February 25, 2017
Last week we looked at the first Jews who had returned from exile who had began well doing God’s work in rebuilding his Temple but then had opposition and discouragements and ended up turning away from doing God’s work. They then focused on themselves and selfishly did what they wanted!
God spoke to them through Haggai, they listened and obeyed Him refocusing and returning to rebuilding God’s Temple.
We also looked what (who) God’s Temple in the world today is. We the Church, God’s people are God’s Temple and are called to give witness in the world to the Presence, Reality, Reverence, Dignity and Influence of God. We do this through who we are and what we do as we live out our values, priorities and focus.
According to Haggai 1:8 what would God take and receive as a result of the Jews obeying Him?
What did disobeying God bring to Him? Isaiah 63:10, Ephesians 4:30.
When they obeyed what message did God send through Haggai?
Compare their lives:
2. Good Works
When they obeyed God what did He then do? Haggai 1:14.
Discuss George’s words….
But more than this, in 1v14 we read how God “stirred up the spirit of Zerubbabel, Joshua & all the remnant of the people”. This “stirred up” is to “wake up”, to “arouse” & is used some 80 times in the OT of God inciting a person’s spirit for a particular course of action in line with His purposes. God gave them a dose of holy enthusiasm for the things of God. The word in the Bible that gets closest to this “holy enthusiasm” is the word zeal or zealous. Recall John 2:17. The zeal displayed by the Lord Jesus was a “passionate enthusiasm” for the things of God. Titus 2:14 tells us that “[Jesus] gave Himself for us that He might redeem us from every lawless deed & purify for Himself His own special people (but notice what this verse says about these special people) – “they are zealous (they have a passionate enthusiasm) for good works”. The best “good works” going around are the God’s works – that’s why we need to consider them. Jesus had an investment in His Father’s interests that inspired a passionate enthusiasm for His works. The Christian’s level of investment in God’s interests will determine whether they have a passionate enthusiasm for God’s works (like Jesus) or a pathetic indifference (like the people of Haggai’s day).
Haggai’s first message from God awoke God’s people in Jerusalem in 520BC out of their pathetic indifference to the state of the Temple. The moment of their awakening marked the beginning of God’s works amongst them.
What did God:
Read Ephesians 2:8-10 and discuss the following….
We become Christians through God’s unmerited favour, not as a result of any effort, ability, intelligent choice, or act of service on our part. However, out of gratitude for this free gift, we will seek to serve and help others with kindness, love and gentleness, and not merely to please ourselves. While no action or work we do can help us obtain salvation, God’s intention is that our salvation will result in acts of service. We are not saved merely for our own benefit but to serve Christ and build up the church.#
Discuss the importance of relying on the Holy Spirit and not our own strength to do this.
According to Jesus what is one way we bring praise to our Heavenly Father? Matthew 5:16.
Discuss the importance of obeying God and living according to His ways in order for us to experience the “rich and satisfying life” Jesus came to bring us. John 10:10b.
Contrast the opposite of what the thief (John 10:10a) seeks to do through the world and our flesh. See also 1 John 2:15-16.
Re-read Haggai 2:23 and discuss the following….
God closed His message to Zerubbabel with this tremendous affirmation, ‘I have chosen you’. Such a proclamation applies to us as well. Each of us has been chosen by God (Ephesians 1:4). This truth should make us see how much God loves us and motivate us to work for Him. When you feel down, remind yourself: ‘God has chosen me’.
Haggai’s message to the people sought to get their priorities straight, help them quit worrying and motivate them to rebuild the Temple. Like them, we often place a higher priority on our personal comfort than on God’s work and true worship. But God is pleased and promises strength and guidance when we give Him first place in our life. #
What is the first step for anyone wanting to live according to God’s ways and doing the things He has planned for them?
Consider the following…
God wanted the Temple to be rebuilt, and He had the gold and silver to do it, but he needed willing hands. God has chosen to do His work through people. He provides the resources, but willing hands must do the work. Are your hands available for God’s work in the world? #
# Taken from ‘Life Application Study Bible’