7. The Christian Spending Scandal

In Your Bible Read This

Haggai chapters 1 and 2

Here Is Your Memory Verse

I will shake all nations, and the desired of all nations will come, and I will fill this house with glory,' says the LORD Almighty. Haggai 2.7

Afterwards Talk About This

How much are you giving to the work of God in evangelism, mission and caring for the poor compared to how much you keep for yourself?

Something To Do Before Next Time

In a team, discover your different practical skills and do something to improve or repair either your church building or that of another poorer church nearby.

Written Diploma Work

Write a one page essay to explain what Haggai 1.6 might mean in practical daily life today.

Meditate Word By Word On This Verse

Zechariah 4.6

Spend a Minute to Change the World

Pray For Benin – 5,500,000 West African peoples. 55% animists and voodoo, the churches are growing well

Be sure to teach this lesson to others. Always pray and prepare well adding your own verses and stories to bring it to life.

The prophetic book of Haggai gives God's clear direction for the building of his Kingdom, even and especially today.

Background To Haggai

In 538 BC Cyrus, the King of Persia allowed God's exiled people to go to Jerusalem and rebuild their Temple. You can read this in Ezra. Zerubbabel and 50,000 people returned, and within two years they completed the foundation. There was great rejoicing but the Samaritans who had moved in during the exile, felt threatened and politically they stopped the rebuilding until Darius, who liked religions, came to power in 522 BC. After then God's people were to blame for the inactivity and Haggai and Zechariah began to preach to rouse them until in 516 BC the job was finished.

Today the command to build the Kingdom of God worldwide is called the Great Commission. The same lessons apply.

Is It The Time Of God?

The people kept saying, "the time has not yet come." There are two Bible words for time, chronos and kairos. Chronos is the time on your wristwatch, but kairos, which is the word the Lord uses, means a moment of divine opportunity. The people were saying then, and some are still saying today, "there is nothing going on, let's live for ourselves." Haggai 1.2

What Is Going On Today?

  • Between 1780 till 1900 the gospel spread into much of the world.
  • Between 1900 and 1996, half of all people that have ever been saved came to know the Lord, and half of those have been saved since 1950.
  • The pentecostal and charismatic renewals have reached every nation on earth.
  • Today nearly 2000,000,000 men and women are following Jesus and over 70,000 people decide to follow Jesus every day, and 59,000 of those become Spirit filled believers.
  • This is explosive growth, the world's biggest social movement, but some people still dare to say that now is not the time, the kairos, to make an effort for God.

What's The Problem?

The Lord put his finger on the real problem. The people were using God's resources to build comfortable houses for themselves whilst his house remained a ruin. In those days it was wood that was in short supply, today it is funds and workers for the gospel. Haggai 1.4; 9.

Can You Believe This?

It is a well researched fact that the western Christian world spends:

99.9% of all its income on itself.

Only 0.09% on evangelism

And just 0.01% on doing mission to unreached peoples.

The Lord points out that as much as people spend money on themselves, nothing satisfies, 1.6. He told them four times to consider how poorly they had fared despite taking all the prosperity for themselves. God told them to end this scandal and build his house. 1.8-11.

They Heard The Voice Of The Lord

Hearing always means obeying as well, see James 1.22-25. In Haggai's day the leaders obeyed, and all the people too. 1.12. The Bible says in Acts 5.32 that God gives the Holy Spirit to those who obey him, and so it was here. 2.5

God Did His Own Work Too

God declared, "I am with you," and he did what only God can do because our obedience brings action. He stirred, or roused the spirit of the political Governor into action and excited the High Priest and all the people, and they began to work on God's house. 1.13-15, Zecharaiah 4.6. God told the Governor, the High Priest and all the people not to fear, but to be strong and work because he was with them. 2, 1-5

A Prophetic Promise

Then God promised something which has never been more true than today, saying that he would shake the heavens and the earth. When God shakes the heavens and rattles the dominating powers of darkness it is not long before earth feels the effects. 2.6. We have had a century of shaking on the earth with once unassailable governments, nations, banks and even major forces like communism collapsing, and it is still happening all the while.

Look Who Is Coming!

Then the desired of all nations will come. Many take this to mean that Jesus, who is the desire of his people in every nation will return, and he surely will, but the verb used is actually a plural verb.

The Desired Will Come

This means that the 'desired ones,' that is the ones that Jesus desires such as the 1.2 billion Chinese, India's peoples, the Arabs, the proud westerners and even the most unreached nomadic tribes will come in God's kairos time.

The final difficult message of Haggai is that touching something holy does not make you holy, only sin is that contagious. Equally knowing all about the Great Commission doesn't make you a Kingdom builder, because the power is not in the knowing but in the going. 1.10-18

Is There Any Seed Left In The Barn?

If life has not been satisfying, consider your ways and build God's house today through prayer, going, sending and giving. You may not have born fruit for Jesus up to now but if you will empty your barn, God's promise is that. "from this day I will bless you." 2.19

To Close Pray for the World's Most Unreached Peoples by Name

Taken from the Joshua Project Unreached Peoples List these people have no church and as yet no cell, church or mission has committed themselves to prayer, adoption or church planting among this people.

Iraq

People Name Language Population
Herki Herki 22,000
Luri (Lur) Luri 67,000
Persian (Irani) Farsi, Western 250,000
Shikaki Shikaki 22,000
Surchi Surchi 11,000
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