#342 – THEY BEGAN TO WORK (4/5/21)
On Sunday we took a break from our Sent series in order to briefly look at the book of Haggai. Today we’ll look at the second prophecy that Haggai gives to the people.
‘Then Haggai, the Lord’s messenger, gave this message of the Lord to the people: “I am with you,” declares the Lord. So the Lord stirred up the spirit of Zerubbabel son of Shealtiel, governor of Judah, and the spirit of Joshua son of Jozadak, the high priest, and the spirit of the whole remnant of the people. They came and began to work on the house of the Lord Almighty, their God, on the twenty-fourth day of the sixth month.’ (Haggai 1:13-15)
We can all become tired or discouraged. We all need to be re-inspired regularly. Community is vital if we are to keep serving God with vigour.
After 15 years of discouragement and distraction, Haggai’s words ‘stir up the spirit’ of the leaders and the people to get building.
Now, let’s be under no illusion that they had not been busy during this period! A failure to build for God does not mean that we are lazing around. We read that they had diverted their energies toward building for themselves,
“Is it a time for you yourselves to be living in your panelled houses, while this house remains a ruin?” (Haggai 1:4)
We read that they had been working hard, but their work did not satisfy because it was not blessed by God,
"You have planted much, but harvested little. You eat, but never have enough. You drink, but never have your fill. You put on clothes, but are not warm. You earn wages, only to put them in a purse with holes in it.” (Haggai 1:6)
Humans are made to worship. If we fail to build for God, we will still build and often find ourselves enslaved to work, image, status, physical beauty, status symbols…
True freedom is found in working for God.
Let’s allow the words of Haggai - God’s words - to stir our spirits to get building the local church. God promises that “I am with you” in this work. It will not overwhelm you. He will provide all that you need.
A very practical way to get involved is to seek to build God’s house through your devotion to a Community Group or leading a Community Group.
COMMUNITY GROUP STUDY - IT'S TIME TO BUILD
It might be good to begin with notices. Please share from this week’s Church News.
Have you got any funny DIY stories to share?
Recap of Sunday's message - please share in your group
Please read Haggai 1:1-15
God’s people had been taken into exile in Babylon because they had refused to listen to God about their sin. However, God had promised that after 70 years they would return to the Land. Having returned, they quickly become fearful and discouraged and the rebuilding of the house of God ceases for 15 years. God stirs them to start building through the prophets Haggai and Zechariah.
This is what the Lord Almighty says: “These people say, ‘The time has not yet come to rebuild the Lord’s house.’” (Haggai 1:2)
This is what the Lord Almighty says: “Give careful thought to your ways. Go up into the mountains and bring down timber and build my house, so that I may take pleasure in it and be honoured,” says the Lord .“ (Haggai 1:7-8)
We are not called to build a physical temple of stone and gold. In this era, God’s church - His people - are His temple. God wants all of us to be devoted to building His community.
1. Did God speak to you about anything in particular from Sunday's message or the blogs this week?
2. In Haggai 1:2 we read, "This is what the Lord Almighty says: “These people say, ‘The time has not yet come to rebuild the Lord’s house." They had become discouraged from building. As a result, God's people had diverted their energy from building God's house. We read in Haggai 1:3, “Is it a time for you yourselves to be living in your panelled houses, while this house remains a ruin?” What are the ways that one might become discouraged and distracted from building the local church?
3. God commanded them to “Give careful thought to your ways" (Haggai 1:7). Each of us is to prayerfully seek God for how we are to be involved in building the church. Giving careful thought to our ways means prayerfully aligning our hearts with God’s word. What does scripture teach about the church and our involvement?
4. In Haggai 1:8, we read "Go up into the mountains and bring down timber and build my house.." How would you apply this to the church context?
Serving, Investing and inviting
Building the local church involves bringing new people to salvation.
1) Have you got any encouraging stories of serving, investing and inviting?
2) Who has God put into your life that we could pray for together?
2) How are you planning to serve invest and invite?
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