you? How long shall I put up with you? Bring him here to Me." 18 And Jesus rebuked him, and the demon came out of him, and the boy was cured at once.    19 Then the disciples came to Jesus privately and said, "Why could we not drive it out?" 20 And He said to them, "Because of the littleness of your faith; for truly I say to you, if you have faith the size of a mustard seed, you will say to this mountain, "Move from here to there,' and it will move; and nothing will be impossible to you.    21 ["But this kind does not go out except by prayer and fasting."] NASU
 

Application

We do not have the power but He does and He makes it available to us through prayer.
Nehemiah could not restore the walls and the city of Jerusalem.

However the walls and city would not have been restored without a man of intercession like him.
 
 

3.    The Guide Line of Compassion . . and Intercession. v 11



"O Lord, I beseech You, may Your ear be attentive to the prayer of Your servant and the prayer of Your servants who delight to revere Your name, and make Your servant successful today and grant him compassion before this man." Now I was the cupbearer to the king.

A.    Compassionate In the Request. v 11 a
        "O Lord, I beseech You, . . . "

B.    Compassionate Respect. v 11 b
        ". . . may Your ear be attentive to the prayer of Your servant and the prayer of Your servants who delight to revere Your name, and make Your servant successful today and grant him compassion before this man."

C.    Compassionate Responsibility. v 11 c
        ". . . Now I was the cupbearer to the king."

Illustration from a book titled Wild Things Happen When I Pray by Becky Tirabassi
I have a prayer partner named Kinney who has prayed with me for years. She has prayed for my speaking tours, for the people I have met, and for my spiritual growth. Then, one day, she told me that she was praying for my relationship with my mother.

At the point Kinney talked to me, I had almost given up thinking that our relationship could change. In fact, my anxieties about what may happen when we were around each other made me want to stop spending holidays together. I would often laugh at her faith, almost discounting the possibility that the relationship with my mother could change. I wanted a good relationship with her, but it seemed impossible.

Then one evening my mom called. She said, "I'm not doing very well. . ." She told me of an incident with Grandma, then how she had reinjured a disc that had caused her pain years earlier. Mom's vulnerability caught me off guard. I offered to pray for my mom. And as I did, I sensed the Holy Spirit prompting me to lift her up, encourage her, and care for her. When we were finished praying, my mother was crying softly. This whole "healing" experience was something new for both of us.

The following morning I did something I had never done in thirty-some years of being a daughter. I sent my mother flowers-- immediately called my friend Kinney to tell her that her prayers were being answered.

Over the next year, my travels brought me back to the same Hunter home where I had been a young girl and teenager. Late one evening, as we sat at the kitchen table, we began to talk.

"Why," Mom asked, "do you make our home life sound so terrible when you talk about it and write about it?" For many people, including my mom, the truth of our past is terribly difficult to face and accept.

On this particular night, the one thing I had been waiting for, perhaps wanting, to hear was that our past was true. I needed to hear her say that she was sorry for the screaming and yelling and hollering of those days. I needed to hear that even though we had missed many years of being loving and gentle and kind toward each other, we could still learn to care for each other because of our relationship with Christ.

As my mom and I sat at the kitchen table in our robes at 2 A.M., we looked at the tears in each others eyes and touched each other's hands. Her pain and sorrow were real, but now that they were out in the open, they were finally subsiding.

She told me the things I needed to hear, and something about her sincere confession told me I could trust her love. We made a commitment to care for each other and work at communicating with each other. We cried some more. We laughed. We prayed.

Application

Woman of the street crouching under the window of a deacon who regularly prayed for the lost.

If anyone heard us pray would they hear our compassionate concern.
 
 

4.    The Guide Line of Communication . . and Intercession. 2:1-7


    1 And it came about in the month Nisan, in the twentieth year of King Artaxerxes, that wine was before him, and I took up the wine and gave it to the king. Now I had not been sad in his presence. 2 So the king said to me, "Why is your face sad though you are not sick? This is nothing but sadness of heart." Then I was very much afraid. 3 I said to the king, "Let the king live forever. Why should my face not be sad when the city, the place of my fathers' tombs, lies desolate and its gates have been consumed by fire?" 4 Then the king said to me, "What would you request?" So I prayed to the God of heaven. 5 I said to the king, "If it please the king, and if your servant has found favor before you, send me to Judah, to the city of my fathers' tombs, that I may rebuild it." 6 Then the king said to me, the queen sitting beside him, "How long will your journey be, and when will you return?" So it pleased the king to send me, and I gave him a definite time. 7 And I said to the king, "If it please the king, let letters be given me for the governors of the provinces beyond the River, that they may allow me to pass through until I come to Judah,

Introduction Communication Can't Hurt to Ask
A Lady shared this:   My granddaughter, Hannah, begged me long-distance to come help her celebrate her sixth birthday. Unable to resist, I made my plans to join the family.

When we sat down for the birthday dinner, my son asked Hannah if she would like to bless the food on her birthday. "Oh, yes, Daddy," she said. She closed her eyes and began, "Dear Lord, thank you for Mommy and this good food she fixed. Thank you for letting Grandma come here today."

Pausing momentarily, Hannah opened her eyes to peek at me before she continued. "And please Lord, let us have a good time at 'Toys R Us' this afternoon." Citation: Agnes Goddard, Oceanside, Calif. "Lite Fare," Christian Reader. Leadership

A.    Communication through . . Sadness. v 2
        So the king said to me, "Why is your face sad though you are not sick? This is nothing but sadness of heart." Then I was very much afraid.

B.    Communication through . . Speech.. v 3
        I said to the king, "Let the king live forever. Why should my face not be sad when the city, the place of my fathers' tombs, lies desolate and its gates have been consumed by fire?"

C.    Communication through . . Speech.. v 4-7
        Then the king said to me, "What would you request?" So I prayed to the God of heaven. 5 I said to the king, "If it please the king, and if your servant has found favor before you, send me to Judah, to the city of my fathers' tombs, that I may rebuild it." 6 Then the king said to me, the queen sitting beside him, "How long will your journey be, and when will you return?" So it pleased the king to send me, and I gave him a definite time. 7 And I said to the king, "If it please the king, let letters be given me for the governors of the provinces beyond the River, that they may allow me to pass through until I come to Judah,

Conclusion
The church father Augustine writes of the important role played by his mother's faithful intercession for him during his years of waywardness: