Saturday, February 17, 2007



Malachi... post-exilic, 50 years after Ezra rebuilt temple, (may have been Ezra, Malachi=preacher) complacency> spiritual degeneration, ... people become insensitive to God, indifferent to worship, insolent
Have you come across these silly questions?
IF WE GET OLIVE OIL FROM SQUEEZING OLIVES, WHERE DOES BABY OIL COME FROM?Why does a round pizza come in a square box?If the professor on Gilligan's Island can make a radio out of a coconut, why can't he fix a hole in a boat?
If Wiley E. Coyote had enough money to buy all that ACME junk, why didn't he just buy dinner?
IF A SMURF IS CHOKING, WHAT COLOR DOES IT TURN?Whose cruel idea was it to put an "S" in the word lisp?
There was the announcement of train guard.. delayed because we hit a cow.. "Was the cow on the tracks?" “No mam, we had to chase it all over the field to hit it!”

1. Notice the heart of the people he is addressing and I want you to consider YOUR HEART!
7 insolent questions in Malachi
Mal 1:2 I have loved you,” says the Lord. But you ask: “How have You loved us?” “Wasn’t Esau Jacob’s brother?” [This is]the Lord’s declaration. “Even so, I loved Jacob,
6 A son honors [his]father, and a servant his master. But if I am a father, where is My honor? And if I am a master, where is [your]• fear of Me? says the Lord of Hosts to you priests, who despise My name.” Yet you ask: “How have we despised Your name?”
7 “By presenting defiled food on My altar.” You ask: “How have we defiled You?” When you say: “The Lord’s table is contemptible.”[12]
2:17 You have wearied the Lord with your words. Yet you ask, “How have we wearied [Him]?” When you say, “Everyone who does evil is good in the Lord’s sight, and He is pleased with them,” or “Where is the God of justice?”
3:7 “Since the days of your fathers, you have turned from My statutes; you have not kept [them]. Return to Me, and I will return to you,” says the Lord of Hosts. But you ask: “How can we return?”
3:8 “Will a man rob God? Yet you are robbing Me!” You ask: “How do we rob You?” “[By not making the payments]of 10 percent and the contributions.[10
3:13 “Your words against Me are harsh,” says the Lord. Yet you ask: “What have we spoken against You?”
G Campbell Morgan, the great preacher from Westminster chapel in London between the Wars years, the predecessor of Martyn Lloyd Jones, wrote “Thus we have this word, " Wherein," put by the prophet into the mouth of those people seven distinct times, with reference to seven distinct announcements. He comes to them first of all with the declaration: " I have loved you, saith the Lord," and they say, " Wherein hast Thou loved us?" Then he says, " Ye have despised the Lord," and they say, " Wherein have we despised Him ? " And He says: " Ye have polluted My altar," and they say, " Wherein have we polluted Thine altar ? " And then: " Ye have wearied Me," and they say, " Wherein have we wearied Thee ? " And then: "Return to Me," and they say, " Wherein shall we return ?" And then: " Ye have robbed Me," and they say, " Wherein have we robbed Thee ? " And lastly: " Ye have spoken against Me," and they say, " Wherein have we spoken against Thee ? "
This word shows us the condition of these people in a lurid light. The temple is rebuilt, the altar is set up, the sacrifices are offered, the feasts and fasts are alike observed, and to these people—with outward form and ritual, perfect to the very last and minutest detail—the prophecy comes, the Divine complaint is made.
And they look at the prophet with mingled astonishment and incredulity, and they say, " Wherein ? What do you mean ? You charge us with having despised God and polluted His altar, with having wearied Him, and with wandering from and refusing to return to Him, and accuse us of robbing and speaking against Him; we don't see that we have done these things, so why should we be subjected to these accusations ? You come and say we despise God's work. Look at our sacrifices and offerings ! You tell us that we have polluted the altar. We have brought our gifts ! You tell us that we have wearied Him. We don't see where or when! "We are not conscious of having done anything to displease Him! You tell us to return. We don't see where we are to return from; we don't see where we are to return to! You tell us we have robbed God. We want to know when ? You say we have spoken against God. We don't remember having spoken against Him; when was it ? "
What is the significance of this word " Wherein ? " These people are not in open rebellion against God, nor do they deny His right to offerings, but they are laboring under the delusion, that because they have brought offerings, they have been true to Him all along. Theirs is not the language of a people throwing off a yoke and saying, " We will not be loyal," but of a people established in the temple. It is not the language of a people who say, "Let us cease to sacrifice, and worship; and let us do as we please "; but it is the language of a people who say, " We are sacrificing and worshipping to please God," and yet He says, by the mouth of His servant, " Ye have wearied Me: ye have robbed and spoken against Me."
They have been most particular and strict in outward observances, but their hearts have been far away from their ceremonials. They have been boasting themselves in their knowledge of truth, responding to that knowledge mechanically, technically; but their hearts, their lives, their characters, the inwardness of their natures, have been a perpetual contradiction in the eye of Heaven, to the will of God; and, when the prophet tells them what God thinks of them, they, with astonishment and impertinence, look into his face and say,
" We don't see this at all!" To translate it into the language of the New Testament— " having the form of godliness, they deny the power."
These people are the most orthodox people, they go to church each week. They are model Baptist members. But something is wrong. The heart of the problem in Baptist churches is the problem of Baptist hearts. Now notice that:
The first charge the Lord brings against His people concerns His Love.
Mal 1: 2“I have loved you,” says the Lord. But you ask: “How have You loved us?” “Wasn’t Esau Jacob’s brother?” [This is]the Lord’s declaration. “Even so, I loved Jacob, 3 but I hated Esau. I turned his mountains into a wasteland, and [gave]his inheritance to the desert jackals.”
Let me ask a very direct question. Do you love the Lord or No?
Many years ago I came across a little couplet that has often spoken to my heart in a challenging way:
“Tis a thing I oft would know Do I love the Lord or no?”
It’s a simple question.
The Lord Jesus said something about this: Matt 22:35 And one of them, an expert in the law, asked a question to test Him: 36 “Teacher, which commandment in the law is the greatest?” 37 He said to him, “Love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind. 38 This is the greatest and most important commandment.
Speaking to the church at Ephesus the risen glorified Lord Jesus said Rev 2:4 But I have this against you: you have abandoned the love [you had] at first.
Obviously it’s a pretty high priority!
But did you ever realise that your love for the Lord is a direct consequence of understanding His love for you.
If you are close to Him, He will reveal His love to you. John 14:21The one who has My commands and keeps them is the one who loves Me. And the one who loves Me will be loved by My Father. I also will love him and will reveal Myself to him.”
It is a spiritual apprehension of the Love of God that we are have.
Eph 3:16 I pray that He may grant you, according to the riches of His glory, to be strengthened with power through His Spirit in the inner man, 17 and that the Messiah may dwell in your hearts through faith. [I pray that] you, being rooted and firmly established in love, 18 may be able to comprehend with all the saints what is the length and width, height and depth [of God’s love], 19 and to know the Messiah’s love that surpasses knowledge, so you may be filled with all the fullness of God.
That love He has for us, revealed to us results in a deep love towards Him.
Rom 5:5 This hope does not disappoint, because God’s love has been poured out in our hearts through the Holy Spirit who was given to us
1John 4:19 We love because He first loved us.
So when we begin to drift away from the Lord, it is that spiritual apprehension of God’s love for us that first declines.
And as we no longer see clearly the love of God for us, we soon drift from Him.
An awkward situation arises in our lives. We experience conflict with others. Someone does us an ill turn, and we begin to think, “If God really cared for me He wouldn’t have let this happen to me.”
There is a turn for the worst healthwise. “Has God forgotten to be gracious?” We cry.
There is a financial pressure, and we ask “Can’t God see?” And rather than depend upon Him, we russle our resources to find a way out. Because God isn’t interested in these little crises of ours. He has enough trouble running the world!”
Guilt for past sins gets poured into the mix! “Well its that past sin! I really can’t expect God to be on real good terms with me!” And we go looking for tangible signs that maybe all will be well one day. And all the time God is becoming more distant from us, and our religion is becoming more important to us.
Friends, You are drifting! And I believe God is calling us back to Himself! Today! Right now!
And the very first thing God wants to set right is this heart attitude in your heart that says “ I am not real sure whether God really loves me!”
You may have accepted this as a theological proposition : “Jesus loves all the children all the children of the world, red and yellow black and white they are precious in His sight, Jesus loves all the children of the world.”
And then we drift off into lala land with “Everything is beautiful, in its own way.”
Well it may be, but is there a real consciousness in your heart of the Love of God towards you?
2. Notice The Hope Of The People He Is Addressing And consider YOUR HOPE!
1. God Loves For You Is A Covenant Love
God had made a Covenant With Israel.
God has Made A Covenant With Christians
God’s Covenant With His People Is Unconditional.
The people of Israel did nothing to deserve that covenant.
Deut 7:7 “The Lord was devoted to you and chose you, not because you were more numerous than all peoples, for you were the fewest of all peoples. 8 But because the Lord loved you and kept the oath He swore to your fathers, He brought you out with a strong hand and redeemed you from the place of slavery, from the power of Pharaoh king of Egypt.
But it was conditional upon their obedience.
Deut 7:9 Know that Yahweh your God is God, the faithful God who keeps His gracious covenant loyalty for a thousand generations with those who love Him and keep His commands. 10 But He directly pays back and destroys those who hate Him. He will not hesitate to directly pay back the one who hates Him. 11 So keep the command—the statutes and ordinances—that I am giving you to follow today. 12 “If you listen to and are careful to keep these ordinances, the Lord your God will keep His covenant loyalty with you, as He swore to your fathers. 13 He will love you, bless you, and multiply you. He will bless your descendants, and the produce of your soil—your grain, new wine, and oil—the young of your herds, and the newborn of your flocks, in the land He swore to your fathers that He would give you.
You have done nothing to deserve your covenant with God And it is not conditioned upon your obedience.
God’s Covenant With You Is Sacrificial
God sacrificed to be the people of Israel’s God. He sacrificed that He likened Himself in Hosea to a faithful husband standing with an unfaithful wife. Know that Yahweh your God is God, the faithful God who keeps His gracious covenant loyalty for a thousand generations with those who love Him and keep His commands.
God sacrificed to be in Covenant with you.
1 Cor 11:23 For I received from the Lord what I also passed on to you: on the night when He was betrayed, the Lord Jesus took bread, 24 gave thanks, broke it, and said, “This is My body, which isfor you. Do this in remembrance of Me.” 25 In the same way [He]also [took]the cup, after supper, and said, “This cup is the new covenant in My blood. Do this, as often as you drink it, in remembrance of Me.”
God’s Covenant With You Is Eternal
"Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or danger, or sword? As it is written, 'For your sake we are being killed all the day long; we are regarded as sheep to be slaughtered.' No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. For I am sure that neither death nor life, nor angels nor rulers, nor things present nor things to come, nor powers, nor height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord" (Romans 8:35-39).
O Love that wilt not let me go, I rest my weary soul in thee;
I give thee back the life I owe, that in thine ocean depths its flow may richer, fuller be.
2. God’s Love For You is An Assuring Love
Whingeing and whining is just so inappropriate!
1 Thess 5:28 Give thanks in everything, for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus
Phil 4:4 Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice! 5 Let your graciousness be known to everyone. The Lord is near. 6 Don’t worry about anything, but in everything, through prayer and petition with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God. 7 And the peace of God, which surpasses every thought, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. 8. Finally brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable—if there is any moral excellence and if there is any praise—dwell on these things.
Col 3:16 Let the message about the Messiah dwell richly among you, teaching and admonishing one another in all wisdom, and singing psalms, hymns, and spiritual songs, with gratitude in your hearts to God.
No wonder God objects so strongly to those who whinge and whine! They are denying the most basic Christian truth : God Loves You!
O Light that followest all my way, I yield my flickering torch to thee;
my heart restores its borrowed ray, that in they sunshine's blaze its day may brighter, fairer be.
3. God’s Love For You Is A Disciplining Love
Heb 12: And you have forgotten the exhortation that addresses you as sons: My son, do not take the Lord’s discipline lightly, or faint when you are reproved by Him; 6 for the Lord disciplines the one He loves, and punishes every son whom He receives. 7 Endure it as discipline: God is dealing with you as sons. For what son is there whom a father does not discipline? 8 But if you are without discipline—which all receive—then you are illegitimate children and not sons. 9 Furthermore, we had natural fathers discipline us, and we respected them. Shouldn’t we submit even more to the Father of spirits and live? 10 For they disciplined us for a short time based on what seemed good to them, but He does it for our benefit, so that we can share His holiness. 11 No discipline seems enjoyable at the time, but painful. Later on, however, it yields the fruit of peace and righteousness to those who have been trained by it. 12 Therefore strengthen your tired hands and weakened knees, 13 and make straight paths for your feet, so that what is lame may not be dislocated, but healed instead.
O Joy that seekest me through pain,
I cannot close my heart to thee; I trace the rainbow thru the rain,
and feel the promise is not vain, that morn shall tearless be.
4. God’s Love For You Is A Softening Love
O Cross that liftest up my head, I dare not ask to fly from thee;
I lay in dust life's glory dead, and from the ground there blossoms red life that shall endless be.
Thomas Brooks is one of my favorite Puritan writers and he has blessed us with a powerful remembrance of what it means to "love the Lord Jesus Christ." "Look that ye love the Lord Jesus Christ with a superlative love, with an overtopping love. There are none have suffered so much for you as Christ; there are none that can suffer so much for you as Christ. The least measure of that wrath that Christ hath sustained for you, would have broke the hearts, necks, and backs of all created beings.O my friends! There is no love but a superlative love that is any ways suitable to the transcendent sufferings of dear Jesus. Oh, love him above your lusts, love him above your relations, love him above the world, love him above all your outward contentments and enjoyments, yea, love him above your very lives; for thus the patriarchs, prophets, apostles, saints, primitive Christians, and the martyrs of old, have loved our Lord Jesus Christ with an overtopping love: Rev. xii. 11, 'They loved not their lives unto the death;' that is, they slighted, contemned, yea, despised their lives, exposing them to hazard and loss, out of love to the Lamb, 'who had washed them in his blood.' I have read of one Kilian, a Dutch schoolmaster, who being asked whether he did not love his wife and children, answered, Were all the world a lump of gold, and in my hands to dispose of, I would leave it at my enemies' feet to live with them in a prison; but my soul and my Saviour are dearer to me than all. If my father, saith Jerome, should stand before me, and my mother hang upon, and my brethren should press about me, I would break through my brethren, throw down my father, and tread underfoot my mother, to cleave to Jesus Christ.Certainly the more Christ hath suffered for us, the more dear Christ should be unto us; the more bitter his sufferings have been for us, the more sweet his love should be to us, and the more eminent should be our love to him. Oh, let a suffering Christ lie nearest your hearts; let him be your manna, your tree of life, your morning star. It is better to part with all than with this pearl of price. Christ is that golden pipe through which the golden oil of salvation runs; and oh. how should this inflame our love to Christ! Oh that our hearts were more affected with the sufferings of Christ! Who can tread upon these hot coals, and his heart not burn in love to Christ, and cry out with Ignatius, Christ my love is crucified? Cant. viii. 7,8. If a friend should die for us, how would our hearts be affected with his kindness! and shall the God of glory lay down his life for us, and shall we not be affected with his goodness i John x. 17, 18. Shall Saul be affected with David's kindness in sparing his life, 1 Sam. xxiv. 16, and shall not we be affected with Christ's kindness, who, to save our life, lost his own? Oh, the infinite love of Christ, that he should leave his Father's bosom, John i. 18, and come down from heaven, that he might carry you up to heaven, John xiv. 1-4; that he that was a Son should take upon him the form of a servant, Phil. ii. 5-8; that you of slaves should be made sons, of enemies should be made friends, of heirs of wrath should be made heirs of God and joint-heirs with Christ, Rom. viii. 17; that to save us from everlasting ruin, Christ should stick at nothing, but be willing to be made flesh, to lie in a manger, to be tempted, deserted, persecuted, and to die upon a cross!Oh, when shall the sufferings of a dear and tender-hearted Saviour kindle such a flame of love in all our hearts, as shall still be a-breaking forth in our lips and lives, in our words and ways, to the praise and glory of free grace? Oh that the sufferings of a loving Jesus might at last make us all sick of love!

(Proverbs 4:23 GN) “Be careful how you think; your life is shaped by your thoughts.”
(2 Timothy 4:3-4 LB) “There is going to come a time when people won’t listen to the truth but will go around looking for teachers who will tell them just what they want to hear. They won’t listen to what the Bible says but will blithely follow their own misguided ideas.” (John 8:32) “When you know the truth, the truth will set you free.”
Myths About God
Lie 1. God is unreasonable.
(Genesis 2:16-17) “You are free to eat from any tree in the garden; but you must not eat from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, for when you eat of it you will surely die.”
(Genesis 3:1) “Did God really say, ‘You must not eat from any tree in the garden’?”
The Truth: God is compassionate.
(Psalm 145:9) “The LORD is good to all; he has compassion on all he has made.”
(Lamentations 3:22) “Because of the LORD’s great love we are not consumed, for his compassions never fail.”
(Romans 8:32 LB) “Since he did not spare even his own Son for us…won’t God also surely give us everything else?”
Lie 2. God is unreliable.
(Genesis 3:3-5 LB) (Eve) “God says we must not eat it…or we’ll die.” (Satan) “That’s a lie! You’ll not die! God knows very well the instant you eat it you’ll become like him…”
The Truth: God is consistent.
(Romans 11:29 LB) “…God will never go back on his promises.”
(Psalm 59:10 LB) “My God is changeless in his love for me…”

Lie 3. God is unconcerned.
(Psalm 22:2) “O my God, I cry out by day, but you do not answer, by night, and am not silent.”

The Truth: God is caring.
(Matthew 10:29-31 NCV) “Not one sparrow can fall to the ground without your Father knowing it…God even knows how many hairs are on your head. So don’t worry. You’re worth much more than many sparrows.”
(Matthew 6:31-33 NCV) “Don’t worry ‘What will we eat…or drink…or wear? People who don’t know God keep trying to get these things, and your Father in heaven knows you need them. The thing you should want most is God’s kingdom and doing what God wants. Then all these other things you need will be given to you.”

Lie 4. God is unreachable.
(Psalm 10:1) “Why, O LORD, do you stand far off? Why do you hide yourself in times of trouble?”
The Truth: God is close.
(Acts 17:26-27) “From one man he made every nation of men, that they should inhabit the whole earth; and he determined the times set for them and the exact places where they should live. God did this so that men would seek him and perhaps reach out for him and find him, though he is not far from each one of us.”
(Psalm 34:18) “The LORD is close to the brokenhearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit.”

How is your heart? Do you need revival? Do you need to be touched again with the love of God?

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