Sunday, September 25, 2011

How Should God’s People Respond to Challenging Sermons?

A sermon developed by Dr. Terry W. Dorsett based on Haggai 1:12-15.

This is sermon number two in a three part series on the Old Testament book of Haggai. To read the notes from the first sermon, click here.

          The people had been back in the land for ten years.
          Though they were the people of God and were asked to rebuild the temple of God, somehow, after ten years they had never gotten around to it.
          They kept making excuses for why it was not yet the right time to focus on God’s priorities.
          Haggai challenged them to consider what their priorities really were.

Verse 12 - …the entire remnant of the people obeyed the voice of the LORD their God and the words of the prophet Haggai...
          Because prophets often challenged the way people thought about things and attempted to move people out of their comfort zones, they normally got negative responses.
          Perhaps to Haggai’s surprise, this group of people actually responded positively to his message about priorities.
          The ENTIRE group responded positively and that seldom happens!
          Usually only a few individuals respond to the voice of God and the rest ignore His calling.
          Haggai’s message sunk deep into the hearts of those who heard it.
          Perhaps because they already knew it was true and truth always resonates with those who are called by God.
          The people obeyed the “voice of the Lord.”
          Though God used Haggai to deliver the message, it was the voice of the Lord that the people responded to.
          It can sometimes be hard to hear the voice of God in our lives because of all the other voices that crowd out the Lord.
          When we take time to stop and think about our actions and our priorities, we often can hear the voice of the Lord more clearly.
          We must learn to build some quiet time in our lives so we can hear God speak.
          The people also obeyed the “words of the prophet.”
          Though we must be careful about blindly following people who claim to speak for the Lord, the Lord does often use people to show us His plan for our lives.
          If we have a discerning spirit, then we will be able to find pastors and teachers who can give us the right advice for godly living.

Verse 13 - Haggai, the LORD's messenger, delivered the LORD's message to the people, "I am with you" was the LORD's declaration.
          Though Haggai had been used by God to first deliver a strong message that shook the people up, he is now used by God to offer those same people a word of comfort and hope.
          God’s message to the people was the He was with them.
          If God is with us, who can stand against us?
          We enjoy hearing messages of hope more than messages that challenge the way we think or live.
          But hope that is built on wrong living or wrong thinking is false hope.
          Therefore, we often need to hear what we might perceive as a negative message first before the positive message will really help us.
          This is true for both Christians and non-Christians.
          Non-believers must first realize they are lost and in need of Christ before they can repent of their sins and place their faith in Christ.
          We cannot “sugar coat” the Gospel in hopes of attracting more people.
          We have to tell it like it is and only then will people understand what life COULD be like if God was involved.
          John 3:16 is more powerful when we first understand John 3:18. “Whoever believes in Him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe stands condemned already . . .”
          Once people see that life with the Lord is much better than life without Him, then they will be more apt to commit to follow Him in a real and meaningful way instead of just looking for fire insurance against the flames of hell.

Verse 14 - The LORD stirred up . . . the spirit of all the remnant of the people. They began work on the house of Yahweh of Hosts, their God.
          The Lord stirred up the spirit of the people.
          We do not stir up our own spirits through good works, motivational speeches or external rewards.
          The Lord is the one who starts the process.
          The Lord must first do something inside of us that is deeply spiritual and transformational.
          Once the Lord has stirred our spirit, then we must decide if we will quench the Spirit, or join God in His amazing work.
          When the Jews got stirred up, they decided to get busy doing God’s work. They began to rebuild the temple.
          Though they had neglected this important work for ten long years, when they finally got their priorities right, they went to work with passion.
          Past failure does not limit a successful future if God is with us.
          Perhaps we have been only half-heartedly following the Lord for many years, but now something is stirring inside us.
          Will we allow that spiritual stirring to flow freely in and through us?
Or will we quench the Spirit’s work inside of us?

Sample Prayer:
          Dear Lord, today I sense You stirring my spirit to _____________. Give me the courage and commitment to follow that stirring completely. Amen.

          When we obey the voice of God, He will be with us like never before.
          When God begins to stir our spirits, we must decide how to respond.
          When God leads us to start rebuilding our lives on His priorities, life will be far better than it is now.

No comments:

Post a Comment