This teaching by Mrs. Mary Wanjohi and she uses the analogy of the walls of Jerusalem to talk about the walls of our hearts, which are God’s dwelling place.
The condition of our hearts: She mentions Rick Warren’s classification of different types of tongues that reveal different types of hearts, such as fearful, angry, unsettled, guilty, insecure, impure, and bitter. Mrs. Wanjohi compares the situation of Jerusalem in Nehemiah’s time, when the walls were broken down and the people were in trouble and disgrace, to the situation of our hearts when we let sin and negativity destroy the walls of God’s dwelling. She urges us to follow Nehemiah’s example of praying, fasting, breaking barriers, defying opposition, and testifying of God’s faithfulness to rebuild the walls.
The results of restoration: The promise is that when we allow God to rebuild the walls of our hearts, we will experience His presence, His peace, His revelation, His cleansing, His love, His joy, and His restoration Let us ask God to create in us a clean heart and renew a right spirit within us.
When you look at this building, it has walls and our church even has some balcony. So even if the walls down here are removed, this structure will still stand and so are our lives. The walls of our hearts can be removed and we’ll still be working and we’ll still be talking and we’ll still be even praising and giving testimonies, yet the walls of our hearts have been removed. And when I look at it, if these walls were removed, anything can come in and what is inside here can go out. The papers that are here will be blown out, and a basket like that one will be thrown on the floor because there are no walls to prevent the vagaries of the weather from getting inside and dealing with what is within. Again, what is outside, all the rubbish can be blown inside here because there are no walls to stop whatever is outside from coming in. And that is what I want us to share today under the heading ‘Rebuilding the broken walls of God’s dwelling’. God’s dwelling is not this superstructure we have put here, God’s dwelling is in our hearts as we will see later.
But I want to share something that I read on social media that was shared by Rick Warren. On 21st June 2020, that was at the height of Corona, on daily hope, and this is what he said. A person with a negative tongue reveals a fearful heart. A person with a harsh tongue reveals an angry heart. A person with an overreactive tongue reveals an unsettled heart. A person with a judgemental tongue reveals a guilty heart. A person with a boasting tongue reveals an insecure heart. A person with a filthy tongue reveals an impure heart. A person who is critical all the time reveals a bitter heart. That is one side. Then, on the other hand, he says a person who is always encouraging has a grateful heart. A person who speaks gently has a loving heart. A person who speaks truthfully has an honest heart.I classify them as Category A and B. Category A are those with some questionable hearts that have some negative impacts on whoever they come into contact with. And Category B, which has three also has an impact, but a positive impact on whoever we interact with.
And the question he asked was what kind of a heart do you have? It is a question that each one of us should reflect on. The word of God in Matthew 12, verse 34. ‘You brood of snakes, how could evil men like you speak what is good and right? For whatever is in your heart determines what you see.’ I have not called anybody a snake. But what I want to look at keenly is the second part of that scripture for whatever is in your heart determines what you say. When we hold our conversation with somebody what comes out of us is what is in our hearts, what we say, what they hear comes from deep within our hearts. And I want to believe this morning the congregants seated here are born again. And when we got born again, God changed our identity. Because we became something very precious to him and he decided to come and dwell in us, because now we have become His possession, His dwelling place.
And it is for a purpose, He did not just make us or He did not just give us a new identity or make us His dwelling place just for the sake of it. He did it for his own glory. Isaiah 43, verse 7 says ‘Everyone who is called by my name and I believe you are called by his name, whom I have created for my glory. God did not create you for the sake of creating you. God did not put you in this place at a time like now, just for the sake of it. It is for his own glory. Whom I have formed, even whom I have made. You can see God created you with a purpose and the most important or the first purpose is, for His own glory. Second Chronicles chapter 7 verse 14. This is about as we all know. ‘And my people who are called by my name.’ You know, I am trying to pick that where God has given you His name, and when He has given you his name, He makes you his harbor.
And He says, ‘who are called by my name will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways. I’ll hear from heaven and forgive their sins and restore their land.’ Here we find the second part which is to pray. The second purpose is to pray. That is why God created us, that is why God gave us a new identity, that we may pray.
Ephesians Chapter 2 verse 22 says, through him, you Gentiles and we are part of the Gentiles, we are not born Jews, but through Christ even Gentiles came to become heirs with Christ. So even as Gentiles are also being made part of this dwelling where God lives. By his spirit, when Jesus Christ died for us, we Gentiles became part of or became heirs to Christ. That is why the word of God this morning is telling us that we were made part of the dwelling where God lives by His spirit. John Chapter 14 verse 23 says Jesus answered, If anyone really loves me, He will keep my word that is God’s teaching and my father will love him and we will come to him. Who are these who are coming? That is God the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. And make our dwelling place with him. When we love God like we do, God, the Trinity makes his dwelling in our hearts.
1st Corinthians 3 verse 16 asks, this is a question again that is coming to us this morning. Do you not know and understand that you, you Mary Wanjohi, you my brother, my sister, seated this morning in this sanctuary? And you are called the church. The church is not the building structure, the church is us and that is what the church is being asked. Do you not know and understand you the church are the Temple of God? The dwelling place of God, and that the spirit of God dwells permanently in you. Collectively, the way we are here, God dwells in us. Individually, you as a person who made a proclamation and said I want to receive the Lord in my heart. And I thought when we are told that collectively the spirit dwells in us, what it means is what we speak reflects our relationship with each other and it affects those we interact with.
What we speak, that is what the word of God told us in Matthew, what we speak reflects our relationship with each other and how it affects that relationship. Individually as the word of God has put reflects the impact of our relationship with God. Corporately, what we say affects each other, we affect each other. Individually, what we speak affects our relationship with God. And you know what we say has consequences. 1st Corinthians Chapter 6 verse 17 says, ‘if anyone destroys the Temple of God with corrupting it with false doctrine God will destroy the destroyer of the temple of God is holy.’ That is, it is sacred, and that is what you and I are. We are the sacred Temple of God. So when we relate with each other, when we throw words at each other, and those words hurt the other person, we are destroying the Temple of God. And God has said whoever destroys that temple, he will destroy. We’ve been called a destroyer, so we have to be very careful with the words that come from our mouths because we can be called a destroyer.
God does not lie, he has said categorically, that He will destroy the destroyer of His temple. At the point of our salvation, we were all sold out for God. We loved Him, and by His spirit, He dwelled in us. However, along the way, some of us became very comfortable with just being saved. When we meet, praise God, I’m born again, I love the Lord, I am blessed. Those are the kind of testimonies that we give. We are just there. And you know what, what comes from our mouths can put us in one of the two categories. Whether we are hurting people, we are discouraging people. Whatever the words that are coming from our mouth. If we look at them there were quite a number, negative tongue, hash tongue, judgmental tongue, boasting tongue. And a few good ones encouraging, you know, speaking gently, speaking truthfully.
But as I was going through this and as I was preparing, I reflected on why the negativities were so many compared to the good ones. It’s because that is what is found in our midst. One pastor who is a Christian radio presenter said this. ‘The best Hollywood actors can be found in our churches today.’ Those were his words, not mine. And, you know, actors are just acting, that is not their real character. And why is that, because Christians are living double standards. I want to believe those Christians are not in this sanctuary today. They are out there in other churches. There is the real us, as described by Warren and there is the us we portray when we meet other brethren.
Our hearts are fearful, hence full of negativities, talking negatively. We never say anything positive, we never see anything positive, and yet we are believers. We speak ill of everybody and everything. Our hearts could be very angry because of situations we are going through and we quarrel with any person we encounter, harsh tongue. Our hearts couldn’t be unsettled, and we may find ourselves talking a little too much and in the process, we may hurt others. Hurting people, hurt others. Our hearts could be guilty of secret sin. The sin that nobody else knows except you and God, except me and God. And so, because we are living in that sin, we look at others and we think they are worse than us. And so we tell ourselves we are better or we are not as bad and so we feel more comfortable. Our hearts could be insecure for whatever reason, and we find ourselves boasting a lot even of non-existent things. What the Supreme Court judges called hot air, to prove our worth.
If you are worthy, you need not prove that you are worthy. Our hearts could be impure, and we find ourselves talking loosely. Because of what we feed on or we feed our lives with. We are visiting porn sites, watching immoral films, and listening to music that is not pleasing unto the Lord. And it is the garbage that we take in that comes out. According to Matthew, what we’re taking in is what we are going to speak such that when you speak, you will be speaking things that you have taken in, what you have watched, what you have, you know, ingested from all those sites. I had a colleague when he opened his mouth the words that would first come from his mouth were unprintable. And it’s like I wondered why, he cannot see something positive before he utters an unprintable word. It is what he used to feed on. Our hearts could be bitter owing to past hurts, and this may lead to unwarranted criticism of others. And you know what, we become a church without walls. We become the temple without walls, where every filth comes in, whatever is in is blown out. Even the little good that can be there gets blown out. Why, because our heart is open, the walls of our heart are broken.
That is what Proverbs Chapter 25 verse 28 says. ‘Like a city that is broken down and without walls, leaving it unprotected, is a man who has no self-control over his spirit and sets himself up for trouble.’ When we cannot control our hearts by feeding on the good things, by thinking good things, we become like a city with broken-down walls that is not protected. Whatever comes in comes in, whatever good that was there gets blown out and so we are terribly exposed for trouble. What we have talked about are signs of broken hearts that can be equated to the broken walls of Jerusalem during Nehemiah’s time that needed rebuilding. And we are going to look at Nehemiah, chapter 1, verses 1 to 4. These are the memoirs of Nehemiah, son of Hacaliah. ‘In late autumn of the 20th year of King Artaxerxes’s reign, I was at the fortress of Susa. Hanani, one of my brothers came to visit me with some other men who had just arrived from Judah. I asked them about the Jews who had survived the captivity and about how things were going in Jerusalem.
They say to me, things are not going well for those who returned to the province of Judah, are in great trouble and disgrace. And why, It’s because the wall of Jerusalem has been torn down and the gates have been burned. When I heard this, I sat down and wept. In fact, for four days I mourned, fasted, and prayed to the God of heaven.’This city was exposed because the walls had been broken down and the gates had been burned. And I’m looking at this word and comparing Jerusalem with our hearts because our Jerusalem is the dwelling place of God. Our hearts are the dwelling place of God. And to the Jews, Jerusalem was God’s abode. And since the walls were broken down, the people who were there were in great trouble because they were exposed. And so if the walls of our hearts are broken down, then it means we are exposed. And Nehemiah felt that something needed to be done. But before he went to do what he felt or thought needed to be done, he decided to pray and fast, so that God could give him direction.
This morning, I want to ask ourselves. Have the walls of our hearts, God’s dwelling place, been destroyed by outside opposition? That is what we take in or maybe, just maybe. We are the ones who have brought the walls down by what we hold in. Holding grudges, keeping hurts. I remember one time I shared about forgiveness. You know you cannot forgive if what you are holding in your heart about somebody, you have refused to release, it stays there. So you have exposed yourself by holding in negative things and holding people, and so God has no place in your heart because something else has occupied the place where He should be occupying. Once Nehemiah knew what he wanted to do and that was his purpose, to restore the glory of Jerusalem. His first appointment, what the word of God told us that our first purpose for God to create us is for His glory.
So Nehemiah decided he was going to restore the glory of Jerusalem by rebuilding the walls. And so he prayed and God gave him direction. So what are we supposed to do ourselves, to rebuild the broken walls of our hearts? It is prayer and fasting as Nehemiah did. It is to break barriers, when Nehemiah prayed, he went to the king, and he broke the first barrier. He went to the king and requested a favor from the king to allow him to go back and rebuild the walls of Jerusalem and restore the glory of God. So that was the first barrier he broke. When he went there and started rebuilding, go and read the book of Nehemiah, he faced opposition, but that opposition did not stop him from doing what he had purposed to do, so he stood. When you read, you find that when they were rebuilding the walls of Jerusalem, they were building with one hand and the other hand was holding a weapon to face the opposition that was coming. And some of it was even words that were coming from people they knew. So the second barrier was to defy the opposition. We also have that responsibility, to break down the fears that we have.
To break down or to defy the opposition that will stop us from restoring the walls of our hearts. And number three is to testify of God’s faithfulness in the whole process. He believed and he said it in Chapter 2, verse 20, that the God of heaven will give us success. When we assess our lives, when we look at how we relate with people, when we see how our relationship has been with God, has it increased or has it been declining? It is time, after taking stock, we tell God, Father, I know you are faithful and you will give me success in rebuilding the walls that have been broken so that my relationship with my brethren can be renewed, my relationship with you can be renewed. And the results as I conclude, Nehemiah restored the walls of Jerusalem and the morals of the Jewish people in his day. Jesus, our Lord and Savior, is the one who can rebuild the walls of our hearts and thus remake His dwelling place one more time. But you know He will not do it without us letting Him. Our God is and gentleman, He will not force anything on us. Today, if we find ourselves in category A, for any reason, in one or more than one of those categories, God wants to shake the ruins and the ramble in our lives. Will we allow Him to do so, because you must give him permission. You must break the barrier and let him come in.
In Amos 9, verse 11, He says in that day I will raise up the fallen booth of David and wall up its breeches. I will also raise up its ruins and rebuild it as in the days of old. When we got born again, the Lord came and found a dwelling place in our hearts. But as I have said along the way, many things happened. They have affected our relationship with God, they have affected our relationship with each other. The walls have come down, we are exposed. But this morning the Lord is giving us another chance, another opportunity to rebuild those walls. But they can only be rebuilt if we allow the Lord to do it and be restored as in the days of old.In Ezekiel 36 verse 26, He wants to rebuild his dwelling place, His dwelling abode in our hearts are we going to allow him because in Ezekiel He says ‘And I’ll give you a new heart and a new spirit I’ll put within you and I’ll remove the heart of stone from your flesh and give you a heart of flesh where he can dwell one more time.’ He wants to give us peace so that His glory can be reflected in all that we are, in all that we say, and in all that we do. Are we ready for a new beginning? And I’m not saying that we all need to have a new beginning, I am saying, that if we have let the walls of our hearts be broken down, they need a rebuilding. Because God wants to give us peace so that we are able to relate with Him so that we are able to relate with other brethren. In Haggai Chapter 2 verses 7 to 9, says, ‘And that will shake all nations and they shall come to the desire of all nations and that is Jesus Christ, And I will fill this temple with the Glory, says the Lord of hosts.
The silver is mine, the gold is mine, says the Lord of hosts. The glory of this latter Temple shall be greater than the former, says the Lord of hosts. And in this place, I will give peace says the Lord of hosts. Brethren, have you been troubled, have you been feeling like you’ve lost it, have you been feeling, I don’t want to even fellowship with brethren? Every Sunday we are told to join home cells, and every time you are told to come for this meeting or that other meeting but you are not available, Why? The walls of our hearts have been broken down and God does not have a dwelling place anymore. But He wants to revive that situation, He wants to give you a new beginning, He wants to give you peace so that you can become vibrant once more like that one time when you said I want to give my life to Christ. When we allow God to rebuild the walls of our hearts, we shall experience his presence all the time. In Matthew 28, verse 20, the last part He says, ‘and know I will be with you always.’
When God rebuilds the walls of our hearts, when He makes things right one more time, He will be with us. We shall experience His presence and when you experience God’s presence, He reveals things. Jeremiah 33 verse 3, He reveals secret things of the Kingdom that we do not know. You start saying, I did not know this was possible, I did not know that I could experience this kind of peace in the face of storms. You can experience peace in the midst of high storms, why? Because the walls of Jerusalem, the walls of your heart, have been rebuilt and the almighty God has come and given you peace.
Lastly, He will restore true relationships, He will restore what you have lost, and He will restore your joy. Joel Chapter 2 verses 25 to 27, He says, I’ll repay you for the years the locust have eaten. Since you let the enemy come in and bring down the walls, the enemy got in and destroyed. The Lord is saying he’s coming to repay you those years that the locusts have eaten. The great locusts and the young locusts. When you open the walls of your heart, when they are broken down, locusts of all types, of all sizes come into your life and destroy everything.
But when you let the Lord rebuild those walls, it shall be restored in Jesus’ name. It is our choice, it is for us to choose to tell the Lord as David did in Psalm 51 verses 10 to 12. ‘Create in me a clean heart oh God, renew a right spirit within me, do not banish me from your presence, and don’t take your Holy Spirit from me. We are telling the Lord to restore that dwelling place so that the Holy Spirit can come back. He can be guiding us all the time, He can be revealing the secret things of the Kingdom. We will experience peace because we are telling the Lord ‘Create in me a clean heart, give me a new beginning, one more time and the walls will be intact. And consequently, we shall be cleansed from our sins if we have any when we obey the truth. And with sincere love, we will be able to love each other, we will be able to love God. We shall be happy again. We shall experience the joy of salvation.