Bakersfield Church Of Christ

LIVING OUT FAITH BY LOVING LIKE CHRIST

They devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching and to the fellowship, to the breaking of bread and to prayer. (Acts 2:42)

Malachi: Having Faith in God vs. Being Faithful to God

Malachi

 

Last book in the Bible:  What are God’s last thoughts to us?

 

Malachi = “my messenger”     Malachi may not be an actual name of a prophet

 

Date:  between 458-432 BC   Between the two visits by Nehemiah.

 

The situation:  The temple is rebuilt, but the people are relying in themselves.  They have faith in God, but their faith is in what God will do for them, but they are not being faithful to God.

 

Having faith in God vs being faithful to God.

 

Outline:

 

Introduction:  God still loves Israel  1:1-5 

 

I  The Priests have been unfaithful  1:6-2:9

 

II  The People have been unfaithful 2:10-3:18

 

III  The Day of the Lord  is coming   4:1-6

 

Style:   Socratic.   Make a point,   Propose a question from a theoretical person,   Answer the question.

 

You have robbed God.

 

How have we robbed you?

 

In tithes and offerings.

 

Introduction:

 

Malachi 1:1-5  God: I still love Israel. 

 

I have loved you.    I have been faithful to you.  I have kept my covenant.

 

I have kept hesed  Hesed = faithfulness, covenant love, unfailing love, loyal love.

 

The people:   How have you loved us?

 

Jacob I have loved, Esau I hated.   (quoted in Romans 9:13)

 

In other words, I have kept the covenant and the commitment I made to you, despite all you have done.

 

The people are feeling that God has NOT been loving them.  Why?  Because he has not loved them the way they wanted to be loved.   He has not given them a ton of stuff and great political victory.

 

I.  Malachi 1:6-14 The Priests have been unfaithful.  

    (and don’t forget that we are all priests)

 

It is time for us to look at our hearts!!!!

 

Read Malachi 1:6-9 for now.

 

v. 6   What does God want  from us?   He wants our honor and respect.

 

Does he want our money?   Not really….    He wants our honor and respect.

 

v. 6  It is you, O priests, who show contempt for my name.

 

v. 6   How have we shown contempt?    These people were clueless about the fact that they had shown contempt for God.

 

Lesson:  We could be religious think we are honoring God, yet in his eyes we could be showing contempt.

 

Me:  I do not want to show contempt for God!!!

 

v. 7   You put defiled food on my altar.

 

The people:   We have?   How have we defiled you?   When?   Again, they are clueless.

 

v. 7   By giving me your second best.

 

Illustration from last night:   We asked what was the worst gift you ever got?

Jennifer:    A half-filled bottle of shampoo which was diluted with water.

 

They gave crippled or diseased animals.   They gave the stuff they didn’t really want anyway.

 

For us:   We give our “left over” time our “left over energy”   our “left over” money

 

We give our used clothes to the poor or our unwanted canned goods to the poor.

 

God (sarcastically) to the people:  Try giving that to your governor.

 

Many of us give more of our discipline, our effort, our heart, our attention to our jobs, our vacations, our education, our hobbies, etc.

 

Q:  How might we be like this?

 

Example from this semester:  Student who turned in a project with 90 days of data.   I was offended.  Do you think I am stupid?

 

v. 9   Rhetorical Q:  Will God accept that?

 

Malachi  1:10-11    God:  If you are going to give me your second best, do me a favor:  just stay home.

 

Q:   Is God exaggerating here?

 

Q:   Isn’t a little better than nothing at all?  Answer:  No!!!!!

 

Isn’t it better to put $5 into the plate than to put nothing in?

Isn’t it better to be religious than to be a pagan?

 

Q:  Why is God so upset about such half-hearted gifts?   Is it because he is an egotist and wants us to stroke his pride?  

 

No!!!!!      He gave his absolute best to us.     It is because it represents ungratefulness.

 

I do not want to be in this position!!!

 

Malachi 1: 12-14   The key issue.  

 

v. 13a  “What a burden.”

 

Is that you?      Special Contribution:   “What a burden.”

 

Leader’s meetings:  “What a burden.”

 

Staying pure:  “What a burden”

 

v. 13b  When you say “What a burden”   God sees you sniffing at it contemptuously.

 

Q:  How have we been like this?

 

v. 14    If you give half-hearted service (like a blemished animal), God calls you a “cheat.”

 

Malachi Ch 2 Admonition for the priests.   Uses divorce as an analogy for their unfaithfulness.

 

Malachi 3:6-15    The people have been unfaithful.

 

God is speaking here to the people, rather than the priests, so he keeps it simple.   He encapsulates their spiritual issues in the question of giving the tithe.

 

3:6-7  God:  Only return to me     

 

The people:    What do you mean we left you?   When did we leave?    What are you talking about?    Who????    Me??????

 

v. 8  You have robbed me.

 

The people?    Who, me?   

 

I imagine them trying to think what they had stolen from God….

 

Q:  What about us.

 

How have we robbed you?

 

v. 8b   In tithes and offerings.    You are under a curse!!!!!

 

Bring in the whole tithe.

 

Q:  Why is a partial tithe robbing God?

 

v. 10  Test  me in this.

 

You have not trusted me to take care of your things.

 

This is not about money.  It is about trusting that God will take care of us.   You have held back.  In your heart of heart, you did not really believe that God has your back.  That’s why you gave better stuff to your boss than to me.

 

It is about being faithful.    “Test me in this”

 

How?      Trust fully in me.

 

v. 10b-12   Q:  Do you REALLY believe God will bless you if you bring in the full tithe of your effort, your heart, your love, your money?

 

v. 13   You have said harsh things against me.

 

People?    I have???   Did I say I hate God?  Did I say that I refuse to worship God?

 

What have se said against you.

 

v. 14-15  Here is the key:   You said   It is futile to serve God. 

 

What are we getting out of this?

 

Do you trust God to give you a spouse if it is best for you?     Do you trust God to take care of you financially if you give generously to the work of the church?   Do you believe that if you give generously to Special Missions, your gift will produce an abundant harvest in your life?

Conclusion:

 

Will you have faith in God—expecting him to bless you and to take care of you, or will you be faithful to God.  Will you treat him with hesed—with a devoted, covenantal love?