Sermon Prepared by James McCullen
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Guidelines for the Ministry of Intercession # 1
Nehemiah 1:1-7

1 The words of Nehemiah the son of Hacaliah. Now it happened in the month Chislev, in the twentieth year, while I was in Susa the capitol, 2 that Hanani, one of my brothers, and some men from Judah came; and I asked them concerning the Jews who had escaped and had survived the captivity, and about Jerusalem. 3 They said to me, "The remnant there in the province who survived the captivity are in great distress and reproach, and the wall of Jerusalem is broken down and its gates are burned with fire." 4 When I heard these words, I sat down and wept and mourned for days; and I was fasting and praying before the God of heaven. 5 I said, "I beseech You, O LORD God of heaven, the great and awesome God, who preserves the covenant and lovingkindness for those who love Him and keep His
Commandments, 6 let Your ear now be attentive and Your eyes open to hear the prayer of Your servant which I am praying before You now, day and night, on behalf of the sons of Israel Your servants, confessing the sins of the sons of Israel which we have sinned against You; I and my father's house have sinned. 7 "We have acted very corruptly against You and have not kept the commandments, nor the statutes, nor the ordinances which You commanded Your servant Moses.

Introduction
Intercession can be defined as going to God on someone else's behalf. The word literally means "to push against." As far back as we can go, that was its primary meaning.

In Classical Greek and Hebrew, the word came to mean "to send an official petition to the king or ruler." Intercession is the sending of an official petition to the king to offer a complaint against an enemy's encroachment.
 
 

1. The Guide Line of Concern . . and Intercession. v 2-4


    2 that Hanani, one of my brothers, and some men from Judah came; and I asked them
concerning the Jews who had escaped and had survived the captivity, and about Jerusalem.
3 They said to me, "The remnant there in the province who survived the captivity are in great distress and reproach, and the wall of Jerusalem is broken down and its gates are burned with fire." 4 When I heard these words, I sat down and wept and mourned for days; and I was fasting and praying before the God of heaven.

A.    The . . Discovered Concern. v 2
        ". . . that Hanani, one of my brothers, and some men from Judah came; and I asked them concerning the Jews who had escaped and had survived the captivity, and about Jerusalem.
 

B.    The . . Distressful Concern. v 3
        They said to me, "The remnant there in the province who survived the captivity are in great distress and reproach, and the wall of Jerusalem is broken down and its gates are burned with fire."
 

C.    The . . Directed Concern. v 4
        When I heard these words, I sat down and wept and mourned for days; and I was fasting and praying before the God of heaven.

Illustration
Dale Earnhardt's death greatly changed the scene of the Daytona 500 race last Sunday. The winner was jumping up and down on top of his car until he found out Dale had died in the crash. His rejoicing turned to a concerned weeping.
 

Application

What will it take for you or I to really get seriously concerned about our ministry of interceding for our church, loved ones and our nation and world.
 
 

2. The Guide Line of Covenant . . and Intercession. v 5


    I said, "I beseech You, O LORD God of heaven, the great and awesome God, who preserves
the covenant and lovingkindness for those who love Him and keep His commandments,
 

A.    The . . Preserver of the Covenant. v 5 a
        I said, "I beseech You, O LORD God of heaven, the great and awesome God, who
preserves the covenant and lovingkindness. . . "

B.    The . . Privilege of the Covenant. v 5 b
        ". . . for those who love Him and keep His commandments,

Illustration ACCOUNTABILITY
Married for 16 years and with two great kids, Kurt Stansell seems to have it all together. He has a successful investment counseling business, and he's a founding elder at his church. And he's a
sex addict. Kurt's the first to admit it. For years, Kurt struggled with pornography. It started with magazines, but eventually turned into visits to Triple-X theaters and strip joints. Kurt kept repeating a cycle of guilt and remorse, then prayer and repentance, only to find himself back at it again.

Eventually, Kurt found an accountability partner named Stan. At first, Kurt held back, being less than honest about his problem. But when he finally confessed, telling Stan the whole truth, Kurt immediately felt a weight lifted from his shoulders. He was on the road to victory.

"I began to understand what shame does," Kurt says. "When we Christians try to hide something in the darkness, we give Satan incredible license to work in our lives. So, the more open I could be, the less of a hold Satan seemed to have." Preaching Today

Application

How are you and I doing in Covenant with the Lord.
 
 

3. The Guide Line of Consistency . . and Intercession. v 6 a


    6 let Your ear now be attentive and Your eyes open to hear the prayer of Your servant which I am praying before You now, day and night, on behalf of the sons of Israel Your servants, confessing the sins of the sons of Israel which we have sinned against You; I and my father's house have sinned.

A. Consistency in his . . Full Submission. v 6 a 1
        let Your ear now be attentive and Your eyes open to hear the prayer of Your servant which I
am praying before You now, . . . "

B.    Consistency in his. . Firm Stance.. v 6 a
        ". . . day and night, on behalf of the sons of Israel Your servants,..."

Illustration THE ENCOUNTER
Roger Simms, hitchhiking his way home, would never forget the date -- May 7. His heavy suitcase made Roger tired. He was anxious to take off his army uniform once and for all. Flashing the hitchhiking sign to the oncoming car, he lost hope when he saw it was a black, sleek, new Cadillac. To his surprise the car stopped. The passenger door opened. He ran toward the car, tossed his suitcase in the back, and thanked the handsome, well-dressed man as he slide into the front seat. "Going home for keeps?" "Sure am," Roger responded. "Well, you're in luck if you're going to Chicago." "Not quite that far. Do you live in Chicago?" "I have a business there. My name is Hanover."

After talking about many things, Roger, a Christian, felt a compulsion to witness to thins fifty-ish, apparently successful businessman about Christ. But he kept putting it off, till he realized he was just thirty minutes from his home. It was now or never. So, Roger cleared his throat and said, "Mr. Hanover, I would like to talk to you about something very important." He then proceeded to explain the way to salvation, ultimately asking Mr. Hanover if he would like to receive Christ as his Savior.

To Roger's astonishment the Cadillac pulled over to the side of the road. Roger thought he was going to be ejected from the car. But the businessman bowed his head and received Christ, then he thanked Roger. "This is the greatest thing that has ever happened to me."

Five years went by. Roger was now married, had a two-year-old boy, and a business of his own. Packing his suitcase for a business trip to Chicago, he found the small, white business card Hanover had given him five years before. In Chicago, he looked up Hanover Enterprises. A receptionist told him it was impossible to see Mr. Hanover, but he could see Mrs. Hanover.

A little confused as to what was going on, he was ushered into a lovely office and found himself facing a keen-eyed woman in her fifties. She extended her hand. "You knew my husband?" Roger told how her husband had given him a ride when hitchhiking home after the war. "Can you tell me when that was?"

It was May 7, five years ago, the day I was discharged from the army." "Anything special about that day?" Roger hesitated. Should he mention giving his witness? Since he had come so far, he might as well take the plunge. "Mrs. Hanover, I explained the gospel. He pulled over to the side of the road and wept against the steering wheel. He gave his life to Christ that day." Explosive sobs shook her body. Getting a grip on herself, she sobbed, "I had prayed for my husband's salvation for years. I believed God would save him." "And," said Roger, "where is your husband, Mrs. Hanover?" "He's dead," she wept, struggling with words. "He was in a car crash after he let you out of the car. He never got home. You see -- I thought God had not kept His promise." Sobbing uncontrollably, she added, "I stopped living for God five years ago because I thought He had not kept His word!" Proclaim Magazine Spring 2001

Application

There is a need for Consistency . . In Intercession.
 
 

4.    The Guide Line of Confession . . and Intercession. v 6 b-7



    v 6 b ". . . confessing the sins of the sons of Israel which we have sinned against You; I and my father's house have sinned. 7 "We have acted very corruptly against You and have not kept the commandments, nor the statutes, nor the ordinances which You commanded Your servant Moses.

A.    Confessing . . Personal Sins. v 6 b 1
        ". . . confessing the sins of the sons of Israel which we have sinned against You;

B.    Confessing . . Predecessors Sins. v 6 b 2
        ". . . I and my father's house have sinned. . . . "

C.    Confessing . . Public Sins. v 7
        "We have acted very corruptly against You and have not kept the commandments, nor the
statutes, nor the ordinances which You commanded Your servant Moses.

Illustration Should we confess our predecessors sins?
This paragraph is from a web site found at: http://www.reconciliationwalk.org/

From 1996 to 1999, over 2,500 Western Christians from over 25 different nations came to visit the Middle East carrying a message of forgiveness for the Crusades of 900 years ago. As each group left from the Middle East, they found that their understanding of the region had been radically changed. There is also an increased openness to Christianity.

Another such web site is found at: http://across.co.nz/Reconciliation2.html They have 12 different targets for such Christian Reconciliation Walks including:  I mention some of them.

1. Japanese intercessors traveling to the Asian cities which were devastated by the Imperial Army during World War II.

3. Western American intercessors dealing with Chinese issues centered on Angel Island in the San Francisco Bay. (Equivalent to New York's Ellis Island).

5. United Kingdom issues dealing with England, Wales, N. Ireland, Ireland and Colonial and Imperial woundings.

6. Prayer journeys to the sites where Native Americans were oppressed or massacred.

10. After 1,800 years we again have communities of Messianic Jews so there is an initiative dealing with the first significant split in church history between the Messianic Jewish community and Gentile believers of the 2nd century.

Application

Do we need to confess the sins of the past as well as the sins of the present. Do we need to confess sins of others as well as sins of our own?

Several Old Testament passages indicate we need to do this complete kind of confession.