Burnt Stones (2 of 4)

Burnt Stones (2 of 4)

Sun 25 Jul 2010 AM

There is no believer in Christ who's not called to restore burnt stones. True religion is to visit the widows and the orphans in their affliction, to visit the burnt stones and comfort them. You cannot have a vibrant, vital spirit life and not minister to burnt stones. That is the heart of God - people, ruined cities, burnt stones, devastations of generations. God wants to heal and restore them.

Passionless religion is a curse. It's not Biblical. Conservative, passionless, expressionless religion does not change anything. God wants a fire ignited in our hearts, a fire for the lost, a fire for burnt stones, a fire that's not just come out of human concern and sympathy, a fire that's ignited out of the place of prayer and fasting!

God gives every believer an axe head - it's the anointing of the Holy Ghost. It's your responsibility not to lose the flow of God's power and presence. It's your responsibility to keep that axe head sharp - to learn to listen, hear, and respond-to to the voice of God, to do the things God's showing you to do, wherever it might be. We're all called to be an axe for Jesus Christ.
Audio Transcript
I want to share on burnt stones; Nehemiah 4. And so it happened when Sanballat heard we were rebuilding the wall, he was furious, and very angry, and he mocked the Jews. And then he spoke before his brethren, the army of Samaria, and said: what are these feeble Jews doing? Will they strengthen themselves? Will the offer sacrifices to God? Are they going to complete it in a day? That's too big a task. Will they revive the stones from the heaps of rubbish, stones that are burnt? And so this is a story, or picture, from the days of Nehemiah, when the city of Jerusalem had been overtaken, broken down. The city had been burnt, the people taken out and born into captivity. The city had been destroyed by fire; fire erodes the stones, then they levered them all out. Walls were broken down. It was desolate. It was not a city you could live in any more.

And God intended the city be rebuilt, so here we have a picture; we've got Sanballat, who's a picture of Satan, and Sanballat is mocking the work of God. Sanballat is looking at the city of Jerusalem, he's looking at the plan of God, he's looking at the purpose of God. It is always in the heart of God to go to cities that are ruined. It is always in the heart of God to reach into people whose lives are broken. It is always in the heart of God to build and restore, restore lives, restore marriages, restore families, restore people who've been broken down by the thief that came to destroy. This is the heart of God to restore, and so as Nehemiah arises to go and restore, he faces demonic opposition. The devil doesn't want people restored, he doesn't want your life on course, he doesn't want you fulfilling a purpose and destiny. He wants you to remain in bondage, in defeat with the walls of your life broken down, with your heart full of bitterness and resentment. He wants to come into your life. He wants to burn up everything you have.

But God is able to take burnt stones and raise them up. As we see in this story here, we see the Bible talks about piles of rubbish and burnt stones. Burnt stones are a prophetic picture of people. The Bible uses the word stone to describe people, so a burnt stone is a fire-blackened stone. It is a person who's been through fiery situations, situations of pain, situations of betrayal, situations of injustice; and their life, that once had potential, has now been blackened by the fire that they've gone through. Their heart has changed. Now instead of there being love and kindness, there's anger and hurt and injustice. There's bitterness, there's fear, there's conflict and turmoil. Burnt stones lying in a pile of rubbish, but God has a heart to reach into the piles of rubbish that are in our city, and to find stones and restore them! This is what our God is like. This is why Jesus came into this world. He came into a world full of rubbish, full of burnt stones, that He might raise them up and heal them and restore them, and position them into their place of destiny, and put them in a place they could be useful to God, useful to the purpose of God.

A burnt stone is someone who's saying in their heart: I don't think God could ever use me again. My life is in ruins. I feel stripped of everything. A burnt stone is someone who's been displaced out of the place and call of God. A burnt stone is someone who's saying: I don't think I could ever trust again, I don't think I could ever love again, I don't think I could ever reach out again. I don't think I could ever be used by God again. That's a burnt stone, and God sends Nehemiah to find the burnt stones, and to pick them up and restore them, and put them back in place. God wants to do it to your life, and to the friends around you, to your family. He wants to do it in our community. Our city is full of burnt stones. You don't have to walk far to see them, lives that have been shattered by abuse and alcohol, and God is wanting to raise them up. God is wanting to restore them, and He uses a man called Nehemiah.

Sermon Notes
Keywords: compassion, comfort, Holy Spirit, grieved, trust issues, loneliness, Jerusalem, love, Nehemiah, ask questions, get involved, passion, passionate, conservative, fire of god, alive in god, serving passionately, prayer, fasting, builders, restoration, made the iron float, steward, battle-axe, religiosity, admit the problem, willing to go back, unforgiveness, resentment, bitterness, anger, disappointment, injustice, faith, supernatural