Sun, Feb 24, 2013 at 5:00am to Sat, Mar 2 at 11:00pm MST

Study Passage

Nehemiah 4:1-23 ESV

Now when Sanballat heard that we were building the wall, he was angry and greatly enraged, and he jeered at the Jews. And he said in the presence of his brothers and of the army of Samaria, "What are these feeble Jews doing? Will they restore it for themselves? Will they sacrifice? Will they finish up in a day? Will they revive the stones out of the heaps of rubbish, and burned ones at that?" Tobiah the Ammonite was beside him, and he said, "Yes, what they are building—if a fox goes up on it he will break down their stone wall!" Hear, O our God, for we are despised. Turn back their taunt on their own heads and give them up to be plundered in a land where they are captives. Do not cover their guilt, and let not their sin be blotted out from your sight, for they have provoked you to anger in the presence of the builders. So we built the wall. And all the wall was joined together to half its height, for the people had a mind to work. But when Sanballat and Tobiah and the Arabs and the Ammonites and the Ashdodites heard that the repairing of the walls of Jerusalem was going forward and that the breaches were beginning to be closed, they were very angry. And they all plotted together to come and fight against Jerusalem and to cause confusion in it. And we prayed to our God and set a guard as a protection against them day and night. In Judah it was said, "The strength of those who bear the burdens is failing. There is too much rubble. By ourselves we will not be able to rebuild the wall." And our enemies said, "They will not know or see till we come among them and kill them and stop the work." At that time the Jews who lived near them came from all directions and said to us ten times, "You must return to us." So in the lowest parts of the space behind the wall, in open places, I stationed the people by their clans, with their swords, their spears, and their bows. And I looked and arose and said to the nobles and to the officials and to the rest of the people, "Do not be afraid of them. Remember the Lord, who is great and awesome, and fight for your brothers, your sons, your daughters, your wives, and your homes." When our enemies heard that it was known to us and that God had frustrated their plan, we all returned to the wall, each to his work. From that day on, half of my servants worked on construction, and half held the spears, shields, bows, and coats of mail. And the leaders stood behind the whole house of Judah, who were building on the wall. Those who carried burdens were loaded in such a way that each labored on the work with one hand and held his weapon with the other. And each of the builders had his sword strapped at his side while he built. The man who sounded the trumpet was beside me. And I said to the nobles and to the officials and to the rest of the people, "The work is great and widely spread, and we are separated on the wall, far from one another. In the place where you hear the sound of the trumpet, rally to us there. Our God will fight for us." So we labored at the work, and half of them held the spears from the break of dawn until the stars came out. I also said to the people at that time, "Let every man and his servant pass the night within Jerusalem, that they may be a guard for us by night and may labor by day." So neither I nor my brothers nor my servants nor the men of the guard who followed me, none of us took off our clothes; each kept his weapon at his right hand.

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Introduction:

What is Satan’s most effective scheme against you? Is it Pride, Anger, Envy, Lust, Greed, Gluttony or Laziness? NO…Discouragement, resulting from Opposition! Have you felt like giving up lately? How do you press on beyond those quitting points?

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Study Passage

2 Corinthians 4:7-9 ESV

But we have this treasure in jars of clay, to show that the surpassing power belongs to God and not to us. We are afflicted in every way, but not crushed; perplexed, but not driven to despair; persecuted, but not forsaken; struck down, but not destroyed;

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The Tactics of Opposition:

Eph6:10-12; 1Pet5:8 1ST TACTIC: Criticism (vv1-3) Humiliate 2nd TACTIC: Life Threatened (vv6-8) Intimidate 3rd TACTIC: Gossip (vv11-12) Exaggerate

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The Effects of Opposition:

vv10-11 The Effect: Discouragement Pro15:13, 18:14; Ps42:11 When does this usually occur? Halfway through because of misplaced hope v6; Pro13:12

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The Right Response to Opposition:

(What do you do when you’re under attack?) 1) Recalibrate your ID in Christ through Prayer. vv4, 9; Gal1:10 2) Reinforce your weak points & establish a rallying point. vv13, 17, 20; Heb3:12-13 3) Refuse to retaliate but take appropriate actions to protect yourself & others from harm. V4; Rom12:17-21; vv9, 16-23 4) Remember the Lord who is Great & Awesome. V14; 1John4:4

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Closing Passage:

Joshua 1:9 ESV

Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be frightened, and do not be dismayed, for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go."

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Growing Notes (1)

How is the genuineness of a person’s faith & commitment to Christ tested through opposition? How can opposition lead to discouragement & why do you think it’s one of Satan’s more effective schemes? What does Paul say is the key to his dealing successfully with opposition (2Cor4:7-9)?

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1a

2 Corinthians 4:7-9 ESV

But we have this treasure in jars of clay, to show that the surpassing power belongs to God and not to us. We are afflicted in every way, but not crushed; perplexed, but not driven to despair; persecuted, but not forsaken; struck down, but not destroyed;

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Growing Notes (2)

Read Nehemiah 4:1-23. What stands out to you from this text? What are the three tactics of opposition used against Nehemiah’s efforts to rebuild? Behind the scenes aggravating the flesh & blood evil (society/sinful nature) is something that is not flesh and blood (Eph6:10-12; 1Pet5:8). Explain.

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2a

Ephesians 6:10-12 ESV

Finally, be strong in the Lord and in the strength of his might. Put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the schemes of the devil. For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the cosmic powers over this present darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places.

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2b

1 Peter 5:8 ESV

Be sober-minded; be watchful. Your adversary the devil prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour.

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Growing Notes (3)

The effects of opposition are discouragement. How would you define discouragement (Pro15:13, 18:14; Ps42:11)? When does discouragement most likely happen (v6; Pro13:12) & what four things does discouragement cause us to lose (vv10-11)?

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3a

Proverbs 15:13 ESV

A glad heart makes a cheerful face, but by sorrow of heart the spirit is crushed.

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3b

Proverbs 18:14 ESV

A man's spirit will endure sickness, but a crushed spirit who can bear?

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3c

Psalm 42:11 ESV

Why are you cast down, O my soul, and why are you in turmoil within me? Hope in God; for I shall again praise him, my salvation and my God.

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3d

Proverbs 13:12 ESV

Hope deferred makes the heart sick, but a desire fulfilled is a tree of life.

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Growing Notes (4)

How does recalibrating your identity in Christ through prayer help to deal with criticism (vv4, 9)? Since there are physical, emotional & spiritual aspects to our discouragement, what does it mean to reinforce your weak points (v13)? What would a rallying point (v20) look like in our modern age (Heb3:12-13)?

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4a

Hebrews 3:12-13 ESV

Take care, brothers, lest there be in any of you an evil, unbelieving heart, leading you to fall away from the living God. But exhort one another every day, as long as it is called "today," that none of you may be hardened by the deceitfulness of sin.

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Growing Notes (5)

Why should we refuse to retaliate but take appropriate actions to protect our self & others from harm (V4; Rom12:17-21; vv9, 16-23)? Why do you think the ultimate cause of discouragement is unbelief (V14; Josh1:9; 1Jn4:4)? Pray that dbers have courage!

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5a

Romans 12:17-21 ESV

Repay no one evil for evil, but give thought to do what is honorable in the sight of all. If possible, so far as it depends on you, live peaceably with all. Beloved, never avenge yourselves, but leave it to the wrath of God, for it is written, "Vengeance is mine, I will repay, says the Lord." To the contrary, "if your enemy is hungry, feed him; if he is thirsty, give him something to drink; for by so doing you will heap burning coals on his head." Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.

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5b

Joshua 1:9 ESV

Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be frightened, and do not be dismayed, for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go."

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5c

1 John 4:4 ESV

Little children, you are from God and have overcome them, for he who is in you is greater than he who is in the world.

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