Summary: This is the 1st sermon in the series "A Time To...".
Series: A Time To¡K (Haggai) [#1]
A TIME TO LISTEN
Today begins our new church year and I am concerned about our church. I feel like I have lost my ¡§drive¡¨ and the church has done the same. We are just having services and going home. We are not the 1st people of God to ¡§fizzle out¡¨ and we won¡¦t be the last; but God will not let us stay here long.
When Solomon was king of Israel he built a beautiful temple in Jerusalem. People from all over the world came and saw this wonder and the Jewish people treasured the Temple because it was the place where God dwelled with man. But as time went by, Solomon and the Jewish people began to turn from God and turn towards other nations¡¦ gods. Civil war broke out and the Nation of Israel split into two Kingdoms.
The Northern Kingdom (Israel) rapidly went down hill and the Southern Kingdom (Judah) followed the same path, just at a slower rate. The result of this turning away from God was Judah¡¦s captivity by Babylon. When the Babylonians came in, they destroyed the beautiful Temple that Solomon had built for God.
Fifty long years passed and then, God raised up Cyrus of Persia who allowed the Jews to return to Judah. About 50,000 people went back to Judah and when they arrived, nothing had changed. Everything was in shambles.
Immediately, the returnee¡¦s set about to rebuild the temple and they re-laid the foundation during a great celebration; but then came opposition. The Samaritans (who hated the Jews) did not want to see the Jews prosper and so they kept ¡§hammering away¡¨ at them until finally they just stopped rebuilding the Temple.
As the years passed, slowly but surely Jerusalem came to life again. Homes were built, stores opened, commerce established, fields planted, crops harvested, and life began to resemble something of a normal pattern; but there was a problem. The Temple foundation still lay in ruins overgrown with weeds. Every time the Jews passed it, it stood as a reminder of their failure to take care of God¡¦s house. 16 years had went by and then God sent a preacher named Haggai who preached 4 short sermons over a 5 month period.
This morning we need listen intently to Haggai¡¦s sermon because it is useful for us today. Today is a time to listen.
What God Doesn¡¦t Want To Hear
The people were making excuses. I can hear their excuses now:
„© God wants us to take care of our own families, doesn¡¦t he?
„© The job is too big, we¡¦ll never finish it.
„© Not our fault so it¡¦s not our job.
„© Someone else will do it if we don¡¦t.
„© We need to pray about it some more.
„© I don¡¦t think we need a Temple anyway.
„© The time just isn¡¦t right.
„© Our motives are good, but we¡¦re just too busy!!!
They were looking for a better and easier time; but the result was the same in every case: delay, delay, and delay. It¡¦s always easy to make excuses when you don¡¦t want to obey God. God does not want to hear our excuses.
What God Doesn¡¦t Want To See
Please understand, there is nothing wrong with having a nice home. This isn¡¦t an attack on riches or big houses. At that time most people lived in tiny stone houses, but the Jews were building large paneled homes. They had completely forgotten about God while they improved their own things. God does not want to see us doing our own thing and ignoring His plan.
What God Does With Excuses
Haggai 1:5-6, 9-11
Here we come to a reminder that what happens in your heart effects every other part of your life. Because the people had pushed God out of the center of life, they were now suffering in every other area. They had fields without produce, action without satisfaction, and labor without profit. Why would God do this? He allows us to suffer the results of our wrong choices in order to get our attention, to convict of sin, and to lead us to repentance.
What God Does Want To See
In all of life there is a time to talk and a time to act, a time to consider and a time to stop talking and start doing. This was a time to act. Because they had not honored God, every area of life was suffering. The only solution was to stop making excuses and start doing what God had told them to do 16 years earlier.
I pray that you have been listening this morning We have allowed the weeds of apathy, jealousy, excuses, etc¡K to grow.