Summary: Exposition of Haggai 2:10-19, a call to radical commitment to the kingdom from the heart, and not just nominal, casual, routine obedience
Text: Haggai 2:10-19, Title: Any Seed Left in the Barn? Date/Place: NRBC, 3/18/07, AM
A. Opening illustration: American Christianity is has many wonderful, deep, steadfast, passionate believers among its ranks. But on the whole our commitment to the Christian faith is marginal at best. Take the month following the attacks on 9/11. The Apathy Club
B. Background to passage: Haggai wants December 18, 520 BC to be a transforming day in the life of the remnant of Israel. God finds them busy about the work. Great right? Well, not exactly. Did you know that you could be doing exactly what God wants you to do for all the wrong reasons? Haggai really gets at the heart of the matter with this message. Sheer obedience is great, but obedience from the heart is what brings pleasure to the heart of God. And anything else is sub-standard. God admonishes the people today, not simply to work, but to love to work for the kingdom and to prioritize your heart and not only your calendar.
C. Main thought: In the text we will see for truths about cultural, casual believers with shallow commitments to the Kingdom of God.
A. Third-party transfers (v. 11-13)
1. God begins by engaging these culturally, externally religious people in a religious question, similar to the dialogue between Jesus and the woman at the well. He first asks them a question about the possibility of holiness being transferred. Explain the distinction between those things set apart to be in God’s presence and those not, and also the difference between 2 and 3 – party transfers. The answer from the priests who have the commission to instruct from the law is “no.” 2. Next God asked about the transfer of impurity. And the opposite is true. Defilement is easily passed on to third and fourth and fifth parties. Then God says, “you are the man.” Note that He refers to them as “this people” again.
2. Ex 29:21, Lev 22:4, 1 Cor 15:33, Gal 5:9, Pro 14:9
3. Illustration: this is like that Catholic guy who used to let us use his place because I was the preacher, getting him points with God, potatoes and health and contaminated blood and brownies, the Catholic practice of doing whatever and going to confession, The Midas Touch
4. The SS answer for transfer of holiness is no, but in practice this is what we do. Cultural Christians believe that just by being associated with the church, or other Christians, or charities, or a good family, so that they are getting a little something added to their account. Coming to church or having Christian family members is good, but it does you no good as far as your right-standing with God. It is not enough just to be around those who are holy, you are to be holy yourself. Your life is supposed to radiate Christ. Casual Christians are those associated with the church, but whose lives do not reflect holiness. Casual faith affects a couple of aspects of your life, genuine faith affects it all! 2. And we treat it like we are immune. We have stopped being legalistic about rules and regulations for what you don’t do, but now we have opened the floodgates of sin. The things that we watch on TV, read on the internet, magazines that you look at (swimsuit issue), places we go, people that we hang around with, etc – it all affects your life. Even reducing our sensitivity and numbing us to sin’s offensiveness to God. Casual Christianity treats sin lightly. As long as it is not public, it is not a big deal. As long as we keep certain religious behaviors, it’s really not that bad, right? These things are the subtle influences that allow pathways of sinful thoughts to let sin take root. And they will lead to your destruction, and the destruction of your family, your finances, your prayer life, and maybe your eternity. These things are not toys; they are poison! And we must make war! This is the reason that our country has been in spiritual and moral decline for years, and unholy church. This is the reason that church is in decline, young people are the most amoral, pluralistic, narcissistic generation on record—the failure of the church to be pure. Then we infected a nation and a generation.
B. Unacceptable labor and sacrifice (v. 14)
1. In a sense here, God says that if you are living as a casual Christian, you are wasting your time. Specifically, He tells Haggai that these defiled people are laboring without effectiveness because everything they touch is defiled. Two things that cover most of the life of faith are mentioned: service and sacrifice. God says that whatever work that you do in a defiled state comes to nothing. It will be burned up by the trial of fire. This temple was defiled because they took sin so lightly, just went through the motions out of constraint or guilt. He also says that the early passion that they exhibited to sacrifice was no longer there; and the sacrifices made will be unacceptable. Worship is only acceptable when done in holiness.