Hands on August: The Exhorters
PO - C.S. Lewis stated, “God whispers to us in our pleasures, speaks in our conscience, but shouts in our pains: it is His megaphone to rouse a deaf world.”
INTRO - Last week was Liberty Sunday. We noted the wonderful blessing of living in the U.S. Despite what so many say, we do live in the best country in the world.
The week prior we started this six part series from the book Haggai.
We began Haggai for Hands, the first part of this three section six message series.
I ended the service by asking you to read this short, two chapter, book.
I know all you you had read the book and are eager to dive in to discover the deeper meaning and how the principles of the Word given to us through Haggai apply today.
We began the study with a short run through the Bible.
Adam and Eve, the Fall, Flood, and tower of Babel
Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, son of Isaac and Rebecca, name changed to Isreal, father of the 12 tribes.
Joeseph, Isreal son, taken as a slave to Egypt.
Moses leads people Egypt
40 years wilderness
Settlement of Canaan
Judges, Kings, 1) Saul, 2) David, 3) Solomon
Fall of Samaria
Elijah, Elisha, Jonah, Amos, Hosea, Isaiah,
Over hundred years
Zephaniah, Jeremiah, Nahum, Habakkuk
Dedication of Second Temple
In that message we noted God’s command to rebuild, how people drift toward compliance, and that God will chastise people because He wants His glory and to bless those He loves.
Verse 1:4 really grabbed our attention:
“Is it time for you yourselves to dwell in your paneled houses while this house lies desolate?”
ILL - (showing two plastic figures) “Let’s say these are Jennifer and I. We are made by God. Now we go shopping (show basket) and buy all this stuff (showing play food). Then we see God, in Publix because that is where shopping is a pleasure and God only shops there :-). We like Him, and want Him to come home with us. So, we toss Him in the basket with everything else. When we want something, we simply pull out what we found at Publix.”
In many ways that is how we treat God.
We add Him to the other stuff in our collection and when we need Him we pull Him out and tell Him what we want.
Instead of God being Lord, we want Him to be our slave and do what we want when we want.
TRANS - Now that we are enlightened by that reprisal from the fist message in this series, lets move on toward this week.
We will continue in our series looking at the first of three sections, Haggai for Hands.
What does it say?
What does it say?
In the second year of Darius the king, on the first day of the sixth month, the word of the Lord came by the prophet Haggai to Zerubbabel the son of Shealtiel, governor of Judah, and to Joshua the son of Jehozadak, the high priest, saying,
Now that we are enlightened by that, I suppose we can all go home :-)
Seriously, we need to visit this text in it’s period.
It was different then.
BAK - The returned exiles faced years of hardship, privation, and insecurity.
They had to make a fresh start in a strange land.
They were dogged by a succession of poor seasons and partial crop failures.
Recall last we discussed this:
“You look for much, but behold, it comes to little; when you bring it home, I blow it away. Why?” declares the Lord of hosts, “Because of My house which lies desolate, while each of you runs to his own house. “Therefore, because of you the sky has withheld its dew and the earth has withheld its produce. “I called for a drought on the land, on the mountains, on the grain, on the new wine, on the oil, on what the ground produces, on men, on cattle, and on all the labor of your hands.”
We’re not there yet, but we will see that again in chapter two:
‘But now, do consider from this day onward: before one stone was placed on another in the temple of the Lord, from that time when one came to a grain heap of twenty measures, there would be only ten; and when one came to the wine vat to draw fifty measures, there would be only twenty. ‘I smote you and every work of your hands with blasting wind, mildew and hail; yet you did not come back to Me,’ declares the Lord.
Neighbors, especially the aristocracy of Samaria, were openly hostile.
Tensions between the returned exiles and the resident members of the community were ever present.
The Jews resident in the land regarded it as theirs:
“Son of man, they who live in these waste places in the land of Israel are saying, ‘Abraham was only one, yet he possessed the land; so to us who are many the land has been given as a possession.’
They were reluctant to share it with the newcomers.
There was tension and bitterness between the different groups of people.
The rest of our passage for today is:
Then the word of the Lord came by Haggai the prophet, saying,
Then Zerubbabel the son of Shealtiel, and Joshua the son of Jehozadak, the high priest, with all the remnant of the people, obeyed the voice of the Lord their God and the words of Haggai the prophet, as the Lord their God had sent him. And the people showed reverence for the Lord. Then Haggai, the messenger of the Lord, spoke by the commission of the Lord to the people saying, “ ‘I am with you,’ declares the Lord.” So the Lord stirred up the spirit of Zerubbabel the son of Shealtiel, governor of Judah, and the spirit of Joshua the son of Jehozadak, the high priest, and the spirit of all the remnant of the people; and they came and worked on the house of the Lord of hosts, their God, on the twenty-fourth day of the sixth month in the second year of Darius the king.
We will focus in on the three servants:
Zerubbabel (Judah’s governor), Jeshua (or Joshua—the high priest), and Haggai (Judah’s prophet).
What does it mean?
What does it mean?
Zerubbabel the Prince
Zerubbabel the Prince
Civil leader and governor.
God spoke and the leaders responded.
Then Zerubbabel the son of Shealtiel, and Joshua the son of Jehozadak, the high priest, with all the remnant of the people, obeyed the voice of the Lord their God and the words of Haggai the prophet, as the Lord their God had sent him. And the people showed reverence for the Lord.
What is the contemporary relevance of this OT teaching?
Consider what Jesus said in Matthew’s Gospel:
“But seek first His kingdom and His righteousness, and all these things will be added to you.
“Seek first His...”
Jesus identified our priorities.
Sure it is liberating.
We now know what to do, when to do it, and even the power in which we get it done.
But, it is a responsibility with demands.
The work of reaching people for Jesus in in your hands.
You are responsible to do kingdom work.
You can’t say, “They, them, you, or somebody will do it.”
We are in an interesting time.
The only correct response is “I am doing kingdom stuff before I even consider doing anything else.”
When we do this, the necessities of life are handled by God for us.
It seems that every generation from the time of Jesus must again learn this basic lesson God teaches.
Our leader, Jesus, both king and high priest, led out to do what God says.
Our part, is trusting in Him, and doing the work trusted to us.
TRANS - Pretty simple message so far. Trust Jesus, He is in charge and will take very good care of you when you do your part.
Zerubbabel, the priest, set example for us, “Do what God says and people follow.”
Let’s shift to consider the priest, the high priest in our text.
Jeshua the Priest
Jeshua the Priest
BAK - on the first day of the month Jews are brining special offerings to the sanctuary
‘Then at the beginning of each of your months you shall present a burnt offering to the Lord: two bulls and one ram, seven male lambs one year old without defect; and three-tenths of an ephah of fine flour mixed with oil for a grain offering, for each bull; and two-tenths of fine flour mixed with oil for a grain offering, for the one ram; and a tenth of an ephah of fine flour mixed with oil for a grain offering for each lamb, for a burnt offering of a soothing aroma, an offering by fire to the Lord. ‘Their drink offerings shall be half a hin of wine for a bull and a third of a hin for the ram and a fourth of a hin for a lamb; this is the burnt offering of each month throughout the months of the year. ‘And one male goat for a sin offering to the Lord; it shall be offered with its drink offering in addition to the continual burnt offering.
it’s a busy day for Jeshua the spiritual leader and high priest.
In comes Haggai during this very busy time to reveal the sin of the people with regard to the unfinished sanctuary.
POINT - How much like God to interrupt people in the middle of being busy?
Do you know how many people say things like, “I’m waiting on God to tell me.” or “I’m just waiting on God and don’t want to get ahead of Him.”
To those people I ask, “Did you watch TV last night?” and “Did God tell you to watch TV?”
See, God is telling us something, but too often we put lesser things before the greater things.
Are lessor things greater than Godly things?
We asked God to help us reach people so He can grow this church.
He always answers that prayer because God loves those unreached people in ways we can’t imagine.
God fired back, have your pastor, that’s me, work with you and I’ll provide the way.
Now we have a way, a strategy, one that is perfect for our church.
Will we do what we asked God to direct us to accomplish?
Will we do it just as easily as we will turn on the TV, that God probably didn’t say “watch,” so our prayers will be answered?
TRANS - Zerubbabel, the prince “Do what God says and people follow” and Jeshua the priest, “God has answered our prayers” demonstrate how good leaders are servants to both God and the people.
One said “here is the strategy” and the other “here is what you need to get things done.”
Let’s consider our third character, Haggai the prophet.
Haggai the Prophet
Haggai the Prophet
Purpose of book “Consider your ways”
Now therefore, thus says the Lord of hosts, “Consider your ways!
Thus says the Lord of hosts, “Consider your ways!
‘But now, do consider from this day onward: before one stone was placed on another in the temple of the Lord,
‘Do consider from this day onward, from the twenty-fourth day of the ninth month; from the day when the temple of the Lord was founded, consider:
Haggai calls the leaders and the people to question what they are doing.
He speaks to them the very words of God.
Today we hear God’s word to us.
Work for God and be blessed.
God’s answered our prayers, provided us the direction, gives us everything we need, and now asks us to act in faith.
If we work in faith, God will bless.
If we withdraw, God will not pour forth blessings.
Whatever was gained, will disappear.
Reminds me of the NT paradox so important its in three gospels:
“For whoever wishes to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for My sake and the gospel’s will save it.
“For whoever wishes to save his life will lose it; but whoever loses his life for My sake will find it.
“For whoever wishes to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for My sake, he is the one who will save it.
The work fell on Haggai to show the postexilic Jews the attitude they were showing toward God.
Their actions did not honor the God they served.
Haggai called on his generation to a renewed commitment to the work of restoration.
Today, I’m calling on you to the work of FBC Minneola.
The people of Haggai’s day had to decide whose interests matted the most.
I’m asking you, whose interests matter most, yours or the Lords?
What does this mean to us?
What does this mean to us?
Do my daily actions demonstrate a “seek first” mentality?
What happens past your Bible reading, devotional time, and personal prayer?
I want to encourage you to a self-imposed measure of personal sacrifice.
I want you to consider leaving a life of spiritual lethargy and unresponsiveness.
I’m offering to lead you to advance the cause of God’s work in the world.
This morning I’m asking you to join me in a fast.
Skip food and pick up the Bible for at least one day this week.
Follow your doctor’s recommendation, but give up enough to be psychically hungry for a day.
In that time, tell God your thoughts about making a change order to serve Him along with others in this church.
Ask God to help you put personal preferences aside so we can reach new people.
Ask God to send those new people.
Ask God to help us do whatever it takes to keep the new people He sends.
Upcoming: Next part of our series, “Haggai for Hands, Hearts, and Heads,” we move to section two Haggai for Hearts.