Summary: A sermon examining the transition from procrastination to progress among the people of God.
The Right Time To Rebuild
Several years ago we (as a church) felt led to invest our time, money and resources into remodeling our church building. This facility was erected in 1979 and over the years time had taken it's toll. In all honesty, much of the work should have been done sooner. But we eventually came to a place where God revealed to us that it was time to get to work. It took some time and the process brought some inconveniences but when you look at the end result I believe the sacrifice was worth it.
I love to see old things restored to new. Whether it is an old piece of furniture, a building, a home or a classic car, it is exciting to see something that had been neglected brought back to life.
In recent years the Southern Baptist Convention has seen a need to invest in existing churches that have plateaued or declined. This is called church "revitalization". To "revitalize" is to inject (something) with new life and vitality. It means to refresh, invigorate, renew or revive. Not only are there some churches that need to be "revitalized" as whole, there are some relationships that need to be "revitalized". There are many people who once had a right relationship with the Heavenly Father but over time they have grown cold and indifferent. These individuals have backslidden and need to return to the Father.
The Book of Haggai chronicles the fact that it was past time for the Temple of the Lord to be rebuilt. Through Haggai God confronted His people about the fact that His house was laying in a pile of rubble. The people of Israel said among themselves that "now was not the time to rebuild the Temple". But God made it clear that it was indeed time to return to the Lord's work! God was not pleased with the inactivity of His people. As a result they suffered severe consequences. They were rebuked sternly by the Lord. And God called them to consider their ways. He also informs them that if they will obey His Word then He would be pleased with them.
I am excited to report to you that God's people listened... and they obeyed! They began to do the work that they had neglected for so long. They started to rebuild the abandoned Temple. God's people went from saying "now is not the time" to saying now is "The Right Time To Rebuild".
That is the thought that I would like for us to consider today... "The Right Time To Rebuild"
There is nothing I would like more for our assembly than for revival to break out. I echo what Habakkuk said when he called out to the Lord and said "O LORD, revive thy work' - Let me share some good news with you... GOD DESIRES TO REVIVE HIS WORK IN HIS PEOPLE! Just as He called on Israel to rebuild the Temple, He is calling us to rebuild some things as well. God would have His people to come to the realization that now is "The Right Time To Rebuild".
They say that for alcoholics and addicts the first step towards recovery is to admit that there is a problem. Likewise, in order for a Christian to overcome the apathy that consumes their life is to realize and admit that there is a problem. The next step is to do something about it! Unfortunately, Israel was at a point where they denied that there was a problem. Look with me to verses 6-7 as we examine:
I. THE PROCRASTINATION OF GOD'S PEOPLE v6-7
Procrastination means to delay or postpone something. Gloria Pitzer said:
"Procrastination is my sin"
"It brings me nothing but sorrow"
"I know that I should stop it"
"In fact, I will...tomorrow."
(Source:Today in the Word, MBI, April, 1990, p. 41.)
I know some people who procrastinate about procrastinating. When it came to the Lord's work, Israel was guilty of procrastination. Notice if you will:
A. The Task Involved (ref: v1-5) - The Jews had been delivered from captivity in Babylon. They were allowed by Cyrus to return to Israel. When they arrived there was much work to be done. Jerusalem and the Temple had been plundered, burned and destroyed. Instead of rebuilding the Lord's house the people began to build their own homes.
Many of our inactive and idle brethren are not necessarily opposed to the Lord's work. In fact many of them have every intention of one day dedicating themselves to serving the Lord and contributing to the furtherance of His Kingdom. But they put off their service to their Master while living their lives for themselves. What we are speaking of is a matter of priorities.
Abraham Lincoln said " You cannot escape the responsibility of tomorrow by evading it today.” If God has called you to accomplish a specific task and you refuse or procrastinate there will be consequences. The people of Israel learned this the hard way. Consider if you will: