"Be Strong and Work!"

TEXTHaggai 2:4

INTRODUCTION:  BACKGROUND IN EZRA, 2nd TEMPLE FOUNDATION.

A.      SOLOMON'S TEMPLE DESTROYED BY BABYLONIANS.

B.      CYRUS DECREES RECONSTRUCTION UNDER ZERUBBABEL.

          1.       Eagerness and Enthusiasm.

          2.       Hostility of the Samaritans( Ezra 4:2-5 ).

C.      ARTAXERXES' DECREE - NO WORK 15 YEARS ON THE TEMPLE.

          1.       Still able to build their own houses of luxury and beauty.

          2.       Enthusiasm lost.  Glad for excuse to be idle.( Hag. 1:2 ).

          3.       God sends them Haggai - "Be Strong and Work!"

D.      REMINDS OF 3 THINGS WE NEED TO SEE IN THE LORD'S WORK.

I.      THE NEED OF THE WORK.

A.      GOD'S HOUSE IS NEGLECTED - IT'S TIME FOR WORK( 1 Pet. 2:5 ).

B.      SO MUCH TO DO, SO FEW INVOLVED( Matt. 9:37-38 ).

C.      OTHERS DEPENDING ON US( Rom. 10:13-15 ).

D.      INTERNAL REPAIR NEEDED ALSO( 2 Pet. 2:1-4;  Heb. 5:11;  2 Tim. 3:1-4 ).

          1.       Self-examination( 2 Cor. 13:5 ).

          2.       Watch out for others( Jude 22-23 ).

          3.       Sound preaching called for( 2 Tim. 4:1-2 ).

          4.       Our aim( 2 Tim. 2:24-26 ).

E.      James 5:19-20.

II.     THE RESPONSIBILITY OF THE WORK.

A.      "BE STRONG!"  WHAT MAKE A STRONG CHURCH?

          1.       Not numbers.

                   a.       God's choosing of Israel( Deut. 7:7-8 ).

                   b.       Gideon's victory in Judges 7.  Only 300 Israelites.

                   c.       David slew Goliath and brought down the Philistines( 1 Sam. 14 ).

          2.       Eph. 6:10.  God is our strength( Rom. 8:31, 37 ).

          3.       We are God's chosen instruments( Phil. 2:12-13;  4:13 ).

B.      "AND WORK!"  WHAT MAKES A WORKING CHURCH.

          1.       What we need is not more members but more workers( Eph. 4:15-16 ).

          2.       Opportunities cannot be passed up( John 9:4 ).

C.      THE FAILURES OF GOD'S PEOPLE ISRAEL.

          1.       Careless, no feeling for the work( Hag. 1:2 ).

          2.       Too concerned over luxury and comfort( 1:4 ).

          3.       Too concerned for the past( 2:3;  Ezra 3:12-13 ).

D.      WHAT ABOUT US?

          1.       Is an unreceptive audience to blame for lack of results?  Maybe.  Could be that

                   we are too busy?  Are we the difference between now and the Glory Days?

          2.       "What has happened to the church?"  We have happened to the church.

III.    THE ENCOURAGEMENT OF THE WORK( Hag. 2:4 ).

A.      THE PROMISE OF JESUS( Matt. 28:20 ).

B.      APART FROM CHRIST WE CAN DO NOTHING( John 15:5 ).

C.      THE LORD IS WITH US IF WE ARE WORKING FOR HIM

          ( 2 Cor. 9:8;  Eph. 3:20;  Phil. 4:13 ).

CONCLUSIONARE YOU WORKING FOR JESUS NOW IN HIS    KINGDOM?