HOW GOD EXPECTS US TO BUILD
Haggi and Zechariah were prophets during the same period of time. God gave them the responsibility of guiding His people to review their work on building the Temple. You see, the people had built the foundation, but then stopped building. It had been about 15 years since they had done any work on this building project. In a vision (a dream directed by God) Zechariah was told by the Lord that the Temple would be rebuilt and how the building would be accomplished. The principles shared in this vision are applicable to all of the Christian Life. Let's look at them.
1. How God expects us to build; Not with Might. v 6 a
Apathy set in and the people of God were not concerned about building the Temple. The might or strength of the great numbers of people who wanted to build the temple had dwindled. There seemed to be no strength or might to build the temple. Haggi reports that the people were saying, "The time has not come, even the time for the house of the Lord to be rebuilt." But he answered, "Is it time for you yourselves to dwell in your paneled houses while this house lies desolate?" (Haggai 1:3,4)
The prophets were trying to stir the people to rebuild. Zechariah had a vision and the Lord told him the building would not be accomplished by might nor power but by His Spirit. The Lord was saying, "Don't sit around and wait for might, listen to the direction of My Spirit and move out in faith."
During a summer crusade a church got several athletic and sports champions to give their testimony of how Christ blessed their lives. One of the personalities was strong man, Paul Anderson. Paul took a nail and placed it in his hand and pounded it through a 2 x 4. He then said, "As strong as this body is, I need Christ for my day to day strength for living."
The church also gave opportunities for others to share their testimonies
that night. During the invitation, a boy was saved and the pastor said,
"What prompted you to trust Christ tonight? Was it the testimony?" The
boy answered, "Yes," And then the pastor asked, "What did that strong man
say that was most meaningful to you?" The boy said, "It wasn't the strong
man, but the testimony of the man in the wheel chair. When he said the
Lord had helped him and made life meaningful to him, I thought Christ could
sure help me."
You see, we think we need might. We think our strength and might are so very important, but they are only important as the Spirit of God chooses to use them. The man and lady who are not Christians think that if they just get more might, as the world counts might, they will be all right. But what they need is God's Power.
The Hebrew children didn't need more might, they needed more awareness
of God. They needed to have revival. They needed zeal to replace apathy.
How about us? Now notice the next phrase.
II. How God expects us to build; Not by Power. v 6 b
What is the difference between might and power? This word for power has more the idea of authority and influence of the king behind them. When they lost that authoritative power, they felt they couldn't build the temple. No doubt they felt if the king would give them a new decree to build, they could proceed to accomplish their task.
God wanted them to build the temple, but to do it in the authority of the King of Kings and not King Cyrus or any earthly king. The people needed to depend upon the power of God for the building of the temple.
You are familiar with the story of David and Goliath. The giant had taunted the people of Israel and their God. It seemed no one was willing to go up against the Philistine warrior. Then David volunteered for the job. Saul thought David was too young, but David convinced him he could do the job. Saul loaned David a sword and some armor, but they were no doubt too big. He went to battle with a sling shot and 5 stones. Perhaps some said, "You're too small compared to the giant," but David's faith said "He's too small for my God." You know the outcome ad David killed the giant. He did it in the authority of his God.
This morning how are you planning to build your family or your life?
In God's might, power, and Spirit, or just in the world's power and might?
Some of you have talked with me about Salvation, and you are trying to
build yourself into a Christian with the world's materials. It is not by
might or power, but by the Lord's Spirit. Notice the last phrase of verse
III. How God wants us to Build; By His Spirit. v 6 c
You see, the strength of numbers and popular opinion won't bring spiritual might. Nor will the influence of the king's power or authority bring it. God's Spirit and God alone can cause one to build spiritually. Jesus said (and it's recorded in John 15:5 c) "for apart from me ye can do nothing."
To build a Christian life we need the power and might of God. To build a Christian home we need the power and might of God's Spirit. To build a congregation and have them grow in Christian grace, we need God's Spirit. It is not an option, it is a must. This sixth verse lists two negatives, but then this is all important positive, "but by my Spirit, saith the Lord."
WITHOUT HIM WE CAN DO NOTHING
A city full of Churches,
Great preachers, lettered men,
Grand music, choirs and organs,
If these all fail-what then?
Good workers, eager, earnest,
Who labor by the hour:
But where, oh where, my brother,
Is God's Almighty Power?
They have the very best.
Their plans and schemes are perfect,
They give themselves no rest.
They get the best of talent,
They try their uttermost,
But what they need, my brother,
Is God--the Holy Ghost.
We can not do God's Work without Him. He has chosen not to do His work without us.
Therefore we need to get together.
It is not by might
It is not by power
But by His Spirit.
We invite you to come to Christ today. Stop trying to build on your
might or power, and yield to His Spirit.