How God can bless unholy people

God’s people were working hard but found out they had little to show for it. Their productivity was low and they found themselves continually frustrated, expecting more from their annual harvests than they actually took home.

In this message to his people via the prophet Haggai, God points out that the people are unproductive because they are labouring under a divine curse – the covenant law code made it clear and yet they had so far failed to connect the dots and realise what was at the root of their poor output.

Despite their unholiness which tainted their work, God was determined to bless his people nonetheless. How is it that an unholy people can be blessed by God? Surely that is the wrong way around?

This message shows how through the gospel of Jesus Christ, unholy people can be blessed by God, guaranteed to each individual by faith in Christ. When we understand what Christ has done and receive it by faith, we are declared righteous by God, as unholy people we are blessed. This radically alters the way we view our work and our ministry as a church.

Main text: Haggai 2:10-19

Comparison, Calling, Climax: Addressing a defeated spirit in the covenant community

Through the prophet Haggai, God addresses a spirit of defeat among the covenant community, a spirit that threatens the outcome of their work – the rebuilding of the Jerusalem temple.

The root cause of their spirit of defeat? Comparison. Looking to the old temple before it was destroyed by the Babylonian invasion, remembering how good it was and how pathetic their contemporary efforts at rebuilding really are.

So often we are caught in the defeater spirit of comparison, crushing the spirit, flattening the soul, contributing to depression and anxiety.

God speaks to those who are defeated through comparison. He gives a reminder of their divine calling to work for him, and of a climactic future of renewed power and glory in a city of perfect peace.

Main points:

  • Comparisons that crush
  • Calling that compels
  • Climax that comforts

Bible text: Haggai 2:1-9

Now Is The Time To Build

The prophet Haggai addresses God’s covenant community when they were at a low ebb. They had stalled in their work of rebuilding God’s temple in Jerusalem, starting off the project with great zeal but for various reasons they downed tools and paid attention to their own properties rather than prioritising the temple restoration.

In this message we look at the reason people or churches stall and the ways that God calls and empowers them to return.

Main text: Haggai 1:1-15

What Is Your Wealth?

The final message in our series Status Update – looking at Christ’s assessment of the seven churches of Asia Minor in Revelation 2-3.

The last church of the seven may have been prepared for a hearty commendation for their strong ministry and economic health, but Jesus could see that beneath the facade there was a serious problem. It all came down to wealth. The church thought they were wealthy indeed, but they found their value in lesser things rather than in Christ Jesus. Indeed, Christ was outside the church, standing at the door and knocking.

We examine the issues at play and ask how such an externally strong church could be doing so badly in the eyes of Christ.

Main Text: Revelation 3:14-22

How Our Glorious Future Interprets Our Present Reality

The penultimate message in our series Status Update. 

In his message to the church at Philadelphia, Jesus speaks words of truth against the lies and slander that are battering the church. Their identity is not to be found in believing the lies told against them from those who want to see an end to the church and the Christian faith but instead from the revelation of Jesus – the one who holds the key to the kingdom of God and who alone decides who is permitted entry.

Main text: Revelation 3:7-13

The Complications of Compromise

The church at Pergamum were struggling to hold on to their orthodox Christian faith whilst living in a city that was famous for its multiplicity of religious options. Rather than religious pluralism leading to tolerance and acceptance, these Christians were singled out for mistreatment by the majority non-Christian society.

Some in the church paid for this with their lives. However some in the church found other ways to deal with the opposition-by compromise.

Jesus commended those in the church that were remaining faithful to him and yet gave a strong warning to the small number who were trying to mix their Christian faith and the value system of their non-Christian majority culture.

Rather than single individuals out, Christ called on the entire local church to repent and deal with this potentially lethal compromise.

As members of the modern day church living in a predominantly non-Christian (or post-Christian) society we are susceptible to the subtle yet pervasive pressures to conform to the majority views and practices of our city.

As with each message to the churches of Asia Minor, Christ promises grace to respond and overcome these modern challenges to the faithfulness and expression of the Christian faith.

Main text: Revelation 2:12-17