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)
• When speaking of the church, Paul tells the Ephesians, “For through him we both have access to the Father by one Spirit. Consequently, you are no longer foreigners and aliens, but fellow citizens with God's people and members of God's household, built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, with Christ Jesus himself as the chief cornerstone. In him the whole building is joined together and rises to become a holy temple in the Lord.” (Ephesians 2:18-21)
• Even Jesus said, “The kingdom of God is within you." (Luke 17:21)
The Spirit calls today with the prophetic voice of Haggai. He calls us to holiness. He calls us to repentance and repair.
God wants His temple restored for worship and service.
“Consider Your Ways.”
Four times in this short book of 2 chapters and 38 verses Haggai says, “Consider your ways!”
He points out the desperate need for God’s people to examine their hearts and to search out the direction of their lives. He shows them that they have allowed common, work-a-day, items to take precedence over God’s call and … well … hasn’t that always been the genius of idolatry? Putting any idea, person, goal, or commitment on a par with or above the Living God?
Four times Haggai says “Consider your ways.” He challenges God’s people to look in 4 different directions (or from different perspectives) at the neglected temple.
• In 1:1-6 he suggests they need to “LOOK OUTWARD” and see the very clear signs of neglect.
• In 1:7-15 Haggai challenges them to “LOOK INWARD” and see the spiritual atrophy.
• In 2:1-17 the prophet says to “LOOK BACKWARD” and see what God can do.