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The causes of Spiritual Apathy

(121)

Sermon shared by Robert Robb

January 2001
Summary: Identifying the causes of Spiritual apathy in Haggaiís day and in our own.
Denomination: Presbyterian/Reformed
Audience: Believer adults
Sermon:
Studies in The Book of Haggai
Study 2

The Causes and Consequences of Spiritual Apathy

Introduction

Last week we began to study together one of the less familiar books of the Bible, Haggai, one of the minor prophets. We saw that Haggai ministered to the people who had returned to Jerusalem after 70 years exile in Babylon and the main problem that he addressed in his ministry was that of the peopleís Spiritual apathy towards the work of the Lord. The specific work that Haggai had in mind was the work of rebuilding the temple of the Lord in Jerusalem which had been destroyed by the Babylonian armies under the leadership of king Nebuchadnezar. When Babylon itself was eventually overthrown by the Persians, their king, Cyrus, gave permission to the Jews to return to Jerusalem giving them specific instructions to rebuild the temple of the Lord. That was in 539BC. However some 18 years later the temple still wasnít finished. In fact after an initial burst of enthusiastic work by the people of God during which time the temple area was cleared of the rubble, the altar was rebuilt and the sacrificial system of worship restored and the foundations of the temple laid, the work on the rebuilding of the temple came to a halt. Although the people met with opposition to their rebuilding project, the local Samaritans doing all that they could to stop them, the real reason why the building work came to a standstill was because the people of God had drifted into a state of spiritual apathy. They lost the initial vision and enthusiasm for the work. With the passage of time they got used to worshipping God amidst the rubble of the unfinished temple and succeeded in salving their conscience with regards to their neglect of the work by making what seemed to be a very plausible excuse for not continuing with the rebuilding project Ė ďThe time has not yet come for the Lordís house to be built.Ē Itís not that we are against rebuilding the Lordís house, no not at all, its just that we donít think that now is the right time to do it.

And looking at this situation last week we identified three evidences, three symptoms of Spiritual Apathy Ė Godís Work is neglected; Godís people are Contented; Godís People make excuses for not doing what God wants them to do.

Having looked last week at the evidences of Spiritual Apathy we want this week to consider

The Causes of Spiritual Apathy:

What were some of the underlying causes of this spirit of indifference, this spirit of apathy towards the Lordís Work, the work of rebuilding the temple, that prevailed among the people in Haggaiís day? Well I think we can identify three causes.

First of all the people were overcome with a spirit of

1 Self-Centrednesss:

The people had tried to justify the fact that for over 16 years they hadnít been applying themselves to the work to which God had called them, the work of rebuilding the temple, by saying ĎIt isnít the right time for the Lordís house to be built. Well, through the prophet Haggai, God, with unsparing hands, tears away this thin flimsy veneer of an excuse with which they had tried to cover over their spiritual apathy and exposes the ugly reality of the self-centred disposition that lay beneath that veneer. V4 ďIs it a time for you yourselves to be living in your panelled houses while this house remains a ruin?Ē and again in v9 ďmy house remains
Comments and Shared Ideas
Mehboob Alam
September 29, 2006
Your sermons are like a class to me. I learn alot from these sermons. I am in my last semester. I accomplihed what i wanted by the grace of God. Keep me in your prayers.

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