Build the House #4
Recalling the Glory Days
God’s people had been taken into captivity as a result of their sin against God
They were there for 70 years
But God had provided for and called for them to return and rebuild the Temple.
The Temple of God like the Tabernacle before was a sign of God’s Presence among them, his favor towards them and the opportunity for Forgiveness and Grace to those who would come to him in Faith.
They returned, 42,000 faithful ones, they laid a foundation for the Temple
In Ezra 3:12 (NIV)
12 But many of the older priests and Levites and family heads, who had seen the former temple, wept aloud when they saw the foundation of this temple being laid, while many others shouted for joy.
It was a time of Joy and Remembrance when they began.
But 16 years passed before they did anything else
Understanding the Time, Realizing their actions, the people knew it was time to build
The people of God were scolded by God and shown how his hand had been active in disciplining them for their 16 years of indecision and inactivity
And 24 days after the 1st message was delivered, the people began to do what God had commanded.
They Obeyed, Feared, Heard from him, and were Stirred within toward obedience and work.
And so the work began … the work of Building Again the Temple of God …
Now, whenever there has been before, what you are doing now, there is a tendency to “Recall the Glory Days …”
This was a reality in Judah as well.
Haggai was in his 80’s and had seen the Temple, Zerubbabel, the Governor had been born in Captivity. Many of those who had returned had never seen the first Temple, but they knew the stories.
49 days has now passed since the message first came from Haggai.
The people are working and building … the people are working at restoring the sense of God’s presence among them
They are trying to restore their feeling of worth as being HIS people
But the reason for his message is clear
We have talked so many times before and now again about the subject that plagues us more than any other
The problem that more often than anything else keeps us from being faithful and fruitful
In Verse 4 the All encompassing message of God comes to the Governor, to the Preachers, to the People of God
Is “BE STRONG” …
This is the Hebrew Word – chazaq /khaw-zak/ strengthen, prevail, harden, be strong, become strong, be courageous, be resolute, grow firm
If you have studied the book of Joshua, you will recognize this word. It’s the same word that is found over and over in the book of Deuteronomy and Joshua where God says I “be strong and courage do not be afraid …”
One of the greatest barriers to building the life that you want and the Life that God would have for you is FEAR
Fear of Failure
Fear of Losing what you have now
Fear that you won’t become what you think you should
Fear that you are fooling yourself
But God says to you today, “strengthen your resolve”
You CAN Be what he has called you to be
You can become what he wants you to become
Faithful is he who called you who will also bring it to pass 1 Thess. 5:24
The Word of the Lord comes to us today …
If you want to be what God has called you to
If you want to build or rebuild your spiritual life
Hear the Word of the Lord today …
1. Listen to the Voice of Experience
Are there any Left …?
Who of you is left who saw this house in its former glory?
The question was a rhetorical question, not an informational question
IT is understood, that there are others, like Haggai that HAD seen the Glory of the Presence of the Lord in his Temple
Look to the Them,
Listen to the Learn from Them
Learn from them
Can you become a child of God?
Ask someone who already is.
Somebody here tell me,
If there is someone here who is not a child of God … can they become one?
Would anyone here say “YES”!
Say it like you mean it “YES!”
Can you gain victory over a habit that has wreaked havoc in your life?
Is there a voice of experience here today?
Will somebody say “YES!”
Can a marriage be saved and restored to normal?
Can you build a happy healthy home?
Can you raise children who will love and follow God?
Can you achieve your career goals and maintain faithfulness to the Lord and his principles?
Can somebody say “Yes, Yes, Yes, Yes”!
Listen to the Voice of Experience
The majority of the remnant were people who had only HEARD of the Glory of the Lord in his Temple
They had never seen it for themselves
But there was a remnant within the remnant of people who KNEW the relationship to God that the others had only heard of
Oh there are some of you here today that want to believe that God is Able to help you put your life back together
To build a godly house and marriage
To build a career based on integrity and truth
There is a remnant here who can say to you “YES, it is possible”
Oh Paul worshiped the Lord in Eph 3:20,21
Ephesians 3:20-21 (NIV)
20 Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us, 21 to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, for ever and ever! Amen.
You can be strengthened and conquer the fear that would hinder you by Listening to the Voice of Experience
Listen to the voice of experience … and secondly …
2. Long for a Similar Experience
How does it look to you now?
What you build is determined by what you desire
Jesus taught us “where a man’s heart is, there his treasure lies also”
What do you treasure
If you LONG for fame, you will build a house and a life pursuing fame
If you LONG for LOVE you will build a house and life pursuing love and acceptance
If you LONG for Success you will build a house and career around your definition for the word success
But if you LONG for the freedom, forgiveness, and fulfillment that God gives, you will build your house on the Lord Jesus Christ
You will build your life on pleasing him
You will give him your heart and soul
I’m more afraid of NOT PLEASING GOD for not attempting than for staying as I am
David says in Psalm 119
(v82) “My eyes long for your promise; I ask, when will YOU comfort me”
(v123) “My eyes long for your salvation and for the fulfillment of your righteous promise”
Ps 37:4-6 “Delight yourself in the Lord and he will give you the desires of your heart. 5 Commit your way to the Lord; trust in him and he will do this 6 He will make your righteousness shine like the dawn, the justice of your cause like the noonday sun. 7 Be still before the Lord and wait patiently for him; do not fret when men succeed in their ways, when they carry out their wicked schemes.”
If I long for success, it will never be enough, there will always be another definition for success
If I long for happiness, there will always be something that displeases me
If I long for love from this world, someone will let me down
If I long for anything this world has to offer it will always let me down because it’s based on people like me, people who fail
But I want to long for the greater things
There is coming a day when we will thirst no more and hunger no more
In the meantime, look for the things that are eternal that point us toward THAT time
I can break Fear by fulfilling my longing with Jesus Christ, who will never leave or forsake, never fail to satisfy with Good things
Psalm 42:2 “My souls thirsts for God, for the living God. Where can I go and meet with God?”
If that is your heart today …
3. Look to the Greater Things
Looking at what you have now compared to what WAS Haggai asks … Does it not seem to you like nothing?
Listening to the voice of experience for encouragement is powerful in helping us to believe that the same can be true for you
You know when you are moving away from something, it gets smaller and smaller, right?
However it’s the opposite is true when you LOOK back at the good old days behind you, the glory days will always seem to be better than what you have now.
Now the dimensions described in Ezra for the rebuilding would have caused it to be greater than the former Temple but resources obviously weren’t there
Josephus, the 1st Century Historian, records that it was only ½ as tall as Solomon’s
It was not covered in Gold like Solomon’s Temple, nor did it have precious stones
But there were 5 things of importance missing from the New Temple that were in the first Temple
The Ark of the Covenant – if the Temple was the house of God, the Ark was the symbol of the presence of
God, containing the Tablets of the Law and the Manna of God’s provision (The Holy Spirit Lives within us – as we are the Temple)
The Holy Fire – used in the Temple for both consuming of the sacrifices and lighting of incense (God’s Holiness, purification, petitions for protection)
Shechinah - The Glory of God, the visible representation of God’s presence (Gifts of the Holy Spirit)
The Spirit of Prophesy – God speaking through his Prophet and Priests. (we have the anointed Pastors, but more than that, the Promised Prophet of Deut. 18:18 is Jesus Christ and he left his Holy Spirit to compile the New Testament completing the prophetic word of God.
The Urim and Thummim
Was a device by which the Priest determined the will of God. The Hold Testament phrase was “ask of God” … we are told throughout the New Testament to Ask of God
(We are also told we have the Spirit living in us as an intercessor who prays for us, who interprets when we don’t know how to pray. He is there to convict us and teach us the words and will of Christ)
And you may be looking back at what the Lord has already done for you or for someone else and saying … what the Lord is doing for me today is nothing in comparison.
WE are often guilty of belittling the work of the Lord today. We think that the greatest of God is a thing of the Past. That the deeds of the Lord are nothing today compared to what was …
But Jesus said “you will do greater things than these” … What did Jesus mean?
Well, which is greater making a lame man walk, or introducing a person who’s walk is crippled by sin to Jesus who can make them walk about in Freedom?
Which is greater, bringing a physically dead man back to life, or leading a spiritually dead man to the truth that will make them live?
Which is greater, feeding five thousand or bringing people to the bread of life and a well that will never run dry?
After the cross and the empty tomb, we can see greater things done now than has ever been done in the scripture.
Salvation by Grace through Faith and the Gift of the Holy Spirit is the Greatest Work of God in History … and it is FOR US … and administered through Us as we are given the Ministry of Reconciliation.
And if you think all of this is amazing … we haven’t seen ANYTHING YET
For the Child of God, the Best is YET TO COME
1 Corinthians 2:9 (NIV)
9 However, as it is written: “No eye has seen, no ear has heard, no mind has conceived what God has prepared for those who love him”—
Lamentations 3:22-25 (NIV)
22 Because of the Lord’s great love we are not consumed, for his compassions never fail. 23 They are new every morning; great is your faithfulness. 24 I say to myself, “The Lord is my portion; therefore I will wait for him.” 25 The Lord is good to those whose hope is in him, to the one who seeks him;
But God promised us GREATER THINGS to COME …
We aren’t missing anything
The Ark of the Covenant – WE are the Temple – and The Holy Spirit Lives within us he is the ark in us, he is the spirit of the law and of life and the presence of God
The Holy Fire – God’s Holiness, purification, petitions for protection are in us now
Shechinah the visible representation of God’s glory in us are the Spiritual Gifts of the Holy Spirit in us
The Spirit of Prophesy – we have the anointed Pastors and Preachers, but more than that, the Promised Prophet of Deut. 18:18 is Jesus Christ and he left his Holy Spirit to compile the New Testament completing the prophetic word of God through the Apostles
The Urim and Thummim
We are also told we have the Spirit living in us as an intercessor who prays for us, who interprets when we don’t know how to pray. He is there to convict us and teach us the words and will of Christ
We are lacking nothing and the Best is YET to Come
Oh precious one, Listen to the voice of experience
God CAN do a great work of rebuilding or building in your life
Long for him
Fill your longings with God things for he is great and worthy to be praised
Don’t Look back
Look Up to the hills from whence comes our help
You have NOT missed out
As long as it is still called TODAY there is still hope
Hebrews 3 and 4 teach us that there is always time as long as it is today, don’t harden your hearts it says through disobedience and giving in to deceit.
You want something to rebuild your life around?
It isn’t 12 steps though that might help you fix a problem
It isn’t your education or career
It isn’t a great family or a perfect name
It isn’t the 10 commandments of Moses though those are great principles
Hebrews 3 teaches us
Hebrews 3:1-6 (NIV)
Therefore, holy brothers, who share in the heavenly calling, fix your thoughts on Jesus, the apostle and high priest whom we confess. 2 He was faithful to the one who appointed him, just as Moses was faithful in all God’s house. 3 Jesus has been found worthy of greater honor than Moses, just as the builder of a house has greater honor than the house itself. 4 For every house is built by someone, but God is the builder of everything. 5 Moses was faithful as a servant in all God’s house, testifying to what would be said in the future. 6 But Christ is faithful as a son over God’s house. And we are his house, if we hold on to our courage and the hope of which we boast.
Do you still believe you can’t?
What did God say in 2:4-5 … “Be Strong all ye people of the land … and work. For I AM WITH YOU, declares the Lord. … And my Spirit remains among you. Do not Fear.”
There have been some great building projects over the years …
There were 7 called the Wonders of the Ancient World
About all that remains of the so-called “Seven Wonders” of the ancient world are as follows:
The only remains of the tomb of Mausolus, built in 350 B.C., are now exhibited in the British Museum.
The Temple of Artemis at Ephesus, once the center of the fertility cult of Diana, was probably destroyed in A.D. 262 by the Goths. This was about 200 years after the city was visited by Paul.
The Hanging Gardens of Babylon grow no more. They adorned one of the world’s spectacular cities during the reign of Nebuchadnezzar. Babylon’s ruins have been found on the Euphrates River, about fifty-five miles south of modern Baghdad.
The magnificent statue of Zeus once stood forty-feet high in the city of Olympus where the Olympian games were held every four years. During Byzantine times plunderers dragged off and burned the huge statue.
King Ptolemy’s famous lighthouse near Alexandria, Egypt, was built 200-feet-square at the base. It crumpled during a fourteenth-century earthquake.
The Colossus of Rhodes met the same fate in 224 B.C. It was originally a giant 100-foot statue of Apollo that spanned the harbor on the isle of Rhodes.
Only the pyramids, built before the time of Moses, have survived the ravages of time. They were built as tombs for the pharaohs who fully expected to be revived after death.
The only one of those building that remains is a Oversized fancy Grave.
And my bible says that one day it will burst open and give up it’s dead.
One day all of Heaven and Earth will be gone, the sky rolled up and all will stand before God. All that will remain will be those who have followed Christ.
Abraham didn’t bother building a house, he built a life and a home based on God’s promises and Hebrews 11:10 says he was looking forward to a City whose Architect and Builder is the Lord.
What about you?
Listen to me dear one, building begins, continues and ends with Jesus
He is the One who was, and is, and is to come
He is your foundation, your walls of protection and the roof and shade over you.
He IS your all and all
Come to Jesus
Come to Jesus
Come to Jesus
Will you come?
Will you return?
Will you live for Jesus?
Tan, P. L. (1996, c1979). Encyclopedia of 7700 illustrations : A treasury of illustrations, anecdotes, facts and quotations for pastors, teachers and Christian workers. Garland TX: Bible Communications.