Build Your Kingdom Here: His Mercy Is More

Passage: Haggai 2:10-19
Guide for Group Discussion or Personal Reflection

Sermon Summary

Three months after the people began rebuilding the temple, they were again confronted with a challenging word from the Lord, through Haggai: “Every work of their hands” was unclean (2:14). The covenant curses (blight, mildew, crop failure) which Israel had experienced before, and were experiencing again upon their return from exile, were intended to cause true repentance among the people, but sadly this hadn’t happened (1:9-11; 2:15-19). God invited his people to consider the fact that while they had indeed begun rebuilding, their hearts were still just as tainted with sin as they had ever been. Thus, the covenant curses continued, and the whole temple project called for a deeper purification.

In the midst of this crushing indictment, however, God spoke a word of grace—of unmerited blessing: “But from this day on, I will bless you” (2:19). Truly, there was more grace in God than sin in his people! The people would never become pure without God making the first move and setting his love on them, even when they were still undeserving. Indeed, this was consistent with the character of God revealed throughout the book of Haggai: always making the first move, encouraging his people, exhorting them, reminding them of his presence.

There is much for us to take away from this passage today. Just like Israel, we need to remember that sin is contagious, and it gets into everything. What starts out as a small sin, even a sinful thought, motive or attitude, will grow to dominate our lives and our community, if left unchecked. Therefore, we need to fight to kill sin, even at its earliest stages.

We also need to remember, however, that God and his grace, not our sin, has the final word. Just as God blessed Israel, even while they were still impure, and did so “since the day the foundation of the temple was laid”, so too will he pour out his grace upon us, from the day we lay our lives upon the foundation of Christ’s grace. This truth alone can make us pure.

Sermon Outline

  • Sin is Contagious and it Gets Into Everything (2:10-17)
  • God and his Grace, Not Sin, Has the Final Word (2:18-19)

Group Discussion & Personal Reflection Guide

Re-read the passage (Haggai 2:10-19)

Sin is Contagious and it Gets Into Everything (2:10-17)

Q) Get situated in the text by having your group (briefly!) reconstruct the timeline of the events in Haggai so far. Have people look up the following verses to see when these events took place. Take note of the year, month, and day, and how much time has passed between each event:

  • 1:1-2: The Lord first exhorts the people to build the temple
  • 1:14-15: The Lord stirs up the people’s spirits, so that they listen and start building the
    temple again
  • 2:1-4: The Lord responds to the people’s discouragement with the progress so far and
    exhorts them to keep working
  • 2:10-12: The Lord asks the people to consider their continuing uncleanness

Q) Re-read Haggai 2:10-14. What is the purpose of this “thought experiment” that the Lord is inviting the people to consider? What did he want the people to realize about themselves? What did he want them to realize about the rebuilding process so far?

Q) Back in Haggai 1, we read that “the people feared the Lord” (1:12), and even that Lord’s own Spirit “stirred up the remnant of the people” (1:14). Why, then, did God still consider the work of their hands “unclean” (2:14)?

Q) In the sermon, Pastor Bobby said that “sin is contagious, and it gets into everything”. Can you think of an example from your own life where you let a certain sin—or sinful mindset, attitude, or posture—grow until it spread wider into your life and relationships? What would it have looked like to “nip it in the bud?” On a more corporate level, can you think of an example of a small sin growing, and spreading throughout a local church, or a community?

Q) Read James 1:14-15. What added insight do these verses give about the way that sin grows? Q) What is one area of your life right now, where you need to put to death a small sin before it
grows?

God and his Grace, Not Sin, Has the Final Word (2:18-19)

Q) Re-read Haggai 2:15-17. What did God want the people to realize? What heart posture was he trying to bring about by sending blight, mildew, hail, and unfruitfulness?

Q) Re-read Haggai 2:18-19. Had the fruitfulness of the people’s crops and produce begun to change since they began rebuilding? Why or why not? What does God promise to do?

Q) What insight does Haggai 2:19 give us into God’s character? Why does he say, “But from this day on, I will bless you”?

Q) In his sermon, Pastor Bobby highlighted how God responded positively to the laying of the “foundation” stone of the temple (2:18). Why did the Lord respond to the laying of the “foundation”? How does this look forward to Christ?

Additional Application Questions

Q) How else would you like to engage with God this week?

Q) How can you tangibly care for those in your community this week, both inside and outside of the church?

Prayer

Spend time praying for yourselves, our church community, the North Shore community, and our nation and world—particularly those most vulnerable.

 
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