Summary: This is the 4th sermon in the series "A Time To".
Series: A Time To… (Haggai) [#4]
A TIME TO BE BLESSED
I read this prayer written by Frank Morris.
So far today, God, I’ve done all right. I haven’t gossiped, haven’t lost my temper, haven’t been greedy, grumpy, nasty, selfish, over-indulgent, coveted my neighbor’s spouse or taken your name in vain, I’m very thankful for that. But, in a few minutes, God, I’m going to get out of bed. And from then on, everyone that I encounter will probably need a lot of help from you. Amen
How true this is. The Christian life wouldn’t be very hard if we could stay in bed all day. It is all the things that happen after we get up that gives up problems.
There are 2 ways to do something: The right way and the wrong way. Let us look this morning at the wrong way and then the right way to serve God.
The Wrong Way To Serve God
I am going to assume that most of us really want to obey God and that no one obeys God all the time. Obedience isn’t easy, is it? It is easy to say, but not do. This is what the Jews realized. After 16 years, they began to rebuild the Temple; but a month later they were discouraged and ready to quit because of opposition. 2 months later, the people were down and ready to quit again. God had told them they were suffering because of their disobedience and when they began to obey they expected their problems to disappear. Three months passed and nothing had changed. They still had all their old problems and the Temple was a long way from being finished.
So the people began to wonder if it was worth it to obey God. After all, if there’s not a reward for obedience you might as well live like the devil.
In year 2004, these verses may not make a lot of sense; but it made plenty of sense to the Jews. They had hundreds of laws governing all aspects of life. Most of those laws had to do with understanding what was holy and what was not. Holy things were objects that had been set apart for God’s use usually in the Temple worship. Because God is holy, only holy objects could come into His presence.
What if something holy touches something unholy, does the unholy thing become holy? The answer is no. But what if an unholy thing touches a holy thing? It becomes defiled.
This is really a lesson about the power of sin. If you wash your hands and then touch a dirty plate, will your clean hands make the dirty plate clean? No, but the dirt on the plate rubs off on your hands. If someone walks on your clean carpet with dirty shoes, what happens? The dirt on the shoes stains the carpet.
Sin is like dirt. It spreads quickly. Just as it’s hard to keep a house clean, it’s hard to keep a life clean because sin stains everything. Sin is like a contagious disease. If a person with a cold kisses a person in perfect health, will the sick person catch health from the healthy person? No, but the healthy person can easily catch a cold from the sick person.
The application to theses questions is in this verse. The key word is “whatever”. When your heart isn’t right with God, whatever you do will be wrong. You see, God wanted more than a Temple built. He wanted the hearts of the people to be fully devoted to Him. God didn’t want a big house filled with empty hearts. He didn’t want animal sacrifices unless it was accompanied by a living sacrifice of the people. That’s the whole point. God wants your heart because if He has your heart, He’ll soon have every other part of your life.
The Right Way To Serve
God reminds them of how things were before they began to rebuild the temple. They were never fulfilled. They were just surviving. God was disciplining them in order to restore them, not punish them.
When God disciplines us, recognize what God is doing and fix the problem. In order to serve correctly we must learn from our mistakes.
Blessings begin the moment we obey. After delaying for 16 years the Jews had finally started to rebuild the Temple; but they had a long way to go and their fields were still barren. I’m sure they were wondering if it was worth it.
The harvest will come eventually. You don’t plant today and harvest tomorrow. It took the Jews 4 years to finish rebuilding the Temple; but God blessed them each day.
Serve God because you love Him, not for what you get out of it. Don’t worry about being blessed. That is God’s part and He always does His part.
Christians, don’t quit. These ministries that God has placed on your heart are important. Keep going, don’t stop!
Are you serving God the right way or the wrong way?