Summary: Itâ€™s time for the church to check its motives for being.
September 23, 2007
Text: Haggai 1:1-15
Subject: Sowing and Reaping
Title: Are You a Blessing Blocker or a Blessing Bringer?
You live in the most blessed nation in the world. You have more freedom to do as you like. You have the right to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. You have the privilege to protest against your government without fear of imprisonment (though maybe some should be in prison). You have the ability to do just about anything you would want to do that isn’t illegal and can get by with a lot that is.
Now that you see how blessed we are, have you ever stopped to think about all the blessing we are missing out on? God told Abraham that He would bless those who blessed him and curse those who cursed him. We often mention the fact that as soon as America turns its back on Israel that we will lose our supernatural blessing from God. The reality is, though on the surface it appears that we are backing Israel, over the last century America has continually provided arms and military technology to Israe’s enemies in an effort to maintain a balance of power in the Middle East. When it comes right down to it we have to stop and ask ourselves this question, â€œAre we using our relationship with God’s chosen people as an excuse to protect the investments of the very rich in the world? Or, Do we really believe that we need to be Israel’s ally because it is the right thing to do?
As we look at our scripture passage today we see the same situation among the people of Israel as the return from Babylonian captivity to rebuild the Temple of God. Are they using their God given liberty as an excuse instead of doing what they were called to do? We want to look at this time in Israelâ€™s history and see the attitudes that prevented them from becoming what God wanted them to be.
I pray as Paul did in Ephesians 1, 18 that the eyes of your heart may be enlightened in order that you may know the hope to which he has called you, the riches of his glorious inheritance in the saints, 19and his incomparably great power for us who believe.
I. ARE YOU WANTING TO PLEASE YOURSELF (1-5) 1In the second year of King Darius, on the first day of the sixth month, the word of the LORD came through the prophet Haggai to Zerubbabel son of Shealtiel, governor of Judah, and to Joshua son of Jehozadak, the high priest:
2This is what the LORD Almighty says: â€œThese people say, "˜The time has not yet come for the LORD’S house to be built." I want you to notice a couple of things here. 1) The Word of the Lord came to Haggai. He was a prophet of God. He spoke God’s word. He heard God’s voice. He knew when to speak and when to remain silent. 2) The people who had returned to Jerusalem were "spiritual". They knew God’s will for Israel. The time has not yet come for the LORD’S house to be built. This is what had happened in Jerusalem. King Darius of Babylon had released 50,000 of the captives (as was spoken by Isaiah and Jeremiah) and had allowed them to go back to Israel in order to rebuild the temple and the city. During the second year of their return the foundation of the temple was laid. It was at that time that Samaritan opposition arose to the rebuilding so the people stopped. It was during that time also that the people became "spiritual". In truth, they became spiritually apathetic. They assumed that if God had intended for them to rebuild the temple, He would never had let the opposition rise against them. Ezra 4:24, 24Thus the work on the house of God in Jerusalem came to a standstill until the second year of the reign of Darius king of Persia. Thus they said, "2The time has not yet come for the LORD’S house to be built." Does that sound like an attitude you might hear in the church today? God must want to teach me a lesson through this sickness or else He would have healed me by now! Or, God will heal me in His timing. Or, I’ll wait for God to open the door before I share the gospel with anyone. (Don’t you understand that if God has put in contact with someone then you He has already opened the door)? Or, I’m not going to speak a message in tongues or give an interpretation or believe God to use me for healing or have a word of knowledge or a word of wisdom, or faith or the discerning of spirits unless the Holy Spirit makes me say something. That way I"ll know it’s God and not the flesh. You see when the church gives in to doubting God’s word and then not acting on it, you are living under the devil’s authority and not God’s. Do you think that God didn’t want Israel to rebuild the temple? That’s what they were sent back to do. But they surrendered to the devil’s opposition. But a prophetic word came against them. 4 is it a time for you yourselves to be living in your paneled houses, while this house remains a ruin? Not only had the exiles given in to the devil, they became comfortable enough in their oppression to say, Well, if this is God’s will I guess we’ll just have to make the best of it. They actually had taken the resources that were intended for the temple and finished their own homes with them. How convenient! 5Now this is what the LORD Almighty says: Give careful thought to your ways. This is the call to the church today. Stop and think about where your focus is. Are you actively building God’s house? Or are you using His spiritual resources for your own benefit without concern for His house? Psalm 127:1, Unless the LORD builds the house, its builders labor in vain. Jesus said, I will build my church, and the gates of Hades will not overcome it. Who do you think Jesus is going to use to build His church?