Matt Hagee - It's About Time
If you brought your Bibles, would you turn them to the book of Haggai 1:2 through 5, as this morning, we begin a new sermon series on the topic of time. What is it about time that keeps everybody so distracted? Our world is filled with messages and content regarding time. You can go to conferences where you take time to sit down and listen to somebody tell you how to manage your time. Ironic. You can read books about what to do to save time. You can pick up your cell phone and waste a lot of time. Our world is saturated with distractions that consume the one thing that we use to measure the quality of our day, and that's time. What is it about time? No matter how much of it you have, when you waste it, it's gone. It is never being renewed. It can never be recreated.
Moses, in Psalm 90, he said, "Lord, teach us to number our days". Moses lived to be 120, so if he numbered his days, he would have counted 43,800 days. And at the age of 120, he is walking up Mount Nebo, and he's looking over the crest of the mountain at a Promised Land that he'll never be able to enter in his natural life. And do you know what he wants at 120? More time. If at his age, he looked at life and said, "There's still more for me to do," what about you today? Where are you spending your time? What are you doing with life's most precious resource? Are you spending your time looking over your shoulder at a past that you regret? Are you wasting your time consumed with the things that you cannot control tomorrow? Or are you investing your life scrolling through distractions, pretending that the people who like your picture are actually your friends.
Jesus, the author and the finisher of our faith, had a lot to say about time. In Mark 8, he says, "What shall it profit a man if he gains the whole world and loses his soul"? That verse is not just talking about the eternity of your existence. That verse is talking about the return of investment upon your time. He said, "What should it profit". That's a return on investment. He's saying, if you invested every moment that you lived and breathed in the things of this world, and you could buy the wealthiest men on earth out of your back pocket, but you did not make an investment in eternity, then you've wasted your time.
Today, it is my prayer that you listen to what the Holy Spirit has to say to us, as a church and a congregation, because I believe with all of my being that we have very little time left. And I believe that God wants his church to be working diligently until he comes, because soon and very soon, we're going to see the king. And when we see him, he's going to ask us, "What did you do with your time"? Read with me Haggai 1:2 through 5. If you're there, say, amen. "Thus speaks the Lord of hosts, saying: 'this people says, "The time has not come, the time that the Lord's house should be built"'. Then the word of the Lord came by Haggai the prophet, saying, 'is it time for yourselves to dwell in your paneled houses, and this temple to lie in ruins'? Now therefore, thus says the Lord of hosts: 'consider your ways!'"
Heavenly Father, send your Holy Spirit to this place today: that we may consider our ways: that we may recognize that with the time we have on this earth, we should be diligently doing what you have asked and called us to do. I ask today that you would encourage us by your word: for it is alive and it is powerful, and it changes destinies. In Jesus' name, we pray and ask. And all of God's children said, amen.
You may be seated. Haggai is simply two chapters that tell the story of a group of Jewish people who were allowed to leave Babylon after they had been taken captive, and go back to Jerusalem where they were taken from. Haggai the prophet goes off, and he says, you say it's not time to rebuild God's house, but you've invested your time rebuilding your house. He said, you're sitting in a nice, beautiful property, and God's house lays in ruin. Now how do we know God's upset? Because in verse 5, he says, "Consider your ways". If he didn't want them to consider their ways, he'd have said, "Carry on". But here's the problem: without the house of God being built, there is no direct connection between God in heaven and man on earth. The people who are inhabiting the City of Jerusalem, they have a general knowledge and a general existence of God.
Oh, God's there. God's here. God there. He's everywhere. But they didn't have a place where they could go have a direct connection in a form of worship, and sacrifice, and praise, and forgiveness, and all of the things that come from dwelling in relationship with God. How true is it in our world today that so much of our society has a general knowledge of God? He's here. He's there. I feel him when I'm over here. And I feel him when I'm over there. But we don't take the time to come into his house and have a direct connection with him. The prophet says, you've built yourself a house but you don't have any pleasure in your house. You've built yourself a job and a life, but you don't have any pleasure in your life. When you earn money, you put it in your pocket, and your pocket has holes in it.
When you get food, you eat the food, and it doesn't taste good. When you drink your wine, you drink your wine, and it's bitter to you. Why? Not because you're doing bad things, but you're not doing the right thing when you're disconnected from God. Haggai gives them this order and this directive. And immediately, they don't think the job can be done. Why? Because the temple that they're trying to rebuild is the temple that king Solomon built. King Solomon brought all of the materials from all of the nations all over the world, all the gold, and the marble, and the silver, and the ivory, and the cedar. All of that was taken by Nebuchadnezzar all the way back to Babylon. And it's sitting over in treasure troves in Babylon, and it's not in Jerusalem. Rather than doing what they're told, which is being strong and going to work, are wasting their time making excuses.
How many people do you know waste their time making excuses? You don't have to raise your hand. The altar call is at the end. You know anybody who's ever been faced with a problem, and rather than address the problem, they start coming up with all kinds of statements? "Well, I just don't have time to deal with that right now". No, but you have time to talk about it all the time. I love professional excuses, because they sound so appropriate. You ask people, "Where are we on that project"? And they come up with certain words like, "Well, we're strategizing the next rollout of the phase. And in the final quarter, we'll analyze what we're strategically working on to comprehensively guide us through this next moment". You know what you just did? You told me, "We don't have anything". There's the global excuse. "Well, we don't live in the same world that we used to live in. This is what we're calling the new normal". That's just an excuse. There's the blame excuse.
How many of you know people who use blame as their way out? "They told me". "They said". "They thought". Let me tell you something. Whenever you find out who "They" are, let me know, because I want to speak with them. In church, we've mastered spiritual excuses. Whenever we're faced with a challenge, whenever we see a problem that we don't think we can solve, we just say, "Well, it's not God's will". Or we get real spiritual. They say, "I sense a shifting and a transition in this season of my life". You sound more like a Jedi than you do a child of God. The truth is you're allowing yourself to be distracted, and you're wasting time, because God has given you a direct command, "Be strong and work". Haggai tells them it's time to rebuild the house of the Lord. And they come in with their excuses. And in Haggai 2:4, he says, "Do not be dismayed, but be strong and work: for the Lord is with you". Say that with me. "For the Lord is with you".
Paul said it this way, Ephesians 3:20. Let's take a look at it. Ephesians 3:20, "To him", say that we me, "To him who is able to do exceedingly, abundantly, above all that we ask or think according to the power that works in us". "To him," who is "Him"? Try to define him and he's undefinable. Try to describe him and he's beyond your greatest description. Try to discuss all of the things that he can accomplish and you cannot make a list because he is the infinite God. He does not live like we do in finite time and in finite power and in finite knowledge. He is the infinite God, who was and is and is to come. He is the same yesterday, today, and forever. Try to contain him and you cannot, because even the heavens declare his glory. Try to understand him and you cannot, because as the heavens are above the earth, so are the ways of God above man. That's who he is! In order to try and understand him, theologians have given him three omni's. They call him the omnipotent, they call him the omnipresent, and they call him the omniscient. That's who he is!
So when you look at Ephesians 3:20 and it says, "To him". What they're saying is "To him, the omnipotent God". What does "Omni" mean? Break the word down. The first part of the word, "Omni," all: "Potent," power. Ephesians 3:20 says, "The all-powerful God". He's the one who can do exceedingly, abundantly, above all that you ask or think. Don't ever try to decide God's limited by your understanding. He is all powerful. If you don't think so, go read the final chapters of The Book of Job. Job asks God one question, "Why"? And God's response is, "When you can tell me where you were when I made you, I'll start explaining myself". The omnipotent God is all powerful all by himself. Who is he? He is not only omnipotent: he is omniscient.
What's that word mean? It's the second of the omni's. "Omniscient" means all. And then we have the Latin root for science, which means knowledge. He's the all-knowing God. He knows everything about everyone every day before they do it, when they do it, after they do it. He's got it all down. There's only one know-it-all in the universe and it ain't you. When you begin to understand the omniscience of God, it is staggering to consider. But believe me: he knows everything. There's no place that you can go and hide from him. There's no door that you can close, there's no light that you can shut off and conceal what you're doing. He knows. Not only is he the all-knowing God, but he's the omnipresent God. He's everywhere all the time in all things. Jesus said that there's not a sparrow that falls that God doesn't go to their funeral. How much more are you than these? He's there.
David said, "If I go to the highest heavens, you're there. If I ascend to the lowest hell, you're there. There's no place that I can go that you're not there". What I'm saying to you, church, is to him, the omnipresent, omnipotent, omniscient God, to him, the all-knowing, the all-powerful, the ever-present God, to him who is able to do exceedingly, abundantly, above all that you could ever ask, think or imagine: that God is the God that is with you today. And no matter what you are facing, that God is the God who will make a way where there seems to be no way! "To him who is able". People say, "Well those are three big words, omnipotent, omnipresent, omniscient". You know what? They don't even matter. All you need to remember is he is able. Say that with me. He is able. He's able to do it because of who he is. He's able to do it because of what Christ has done. He's able to do it when you put your faith in him.
Because if you go back and look at Ephesians 3:20, there's a catch. It's not in God's ability: it's in our willingness. "To him who is able to do exceedingly, abundantly, above all that we ask or think", read the last phrase there, "According to the power that works in us". Until you go to work, the omnipresent, omnipotent, omniscient God is not going to do anything. Because without faith, it is impossible to please God. And faith without works is what? Dead. You can talk all you want to about what you want God to do in this country. And until you go to work trying to turn things around, God is not going to get on your side. You can talk all you want to about what you want God to do in your family. But until you go to work in your house, and in your family and on your life, God is not going to do anything for you.
You say, "Well I don't know where the resources are coming from". You don't need to know where the resources are coming from when you have an all-knowing, all-powerful, ever-present God. Well, I don't know how we're going to get it done. Don't worry: he does. Well, it seems impossible. Impossible is what he does best! We get distracted by the opinions of others. We get distracted by the age that we live in. We get distracted by what the world has to say about the things that they think about our faith. We get distracted on Monday whenever we say, "Well I can't really share my faith, because h.R. Will come after me". Believe me: the God that you serve is greater than the company you work for. God sends word, "I'll make the new temple look better than the old temple".
How does he do it? You know, it's a wonderful thing when you start to consider this ever-present, all-powerful, all-knowing God is working on your behalf. Would you mind working on the temple for me? Just Hammer a little bit right there, yeah. Keep it up. They've been told, "Do the work". Now the same governors, who wrote letters to Xerxes, whenever the work begins again, those same governors write letters back to Babylon. They send the same letters to the same government capital, to the same government office, to the same government guy, who told the children of Israel, "If you do this, I'm going to kill you". But see, something has happened from the time that they started working until this second set of letters gets mailed. And the only way it could happen is that an all-knowing, all-powerful, ever-present God was everywhere all the time, working on all the details to make all of these things come together.
See, the good news is, is while your finite, stuck in one place with a limited amount of resource and a limited amount of time, God is not! So here goes the letter. And Ezra, he's a scribe. When you read the book of Ezra, chapters 4, 5 and 6, you'll hear this story. The letters are mailed, except this time, the letters do not come to the desk of Xerxes, the Persian king. They come to the desk of Darius. Now who is Darius? Darius is a friend of Daniel. Daniel is a young man who grew up in Jerusalem, who watched Nebuchadnezzar take all of the gold, and all of the silver, and all of the timber, and all of the artifacts back to Babylon. Daniel is the young man who told Nebuchadnezzar, "This is the interpretation of your dream," and he explained the statue with the head of gold down to the toes of clay and the rock that came from heaven and crushed it all.
Daniel is an older man when Nebuchadnezzar's grandson sees a hand writing on the wall. And when they can't read what the hand writes, they call for Daniel. And Daniel interprets the word of the Lord to that king. Daniel has such a spirit of wisdom and excellence in him that the king of Persia, Darius, does not want Daniel to go back to Jerusalem. He wants Daniel to stay with him so that he can be the prime minister over all of his governors. And it's those governors who decide that they don't want to be under Daniel, so they come up with this rule that if you pray, you're going to go to the lion's den. Now how many of you understand where we're at? So while all of this is going on in Daniel's life, God is over here, he's ever present, checking on his work. Worried that they don't have enough gold, they don't have enough silver, they don't have enough resources, they don't have enough time.
And God says, "All the gold and all the silver are mine". "You just be strong and work". And they don't understand where all of this is going to come from, but the ever-present God, the all-knowing God, the all-powerful God, he's doing something over here with Daniel. It looks like it's an attack, but really, it's nothing more than a set-up. Because when Daniel goes to his room and he prays, and Darius reads the law that says Daniel has to go to the lion's den, Daniel goes down into the lion's den, and king Darius is worried. He paces the floor all night, wondering what's going to happen to Daniel. The starving lions must be chewing on nothing but his bones. And in the morning when he wakes up, he runs to the lion's den. And the Bible says, "He rolls back the stone". And he says down to the lion's den, "Oh Daniel, oh Daniel, is God able to deliver you"? And Daniel looks up and says, "Do not fear, king. For my God has delivered me".
My omnipotent, omnipresent, all-knowing God, while you were worried in the palace, he was down here singing me lullabies, as I slept with these lions. All the while that's going on, the letters are coming from Jerusalem. And the letters get back here to Darius, and Darius reads the same letter that was written years ago to Xerxes. It says, "They're building that temple". "And when they get that temple built, they're going to rise up against you. And when they get that temple built, they're going to think that their God is going to overthrow you. You don't want them to build this temple, o king".
But Darius has just experienced something that told him that there's a God in Jerusalem that can deliver men from lions. And so Darius writes a letter back to Jerusalem. And here's what he says, "All of the gold, and all of the silver, and all the of the timber, and all of the things that were taken from Solomon's Temple, I am sending them back from Babylon to Jerusalem. I'm not only sending them, but I'm sending workers and I'm sending architects, because we're going rebuild that house of worship, because there's a God in Israel who can deliver. There's a God in Israel who knows all things. There's a God in Israel who is all powerful. And we're going to make sure that we honor that God".
Child of God, our God is so great, he can get wicked men to do righteous things on our behalf if we're willing to do the work he wants us to do! I've got good news for you today. The same God that was with Daniel is the same God that was with you. The same God, who told them to do the work, is the same God who's commissioning you. The same God, who can make a way where there seems to be no way, that God is the God who is calling you to do what he wants you to do! Do not be afraid! Do not be dismayed! Be strong and work, because if God is for you, who can be against you? Give the Lord a handclap of praise!
God, the Creator of heaven, says, do what needs to be done and I'll take care of the rest. Where is he calling you to work? Does he want you to work in your marriage? Does he want you to work in your church? Does he want you to work on shining in this life for him? Stop wasting time. Go to work, and let him who is able to do exceedingly, abundantly, above all that you could ask, think or imagine, prove to you that he is able. Give the Lord a handclap of praise.
Would you stand right where you are? With every head bowed and every eye closed, you're here today and you say, "Pastor, I've become distracted, and I've wasted time. There's an area in my life where I need to be strong and work, and watch God do the rest". And today, if you have the courage to be strong and work, no longer waste time and be distracted, I want you to raise your hand right where you are. Those of you who have lifted one hand, I want you to lift your other hand right next to it, because one hand means I need you Lord, and the other hand means I'm surrendered to do your will. And I want everyone in this room to repeat this prayer with me:
Lord Jesus Christ, today, I ask you to forgive me for wasting time on the work you have for me to do. Today, I will be strong in your strength, and I will do what needs to be done in my life, because you are the God who is able to do exceedingly, abundantly, above all that I can ask, that I can think, that I can imagine. So today, in Jesus' name, I commit to do the work, so that your power would work through me, and we will be victorious together. Father, thank you for hearing my prayer and helping me, in Jesus' name. Amen.