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Sermon Notes for the Teaching at Christian Fellowship Church on Sunday, June 4, 2023

Nehemiah | The Good Work - Introduction

Michael Acock



I.              Opening story

After bumper

II.            Message

A.            Book

1.             The Good Work is His – the good works are His tools to prepare our hearts.

a)             Ephesians 2:10

(1)            ESV

10 For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them.

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(2)            The Message

7-10 Now God has us where he wants us, with all the time in this world and the next to shower grace and kindness upon us in Christ Jesus. Saving is all his idea, and all his work. All we do is trust him enough to let him do it. It’s God’s gift from start to finish! We don’t play the major role. If we did, we’d probably go around bragging that we’d done the whole thing! No, we neither make nor save ourselves. God does both the making and saving. He creates each of us by Christ Jesus to join him in the work he does, the good work he has gotten ready for us to do, work we had better be doing.

(3)            The Passion Translation

Ephesians 2:10

“We have become His poetry, a re-created people what will fulfill the destiny he has given each of us, for we are joined to Jesus, the Anointed One. Even before we were born, God planned in advance our destiny and the good works we would do to fulfill it!”

(4)            Greek work for workmanship

poiéma: a work

Original Word: ποίημα, ατος, τό

Transliteration: poiéma

Phonetic Spelling: (poy’-ay-mah)

Definition: a work

Usage: a thing made, a work, workmanship.

b)             Commentary

(1)            As Henry Morris says “God has written TWO POETIC MASTERPIECES, as it were, one in the physical creation, one in the lives of men and women redeemed and saved by His grace (Eph 2:8). Both give eloquent testimony to the eternal power and Godhead of the Creator-Redeemer.” Two great “divine poems” – the created world and re-created men and women in that world. Even as the “heavens are telling of the glory of God and their expanse is declaring the work of His hands” (Ps 19:1-note), we too as God’s M

(a)            Henry Morris:

Henry M. Morris is widely recognized as the founder of the modern creation science movement.

Morris has been called “the father of modern creation science”, and “arguably the most influential creationist of the 20th century.” Morris helped create the modern school of thought based on a belief in biblical inerrancy and a literal interpretation of Genesis.


c)              Destiny over potential – Destiny is your God given talents, skills, abilities aligned with His calling on your life lived out through His powerful work of reconciling, redeeming and restoring all your sin, failure and shame through Jesus by the Holy Spirit over time.

(1)            God has something He is crafting in your life. Every season there is a good work to give yourself to but that is being used to craft your life like a great poem or tapestry that weaves all the beautiful and the mess into a destiny of influence for His name in the earth for the sake your neighbor and the nations.

Destiny is not a vocation. 


(2)             Let’s start with God – Father, Son and Holy Spirit

(a)            We are seated in the Father’s Love

(b)            We are centered on the Son – Jesus -The Christ

(c)            We are empowered by the Holy Spirit


(3)            God is at work revealing, drawing, calling and empowering each one of us into His purposes for our lives that goes back to before the foundation of the earth.


(4)             God is at work restoring, redeeming and reconciling the world to himself through the Body of Christ – The Church – which covers all generations of time (past, present, future) and all Jesus following believers across the span of ethnicities and faith expressions.

(5)             God is at work bringing each one of us and His purposes for our lives into His story of restoration, redemption and reconciliation through the embodied community of the local church.

(6)             What is the vision for the church? Our vision is for each person connected to CF to step into God’s purposes for their life and live that purpose out in the day-to-day relationships of our church community so that we as a church step into the restoring, reconciling and redeeming purposes of God for the world.


Nehemiah finds that God is crafting his life for destiny. His life is crafted by God, the Good Work.

2.             Chronicles Last Chapter and 1st Chapter of Ezra

a)             Chapter 36:21-23

21 This is exactly the message of God that Jeremiah had preached: the desolate land put to an extended sabbath rest, a seventy-year Sabbath rest making up for all the unkept Sabbaths.

King Cyrus

22-23 In the first year of Cyrus king of Persia—this fulfilled the message of God preached by Jeremiah—God moved Cyrus king of Persia to make an official announcement throughout his kingdom; he wrote it out as follows: “From Cyrus king of Persia a proclamation: God, the God of the heavens, has given me all the kingdoms of the earth. He has also assigned me to build him a Temple of worship at Jerusalem in Judah. All who belong to God’s people are urged to return—and may your God be with you! Move forward!”

b)             Ezra 1:1-4

1 1-4 In the first year of Cyrus king of Persia—this fulfilled the Message of God preached by Jeremiah—God prodded Cyrus king of Persia to make an official announcement throughout his kingdom. He wrote it out as follows:

From Cyrus king of Persia, a Proclamation: God, the God of the heavens, has given me all the kingdoms of the earth. He has also assigned me to build him a Temple of worship in Jerusalem, Judah. Who among you belongs to his people? God be with you! Go to Jerusalem which is in Judah and build The Temple of God, the God of Israel, Jerusalem’s God. Those who stay behind, wherever they happen to live, will support them with silver, gold, tools, and pack animals, along with Freewill-Offerings for The Temple of God in Jerusalem.

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3.             Ezra and Nehemiah Story

a)             3 Parallel Movements

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(1)            Ezra 1-6 Zerubbabel returns with the first wave to rebuild altar and temple.

(2)            Eza 7-10 Ezra returns with second wave and attempts spiritual revival among the returned exiles.

(3)            Nehemiah 1-7 Nehemiah returns with third wave to rebuild the walls.

b)             The story – is mixed results – the human condition.

Nehemiah end ups after a great revival finding the people have returned to sin and idolatry – He was faithful in His time with what God put in front of Him to do.  He was in the line of many who responded to God and left the results up to God.  God is faithful to keep coming after His people.

Use the slides for The Story, Our Story and My Story

Jesus is coming.

B.            Look

1.             The temple theology

a)             Use slide here.

2.             Israel was the representation of God to the nations.

a)             Rebuilt to Represent – Outside to inside – rebuild the place to capture the heart but the heart keeps straying from God.

b)             Nehemiah is working to “turn this broken city into a light for the nations again.”

c)              Rebuilding the walls signifies this is a city again.


3.             Jerusalem was the place from God’s favor (blessings) to all nations was to come from.

a)             A walled city was protected from enemies, but it also meant it was a place to enter and find relief, restoration and redemption. Use slide of Jerusalem.

b)             The deeper issue in Jerusalem is the heart of its people.

(1)            Our story will cover external, physical issues and social renewal.

(2)            But we will also see that there is an inward, spiritual issue and covenant renewal at the heart of this restoration.

c)              Jerusalem was meant to be this the light in the darkness and expression of God’s rich mercy and grace through a people for the world to see God.

Eric Mason – “God’s people are redeemed to represent. “Redeemed” means “bought back.” he saves us, and then he anoints us to represent him….the mission of God through his people is rooted in our identity in him.”

C.            Took

1.             Jesus makes this an inside out job – it is always a heart issue.

a)             The heart of the issue is the heart.

b)             Jeremiah 31:33-34


33-34 “This is the brand-new covenant that I will make with Israel when the time comes. I will put my law within them—write it on their hearts! —and be their God. And they will be my people. They will no longer go around setting up schools to teach each other about God. They’ll know me firsthand, the dull and the bright, the smart and the slow. I’ll wipe the slate clean for each of them. I’ll forget they ever sinned!” God’s Decree.

c)              Ezekiel 36:24-28


24-28 “‘For here’s what I’m going to do: I’m going to take you out of these countries, gather you from all over, and bring you back to your own land. I’ll pour pure water over you and scrub you clean. I’ll give you a new heart, put a new spirit in you. I’ll remove the stone heart from your body and replace it with a heart that’s God-willed, not self-willed. I’ll put my Spirit in you and make it possible for you to do what I tell you and live by my commands. You’ll once again live in the land I gave your ancestors. You’ll be my people! I’ll be your God!

d)             II Corinthians 5:17-20


16 From now on, therefore, we regard no one according to the flesh. Even though we once regarded Christ according to the flesh, we regard him thus no longer. 17 Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. [b] The old has passed away; behold, the new has come. 18 All this is from God, who through Christ reconciled us to himself and gave us the ministry of reconciliation; 19 that is, in Christ God was reconciling[c] the world to himself, not counting their trespasses against them, and entrusting to us the message of reconciliation. 20 Therefore, we are ambassadors for Christ, God making his appeal through us. We implore you on behalf of Christ, be reconciled to God. 21 For our sake he made him to be sin who knew no sin, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.



16-20 Because of this decision we don’t evaluate people by what they have or how they look. We looked at the Messiah that way once and got it all wrong, as you know. We certainly don’t look at him that way anymore. Now we look inside, and what we see is that anyone united with the Messiah gets a fresh start, is created new. The old life is gone; a new life emerges! Look at it! All this comes from the God who settled the relationship between us and him, and then called us to settle our relationships with each other. God put the world square with himself through the Messiah, giving the world a fresh start by offering forgiveness of sins. God has given us the task of telling everyone what he is doing. We’re Christ’s representatives. God uses us to persuade men and women to drop their differences and enter into God’s work of making things right between them. We’re speaking for Christ himself now: Become friends with God; he’s already a friend with you.

e)             In Christ, we are rebuilt to represent.

(1)            It is in Jesus, our union with Christ that our hearts are changed, and we are knowing God and know his people and from the inside out live rebuilt to represent.


2.             We are going to find that Nehemiah will be the story of:

a)             Why Does It Matter? Your story connected to Our story reconnected to THE STORY.

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b)             The Middle Voice of Prayer – Where is God initiates and invites you into His plan and your “yes” takes your whole being, but God is working the outcome.

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c)              The people of God have always been for the Life of the World because He is for the Life of the World.

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d)             The Generous Community that the people of God are to be – Hosting, Sharing, Serving and Giving so that they Display the Generous heart of the Father.

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e)             The Power of the Spirit of God upon His people

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III.          Ministry Time

A.            Words from intercessors







IV.         Prayer Requests

A.            Prayer over Youth Group – Missions Team

Here’s some more info about our trip:

“3:18 Ministries in Globe, Arizona serves the people of the San Carlos Apache Reservation. This Reservation is made up of several tribes that were relocated to what was then called “Hell’s 40 Acres” in the late 1800’s due to the poor living conditions that existed there. The story of these tribes is truly tragic, including forced marches and being removed from their tribal lands. Today, nearly half of the 15,000 people that are part of these combined tribes live below the poverty line, and over 30% of the workforce is unemployed.

These are people made in the image of God who need one thing above all else: Hope. Not just any hope, a lasting hope- hope in Christ. On our trip cfYouth students will help with building projects and hosting children and teen programs to help spread the love of Christ.”

V.           Dismissal

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