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God's Love is Not Mediocre

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Malachi 1:1–5 ESV
1 The oracle of the word of the Lord to Israel by Malachi. 2 “I have loved you,” says the Lord. But you say, “How have you loved us?” “Is not Esau Jacob’s brother?” declares the Lord. “Yet I have loved Jacob 3 but Esau I have hated. I have laid waste his hill country and left his heritage to jackals of the desert.” 4 If Edom says, “We are shattered but we will rebuild the ruins,” the Lord of hosts says, “They may build, but I will tear down, and they will be called ‘the wicked country,’ and ‘the people with whom the Lord is angry forever.’ ” 5 Your own eyes shall see this, and you shall say, “Great is the Lord beyond the border of Israel!”
Malachi 1:1–5 ESV
1 The oracle of the word of the Lord to Israel by Malachi. 2 “I have loved you,” says the Lord. But you say, “How have you loved us?” “Is not Esau Jacob’s brother?” declares the Lord. “Yet I have loved Jacob 3 but Esau I have hated. I have laid waste his hill country and left his heritage to jackals of the desert.” 4 If Edom says, “We are shattered but we will rebuild the ruins,” the Lord of hosts says, “They may build, but I will tear down, and they will be called ‘the wicked country,’ and ‘the people with whom the Lord is angry forever.’ ” 5 Your own eyes shall see this, and you shall say, “Great is the Lord beyond the border of Israel!”
Malachi 1:1–5 ESV
1 The oracle of the word of the Lord to Israel by Malachi. 2 “I have loved you,” says the Lord. But you say, “How have you loved us?” “Is not Esau Jacob’s brother?” declares the Lord. “Yet I have loved Jacob 3 but Esau I have hated. I have laid waste his hill country and left his heritage to jackals of the desert.” 4 If Edom says, “We are shattered but we will rebuild the ruins,” the Lord of hosts says, “They may build, but I will tear down, and they will be called ‘the wicked country,’ and ‘the people with whom the Lord is angry forever.’ ” 5 Your own eyes shall see this, and you shall say, “Great is the Lord beyond the border of Israel!”
How do we drive home the truth that we do not serve a mediocre God, we do not have a mediocre savior, and God’s love is not a love that is mediocre?
Read as a group
Well, we sit down, we pull up a chair, we get in front of a mirror, we pull out the magnifying glass, we open our Bibles and we start asking God to show us what we need to be shown. There’s just no other way for true spiritual change, for genuine spiritual transformation.
I like to eat but sometimes I need to do the hard work of exercising more, eating right, and doing the things that get me back on track. It’s not fun, it’s inconvenient to admit I need to make changes in my lifestyle but it’s absolutely necessary.
That’s the book of Malachi. That’s why
(1) This is no mediocre book of the bible (1:1)
Malachi 1:1 ESV
The oracle of the word of the Lord to Israel by Malachi.
This prophetic book is (1) from the Lord, (2) it is for the people of God, (3) Malachi has been told by God to hit us hard with God’s truth.
The word oracle is literally “burden.” The burden of the word. No other prophet uses both of these words. Malachi was given a responsibility, a serious message. This is no mediocre word from God. Malachi is no mediocre book of the bible.
That’s the book of Malachi. The people were spiritually lazy, they weren’t doing the right things and Malachi comes along and says, Hey, no more excuses. Do the hard work.
That’s the book of Malachi. The people were spiritually lazy, they weren’t doing the right things and Malachi comes along and says, Hey, no more excuses. Do the hard work.
What about us, what about you? I want the blessing. And I want the easy path. I want the filling. But I don’t want to be emptied of the rebellious man within me. I need the Holy Spirit to come along and say, Hey, no more excuses. Do the hard work.
That’s the book of Malachi.
One other thing: You need to understand when this took place.
The funniest joke ever written...
In the book of Malachi, the nation of Israel, the people of God, are the snail. God is like the guy at the door. Israel was thrown into captivity because of their spiritual and moral wickedness and now that they are back in the promised land and not prospering they are questioning God and basically saying, What’s up with that?
One last thing: You need to understand when this took place.
Looking back, the people had returned to Jerusalem under Ezra and Nehemiah. Two men whose names are also the names of books in the Bible. The had rebuilt the protective walls around the city for defense and rebuilt the temple for worship. But they did not defend themselves spiritually against apathy and they did not worship the Lord in spirit and in truth. They were happy and proud to be back in the land but their hearts were far from the Lord.
Looking ahead, Malachi is the last book of the Hebrew Scriptures. It is the last words that God gave to his people before the coming of the savior Jesus Christ 400 years later. God is essentially saying, Walls and temples are great, nice homes, and large bank accounts, and new cars are great. Education, and 401k’s and lavish vacations are great. Coming to church is great, singing worship songs is great, hanging out with friends and other believers is great.
But I want your heart, I want genuine worship, I want to be glorified, says the Lord.
That’s the book of Malachi
Three questions I need to ask myself about God’s word, God’s work in my life, and God’s control of my life.
What’s your view of the Bible? What’s your view of the OT? Does the OT have anything to say to you? Read and explain what this means in your own words.
Do you want God’s blessing? Do you want the filling of his Spirit? Are you willing to do the hard things are do you want the easy path?
What are you holding back from God? Are you taking the easy path and saying, With God, good enough is good enough? What are some areas in your life that you know are not fully surrendered to the Lord?
(2) God’s love is not a mediocre love, it’s a perfecting love (1:2-4)
This book is all about God’s people needing to be hit hard by the realization that they were straying from God. But the first thing God wants to say is, I love you. But it’s not an emotional, wishy washy love. God’s love is a perfecting love, a love that moves us to ward becoming more like Jesus.
Malachi 1:2 ESV
“I have loved you,” says the Lord. But you say, “How have you loved us?” “Is not Esau Jacob’s brother?” declares the Lord. “Yet I have loved Jacob
Malachi 1:2–4 ESV
2 “I have loved you,” says the Lord. But you say, “How have you loved us?” “Is not Esau Jacob’s brother?” declares the Lord. “Yet I have loved Jacob 3 but Esau I have hated. I have laid waste his hill country and left his heritage to jackals of the desert.” 4 If Edom says, “We are shattered but we will rebuild the ruins,” the Lord of hosts says, “They may build, but I will tear down, and they will be called ‘the wicked country,’ and ‘the people with whom the Lord is angry forever.’ ”
Malachi 1:3–4 ESV
3 but Esau I have hated. I have laid waste his hill country and left his heritage to jackals of the desert.” 4 If Edom says, “We are shattered but we will rebuild the ruins,” the Lord of hosts says, “They may build, but I will tear down, and they will be called ‘the wicked country,’ and ‘the people with whom the Lord is angry forever.’ ”
Here’s another way to look at the book of Malachi: The funniest joke ever written...
Here’s another way to look at the book of Malachi: The funniest joke ever written...
Here’s another way to look at the book of Malachi: The funniest joke ever written...
In the book of Malachi, the nation of Israel, the people of God, are the snail. God is like the guy at the door. Israel was thrown into captivity because of their spiritual and moral wickedness and now that they are back in the promised land and not prospering they are questioning God and basically saying, What’s up with that? Hey God, how have you loved us? We’re not feeling the love.
So God tells them about Esau and Jacob
Malachi 1:1–5 ESV
1 The oracle of the word of the Lord to Israel by Malachi. 2 “I have loved you,” says the Lord. But you say, “How have you loved us?” “Is not Esau Jacob’s brother?” declares the Lord. “Yet I have loved Jacob 3 but Esau I have hated. I have laid waste his hill country and left his heritage to jackals of the desert.” 4 If Edom says, “We are shattered but we will rebuild the ruins,” the Lord of hosts says, “They may build, but I will tear down, and they will be called ‘the wicked country,’ and ‘the people with whom the Lord is angry forever.’ ” 5 Your own eyes shall see this, and you shall say, “Great is the Lord beyond the border of Israel!”
Abraham, Isaac, Jacob and Joseph
Stop for a sec. The first book of the bible, Genesis talks about about a family legacy of 4 very important men. The first is Abraham in . Who’s the next child, then grandchild, then great grand child in this legacy?
Malachi 1:1-5
So Jacob is the grandchild. And Esau was his brother. But who was older?
Jacob and Esau - Three big things in these chapters (1) The rivalry, the favoritism, the deceptions
Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, Joseph - The rivalry, the favortism, the deceptions
Jacob was refined by God. The deceiver was deceived, the controller was controlled, the one who made his own way had to learn to trust God’s way.
Scan and look for examples of the rivalry, favoritism, and deceptions that characterized the lives of Jacob and Esau
How would you feel if you had grown up in a family like this and had parents or a sibling like this?
Do you relate more to Jacob or to Esau?
Are you resenting God’s hard work in your life? Do you feel like God doesn’t love you because of challenges he has placed in your life? Do you equate love with comfort and not challenge?
I know God loves me because:
(1) His son suffered and died for me
(2) He has allowed difficult circumstances to come into my life in order to make me more like Jesus.
(3) He is allowing circumstances beyond my control to teach me that I need to spend more time with him in prayer and learning each day how to lean on him and trust him.
(3) A great God wants more than a mediocre church (1:5)
Malachi 1:5 ESV
Your own eyes shall see this, and you shall say, “Great is the Lord beyond the border of Israel!”
Mediocre - of only moderate quality; not very good.
Mediocrity - the quality or state of being mediocre.
Mediocracy - a dominant class consisting of mediocre people, or a system in which mediocrity is rewarded.
The last book of the OT and the last book of the NT
Revelation 3:16 ESV
So, because you are lukewarm, and neither hot nor cold, I will spit you out of my mouth.
1 Timothy 1:5 ESV
5 The aim of our charge is love that issues from a pure heart and a good conscience and a sincere faith.
1 Timothy 1:6 ESV
6 Certain persons, by swerving from these, have wandered away into vain discussion,
1 Timothy 1:7 ESV
7 desiring to be teachers of the law, without understanding either what they are saying or the things about which they make confident assertions.
Definition of mediocre
1 timothy 12
Revelation 3:16 ESV
So, because you are lukewarm, and neither hot nor cold, I will spit you out of my mouth.
Revelation
Our burden should be to become everything we can in Christ, to obey everything we find in God’s word, and to share God’s greatness with everyone we meet. Anything but mediocre believers happy to be in a mediocre church.
Mediocracy
What do you think of this statement?
We aim for perfection and settle for excellence
Malachi: Overcoming Spiritual Mediocrity
Instead we settle for mediocre. The days go by, the years pass, and nothing of substance changes. Not in our lives, not in the lives of those around us, not in our community.
I commit to overcome mediocrity by:
(1) Treating the word with greater respect and reverence
(2) Allowing God’s refining and purifying love to make me more like Jesus
(3) To not settle to be like anyone else if that means settling for anything but a passionate love for our great Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.
How will you personally respond to these three challenges?
The difference between spiritual mediocrity and hypocrisy:
You don’t qualify as a hypocrite if (1) you are aware of your shortcomings and seek true spiritual change, (2) you are not leading others away from true worship and dependence on the Lord, (3) you are not pretending to be a believer on the outside but inside you are spiritually dead. I could go on but it's all covered in .
You may be spiritually mediocre if:
Malachi: Overcoming Spiritual Mediocrity
If you’re new to church you’ll like this series. Say it with me, “God hates hypocrites and so should I!”
Imagine you’ve been
Jacob was refined by God
Other nations are gone
Great is the Lord
We need to draw near to the Lord (James)
Other nations are gone
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