A Clean Heart for a New Start

Bible Book: Nehemiah  4 : 1-23
Subject: Heart, Clean; Renewal; New Year; Growth, Spiritual

God had chastised Israel for her sins. The Jews spent 70 years in captivity in Babylon. God had promised He would bring them back to their Promised Land after the 70 years. The chastisement was over and God was now bringing His people back home as He had promised. Nehemiah was on a mission. He was to rebuild the walls around the city of Jerusalem. They were starting over, a new beginning for the people of God. We are about to start a new year. There are lessons from Nehemiah that we can apply to our lives to be spiritually successful in the New Year.


A. ANGER OF THE ENEMY. (4:1, 6-7)

Satan and the world are no friends to the Christian. Satan doesn't want Christians to be spiritually strong and effective witnesses for God. The devil becomes angry with Christians who are being used and blessed by God. Satan will use anyone he can to attack God's people. In the case of Nehemiah, the adversaries were Sanballat, Tobiah, and others.

God had chastised Israel for her sins. The Jews spent 70 years in captivity in Babylon. God had promised He would bring them back to their Promised Land after the 70 years. The decree to rebuild the Temple was given to Ezra, the priest, by the king of Persia. (Ezra 1:1-11) The priest Ezra had returned to Jerusalem first to rebuild the Temple.

King Artaxerxes gave Nehemiah the permission to go to Jerusalem and rebuild the wall. The enemies of Israel opposed the work of God.

Wiersbe: "Opposition is not only evidence that God is blessing, but it is also an opportunity for us to grow. The difficulties that came to the work brought out the best in Nehemiah and his people."


Nehemiah described different attempts of the enemy to stop them from rebuilding the wall. The enemy used ridicule, (4:1-6) discouragement, (4:10) fear, (4:11-23) slander, (6:5-9) and threats (6:10-16) just to name a few.

As Christians, we must put on the whole armor of God. (Eph. 6:13-17) The devil is firing his flaming darts at us. He tries to intimidate us and discourage us from doing God's work. We are to "Resist the devil" and he will flee from us. (James 4:7)

We must remember the words of Paul in Ephesians 6:11: "Put on the whole armor of God, that ye may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil."

Someone has said: "Building and battling are both a normal part of the Christian life if we are faithful disciples “(Luke 14:28-33). We must stay on guard against our adversaries.



The wall and the city had suffered destruction by the Babylonians. The wall was broken down and its gates were burned with fire. (Neh. 1:2-3) The city walls had lain in ruin for over 70 years. The rubbish was a burden and hindrance to rebuilding the walls.

We can allow rubbish to build up in our lives. Unless we are willing to deal with the rubbish we had in our lives during 2014, we will only bring that rubbish over into the New Year.

What are some of the rubbish in your life this morning?

The rubbish can be fear, guilt, bitterness, unforgiveness, worry and anxiety or jealousy. You may be harboring sin in your life this morning that you have not repented of and confessed to God. Rubbish affects your relationship with Jesus Christ. Rubbish promotes wrong attitudes and sinful behavior. It hurts your testimony and robs you of your God given potential.


On arriving in Jerusalem, Nehemiah examined the ruins of the wall at night. (Neh. 2:12-14)

Rubbish had to be removed before they could build the walls on a solid foundation. It was a great undertaking to clear all the rubbish away so they could start rebuilding the walls.

We need to get rid of the rubbish in our lives today, or we will carry it with us throughout the New Year.

We as believers can allow rubbish in our lives. If we allow rubbish to build up and remain, we will never become what God desires for us. Rubbish destroys our witness, hinders the work of God, robs us of the joy of our salvation, and brings reproach on the name of the Lord. The first step in removing the rubbish from our lives is to recognize the rubbish to be sin.

Only you and God know the rubbish you have in your life. Don't be deceived and make the mistake of ignoring the sin in your life. Confess it to God. Nothing the world or the devil offers you is worth the loss of a broken relationship with the Lord.


Many people make New Year resolutions. Whatever resolutions we may make, they are only good if we keep them. Nehemiah and the Jews resolved that they would rebuild the walls of Jerusalem. We can learn from our Scripture several things to apply in our lives during this coming year to make us stronger Christians. Steadfastness is essential for us to have spiritual victories.


1. Committed in prayer to God. (v. 9) "we made our prayer unto our God"

2. Continuous watching for the enemy. (v. 9) "set a watch against them"

3. Confident in the presence of God. (v. 14, 20) "Our God shall fight for us."

4. Continued in the work of God. (v. 6, 15) "people had a mind to work"

5. Courage in the face of danger. (v.16-21)

B. THEIR SUCCESS. (Neh. 6:15-16)

The Jews finished the wall in 52 days. This was an unbelievable accomplishment under such dire circumstances. The people succeeded. God had assigned Nehemiah and the people a task beyond themselves. With faith in God and a willingness to work, they completed the wall.


1. As Christians, we live in a hostile environment to our faith. We have many adversaries.

2. Our greatest threat comes from ourselves. We must not allow the rubbish of sin to remain in our lives.

3. God saved us with the potential to grow us into spiritual giants. Sin prevents our spiritual growth.

4. You must put aside the rubbish of the past and have the resolve to be all God intended for you to be.

5. If you are not saved, start the New Year by experiencing the new birth. Place your faith in Jesus Christ as your Savior.