Nehemiah 7 pt 3                         Uniformity

Because I work a lot with athletes my examples are about the world of professional sport and sports people however these examples and principles can be applied across a vast array of the human condition. I spoke about being guarded and a gate keeper particularly to your spirit or soul. Athletes can be very guarded, not allowing negativity or differing opinions in at times and guarded even down to what they eat and wear in an effort to maintain a regularity normality and  routine. All this so they can maximise the energy they put into achieving a result. I understand and to a degree agree with this guardedness and singularity of focus, however it builds walls against growth. Growth in areas outside of this walled city they build within themselves, growth in new horizons and unexplored lands. They don’t often follow the hint of a glimpse of something extra ordinary seen in the distance of their view, because they are blinkered to achieve perceived success. We need to at times open the gates peel back the blinkers and look to grow.

*** Planning for growth…

7 :4 The city was wide and large, but the people within it were few, and no houses had been rebuilt.

The key to success and strength was increased numbers. The city could not operate as it was supposed to, on a skeleton population. Nehemiah planned for growth. In Ch 11 people actively relocate from the country to the city to partner with Gods plans for the people there. These people sacrifice the security and familiarity of family to partner with Gods work. How I long for some more people who would partner with this small church plant as we try to establish a beach head for Jesus in Peregian.

The people of God at times have an escapist mentality we don’t like the pressures the world exerts on us and so a lot of Christians escape from cities and growing areas to move to quieter places. This in and of it self is not bad but if we are called to be a city on a hill there won’t be many left to light it up, we will all be little lights in the suburbs and the bush. Christians should be placing them selves where they can have the most impact for the gospel. In growing places with multiple opportunities and even large cities with global connections.

Living for Gods glory is meant to be following his will not our wants and desires… 

We also need to be ready to grow and change in our understanding of God and the revelation of his grace to us. we can not constantly dwell in the backwaters of an undeveloped less than robust faith full of platitudes and pity religious moral sayings. We must venture out into the city of diverse beliefs and peoples let go of religion and become people of faith and the word not they traditions of the church and the advice of the priest.

Christianity is NOT a religion; it is the proclamation of the end of religion. Religion is a human activity dedicated to the job of reconciling God to humanity and humanity to itself. The Gospel, however – the Good News of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ, is the astonishing announcement that God has done the whole work of reconciliation without a scrap of human assistance. It is the bizarre proclamation that religion is over – period.       Robert Farrar Capon

*** Following Gods leading…

7: 5 Then my God put it into my heart to assemble the nobles and the officials and the people to be enrolled by genealogy. And I found the book of the genealogy of those who came up at the first,

Nehemiah has been following God all along now at the change of season for his leadership nothing has changed. God puts something on his heart and out of obedience he acts upon it.

Be ready for something different something not of your desire but of Gods leading.

*** Looking back to go forward.

(7 : 6-60 )This list of people is more than a bland census. Here recorded as in Ezra 2 are the names of the people who had uprooted themselves from familiar and secure surroundings in Babylon to follow Gods call.

The message of past christians provides us with a road paved with Faith and Trust in God. They are the great cloud of witnesses who have run this race before us. Heb 12: 1-3 they cheer us on encouraging us to fix our eyes on Jesus. We gain confidence when we know and trust in how God has acted to his people in past generations. We are much the poorer for not studying church history for there is much to spur us on there.

This list in Neh 7 also shows again the great diversity of gifts and trades represented in the people God calls. There is unity in diversity there. We are not meant to be alike and we are supposed to display diverse gifts. We must discern develop and use our gifts to enrich the body of Christ and to glorify Him. (Rom 12:4-8; 1 Cor 12: 4-11; 1 Pet 4:10-11)

The church and many organisations today seem to be calling for uniformity rather than unity. Uniformity is when we think the same act the same and speak or believe the same. some churches call it church culture or the houses flair or any other nonsense that precludes diversity. They seek agreement not robust discussion gathering around themselves like minded people till they are blinkered to change. Socialism is the uniformity of belief and culture. Supposedly for the greater good but it seems good for some and not so good for others they deal with diversity by exclusion and punishment. this doesn’t sound like the church of other organisations does it….

Salvation is not some felicitous state to which we can lift ourselves by our own bootstraps after the contemplation of sufficiently good examples. It is an utterly new creation into which we are brought by our death in Jesus’ death and our resurrection in his. It comes not out of our own best efforts, however well-inspired or successfully pursued, but out of the shipwreck of all human efforts whatsoever.       Robert Farrar Capon

The most dangerous ideas in a society are not the ones being argued, but the ones that are assumed.     C. S. Lewis

Unity, not uniformity, must be our aim. We attain unity only through variety. Differences must be integrated, not annihilated, not absorbed.     Mary Parker Follett

“Christianity is NOT a religion; it is the proclamation of the end of religion. Religion is a human activity dedicated to the job of reconciling God to humanity and humanity to itself. The Gospel, however - the Good News of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ, is the astonishing announcement that God has done the whole work of reconciliation without a scrap of human assistance. It is the bizarre proclamation that religion is over - period.

Robert Farrar Capon”