Summary: A WORD TO THE CHURCH - HAGGAI (Part 2) The prophet Haggai shows us God’s three step plan to get the work of the church done: ASSESSMENT -> AGREEMENT -> ACTION!
· The Bible tells us that where your treasure is, there your heart is also. That means we could accurately say that many folks are more committed to professional sports than they are to the church. In 1993 the total attendance at worship services in the U.S. was 5.6 billion, while the total attendance at U.S. professional baseball, football, and basketball games combined was only 103 million (less than 2 percent of the worship attendance, or for every 100 people who attended church less than 2 were at a sporting event.)
· Now the rest of the story: Contributions to churches for the year totaled $56.7 billion (that’s just over $10 per person), but the amount spent on professional baseball, football, and basketball totaled $4 billion (that’s nearly $40 per person or almost 4 times what people gave to their local church per person). Is it any wonder that we look at some fans and say that they really are fanatics? They are more sold out for their team than many church attenders. HOW MIGHT WE CHANGE OUR NATION IF THE CHURCH QUADRUPLED ITS COMMITMENT TO OUR CAUSE? (Statistics reported in Citation: National & International Religion Report, 5/2/94. "To Verify," Leadership.)
Open your Bibles again to Haggai (remember that’s three books left from Matthew). Last week we began a series of messages from Haggai called “A WORD TO THE CHURCH”; putting it simply God wants His church to complete the work He has called them to do. Now is not a time for excuses, or doing our own thing; we must join together to fulfill God’s plan for our church.
Last week we saw that Satan cannot destroy the Church of Jesus Christ, but he can slow it down. The devil wants to bring the church to a grinding halt in order to prevent us from doing the work that God has planned for us to do.
HOW IS THE WORK OF THE CHURCH SLOWED DOWN? Satan wants us to get our priorities mixed up, to focus on the wrong things. Satan has a very effective strategy: he makes us comfortable.
If we are going to rediscover God’s priority for our lives, then we have to get out of our comfort zones.
I’m not going to take the time to repreach last week’s message, but I need to remind you about this one thing. If you are going to keep God in His rightful place as number one in your life, then you are going to have to do some things that will make you uncomfortable.
+ Matthew 6:33 But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well. (NIV)
Making God our first priority means we pursue His kingdom and His righteousness; it’s not one or the other but both. Our lives must be GOD-GOVERNED, not SELF-GOVERNED, and we live by HIS SPIRIT and not by our own desires. It’s impossible to do that and remain comfortable. (See message: "God’s Work Delayed")
Today, I want us to move from seeing how God’s work is delayed to GETTING GOD’S WORK DONE. As the prophet Haggai spoke God’s word to the nation of Israel, God gave the people a three step action plan which goes like this:
Assessment -> Agreement -> Action!
God calls each of us to make an assessment of our priorities. We cannot live with the status quo; if we are to move forward individually and as a church, then the time has come for a careful examination of everything we do.
An assessment is to appraise or evaluate; it’s to judge the value or worth of something. An assessment is and examination used to measure accuracy or validity.
+ Haggai 1:5-6 5Now this is what the LORD Almighty says: "GIVE CAREFUL THOUGHT TO YOUR WAYS. 6You have planted much, but have harvested little. You eat, but never have enough. You drink, but never have your fill. You put on clothes, but are not warm. You earn wages, only to put them in a purse with holes in it." (NIV)
We’ve said that movement from your past to the present and the present into the future is automatic; unless you die you will be living in the year 2004 in only 346 short days from now. Life will inevitably take you from today into tomorrow.
However, what the future will be like does not aterialize by ACCIDENT; a changed future happens INTENTIONALLY.
Will your future be like your present, or will you have changed? Will our church remain as it is now, or will we become the church God has planned for us to be?
The first step toward action is to make an assessment of where you are now, but just a careful examination won’t get the job done. An assessment must lead to agreement.