Temple Baptist Church - 10-5-2008
A. I want to give a quick history of what has led up to the Book of Haggai:
1. In 597-586 BC the Babylonians destroyed the Temple in Jerusalem and took the Jews captive because of the continual idolatry and disobedience of Israel.
2. 70 years of captivity in Babylon have now passed and King Cyrus has allowed about 40 to 50 thousand Jews to return to Jerusalem and rebuild the Temple, under the leadership of Zerubbabel and Joshua, the high priest. (The book of Ezra).
3. The Jews faced great opposition from the Samaritans to the rebuilding of the Temple. The Jews became weary of the enemy’s opposition and their zeal began to wane. The excitement wore off. They became distracted.
4. King Artaxerxes “red flagged” the work because of false accusations made against the Jews and work was suspended.
5. The Jews became apathetic towards the business of God and settled down into their comfortable homes for about 15 years with only the foundation of the temple completed.
6. A new king named Darius lifted the interdict that stopped work on the temple. During the 15 years of non-activity, the Jews’ priorities to got misplaced. God raised up Haggai, Zechariah, and Zerubbabel in order to motivate the people to get their priorities in order and get back to rebuilding the temple. Neglect of God’s Temple equaled the neglect of God Himself
B. I preached last week on the subject “He’s Coming!” I want to continue that train of thought this morning in light of what is happening in both our nation and the world today.
1. The World Is Shaking
a) God Will Shake Nature – vs. 6 Romans 8:22 For we know that the whole creation groaneth and travaileth in pain together until now.
b) God Will Shake Nations – vs. 7 Luke 21:26 Men’s hearts failing them for fear, and for looking after those things which are coming on the earth: for the powers of heaven shall be shaken.
2. The Saints Are Shaking - 2 Thessalonians 2:1-2 Now we beseech you, brethren, by the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, and [by] our gathering together unto him, 2 That ye be not soon shaken in mind, or be troubled, neither by spirit, nor by word, nor by letter as from us, as that the day of Christ is at hand.
C. We hear often from the older generation vivid descriptions of the “good old days.” We often joke about our parents having to walk ten miles in 24 inches of snow to go to school, etc. The older I get, the more I reminisce about my childhood days. They were good days! I was raised in the 50’s and 60’s. It was a different time! America will never again see the “good old days” where you could sleep with unlocked windows and doors. It was a time when a man would stand up for a lady and offered her his seat.
D. Thus we find the Israelites in verse 3. Some had seen Solomon’s Temple in all of its gold and glory. Zerubbabel’s Temple was made primarily of mortar and stone. In the eyes of man, it was “nothing” by comparison!
E. Times are changing rapidly in the church house as well as the world!
1. Churches are now empty where once they were full
2. Sinners are no longer being saved as frequently as in days gone by.
3. It is much harder to get invited people to come to church than it once was.
4. The work load is increased because the labourers are few.
5. Old fashioned salvation and sanctification are a thing of the past.
6. People will no longer hear straight preaching as they “heap unto themselves teachers having itching ears.”
F. When you begin to compare the work of the Lord today with years gone by, you can become disheartened and discouraged. We do not always see as God sees! Haggai encouraged the people of the work through the voice of the Holy Spirit in these verses and gave to them some things that apply to the work in our day also.
1. The Presence Of God In The Work – vs. 4 Through it all, the Lord said that He would never leave nor forsake them. He has given us the same promise today in Hebrews 13! Though things may look dark at times, we can take great comfort knowing that the God of our salvation is faithful to His children!
Hebrews 13:5 [Let your] conversation [be] without covetousness; [and be] content with such things as ye have: for he hath said, I will never leave thee, nor forsake thee. (His presence brings contentment for He gives us what He wills.)
2. The Promise Of God In The Work – vs. 5 He told Israel that He would keep His word to them and give them victory! This was the land of His promise. He brought them out of Egypt to give to them the land of Canaan. What He promises, He is fully able to perform. God has promised us victory over the world and we can live within the realm of God’s victory in hard times.
Romans 8:35-39 Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? [shall] tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword? 36 As it is written, For thy sake we are killed all the day long; we are accounted as sheep for the slaughter. 37 Nay, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him that loved us. 38 For I am persuaded, that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor powers, nor things present, nor things to come, 39 Nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature, shall be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord. (The battle is the Lord’s and the victory is already won!)
3. The Power Of God In The Work – vs. 6-7 Notice with me the phrase “I will” found in these verses. The work was done in the power of God, not the power of man. Thus it is with us in this present evil world. We can do nothing without Christ and all things through Him. The work is the Lord’s!
Zechariah 4:6 Then he answered and spake unto me, saying, This [is] the word of the LORD unto Zerubbabel, saying, Not by might, nor by power, but by my spirit, saith the LORD of hosts. (The work is great and it takes the power of a great God to do it. I cannot save souls! I cannot add to the church! I cannot work in the hearts of men! God must do His work or it will not get done.)
4. The Purpose Of God In The Work – vs. 7b God’s purpose was not to fill His house with people, though we want to see a multitude saved and added, but it was to fill His house with His glory! I fear that we have been so numbers conscious that we equate greatness with largeness! Our emphasis here at Temple should be that God is glorified in our worship services and then through our personal testimony which reflects on the church.
1 Corinthians 6:20 For ye are bought with a price: therefore glorify God in your body, and in your spirit, which are God’s.
1 Peter 2:12 Having your conversation honest among the Gentiles: that, whereas they speak against you as evildoers, they may by [your] good works, which they shall behold, glorify God in the day of visitation. (We glorify God in our lives and worship which causes the lost to glorify God.)
5. The Provision Of God In The Work – vs. 8 God provided all that Israel needed to rebuild His house. God will provide for the church in these last days also. I do not have enough money to sustain God’s work; therefore, He must take care of the needs. He uses us to do the work and supplies our every need in the meanwhile.
1 Chronicles 29:14 But who [am] I, and what [is] my people, that we should be able to offer so willingly after this sort? for all things [come] of thee, and of thine own have we given thee.
Psalms 50:10 For every beast of the forest [is] mine, [and] the cattle upon a thousand hills.
Philippians 4:19 But my God shall supply all your need according to his riches in glory by Christ Jesus. (God will take care of God’s business! What God orders, God pays for.)
6. The Peace Of God In The Work – vs. 9 God gave Israel peace in the midst of persecution and problems. God will also give us peace in these last perilous times! Trouble on every hand has cause a great discouragement among God’s people but He will speak sweet peace in these stormy days that lie ahead!
John 14:27 Peace I leave with you, my peace I give unto you: not as the world giveth, give I unto you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid.
Conclusion: We need God’s peace in these last days. He is in control and we are soon going home! Let us be encouraged in the work of the Lord in these last days. It is still a good work and it is still His work!