A Case For Environmental Awareness (A Renewed Exhortation To Purity)

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January 23, 1994

A Case For Environmental Awareness

(A Renewed Exhortation To Purity)

Haggai 2:10-23

I.       Prayer and Acknowledgments

II.      Read Passage, Haggai 2:10-23

III.     Introduction

          A.      Message Title Overview

                   Lessons From The Past, Plans For The Future

                   The Basement House - Complete What You Start

                   Little Is Much When God Is In It.

                   A Case For Environmental Awareness - A Renewed Exhortation             to Purity

          B.      Preface

                   A great promise of blessing was given in vs. 9 but there is now a             renewed need for additional exhortation and hope.

                   1.       Holiness is not transmitted by mere association with the                           holy.

                   2.       Unholiness is transmitted by association with the unholy.

                   3.       God will carry out his plan for holiness.

                             (Ultimately, the Messiah alone would be able to make                     them clean forever.)

IV.     Text

          A.      Vs. 10

                   3rd of 4 prophetic messages

                   Given on Dec 18, 520

                   4 months after 1st message

                   3 months after work started

                   2 months after previous message of encouragement

          B.      Vs. 11-13

                   1.       Like asking the elders of the church for a doctrinal or                      theological ruling.  The question is stated from two                                 directions and the answers are obvious to drive home the                             point.

                             a.       If you mix clean water with muddy water, does the                                   muddy water become clean?  No.

                             b.       If you mix muddy water with clean water, does the                                   clean water become muddy?  Yes.

                   2.       The point is crystal clear that God's people can pollute and                      have polluted themselves because of ungodly associations.                      Sin is transmitted much more easily than holiness.

                             a.       Unclean things cannot be rendered clean by virtue                                     of their association with the clean.  And things that                                 are already clean can become contaminated by the                                   unclean.

                             b.       The people, their deeds and their sacrifices had all                                    become unclean.  A sinful man cannot do good                              works or offer acceptable sacrifice.  A righteous                                 man cannot do evil works and offer acceptable                               sacrifice.

                             c.       The people may have thought they had become                               holy by being back in the promised land and by                                        association with rebuilding the temple, but God                                       brings them up short by this lesson on how unholy                                they really are.  They needed a spirit of confession,                                       consecration and renewal.  They needed God                                  himself.  To disobey God in neglecting the temple                                    would violate everything else they would touch.

                             d.       The point is that up to now their sacrifices have                                        been unacceptable due to past defilement and                                  disobedience in temple construction.  The process                               of acceptance has now begun with their obedience                                to construct the temple but it is about to be tested                                    again.

          C.      Vs. 14

                   1.       Note the reference to "this" people and nation similar to                           "these" people in vs 1:2.  They have defiled themselves                           even to the effect of the present sense and God cannot                             refer to them as "my" people.  His presence had left the                            temple because of the people's sin prior to the Babylonian                             exile and had not yet returned because the temple was not                       rebuilt.

                             a.       Ez 10:18 Glory departed.

                             b.       Ez 9:3-6 Note:  Glory of God began to depart,                                angels called to destroy city, those who grieved                               over sin were protected with mark, judgment began                                     at sanctuary (God's people-1Pet 4:17)

                   2.       How had the people become defiled?  Did God have a                             legitimate concern - past, present, future?  The people had                      an affinity for this.

          D.      Guilt by association

                   1.       Past Reality

                             a.       Warnings before securing the promised land.

                                      (1)     Ex 23:24-26, 32-33 the snare of idol worship

                                      (2)     Ex 34:10-16 no compromise with unholy

                                      (3)     Lev 18:24-28 sexual defilement

                                      (4)     Lev 20:22-24, 26 be holy and set apart

                                      (5)     Num 33:50-52, 55-56 drive out inhabitants

                                       (6)     Dt 7:25-26 unholy objects set apart for                                            destruction

                                      (7)     Dt 28:38-42 curses for disobedience

                                      (8)     Josh 23:12-13 unholy alliances

                             b.       Since the return from Babylon

                                      (1st return led by Zerubbabel in 536 to rebuild                                temple)

                                      (1)     Ezra 4:1-2 Samaritans offered to help build                                              temple and make sacrifices

                                      (2)     Ezra 4:3 Zerubbabel turned them down

                                      (3)     Ezra 4:4-5 Then the surrounding peoples                                         opposed them.

                                                (a)     Revealed true motives

                                      (4)     Ezra 4:24 The building stopped with                                                         foundation

                                                (a)     16 years later Haggai calls for                                                                    renewed effort.

                   2.       Present Problem

                             a.       Ezra 5:3-17 Tattenai sends letter to Darius to                                  oppose renewed effort at rebuilding temple.

                             b.       Ezra 6:1-12 Darius tells opponents to stop                                                interference and even to help by bringing animals                                     and other goods to the Jews for sacrifice.

                             c.       It is here that Haggai, in today's passage, reminds                                     the priests of the nature of defilement and the                                  people that they have been defiled.

                             d.     The people must continue to give careful thought                                      and not accept pagan gifts for sacrifice.

                   3.       Future Failures:  Is the warning justified?  Yes.

                             a.       Ezra 6:15 Temple was completed 4 years after the                                    call to rebuild

                             b.       Ezra 6:21 Temple dedicated together with those                                        who separated themselves from their Gentile                                            neighbors.

                             c.       (2nd return led by Ezra in 458 to beautify temple.)

                                      (1)     Ezra 9:1-2 Ezra challenges people and                                             priests to confession for having intermarried                                             Gentiles

                             d.       (3rd return led by Nehemiah in 444 to rebuild city                                    walls.)

                                      (1)     Ne 13:6-7 Nehemiah completes wall and                                          returns to Artaxerxes, but comes back to                                         throw Tobiah (a Gentile) out from living in                                             the temple.

                                      (2)     Ne 13:23-27 Nehemiah rebukes the men and                                             priests who married foreign women in his                                                 absence.

          E.      Vs. 15-18

                   1.       Considering all this, the people are commanded again to                           "give careful thought" as in 1:5, 7; to think how things                             were for them economically from 586 when they started                     and then stopped on the temple.

                   2.       Another dose of careful thought is called for because God                         puts some mathematics to the past shortages which                                 amount to 50% or more.

                   3.       If the people want abundance and blessing they must not                         yield to the pressures of the peoples around them to stop                         building or to allow continued defilement with the unholy.

          F.      Vs. 19

                   1.       This is Dec. The time for harvest is past.  The people are                        still suffering the shortages due to past sin and                                disobedience.  This is a reminder and a challenge to stay                             obedient to the cause if they expect a future harvest from                          this crop.

                   2.       God offers his blessing once again.  If the people fail, it                           won't be God's fault because he offers them everything                             they need to comply with his commands.  They have his                          blessing.  God is an encourager.  He is with those who are                            with him.

                   3.       The sins of the Canaanites had contaminated the Jews                              presence in the Promised Land in the past.  They had now                      been taken out and put back in again after Babylonian                        captivity.  They dare not allow themselves to be                               contaminated again.  Environmental (spiritual)                              Awareness.

          G.      Vs. 20 Future Glory

                   1.       4th and final prophecy given on the same day as the one                          we just studied.

                   2.       Leads into the confirmation of future blessing on the                       "Day of the Lord" when Christ will reign and rule on                          earth for 1,000 years.

          H.      Vs. 21-22

                   1.       As in 2:6-7, a great display of God's power will usher in                          the Kingdom of Christ.  Refers to displays of power more                            mighty than his deliverance of Israel at the Red Sea and                        describes the plight of the nations fighting against                                 Jerusalem in the last days (Armageddon -Zech 14:13).

                   2.       Heb 12:26-28 refers to a shattering defeat of all heavenly                          and earthly opposition so severe that no one and nothing                         remains except God and his sovereign rule.  Zech 8:20-                       23.

          I.       Vs 23

                   1.       Zerubbabel, called "my servant", is here representative of                         Christ. (Zech 3:8-9)  He was in the kingly line of David                           but his grandfather, Jehoiachin, next to last king of Judah,                         and his great grandfather, Jehoiakim, were cursed by                         God.

                   2.       The curse was that even if they were signet rings on God's                        right hand, they would be pulled off and they would                       possess no descendant upon the throne of David. (Jer                             22:30; Jer 22:24; Jer 36:30)

                   3.       There would not be another king on the throne of David                           until Christ.  The royal family and the nation fell into                              chaos and disintegration because of the evil they did                     before God. 

                   4.       God's word to Zerubbabel through Haggai reversed the                            signet ring curse he had given to the royal family before                           the fall into Babylonian captivity.

V.      Conclusion.

          A.      This final prophecy in Haggai's book gave explicit hope in the                 anticipation of the Messianic Kingdom and revealed how his                   first three prophecies fit into the eternal perspective.  God's plan                  was to restore the nation and renew their hope.  The people are               incited to action with this prophecy of place and purpose and           ultimate peace.

          B.      The initial problem addressed by Haggai, however, was not the                Messianic Kingdom but how the people were ever going to             realize it unless they rose to the challenge of the calling for                 which they returned to Judah in the first place.

          C.      The temple was completed in 516 and dedicated.  Zech 4:9 Ezra             6:15-16

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