In Spirit and in Truth
The Book of Malachi
July 17, 2011
Sun Oak Baptist Church
A. Malachi chapter 1.
B. Important “sign-post” to remember: for the most part, the prophets ministered and preached to people that professed to be a part of the family of God – in New Testament terms: professing Christians.
The Old Testament deals with the people of God under the Old Covenant, and the New Testament deals with the people of God under the New Covenant.
C. When we come to Malachi we’re at the end – a chasm of 400 years of silence from God to His people – until John the Baptist.
I. The spiritual ______________ of Israel.
When Malachi arrives on the scene Israel was in deep spiritual apathy – their worship and fellowship with God had become nothing more than a superficial outward form; their worship of God an exercise – they just went to church.
A. Israel’s superficial worship is seen in their response to statements God makes to them. See 1:2; 1:6; 1:7; 2:13-14; 2:17; etc.
B. Israel’s superficial worship is seen in that it had become so utterly meaningless that the whole thing had just become utter weariness. See 1:13.
II. The __________________ of Malachi.
A. The compassion of Malachi is seen in the word “burden” or some translations have the word “oracle” here. It means “a load…a heavy load.”
B. The spiritual condition of God’s people – their hearts of stone – was a burden to Malachi – and obviously to the Lord. The cornerstone of Malachi’s ministry – his launching pad for the book was the declaration of God’s love for His people. See 1:2a.
C. Malachi had a burden – that’s the compassion of Malachi.
III. The ________________ of Malachi.
A. Remember some of what we’ve learned about the remnant – the remnant of Israel – God’s people to whom Malachi was called to minister to...
Ezra 1:1-6. In 538BC or 39 some 50,000 Israelites returned to the land of Israel – basically the same geographical area called “Israel” that we hear about in the news everyday – 70 years of captivity in Babylon – they return by decree of a pagan, unbelieving Persian ruler.
Ezra 3:1-3 & 3:8-9. About 2 years after returning – in 536 BC – they began rebuilding the temple.
B. The Temple was the center of Jewish life; it represented the place God was to have in His peoples’ lives; the Temple was where Israel worshipped God; it was the place where Biblical worship was to occur – it was where God’s presence dwelt.
C. Opposition from neighbors and indifference by the Jewish people caused the work on the Temple to be abandoned – to stop. Ezra 4:1-5.
Principle: when you purpose to worship and serve God, when you purpose to turn from disobedience to obedience expect opposition.
It wasn’t until 16 years later that Haggai and Zechariah were commissioned by the Lord to stir up the people to get back to work on rebuilding the temple. Ezra 5:1-5 & 6:13-18.
D. If you can remember a mallet breaking stone you won’t soon forget the book of Malachi – and we are plum out of time.
The book of Malachi underscores the importance and priority of honoring God. The Church isn’t Israel, and Malachi’s rebuke of the priests regarding animal sacrifices doesn’t apply to the church – but God does want us to honor Him by giving Him our best.
If you sense your love for God drifting – maybe your commitment to Christ is not what it should be – we’re going to see in Malachi some truths that we can apply to our lives that can be a real help in heading us back in the direction of Biblical worship – worshipping God in spirit and in truth.