Summary: What can the remnant teach us about how to be a working church? They can teach us three traits of a working church.
1. A working church is mobilized (3:8a—emphasis on “ALL they that were come out of the captivity unto Jerusalem”)
2. A working church is organized (3:8b—emphasis on “APPOINTED” and “SET FORWARD THE WORK)
3. A working church is unified (3:9—emphasis on “TOGETHER”)
Well, the delay is over. Last week we talked about how the remnant had become satisfied. Once they arrived in Jerusalem from Babylon, they quickly became satisfied with the things God had intended to only be preparation. They were satisfied with the preparation for God’s work and delayed in actually doing God’s work. Well, in our passage tonight, the delay is over. To the remnant’s credit, this delay wasn’t a long one. It really only lasted a few months. But any delay in doing the work God intends for us is too long, isn’t it? Now it’s time for the remnant to get on with the work God intended for them to do. It was time to get on with the work of building the temple. Of course, you know the first thing you have to do anytime you build a building. The first thing you have to do is lay the foundation. And that’s the work they had ahead of them. It is interesting that the text spends absolutely no time describing the nature of the work they had to do. There are no details of the dimensions, or the building materials, or the methods they used. All of that is left out. What is the only thing that’s talked about? The people. The remnant. The workers themselves. There is no talk about processes or plans or procedures. There’s no talk about footers or bricks or mortar. None of that. Only people. And only what it took for them to begin the work that God had called them to. And what was that work? Building the temple. Building the temple that was to stand as a witness of God’s faithfulness to His chosen people. The temple that was to stand as a witness to the nations that God is a God who is who He said He is and does what He says He’s going to do. The preparations had been made, the delay was finished. Now it was time to get to work. Where are we in that process tonight? I firmly believe that God has been preparing Brushfork Baptist Church for something. I don’t know what it is. But I know it is something that will make us stand as a witness to the nations around us. It will make us stand as a witness that Jesus Christ is King of kings and Lord of lords. That He is who He said He is and He did what He said He did. I don’t know what the work is, but I know it’s going to take a working church to do it. Just like it took a working remnant to build the temple foundations. So, what can that remnant teach us about how to be a working church? They can teach us three traits of a working church. The first trait is that a working church is mobilized. Look back at verse 8:
A working church is mobilized. Here are a couple of people that we’re already familiar with. Remember that Jeshua was the chief priest and Zerubbabel was the chief prince. Zerubbabel’s bloodline enabled him to be the king. He was of the house of Judah, the line of David—so he had a royal bloodline. But he couldn’t be king, because God had forbid it because of the nation’s rebellion. But even though God wouldn’t allow him to be king, he was their leader. Along with Jeshua, he was their leader. And as their leaders, Zerubbabel and Jeshua mobilized all of the remnant. The Text says, “All they that were come out of the captivity unto Jerusalem.” I remember in the days leading up to the first Gulf War. You remember back in August 1990, Iraq invaded Kuwait and threatened to invade Saudi Arabia. Within just a few days, the US began one of the biggest military mobilizations in history as we started Operation DESERT SHIELD. What was amazing about that time in the military was all the preparation that was put into practice. For several years after the collapse of communism in the Soviet Union, most people thought of their military service as just another job. It was routine. It was a day-to-day way to get a steady paycheck. But that day to day job was really just the preparation for what the real mission was. And when it was time for the real mission to happen, that’s when the military mobilized. And it was such a big operation that it affected everybody. That’s what a true mobilization does. It affects everybody. For the military, that meant clerks, cooks and comm guys like me. Not just the pilots and infantrymen and tank drivers. Full mobilization involves everybody. Just like it did with the remnant. ALL they that were come out of the captivity. Everybody was mobilized to accomplish the mission. Each and every one of them had a part in building the foundation. Now, I want you to picture that group of people for a minute. Do you suppose that each and every one of them had on their carpenter aprons? Do you suppose that each and every one of them had a trowel and a level in their hands? Of course not. So if they were ALL mobilized into action, but they all weren’t builders—what did they do? They did whatever they were able to do. They did whatever they were gifted to do. The ones who could build—built. The ones who couldn’t—did other things. Oh, that it might be that way with us when God calls us to a work. Not everyone in this church has the same abilities. Not everyone in this church has the same gifts. Not everyone can do the same things. You know what? God designed it that way. Some are called to do the prep work. We have preachers and teachers and servers and comforters and exhorters. But not everyone can teach. Not everyone can preach. But everyone can do something. And everyone is all it takes to do God’s work the right way. I think that is part of the problem with the church in America today. We have work that God has called us to do, but only parts of the church mobilize to do it. If God calls us to do a work with children, like He has with AWANAS and some of our other classes, the whole church needs to mobilize to do it. That doesn’t mean that everybody needs to teach. Just like the remnant being called to build the temple didn’t mean that everybody needed to grab a trowel. But it does mean that everybody needs to mobilize. If you can’t teach, support the teachers. Pray for them. Cook for them. Help them with their materials. Something—everybody can do something. And that’s just an example of something God’s already doing through us. There will be other things. When they come, are you ready to mobilize? No matter how you’re gifted or able, are you ready to mobilize? A working church is mobilized. A working church is also organized. Look back at verse 8—only especially the second part.