OceanSide church of Christ
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HOW TO HAVE SUCCESS (1)
Victor M. Eskew
A. Success is defined as “the favorable or prosperous termination of attempts or endeavors.”
B. Individuals desire success. Families long for success. Businesses enter the market in order to be successful. Churches, too, should aim for success.
C. Occasionally, success seems to come regardless of what one is doing. Most of the time, however, success comes from a combination of things.
1. Question: What are those things?
2. The book of Nehemiah helps us to see some of the elements of success.
a. At the start of the book, Nehemiah learns that the city of Jerusalem is in shambles (Neh. 1:3).
And they said unto me, The remnant that are left of the captivity there in the province are in great affliction and reproach: the wall of Jerusalem also is broken down, and the gates thereof are burned with fire.
b. After Nehemiah’s arrival in Jerusalem, it took only 52 days to rebuild the walls of the city (Neh. 6:15).
So the wall was finished in the twenty and fifth day of the month Elul, in fifty and two days.
I. CONCERNED LEADERSHIP
A. Nehemiah’s reaction to the bad news concerning Jerusalem (Neh. 1:4).
And it came to pass, when I heard these words, that I sat down and wept, and mourned certain days, and fasted, and prayed before the God of heaven.
1. Here was a leader who expressed concern over a troubling situation.
2. His concern led him to tears, fasting, and prayer.
3. His concern also led him to other actions that we will mention later.
B. Concern: the three key components
1. To be related to
a. Elderships are definitely connected to the church.
b. They are the bishops, overseers, pastors, and shepherds (Acts 20:28; I Pet. 1:1-2).
Take heed therefore unto yourselves, and to all the flock, over the which the Holy Ghost hath made you overseers, to feed the church of God, which he hath purchased with his own blood.
2. Interest and importance to
a. The local congregation should be of great interest to the elders.
b. One reason for their concern is because they will give an account of every member (Heb. 13:17).
Obey them that have the rule over you, and submit yourselves: for they watch for your souls, as they that must give account, that they may do it with joy, and not with grief: for that is unprofitable for you.
3. Troubles, worries, and disquieted spirits over problems
a. When things are not well in the church, the leader should be bothered by the problems.
b. Paul was deeply concerned for all of the churches he had established (II Cor. 11:28).
Beside those things that are without, that which cometh upon me daily, the care of all the churches.
II. CONFESSION OF SINS
A. When Nehemiah went to God in prayer, he knew Israel had not been obedient to God. Thus, he confessed their sins (Neh. 1:6).
Let thine ear now be attentive, and thine eyes open, that thou mayest hear the prayer of thy servant, which I pray before thee now, day and night, for the children of Israel thy servants, and confess the sins of the children of Israel, which we have sinned against thee: both I and my father’s house have sinned.
1. Israel’s sins were what we might call “major” sins: idolatry, immorality, and leaguing with foreign nations.
2. Because of their sins, God had taken them into Babylonian captivity.
3. Having emerged from captivity, the children of Israel were still sluggish and indolent, sins as well.
B. Sin separates from God (Isa. 59:2).
But your iniquities have separated between you and your God, and your sins have hid his face from you, that he will not hear.
1. Success can only come when God is with us. Jesus said: …for without me ye can do nothing (John 15:5).
2. If we have sinned, we need to repent of our sins and confess them unto God in order to be in a right relationship with Him (Acts 8:22; I John 1:9).
If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteouesness.
3. When we go back to Nehemiah 1:6, we see that the sins fall into three categories:
a. The entire congregation
b. The sins of the individual ALL NEED TO CONFESS
c. The sins of the family
III. CONSENT TO RISKS
A. Nehemiah was not near Jerusalem when he received the news about the city. He was a cupbearer for the Persian king Artaxerxes. To go to Jerusalem, he would have to ask permission from the king. This would involve a risk.
B. Nehemiah took the risk (Neh. 2:5).
And I said unto the king, If it please the king, and if thy servant have found favor in thy sight, that thou wouldest send me unto Jerusalem, unto the city of my father’s sepulcher, that I may rebuild it.
C. If we are going to be successful, we, too, must take some risks.
1. You have started by bringing me onboard.
2. We will have to risk spending money.
3. We will have to risk having new programs.
4. We will have to risk changing old programs.
5. We will have to risk rejection and criticism.
D. Nehemiah’s risks were rewarded.
1. The king gave him leave.
2. The king gave him letters for safe travel.
3. The king gave him timbers to assist his building efforts.
IV. CONDUCT A SURVEY OF THE SITUATION
A. Nehemiah 2:12-15, esp. v. 15
Then went I up in the night by the brook, and viewed the wall, and turned back, and entered by the gate of the valley, and so returned.
1. Nehemiah wanted to know exactly what had to be done.
2. To develop a plan, he needed to know the real situation.
3. Leaders must know more than their followers.
B. Leaders need to be constantly assessing the situation of the congregations.
1. The teaching in both classrooms and from the pulpit
2. The programs
3. The lives of the members
C. Once an assessment has been made, a plan of action can be constructed (See Neh. 2:17).
A. Success needs to be our focus.
1. Concerned leadership
2. Confession of sins
3. Consent to risks
4. Conduct a survey of the situation
B. There are several more principles to apply from the book of Nehemiah. We will study these in a second lesson.