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The Evidences & Causes of Spiritual Apathy
Recently in my own personal devotions I was reading through the book of Haggai the prophet and as I did so I was reminded of how relevant his message is for the Church today. Although directed to Godís people some 2,5000 years ago and intended to address a specific situation at that time, Haggaiís message is nevertheless timeless in its relevance because the spiritual issues and problems that he had to deal with in his day tend to recur in every generation of the Church. And so I decided to endeavour to preach a short series of sermons on this book.
Haggai is one of the shortest books of the Bible and is included in that body of Biblical literature that is known as the Minor Prophets. He is one of the prophets of the Restoration, the other two being Zechariah and Malachi and what we mean by that is he ministered to the people of God after their return from exile in Babylon. As such he was one of the last prophetic voices to be heard before the coming of Christ. Unlike most of the prophets Haggai had the joy of seeing his ministry produce positive results among the people of God. There was a great spiritual awakening, a spiritual revival under his ministry and that being the case it is an encouraging book to study. It shows us what can happen when Godís Word is faithfully preached and when Godís Spirit begins to work in the hearts of Godís people.
It is my prayer that as we study this book together God the Holy Spirit will work in each of our hearts as he worked in the hearts of the people in Haggaiís day and that He will both challenge us and more importantly change us in those areas of our lives where change is needed.
The two themes that predominate the message of this book are Spiritual Apathy and Spiritual Awakening and that being the case I propose to look first of all at the subject of Spiritual Apathy. We will consider The Evidences, The Causes, the Consequences and The Cure to Spiritual Apathy. Having done that we will then consider the subject of Spiritual Awakening and as we do so we will look at its causes, its evidences and its results.
Lets begin our study then by considering
The Evidences of Spiritual Apathy
Haggai was sent by God to minister to a people who had fallen into a state of Spiritual apathy. What were some of the signs, what were the evidences that such was the spiritual state of the people at that time?
Well the first evidence was that
1) Godís Work Was Being Neglected:
Now in order to see this we need to understand something of the historical context of Haggaiís message. In 586 B.C. Nebuchadnezzar invaded and overthrew Jerusalem. The city was raised to the ground and the temple was completely destroyed. Godís people were taken into Babylon as captives and there they remained for seventy years. The exile was Godís judgement upon the people for their sins. It was a time of great sorrow for Godís people. A time when they felt cut off from God and could no longer worship him as they had formerly done. Their mood is summed up in Psalm 137 ďBy the rivers of Babylon we sat and wept, when we remembered Zion. There on the poplars we hung our harps, for there our captors asked us for songsÖthey said ďsing us one of the songs of ZionĒ How can we sing the songs of the Lord while in a foreign
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