Malachi 03 01-04 - I Am Not Responsible - 03
WHO WAS THE WRITER?
- Name means “messenger” – Angel
- Not sure if this then is the name of the writer or a nameless writer was a MESSENGER
- The MESSAGE, not the MESSENGER is what is important
- Like that Western Union boy, we want the message
WHEN WAS IT WRITTEN?
- WRITTEN around 397 BC
- MESSENGER prophesied either during the END of Nehemiah’s governorship OR immediately AFTER it
WHAT WAS THE MESSAGE?
- Malachi was the last of the Old Testament prophets to minister in Judah
- Around 460 and 430 b.c.
- His words give us a very sad picture of that small group of exiles that had returned from Babylon some 115 years before.
- The WALLS had been REBUILT
- The TEMPLE had been COMPLETED
i. The people WORSHIPED there
ii. They followed the prescribed RITUALS
iii. They offered the required SACRIFICES
iv. They went through the MOTIONS.
- Haggai and Zechariah were gone
i. Sadly the religious enthusiasm these prophets stimulated in the PEOPLE had now gone too
ii. Everything became just a LOVELESS event
- Life was NOT easy.
- The Jews were under the political DOMINION of Persia #. Their harvests were POOR
i. Malachi 3:11 speaks of LOCUST damage
- Most of the people were INDIFFERENT
i. Even RESENTFUL toward God.
- The people’s hope in God’s covenant promises was all but GONE i. This was evidenced– as we shall see tonight - by their
1. Intermarriages with pagans
ii. They were living for the MOMENT
- Malachi reports God's words (the Lord speaks in 42 of the 55 verses in Malachi) on how the people’s love for God has grown cold.
- To the people, God was now DISTANT i. And so became their LOVE
- How important for us, when God seems distant, to remember the message of Malachi
- The writer referred to OTHER messengers
- He referred to priests as the messenger of the Lord – Malachi 2:7 i. This suggests that every witness of God is an angel of the Lord
- He announced coming of John the Baptist as “my messenger” Mal 3:1
i. John the Baptist was the Malachi of the NT
ii. He began where Malachi left off
- He also made reference to Christ as the “messenger of covenant” 3:1
- Malachi’s would FIRST quote a CHARGE that God makes to Israel
- Then he gives Israel’s ANSWER #. Finally he gives God’s telling REPLY
- Malachi reveals an age whose CONSCIENCE was deadened to sin
- Totally CONSUMED in sin - No CONVICTION
- Apparently had lost the VISION
i. They had lost the JOY of all that God had promised
ii. Just got TIRED of waiting
- Then THEY acted surprised that God was NOT pleased with them
i. They PRETENTED to know ALL but knew NOTHING
GOD’S ANSWER TO JUDAH’S UNFAITHFULNESS
Malachi 3:1 Behold, I will send my messenger, and he shall prepare the way before me: and the Lord, whom ye seek, shall suddenly come to his temple, even the messenger of the covenant, whom ye delight in: behold, he shall come, saith the Lord of hosts.
- Chapter 3 opens with God’s answer to the question raised by the people of Israel
- The people were always PUSHING the Lord #. NEVER satisfied, NEVER content
- Always looking for QUICK answers
- Always looking for SIGNS
- One more time our Lord is going to answer Israel
- In first verse two MESSENGERS are listed
- The prophecy of the FIRST messenger is quoted in all four of the gospels
- No guesswork here
- Talking about John the Baptist
- The SECOND messenger – messenger of the Covenant is never quoted anywhere in the Gospels
- The Gospels deal with the FIRST coming
- This messenger is NOT coming in GRACE,
- This messenger is NOT coming as a REDEEMER
- RATHER, this messenger is coming in JUDGMENT
- Jesus came FIST to SAVE
- BUT, one day He will return as JUDGE
- SIN will be judged
John 5:22 For the Father judgeth no man, but hath committed all judgment unto the Son:
- In the book of The Revelation of Jesus Christ we read of the Great White Throne
i. There the LOST will stand before God
ii. There the LOST, be they rich or poor, great or small are going to judged
iii. Sin will be JUDGED
- The messenger of Covenant has NOTHING to do with the New Testament
- Rather to the COVENANT with God has made with the people of ISRAEL
Leviticus 26:9-13 For I will have respect unto you, and make you fruitful, and multiply you, and establish my covenant with you. And ye shall eat old store, and bring forth the old because of the new. And I will set my tabernacle among you: and my soul shall not abhor you. And I will walk among you, and will be your God, and ye shall be my people. I am the Lord your God, which brought you forth out of the land of Egypt, that ye should not be their bondmen; and I have broken the bands of your yoke, and made you go upright.
- Malachi tells us that the messenger is COMING someday to make good His covenant
- That God will DWELL in her midst
- But God first must CLEANSE and PURIFY them
- It is also true of ANY Christian work
- Malachi 3:1 continues: Shall suddenly come to his temple
- This does NOT mean that God will come soon
- But when He comes it will be suddenly
- I am afraid many people are WAITING for the RAPTURE to get saved
i. THEN they will REPENT and ask Jesus to SAVE them
ii. Don’t know if that THEOLOGY will work
Malachi 3:2 But who may abide the day of his coming? and who shall stand when he appeareth? for he is like a refiner's fire, and like fullers' sope:
- Malachi refers to the SECOND coming of Christ
- Because of the JUDGMENT that is viewed here
- But who may abide the day of his coming
- This is the SECOND coming
- Malachi tells us about the refining fire and soap
- In the REFINING process the metal is put over red hot fire
i. As it begins to MELT, the impurities can be DRAWN off
ii. The metal is finally PURE
- Israel refused to take RESPONSIBILITY for their actions
i. Have we changed any?
Malachi 3:3 And he shall sit as a refiner and purifier of silver: and he shall purify the sons of Levi, and purge them as gold and silver, that they may offer unto the Lord an offering in righteousness.
- Jesus is going to cleanse those who enter the Millennium
- Note two processes here i. Cleansing
- Soap – a process of CLEANSING
- Fire – a process of PURIFYING
Malachi 3:4 Then shall the offering of Judah and Jerusalem be pleasant unto the Lord, as in the days of old, and as in former years.
- The Lord will take great DELIGHT in the OFFERINGS now
- Why, the ones who are offering are now CLEANSED and PURIFIED #. God is not interested in our RITUALS
- It is what is in the HEART
- The MOTIVE behind the act
- We ALL sin
i. But do we allow that sin to DOMINATE?
ii. If so, God has NO delight in our works
- In the days of old
- There was a time when Israel was FAITHFUL
- When she was a WITNESS
- When she took RESPONSIBILITY for her actions
- Daily talk shows spend their days with people who aren’t at fault.
- If a husband or wife cheats on spouse, whose fault is it?
- It could be the SPOUSE who was inattentive,
- Or PARENTS who caused their child to have low self-esteem,
- Or SOCIETY that glamorizes affairs.
- If a man steals a stereo, is he really to blame?
- It could be the fault of his friends who OWN stereos and make him feel inadequate,
- OR advertisers who make stereos look so GOOD,
- Or the stereo’s owner who left their door UNLOCKED.
- Our society is adept at AVOIDING responsibility.
WE DON’T TAKE RESPONSIBILITY
- Every day we see other people DENY their responsibilities.
- It’s harder to admit that we do the SAME thing.
- We have a list of EXCUSES for our lack of commitment to Christ.
- MAYBE we don’t LOVE our neighbors, but it’s the neighbors’ fault.
i. THEY aren’t very friendly.
- MAYBE we don’t PRAY as we should, but it’s our family’s fault.
i. They’re always finding something else we should be doing.
- MAYBE we don’t SHARE the gospel, but it’s our employers’ fault. i. They don’t want us to make anyone uncomfortable.
- The easiest way to AVOID our real responsibilities is to say, “I have responsibilities.”
WE ARE RESPONSIBLE
- One wrote: “A man is not responsible if a bird flies over his head, but he is responsible if that bird builds a nest in his hair.”
- We are NOT accountable for all the sin in the world,
- But we ARE answerable for the apathy in our hearts.
- Dennis Waitley argued that ALONG the Statue of Liberty in New York there should be a Statue of Responsibility in San Francisco.
- Without INDIVIDUAL duty there can be no real FREEDOM.
- God’s grace makes us ACCOUNTABLE.
- Grace demands we live TRUE to the TRUST we have been given.
- We are to be the SALT of the earth and the LIGHT of the world.
- We are to LIVE and SPEAK the gospel.
- The ultimate folly is to ACCEPT the gift of grace WITHOUT recognizing the RESPONSIBILITIES of Christian faith.
GOD WILL JUDGE US
- Malachi understood that the day of the Lord’s coming would be NO Sunday dinner on the grounds.
- God’s judgment will fall FIRST upon the PRIESTS,
- For they are the MOST responsible.
- Church people usually think that judgment is for everyone else.
- We soft-pedal the many passages of Scripture that make it clear that judgment comes to ALL of us.
- What percentage of what COULD be done for God do we actually DO?
- Is it as much as 10 percent?
- Do we really believe that we bear NO responsibility for the other 90 percent?
- Judgment is facing what we have DONE and what we have left UNDONE.
- Judgment begins in the HEART of God and reaches into our HEARTS.
- In the best families, children are concerned with DISAPPOINTING their loving parents. #. This is the SAME judgment feared by the children of the heavenly Father.
- We need to REPENT and let God make us right.
- Malachi envisioned judgment day as CLEANSING.
- Christ will be a refiner’s fire PURIFYING his people.
- God will give us a SCRUBBING
- One commentator described as ‘getting caught in a car wash without a car’
- We should PLEDGE ourselves to the God who leads us to a holy life.
- One day we will have to answer for what we have done.
- AND what we have NOT done
- Judgment is coming – are you ready?