The Best Is Yet To Come

When Cyrus took over Babylon in 538 B.C. and established the kingdom of Persia, the Hebrews came under a Persian governor. Permission was given for the exiles to return and restore their temples. After the death of Cyrus, and of his son Cambyses, Darius became ruler and continued the benevolent policies of Cyrus. Then Darius appointed Zerubbabel as governor with the specific responsibility of resuming work on the Temple, begun earlier by Shesh-bazzar.

Introduction

Background

Holman Bible Dictionary

When Cyrus took over Babylon in 538 B.C. and established the kingdom of Persia, the Hebrews came under a Persian governor. Permission was given for the exiles to return and restore their temples. After the death of Cyrus, and of his son Cambyses, Darius became ruler and continued the benevolent policies of Cyrus. Then Darius appointed Zerubbabel as governor with the specific responsibility of resuming work on the Temple, begun earlier by Shesh-bazzar.

Apparently the adjustments required of the returning exiles were so difficult that rebuilding their own homes and the Temple at the same time put a strain on their resources. They despaired of ever restoring the Temple to its former glory. Work on the Temple ceased. Haggai, along with Zechariah, helped Zerubbabel gain the support and help he needed from the returning exiles to carry out his assigned task.

Haggai’s answer was that if it was right for them to rebuild their own houses, it was also right for them to rebuild the Temple. Haggai noted that in rebuilding their own houses they had done well, but they were still not happy. His diagnosis was that they had neglected their spiritual lives. He said the way to correct their neglect was to rebuild the Temple.

  • Haggai directed his exhortation and prophecy to everyone at all levels
    • Who
      • Zerubbabel (Civil Leadership)
        • Son of Shealtiel
        • Descended from the royal line of David
        • Friend of Darius
          • Successfully competed before him in contest to determine the strongest thing in the world: wine, kings, women, or truth
            • Demonstrated truth was the mightiest of all
            • Became known as the king’s “cousin”
            • Granted permission to go to Jerusalem and rebuild the temple after the exile (537 BC)
          • Appointed Governor of Judah
          • Also served as Tax Collector
      • Joshua (Spiritual Leadership)
        • Son of Josedech
        • High priest
        • Returned from exile with Zerubbabel to rebuild the temple (537 BC)
          • Head of Levitical house which had oversight of the workmen in the temple
          • Led in rebuilding the altar
          • Led in restoring sacrifice
      • Lay People
        • Remnant
        • Those who would return/come
    • Action
      • Actively participate
        • 1 Corinthians 6:19-20 (NASB)
          19 Or do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit who is in you, whom you have from God, and that you are not your own? 20 For you have been bought with a price: therefore glorify God in your body.
      • Actively seek the participation of others
        • Active Believers
          • Colossians 2:6-7 (NASB)
            6 Therefore as you have received Christ Jesus the Lord, so walk in Him, 7 having been firmly rooted and now being built up in Him and established in your faith, just as you were instructed, andoverflowing with gratitude.
        • Inactive Believers
          • 1 John 2:3-6 (NASB)
            3 By this we know that we have come to know Him, if we keep His commandments. 4 The one who says, “I have come to know Him,” and does not keep His commandments, is a liar, and the truth is not in him; 5 but whoever keeps His word, in him the love of God has truly been perfected. By this we know that we are in Him: 6 the one who says he abides in Him ought himself to walk in the same manner as He walked.
        • Unbelievers
          • Matthew 28:18-20 (NASB)
            18 And Jesus came up and spoke to them, saying, “All authority has been given to Me in heaven and on earth. 19 “Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit, 20 teaching them to observe all that I commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age.”
          • Ezekiel 33:7-9 (NASB)
            7 “Now as for you, son of man, I have appointed you a watchman for the house of Israel; so you will hear a message from My mouth and give them warning from Me. 8 “When I say to the wicked, ‘O wicked man, you will surely die,’ and you do not speak to warn the wicked from his way, that wicked man shall die in his iniquity, but his blood I will require from your hand. 9 “But if you on your part warn a wicked man to turn from his way and he does not turn from his way, he will die in his iniquity, but you have delivered your life.

Questions

  • Do you find yourself dwelling on and trying to recapture past glories?
  • Are you tired and discouraged?

Good News

  • God Is with You
  • The Best Is Yet to Come

Scripture

Haggai 2:1-9 (NASB)
1 On the twenty-first of the seventh month, the word of the Lord came by Haggai the prophet saying, 2 “Speak now to Zerubbabel the son of Shealtiel, governor of Judah, and to Joshua the son of Jehozadak, the high priest, and to the remnant of the people saying, 3 ‘Who is left among you who saw this temple in its former glory? And how do you see it now? Does it not seem to you like nothing in comparison? 4 ‘But now take courage, Zerubbabel,’ declares the Lord, ‘take courage also, Joshua son of Jehozadak, the high priest, and all you people of the land take courage,’ declares the Lord, ‘and work; for I am with you,’ declares the Lord of hosts. 5 ‘As for the promise which I made you when you came out of Egypt, My Spirit is abiding in your midst; do not fear!’ 6 “For thus says the Lord of hosts, ‘Once more in a little while, I am going to shake the heavens and the earth, the sea also and the dry land. 7 ‘I will shake all the nations; and they will come with the wealth of all nations, and I will fill this house with glory,’ says the Lord of hosts. 8 ‘The silver is Mine and the gold is Mine,’ declares the Lord of hosts. 9 ‘The latter glory of this house will be greater than the former,’ says the Lord of hosts, ‘and in this place I will give peace,’ declares the Lord of hosts.”

Opening Prayer

Heavenly Father, all good things come from You. Through this sermon, please make plain to us how the best is yet to come. In Jesus’ name we pray. Amen.

Proposition

Be strong, work, and fear not for God is with us and the greater glory is yet to come.

Probing Question

What should we do when we are tired and discouraged?

Transitional Sentence

When tired and discouraged, we should…

Main Points

1. Be Strong

Haggai 2:4a (NASB)
4 ‘But now take courage, Zerubbabel,’ declares the Lord, ‘take courage also, Joshua son of Jehozadak, the high priest, and all you people of the land take courage,’ declares the Lord…

  • What?
    • Meanings
      • Be(come) Strong
      • Strengthen
      • Prevail
      • Harden
      • Be Courageous
    • Connotation
      • Prevail
      • Be Courageous
  • Why?
    • Haggai 2:4b (NASB)
      …for I am with you,’ declares the Lord of hosts.
  • Illustrations
    • The Lion’s Tail (Source Unknown)
      Adrian Rogers tells about the man who bragged that he had cut off the tail of a man-eating lion with his pocket knife. Asked why he hadn’t cut off the lion’s head, the man replied: “Someone had already done that.”
    • Courage is … (Eddie Rickenbacker, Bits & Pieces, April 29, 1993, p. 12)
      Courage is doing what you’re afraid to do. There can be no courage unless you’re scared.
    • “Courage is being scared to death but saddling up anyway.” – John Wayne
    • “True heroism is remarkably sober, very un-dramatic.  It is not the urge to surpass all others at whatever cost, but the urge to serve others at whatever the cost.” – Tennis Star Arthur Ashe
  • How?
    • Have faith
      • Proverbs 3:5-6 (NASB)
        5 Trust in the Lord with all your heart And do not lean on your own understanding. 6 In all your ways acknowledge Him, And He will make your paths straight.
      • Philippians 4:13 (NASB)
        13 I can do all things through Him who strengthens me.

2. Work

Haggai 2:4a (NASB)
4 ‘But now take courage, Zerubbabel,’ declares the Lord, ‘take courage also, Joshua son of Jehozadak, the high priest, and all you people of the land take courage,’ declares the Lord, ‘and work…

  • What?
    • Meanings
      • Do
      • Fashion
      • Accomplish
      • Make
    • Connotation
      • Do
      • Make
      • Used with a sense of ethical obligation
        • Covenant people frequently commanded to “do” all that God commanded
        • Goes beyond mere mental abstraction and translates into obedience evidenced in a demonstrable act
  • Why?
    • Haggai 2:4b (NASB)
      4 …for I am with you,’ declares the Lord of hosts.
  • Illustrations
    • “Instant obedience is the only kind of obedience there is; delayed obedience is disobedience.  Whoever strives to withdraw from obedience, withdraws from Grace.” – Thomas A. Kempis
    • “One step forward in obedience is worth years of study about it.” – Oswald Chambers (Our Daily Bread, March 4, 1993)
    • “The cost of obedience is nothing compared with the cost of disobedience.” – Anonymous
    • “It is a great deal easier to do that which God gives us to do, no matter how hard it is, than to face the responsibilities of not doing it.” = Dr. B. J. Miller (MBI’s Today In The Word, November, 1989, p.11)
  • How?
    • Demonstrate your faith in God through obedience to Him
      • James 2:14-26 (NASB)
        14 What use is it, my brethren, if someone says he has faith but he has no works? Can that faith save him? 15 If a brother or sister is without clothing and in need of daily food, 16 and one of you says to them, “Go in peace, be warmed and be filled,” and yet you do not give them what is necessary for their body, what use is that? 17 Even so faith, if it has no works, is dead, being by itself. 18 But someone may well say, “You have faith and I have works; show me your faith without the works, and I will show you my faith by my works.” 19 You believe that God is one. You do well; the demons also believe, and shudder. 20 But are you willing to recognize, you foolish fellow, that faith without works is useless? 21 Was not Abraham our father justified by works when he offered up Isaac his son on the altar? 22 You see that faith was working with his works, and as a result of the works, faith was perfected; 23 and the Scripture was fulfilled which says, “And Abraham believed God, and it was reckoned to him as righteousness,” and he was called the friend of God. 24 You see that a man is justified by works and not by faith alone. 25 In the same way, was not Rahab the harlot also justified by works when she received the messengers and sent them out by another way? 26 For just as the body without thespirit is dead, so also faith without works is dead.

3. Fear Not

Haggai 2:4-5 (NASB)
4 ‘But now take courage, Zerubbabel,’ declares the Lord, ‘take courage also, Joshua son of Jehozadak, the high priest, and all you people of the land take courage,’ declares the Lord, ‘and work; for I am with you,’ declares the Lord of hosts. 5 ‘As for the promise which I made you when you came out of Egypt, My Spirit is abiding in your midst; do not fear!’

  • What?
    • Meanings
      • Fear
      • Be Afraid
      • Revere
    • Connotation
      • Fear
      • Be Afraid
      • Emotion of fear
      • Intellectual anticipation of evil without emphasis upon the emotional reaction
  • Why?
    • Haggai 2:4b-5a (NASB)
      4 …for I am with you,’ declares the Lord of hosts. 5 ‘As for the promise which I made you when you came out of Egypt, My Spirit is abiding in your midst…
  • Illustrations
    • Fear of Ridicule (Today in the Word, October 17, 1993)
      Anytime we are engaged in a work for God, we are likely to encounter the poison-tipped arrows of ridicule. A barrage of truth mingled with lies, innuendo, malicious gossip and implied threats is the normal experience of leaders. Malice arises from fear. And fear is a common response to someone else’s success. So expect to have your faults thrown in your face, your folly mocked and your real progress belittled. When this happens, by all means allow yourself to be cut down to size, but do not let yourself be dismayed or intimidated. Remember that the chorus of contempt has a diabolical conductor whose aim is to make your knees buckle. He likes tongue-tied, ineffective Christians and plays on your secret fears and inferiorities to make you one of them.
    • “I am full of fears and chasms of inferiority. Whenever I have listened to the enemy pointing them out I have stopped working for the kingdom. Yet in those moments when I have refused to listen to him and have feebly walked in obedience, I have been astonished at what God has done with my feeble performance.” – John White
  • How?
    • Persevere in your obedience to God through trust in Him
      • 2 Timothy 1:7 (NASB)
        7 For God has not given us a spirit of timidity, but of power and love and discipline.
      • Matthew 10:28 (NASB)
        28 “Do not fear those who kill the body but are unable to kill the soul; but rather fear Him who is able to destroy both soul and body in hell.
      • Hebrews 13:6 (NASB)
        6 so that we confidently say, “The Lord is my helper, I will not be afraid. What will man do to me?”
      • Romans 8:31 (NASB)
        31 What then shall we say to these things? If God is for us, who isagainst us?

Conclusion

God encourages people to be strong, work, and fear not for He is with us and the greater glory is yet to come.

When we are tired and discouraged we should:

  • Be Strong
  • Work
  • Fear Not

Because:

  • God is with us
    • Haggai 2:4b-5a (NASB)
      4 …for I am with you,’ declares the Lord of hosts. 5 ‘As for the promise which I made you when you came out of Egypt, My Spirit is abiding in your midst…
  • The best is yet to come
    • Haggai 2:6-9 (NASB)
      6 “For thus says the Lord of hosts, ‘Once more in a little while, I am going to shake the heavens and the earth, the sea also and the dry land. 7 ‘I will shake all the nations; and they will come with the wealth of all nations, and I will fill this house with glory,’ says the Lord of hosts. 8 ‘The silver is Mine and the gold is Mine,’ declares the Lord of hosts. 9 ‘The latter glory of this house will be greater than the former,’ says the Lord of hosts, ‘and in this place I will give peace,’ declares the Lord of hosts.”

Closing Prayer

Heavenly Father, almighty God, thank You for Your promise to never leave us nor forsake us. Because of Your presence and watchcare over us, we can be strong, serve You, and not be afraid. Thank You for Your promise to give us life and life more abundantly. Thank You that the best is yet to come. In Jesus’ name we pray. Amen.

Gospel Invitation

Is the Holy Spirit stirring within your heart? Is He convicting you of the need to make changes in your life and/or calling you to take action? The Bible says:

James 4:17 (NASB)
17 Therefore, to one who knows the right thing to do and does not do it, to him it is sin.

1 John 5:3 (NASB)
3 For this is the love of God, that we keep His commandments; and His commandments are not burdensome.

If the Holy Spirit is urging you to take action, it is important to respond with immediate obedience. Delayed obedience is disobedience. Please read the following sections that apply to your current situation and prayerfully consider the suggested course of actions.

I am lost. I need to accept Jesus Christ as my Lord and Savior.

John 3:16-18 (NASB)
16 "For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish, but have eternal life. 17 "For God did not send the Son into the world to judge the world, but that the world might be saved through Him. 18 "He who believes in Him is not judged; he who does not believe has been judged already, because he has not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God.

Action

  • To learn more about Jesus and His gift of redemption, read God's Plan of Salvation. If you are already familiar with the Plan of Savation, skip forward to section How to Become a Christian.
  • If you accept Jesus Christ as your Lord and Savior, please let us know by participating in our poll located on the top left column of the page and filling out the Contact Form below.

I am saved; but, I have sin in my life that I need to confess and repent.

1 John 1:8-9 (NASB)
8 If we say that we have no sin, we are deceiving ourselves and the truth is not in us. 9 If we confess our sins, He is faithful and righteous to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.

Acts 3:19 (NASB)
19  "Therefore repent and return, so that your sins may be wiped away, in order that times of refreshing may come from the presence of the Lord;

Action

  • Fill out the Contact Form below to confidentially confess the sin in your life and your desire to repent. The information you send will not be shared with anyone else. Your privacy will be protected.

I am saved; but, I need to rededicate my life to the Lord.

Praise the Lord.

Action

  • In your own words, pray a prayer similar to the following:

Heavenly Father, I have fallen short of Your glory and have failed to live up to Your expecttions for me. Please forgive me. Lord, I rededicate my life to You. Not my will; but, Your will be done. Thank You for being a God of second chances. Use me Lord. Shape me and mold me into the person You would have me to be. I pray this in the name of Jesus Christ, my Lord and Savior. Amen.

  • If you just rededicated your life to the Lord, please let us know by participating in our poll located on the top left column of the page and filling out the Contact Form below.

I benefit from this ministry and want to become a member and/or make a donation.

Praise the Lord. We are glad you find Saved by Grace edifying.

Action

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Malachi 3:10 (NASB)
10  "Bring the whole tithe into the storehouse, so that there may be food in My house, and test 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 a blessing until it overflows.

  • If you benefit from this ministry and would like to support its efforts, projects, and missions, please consider making a tax deductible donation, of any amount. May God bless you for your generosity.




I need to discuss my situation confidentially.

James 5:16 (NASB)
16  Therefore, confess your sins to one another, and pray for one another so that you may be healed. The effective prayer of a righteous man can accomplish much.

Action

  • Fill out the Contact Form below to confidentially discuss the situation in your life that is troubling you. The information you send will not be shared with anyone else. Your privacy will be protected.

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