New Wine for New Wineskins October 2007

By , September 29, 2007 2:57 pm

 It Is Time To Build (Part One)

There is only one way to build the LORD's house – his way… 

 


Haggai  Chapter 1

The Command to Build God’s House

1 In the second year of King Darius, in the sixth month, on the first day of the month, the word of the LORD came by Haggai the prophet to Zerubbabel the son of Shealtiel, governor of Judah, and to Joshua the son of Jehozadak, the high priest, saying,

How does the word of the LORD come?  Prophetically – through the prophet!  God generally speaks to us as individuals personally (unless we are not listening or need to hear confirmation) but he speaks to the church corporately through the prophet.

2 Chronicles 20: 20 says that we should believe in the LORD in order to be established (If people ask you if you are in an established church tell them “Yes!”) It also says to believe His prophets if we are to prosper and succeed.  Before you say that is OT, Paul said that it is through prophecy – through the prophetic word – that the church is built up!

If you want to have a prophetic vision that comes to pass then you must pay attention to the prophetic word! 

2 “Thus speaks the LORD of hosts,

The prophetic word is not someone philosophising – “It could be this way or it could be that way” – it is “This is what the LORD says!”  It is a word to live by!  It is the rhema word of God! It is the word that the Holy Spirit lifts from the logos word and speaks directly into a situation that we are facing or an issue that we are dealing with.

The prophetic word – the living, rhema word – divides between soul and spirit and discerns or judges the thoughts and attitudes of our hearts (Hebrews 4: 12).  The NLT says that it exposes our innermost thoughts and desires.  The prophetic word is a two-edged sword that comes to cut and to heal.  And so, this word that the prophet Haggai brought from the LORD exposed the thoughts of the people regarding the building of the LORD’s house. 

Remember – your thoughts will always eventually influence your words and in turn your actions will follow, which will establish your habits, form your character, and ultimately determine your destiny. 

And so, whether or not the people were actually articulating the exact words or not – and I doubt if they were because good religious folks are usually smarter than that – the word of the LORD came to expose their thoughts, their attitudes, their actions and their habits. 

saying: ‘This people says, “The time has not come, the time that the LORD’s house should be built.”’”

I believe that the LORD is saying, “IT IS TIME TO BUILD MY HOUSE!”  But what does this word expose in us?  Are we thinking – and do our thoughts influence our words and our actions as revealed in our habits – Are we thinking, “It’s not time that the LORD’s house should be built”?

You see, as long as we think that way we certainly won’t be personally involved in building the LORD’s house.

That is why I believe the greatest faith statement of the NT is “I will build my church and the gates of hell will not hold out against it!”  Why does that require great faith?  Because in order for it to come to pass there must be people who are willing to become involved in the building process.  For far too long there has been a tradition in place that has supported the false belief that church is just somewhere that you go (and even then only when you feel like it) instead of something that you are a part of!  If you are not there when the church comes together then an important part is missing!

3 Then the word of the LORD came by Haggai the prophet, saying, 4 “Is it time for you yourselves to dwell in your paneled (luxurious – NLT) houses, and this temple to lie in ruins?” 5 Now therefore, thus says the LORD of hosts: “Consider your ways!

Consider your ways – because they are the result of your thoughts!  That is why we are invited to think the high thoughts of the LORD so that our ways are his high ways! (Isaiah 55: 8 – 9)

       6 “ You have sown much, and bring in little;
      You eat, but do not have enough;
      You drink, but you are not filled with drink;
      You clothe yourselves, but no one is warm;
      And he who earns wages,
      Earns wages to put into a bag with holes.”

When are we going to learn that this world cannot satisfy us?  Unless we put the kingdom first we are always going to come up empty, frustrated, and unfulfilled!  We have fullness of life to enjoy – but it can only be enjoyed God’s way, and that takes faith!  If we seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness all of the other stuff will be added to us in abundance – more than enough!

7 Thus says the LORD of hosts: “Consider your ways! 8 Go up to the mountains and bring wood and build the temple, that I may take pleasure in it and be glorified,” says the LORD.

Consider your ways! Remember the prophetic word at the beginning of this year?  OPEN HEAVEN IN 2007!  Have you wondered why it doesn’t seem to be happening?  Well, here’s the answer!  God’s house is in ruins! 

9 “You looked for much, but indeed it came to little; and when you brought it home, I blew it away. Why?” says the LORD of hosts. “Because of My house that is in ruins, while every one of you runs to his own house.”

Tradition has rendered God’s word ineffective just like Jesus said it would!  When the couple of hours of “church” is over everyone runs to his own house until the next time.  We are here to be the church 24-7! 

Go up to the mountains and bring wood!  Gather the materials required for building the temple.  Paul says that we are the temple of the living God (individually and corporately) and so we are the raw materials.  Peter says we are living stones.  Listen up!

10 Therefore the heavens above you withhold the dew, and the earth withholds its fruit.

What is the 'therefore' there for?  The heavens are closed because the LORD’s house is in ruins!  If we don’t get our priorities right and seek the kingdom first then heaven withholds the dew, and so the fruit that we look for in the earth is also withheld!  Jesus said in

John 7: 38

“He who believes in Me, as the Scripture has said, out of his heart will flow rivers of living water.”

What you believe in your heart is what you will speak out of your mouth and so words of faith will release rivers of living water that go up and come back down as rain from heaven.

But if you speak negative words of unbelief then the heavens will dry up!

Hosea 10: 12 – 13

12 Sow for yourselves righteousness;
Reap in mercy;
Break up your fallow ground,
For it is time to seek the LORD,
Till He comes and rains righteousness on you.
13 You have plowed wickedness;
You have reaped iniquity.
You have eaten the fruit of lies,
Because you trusted in your own way,
In the multitude of your mighty men.

Listen to the next verse in Haggai.

11 For I called for a drought on the land and the mountains, on the grain and the new wine and the oil, on whatever the ground brings forth, on men and livestock, and on all the labor of your hands.”

God is saying that because they have not done their part then he is withholding his part.  Where does God speak about opening heaven and restoring blessing?

Malachi 3: 8 – 14

8 “ Will a man rob God?
Yet you have robbed Me!
But you say,
‘ In what way have we robbed You?’
In tithes and offerings.
9 You are cursed with a curse,
For you have robbed Me,
Even this whole nation.
10 Bring all the tithes into the storehouse,
That there may be food in My house,
And try Me now in this,”
Says the LORD of hosts,
“ If I will not open for you the windows of heaven
And pour out for you such blessing
That there will not be room enough to receive it.
11 “ And I will rebuke the devourer for your sakes,
So that he will not destroy the fruit of your ground,
Nor shall the vine fail to bear fruit for you in the field,”
Says the LORD of hosts;
12 And all nations will call you blessed,
For you will be a delightful land,”
Says the LORD of hosts.
The People Complain Harshly
13 “ Your words have been harsh against Me,”
Says the LORD,
“ Yet you say,
‘ What have we spoken against You?’
14 You have said,
‘ It is useless to serve God;
What profit is it that we have kept His ordinance”

God says to bring all the tithes into the storehouse – into his house!  We think of tithes as simply giving a tenth of our treasure – but that is not all that God has blessed us with!  He has also blessed us with time and with talent.  The tithe is to be the firstfruits of our increase – we give a tenth of our gross and not our net.  In other words we give to him first and not what we think we can afford out of what is left after we have deducted everything else.  We should give to God what is right – not what is left!

So what about our time and our talent?  God knows that we have responsibilities.  That is what Jesus said in Matthew 6 – our heavenly Father knows what we need, and that is why we must seek his kingdom first if we are to release the supply for our needs. 

There are 144 hours in a week.  That includes sleeping time because we are speaking about gross and not net.  A tenth of that would be 14.4 hours which we could round up (rather than down) to 15 hours.  If we were to commit to bringing 15 hours a week of our time and talent into the kingdom – into the building of the LORD’s house – along with a tenth of our treasure I can guarantee you that there would never be anything that the LORD has imparted vision to us to do that we could not accomplish!  And, remember – the tithe is the MINIMUM!  There are times to give offerings, times to make sacrifices!

The People’s Obedience
  
12 Then Zerubbabel the son of Shealtiel, and Joshua the son of Jehozadak, the high priest, with all the remnant of the people, obeyed the voice of the LORD their God, and the words of Haggai the prophet, as the LORD their God had sent him; and the people feared the presence of the LORD.

Remember – INFORMATION > MEDITATION > REVELATION > MOTIVATION (the fear of the LORD – Noah was moved with [motivated by] Godly fear to build the Ark) > APPLICATION > TRANSFORMATION

13 Then Haggai, the LORD’s messenger, spoke the LORD’s message to the people, saying, “I am with you, says the LORD.”

 What more could a body ask for?  Jesus said that when we are gathered together in his name – for the building of his house – that he is right there in the midst of us!  When I AM is with you nothing is impossible!

14 So the LORD stirred up the spirit of Zerubbabel the son of Shealtiel, governor of Judah, and the spirit of Joshua the son of Jehozadak, the high priest, and the spirit of all the remnant of the people; and they came and worked on the house of the LORD of hosts, their God, 15 on the twenty-fourth day of the sixth month, in the second year of King Darius.

What are you saying?  Are you saying within yourself, “it is not time for the LORD’s house to be built”?  If you withhold yourself – your time, talent, and treasure then that is exactly what you are saying!  Or are you ready to respond to the prophetic word?

Are you ready to say, “IT IS TIME for the LORD’s house to be built!”
Are you ready to bring ALL your tithes into the storehouse?  Your time, your talent, and your treasure!

Do you want to hear him say, “I AM with you!” 
I

IT IS TIME TO BUILD!

Continued next month…

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