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If You Love God, You'll Love Being A Priest

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The priest and people fail to honor God in worship, Jesus comes as the perfect priest, and Christians should follow Jesus' example.

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Chicken Dinners

Introduction: Let’s just stop having church and start selling chicken dinners!!! That’s actually what one church did a few years ago.
Illustration: Chuck Swindoll in his book “The Church Awakening: An Urgent Call for Renewal” tells of another pastor perusing the Atlanta yellow pages a few years ago to find “Church of God Grill” and out of curiosity called to inquire how it got such a peculiar name. The real chipper guy on the phone told of how they had a little mission in the city and one day decided to start selling chicken dinners after worship on Sundays to help pay some bills. He went on to say, “Well, people like the chicken, and we did such a good business, that we started cutting back on the church stuff.” After a while they just decided to close the doors of the church, but they kept selling chicken dinners, continuing on with the name they started with, Church of God Grill.”
What do you imagine would cause or be the reason for a church closing its doors and doing such?
Malachi gives us an inclination as to the reason. In fact in the scripture we are about to read, God essentially tells the priest and He would rather they shut the doors of the Temple than to continue doing what they were doing.
READ TEXT
Malachi 1:6–14 NKJV
6 “A son honors his father, And a servant his master. If then I am the Father, Where is My honor? And if I am a Master, Where is My reverence? Says the Lord of hosts To you priests who despise My name. Yet you say, ‘In what way have we despised Your name?’ 7 “You offer defiled food on My altar, But say, ‘In what way have we defiled You?’ By saying, ‘The table of the Lord is contemptible.’ 8 And when you offer the blind as a sacrifice, Is it not evil? And when you offer the lame and sick, Is it not evil? Offer it then to your governor! Would he be pleased with you? Would he accept you favorably?” Says the Lord of hosts. 9 “But now entreat God’s favor, That He may be gracious to us. While this is being done by your hands, Will He accept you favorably?” Says the Lord of hosts. 10 “Who is there even among you who would shut the doors, So that you would not kindle fire on My altar in vain? I have no pleasure in you,” Says the Lord of hosts, “Nor will I accept an offering from your hands. 11 For from the rising of the sun, even to its going down, My name shall be great among the Gentiles; In every place incense shall be offered to My name, And a pure offering; For My name shall be great among the nations,” Says the Lord of hosts. 12 “But you profane it, In that you say, ‘The table of the Lord is defiled; And its fruit, its food, is contemptible.’ 13 You also say, ‘Oh, what a weariness!’ And you sneer at it,” Says the Lord of hosts. “And you bring the stolen, the lame, and the sick; Thus you bring an offering! Should I accept this from your hand?” Says the Lord. 14 “But cursed be the deceiver Who has in his flock a male, And takes a vow, But sacrifices to the Lord what is blemished— For I am a great King,” Says the Lord of hosts, “And My name is to be feared among the nations.
PRAYER
One could rightly assume the reason for that church closing its doors or any other one is more than likely the same reason God confronts the priest here…God was no longer honored in nor did He accept their worship. You can almost here the frustration and contempt…I just wish someone would shut the Temple doors so these people would no longer offer WORTHLESS WORSHIP on my altar.
The Priest of Israel were responsible for setting the standards and promoting the proper worship of God among His people. So, what we find first here from this scripture are God’s spiritual leaders and in turn God’s people who followed, being:
The Priest of Israel were responsible for setting the standards and promoting the proper worship of God among His people. So, what we find first here from this scripture are God’s spiritual leaders and in turn God’s people who followed, being:
Dishonorable Sons who gave:
Disrespectful Service and offered
Defiled Sacrifices
Yet, they thought nothing was wrong in their worship of God, showing so by their pretentious scoffing at God’s charge against them.
The example of godly leaders is helpful, but only the Savior is worthy of our worship and devotion.1506
Dishonorable sons:
God declares Israel as His first born Son. Israel is shown as an ungrateful Son. Isaiah begins with God’s complaint against His rebellious sons.
Exodus 4:22 NASB95
22 “Then you shall say to Pharaoh, ‘Thus says the Lord, “Israel is My son, My firstborn.
Hosea 11:1 NASB95
1 When Israel was a youth I loved him, And out of Egypt I called My son.
Hosea 11:1 NASB95
1 When Israel was a youth I loved him, And out of Egypt I called My son.
Exodus 4:22 NASB95
22 “Then you shall say to Pharaoh, ‘Thus says the Lord, “Israel is My son, My firstborn.
Isaiah 1:2 NASB95
2 Listen, O heavens, and hear, O earth; For the Lord speaks, “Sons I have reared and brought up, But they have revolted against Me.
God is the Father of Israel because:
He redeemed them
He nurtured them
He disciplined them
v.6 - Through Malachi, God says that even though sons honor their fathers, His Sons do not honor Him by despising His name. To despise means “to raise the head disdainfully” Or as claimed, They honored God with their heads (lips) not with their hearts. As many commentators affirm, “Worship is an attitude of one’s heart.” The word is derived from the old English word Worth-ship - “worthiness or acknowledgement of worth.”
In the case of God it is ascribing to Him the honor, respect, glory and majesty He is worth because of who He is and what He has done as our Creator and Redeemer. To honor someone is to consider them and their name as carrying a lot of weight.
Profaning God’s name meant they were ruining his reputation. Speaking half truths, down right lies or unfounded words of gossip about someone to others means you unjustly ruin their reputation. That is what the priest were doing to God by not taking worship seriously with:
Profaning God’s name meant they were ruining his reputation. Speaking half truths, down right lies or unfounded words of gossip about someone to others means you unjustly ruin their reputation. That is what the priest were doing to God by not taking worship seriously with:
Disrespectful Service:
v. 13 - Disrespectful service is treating the Holy as ordinary. There service to God had become monotonous, so much so they saw it as burdensome and cared not for doing it. It was the motions of ministry without the power of God in the ministry. Malachi notes their boredom with the rituals of worship, so their heads and hands were in it but not their hearts.
Ever hear the old saying “familiarity breeds contempt.”
Disrespectful service is treating the Holy as ordinary.
The priest were treating God with much indifference. They were pretending everything was okay in worship.
After attending church with his father one Sunday morning, before getting into bed that evening a little boy kneeled at his bedside and prayed, “Dear God, we had a good time at church today, but I wish you had been there.” (1500 illustrations book)
God declares that it is not okay. They cared more about what they would give the government than what they would give God because they were breaking the Levitcal laws with:
Defiled Sacrifices:
God set high standards for what he would accept as offerings and sacrifices in worship. In he says the animal must be an unblemished male, without defect, and perfect.
Leviticus 22:19–21 NASB95
19 for you to be accepted—it must be a male without defect from the cattle, the sheep, or the goats. 20 ‘Whatever has a defect, you shall not offer, for it will not be accepted for you. 21 ‘When a man offers a sacrifice of peace offerings to the Lord to fulfill a special vow or for a freewill offering, of the herd or of the flock, it must be perfect to be accepted; there shall be no defect in it.
These sacrifices required a lot, and giving such could be costly, especially if that ended up being the only one of the flock like that. They were giving God their left overs. They were giving God what they didn’t need or want.
If there is no sacrifice in your sacrifice then it’s not a sacrifice.
God’s standard was not an arbitrary one. It represented someone. It point forward to the Messiah. It cost Him something.
The Priest had lead the people:
To go through heartless worship instead of giving heart-filled worship
To show no care or concern for God’s majesty (worshipping Him not important anymore to them)
To wink at their own sin while condemning the people around them
To have no compassion or love for one another
To complain and cry over God’s refusal to bless their giving
To commit spiritual adultery
The impossibility of humanity to fulfill the requirements of God’s Law necessitated a substitute. That’s why we as Southern Baptist believe strongly in the Substitutionary Atonement. God promised the coming Messiah, Jesus Christ would be:
The Great High Priestly Son that would bring honor His Father -
God promised the coming Messiah, Jesus Christ would be:
Hebrews 13:15–16 NASB95
15 Through Him then, let us continually offer up a sacrifice of praise to God, that is, the fruit of lips that give thanks to His name. 16 And do not neglect doing good and sharing, for with such sacrifices God is pleased.
Hebrews 4:14 NASB95
14 Therefore, since we have a great high priest who has passed through the heavens, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold fast our confession.
The Suffering Servant who would surrender and Honor His Master -
Isaiah 52:13 NASB95
13 Behold, My servant will prosper, He will be high and lifted up and greatly exalted.
The Perfect Sacrifice, Lamb of God without spot, blemish or defect -
John 1:29 NASB95
29 The next day he saw Jesus coming to him and said, “Behold, the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world!
1 Peter 1:19 NASB95
19 but with precious blood, as of a lamb unblemished and spotless, the blood of Christ.
The sacrifice was made to create communion, seal the covenant, and establish commitment on the part of God.
The sacrifice was made to create communion, seal the covenant, and establish commitment on the part of God.
v. 9 - “accept” - the Hebrew word here covers 3 distinct semantic ranges that are important for us to note. 1 - meaning to lift (literally or figuratively) 2 - to bear or carry away guilt or punishment of sin (this is where we find the concept of representative or substitutionary bearing for another) 3 - to take away guilt or to forgive. God can never accept a human offerings seeking to remove their guilt of sin, but through the offering of Jesus on the cross God does all three of the things to which this word “accept” applies.
“accept” - the Hebrew word here covers 3 distinct semantic ranges that are important for us to note. 1 - meaning to lift (literally or figuratively) 2 - to bear or carry away guilt or punishment of sin (this is where we find the concept of representative or substitutionary bearing for another) 3 - to take away guilt or to forgive. God can never accept a human offerings seeking to remove their guilt of sin, but through the offering of Jesus on the cross God does all three of the things to which this word “accept” applies.
v. 11 - “pure” - in a moral and ceremonial sense, genuine. God judges the value of a sacrifice by the quality of the offerer’s heart. Jesus gave selflessly and sinlessly.
The priest of Malachi’s day had lowered the perceptions about God and the expectations of God causing others to think. “well if they live and worship like that then we should be okay.”
Since God gave his best, he expects the best from those who have been accepted and forgiven. This scriptural charge against priest is completely applicable to every Christian according to Peter.
1 Peter 2:9–10 NASB95
9 But you are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people for God’s own possession, so that you may proclaim the excellencies of Him who has called you out of darkness into His marvelous light; 10 for you once were not a people, but now you are the people of God; you had not received mercy, but now you have received mercy.
God expects then from each one of us who are the forgiven and saved people of God to be:
Respectful/Reverent in our Worship
Ready to serve as part of our worship
Real in our worship
Respectful/Reverent in Our Worship:
The priest modeled a lackadaisical/don’t care attitude of worship that had infected other people. That is disrespectful to God and harmful to others when we enter the building where we are supposed to worship together and we act and speak in ways that defame God’s name. When we talk about other people or other things in a negative or unhealthy manner it infects other people and dishonors God because it shows that the heart is here but filled with anything but respect and purity for worship of God.
Reverent Worship is:
The example of godly leaders is helpful, but only the Savior is worthy of our worship and devotion.1506 -
not quiet nor passionate
I would like to buy $3 worth of God, please. Not enough to explode my soul or disturb my sleep, but just enough to equal a cup of warm milk or a snooze in the sunshine. I don’t want enough of God to make me love a black man or pick beets with a migrant. I want ecstasy, not transformation. I want warmth of the womb, not a new birth. I want a pound of the Eternal in a paper sack. I would like to buy $3 worth of God, please.
not traditional music nor contemporary music
not somber nor energy filled
not emotionless nor pentecostal
not at one service nor at three services
Reverent Worship is focused on God and no one or nothing else. Reverent worship is heartfelt and heart-filled worship that magnifies God above all else.
[1] Michael P. Green. (2000). 1500 illustrations for biblical preaching (pp. 407–408). Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Books.
Worship is about God and no one or nothing else.
— Wilbur Rees, $3.00 Worth of God
Ready to Serve as part of our Worship:
A selfish and non-serving Christian is an oxymoron because that is not Christlike.
One-half of our problems come from wanting our own way. The other half come from getting it! 1213[1]
[1] Michael P. Green. (2000). 1500 illustrations for biblical preaching (p. 329). Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Books.
Don’t treat Holy things as ordinary things. Don’t treat ordinary things as Holy things. Don’t let worship become monotonous by coming, sitting, leaving and repeating. Our service and religious activity must be carried out with a heart filled with genuine love and gratitude then we will be:
Real in Our Worship:
We must never be priest who like those in Malachi’s day worshipped with impure and improper motives.
The priest went to be seen. The pharisees went to be seen. The hypocrites went to be seen. We have been forgiven and rescued from the fires of hell. When your heart gets the full picture of who Christ is and what He did for you, then you will never play games in worship again.
Hypocrisy is a facade painted just to give it a touch of reality.702[1]
The priest went to be seen. The pharisees went to be seen. The hypocrites went to be seen. We have been forgiven and rescued from the fires of hell. When your heart gets the full picture of who Christ is and what He did for you, then you will never play games in worship again.
When I was attending Beulah Baptist church, a bunch of us teens would go to my friends house behind the church and play war in the pasture where another member kept his cows. We played with the cow pies. We always aimed for the face. That is the picture God gives for a person who is fake in worship, smearing feces on their face.
Conclusion: I have a love-hate relationship with sermon preparation. See I love doing it, but I hate when God crawls up in my heart with that deep conviction. See he tells me I need to be through:
Let’s be through with meaningless ministry
Let’s be through with selfishness in our services
Let’s be through with religious rituals
Let’s be through with Casual Christianity
Let’s be through with Worthless Worship
A church that is filled with those things is one with people that says “God we believe in you, but You don’t inspire us anymore. We like you but you don’t excite us.” That says, “We know you are up there, but we are down here.” That says, “We will follow the parts of the Bible we want to follow. Do what we want. Give what we want. Come to church when we want and not come when we want.”
We can fool other church members. We can fool our spouses. We can fool our family members. You can fool your SS teacher. You can fool your pastor. You can fool your co-workers. We can fool our community, but we can never fool God.
Let’s be through with those attitudes and be people who love God and love to be priest of God to show others the proper worship God requires and deserves. Worship is not about the when, the where, the what or the how, worship is about the who, and the who is God. Worship is the expression of reverence and adoration of God. Worship is our awe-filled response to the saving acts of God and the praise worthy character of God. The work of Christ on the cross was to transform rebels into worshipers of God.

Invitation to Respond

Let’s do as Paul says in present our selves as living sacrifices, holy and acceptable to God.
“The only problem with ‘living sacrifices’ is that they keep crawling off the altar.”
Today, first I want to invite you, that if you have not ask Jesus to be the sacrifice for your sins that you could not be, to do it right now. Repent and turn to God away from your sin. Ask His forgiveness and surrender your life to Him.
If you are a Christian and have crawled off the altar of sacrifice to God in worship come back and surrender yourself like Jesus did, saying “not my will be done but thy will father.” The good news of the gospel is that when we can’t be or fail to be the priest God needs us to be, when we don’t love being priest, Jesus does for us. Let Him do it right now.
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