Summary: The devices of the Devil are desined to distort, destroy, distract and defeat the follower of Jesus Christ. One of his most powerful devices is the vice of apathy. The devil will put you in it and slowly tighten until you are cold to the things of God.
Intro: Rollo May, “Hate is not the opposite of love – Apathy is.”
One of the most powerful devices of the devil is apathy. Of all the attitudes that are given to the seven churches in the book of Revelation this is the one that makes Jesus sick to His stomach.
What is the purpose of the devil’s devices? (Give a moment to answer.) The Bible is clear to his devices are used to devour, destroy, divide, distract and distort. The Devils main aim is to move us as far away from God and the life abundant he provides through Jesus Christ. So the device of apathy is very effective and powerful. If we don’t care about the glory and renown of Christ and His kingdom then we will not be concerned with it (Apathy) and we will not share it with others.
How do we know if we are locked in the devils grip of apathy?
I. Signs of Apathy
“This people” Haggai 1.2, sounds like something we would say. If you take a look through the Old Testament you will find God calling Israel “My people.” It might seem at first glance that he was deserting them. This is not a statement of desertion but displeasure and or disappointment. Why was God disappointed? Rewind 66 years to 586 BC. Nebuchadnezzer invaded, defeated and destroyed Jerusalem. Many of the best and brightest were taken captive into Babylon where they remained for almost 70 years. The exile in Babylon was God’s judgment on Judah for disobedience and rebellion, otherwise known as sin. God had promised that He would not leave or forsake His people. He also promised that the exile would not be forever. In 536 BC the Babylonian empire fell to the Persians and their King Cyrus issued a decree giving the Jews permission to return to Jerusalem in order to rebuild the temple under the political leadership of Zerubabel and spiritual leadership of Joshua. They began to clean and clear the city and prepare for the rebuilding of the temple. However they met with opposition and ultimately stopped doing what God had called them to do. 16 years later the people were still not working toward rebuilding the temple.
A) Sign #1Neglect of the God given Mission
The people had not made any progress on what God had directed them to do. Why, because they were not building the temple? No! It was because they were unconcerned with (Apathetic) presence of God. The temple and the Arc of the Covenant represented the glory and presence of God. They were the places where God’s presence could be physically seen and experienced. Their lack of concern or apathy was a lack of concern for God’s presence among themselves. Look at 1.4 “Is it time for you yourselves to dwell in paneled houses, and this temple to lie in ruin.”
Some were discouraged because Solomon’s temple was larger and more beautiful. The important thing is not the size or magnificence of the house, but its existence. What was important then and now was that they wanted the indwelling God among them!
Their mission was to rebuild the temple. What is our mission today? To be part of God’s work of building a temple not made with hands eternal in heaven. Our mission is to be used of God to develop and keep developing fully devoted followers of Jesus Christ . Matthew 28.18-19 calls them disciples.
Our mission is to take the people that are rejected by the religious and love the whether they deserve it or not, whether they look like us or not, whether they act like us or not. What is the result of neglect of the mission God has for you and us as the church?
If you continue to read this passage it is clear. If you have a heart of disobedience you will experience the hand of discipline from your heavenly father. If you have a heart of obedience you will experience the hand of blessing from God. Which had do you prefer?
B) Sign #2 Narcissistic use of resources
Haggai 1.4 (read) The people of Judah were not only apathetic but self centered. It is clear they used their resources to build nice houses attempted to create a comfortable lifestyle for themselves.
Haggai 1.5 “Consider your ways.” Message “take a good hard look at your life” A more literal translation would be consider what you have your heart set on.
The priorities of the people of God had turned inward. It could be compared to our economy today. Misguided and misplaced priorities led once again to God’s hand of discipline. They planted but never harvested enough, they ate but were never satisfied, drank but were still thirsty, they earned money only to put it into a wallet and economy that seemed to have holes in it.