Summary: Did you know that there are times that the church should be noisy? Not from idle talking and milling around during worship—but a church should be noisy just like the remnant was. A church should be noisy when it’s working.
1. Initial celebration (3:10-11)
2. Individual hesitation (3:12)
3. Ideal harmonization (3:13)
One time there was an old farmer who wasn’t much into modern conveniences. As a matter of fact, he didn’t have much contact with the outside world at all. He thought that everything he needed was right there on his farm. One day a travelling salesman ventured out to his door and offered to sell him a chainsaw. He saw all the timber on the man’s farm and made his pitch. He said, “I will guarantee you that this chainsaw will cut 15 trees into logs per day.” The farmer couldn’t pass it up, so he bought one. A couple of weeks later, the salesman stopped back by to check on his customer. The farmer looked at him like he was a crook. He said, “You guaranteed that this saw would cut 15 trees into logs per day. I could only get three per day out of it.” The salesman looked confused and asked to see it. The farmer handed it to him and he looked it over carefully. He couldn’t see anything unusual, so he pulled the cord to start it. It started right up, “Brrrrrr.” The farmer’s eyes got real big and he said, “What in the world is that noise!” Well, that noise was the sound of something working the way it was supposed to. Like the remnant in our passage tonight. It’s been a couple of weeks since we’ve spent time with them, but they’ve been busy. God had faithfully seen them out of captivity in Babylon. He had restored all the things they needed, to get to work building His temple in Jerusalem. And after they delayed for a few months, they got started with the work. The leaders got them mobilized. They got organized. And they unified around the work to be done. And they got busy. They built the foundation of the temple of the Lord. What an accomplishment! It was an accomplishment worthy of making some noise. And that’s exactly what they did. This wasn’t some quiet political ribbon-cutting ceremony. You know, the kind where some political high-brows get together with a big pair of fake scissors to cut a ribbon in front of a new building. And there are a few dozen people in the crowd who do the proper “golf-clap” when they’re done. Well, there were no “golf-claps” in this crowd. They were excited. They were enthusiastic. The bottom line is, they were noisy. So much so that I’m sure the Babylonians who were surrounding them asked the same question that old farmer did—“What in the world is that noise?” I’m sure many of you are like me. We always went to very quiet and conservative Baptist churches when I was growing up. And I was always taught that you sit quietly in church and don’t make any noise. Even to the point that you learn the little tricks. You know the ones. If you want a piece of gum, you have to cover up the noise of the gum wrapper. So you fake a cough to cover it up. Well, there is a place for that. It is important to be respectful and reverent during the worship service. But did you know that there are times that the church should be noisy? Not from idle talking and milling around during worship—but a church should be noisy just like the remnant was. It should be noisy just like that farmer’s chainsaw should have been. A church should be noisy when it’s working. I’m going to say something I’ll bet you’ve never heard a preacher say before. I want us to learn how to be a noisy church tonight. I want us to learn to make the right kind of noise that only comes from doing the right kind of work. In order to do that, we’re going to look at three noises that come from a working church. The first kind of noise is initial celebration. Look with me at verses 10-11.
The first kind of noise that comes from a working church is initial celebration. Isn’t it exciting when you complete a project? I remember when we had last year’s watchnight service, just a few weeks after the church called me. During that service, Roger had a slideshow. He showed us pictures from throughout the history of this church. I think some of the best pictures in the whole bunch were the ones of some of the building that has gone on here. The building of the addition on the sanctuary. The building of the activities building. I would love to see pictures from when the church met in the basement while the sanctuary was being built. Now, I wasn’t there when each of those projects was completed—but I’ve been there when they happened in other churches. Even though I wasn’t there, I can just about guarantee the church’s reaction when each of those was completed. I can just about guarantee that there was an initial celebration. That’s the way we are as people. When we finish a big project, we like to celebrate. Now, we all celebrate in different ways. Some of us are more emotional. We like to have big parties and dedications and things like that. Some of us are more reserved. We like to sit back and reflect. We like to look at the quality of work and ponder all the hard work that went into it. But whatever our personality, we all like to celebrate the accomplishment of a job well done. And it seems the bigger the job or the longer it took to get there, the bigger the celebration. It was no different with the remnant. Think of all that they had been through to get to this point. They had been in exile for 70 years. They had been without their land. They had been strangers in a strange land. They had no king, no nation, no home. But worse than all that—they had no temple. To them, the temple was the sole focus of their experience with God. It’s different with us. As last week’s memory verse says, ever since Pentecost, our bodies are the temple of the Holy Spirit which is in us. But for the Old Testament saints, that was not the case. They were not permanently indwelt with the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit would come upon them to empower them for certain tasks. But He didn’t abide in them as He does in believers today. That being said, in order to experience the presence of God, they generally had to experience Him in His temple. And they had been without that for years. But ever since the decree went out from Cyrus in chapter one, they had been anticipating the day when they could experience God’s presence in His temple again. As God was preparing them each step along the way, their anticipation was building. Their anticipation grew as they made preparations before they left Babylon. Their anticipation grew as they gathered and prepared for travel to Jerusalem. Their anticipation grew as they arrived in Jerusalem and began to settle down there. Their anticipation grew as they gave their money, and collected the resources, and set the altar, and began the worship ceremonies. Their anticipation was at a fever pitch. They literally couldn’t wait to see what the Lord was going to do. They couldn’t wait for something to be accomplished. And then it finally happened. They had planned. They had worked. They had dug. They had cut and laid stone. And now the foundation had been laid. They had accomplished something. It seemed that all that anticipation had been realized. And it erupted in celebration. You know, the more you look forward to something, the more you get excited when it begins to take place. And make no mistake about it, these people were excited. They had a big party. They didn’t just bring out the songbooks. They brought out the band. They had the gospel sing, the praise band, and the singing groups all out. I don’t know what cymbals and trumpets sound like together, but I can guarantee it’s not quiet and reserved. As a matter of fact, verse 11 says that their praise came out in a great shout. As a matter of fact, the force of the original is that they shouted praise to the point that it was like a cannon blast of praise. They were having a praise party to the Lord for the work He had accomplished through them. What a sense of accomplishment. What a voice of praise. But unfortunately, that noise is usually only an initial reaction. It normally only flows from a climax to all the anticipation that has built up. And then what usually happens? Reality sets in. And that’s when the noise of initial celebration is met with the noise of individual hesitation. Look with me at verse 12.