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Faithlife

Regard God & Re-prioritize your life

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Call To Worship Scripture

Habakkuk 3:19 ESV
God, the Lord, is my strength; he makes my feet like the deer’s; he makes me tread on my high places. To the choirmaster: with stringed instruments.
Habakkuk 2:2–4 ESV
And the Lord answered me: “Write the vision; make it plain on tablets, so he may run who reads it. For still the vision awaits its appointed time; it hastens to the end—it will not lie. If it seems slow, wait for it; it will surely come; it will not delay. “Behold, his soul is puffed up; it is not upright within him, but the righteous shall live by his faith.

Sermon Scripture

Haggai 1:5–6 ESV
Now, therefore, thus says the Lord of hosts: Consider your ways. You have sown much, and harvested little. You eat, but you never have enough; you drink, but you never have your fill. You clothe yourselves, but no one is warm. And he who earns wages does so to put them into a bag with holes.

Habakkuk

610 and 605 B.C.
REVERENCE GOD IN SEEKING ANSWERS (QUESTION GOD) - BE SILENT BEFORE GOD - TRUST IN GOD
The Book of Habakkuk begins with Habakkuk crying out to God for an answer to why God’s chosen people are allowed to suffer in their captivity ().
Habakkuk 1:1–4 ESV
The oracle that Habakkuk the prophet saw. O Lord, how long shall I cry for help, and you will not hear? Or cry to you “Violence!” and you will not save? Why do you make me see iniquity, and why do you idly look at wrong? Destruction and violence are before me; strife and contention arise. So the law is paralyzed, and justice never goes forth. For the wicked surround the righteous; so justice goes forth perverted.
Habakkuk 1:2 ESV
O Lord, how long shall I cry for help, and you will not hear? Or cry to you “Violence!” and you will not save?
The Lord gives His answer to Habakkuk, essentially stating, “You wouldn’t believe it if I told you” (). Habakkuk then follows up by saying, “Ok, you are God, but still tell me more about why this is happening” (). God then answers him again and gives him more information, then tells the earth to be silent before Him ().
Habakkuk 2:2–4 ESV
And the Lord answered me: “Write the vision; make it plain on tablets, so he may run who reads it. For still the vision awaits its appointed time; it hastens to the end—it will not lie. If it seems slow, wait for it; it will surely come; it will not delay. “Behold, his soul is puffed up; it is not upright within him, but the righteous shall live by his faith.
Habakkuk 2:
Then Habakkuk writes a prayer expressing his strong faith in God, even through these trials ().
Habakkuk 3:19 ESV
God, the Lord, is my strength; he makes my feet like the deer’s; he makes me tread on my high places. To the choirmaster: with stringed instruments.
The Apostle Paul quotes on two different occasions (; ) to reiterate the doctrine of justification by faith.
The application to the reader of Habakkuk is that it is permissible to question what God is doing, although with respect and reverence. Sometimes it is not evident to us what is going on, especially if we are thrown into suffering for a period of time or if it seems our enemies are prospering while we are just barely getting by. The Book of Habakkuk affirms that God is a sovereign, omnipotent God who has all things under control. We just need to be still and know He is at work. He is who He says He is and does keep His promises. He will punish the wicked. Even when we cannot see it, He is still on the throne of the universe. We need to stay focused on this: “The Sovereign Lord is my strength; He makes my feet like the feet of a deer, he enables me to go on the heights” (). Enabling us to go on the heights is taking us to the higher places with Him where we are set apart from the world. Sometimes the way we have to go to get us there is through suffering and sorrow, but if we rest in Him and trust Him, we come out where He wants us.

Zephaniah

635 and 625 BC.
TAKE COMFORT - GOD PUNISHES EVIL
Zephaniah pronounces the Lord’s judgment on the whole earth, on Judah, on the surrounding nations, on Jerusalem and on all nations.
Zephaniah
Zephaniah 1:18 ESV
Neither their silver nor their gold shall be able to deliver them on the day of the wrath of the Lord. In the fire of his jealousy, all the earth shall be consumed; for a full and sudden end he will make of all the inhabitants of the earth.
This is followed by proclamations of the Lord’s blessing on all nations and especially on the faithful remnant of His people in Judah.
Zephaniah 2:3 ESV
Seek the Lord, all you humble of the land, who do his just commands; seek righteousness; seek humility; perhaps you may be hidden on the day of the anger of the Lord.
Zepheniah 2:3
Zephaniah 2:13 ESV
And he will stretch out his hand against the north and destroy Assyria, and he will make Nineveh a desolation, a dry waste like the desert.
Zephaniah 3:
Zephaniah 2:3 ESV
Seek the Lord, all you humble of the land, who do his just commands; seek righteousness; seek humility; perhaps you may be hidden on the day of the anger of the Lord.
Zephaniah 3:17 ESV
The Lord your God is in your midst, a mighty one who will save; he will rejoice over you with gladness; he will quiet you by his love; he will exult over you with loud singing.
Zephaniah had the courage to speak bluntly because he knew he was proclaiming the Word of the Lord. His book begins with "The word of the Lord" and ends with "says the Lord." He knew that neither the many gods the people worshiped nor even the might of the Assyrian army could save them. God is gracious and compassionate, but when all His warnings are ignored, judgment is to be expected. God's day of judgment is frequently mentioned in the Scriptures. The prophets called it the "Day of the Lord." They referred to various events such as the fall of Jerusalem as manifestations of God's Day, each of which pointed toward the ultimate Day of the Lord.
Zephaniah had the courage to speak bluntly because he knew he was proclaiming the Word of the Lord. His book begins with "The word of the Lord" and ends with "says the Lord." He knew that neither the many gods the people worshiped nor even the might of the Assyrian army could save them. God is gracious and compassionate, but when all His warnings are ignored, judgment is to be expected. God's day of judgment is frequently mentioned in the Scriptures. The prophets called it the "Day of the Lord." They referred to various events such as the fall of Jerusalem as manifestations of God's Day, each of which pointed toward the ultimate Day of the Lord.
The final blessings on Zion pronounced in 3:14-20 are largely unfulfilled, leading us to conclude that these are messianic prophecies that await the Second Coming of Christ to be completed.
Zephaniah 3:17 ESV
The Lord your God is in your midst, a mighty one who will save; he will rejoice over you with gladness; he will quiet you by his love; he will exult over you with loud singing.
The Lord has taken away our punishment only through Christ who came to die for the sins of His people (; ). But Israel has not yet recognized her true Savior. This is yet to happen ().
The promise of peace and safety for Israel, a time when their King is in their midst, will be fulfilled when Christ returns to judge the world and redeem it for Himself. Just as He ascended to heaven after His resurrection, so will He return and set up a new Jerusalem on earth (). At that time, all God’s promises to Israel will be fulfilled.
With a few adjustments in names and situations, this prophet of 7th century B.C. could stand in our pulpits today and deliver the same message of judgment of the wicked and hope for the faithful. Zephaniah reminds us that God is offended by the moral and religious sins of His people. God's people will not escape punishment when they sin willfully. Punishment may be painful, but its purpose may be redemptive rather than punitive. The inevitability of the punishment of wickedness gives comfort in a time when it seems that evil is unbridled and victorious. We have the freedom to disobey God but not the freedom to escape the consequences of that disobedience. Those who are faithful to God may be relatively few, but He does not forget them.

Haggai

520 B.C.
TAKE COURAGE - EXAMINE PRIORITIES - LIVE UPON THE PROMISES OF GOD
Haggai sought to challenge the people of God concerning their priorities. He called them to reverence and glorify God by building the Temple in spite of local and official opposition. Haggai called them not to be discouraged because this Temple would not be quite as richly decorated as Solomon's. He exhorted them to turn from the uncleanness of their ways and to trust in God's sovereign power. 
Will the people of God reconsider their priorities, take courage, and act on the basis of God's promises? God sought to warn the people to heed His words. Not only did God warn them, but He also offered promises through His servant Haggai to motivate them to follow Him. Because the people of God reversed their priorities and failed to put God in first place in their lives, Judah was sent into Babylonian exile. In response to Daniel's prayer and in fulfillment of God's promises, God directed Cyrus the Persian king to allow the Jews in exile to go back to Jerusalem. A group of Jews returned to their land with great joy, put God first in their lives, worshiped Him and began to rebuild the Temple of Jerusalem without the aid of the local people who lived in Israel. Their courageous faith was met with opposition from the local people as well as the Persian government for approximately 15 years.
The Book of Haggai draws attention to common problems most people face even today. Haggai asks us 1) to examine our priorities to see if we are more interested in our own pleasures than doing the work of God; 2) to reject a defeatist attitude when we run into opposition or discouraging circumstances; 3) to confess our failures and seek to live pure lives before God; 4) to act courageously for God because we have the assurance that He is with us always and is in full control of our circumstances; and 5) to rest secure in God's hands knowing that He will abundantly bless us as we faithfully serve Him.
Haggai 1:5–6 ESV
Now, therefore, thus says the Lord of hosts: Consider your ways. You have sown much, and harvested little. You eat, but you never have enough; you drink, but you never have your fill. You clothe yourselves, but no one is warm. And he who earns wages does so to put them into a bag with holes.

Zechariah

520 and 470 B.C
STAND ON THE MESSAGE OF CHRIST - PROCLAIM IT FAITHFULLY TO ALL PEOPLE
Zechariah emphasized that God has used His prophets to teach, warn and correct His people. 
Zechariah 1:3 ESV
Therefore say to them, Thus declares the Lord of hosts: Return to me, says the Lord of hosts, and I will return to you, says the Lord of hosts.
Zechariah 1:3
Unfortunately, they refused to listen. Their sin brought God's punishment. 
Zechariah 7:13 ESV
“As I called, and they would not hear, so they called, and I would not hear,” says the Lord of hosts,
The Book of Zechariah teaches that salvation may be obtained by all. The last chapter depicts peoples from all over the world coming to worship God, who desires that all people follow Him. 
This is not the doctrine of universalism, i.e., that all people would be saved because it is God's nature to save. Rather, the book teaches that God desires that all people worship Him and accepts those who do, regardless of their national or political expressions, as in the freeing of Judah and Jerusalem from their political enemies. Finally, Zechariah preached that God is sovereign over this world, any appearance to the contrary notwithstanding. His visions of the future indicate that God sees all that will happen. The depictions of God's intervention in the world teach that ultimately He will bring human events to the end He chooses. He does not eliminate the individual's freedom to follow God or rebel, but holds people responsible for the choices they make. In the last chapter, even the forces of nature respond to God's control.
Prophecies about Jesus Christ and the messianic era abound in Zechariah. From the promise that Messiah would come and dwell in our midst (; ) to the symbolism of the Branch and the Stone (, ; ; ) to the promise of His Second Coming where they who pierced Him will look upon Him and mourn (; ), Christ is the theme of the Book of Zechariah. Jesus is the Savior of Israel, a fountain whose blood covers the sins of all who come to Him for salvation (; ).
God expects sincere worship and moral living of us today. Zechariah's example of breaking through national prejudice reminds us to reach out into all areas of our society. We must extend God's invitation of salvation to people of all national origins, languages, races and cultures. That salvation is only available through the shed blood of Jesus Christ on the cross, who died in our place to atone for sin. But if we reject that sacrifice, there is no other sacrifice through which we can be reconciled to God. There is no other name under heaven by which men are saved (). There is no time to lose; today is the day of salvation ().

Malachi

440 and 400 B.C.
REGARD GOD - LIVE RIGHTEOUSLY AND PERSEVERE (Jesus Is Coming!)
The Book of Malachi is an oracle: The word of the Lord to Israel through Malachi (1:1). This was God’s warning through Malachi to tell the people to turn back to God. As the final book of the Old Testament closes, the pronouncement of God’s justice and the promise of His restoration through the coming Messiah is ringing in the ears of the Israelites. Four hundred years of silence ensues, ending with a similar message from God’s next prophet, John the Baptist, proclaiming, “Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is near” ().
Malachi 1:6 ESV
“A son honors his father, and a servant his master. If then I am a father, where is my honor? And if I am a master, where is my fear? says the Lord of hosts to you, O priests, who despise my name. But you say, ‘How have we despised your name?’
Malachi wrote the words of the Lord to God’s chosen people who had gone astray, especially the priests who had turned from the Lord. Priests were not treating the sacrifices they were to make to God seriously. Animals with blemishes were being sacrificed even though the law demanded animals without defect (). The men of Judah were dealing with the wives of their youth treacherously and wondering why God would not accept their sacrifices. Also, people were not tithing as they should have been (, ). But in spite of the people’s sin and turning away from God, Malachi reiterates God’s love for His people () and His promises of a coming Messenger ().
is a prophecy concerning John the Baptist. He was the Messenger of the Lord sent to prepare the way () for the Messiah, Jesus Christ. John preached repentance and baptized in the name of the Lord, thus preparing the way for Jesus’ first advent. But the Messenger who comes “suddenly to the Temple” is Christ Himself in His second advent when He comes in power and might (). At that time, He will “purify the sons of Levi” (v. 3), meaning that those who exemplified the Mosaic Law would themselves need purification from sin through the blood of the Savior. Only then will they be able to offer “an offering in righteousness” because it will be the righteousness of Christ imputed to them through faith ().
God is not pleased when we do not obey His commands. He will repay those who disregard Him. As for God hating divorce (2:16), God takes the covenant of marriage seriously and He does not want it broken. We are to stay true to the spouse of our youth for a lifetime. God sees our hearts, so He knows what our intentions are; nothing can be hidden from Him. He will return and He will be the judge. But if we return to Him, He will return to us ().

MINOR PROPHETS APPLICATORY CONCLUSION & PREPERATION FOR CHRIST ARRIVAL:

Hosea: God is faithful, loving and merciful. In all thing be knowlegable of Him steadfast in your love towards Him.
Joel: God is the Righteous Judge who has righteous wrath and anger. Believe His Word and repent.
Amos: God is sovereign over all. Serve Him in humble obedience
Obey God’s Word
Have no other God’s before Him
Worship in Spirit and Truth
Be content in God and generours to others
Lead in righteousness and justice
Care for the poor
Obadiah: God is just and righteous. We are free to live full of grace, mercy and compassion.
Obadiah - Nahum: Humility trumps pride so guard yourself against it and repent
Obadiah - Pride of self security (pride of the heart
Jonah - Pride of self rigteousness
Micah - Pride of Idolatry
Nahum - Pride of Sin
Habbakuk - Micha: Reguard God and properly prioritize your life
Habbakuk - REVERENCE GOD IN SEEKING ANSWERS (QUESTION GOD) - BE SILENT BEFORE GOD - TRUST IN GOD
Zephaniah - TAKE COMFORT - GOD PUNISHES EVIL
Haggai - TAKE COURAGE - EXAMINE PRIORITIES - LIVE UPON THE PROMISES OF GOD
Zechariah - STAND ON THE MESSAGE OF CHRIST - PROCLAIM IT FAITHFULLY TO ALL PEOPLE
Malachi - REGARD GOD - LIVE RIGHTEOUSLY AND PERSEVERE (Jesus is Coming)
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