New Year Message 01/01/2012

Southern Wall of Temple Mount, southwestern corner.

It’s a New Year and what better way to begin than gathering together to worship God and hear His Word preached. Our Pastor gave a very encouraging message this morning from Haggai 2: 1-9 (“Be strong and work” – Haggai 2:4). We have home group Bible Study every other Tuesday evening. At present we discuss and further seek to apply the previous Sunday morning sermon. Notes are available for the message as an aid to our discussions. Here are Pastor Watts notes for this morning:


“Be strong and work” – Haggai 2:4

In v.3 Haggai picks up the mood of these discouraged post-exilic Jews who were trying to rebuild Jerusalem and its temple. Compared to Solomon’s Templethis second temple was going to be second-rate. It was beginning to dawn on them just how pathetic it was going to be – none of the grandeur, bespoke craftsmanship and materials of the first temple. (See 1 Kings 6:15, 18, 20-22 for a picture of the first temple)

Into this mood of discouragement Haggai brings a message from God – in v.4 three times “Be strong, take courage”, a promise delivered also by a threefold mention of “the Lord of hosts”. It reminds us of the promise to the other Joshua after Moses had died – Josh.1:5-7: and also the word from David to Solomon – 1 Chron.28:20.

Haggai encourages these Jews of Jerusalem – and us – with three things:

 1. The promise you need to hear

In v.5 Haggai takes them back to Egypt, and to the covenant that God “cut” withIsrael. It was delivered in the name of God who says “I am who I am” and who promised to be with Moses and His people.

When we get hold of a promise from God as in vv.4,5 it transforms everything. What we need is not nostalgia for the past but belief in the promises of God delivered in the past but still alive in the present.

 2. The purpose you need to see

 In dealing with discouragement Haggai not only takes them to the past but also to the future. He gives them end perspective. See vv.6,7,9. Only a little while, says God, and I am going to do some shaking. I am actually going to make the splendour and glory of this house greater than Solomon’s temple. It’s going to have God Himself within it’s courts.

The Jews of Haggai’s day seemed to be involved in a minor, insignificant work, but it is all an integral part of God’s kingdom plan. This house will see great strides forward in the establishing of God’s unshakeable kingdom.

How these Jews would be encouraged if they could see the Messiah himself standing in this temple, or to be there on the great day that the temple curtain was torn from top to bottom to signify that the work of salvation was done.

If only they could see in their day, and we could see in ours, how God is going to shake the nations in order to bring to completion the Kingdom of His Son.

 3. The peace you need to know

Haggai prophesies future peace – v.9 – the peace that will come after God shakes the nations. Peace in the Bible comes after shaking, after judgment. God puts things right, then there is peace – Zech.9:10. God judged sin in Jesus Christ and now he gives peace. When he has shaken the nations he will usher in his final kingdom of peace.

If your faith and hope is in Jesus Christ you have peace with God: at the core of your being things are right. When we feel secure then we can work – illustration, the construction of the Golden Gate Bridge and its safety net.


To listen to the sermon click on the link below. Or go to the Lower Ford Street Baptist Church Web-site.

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