…These people say the time has not yet come to rebuild the house of the Lord.
Yesterday’s post examined the misplaced priorities of the Jews who were assigned by God to rebuild the temple and yet were falling down on the job. Application was made to Christians today who focus on other things instead of making God’s kingdom and righteousness the top priority (Matt. 6:33). Today I want to focus on the reason they gave for putting off their duty: “It’s not yet time.”
There’s a reason they were saying this. They had enemies who were making it difficult for them to rebuild (Ezra 4:1-5).
Christians, do we allow the enemies of the gospel to dictate to us when and how we share the good news with others? Sometimes we do. How often do we fail to walk through doors of opportunity which God himself has placed in front of us because we’re afraid we’ll offend someone?
Do we really think there will come a time when all of God’s enemies will simply tell us, “Go ahead and share Jesus with others. We won’t try to stop you”? I wouldn’t hold my breath on that.
When all is said and done, there is no room in Christianity for fear. God did not give us a spirit of fear. He gave us a spirit of power, love, and self-control (2 Tim. 1:13). Christians, we have the Creator of the universe in our corner! We have eternity in heaven waiting for us! If you’re reading this and you’re an American Christian, you have the First Amendment in your corner too! All you’ll typically have to worry about is mockery and ostracism if you share the good news, and there are far worse things than that. There’s nothing to be afraid of, so let’s not be afraid. Let’s bring the gospel to the lost.
There’s no room in Christianity for procrastination either. As James taught, we don’t know if God will allow us a tomorrow. Therefore, “…whoever knows the right thing to do and fails to do it, for him it is sin” (James 4:13-17).
One one occasion Jesus’ disciples, like the Jews of Haggai’s generation, thought it was best to wait a bit before attempting to share the good news. They thought he should eat first. Notice Christ’s response:
Jesus said to them, “My food is to do the will of him who sent me and to accomplish his work. Do you not say, “There are yet four months, then comes the harvest”? Look, I tell you, lift up your eyes, and see that the fields are white for harvest. Already the one who reaps is receiving wages and gathering fruit for eternal life, so that sower and reaper may rejoice together. For here the saying holds true, “One sows and another reaps.” I sent you to reap that for which you did not labor. Others have labored, and you have entered into their labor.” (John 4:35-38)
Jesus was telling them that they would be building upon the work of men who had already preached before them, men like John the Baptizer and the Old Testament prophets. He wanted them to see the great response to the good news that came from the efforts of just one person, that Samaritan woman.
Today so many churches of Christ are building on the work of the great preachers and teachers of the gospel who have come before us for over a century. We have no reason to think that no is not the right time to share the good news. Now IS the right time.
Working together with him, then, we appeal to you not to receive the grace of God in vain. For he says, “In a favorable time I listened to you, and in a day of salvation I have helped you.” Behold, now is the favorable time; behold, now is the day of salvation. (2 Corinthians 6:1-2)
Scarlett O’Hara from Gone With The Wind famously said, “I won’t think about that now. I’ll think about that tomorrow.” Christians, let’s not have her attitude.
NOW is the time to build the house of God which is his church. NOW is the time to share the gospel with the lost in your life.