Continuing the Work of Jesus
Are we continuing the work of Jesus?
Is anyone continuing the work of Jesus?
What would Father God say about continuing the work of Jesus?
Are we as good as the Israelites at keeping the goodness of the gospel for ourselves.
They were chosen to spread the good news of the love of God to all nations.
But did a very poor job of it.
Then Jesus came to show what Father God wanted and how much he loved people and to ask that those who believed in the Son carry the good news of the love of God to all people.
But have we?
Does your neighbor know how much you love God?
Do the people you come into contact with daily know of your love for God?
No, you do not have to preach at them.
They can tell by the difference in your life that you stand for something different than they do.
And, hopefully, some day they might ask you what that might be.
And you can tell them just how wonderful God is to those who claim Him as Lord.
Something or somebody is Lord of each person’s life, why not make it God?
For only God can give a life worth living for and a life worth dying for.
Praise be the name of the Lord God Almighty!
How much time do you spend worshipping Yahweh?
I am constantly amazed how we come to worship but do little worshipping.
What is it to worship?
To pay homage to, to bow down before, to acknowledge, things like that.
Praise songs were written to be songs of worship.
To worship is to acknowledge how wonderful God is and how much we need him to be in our lives.
The suggested title in my resource for today is: God’s Work Must Go On.
I would say that God’s work will go on and it is up to us if we will be a part of it or if God will use / choose someone else to further his kingdom on earth as it is in heaven.
Text: “Is it time for you yourselves to be living in your paneled houses, while this house remains a ruin?” Haggai 1:4 and the complete text is Haggai 1:2-8.
The temple in Jerusalem was destroyed on 586 BC.
Those who remained from the previous deportations, 605 and 596 BC were carried captive to Babylon with only a very few escaping.
Though in a foreign land they survived. For more than a half century the Jews remained in this foreign country.
They were afforded a limited amount of freedom to build homes, cultivate gardens, and work at jobs according to their wishes.
In 539 BC, Cyrus the Great conquered Babylon and set the Jews free to return to their homeland.
When they got home and saw the devastation they were terribly disappointed.
Nothing was left of the former glory, which they had sung about in exile.
The walls were heaps of refuse.
The temple was a pile of charred stones.
The streets were overgrown with weeds.
They built an altar on its old site and offered sacrifices as in earlier days.
They started rebuilding the temple but were stopped by the Persians, who had let them go home in the first place.
So no work was done for fifteen years.
They were allowed to build home for themselves and provide for their own comfort.
Then the prophet Haggai appeared on the scene.
His premise was that God’s house was as important as their homes.
Are nice places of worship important to the worship of Yahweh?
He is spirit and he wants our hearts in tune with his.
Isn’t that the worship He wants?
Institutions are a product of the human mind, not the mind of God.
However God’s people need a place to worship.
Some people say that they can worship God as well out in nature as in a church building.
Billy Sunday used to say that you might be able to but you won’t.
Another person has said that a man can probably have high and noble concepts of God coming out of a sand trap on the thirteenth hole of a golf course at 11:00 AM on Sunday morning, but chances that he will are not very great.
God’s people need a place to worship, and they need to come together to worship.
The way people treat God’s house often indicates their love for him.
A set aside, dedicated place of worship carries significance for those who worship there.
People need to provide a functional and attractive place of worship.
As we know some religious groups build very fancy places of worship to show their love and respect for God while others build simple houses of worship to say that it is the relationship with God not the house that signifies true worship.
The Jews had started the temple then stopped and it was partly done with no work was being done on it for years.
The people had nice places to live but no place to worship God.
They had taken care of their personal needs regardless of the economic adversity that had come their way.
Why should they dwell in comfortable homes and let God’s house lie in waste?
It is not right to serve God with the leftovers in any areas of our lives.
He deserves the first fruits of our time, talents, money and enthusiasm.
God’s work must go on.
We cannot wait until we have everything in our own lives satisfactorily arranged before taking care of the spiritual needs in our community.
The people of Israel had done a very wrong thing.
Times had been tough, and they had siphoned the part of their money that should have been dedicated to God into satisfying their own desires.
Haggai said, “Now this is what the Lord Almighty says, ‘Give careful thought to your ways. You have planted much, but have 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’”.
The prophet’s words were important.
A spiritual law is present in the world that applies to all people but particularly to God’s redeemed family.
When we spend God’s money on ourselves, the result is tragic.
People used to say, “God has a way of collecting his tithe.” They were right.
Those who dedicate God’s money to God usually spend their own money wisely.
Those who are so disorganized that they fail to give God the first fruits of their income are confused about their priorities.
God’s money is his, and we can never be happy until we realize this fact.
A man who was given just six months to live, twenty years later stated his explanation for his surviving so long. “For many years I did not tithe. Then I became converted on the stewardship question and began tithing. My wife and I decided to give a little extra each week to catch up on our tithe for the many years that we had failed to give according to God’s Word.”
At this point, he laughed and said, “When I was about to die, God checked my record and found that I had not caught up on my tithe, so he’s let me live twenty more years in order to catch up.”
One may not agree with his theology, but from a practical standpoint, this is the way he felt.
We all would be wise to take our stewardship responsibility as seriously.
Haggai told the people that they were to put God first with their material possessions.
It is said that if a man is right on the question of his money, he is likely to be right, or easily led to be right, on other subjects.
However, if he is wrong on the question of his money, he is likely to be wrong on all other matters of the Christian faith.
That might seem a bit strongly put, but is it wrong?
Haggai ends with a message for the governor Zerubbabel who was the grandson of King Jehoiachin in the line of King David.
He is the civil leader of the community so this message has importance for the people living there.
As God defeats the evil powers that rule at the present time, Zerubbael would be exalted and given a position of honor.
He would become a signet, the most treasured of all possessions at that time.
He would be chosen by God for a special favor and God would keep him under his protective care.
God has his eye on his own and in due time he will exult them and give them proper reward for their deeds.
God is the God of his people and of history.
Every generation needs to be freshly reminded of this truth.
As Paul put it, “Therefore, my dear brothers and sisters, stand firm. Let nothing move you. Always give yourselves fully to the work of the Lord, because you know that your labor in the Lord is not in vain. 1 Cor. 15:58
Do not be discouraged by hardship or setbacks in your life.
Hear the words of Haggai and let them encourage you.
In the darkest night of the year, when the stars have all gone out, courage is better than fear and faith is truer than doubt.
And fierce though the fiends may fight, log by the sun they hide, I know that truth and right have universe on their side.
God’s word must go on. And it will go on because God stands within the shadow keeping watch and working to bring about his purposes in history.
Trust God and join his team bringing the Kingdom of God to earth as it is in heaven.
There is nothing like being o the winning team.
Now and forever more!