Lately, it seems like the cultural erosion has turned into a mudslide, and tolerance is the new litmus test for spiritual validation. And with so much being sacrificed on the altar of political correctness, what are we to do as Christian leaders? The answer I believe is found in a quote regarding Nehemiah and the great challenges he faced. The odds were not in his favor and the challenges were great; however, he was empowered by God in the midst of difficulty to accomplish the work. In his comments regarding Nehemiah chapter 3, Warren Wiersbe says this:
“The word “built” is used six times in Nehemiah 3 and means “rebuilt”. George Morrison (Morning Sermons, p. 249) reminds us “that for this restoration no new material was needed. In the debris of the ruined masonry lay all the material required…and it seems to me that is always so when the walls of Zion are rebuilt”. It is not by inventing clever new things that we take away the church’s reproach, but by going back to the old truths that made the church great in ages past. They lie like stones in the dust, waiting for some burdened Nehemiah to recover them and use them.”
Are you a “burdened Nehemiah”? I know many of us are. We’ve prayed. We’ve wept. We’ve conferenced. We’ve paced the floor. We’ve adjusted church by-laws. We’ve lobbied…and much more. Now it’s time to get to work rebuilding. And as we do, I believe there are three things we need to be confident in articulating:
- A High View of God – like Nehemiah, our approach and narrative should be true to the sovereign holy nature of Almighty God. It’s time to speak of God in the way we’re called to. He’s not some cosmic buddy that needs flippant, hipster descriptions to gain acceptance. He’s the One who spoke the universe into being. He’s the One who will have the last word. He’s the One who is righteous, but still made a way for us to know Him. He’s God, we’re not, and an accurate sharing of the gospel tells the whole story, not just the easily-received parts.
- The Authority of Scripture – we need to be “People of the Book”. Stories, illustrations, etc., can be helpful, but we must be anchored to the scripture itself, not a loose adaptation. We’ve got to stand flat-footed and say, “The Bible says…”, and speak of its authority. Yes, dialogue can follow and cordial debate can often be productive, but at the end of the conversation, it may come down to standing on a biblical principle simply because that’s what the Word says…and that’s enough.
- A Willingness to Define Good – the concept of “good” is often considered relative, but when it comes to moral issues, we must be willing to define “good”. Yes, there will be those who will feel judged, and will accuse us of having all sorts of reprehensible characteristics, but we cannot let the bullies set the agenda. We cannot forfeit truth for peace, because in the end we’ll have neither.
It’s my sincere prayer that we join together and re-build. It doesn’t matter if you’re wearing a suit or a t-shirt on your given platform this Sunday…preach the Word! Be bold and courageous, for our God is mighty to save!