Today we are looking at Haggai chapter 2.
As I begin this morning, I have to confess that I like reality TV. I know, I shouldn’t, but I’m guilty. I love to know all of the gossip and all the drama. I love to all up in their business.
Several years ago, a reality TV show started on ABC called; Extreme Makeover: Home Edition. I always wonder what other editions there are. I know there was just a Extreme Makeover—where the show revolved around plastic surgery and other things. That was over the top for me.
But the Home Edition, I can handle, even though it is melodrama and tear jerking at its best.
Each episode features a story about a family in need of a new home—they may have a family member with Cancer, a rare disease, or, I’ve even seen them work on a house of a wounded Veteran—that’s cool.
So, they start with the old house and typically bulldoze the entire thing, and rebuild a house in it’s place.
As we will look at today, this is the same thing that will happen in the Temple in Our Hearts as we begin to turn our attention Godward.
We are looking at the book of Haggai, in the second chapter.
Here we see the people of Israel committed to rebuilding the temple. They have waited 14 years to restart this project, and after the prophetic words of Haggai, then decide to rebuild this Temple.
As we look at this passage we see God’s charge to the people of Israel and his promise that the Temple will be rebuilt, and one day the “glory of this house shall be greater than the former.”
And this is true in our lives as well. The temple that is in our hearts will be greater than the former, but just as the Israelites didn’t have to wait until then end times to experience this neither do we.
1. And in starting now, we need to look at where we are and where we’ve been.
Haggai says in verse 3:
3 ?‘Who is left among you who saw this house ?in its former glory? How do you see it now? Is it not as nothing in your eyes? (Hag 2:3, ESV).
Their were very few people that remembered the temple as it was before. The Israelites had been in captivity for 70 years, then another 14 years waiting for it to get to this point—so for those that would be old enough to remember the old temple, they had to at least be around 95 or so.
None of remember the United States Civil War.
The last Union Veteran died on August 2, 1956 at age 109 and the last Confederate Veteran died on March 16, 1958 at 112.
The last widow of a Civil War Veteran dies on Memorial day May 31, 2004, she was 97.
“Her May-December marriage in the 1920s to Civil War Veteran William Jasper Martin and her longevity made her a celebrated final link to the old Confederacy.” (www.msnbc.com/id/5106000/)
The same was true with the temple. There were very few after a hundred years to have remembered the “old glory” of the temple.
And in our lives, many of us try to think back to a time when we were happy with our relationship with God. There wasn’t any rough patches. There were challenges of course, but the temple in our heart was full of life an action.
Some where along the line we stopped.
You may have lost an enjoyment of church and religion. You may have become discouraged with the church and how it operates and you desire more but you haven’t found it.
I read in one of the blogs I follow a description of the challenge that we face when we are looking at how our religion impacts our lives. She writes;
Lately, I have this increasing need to do something.
With my time, with my life.
I was thinking tonight… So many people need religion or something to make their life have meaning. Something to look forward to. Something to live for.
Why can’t we just live for the sake of living?
She later continues;
If you want religion- don’t do it out of fear of hell or damnation. Do it for yourself.
I want to travel as much as possible. I want to learn as much as I can. I want to love strongly and make meaningful, lasting friendships.
I just want to start making the most of things.
I’m tired of fearing death and just fear in general.
I’m tired of ignorance.
I just feel like it’s time for something big. Something huge. And I need to find what that is.
(The journey. from Open Diary – finster. http://www.opendiary.com/entryview.asp?authorcode=D741569&entry=10099)
To me, this is feeling is going on it many lives that I see everyday. The temple of their heart has been overrun by the hurts and the heartbreaking world that we live in. And the only thing that we hear from the church is “where are you going to spend eternity.”
We forget the former glory of the temple.
But in verse 4:
4 Yet now be strong, O ?Zerubbabel, declares the Lord. Be strong, O ?Joshua, son of Jehozadak, the high priest. Be strong, all you people of the land, declares the Lord. Work, for ?I am with you, declares the Lord of hosts, 5 ?according to the covenant that I made with you when you came out of Egypt. ?My Spirit remains in your midst. ?Fear not. (Hag 2:4-5, ESV).
2. Haggai encourages the people with the word of the Lord, that yes, we can rebuild. So be strong!
In your personal life, when you accept Christ to be your Savior, it was not simply to be the Savior for the afterlife—but for eternity.
Eternity means both now and forever. But it starts now. You look at the life of Jesus.
Yes, he talked about hell, more than any other subject. But look at what he did. He defended the poor. He healed the sick. He took a stand against legalism.
And I say all of that to tell you that Jesus is concerned about you and where you are right now. He is concerned about what you are going through.
He is concerned about the loneliness we feel out here in the desert.
He is concerned about the heartaches that we face by being separated.
He is concerned about the emptiness we may feel when one of our Soldiers die.
He is concerned about how we are not getting along with our coworkers.
He is concerned about how we may feel caged in with no way out.
He offers us hope.
He offers us hope and gives us the tools to begin building the temples within our hearts, so that we may be renewed in our relationship with him.
But, in verse 6, Haggai explains:
3. You’ve got to tear down before you build up.
6 For thus says the Lord of hosts: Yet once more, in a little while, ?I will shake the heavens and the earth and the sea and the dry land. 7 And I will shake all nations, so that the treasures of all nations shall come in, and ?I will fill this house with glory, says the Lord of hosts. (Hag 2:6-7, ESV).
Haggai tells the people that he will shake the Earth to bring his glory into the temple.
He will do the same in our lives.
I opened this message talking about Extreme Makeover: Home Edition. If you’ve ever watched the show you will know that they producers of the show give the family a vacation so the build can come in and redo the house.
If you have watch it long enough, you will know that once upon a time the builders tried to remodel the house using the existing frame and foundation. They don’t do that anymore, I think because they found that it was easier and provided a better structure for the future, if they removed the old house and placed a new one, including the foundation in its place.
Sometimes, this is what it takes to bring us back to a strong future.
The Lord promises to the Israelites that he will:
7 And I will shake all nations, so that the treasures of all nations shall come in, and ?I will fill this house with glory, says the Lord of hosts. (Hag 2:7, ESV).
He will do the same for us, in our Spiritual life.
He desires to fill us with his spirit. He gives us this Spirit when we believe on Jesus. Ephesians 1:13-14 says;
13 In him you also, when you heard ?the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation, and believed in him, ?were sealed with the ?promised Holy Spirit, 14 who is ?the guarantee? of our ?inheritance until ?we acquire possession of it,?
?to the praise of his glory. (Eph 1:13-14, ESV)
And as we allow the Holy Spirit to move in our lives, we begin to tear down some of the structure that held us back from before:
It may take a complete makeover in your spiritual life.
It may mean that you start getting up earlier.
It may mean that you become more intentional in building relationships with other Christians.
It may mean that you step out and start making friends with non-Christians.
There is so much in our lives that we can start tearing down, so that God can shake our lives and fill us with his Spirit.
4. As we tear down the old structures in our life, and rebuild new ones God promises to reveal his Glory.
9 The latter glory of this house shall be greater than the former, says the Lord of hosts. And ?in this place I will give peace, declares the Lord of hosts.’ ” (Hag 2: 9, ESV).
Haggai expresses to the people that the Temple will be far greater than they had ever imagined. It will be a place of peace and hope.
We know from looking at other prophecies throughout the Bible that this also refers to the future Temple, when Christ returns to rule the Earth and brings true peace. But, that doesn’t mean that he can’t bring peace to our lives now.
It doesn’t mean that he can’t rebuild us now to be greater spiritually than we have ever been before.
When I was younger, I think I was in high school, my parents discovered that there were termites in the wall of our den. Over the past several years, without our knowing termites had chewed up the side of our house. And it had to be replaced by new solid wood.
Now, of course, when I was little I had no idea what this could’ve meant to our house, if we had not caught it. But, we did and replaced it.
In the same way, we all have these termites that are eating away at our spiritual lives. They need to be replaced, so that we can go on to the great things God has for us.
After we had rebuilt the wall to our house, the structure was strong enough that several years later my parents decided to remodel and enlarge the room that once had those termites. They made it better than it would’ve been if the old wall had not been replaced.
In the same way, God has a plan for each of us. To make us greater than we are right now. It took several years to build that wall. But, it laid the foundation for a greater room.
In the same way, the blessings of tearing down and building back up may not materialize for awhile. But be strong.
The latter glory of this house shall be greater than the former, (Hag 2: 9a, ESV).
Today, you have an opportunity for a decision.
A decision to rebuild your spiritual life, to possibly tear down the old termite infested spiritual walk, and rebuild it.
For some of you, you may simple need to decide to build a foundation. A foundation of accepting Jesus as your Savior. Not just of the afterlife, but of the here and now and the future.
The Bible says all of us are sinners—we have violated the law of God and we are to be punished by hell in the afterlife and separation from God in the present—the Bible calls both death.
Jesus died on a cross to pay the penalty for our sin. All we must do to begin our journey, is to accept his payment—replacing our own, and to commit to follow him.
You can do that today. Right where you sit, make the commitment to follow hi.
Let us pray.
This Sermon was preached at FOB Hammer, Iraq in October 2008
All scripture marked ESV: The Holy Bible : English standard version. 2001. Wheaton: Standard Bible Society.