Have you ever had to tell a child not to put their finger in their mouth after they’ve touched something dirty? Just like how children don’t understand the effects of microbial bacteria on their health, we often don’t understand the danger sin poses to us. As a church, we’ve been asking the question, “What would happen if an entire church was corporately satisfied in God and passionate about His glory?” To help us answer this question, we’ve been studying the book of Haggai, an Old Testament book about a prophet whom God used to preach to the people who were building His temple. In 2:10-19, we see Haggai preaching his third sermon, the purpose of which was to call attention to the people’s sin. The big idea from this text was sin sabotages our satisfaction in God and the pursuit of His glory.
In his sermon, Haggai called the people to do three things. The first was to wake up to sin (vs. 2:10-14). The people had some sort of sin that was evident in the community (the book doesn’t tell us what it is), but they were either blind to it or chose to ignore it. Haggai illustrates their sin issue by telling them it’s impossible to make something clean by putting something dirty into it and vice versa. From this truth, we gleaned three applications:
Evil is more penetrating than good. In other words, it takes more work to saturate something with good than it does evil. For instance, you can surround your children with good influences, but all it takes is one person from school to “spoil it.” Or you can be living right but then you make one mistake and your career is at risk or your marriage destroyed.
Associating with “God-stuff” doesn’t make you clean. The people in this book were living in sin then going out to make sacrifices to God, but those sacrifices didn’t mitigate the sin in their lives. The power of unclean sin prevails even if you’re trying to assuage it with “good things.” You can’t balance out sin by going to small group or attending church. God wants your heart, not your church attendance. Coming to church should not be motivated by a desire to kiss up to God; it should be as a result of a clean heart that desires to learn more about Him and be with His people.
Confronting sin is most effective in the context of God’s glory. Haggai was preaching this sermon three months into their building project. This makes us wonder, “If this sin was going on the whole time, why didn’t he confront it at the beginning of the project?” Because repentance flowing from love is more genuine than repentance flowing from fear. Haggai wanted to get them enamored with the glory of God first. Fear of consequences only motivates for so long. If you want true change and victory over sin, the motivation must come out of heart love for Jesus Christ.
The second thing Haggai tells the people is to consider the consequences of sin (vs. 15-17). The lives of the people were not going well; finances were depleting, crops were failing, but the people did not connect the dots and realize their obedience was tied to their success (per the Deuteronomic covenant). A lot of times we don’t connect the dots either. How long will it take you before you realize you will never have peace in your finances until you turn them over to God? Or that your momentary selfishness and pleasure is killing your relationship with your mate? There is no such thing as a “personal sin”; everyone’s sin impacts everyone else. We don’t live on an island. When you’re part of a body, one problem affects all its other parts and drags down the entire ministry of the Gospel.
So what are we to do? Confess and repent of sin (v. 18-19). Haggai tells the people to admit their sin, run to God, and wait for His blessing. Is there a sin you need to confess? If so, do it; stop the poison that is seeping into your soul. Run to the arms of Jesus (to His arms not away from your problems). Last, wait for Him to start blessing you again. God may not erase the consequences for awhile (or perhaps not at all), but keep faithfully running to the cross, and you will receive victory. Don’t get discouraged.
Friends, all of us have some habitual sin: gossip, lying, pornography, backbiting, negativity, disobedience to parents, sexual impurity, sewing seeds of discord, destructive habits, etc. Those sins are our problem as a church, but Christ died for that sin, and because of His righteousness, there is victory. Name the sin. Confess it. Get accountability and run to Him. Please contact the church if there is something we can do to help.
Sin sabotages our satisfaction in God and the pursuit of His glory. #thepeopleproject
Repentance that flows from love is more genuine than repentance that flows from fear. #thepeopleproject
Listen to the sermon here: