#343 – THE GREATER GLORY (5/5/21)
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 third prophecy that Haggai gives to the people.
Please read Haggai 2:1-2:9
In 586 BC. Solomon’s temple had been destroyed. As they rebuilt the temple in Jerusalem it became clear that it was inferior in every way. They did not have the physical resources to restore it to its original majesty. We read of the mixed feelings in Ezra,
‘But many of the older priests and Levites and family heads, who had seen the former temple, wept aloud when they saw the foundation of this temple being laid, while many others shouted for joy. No one could distinguish the sound of the shouts of joy from the sound of weeping, because the people made so much noise. And the sound was heard far away.’ (Ezra 3:12)
We can be disappointed with God’s work. Maybe what He’s doing in our lives doesn’t match the vision we had. Maybe what He’s doing in the nation or the church doesn’t match what we’ve been praying for. Maybe what we’ve experienced in the past, or what we’ve read in history books makes us dissatisfied with how He’s working now.
Dissatisfaction is good when it is joined with prayer and faith to act for a better future. Dissatisfaction is poison when joined with hopelessness and grumbling. God spoke to His people,
‘The glory of this present house will be greater than the glory of the former house,’ says the Lord Almighty. ‘And in this place I will grant peace,’ declares the Lord Almighty.” (Haggai 2:9)
How will the present house be greater in glory? I’m going to jump to why the church - God’s present house - is greater in every way.
i) My Spirit is among you
“For I am with you,’ declares the Lord Almighty. 5 ‘This is what I covenanted with you when you came out of Egypt. And my Spirit remains among you…” (Haggai 2:4-5)
The greater glory of the church is that she is the dwelling place of God in a far superior way to the temple. Paul says of her,
‘In him the whole building is joined together and rises to become a holy temple in the Lord. And in him you too are being built together to become a dwelling in which God lives by his Spirit.’ (Ephesians 2:21-22)
ii) It’s filled with ‘the desired of nations’
‘I will shake all nations, and what is desired by all nations will come, and I will fill this house with glory,’ says the Lord Almighty.’ (Haggai 2:7)
The ‘desired of nations’ refers, firstly, to Jesus and His presence in the church. He is the ‘desired of nations’. He came to the temple in His earthly life and He continues to dwell in His people by the Spirit. This is greater glory!
Another feature of the church is that it consists of people from 'every nation tribe and tongue'. God is building 'a house of prayer for all nations'. This is greater glory.
iii) It’s filled with ‘peace’
‘And in this place I will grant peace,’ (Haggai 2:9)
The Old Testament temple provided for forgiveness through animal sacrifices. These were ‘a shadow’ (Hebrews 10:1) of the peace we have through the blood of Christ. This is greater glory!
Does your definition of the church need to change? We can rank the success of a church based on size, buildings, music, successful people, glossy presentation… God is interested in us being a people of the gospel and His presence.
God makes it clear that,
“The silver is mine and the gold is mine”
If true glory was about these things, He can and would provide it! However, true glory is about God’s presence amongst us.
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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