Sunday, October 2, 2011

Life Can Be Great, Even When It Is Messy

A sermon developed by Dr. Terry W. Dorsett based on Haggai 2.
This is the third sermon in a three part series. To see the notes from previous sermons in this series, click on the links below:

Verse 1 - On the twenty-first day of the seventh month, the word of the LORD came through the prophet Haggai:
  • We know the exact date of this event, which was October 17, 520 B.C.
  • The Bible is not just a book of myths and legends. It is a historical book.
  • Though liberals love to make fun of the Bible as not being accurate, much of the history found in the Bible has been verified.
  • We can trust the accuracy of the Bible, every time, all the time!
  • This was the second message Haggai received. The people had listened to his first message and responded correctly.
  • Do we always listen to the messages we hear from the Lord? Do we always respond correctly?
Verse 3 - Who of you is left who saw this house in its former glory? How does it look to you now? Does it not seem to you like nothing?
          Once the people of God got their priorities right, they were able to rebuild the temple in a matter of weeks.
          Ten years they had put off doing what they knew God wanted them to do, but once they got right with God, they were able to get back where they needed to be in a relatively short time.
          Though scholars argue about whether Haggai was born in Jerusalem or born in exile, they all agree that SOME people in the group had seen the first temple before it had been destroyed.
          The first temple was an amazing feat of both engineering and art.
          The first temple had taken 3 years of preparation and 4 ½ years to actually build.
          The first temple used 100,000 talents of gold and 1 million talents of silver.
          At September 29, 2011 prices, just the gold and silver in the first temple would have cost nearly $236 BILLION ! ! ! !
          Contrast that to the second temple, which was built with ruble and other materials they had on hand at the moment they were building.
          Imagine the striking difference between the first and second temples.
          When we mess up what God is trying to do in our lives, He gives us another chance but it is often not as “pretty” as if we had obeyed the first time.

Verse 4 - But now be strong . . . all you people of the land, declares the LORD, and work. For I am with you, declares the LORD Almighty.
          Though the second temple may not have been as “pretty” as the first one, God told the people to remain strong because He was with them.
          Though our “second chances” may not be as tidy and neat as if we had done things right the first time, if God is with us, it will work out somehow.

Verse 5 - This is what I covenanted with you when you came out of Egypt. And my Spirit remains among you. Do not fear.
          Though we often break our promises to God, He never breaks His promises to us.
          1 Thessalonians 5:24 - The one who calls you is faithful and he will do it.
          2 Timothy 2:13 - if we are faithless, he will remain faithful, for he cannot disown himself.
          If we have wandered from God, we should turn back to Him today regardless of how messy life might look.

Verse 6 – This is what the Lord Almighty says, In a little while I will once more shake the heavens and the earth, the sea and the dry land.
          Though the people had finally gotten right with God and rebuilt the temple, this did not mean that they would never have problems again.
          We live in a messed up world, and even when we do everything right, we can still get hurt by the sins of others or by the unfortunate circumstances of life.

Verse 7 - I will shake all nations, and the desired of all nations will come, and I will fill this house with glory, says the LORD Almighty.
          Though it sometimes feels like our world is shaking, when God is in the center of our lives, that shaking will ultimately have positive results.
          Romans 8:28 – “We know that all things work together for the good of those who love God and are called according to His purpose.”
          Haggai reminds them that one day the “desired of all nations” will come.
          Who is the desired of all nations?
          Isaiah 59:20 “The Redeemer will come to Zion, to those in Jacob who repent of their sins, declares the LORD.”
          The desired of all nations is JESUS ! ! !
          People say they want world peace. That will never come until the world knows the Prince of Peace.
          People say they want everyone to love each other. That will never happen until we embrace the God of Love.
          People say they want fairness, but that will never come until the Righteous Judge rules every heart.
          People say they want to feed the hungry and clothe the poor. That will never happen until the Bread of Life becomes the Mantle of Righteousness for all who seek Him.
          The world wants many things, but what the world needs is Jesus!!!!
          When Jesus comes into our lives, everything changes for the better.
          God promised to fill the new temple with His glory, even though it was not as nice as the old temple.
          When we wander from Jesus, we step outside the blessings of God and our “temple” gets defiled or even destroyed.
          The solution is not to curse Jesus for our mistakes.
          The solution is to come back to Jesus and let Him do a new work in our lives all over again.
          God wants to fill our lives with His glory regardless of our past.
          The consequences of our past may keep life from ever being neat and tidy, but life still can be Spirit filled and abundant if we let Christ rebuild it for us.

Verse 9 - The glory of this present house will be greater than the glory of the former house, says the LORD Almighty . . .
          God said the glory of the second temple would be greater than the first, though clearly it would never be as nice.
          The first temple was often referred to as Solomon’s temple. Who got the glory?
          But no one wanted to claim for glory for the second temple, which belongs to God alone.
          We may have messed our lives, but God wants to take our mess and do something so wonderful that everyone will know it is God.

Verse 9 . . . And in this place I will grant peace, declares the LORD Almighty.
          When we give our lives to the Lord, He brings peace into the chaos.
          That does not mean we will never have problems, but it does mean we will have peace in the middle of our difficulties.
          Finding real peace in life is worth far more than the $236 BILLION the first temple cost.

Verse 15 - Now give careful thought to this . . . consider how things were before one stone was laid on another in the LORD's temple.
          Haggai told the people to think about what the second temple symbolized.
          Though the second temple may not have been covered in gold and silver like the first one, it was sure a far cry better than the pile of rubble it had been for all those years.
          Though our lives may not be perfect, they are sure a lot better than lives lived without the Lord.

Verses 18-19 - From this day on . . . give careful thought to the day when the foundation of the LORD's temple was laid . . . From this day on I will bless you.
          God wanted the people to realize that from the very day they came back to Him, His blessing also returned.
          TODAY can be the day that God’s blessing falls on us again if we will turn back to Him.
          The Bible is an accurate record of God’s activity throughout history. We can trust it!
          Though our lives often get messed up because we do not follow what God says in the Bible, when we turn back to God, He will give us another chance.
          Second chances may not always be as neat and tidy as we wish, but they can be great.
          God must get the glory for all the good that comes out of our experiences.