Preached October 26, 2014 at Smithfield, NC
BACKGROUND: In 606 BC the Babylonians destroyed the Temple in Jerusalem and took the Jews captive.
70 years passed and King Cyrus allowed about 40 – 50 thousand Jews to return to Jerusalem and rebuild the Temple, under the leadership of Zerubbabel and Joshua, the high priest. (The book of Ezra).
- After the foundation of the temple was finished, the Jews zeal began to wane. The excitement wore off. Priorities shifted to building their own houses. [Common experience in church building programs.]
- 15 years passed without any work being done on rebuilding the temple.
- So God raised up prophets, Haggai, Zechariah, and Zerubbabel, to stir up the people to get their priorities in order and get back to rebuilding the temple.
Neglect of God’s Temple equaled the neglect of God Himself (READ TEXT).
Just as the Jews in Haggai’s day had the job to do, Freedom Baptist Church in Smithfield has a work to do. Like those Jews rebuilding the Temple in Jerusalem—We are also in the “Temple building business.” I’m not talking about Temples of wood and stone. God does not dwell in Temples made with hands today. I’m talking about the lives of individual believers who are temple of the Holy Ghost (1 Cor. 3:9; 6:19).
Times haven’t changed much since Haggai’s day— I still hear the same excuses why people won’t get involved in the work of God: #1—NOT NOW; #2—NOT HERE; #3—NOT ME! If God’s work is to continue to get done, we must come to the conviction that NOW is the time; THIS is the place; and WE are the people!
I. NOW is the TIME (Hag. 1:2—“The time is not come, the time that the Lord’s house should be built”).
Dt. 28:67—“In the morning thou shalt say, Would God it were even! And at even thou shalt say, Would God it were morning!”
A. We live in PERILOUS times (ISIS; North Korea; Ukraine, Russia, getting chummy with Syria and Iran; Ebola epidemics—pestilence).
- The rapture of the church is imminent.
B. Jesus said, “I must work the works of him that sent me, while it is day: the night cometh, when no man can work!” (John 9:4).
C. We must not waste a single minute as souls all about us are perishing without Jesus. The song writer wrote—“Give every flying minute, Something to keep in store; Work for the night is coming, When man works no more!”
We are commanded to REDEEM THE TIME, because the days are evil (Eph. 5:16). We must “buy-up” every moment for Christ.
D. NO ONE IS GUARANTEED ANOTHER 24 HOURS (Prov. 27:1 —“Boast not thyself of to-morrow; for thou knowest not what a day may bring forth.”).
- Now is the time to get saved—“Now is the accepted time; behold now is the DAY OF SALVATION” (2 Cor. 6:2).
- Now is the time to get right with God and repent.
- Now is the time to get involved serving the Lord (Josh. 24:15; 1 Chron. 29:5— “Who then is willing to consecrate his service THIS DAY unto the Lord?”)
- Now is the time to witness to your friends, neighbors and relatives.
- Now is the time to start tithing.
- Now is the time to put off bitterness from your life.
- Now is the time to quit making excuses. Excuses are like armpits—Everyone’s got a couple, and they usually stink!
What do you have to gain by delay? NOW IS THE TIME…
II. THIS is the PLACE (Hag. 1:2—“…the Lord’s house…”).
God has always had an appointed place—In the O.T. it was the tabernacle / Temple (Dt. 12:11). In the N.T. it is the local church. God planted this church in Smithfield as His ordained agency for carrying out His plan for today.