The penultimate sermon in our journey through the book of Malachi, under the overall heading of – “From the ashes of failure to the anticipated future” The practical application of the teaching will be worked out in the house groups.
“It’s good to talk” says the old advertising strap line, but I suppose that all depends on what you say! Here in this next section of Malachi’s prophesy we eavesdrop on three different voices, and you can be the judge as to whether or not their words are worthwhile!
1 – The voice of Complaint (v 13 – 15.)
Having “wearied” the Lord with their tiresome words, the people now say “harsh” things against the Lord, which as usual they are oblivious to. Their “harsh” complaints against God are located in three areas:-
A – Purpose.
“It is futile to serve God.” Serving God was a pointless exercise, a sheer waste of time (Ecclesiastes 1 v 3) minus any sense of purpose what-so-ever.
B – Profit.
“What did we gain by carrying out his requirements?” Their self centred, “what’s in it for me” approach, rather than God centred approach, had convinced them that there was no benefit in being obedient to God’s Law.
C – Prosperity.
“We call the arrogant blessed. Certainly the evildoers prosper.” The grass looked greener on the other side of the fence where the wicked seemed to be having a ball and prospering with it to!
Pause 4 thought – Have you ever complained in these three areas? What does it say about the depth and maturity of your faith?
2 – The voice of Change (v 16.)
A second group now began to speak, a remnant from within the people who saw the need for change in terms of faithfulness and obedience and who – “feared the Lord and honoured his name” (Psalm 33 v 8.) They held the Lord in awe, wonder and in high esteem, while honouring his character that was represented by his name.
The Lord responded as he – “listened and heard” (Psalm 34 v 15) and prepared a – “scroll of remembrance” with their names listed upon it. They are remembered in order that God might act on their behalf, which many see as a forward focus action, where the names of this faithful group – “a remnant chosen by grace” (Romans 11 v 5) will, along with all the saints, be written in the Lambs book of life (Revelation 21 v 27) to be opened on the day of the Lord.
Pause 4 thought – Do you need to change so that you truly fear and honour the Lord?
3 – The voice of Compassion (v 17 – 18.)
The final voice is that of the Lord himself who promised to make his faithful and obedient people his – “treasured possession” (Exodus 19 v 5, Psalm 135 v 4 & 1 Peter 2 v 9.) And because of that standing God would have compassion on them, like a father towards his son, by sparing them on the day of judgement when a distinction would be made between the righteous and the unrighteous, along with a separation to two very different eternal destinies (Matthew 25 v 31 – 46.)
Pause 4 thought – Do you belong to God as his “treasured possession?”
Theme: “Mind your language!”
Reading: Malachi 3 v 13 – 18
Preacher: Chris Hughes
Led by: Chris Hughes