In the last blog I talked about the disconnected leadership. Today I want to focus on people in the church who call themselves Christians but are not necessarily willing to give anything up for Jesus. On Sunday I asked the questions - Am I willing to…..? Pray, seek, humble myself, obey, turn, and listen. Am I willing to set aside my plan for God’s plan. Am I willing to serve my King and do whatever he tells me? Am I willing to wait for his plan to unfold in my life as it may not be what I think!
                In our day many are not willing to follow and obey wholeheartedly, which means they have replaced Jesus with something else. We have talked about unconverted Christians but we also have what I call apathetic narcissists or luke-warm followers. Apathy means a lack of enthusiasm or interest and emotional emptiness. Narcissism means self-love, admiration and absorption. When you put these words together you get the opposite description of a Christian but yet so many fall into this category. Revelations 3:5 “I know your deeds, that you are neither cold nor hot. I wish you were either one or the other! 16 So, because you are lukewarm—neither hot nor cold—I am about to spit you out of my mouth. 17 You say, ‘I am rich; I have acquired wealth and do not need a thing.’ But you do not realize that you are wretched, pitiful, poor, blind and naked. 18 I counsel you to buy from me gold refined in the fire, so you can become rich; and white clothes to wear, so you can cover your shameful nakedness; and salve to put on your eyes, so you can see.19 Those whom I love I rebuke and discipline. So be earnest and repent.” They do not tithe to God; they tithe to themselves. They do not get too involved, as there are other things to commit to like sports or other social events that take up all their time. Jeremiah 5:3 “Lord, do not your eyes look for truth? You struck them, but they felt no pain; you crushed them, but they refused correction. They made their faces harder than stone and refused to repent.” Nehemiah 9:17 “they refused to listen and failed to remember the miracles you performed among them. They became stiff-necked and in their rebellion appointed a leader in order to return to their slavery.” Zechariah 7:11 “But they refused to pay attention; stubbornly they turned their backs and covered their ears.” 2 Thessalonians 2:10 “They perish because they refused to love the truth and so be saved.” Are we willing to turn from our wicked ways or will we continue following our own ways thus becoming just like our ancestors.
                A W Tozer ‏said, "How utterly terrible is the current idea that Christians can serve God at their own convenience." It is time to refocus our priorities. Solomon was a blessed man. All he had to do was to obey God and keep the charge that David his father had given him. 1 Kings 11:9 “The Lord became angry with Solomon because his heart had turned away from the Lord, the God of Israel, who had appeared to him twice.” You can tell that Solomon was not on track quite quickly when you look at the construction of the temple and his home. 1 Kings 6:38 “In the eleventh year in the month of Bul, the eighth month, the temple was finished in all its details according to its specifications. He had spent seven years building it.” That must have been some temple if it took seven years to build. 1 Chronicles 22:7 “David said to Solomon: “My son, I had it in my heart to build a house for the Name of the Lord my God.” This was the place for God to live. But here is the problem the church is facing today. Many who are only in it for themselves continue to follow Solomon’s example. 1 Kings 7 “It took Solomon thirteen years, however, to complete the construction of his palace.” Now they were either slower or the palace was palatial. He put more into his own home than he did the temple. The word “however” really stands out.
                It is not hard to see that most of our energy goes to our palaces and ourselves so to speak. Don’t get me wrong I am not saying you cannot have nice things but if you replace God with your nice things they have become an idol. 1 Timothy 6:9 “Those who want to get rich fall into temptation and a trap and into many foolish and harmful desires that plunge people into ruin and destruction. 10 For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evil. Some people, eager for money, have wandered from the faith and pierced themselves with many griefs.” Having money is not evil. I am always interested when people say they do not have enough to tithe but the truth is they do not have enough because they do not tithe, which means they do not trust God for their provisions. When we Matthew 6:33 “seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well.”
                In the book of Haggai we see a very accurate description of the modern church. When we focus on our own palaces over the temple, we will see these results. Haggai 1:2 “This is what the Lord Almighty says: “These people say, ‘The time has not yet come to rebuild the Lord’s house.’” 3 Then the word of the Lord came through the prophet Haggai: 4 “Is it a time for you yourselves to be living in your panelled houses, while this house remains a ruin?” 5 Now this is what the Lord Almighty says: “Give careful thought to your ways. 6 You have planted much, but harvested little. You eat, but never have enough. You drink, but never have your fill. You put on clothes, but are not warm. You earn wages, only to put them in a purse with holes in it.” 7 This is what the Lord Almighty says: “Give careful thought to your ways. 8 Go up into the mountains and bring down timber and build my house, so that I may take pleasure in it and be honored,” says the Lord. 9 “You expected much, but see, it turned out to be little. What you brought home, I blew away. Why?” declares the Lord Almighty. “Because of my house, which remains a ruin, while each of you is busy with your own house. 10 Therefore, because of you the heavens have withheld their dew and the earth its crops. 11 I called for a drought on the fields and the mountains, on the grain, the new wine, the olive oil and everything else the ground produces, on people and livestock, and on all the labour of your hands.”
                This is happening in the church today and in our own lives. This passage talks about Israel’s guilt and punishment. Micah 6:9 “Listen! The Lord is calling to the city— and to fear your name is wisdom— “Heed the rod and the One who appointed it. 10 Am I still to forget your ill-gotten treasures, you wicked house, and the short ephah, which is accursed? 11 Shall I acquit someone with dishonest scales, with a bag of false weights? 12 Your rich people are violent; your inhabitants are liars and their tongues speak deceitfully. 13therefore, I have begun to destroy you, to ruin you because of your sins. 14 You will eat but not be satisfied; your stomach will still be empty. You will store up but save nothing, because what you save I will give to the sword. 15 You will plant but not harvest; you will press olives but not use the oil, you will crush grapes but not drink the wine. 16 You have observed the statutes of Omri and all the practices of Ahab’s house; you have followed their traditions. Therefore I will give you over to ruin and your people to derision; you will bear the scorn of the nations.”
                Leonard Ravenhill ‏said, “We need a trumpet voice again to tell sluggish believers that God requires holiness of His people.” If they do not listen they will be spewed out of His mouth. This is why we are calling on God for revival. Haggai 1:14 “So the Lord stirred up the spirit of Zerubbabel son of Shealtiel, governor of Judah, and the spirit of Joshua son of Jozadak, the high priest, and the spirit of the whole remnant of the people. They came and began to work on the house of the Lord Almighty, their God, 15 on the twenty-fourth day of the sixth month. 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: 19 Is 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.’” What a great promise for the remnant.
                It is always good to evaluate our lives. Is your focus on the temple or the palace? 1 Corinthians 6:9 “Do you not know that your bodies are temples of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you have received from God?” The time has come to rebuild the house of the Lord.