1. The word of God – instructing, rebuking and encouraging people towards obedience (2 Timothy 3:16-17)
This is the most trustworthy prophetic word to which we will do well to pay attention. Prophecy is the Word come from God and a prophet is the one sent of God to the people with a message. God Himself qualifies anyone to take this title of a prophet, by giving him the message. Many today are too quick to wear this title unadvisedly when they fail the test of a prophet even on a secondary level (of faithful exposition of Scripture).
However, 27 times Haggai
pronounces, “Thus says the Lord…” or something close to that, a proof that this is not his own message – it is the message of God that he is delivering. We need the help of God's spokesmen or prophets and ministers to faithfully expound to us the Word of God. This is how we may understand His mind and meaning in His rod as well as in His word. Where there is faithfulness and consistency in handling God’s Word, people discover not only where they may have offended God, but also where God shows Himself offended at us.
The Israelites looked upon the prophet to be the Lord's messenger, and the word he delivered to be the Lord's message to them. So they received it not as the word of man, but as the word of Almighty God. They obeyed his words, as the Lord their God had sent him (1:12). In attending to God's ministers we must have an eye to him that sent them, and receive them for his sake, while they act according to their commission.
Then the word of God has its success when God by his grace stirs up our spirits to comply with it; and without that grace we should remain stupid and utterly averse to everything that is good. It is in the day of a divine power that we are made willing.
The church of Christ is founded upon the one foundation of the apostles and the prophets (Ephesians 2:20). This means that since the church’s inception 2000 years ago, it must depend upon the word of God spoken by His own mouthpieces. There is no hope for any church that relies on anything else other than the written word, for if they do not speak according to the testimony of God, it is simply that they lack the light of dawn.
2. God appointed leadership
Here we see the priest – Joshua, prophet – Haggai and the governor. These are the men that God employed for the restoration of His covenant people. We know that God always works with the sovereignly appointed means. There is no doubt that when God has work to be done, He will either find men or make men fit to do it, and stir them up to it. He works with a few as well with many! Those that work for God have God with them. But if God be for us, who can be against us? If he be with us, what difficulty can stand before us? (Matthew Henry).
Our responsibility in the appointment of men to serve in His church is to be sure that they meet the standards of God. The Lord has clearly told us that a man to be appointed as either a pastor or a deacon, he must possess such qualities that are spelt out in His Word, touching on his personal conduct, his domestic life and his ministry life (the order is important). Before the deacons were appointed in Acts 6, the apostles gave their qualifications.
1 Timothy 3:1-12 contain the qualifications of men to be called to be deacons. Titus 1:5-9 reiterates the same. May give an example of the qualifications of a pastor:
Qualifications - An Elder should not be a recent convert but a man well thought of by outsiders who must possess the following qualifications:
1) Personal. A man who is above reproach, the husband of one wife, sober-minded, self-controlled, respectable, hospitable, not a drunkard, not violent but gentle, not quarrelsome, not a lover of money.
2) Domestic. A good manager of his own household, with all dignity keeping his children submissive.
3) Pastoral. He must hold firm to the trustworthy word of God and be able to instruct in sound doctrine and also rebuke those who contradict it.
Unless a man has these biblical qualifications, no matter how articulate he is, or how many seminary degrees he has got, he must never be appointed to the office of a pastor for any church, if it is the church of Christ.
3. Unity of purpose
Unanimity is absolutely necessary between the community and the leadership. This is what we see in 1:12, 14 and 2:2. The people, in one accord came along with their leaders and listened to the Word of God and they united obeyed. It is where there is unity where the Lord commands a blessing. This is what the Lord prayed for – that we may be one just as He is one with the Father so that the world may see and glorify God. This is the paradigm demonstrated by the early church – they were together in one place (Acts 2:1); all who believed were together and had all things in common (2:45); Now the full number of those who believed were of one heart and soul… they had everything in common (4:32).
Where there is unity of purpose, as driven by the Spirit of God, great things will be accomplished for God. remember the 133rd Psalm, one of the Psalms of Ascents, Behold, how good and pleasant it is when brothers dwell in unity! It is like the precious oil on the head, running down on the beard, on the beard of Aaron, running down on the collar of his robes! It is like the dew of Hermon, which falls on the mountains of Zion! For there the LORD has commanded the blessing, life forevermore. Psa 133:1-3. The Lord commands a blessing where there is unity and harmony. In fact this unity is an indication of Christian maturity – see Ephesians 4:1-16.
The Lord desires that with all humility and gentleness, with patience, bearing with one another in love, eager to maintain the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace… And he gave the apostles, the prophets, the evangelists, the shepherds and teachers, to equip the saints for the work of ministry, for building up the body of Christ, until we all attain to the unity of the faith and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to mature manhood, to the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ, Eph. 4:3, 11-13.
ü Could it be brothers, that we pull in different directions instead of harnessing all our efforts, abilities and skills for God?
ü Could it be that we are too concerned for our own individual comforts so that the house of the Lord lay in ruins?
ü Could it be that your thinking is too individualistic so that you do not see yourself as a part of the whole church – you are an eye and yet what to talk?
ü Consider your ways and see where you have acted improperly and so destroying the unity of the church.