Faithlife Sermons

Major Messages from the Minor Prophets: How Have You Loved Me? — Malachi

Major Messages from the Minor Prophets  •  Sermon  •  Submitted
0 ratings
· 20 views

God’s steadfast love for his people is in stark contrast to their indifference, cynicism, and open contempt for God.

Notes & Transcripts
Sermon Tone Analysis
A
D
F
J
S
Emotion
A
C
T
Language
O
C
E
A
E
Social
View more →
Text:
How Have You Loved Me? — Malachi
Text:
Theme: God’s steadfast love for his people is in stark contrast to their indifference, cynicism, and open contempt for God
Theme: God’s steadfast love for his people is in stark contrast to their indifference, cynicism, and open contempt for God.
Date: 03/26/2017 File Name: MinorProphets17..wpd ID Number:
Date: 03/26/2017 File Name: MinorProphets17..wpd ID Number:
The book of Malachi begins with the words, "an Oracle: the word of the Lord to Israel…" It is the final word from God that the Jews would hear for a long time. Malachi is the last prophet of Israel would hear for the next 450 years. The next prophetic voice would be that of John the Baptist, who was the forerunner, and the herald of the coming Messiah.
The book of Malachi begins with the words, "an Oracle: the word of the Lord to Israel…" It is the final word from God that the Jews would hear for a long time. Malachi is the last prophet of Israel would hear for the next 450 years. The next prophetic voice would be that of John the Baptist, who was the forerunner, and the herald of the coming Messiah.
Although the urging of Haggai and Zechariah had brought the completion of the temple (516 B.C.), this had not produced the messianic age many expected. The warm response to Zechariah’s call to repentance had grown cold. Malachi, writing a short time later, called the people to repentance. They had grown skeptical of God’s love (1:2), careless in worship (1:7), indifferent to the truth (2:6–7), disobedient to the covenant (2:10), faithless in their marriages (2:15; 3:5), and stingy in their offerings (3:8).
The message Malachi delivers is in an interesting style. It’s conversational in nature. The style had been used by other prophets, but Malachi develops this technique to perfection. What Malachi does is present eight propositions — or charges — against the people of Israel. The Israelites mock God by throwing the question back in his face.
• God says, “I have loved you.” To which the people of God respond, “How have you loved us?”
• God says, “You have despised my name.” The people answered, “How have we despised your name?”
• God charges, “You have defiled my altar.” The people responded saying, “How have we polluted your altar?”
• God says, “I cannot accept your offerings.” The people cried out, “Why does he not accept our offerings?”
• God says, “You have wearied me with your words.” The people say, “How have we wearied you?”
• God cries out, “You have turned away from me. Return to me and I will return to you.” The people say, “How shall we return to you?”
• God says, “You have robbed me of tithes and offerings.” The people laugh and say, “How have we robbed you?”
• God says, “You have said harsh things against me.” To which the people respond, “How have we spoken against you?”
This is the spiritual climate in which Malachi finds himself. The nation of Israel has headed down the road of apostasy… again. God has raised Malachi up to rekindle fires of faith that have almost gone out.
1. An Ominous Message
2. An Obedient Servant
3. The Outstretched Arms of God

I. AN OMINOUS MESSAGE

1. the word Oracle is used for one of the few times it is found in the Scriptures
a. it refers not to the messenger, but to the message
b. it is a word that comes from a verb root that is often rendered as burden
2. the idea is that the message Malachi is about to deliver his message heavy to bear
a. whenever Oracle is used to designate a prophetic utterance, it is almost always an utterance that is threatening in nature
utterance that is threatening in nature
1) Malachi’s prophecies are surcharged with the wrath of God
2) he stands ready to pour his wrath’s dreadful contents onto these people if they do not repent
do not repent
b. the word of God is never light and trifling — it is always weighty and serious and heavy
heavy
c. the word of God comes to a prophet as a burden because it is so thick and rich with truth
truth
3. the other reason that the word of God is called a burden is because even when it’s good news, it will be rejected by many
good news, it will be rejected by many
ILLUS. The prophet Isaiah cried out (in 53:1), “Who has believed our report?”
a. the word of the Lord is a burden because it meets with opposition
a. the word of the Lord is a burden because it meets with opposition

A. MALACHI’S WORDS ARE ADDRESSED TO ALL OF ISRAEL

A. MALACHI’S WORDS ARE ADDRESSED TO ALL OF ISRAEL
1. these are not words of warning to the pagan or the heathen nations around Israel, but to the very people of God
to the very people of God
2. it is God’s covenant people who have turned a deaf ear to Yahweh
a. the real tragedy of any era is when God’s own people will not heed His word
1) we live in one of those eras
b. like the old E. F. Hutton commercials, God is about to speak and Israel had better pay attention
pay attention
1) and so should we

II. AN OBEDIENT SERVANT

1. who was Malachi?
a. simply put — we don’t know
b. there is no hint of information about his background, heritage, family, or character
c. his name means My Messenger, and this is the only place in the Old Testament where the name occurs
where the name occurs
d. even Jewish tradition has little to say about him
2. he preached during one of the darkest days of Israel’s history
a. most Jewish scholars believe that Malachi ministered shortly after the prophets Zechariah and Haggai, and in between Nehemiah’s two visits to Jerusalem
Zechariah and Haggai, and in between Nehemiah’s two visits to Jerusalem
b. if you remember, Nehemiah is a cupbearer to King Artaxerxes
1) learning that the remnant in Judah were in distress and that the walls of Jerusalem were broken down, he asked the king for permission to return and rebuild the city
Jerusalem were broken down, he asked the king for permission to return and rebuild the city
c. Artaxerxes sent him to Judah as governor of the province with a mission to rebuild
1) once there, Nehemiah defied the opposition of Judah's enemies on all sides and rebuilt the walls within 52 days
rebuilt the walls within 52 days
2) is also during this time that the prophets Zechariah and Haggai are preaching
a) under their insistence the temple is completed, religious reforms are instituted, and real revival sweeps through the people
and real revival sweeps through the people
b) unfortunately it will be a short-lived revival
d. after serving as Judah’s governor for 12 years, Nehemiah returns to Persia
1) how long Nehemiah remained there is not expressly said
2) we are told that, "after certain days," he returned to Jerusalem
a) that phraseology normally implies a number of years
e. so it is perhaps two or three years that Nehemiah is absent from Jerusalem and Judea
Judea
1) during that time the Israelites neglected God’s worship, and Jewish society begins to break down
begins to break down
2) the result of their backsliding is that crops are poor, fruit is failing, the priests have become corrupt, and the people have grown skeptical
have become corrupt, and the people have grown skeptical
3) underneath their breath people are murmuring “God doesn’t love us”
3. this is the period of Malachi’s prophecy

III. THE OUTSTRETCHED ARMS OF GOD

1. the people of Malachi’s day thought of God as a kind of heavenly broker who dispensed rewards and punishments in proportion to one’s merit
dispensed rewards and punishments in proportion to one’s merit
a. it was a brownie-point religion
1) when I do well God is pleased with me and will reward me with good
2) when I do bad God is displeased with me and will reward me with punishment
b. and, like most people, they had a fairly high opinion of themselves
2. because most of the people felt that God had not taken sufficient notice of their merits, they lodged a consumer’s complaint
they lodged a consumer’s complaint

A. THE COMPLAINT, GOD, YOU DON’T LOVE US ANYMORE

A. THE COMPLAINT, GOD, YOU DON’T LOVE US ANYMORE
1. Israel’s charge was, “God, you must not love us anymore. We are the blessings we deserve? God, were your people and your our God, but our enemies are better off than we are. God, it’s not fair. You must not love us.”
deserve? God, were your people and your our God, but our enemies are better off than we are. God, it’s not fair. You must not love us.”
ILLUS. It sounds childish doesn’t it? It’s a complaint most parents have probably heard At some point in their lives. You discipline your child, and the responses “You don’t love me anymore.”
some point in their lives. You discipline your child, and the responses “You don’t love me anymore.”
2. Israel is essentially playing games with God — it’s an attempt to manipulate
a. These people are in essence saying “You say you love us, well prove it!”
3. Malachi’s opening statement challenged this erroneous philosophy

B. THE RESPONSE, I HAVE LOVE YOU

B. THE RESPONSE, I HAVE LOVE YOU
1. through the prophet, God tells his people “You are in error — I do love you. Let me tell you how I have loved you”
tell you how I have loved you”
2. 1st, God tells Israel that he showed his love to them by choosing Jacob rather than choosing Esau
choosing Esau
a. here we enter into the mystery of God’s elective will
1) why did he choose the nation of Israel to be his chosen people?
2) the answer is ... because he wanted to
b. God loved Israel simply because he chose to love Israel and he reveals that by reminding them that he chose Jacob, therefore father, over Esau
reminding them that he chose Jacob, therefore father, over Esau
c. when Israel asks, “How have you loved us?” God is ready with an answer
My love for you is electing love because I chose you for myself above your brother Esau
• My love for you is unconditional love because I chose you before you had done anything good or evil—before you had met any conditions—while you were still in your mother’s womb ()
My love for you is unconditional love because I chose you before you had done anything good or evil—before you had met any conditions—while you were still in your mother’s womb ()
• My love for you is sovereign love because I was under no constraint to love you; I was not forced or coerced; I was totally in charge when I set my love upon you
My love for you is sovereign love because I was under no constraint to love you; I was not forced or coerced; I was totally in charge when I set my love upon you
And my love for you is free because it’s the overflow of my infinite grace that can never be bought
• And my love for you is free because it’s the overflow of my infinite grace that can never be bought
3. 2nd, God tells Israel that he shows his love to them by defeating their enemies, the Edomites
Edomites
“but Esau I have hated, and I have turned his mountains into a wasteland and left his inheritance to the desert jackals.” 4 Edom may say, “Though we have been crushed, we will rebuild the ruins.” But this is what the LORD Almighty says: “They may build, but I will demolish. They will be called the Wicked Land, a people always under the wrath of the LORD. 5 You will see it with your own eyes and say, ‘Great is the LORD—even beyond the borders of Israel!’” (, NIV84)
a. according to the prophet, Edom’s future prospects were as bleak as its present condition
condition
ILLUSl The dispossessed Edomites boasted that they would reclaim the land and rebuild their country. Yahweh declared that they would never be able to make good on their boasts. Every time the Edomites attempted to rebuild, Yahweh would “throw them down.” The Edomites were successively beaten down by the Nabataeans, the Macedonians, the Maccabees, the Romans and the Muslims.
rebuild their country. Yahweh declared that they would never be able to make good on their boasts. Every time the Edomites attempted to rebuild, Yahweh would “throw them down.” The Edomites were successively beaten down by the Nabataeans, the Macedonians, the Maccabees, the Romans and the Muslims.
b. Israel not only continues, but thrives ... and who has heard from Edom as of late?
How do we respond to all of this?
How do we respond to all of this?
First, never question God’s love for you. Richard Baxter 1600 English Puritan church leader, poet, hymn-writer, theologian, wrote the following, "The love which brought the Son of God's love from heaven to earth, from earth to the cross, from the cross to the grave, from the grave to glory — that love which was weary, hungry, tempted, scorned, scourged, buffeted, spat upon, crucified, pierced — which fasted, prayed, taught, healed, wept, sweated, bled, died, ... that love will eternally embrace you."
Second, never question God’s watch-care over you. Our enemies will be defeated. “Then death and Hades were thrown into the lake of fire. ... .” (, NIV84)
Related Media
Related Sermons