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Refine My Church (Malachi 1 – 2)

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MOTIVATE

The tone of voice helps to communicate clearly to the intended audience. You have heard people say:
“It’s not what you say but how you say it that it matters.”
“Don’t look at me in that tone of voice.”

Examples of roles
- Boss
- Drill Sergeant
- Coach or Teacher
- Parent

Example in a context
- Parent will speak with regular tone unless in discipline (firm), in emergency – fire (yell), in love (whisper).

When we read the Bible sometimes we move so fast that we neglect to consider the tone of the author, or of God.

What is the tone of God in Malachi?

Malachi_logo

In the book of Malachi, God is rebuking & refining His people. We are reviewing 4 refining environments: ourselves, our church, our family, and our world. This is the 2nd of the series.

 

EXAMINE       Malachi 1:6-2:9  Title: Refining My Church

God’s name must be kept awesome.

Several questions are being asked in Malachi; some by the Lord and others by Israel. When God asks questions it is with the tone of accountability and refinement. When Israel asks questions it is with the tone of apathy and carelessness.

God reveals 3 identities of His name: Father (1:6), Master (1:6), and Great King (1:14).

  • God is a Father who deserves honor.

The name “father” indicates the relational manner between God and Israel. However, Israel often acted like a wayward child. Their questioning tone earlier in 1:2 “How have you loved us?”, indicates doubting and disrespecting God’s love. God demanded honor (kābôd: glory) that was due to a father (1:6 “where is my honor?”; cf. Ex 20:12).

illus: Imagine a father’s son wandering from our church property onto the busy two-way traffic of Benfield Rd. Imagine a truck hitting and killing that child. Imagine the traffic continuing rush through the street over the body of that child. Imagine that father crying out with pleading anguish and anger. Such is God the Father in sending His Son Jesus to those whom crucified Him on the cross then and those who refuse a relationship with Him today.

apply: Father’s gain honor by modeling

  • Magnify God.
    • Faith is both taught and caught. Read Bible together and live with integrity.
    • The larger vision of God for a child will help them grow to see Him rightly. If a child starts with a small vision of God they will have a lot of hard life lessons to learn.
  • Opinions of elders and authorities will be imitated.
    • Teachers… Referees/Umpires… Your Boss… Elderly…
  • Discipline child in both formative instruction and corrective reproof.
    • without exasperation (Ephesians 6:4 “do not exasperate children”)
  • Experience of other Dad’s & Mom’s will influence children.
    • Your relationship & respect with your parents.
    • Family & friends… why church participation is important to provide proper role models.
    • Your example of words & actions toward child’s mother (spouse or not!).
  • Level when you make mistakes; confessing your sins is not only biblical but shows children how to do the same when they fall short.
  • God is a Master who deserves reverence.

Remember the Prophets are not just providing a caricature of God (exaggerating one feature over others), but are providing a full picture of God. God is not only Father but also Master. A master deserves reverence/fear (môrâ: fear in reference to a superior being).

Psalm 2:11 “Serve the Lord with fear, and rejoice with trembling.”

Psalm 25:14 “The friendship of the Lord is for those who fear him and he makes known to them his covenant.”  

Psalm 31:19 “Oh how abundant is your goodness, which you have stored up for those who fear you and worked for those who take refuge in you, in the sight of the children of mankind.”  

Psalm 33:18 “Behold, the eye of the Lord is on those who fear him, on those who hope in his steadfast love” 

Psalm 103:13, 17 “As a father shows compassion to his children, so the Lord shows compassion to those who fear him… But the steadfast love of the Lord is from everlasting to everlasting on those who fear him, and his righteousness to children’s children.” 

Proverbs 1:7 “The fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge, fools despise wisdom and instruction.”

The people of Malachi’s day did not fear God as master; instead they mocked Him.

They mocked God by offering polluted food for sacrifice (1:7), blind animals (1:8), lame or sick animals (1:8). God says is this not evil? Further, God questions if such offerings to worldly governors would be accepted – of course the answer is negative.

illus:

  • Imagine buying a blind, sick, three-legged puppy for your kids; can’t fetch, walk or live right.
  • Imagine owing taxes to IRS and sending in your old electronics: big channel clicker wooden tv w/o remotes; beta machines; rotary phone with long cords; Atari systems; large computer screens…
  • Imagine going to fridge and finding a fury casserole dish and bringing to church potlucks….
  • Imagine offering the church YM a van without brakes or a fire extinguisher that doesn’t work…
  • Imagine offering God half-hearted devotion.

 

True Priests in Malachi 2

-          Awe of God (2:1-5)

-          Accuracy in God’s words. God’s messengers not editors. (2:6)

-          Authentic character (2:7-9).

Later, God condemns the priests for not listening (2:2) and not speaking truth (2:6-7) about God. God condemns them saying He’s going to curse their blessings, rebuke their offspring, and spread dung on their faces & worship offerings (2:2-3)!

illus: Imagine a mom changing a diaper and then feeding it to her child. This is what the priests were doing in serving God casually and coldly and then offering half-truths or wrong teaching to the people.

God was speaking directly to the priests (1:6; 2:1). Their offerings and actions were intolerable to God.

 

1:10-11 “Oh that there were one among you who would shut the doors, that you might not kindle fire on my altar in vain! I have no pleasure in you and I will not accept an offering from your hand.”

 

Vain – hinam: used in 2Samuel 24:24 when David said he would not offer sacrifices to God that cost him nothing.

“If you will not take it to heart to give honor to my name…” (2:2). When the leaders are half-hearted then the adults & parents are quarter-hearted resulting in the children becoming hard-hearted.

The people followed the priest’s example in not rightly offering full tithes and contributions to God and failing to faithfully serve God (3:6-15).

apply: How can you justify giving God your failures/mistakes but not your finances/money? Too often we trust God to be our Savior from sin but not the Lord of our life.

How can you readily receive from God but grudgingly give to God?

Shall we accept from God’s hand but not give God our hearts?

Jesus did not tithe His blood for you but gave it all. Nor did Jesus offer a lame sacrifice with His body. We must evaluate our life before Jesus: Am I grateful or greedy based on the standard of the gospel of Jesus? The issue is not about how much money but how much of our hearts does God have (Matt 6:21; Lk 21:4).

 

  • God is a Great King who deserves worship.

Another identity for a fuller picture of God is not only Father, Master but also King. God’s name is “great” 4x in this section: (1:5, 1:11, 1:11, 1:14).

Today, many people in America have difficulty understanding kingship. When we hear “king” we either bristle due to our American spirit of freedom or we brag about our accomplishments: I’m king of _____. Consider Michael Jackson considered himself the “king of pop”; Budweiser declares to be “king of beers”; Lebron James refers to himself as “King James of basketball”.

A true king is someone who governs by wisdom and leads by example. Good kings are known for ruling with the best decision-making and for the good of all the people of the nation. Further, the best kings lead their people with integrity by living according to the same ethical standard.

All the kings of the Bible failed to govern wisely and lead by example. However, God is the Great King. God is the king of glory (Ps 24:1).

God is king forever (Ps 10:16).

God is King of heaven and earth (Ps 47:6).

God is King with compassion for all people and animals of the land (Ps 84:3).

God is the King of Kings and above all gods (Ps 95:3).

God is the King who leads by example, leaving His throne to take the penalty and place of those deserving death.

God is the King who loves His people to the point of death.

God is the King who defeated death and victoriously rose in battle against His enemy satan.

God is the King who is preparing a home in His kingdom for all His children.

God is the King who will return to see each child face to face.

God is the King who will conquer every foe and collect every friend to His side.

Jesus is the Great King of Kings deserving all our worship.

APPLY/THINK

-          Love God

o  Salvation

o  Share faith

 

When we understand God’s name as Father, Master, and Great King

à We realize that our life is loss and our deeds are dung without Jesus Christ.    Php 3:7-8 “But whatever gain I had, I counted as loss for the sake of Christ. Indeed, I count everything as loss because of the surpassing worth of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord. For his sake I have suffered the loss of all things and count them as rubbish [skubula – dung] in order that I may gain Christ.”

 

  • Is your view of God only Father w/o Master & Great King? Savior from sin w/o Lord of life?
  • Are you seeing God is greater than you can imagine?
  • Do you know there is only one name under heaven by which we may be saved – Jesus? (Acts 4:13)
  • If you have already trusted Jesus Christ, are you sharing Him with others? Think of 3 people between now and Christmas to invest-invite.

 

-          Love Others

o  OCC

o IMB – SENT

à We realize that God is global and our purpose goes beyond maintenance to mission driven (Matt 28:19-20; Acts 1:8).

“Great is the Lord beyond the border of Israel” (1:5)

“For from the rising of the sun to its setting my name will be great among the nations, and in every place incense will be offered to my name, and a pure offering. For my name will be great among the nations, says the Lord of hosts.” (1:11)

 

“For I am a great king, says the Lord of hosts, and my name will be feared among the nations.” (1:14).

 

  • You have a command from Jesus to spread God’s global glory.
    • You can pray, give, and go.
      • Pray & Give in OCC (Nov 16 & 22 pack parties, take boxes, volunteer relay week)
      • Pray & Give with IMB – SENT
      • Not too early to be praying and working to Go SENT 2015
-          Lead Generations

o legacy

à We stop playing church and we start personally loving and living for Jesus.

 

  • Refine Me commitments in your Christian walk

choose to be accountable to