Faithlife Sermons

Major Message from the Minor Prophets: A Corrupted Priesthood Leads to a Corrupted People — Malachi

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

A major problem in our nation today is that many spiritual leaders have been corrupted.

Notes & Transcripts
Sermon Tone Analysis
A
D
F
J
S
Emotion
A
C
T
Language
O
C
E
A
E
Social
View more →
Text:
A Corrupted Priesthood Leads to a Corrupted People — Malachi
Text:
Theme: A major problem in our nation today is that many spiritual leaders have been corrupted.
Theme: A major problem in our nation today is that many spiritual leaders have been corrupted.
A major problem in our nation today is that many spiritual leaders have been corrupted, compromised, and discredited. Every generation has had its sad stories of failed ministers. Names like Jim Baker, Ted Haggard, Jimmy Swaggart, are names associated with sexual indiscretion. Robert Tilton, and Creflo Dollar are associated with greed and avarice. Then there are the outright false prophets like Benny Hinn, and religious phonies like Peter Popoff. And who can forget Oral Roberts who claimed that God had appeared to him and told Oral that he would smite him dead if he did not raise $8 million within 12 months. And let’s not forget the Catholic Clergy pedophile scandal that saw diocese across the nation attempting to cover-up thousands of child abuse cases, moving offending priests from one congregation to another where they found new victims, and the eventual unmasking of the scandal. Over the last fifty years, the Church has paid out $4 billion dollars in costs related to the priest sex abuse crisis. Is it any wonder that a George Barna survey entitled The State of Pastors (released just three weeks ago) found that 28% of the American public have a negative opinion of clergy. Another 25% has “little regard” for clergy. A whole 24% like us — and that’s only because they personally know us.
A major problem in our nation today is that many spiritual leaders have been corrupted, compromised, and discredited. Every generation has had its sad stories of failed ministers. Names like Jim Baker, Ted Haggard, Jimmy Swaggart, are names associated with sexual indiscretion. Robert Tilton, and Creflo Dollar are associated with greed and avarice. Then there are the outright false prophets like Benny Hinn, and religious phonies like Peter Popoff. And who can forget Oral Roberts who claimed that God had appeared to him and told Oral that he would smite him dead if he did not raise $8 million within 12 months. And let’s not forget the Catholic Clergy pedophile scandal that saw diocese across the nation attempting to cover-up thousands of child abuse cases, moving offending priests from one congregation to another where they found new victims, and the eventual unmasking of the scandal. Over the last fifty years, the Church has paid out $4 billion dollars in costs related to the priest sex abuse crisis. Is it any wonder that a George Barna survey entitled The State of Pastors (released just three weeks ago) found that 28% of the American public have a negative opinion of clergy. Another 25% has “little regard” for clergy. A whole 24% like us — and that’s only because they personally know us.
As we will see from this evening’s text problems in the priesthood are nothing new.

I. MALACHI’S ACCUSATION OF A DISREPUTABLE PRIESTHOOD

I. MALACHI’S ACCUSATION OF A DISREPUTABLE PRIESTHOOD
1. I must admit, that the subject matter of these verses is uncomfortable
a. they make, or should make, all preachers do some serious evaluating of their calling to ministry, and practice of ministry
calling to ministry, and practice of ministry
2. Yahweh, speaking through His prophet Malachi, is zeroing in on one of the reasons for the spiritual apathy which hangs over the nation of Israel
the spiritual apathy which hangs over the nation of Israel
a. it rested in the immoral, the irreligious, and the disrespectful attitudes and actions of Israel’s priests
Israel’s priests
1) when the priests of God were faithful, the entire nation was blessed
2) when they were not, the entire nation suffer the consequences

A. MALACHI’S FIRST ACCUSATION — THE PRIESTS HAVE DESPISED GOD’S NAME

A. MALACHI’S FIRST ACCUSATION — THE PRIESTS HAVE DESPISED GOD’S NAME
“A son honors his father, and a servant his master. If I am a father, where is the honor due me? If I am a master, where is the respect due me?” says the LORD Almighty. “It is you, O priests, who show contempt for my name.” But you ask, “How have we shown contempt for your name?” (, NIV84)
me? If I am a master, where is the respect due me?” says the LORD Almighty. “It is you, O
priests, who show contempt for my name.” But you ask, “How have we shown contempt for
your name?” (, NIV84)
1. God begins with a proposition
a. as a general rule, sons honor their fathers, and servants honor their masters
b. God then poses the question: "If I am a father, where is the honor due me? If I am a master, where is the respect due me?"
master, where is the respect due me?"
1) who in Israel would dare to dishonor God? — these are God’s covenant people after all
after all
2) of all the people groups in the world, the Levitical Priests are the ones who should know him best!
should know him best!
2. God, Himself, accuses these priests of dishonoring His name
a. in vs. 11 God even predicts that the time will come when His name will be held in greater esteem among the Gentile nations then it is in Israel
greater esteem among the Gentile nations then it is in Israel
ILLUS. That prophecy has come true. In Israel today fully 50% of the population of Jewish descent considers themselves "Secular". Secular Jews are those Jews who consider themselves Jewish by ethnicity, and language, but not by religion. In fact secular Jews have no religious practice. They may observe some Jewish holidays such as Passover and Yom Kippur, but do so as many nonreligious Americans celebrate Christmas and Easter. Most will refer to themselves as nonpracticing Jews.
3. twice in this passage God says, "I am a great God"
a. in Malachi’s day God was neither reverenced nor feared, just ignored, and this disrespect for God was especially prevalent among the priests
disrespect for God was especially prevalent among the priests
b. in Hebrew thought, a name was more than just a convenient way of addressing another person
another person
1) a person’s name represented the essence of his or her character, and parents gave their children names hopping it would give guidance to their personality
gave their children names hopping it would give guidance to their personality
ILLUS. It’s why in America, after 240 years, you don’t find many young men named Benedict.
Benedict.
2) you’ll remember in the New Testament that the angel told Mary that she would call her son "Jesus" because he would “save his people from their sins"
call her son "Jesus" because he would “save his people from their sins"
3) Jesus in original Hebrew, means Savior
c. God tells the priests that instead of "honoring me you have actually despised my name"
name"
1) the word despised here means to raise the head disdainfully
a) in essence, they had thumbed their noses at God
4. this accusation brings shock and unbelief to the lips of the priests
a. "How have we despised your name?" they retort, "We’ve never said one word against you!"
against you!"
b. their actions have spoken volumes
c. that leads us to the prophet’s second accusation ...

B. MALACHI’S SECOND ACCUSATION — THE PRIESTS HAVE DESECRATED GOD’S ALTAR

B. MALACHI’S SECOND ACCUSATION — THE PRIESTS HAVE DESECRATED GOD’S
ALTAR
“You place defiled food on my altar. “But you ask, ‘How have we defiled you?’ “By saying that the LORD’s table is contemptible. 8 When you bring blind animals for sacrifice, is that not wrong? When you sacrifice crippled or diseased animals, is that not wrong? Try offering them to your governor! Would he be pleased with you? Would he accept you?” says the LORD Almighty.” (, NIV84)
1. they have despised God's name by offering God second best, and keeping the choice for themselves
for themselves
a. God accuses them of offering defiled food
1) the table refers to the altar of sacrifice that stood in the courtyard outside the temple
temple
2) God accuses them of offering Him crippled and diseased animals ... is that not wrong???
wrong???
ILLUS. My guess is that most people have “re-gifted” items they got for a present, that was a duplicate of something they already had. But most of us have the graciousness to re-gift the new or unused present, and not the one we’ve been using. What young married couple wants to open the toaster box only to have a bunch of crumbs fall out?
that was a duplicate of something they already had. But most of us have the graciousness to re-gift the new or unused present, and not the one we’ve been using. What young married couple wants to open the toaster box only to have a bunch of crumbs fall out?
3) we don’t offer second-best to friends or family, so why would we think about doing so with God?
doing so with God?
2. God demanded a spotless, perfect sacrifice because it was a representation of the spotless Lamb of God that He would offer for sinners condemned unclean
spotless Lamb of God that He would offer for sinners condemned unclean

C. MALACHI’S THIRD ACCUSATION — WORSHIP HAS BECOME CONTEMPTIBLE

C. MALACHI’S THIRD ACCUSATION — WORSHIP HAS BECOME CONTEMPTIBLE
1. not only have they defiled the altar, but worship itself has become contemptible ... unworthy of their time and effort
unworthy of their time and effort
a. they have despised God's name by letting ministry become a burden
2. God declares that He would just as soon they close the doors of the Temple, and let the fires on the altar go out then continue to feign worship
the fires on the altar go out then continue to feign worship
“Oh, that one of you would shut the temple doors, so that you would not light useless fires on my altar! I am not pleased with you,” says the LORD Almighty, “and I will accept no offering from your hands.” (, NIV84)
ILLUS. In 1511 Luther and another monk were sent to Rome to carry out some business of the Augustinian Order, of which they were apart. Luther was given ten gold florins to take care of his needs. The two traveled on foot and found food and lodging in monasteries along the way. Luther was bothered by the luxurious living, the loose morals, and the lack of interest in spiritual things among the monks they visited. Nevertheless, Luther still held high expectations for Rome itself. He would be sorely disappointed. The more Luther saw of the city, the more his reverence for Rome turned to loathing. In one of the church where Luther was permitted to say Mass, the priest superintending the visiting priests who were performing the ceremony kept whispering to Luther, “Passa, passa, passa…” which is Italian for “Hurry it up…get a move on.” In another place, Luther recounted that one of the priests next to him had completed seven masses while he was still working on his first. The priest turned and spoke sharply to him saying, “Hurry up and send the Son back to His mother.” Luther would later write: “The city, which I had greeted as holy, was a sink hole of iniquity; its priests were openly infidel, and scoffed at the services they performed; the papal court attendants were men of the most shameless lives. He ends his quote with the Italian proverb, “If there is a hell, Rome is built over it.”
of the Augustinian Order, of which they were apart. Luther was given ten gold florins to take care of his needs. The two traveled on foot and found food and lodging in monasteries along the way. Luther was bothered by the luxurious living, the loose morals, and the lack of interest in spiritual things among the monks they visited. Nevertheless, Luther still held high expectations for Rome itself. He would be sorely disappointed.
The more Luther saw of the city, the more his reverence for Rome turned to loathing. In one of the church where Luther was permitted to say Mass, the priest superintending the visiting priests who were performing the ceremony kept whispering to Luther, “Passa, passa, passa…” which is Italian for “Hurry it up…get a move on.” In another place, Luther recounted that one of the priests next to him had completed seven masses while he was still working on his first. The priest turned and spoke sharply to him saying, “Hurry up and send the Son back to His mother.”
Luther would later write: “The city, which I had greeted as holy, was a sink hole of iniquity; its priests were openly infidel, and scoffed at the services they performed; the papal court attendants were men of the most shameless lives. He ends his quote with the Italian proverb, “If there is a hell, Rome is built over it.”
3. like I said, every generation has had its sad stories of failed ministers

D. MALACHI’S FORTH ACCUSATION — THE PRIESTS HAVE PERVERTED TRUTH

D. MALACHI’S FORTH ACCUSATION — THE PRIESTS HAVE PERVERTED TRUTH
“And you will know that I have sent you this admonition so that my covenant with Levi may continue,” says the LORD Almighty. 5 “My covenant was with him, a covenant of life and peace, and I gave them to him; this called for reverence and he revered me and stood in awe of my name. 6 True instruction was in his mouth and nothing false was found on his lips. He walked with me in peace and uprightness, and turned many from sin. 7 “For the lips of a priest ought to preserve knowledge, and from his mouth men should seek instruction—because he is the messenger of the LORD Almighty. 8 But you have turned from the way and by your teaching have caused many to stumble; you have violated the covenant with Levi,” says the LORD Almighty. 9 “So I have caused you to be despised and humiliated before all the people, because you have not followed my ways but have shown partiality in matters of the law.”” (, NIV84)
1. God begins with passage by commending Levi and holding him up as an example for the priests of Malachi’s day
the priests of Malachi’s day
a. Levi reverenced God and all that the Lord’s name stood for
b. he taught truth, and not falsehood
c. he walked with God in peace and uprightness
d. he taught God’s people to turn away from their sin
c. he preserved the knowledge of God and passed it on to subsequent generations
2. this is what the priests of God are to do, and it is what God accuses the priests of Malachi’s day for failing to do
Malachi’s day for failing to do
a. one of the primary responsibilities of a Jewish priest was the instruction of the people in the ways of God
people in the ways of God
b. the Jewish priests failed in this task and the result is many in Israel have stumbled
3. the result is that the priesthood has become a laughingstock to the common people of Israel
Israel
a. they are "despised", and they have been "humiliated before all the people"

II. GOD’S SOLEMN WARNING — HONOR ME OR ELSE!

“And now this admonition is for you, O priests. 2 If you do not listen, and if you do not set your heart to honor my name,” says the LORD Almighty, “I will send a curse upon you, and I will curse your blessings. Yes, I have already cursed them, because you have not set your heart to honor me. 3 “Because of you I will rebuke your descendants; I will spread on your faces the offal from your festival sacrifices, and you will be carried off with it.” (, NIV84)
1. if the common people of Israel are going to honor the name of God, then God’s priests must show the way
must show the way
ILLUS. The prophet Hosea had quipped, "Like people, like priests"
a. our God is not only an awesome God, he is a fearsome God who does not take
a. our God is not only an awesome God, he is a fearsome God who does not take lightly the disrespect of the creature
lightly the disrespect of the creature
“I tell you, my friends, do not be afraid of those who kill the body and after that can do no more. 5 But I will show you whom you should fear: Fear him who, after the killing of the body, has power to throw you into hell. Yes, I tell you, fear him.” (, NIV84)
b. In the Gospels, we find the disciples asking Jesus to teach them how to pray
1) what’s the very first admonition of the prayer he taught them? “Our father, who is in heaven, hollowed be thy name.”
who is in heaven, hollowed be thy name.”
2. there are consequences for not honoring God’s name ... O priests. 2 If you do not listen, and if you do not set your heart to honor my name,” says the LORD Almighty, “I will send a curse upon you
listen, and if you do not set your heart to honor my name,” says the LORD Almighty, “I will send a curse upon you

II. LESSONS FROM

1. the narrow focus of the message is for ministers, pastors, and priests
a. God has given us a tremendous responsibility
b. ministers, pastors, and priests are to be spiritual leaders
1) they are to be the preachers, the teachers, and the disciplers of God’s flock
2. the broader focus of the message is for all of God’s people because we are all priests (if you think I’m letting you all off the hook tonight, you’re crazy!
priests (if you think I’m letting you all off the hook tonight, you’re crazy!
“As you come to him, the living Stone—rejected by men but chosen by God and precious to him— 5 you also, like living stones, are being built into a spiritual house to be a holy priesthood, offering spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ.” (, NIV84)
“But you are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people belonging to God, that you may declare the praises of him who called you out of darkness into his wonderful light.” (, NIV84)
• “But you are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people belonging to God, that you may declare the praises of him who called you out of darkness into his wonderful light.” (, NIV84)

A. THE CALAMITY OF PRIESTLY FAILURE

A. THE CALAMITY OF PRIESTLY FAILURE
ILLUS. In 1966 at the first World Congress on Evangelism, held in Berlin, Germany, Billy Graham addressed the more than twelve hundred evangelical delegates from more than one hundred countries on the theme “Stains on the Altar,” suggesting that many of even these outstanding evangelical leaders had been offering God defiled sacrifices in these areas:
Their conversion. Many preach who are not genuinely saved. Richard Baxter, a Puritan Pastor of the 18th century once said, “God never saved any man for being a preacher.”
Their call to service. Many preach who have no call from God to do so, and thousands more are not sure they belong in the ministry, and probably don’t.
Their devotional life. In a recent survey conducted at a theological seminary in the United States ninety-three percent of the students acknowledged that they had no devotional life whatever.
Their message. Countless preachers offer a watered-down, man-pleasing message instead of the true and disturbing message of the Word of God.
Their social concern. We are surrounded by people with immense needs. Many pastors as well as laymen are unconcerned.
Their evangelism. One of the great old preachers said, “I preach always as a dying man to dying men.” Yet many preachers talk as if life is unending, hell is a fantasy, and faith in the Lord Jesus Christ is unnecessary for salvation. How can ministers of the Word of God become so unconcerned, so careless?
Their relationship to their brethren. Many preachers have allowed minor doctrinal matters and jealousies to divide them and weaken their ministries
Their relationship to their brethren. Many preachers have allowed minor doctrinal matters and jealousies to divide them and weaken their ministries
1. the most important thing any congregation can do is pray for a depth in their pastor’s
1. the most important thing any congregation can do is pray for a depth in their pastor’s spiritual life
spiritual life

B. THE CALAMITY OF CARELESS WORSHIP

B. THE CALAMITY OF CARELESS WORSHIP
1. Malachi leaves us in no doubt about the origin of careless worship
a. it is the failure to see and feel the greatness of God
b. he makes this clear in at least three ways
2. 1st Failing to See the Greatness of God’s Sovereign Love
3. 2nd, Failing to See the Greatness of His Majestic Fatherhood
4. 3rd, Failing to Worship the Greatness of God’s Sovereign Love and Majestic Fatherhood
Fatherhood
God is holy and righteous, a mighty King, whose name is to be feared! The people had somehow, in the comfort of the familiar, lost their focus on who God is. They got caught up in themselves and the rituals of worship, and lost sight on the purpose of their worship — “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your strength.”
somehow, in the comfort of the familiar, lost their focus on who God is. They got caught up in themselves and the rituals of worship, and lost sight on the purpose of their worship — “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your strength.”
Related Media
Related Sermons