Summary: When we allow the common to take priority over the call of God we will sense an emptiness that can only be solved by returning with a repentant heart.
CONSIDER YOUR WAYS: A CALL TO HOLINESS
Big Idea: When we allow the common to take priority over the call of God we will sense an emptiness that can only be solved by returning with a repentant heart.
You are looking at a series of pictures on the screen. As you look at each I want you to try and figure out what they all have in common. Did you catch it?
• Yes, they are all broken down buildings.
• Yes, they are all churches.
Its kind of sad isn’t it? Some of those structures were magnificent cathedrals while others were small country churches but in each case they show the signs of neglect and deterioration. Not only that, there was a time when each was filled with hope and faith. Those buildings were prayed over and dedicated to God’s glory. There was passionate worship and dreams of changing a world … but now …
It often happens over time … the house of God, “the temple” is neglected. At first the signs are subtle but they gain momentum as they continue to be neglected. All that is needed is for nature to take its course and, low and behold, you have atrophy.
Now hear me, what is true of brick and mortar is true of the soul as well. All you need to do to watch “nature take its course” is neglect the temple within and, sure enough, slowly but methodically it begins to deteriorate … to erode.
We never meant for that to happen.
There were times when we filled this “house” “this temple” with faith and hope. We worshipped fully. We even dedicated ourselves to God’s glory and His work in the world but, by assuming things will always be well and letting things run on autopilot, we all but guaranteed deterioration of the soul.
Haggai speaks of the neglected temple of Jerusalem. He calls God’s people to something better. He holds them accountable. He sees a glorious revival as a result.
The Spirit today uses the words of Haggai and calls God’s people to look at the neglected temple too. The only difference is the temple of our age is within us. Many New Testament writers frequently refer to Christians and Jesus’ church with temple imagery.
• Peter uses temple imagery when he says, “As you come to him, the living Stone--rejected by men but chosen by God and precious to him-- you also, like living stones, are being built into a spiritual house to be a holy priesthood, offering spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ.” (1 Peter 2:4-5)
• The Apostle Paul tells the Corinthians “Don't you know that you yourselves are God's temple and that God's Spirit lives in you? If anyone destroys God's temple, God will destroy him; for God's temple is sacred, and you are that temple.” (1 Corinthians 3:16-17)
• And again, “Do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you have received from God? You are not your own;” (1 Corinthians 6:19)