Faithfulness Bears Fruitfulness
Haggai 2:10-23 | Faithfulness Bears Fruitfulness
The late football star Maradona scored plenty of genius goals in his illustrious career. He was perhaps best remembered for the in(famous) goal that came against England on June 22, 1986, World Cup quarterfinal clash in Mexico, Maradona scored the goal using his fist which was given a goal but unnoticed by referees. Later this was called the ‘Hand of God’ goal.
On September 27, 1988, Canadian sprinter, Ben Johnson was running for the 100m final at the Seoul Olympics. He was running alongside Carl Lewis of the USA. In front of 1 Lakh people, Ben Johnson set a new world record of 9.79 seconds beating his own one then It was hailed as ‘the race to end all races.’ The Canadian PM thanked Johnson on national television.
Two days after the race came the news of Johnson being tested for taking steroids. The IOC stripped him of his gold medal and world record because of doping. Ben Johnson had gone from hero to zero and sent home in disgrace.
What happens when we try to achieve success and good results the wrong way? What happens when we do the work of the Lord in the wrong way? without the faithfulness.
Haggai 2:10-23 | Faithfulness Bears Fruitfulness
The book of Haggai is a book written in 520 BC. There are four small messages given by Haggai the prophet in the second year of King Darius Then the Israelites have come back after captivity in 536 BC. They began work on the temple foundation. They worked for about 2 years and quit because of opposition, discouragement, disappointment.
The people come back under Zerubbabel and Ezra and they did not finish the work. So for 14 years, nothing has happened to the temple that God wanted them to rebuild. So God raises Haggai and Zechariah, two minor prophets with a message, “You thought that the reason you could not finish the temple was because of your circumstances.” In Haggai chapter 1 God says, “Your circumstances have become bad and ruined because you did not finish the temple.” because of the lack of your faithfulness.
The Book of Haggai
|Message 1 Haggai 1:1-15|
|Aug 520 BC|
The discipline of God sometimes take climatic disasters, especially under Israel’s economy with the curses of the covenant.
Then God stirs their heart through Haggai to consider their ways and they start to build. They had run to panel their own houses while the house of the Lord remains unfinished. Then they respond in obedience to the word of God. They are moved by the Spirit of God in their worship and their work becomes their service for the Lord. There we see faithfulness.
That is Haggai chapter 1.
The second message of Haggai is a message of courage.
The Message Of Haggai
|Message 1 Haggai 1:1-15||Message 2 Haggai 2:1-9|
|Conviction Priorities||Courage Peace|
|Aug 520 BC||Oct 520 BC|
God asked them to take courage and work and I am with you the same way I was with the people of Israel. God said, “It may not seem that the work you are doing is glorious, but there is coming a time in the future when the glory of the Lord will be revealed.”
Haggai 2:6-8 6“This is what the Lord Almighty says: ‘In a little while I will once more shake the heavens and the earth, the sea and the dry land. 7I will shake all nations, and what is desired by all nations will come, and I will fill this house with glory,’ says the Lord Almighty. 8‘The silver is mine and the gold is mine,’ declares the Lord Almighty.
In that place, I am going to put my peace, because the ultimate need of our hearts is the restoration of peace and that comes to this temple of God (our body) and we have peace with God. Jesus is our high priest. Jesus is our sacrifice and We together are the temple of God and we individually are the temple of God where God dwells.
Now comes the third and fourth message.
|The Book Of Haggai|
|Message 1 Haggai 1:1-15||Message 2 Haggai 2:1-9||Message 3 Haggai 2:10-19||Message 4 Haggai 2:20-23|
|Conviction & Priorities||Courage & Peace||Cleanliness & purity.||Consummation & Promise|
|Aug 520 BC||Oct 520 BC||Dec. 520||Dec. 520 BC|
Today, we look at the third message of Cleanliness & purity. This is an illustration from the OT law. They started their temple work, they worshipped the Lord but the worship was invalidated by God due to unholiness. Therefore this is a message from God on holiness and un-faithfulness.
Worship Incorporated & Worship Invalidated: Haggai 2:10-19
The Issue Of Defilement: Haggai 2:10-14
This is based on Leviticus 6:27
First Question: Does Holiness Come By Contact?
10On the twenty-fourth day of the ninth month, in the second year of Darius, the word of the Lord came to the prophet Haggai: 11“This is what the Lord Almighty says: ‘Ask the priests what the law says: 12If someone carries consecrated meat in the fold of their garment, and that fold touches some bread or stew, some wine, olive oil or other food, does it become consecrated?’” The priests answered, “No.”
Impurity is more insidious and pervasive than anybody might thing.
Haggai frames this argument by two questions:
He is asking the question to the priest who has been cleansed. He carries holy meat that will be useful for sacrifice. Also, he puts the meat in the fold of his apron and he starts walking around and touching things. Because he is a clean priest and the meat is holy if he touches other things does that make other things holy? The answer to that is no.
Consecrated meat was carried in a garment. The garment was holy to the Lord, it was set apart to God because of the meat that was carried in it. However, that holiness could not be then transferred to another object. That is the first part of the object lesson.
I remember going a couple of times to the HICU or the postoperative recovery ward to see and pray for many of our members and that is a highly sterile area. None can go in as they are to those sterile wards. We are to put our sandals outside, then in some places cover our feet with use and throw socks like of thing, put on a different sandal, sanitize our hands, and enter the sterile ward. I am entering a sterile environment where I do not want to infect anyone nor anyone can infect me.
What if I go and meet a patient in a sterile environment and spend 30 minutes with that patient then when I come back will I be able to touch others who are outside and pronounce them to be sterile? Nope.
Does holiness come by contact?
Does holiness come through care cells or Bible study?
Does holiness come through a message?
All these are important but that is not what makes us holy.
We must understand that spiritual giftedness is no guarantee of spirituality.
Religious activities do not make one righteous. Gift is a gift.
Spirituality is a result of walking in the Spirit in obedience and submission to God.
Many of us have watched gifted people fall in our lifetime. Phenomenal gifting but fell from grace and disqualified because for some reason they thought that holiness came through function or holiness came through contact.
Purity is incommunicable, Holiness cannot be transferred, also righteousness does not come by rituals. The ritual of the hand does not make one righteous. Jesus exposed this with the Pharisees. No one was more dedicated to the text than the Pharisees, the scribes; but they missed the heart of God. was faithfulness seen in all that they did?
7You hypocrites! Isaiah was right when he prophesied about you: 8“‘These people honor me with their lips, but their hearts are far from me. 9They worship me in vain; their teachings are merely human rules.’”
Lips were near, heart was on a vacation.
Therefore this leads us to the truth: Religious activities do not make one righteous that you can be a priest, that does not make you are righteous and You may have holy meat in your apron, that does not make you righteous.
First Question: Does Holiness Come By Contact?
Second Question: Does Defilement Come By Contact?
Then Haggai said, “If a person defiled by contact with a dead body touches one of these things, does it become defiled?” “Yes,” the priests replied, “it becomes defiled.”
If a clean person touches a dead body, they are defiled or unclean, Numbers 19:11, Leviticus 22. If something was unclean and if someone comes in contact with an unclean thing, that uncleanliness would transfer to the one who came in contact so, here we see the nature of holiness:
Holiness does not come by contact, impurity does come by contact.
That is why the NT talks about being separated from the world. Satan and Christ do not sing duets.
2 Corinthians 6:15 What harmony is there between Christ and Belial? Or what does a believer have in common with an unbeliever?
Satan and Christ do not sing the same song, they do not harmonize, also Satan and Christ sings in different keys with different lyrics.
Defilement or impurity is communicable. While the ritual of the hand does not make the heart righteous, the defilement of the heart does defile the work of the hands.
Notice how God finishes this phrase:
Haggai 2:13 Then Haggai said, “‘So it is with these people and this nation in my sight,’ declares the Lord. ‘Whatever they do and whatever they offer there is defiled.”
While righteousness is not transferable, defilement is transferable.
The unrighteousness of the heart invalidates one’s work and worship of God. You can be doing all the right things in the wrong way.
God wants to address the heart, not just our hands.
- Worship Incorporated & Worship Invalidated: Haggai 2:10-19
- The Instruction On Discipline. Haggai 2:15-19
In the following section, three times God says, “Give careful thought to your ways.” God says think about what causes about blessings and think about what causes difficulties and discipline.
Discipline Of The Lord: Haggai 2:15-17
Haggai 2:15-16 15“‘Now give careful thought to this from this day on—consider how things were before one stone was laid on another in the Lord’s temple. 16When anyone came to a heap of twenty measures, there were only ten. When anyone went to a wine vat to draw fifty measures, there were only twenty.
We saw this pattern it in Haggai 1.
Haggai 1:6 You have planted much, but harvested little. You eat but never have enough. You drink but never have your fill. Puts on clothes, but are not warm. You earn wages, only to put them in a purse with holes in it.”
We see it again in Haggai 2.
God sometimes uses natural disaster for supernatural discipline. We do not know. But every time we are in difficult circumstances we are to ask, “God, what are you saying to me through this?”
See what God did to them:
Haggai 2:17 I struck all the work of your hands with blight, mildew and hail, yet you did not return to me,’ declares the Lord.
The descriptions of covenant curses are described here from Deuteronomy 29. God is immediately active and personally responsible for the physical difficulties that face us.
God says, “Whether you are facing dry drought or wet hail, I did it. I did it and yet you did not return to me said the Lord.”
That leads us to a truth:
The Purpose Of The Lord’s Discipline Is Restoration.
The discipline of the Lord always has restoration as its purpose. He is seeking faithfulness in each one of us. Whom the Lord loved, he disciplines.
Hebrews 12:5-6 “My son, do not make light of the Lord’s discipline, and do not lose heart when he rebukes you, because the Lord disciplines the one he loves, and he chastens everyone he accepts as his son.”
He wants us back. If the disciplines of the Lord are consistent with his covenant, so is God’s blessings.
Blessing Of The Lord: Haggai 2:18-10
Haggai 2:18-19 18‘From this day on,…
From that day on there was disobedience that resulted in disaster. But from this day on when they return I will bless says the Lord:
Haggai 2:18-19 18‘From this day on, from this twenty-fourth day of the ninth month, give careful thought to the day when the foundation of the Lord’s temple was laid. Give careful thought: 19Is there yet any seed left in the barn? Until now, the vine and the fig tree, the pomegranate and the olive tree have not borne fruit. “‘From this day on I will bless you.’”
When you start obeying there is not necessarily an instant blessing but God says from this day on I will bless you. Therefore from the moment, you start obeying God and the moment you start saying yes to God, From that day on, God says, “Blessing is available to you.” The seed is planted, the fruit will show up.
The moment you start saying yes to God, blessing is available to you.
Today start the clock all over again to bless you.
His mercies are new every morning because of his great faithfulness.
- This Book Began With Sin. Misplaced Priorities
- Resulted In Natural Disaster
- It Manifested Itself With Disqualified Service
- God’s Calls Them To Return To Him.
- God Promises His Blessings From That Moment.
Obedience brings blessing, disobedience brings discipline.
So this principle: Present obedience guarantees future blessing. It is that forward look. It began with obedience and the covenant blessings. Their future will be better than their past and your future, our future can be better than our past.
When we obey God, our dreams will be bigger than our memories. Whatever God has done in our lives is nothing compared to what God can do in and through our lives in the future, not because of us but because of God. Faithfulness will ultimately bear fruitfulness.
John Calvin, “It is the integrity of the heart that keeps our work and worship from being insignificant.”
Summary on Faithfulness bears Fruitfulness
The failure of Israel to obey God and rebuild the temple had defiled the entire community. As a result of this all of their sacrifices, their devotion, deeds had become defiled. There was nothing that they could do to fully please God until they obeyed God in completing the temple. The unfinished temple work had become a corpse that defiled their society. But the encouragement for them is that they are now building their temple, God is with them now. His peace is with them.
God is commending them for the work and say continue, I am with you now that you have refocused on your priorities. You have been defiled up until this point since you neglected the temple and as a result of that you have experienced deprivation and poverty in chapter 1. Based on the Mosaic covenant, now God is going to prosper them and bless them and he says, “From this day onwards I will bless you.”
Are we ready to Restart, to experience that Faithfulness bears Fruitfulness?
Are you going through trials, are you going through difficulty today? God is asking us to consider our ways because the principle never changes, the kinds of blessings and the kinds of disciplines are different in the NT. We are not living in Israel and watching the crops of Israel, but God is no bound to the geography of Israel to bring blessing or discipline. And if the Lord shows something that is in line with disobedience to the word of God, return to him today. Today you can restart and hence redirect your future in the blessing of God.
- Holiness Does Not Come By Contact, Impurity Does Come By Contact.
- Spirituality Is A Result Of Walking In The Spirit In Obedience And Submission To God.
- The Purpose Of The Lord’s Discipline Is Restoration.
- Obedience Brings Blessing, Disobedience Brings Discipline.
- Faithfulness Bears Fruitfulness.