Summary: A sermon examining the importance of pressing on in your work for the Lord.
Don't Stop Now!
If we are honest there are times in life when we just want to give up. This is especially true concerning the ministry. We are not simply fighting stress, discouragement and exhaustion.... we are fighting an adversary (Satan) who is "walking around like a lion seeking whom he may devour". This is not just the case for pastors, quitting is a temptation for each and every person who serves the Lord in any capacity.
Many of the giants in church history faced great difficulty and were often tempted to give up and walk away from their calling. An example of this is found in the diary of John Wesley:
- Sunday, A.M., May 5 - Preached in St. Anne's. Was asked not to come back anymore.
- Sunday, P.M., May 5 - Preached in St. John's. Deacons said "Get out and stay out."
- Sunday, A.M., May 12 - Preached in St. Jude's. Can't go back there, either.
- Sunday, A.M., May 19 - Preached in St. Somebody Else's. Deacons called special meeting and said I couldn't return.
- Sunday, P.M., May 19 - Preached on street. Kicked off street.
- Sunday, A.M., May 26 - Preached in meadow. Chased out of meadow as bull was turned loose during service.
- Sunday, A.M., June 2 - Preached out at the edge of town. Kicked off the highway.
- Sunday, P.M., June 2 - Afternoon, preached in a pasture. Ten thousand people came out to hear me.
After all of that rejection a lesser man would have given up. But Wesley persevered and reached many souls for Christ! Perseverance is "steadfastness in doing something despite difficulty or delay in achieving success." Perseverance is also referred to as... "stick-to-itiveness.
Someone said "Postage stamps are getting more expensive, but at least they have one attribute that most of us could emulate: they stick to one thing until they get there." - Some of you may be at a point where you are ready to give up on serving the Lord. I hope that through this message you will find the motivation to "stick to it!"
Some sermons are intended to encourage those who are not working for the Lord to start. Some are intended to encourage those who have quit serving the Lord to return to their area of service. We have endured both of those types of sermons as we have journeyed through the Book of Haggai. But today's message is intended for an entirely different audience. In our selected text, God has a message for those who are actively... faithfully serving Him. It is a message of encouragement, assurance and motivation. I would like to walk through the first 9 verses of Haggai chapter 2 and preach on the thought "Don't Stop Now!"
We have seen a transition in the people of God throughout the 1st chapter of this book. They have gone from being inactive and idle to working to accomplish God's plan for them. After being delivered from the Babylonian captivity, God's people began to build luxurious homes for themselves. While they were focused on themselves, the Lord' Temple lay in ruins. God punished His people for their inactivity and He confronted them. He encouraged them to "consider their ways". Then on September 21st in the 2nd year of King Darius' reign the people began to work to rebuild the Lord's house.
As we read through chapter 2 it seems that the people may have reached a place of discouragement. The Lord had promised Israel that if they would obey Him, He would be with them. This passage proves that God is faithful. He was with them and He recognized that they needed to be lifted up. God shows up and gives them the inspiration and motivation to keep pressing on for Him.
There are times in the Christian life and in our service for the Lord when we are tempted to quit. Maybe you are at that point right now...If so, there is a message for you today and that message is DON'T STOP NOW!!
- Dr. Jerry Falwell used to say “It’s always too early to quit.”
One of the biggest reasons that people quit serving the Lord is discouragement. I would like to encourage the discouraged by saying....
IV. Don't Be Discouraged ...God Sees Your Effort - v1 ¶In the seventh month, in the one and twentieth day of the month, came the word of the LORD by the prophet Haggai, saying, 2 Speak now to Zerubbabel the son of Shealtiel, governor of Judah, and to Joshua the son of Josedech, the high priest, and to the residue of the people, saying, 3 Who is left among you that saw this house in her first glory? and how do ye see it now? is it not in your eyes in comparison of it as nothing?