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4 Words That Changed Everything

Text: Haggai 1:13 Haggai 1:13 Then spake Haggai the LORDs messenger in the LORDs message unto the people, saying, I am with you, saith the LORD. I. INTRODUCTION A. PROBLEMS IN PEOPLES LIVES 1. A middle-aged man is having a tough time. a. His father and mother are both dead now, and he misses them. b. Hes got problems with his teenage children. c. Economic problems and severe shortages in all the necessities of life hit the region where he lives. d. To make matters worse, it seems as if every time he accomplishes anything, someone else comes along and grabs what hes worked hard for all his life. e. Its enough to make anyone want to give up... (1) But FOUR WORDS CHANGED EVERYTHING. A young man runs away from home. a. He knows that one of his own family members is out to kill him. b. He finds himself all alone and afraid in a place hes never been before. c. His future looks grim. (1) But FOUR WORDS CHANGED EVERYTHING. A sincere and honest employee works hard, is honest and productive, and yet has to put up with constant sexual harassment from one of the bosses. a. After refusing these unwanted advances, day after day, this honest, hard-working employee is accused of sexual
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misconduct by the very person who has been guilty of the harassment. b. The employee is thrown in jail to serve out an unwarranted sentence. c. The outlook is bleak. (1) But FOUR WORDS CHANGED EVERYTHING! 4. An 80-year-old man is prompted to confront the worlds most powerful leader and demand freedom for his people. a. He doesnt want to do it. b. He feels weak and afraid, and completely inadequate. (1) But FOUR WORDS CHANGED EVERYTHING! Another man just lost his best friend and mentor and is called on to take his place. a. The man is filled with grief. b. He knows that his dead friend was the sort of man that cannot be replaced. c. How can he possibly handle the responsibility of it all? (1) But FOUR WORDS CHANGED EVERYTHING. A young man feels like a rabbit hiding from a fox. a. Enemy troops occupy his country. b. Theyve been seizing everybodys food supplies, and this young man sneaks around trying to find and store food for his family. c. He is swamped with a feeling of worry, weakness, and worthlessness. (1) But FOUR WORDS CHANGED EVERYTHING! An entire nation is just bouncing back from the ravages of war and exile that it brought upon itself. a. But in the midst of reconstruction, the peoples priorities become mixed up. b. Their situation keeps going downhill. (1) They are warned that change was necessary or they would slip right back into disaster.
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They are filled with the feeling of guilt and discouragement. They wonder if they truly have a future. They hope its not too late to turn things around. (a) Then, FOUR WORDS CHANGE EVERYTHING.

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A young woman from a poor family is engaged to be married. a. She has modest hopes because she has no great dowry to cause a man to want her. b. She is in no position to have any grand dreams. c. She has no reason to think shell ever be prominent or exceptional in any way. (1) But, FOUR WORDS CHANGED EVERYTHING!

B. THE FOUR WORDS 1. There are four words that changed the situation for all these people.

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Four simple words. a. Each word contains only one syllable. But these four words change everything when the One who speaks these words is God. He told Haggai to tell the people, I AM WITH YOU.

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4. II. BODY

A. THE CHRISTMAS SEASON 1. The Christmas Season is a time of celebration for most people. a. It always seems to bring out the good in people.
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It draws from deep within us feelings of goodwill and cheer. a. Yet, this time of year also triggers feelings of another sort for many. The Christmas Season has the highest rate of suicide because of the depression it brings to many. a. It is a time when we feel most deeply the absence of loved ones that have passed into eternity. b. It is a time when the pain of broken family relationships hits the hardest. c. A time when people feel the guilt of past failures. During the Christmas Season, we find ourselves quickly approaching the end of another year with all of its successes and failures. a. We have a sense of understanding the words of James: Life is just a vapor. It is here for a moment and then it vanishes. (1) The years are passing with supersonic speed, and we sometimes wonder what our lives really amount to. (2) As we look to the New Year, we have our moments of hope and a lot of anxieties. During this Christmas Season we need, more than anything else, to hear and believe the four simple words of God a. I AM WITH YOU! When God speaks those words to our hearts EVERYTHING CHANGES! a. Even the harshest of situations have to succumb to the promises and power of God! (1) Those four words changed everything for a middle-aged struggler named Isaac. (2) They changed the life of a frightened runaway named Jacob.
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They vindicated a wrongfully imprisoned employee named Joseph. Those four words changed everything for Moses, the timid 80-year-old. They gave strength to Joshua, the man who had to fill the shoes of Moses. And for Gideon, the scared rabbit, those four words made him a mighty man of valor!

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Those four simple, one-syllable words, I am with you, make a deciding difference in any situations. a. They changed everything for the confused and guilty nation of Israel. (1) And they changed everything for an insignificant young lady named Mary. No matter what your situation might be, when the living God declares, I AM WITH YOU, it changes everything! a. Gods presence is all you need in any situation. (1) And, your reliance on Him will make you the victor!

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B. ISAAC 1. Consider with me the man, Isaac. a. Hes in his middle years. b. His father, Abraham, and his mother, Sarah, are dead and his heart still feels the emptiness. c. He loves his wife, Rebekah, and his sons, Esau and Jacob, but there is unwanted tension in the home. (1) Isaac tends to favor the brawny son, Esau, while Rebekah prefers the brainy son, Jacob. (2) Meanwhile, a famine consumes the land, causing serious shortages. (3) Isaac is forced to move to another region the land of the Philistines.
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In many ways, Isaac is the typical middle-aged man: a. His parents are gone. b. His family is under stress; and... c. Economic conditions cause him to move his family away from his home so he can provide sufficiently for them. (1) There are a number of people who can identify with this situation. Its not an ideal situation, to say the least, but then the Lord speaks to Isaac. a. He promises to be with Isaac and to bless him. b. Soon, Isaac and his family become very rich. (1) Being immersed in envy, the people around him begin to resent his success and his family becomes very rich. (2) This happens, not once, but three times Isaac moves, digs a well, is forced to leave, has to start all over again three times! (a) But each time God tells Isaac: I am the God of your father Abraham. Do not be afraid, for I am with you; I will bless you, (Genesis 26:24). (b) Hearing these words from God having the promise restated by the One Who keeps all His promises gives Isaac the strength to go on. Isaac knew that he wasnt alone. a. He knew that in the muddle, God was present with him. (1) And, when a person knows this, and understands its implications, everything is seen in a different light!

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C. JACOB 1. Isaacs son, Jacob, found that those same four words provided encouragement and a sense of destiny.
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a. You know Jacob the one who connived away his brothers birthright, and then outright stole his brothers blessing. (1) He had to run away from his home country to escape his brothers wrath. 2. It is while Jacob slept on a pillow of stone, in a place called Certain, that he had a dream and wrestled with an angel. a. He hears the voice of God promising to make him a great nation. (1) Then the frightened runaway hears God say, I am with you, and will watch over you wherever you go, and I will bring you back to this land. I will not leave you until I have done what I have promised you, (Genesis 28:15). Throughout the rest of his life... a. Through the ups and downs; b. Through the good times and the bad; c. Through all his sins, mistakes and sorrows, Jacob knows one thing for certain: (1) God is with him! If you are alone and afraid and running from something, God has sent me with a message for you: a. God has sent me to tell you... (1) I AM WITH YOU!

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D. JOSEPH 1. Jacobs son, Joseph, had to deal with jealous brothers who sold him into slavery. a. But, according to Genesis 39:2, The Lord was with Joseph and he prospered. Joseph was promoted to the top position in Potiphars house.
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a. He was doing quite well until Mrs. Potiphar developed a crush on him. (1) When he resisted her passes, she turned on him in the most bitter and ugly way... (a) She accused Joseph of carnal misconduct and had him put in prison! 3. Through it all, God was with Joseph and gave him success in whatever he did (Genesis 39:20-23). a. Maybe youve been treated unjustly. b. Perhaps you are in a situation that seems hopeless. (1) Dont give up! (2) Dont allow the seed of bitterness to plant its ugly likeness in your heart! Joseph refused to declare himself a helpless victim! a. He refused to waste all his energy hating his brothers and Potiphars wife. b. He had the same promise that you and I have today! (1) Four words that made all the difference in his life, no matter what the situation. (2) I AM WITH YOU. Joseph had such an understanding of Gods promise and His plan that he was willing to tell everyone who had done him wrong: a. You meant it for bad, but God meant it for good! (1) Listen: when God is with you, even prison cant keep you from success! (2) And, unjust actions on the part of others cannot keep you from fulfilling Gods plan for your life! (a) Forgive and go on, because THE LORD IS WITH YOU! Knowing and understanding the power that is in the promise of those four words will change everything in the way you view life!
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a. With this liberating knowledge, you are not trapped in the victim-mentality; b. You are free to succeed no matter what your debilitating circumstances may be. c. You are one who understands that God is on your side, and He has a plan for your life! (1) With the knowledge of these four words, you can overcome disappointment and hardships. (2) You can face challenges that seem insurmountable! E. MOSES 1. Moses was an 80-year-old sheepherder when God told him to go and confront Pharaoh, demanding the release of the Israelite slaves. a. He questioned Gods choice a backwoods sheepherder with a speech impediment. (1) But God gave Moses a sure promise: I will be with thee, (Exodus 3:11-12). (a) And, with God at his side, Moses was able to lead the Children of Israel out of the land of Egypt. Listen to Pastor: a. You may feel like youve been on the back side of a deserted mountain and out of touch with society for so long that God cant use you... b. But thats exactly where God wanted Moses to be, and thats probably where Moses wanted to be. (1) It was those 40 years on the back side of a mountain, working for his father-in-law herding sheep that Moses learned the patience that he would need to lead the Children of Israel out of the land of Egypt!

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If you think you are too ill-equipped to handle the job God has seen fit to place you in, instead of asking, Who am I?, start asking, Who is with me? a. If God is with you, it doesnt matter how weak and insecure you happen to be. (1) If God is with you, you can do anything!

F. JOSHUA 1. After the death of Moses, the Israelites were standing on the border of the Promised Land. a. Joshua had an enormous challenge: (1) How could he go on without his friend and mentor? (2) How could he possibly take the place of Moses? (3) How could he conquer all those well-armed and fortified cities? It is in his time of questioning that Joshua hears the unmistakable voice of God: a. No one will be able to stand up against you all the days of your life. As I was with Moses, so I will be with you; I will never leave you nor forsake you, (Joshua 1:5). (1) Joshua no longer had the security of Moses, but he had God! (2) No matter what Joshua faced God was with him and victory was certain! Like Joshua, maybe you are faced with a situation where someone you depended upon is gone. a. I want to serve you with an abounding assurance... (1) God is with you; and He will never leave you! (a) And, when God is with you, all things are possible!

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G. GIDEON
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Gideon faced an enormous army with just 300 men and a promise. a. God told Gideon in Judges chapter 6, I will be with you, and you will strike down all the Midianites together. Maybe you have doubted the promised victory, but if God says He is with you, He means it... a. And, He will give you the power to do what He has called you to do! These four words I AM WITH YOU mean: a. Vitality to the weary. b. Courage for the fearful. c. Hope for those at a dead end. d. Comfort for the grieving. e. Strength for the weak. (1) And they also promise a pardon for the guilty.

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CLOSE A. ISRAELS SIN AND GODS PROMISE 1. The Children of Israel once fell so far into sin that God allowed them to be conquered by Babylon and carried off into exile. a. When they were returned to their land, they worked feverishly on their personal gain building nice homes and cultivating the land but they left Gods temple in ruins. b. No matter how hard they worked for success, they could never get ahead; something always went wrong. God sent the prophet Haggai to tell them what the problem was. a. Through Haggai, the Lord condemned their selfishness and their mixed-up priorities.
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He told them to start working on the House of God and to start worshiping Him again; or else they would continue to fail at everything they attempted to do. (a) Israel heard. (b) They realized their sin. (c) They obeyed Haggais message; and... (d) They feared the Lord.

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Was it all too little too late? a. Would God forgive them and give them another chance? Hearing the questions, God prompted Haggai to preach the shortest sermon recorded in the entire Bible: a. I am with you, declares the Lord, (Haggai 1:13). (1) Thats it! (2) I AM WITH YOU. (a) But thats all that the people needed to know! (b) It meant that God had forgiven them and that He would help them in the work of rebuilding the temple and the nation, as well as their own homes. I am with you, declares the Lord... a. And that means that everything is going to be all right!

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B. GOD WITH US 1. Everything I have shared with you has come from the Old Testament, but they all lead to the supreme promise and revelation of God With Us that is declared in the New Testament. The angel Gabriel appears to an humble peasant girl named Mary, and the first thing he says to her is:
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a. Greetings, you who are highly favored! THE LORD IS WITH YOU. (1) He explained that through a miracle of the Holy Ghost, she would give birth to the only begotten Son of God. (2) Matthew 1:22-23 Now all this was done, that it might be fulfilled which was spoken of the Lord by the prophet, saying, Behold, a virgin shall be with child, and shall bring forth a Son, and they shall call His name Emmanuel, which being interpreted is, God with us. 3. The birth of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ is Gods supreme way of perpetually saying, I AM WITH YOU. a. Those four words change everything, because Jesus changes everything! If you want to hear God telling you, I am with you, then accept His offer to fill you with His Holy Spirit as your Comforter. a. He is, indeed, Emmanuel, God with us! (1) He took on flesh and blood to live among us, and... (a) He has given us His Spirit, not only to be with us, but also to live in us and to comfort us. When we put our faith in God, He is with us and nothing can separate us from His love. a. The final chapter of Matthew reports that the last words the resurrected Christ told His disciples before He ascended into heaven were: (1) Behold, I am with thee always, even unto the end of the world, (Matthew 28:20).

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C. ALTAR CALL
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If you dont know Jesus... a. If you have never received His Spirit, which is evidenced by speaking in other tongues... (1) If you dont have the assurance that God is with you... (a) I have come with four words that can change your life: 1) I AM WITH YOU. Jesus told His disciples, I am with you, but one day I will be IN you. a. If you will believe His words and receive His promise, youll b able to face 2011 with a new sense of calm and confidence... (1) And you can face eternity with joy and eagerness Once you come to understand and accept that Jesus came to be God with us... a. That He died to remove the sin that separates us from Him... (1) That He rose from the dead to give you eternal life; and... (a) That His Spirit lives in you and directs your life... 1) Then your life will stand on the firm foundation of four simple words: a) I AM WITH YOU! When you have this foundation, nothing can shake you! a. Isaiah 41:10 Fear thou not; for I am with thee: be not dismayed; for I am thy God: I will strengthen thee; yea, I will help thee; yea, I will uphold thee with the right hand of my righteousness.

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You can face any challenge when you hear God telling you the four words that change everything: a. I AM WITH YOU!

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