Church, thank you for being here today here on this last Sunday of 2019 that's hard for me to believe it's even harder for me to believe because yesterday my oldest child celebrated her 11th birthday.
Right that is a testimony to God's grace and goodness right there, but it got me to thinking I must be old or heading that direction. But birthdays and Christmas and Thanksgiving and the whole holiday season is always fun. It doesn't matter when they come but it does so celebrations in life are fun New Year's are somewhat. Difference right New Year's having a party, you know, the church is going to gather together and I'd encourage you guys too too, to be a part of that. We're going to gather together on Tuesday. We're going to ring in the New Year so to speak but there's something different about New Years that you don't get with some of the other celebrations you get this this vision for the future you get some excitement about what's coming and I've given up on New Year's resolutions. I'll tell you that right now. I've proven to be not very good at keeping them. So I just don't make him anymore but even so thanks brother. I appreciate that right but but even so there is something about the fresh opportunity that a new year gifts are there is something about hey, I've got a clean slate a new new chance. Let's do something different. Let's make 20 20 different than 2019. Well, that's true for each of us. We can look at this new year and say hey there's a new It's truth rest of the church, you know, we'd three years ago adopted Vision 20/20 will guess what 20/20 is here? Right and so there's some new opportunities coming up. I look forward to next Sunday the first Sunday in 2020. I look forward to kind of talking with you guys some more about how the Lord is leading. Some of the things were going to try to focus on as the family here as as the fellowship here. And so that's all coming up. But before we get to all of that we still have this last of the prophets and four months now we've been looking at these Old Testament prophets and we've been considering their words. We looked at prophets who spoke years before God's judgment said y'all better repent or else God is going to judge you we look at a nation refuse to listen and so we see Prophet to speak to these Exiles enduring the Judgment of God and these Exiles than have to deal with the fact that their sin their unrepentant. Welcome to this place and how are they going to respond? Are they going to repent are they going to be different? We see the people removed from their eggs that we see them taken back to the land and they've got this new opportunity. What are they going to do? How are they going to live? What are they going to choose? And then we come to Malachi Malachi is the last book of your Old Testament. It's also he's also the last prophet speaking years after the others had the Judgment has been threatened. The Judgment has come the Exile took place, and now they've returned and they've kind of gotten used to things back home in Israel. God's people have settled in. And Malachi says you have not settled. In a good place you haven't learned you haven't changed all that. God did all that the prophets spoke. You heard and yet you're no different now. Malachi becomes kind of the jumping-off point for the people of got because after Malachi, there's no word from God for 400 years. Plus there's there's no profit who speaks there's just this ritual of religion. Did they just keep doing until Matthew and the other gospels opening were introduced to Jesus, but Malachi is the last gasp of the old before the new comes and I think it's entirely appropriate. That is we come to the last gasp of 2019. We get to look at Malakai and we get to consider his message for us, especially his message here on the brink of a new year. And so I want you to turn to the Book of Malachi. I want us to to look at this into think is Malachi's message for the people of his day. And then what does that have to say to us as if you found the Book of Malachi if you if you don't have a Bible, that's okay. There should be one under a seat in front of you use your phone. Use what you brought just Malik. I will have it up on the screen to but look at Malachi chapter 1 and as Malachi brings his message. He opens with the Lord making a statement that we should not miss. I have loved you says the Lord. I have loved you. Says the Lord as we finish up 2019 as we look at 20/20. I don't know that there's a message that we more needs to hear than that one. God loves his people. God loves his people we should not get used to that. We should not ignore that we ought to let that transform us the fact that God loves his people is an incredible truth. And it's incredibly easy to grow complacent and to forget it. That's what the people of Israel did. That's what God's people here as Malachi. Guess what God loves you. And their response is a cynical. How how have you loved us? Okay, you love us. What's the Practical benefits? That's a crude does. What have you done for us God how have you loved us is not Esau Jacob's brother. Yet I have loved Jacob. But Esau I have hated I have laid waste his Hill Country and left his Heritage to the jackals of the desert. If he even says we're shattered, but will rebuild the ruins the Lord of host says they may build but I will tear down they will be called The Wicked country and the people with whom the Lord is angry forever your own I shall see this and you shall say great is the Lord be on the border of Israel. They say how have you loved us gone how how short the memory of God's people is. God loves you God prove that once and for all by sending his son Jesus to live the life that you could not live and die the death that you deserve. God proved it yet. How short is our memory? God loves his people. We say how we don't have to look any farther than Jesus. We don't have to look any farther than the fact that we're sitting here breathing this Sunday morning and we have hope should the Lord will that tomorrow morning will still be breathing some of you. Hope burns brighter than others. Right, but we have this life and we have the fact of our continued existence as evidence of the fact that God loves us. That's what he says that Israel is if you want to know how I've loved you the same people that destroyed you destroyed your neighboring country Edom Babylon the great came in and laid waste to the entire swath of Nations that you're a bit and yet you alone is real. Are still here to even question my love. You're the only ones who can even ask the question Eaton's completely cut off their completely destroyed. How have I loved you you exist. If I didn't love you, you'd be like a damn you wouldn't we wouldn't be having this conversation Church. Don't doubt. God loves his people. How how do we know this because he saves his people he restores his people. He brings them back. And this may strike us as being slightly unfair. God loves his people would yeah, but if God loved Jacob, what about Edom? Does that mean God didn't love them. Well, that's what he says Esau. I hated he doesn't mean he literally had a hatred for them. But it does mean that if you want to compare things and you think you've got it so bad as real look at them. Look at these people who are utterly cut off. The amazing thing to me is not that God would judge Sinners Like Edom. The amazing thing is that God would choose to save any Sinners. The amazing thing is that he would even bring Israel his people back the amazing things that you would bring us to sit here this morning at the Marvel at his goodness and to know his love because he saved us when nothing we deserve nothing but his judgment Church in 2020. Do not doubt that God loves you. Do not doubt that God has saved you by sending his son. Do not doubt that God has given you purpose and meaning in life for the year to come God loves his people but that's not the end of Malachi. Is it the end of Malachi is not just that God loves his people but you look at Malachi's message and it's yet his people fail to love him. And if you had a chance this week to read through the book you saw that you saw it time and time again the Lord bringing up the fact I loved you and you treated me this way God's people fail to love him and the first thing and it goes through a series of these the first thing that we see is that God's people fail to love him when they expect him to be pleased with their leftovers. Now earlier I joked about you know, New Year's Eve. Just voicing off all your Christmas Leftovers on the New Year's Eve party. It's kind of joking. Not really joking free to do that. But how do you think God feels? when his people Bring him leftovers.
What do what do I mean by that what I mean? Is it in Malachi? As God is addressing the people this is what he says to them. He says you guys are bringing me things that you wouldn't give to anybody if you were trying to impress them. If you were trying to prove your love for them. We pick up in for 6 a son honors his father a serving his master if then I am a father where is my honor and if I am a master, where is my fear says the Lord of hosts to you? Oprah's to despise my name but you say how have we despised your name by offering polluted food upon my alter you say how have we polluted You by saying the Lord's table may be despised when you offer blind animals and sacrifice. Is that not even when you offer those that are lame or sick is that not evil present that to your Governor? Will he accept you or show you favor says the Lord of hosts and now and treat the favor of God that he may be gracious to us with such a gift from your hand. Will he show favor to any of you says the Lord? Oh that there were one among you who would shut the doors that you might not Kindle Fire on my altar in vain. I have no pleasure in you says the Lord of hosts and I will not accept an offering from your hand. it looks like there's people and he looks at what they're bringing as offering to him and he says what gives
How much do you think of me? If all you're bringing is what you can't give to anybody else? What it what did hello do you think I am Israel? If you think that I will be okay with you worshiping with what you just don't want to eat yourself not as the whole different system of worship. Then we practice today right praise the Lord that we do not practice worship the way the Old Testament Saints did because this would be a wholly different experience if we were worshipping the way they did because in the Old Testament was they would bring the best they had if they were poor maybe and maybe a couple dubs if they were Rich a bull they would bring this to a priest who would cut the things throat. And the blood would pour out and that was their act of worship. They needed that reminder that sin is deadly. I needed that reminder that blood pays for sin. They needed to know this, but I'm so glad that Jesus came and poured out his blood and we don't have to pour out any animals blood anymore. Right now I'm so glad of that because this would look different but we need to put ourselves in the mindset for just a second of Malachi's audience people whose worship of God was to bring they bet they had haven't sacrificed as a atonement for their sins have its sacrifices a as a stand-in for themselves. And God was very clear in his law to his people. He said look when you bring an animal to sacrifice in your stead. It needs to be perfect. It needs to be Flawless. But what's the problem with that if you're if you're a Shepherd or if you're a erase cows or dubs or whatever your best stock got to send you offer that Willis if you're doing that you at you actually want to keep your best stock. That's the seeds for your next Generation, right? That's that's what you want to build your your cattle Empire on your sheep. Empire on got does know you offer that to me. You trust me. By giving me your best. People said no. This one's pretty sick. It's not even going to make it to Market date. Let's just go give it to the Lord. This one's puking all over the Barnyard. Let's just go take it and give it to God. This one's blind can't walk straight missing a tail and we call it lucky and that one's gods. Right, they brought their leftovers man. I'm so glad that we don't have blood running down the carpet in here. Could you imagine the the steam cleaning bill on that?
And yet would we be guilty of the same? Would we be guilty of bringing God are leftovers of saying hey God. You've got two hours on Sunday morning. And the rest of my week, I'm sorry. I just can't give up anything else.
I don't have time to study your word. I've got to catch up on the Mandalorian on Disney Plus. I don't I don't have time to fellowship with other believers, but I'm too busy climbing the corporate ladder. I don't have time to disciple my children. I've got to catch up on social media John Piper one of the pastors who's Ministry. I've looked up to and respect and learned a great deal from he said this he says the reason that God in his sovereignty allows social media to exist is so that on the last day on the day of judgment, there will be nobody who can give the excuse I didn't have time to pray.
right Are we giving God our leftovers got after I seek myself after I fulfill all of my desires. All I've got left is a couple hours on Sunday. Take it or leave it. What about when it comes to our our financial giving are we giving God our leftovers? Are we saying to God look, you know, I had to buy the PS4. Is it a real pain for now? Is that where we're at? I've lost track of the game consoles this kid this and I really want to get a nice gift for them and them and them and them and so I'm I'm just spent out God Christmas really took a toll this year. I don't have anything left. Doesn't matter that we're not bringing animals not slitting their throats anymore doesn't matter that we can't put ourselves in that frame of mind of worship. We need to see that our time and our resources. How about the abilities? God gives us. Write some of your like why don't have any abilities know you really do. You know how I know that. Things were told in Scripture that God gives his people gifts that they might be used for the building up of the body of Christ that by each member working together the body grows to maturity into Christ himself. Who is the head you have a gift? God was not sleeping the day you went through that line. And yeah. Sometimes we take those gifts and we use them for ourselves. We give God whatever is left at the end. My question church. Are we giving God our leftovers with our time and our resources in our abilities? Are we saying God hears what you've given me you can have all of it some of it whatever you want. You just tell me what to do. In 2020, that's the attitude I would encourage is to have not to fail God and expected to be pleased with our leftovers God's people in Malachi's they failed when they failed to spelled 11 when they failed to speak and value the truth. They failed to speak into value the truth turn turn over to chapter 2 with me.
Malachi chapter 2 Now, do you have headings in your Bible that you reading from? It may say something like the Lord rebukes the priests and he be like this one just applies to Richard and Dan and Brian and Brandon. I don't have to listen anymore. Common misconception that I want to clear up right here before we read this passage. We tend to equate Pastor today with priests in that day. Raw according to the New Testament priest in that day equates with Christ follower today. Every single christ-follower ought to perk up when the law or when the prophets say anything about priests because God in principle or an actuality is talking about you. Not just the pastures pastures are not priests Christians are priests Saints are priests. We as feeder says we're to be a kingdom of priests could collectively together. All right. So this is not something you're off the hook if you're not standing up for teaching today and I just want company. That's why I'm telling you that know that really is how we should read this but look at chapter 2 and if you got the head and the Lord rebukes the priests you need to read in there and say the Lord rebukes the Christ followers. for the lips of a priest should guard knowledge and people should seek instruction from his mouth for he is the messenger of the Lord of hosts but you have turned aside from the way you have caused many to stumble by your instruction you have corrupted the Covenant of Levi says the Lord of hosts and so I make you despised in the base before all the people in as much as you do not keep my ways but show partiality in your instruction the people of God priest in Malachi's day I think we ought to hear this Christ followers today we're meant to Value the truth Were Meant to speak the truth And yet they failed to do that, which meant they failed to love God. Hair like wool. I'm just not very good at this speaking thing. Right. I'm just not very good at this my my wife and I saw my dad had shoulder surgery recently. So he's had a lot of downtime. He's not used to downtime. He is retired but he raises cattle and so he doesn't have a lot of downtime. Well this shoulder surgery has enforced some down time. And so I was talking my brother. Hey, what do you think Mom and Dad might want for Christmas? He said get him one of those Amazon Fire Sticks, right so that they can can watch some shows while dad's down. I was like, I talked to him the other day. Thanks for the thing. I'm like what saying is like, you know that firewall thing.
My dad has a habit of speaking that would sometimes surprise you and yet as a Christ follower. He has the responsibility to speak the truth. Whether he feels like he's up to the task or Knotts Christ follower. You have the responsibility to speak the truth, whether you feel up to it or not, whether you feel like God has gifted you with a mouth that works in that way or not. You are called to speak the truth. As a priest of God, you're called to take the gospel with you, wherever you go. This does not mean just verbally vomiting The Plan of Salvation up on everybody that you meet but it does mean that as you are given opportunity you speak with the truth of God in your lips. This means you have to know the truth of God. This means you have to Value it one of the saddest realities in the American church today, is it people can sit in a congregation for 30 plus years? And say well I just don't know enough to share my faith. time out foul on the play there should be no reason why somebody who's been sitting in church for 30 years can say I cannot speak because I don't know the truth. You should love the truth read Psalm 119 and look at how the people of God in the past have reproached the truth of God revealed in the word of God. You should treasure this. The Bible is not a Bible a Bible is not holy. A Bible is simply a collection of ink and pages and faux leather that's tearing at the seams. Right? That's just what a Bible is. It's just stuff but the words here are life for the people of got the words in this thing. They matter do our lives reflect that or have we failed to Value the truth of God by neglecting this what are the things that I'm hoping to do in 2020 is to have some Saturdays where we just dive into either a book of the Bible or a big subject and we just take some sometime. I mean sometimes like 6 hours.
Maybe more if I you know can't control myself. We just dive deep into the word of God and tell me if you think you hear that me like all that sounds like torture.
Will find somebody else who's a better teacher than that because the word of God should not be boring. It should not be torture. This is our life. We should value this so that we can speak this every single sink. Not just the pastor's not just the teachers. This should be our life and so look for opportunities to Value this and just speak the truth of God to those that you come in contact with Israel failed the priest failed to speak the truth instead. They caused people to stumble with what they said. They failed to respect the truth. Therefore, they failed to teach the truth respect the truth and teach the truth Christ follower. That is my flee to you. But Malachi was not done with Israel. The holy spirit's not done with us. And so we see that then the other way that God's people fail to love him is when they break their covenants notice was introduced in the earlier part where we talked about the broken Covenant of Levi Levi was the head of the priests write and his comment was broken Malachi expands on that. He says it's not just the priests. It's not just this Covenant of Levi that's been broken. It's much more than that. The Covenant has been profaned. Between the people of God and their father looking for stim have we not all one father has not one God created us. Why then are we fatherless to one another profaning the Covenant of our fathers Judah has been faithless an Abomination has been committed in Israel. And in Jerusalem for Judah has profaned the sanctuary of the Lord, which he loves has married the daughter of a foreign God may the Lord cut off from the 10th of Jacob any descendant of the man. Who does this who brings an offering to the Lord of hosts they break their Covenant with God They break their Covenant with God and the prophet speaking on behalf of God says made this not be met such a one be cut off from the nation. May you no longer exist may his line not continue because he's profane the Covent with. What was the Covenant with God? The Covenant with God that Malachi is referring to is the Covenant if you obey me then you'll be my people. That's what he saying is when you disobey God when you send when you rebelled against him, you have broken the Covenant he gave you broke that Covenant with God. And we say for good thing. We don't have that old cabinet. Good thing. We're under the New Covenant. Amen. If you're not familiar with church, if you're not been around this for a while, you may not know there's a difference between the old Covenant do what I say and you'll be my people and the New Covenant look at Jesus and what he did and you'll be my people trust in him submit to him and you'll be my people and yet would it not be possible for us to break that New Covenant today?
Would it not be possible for us to take for granted? What Christ did this is? What the New Testament addresses in several different places in Hebrews were warned of those who would taste the goodness of God who would experience the joy of Christ and yet would turn their backs on it. And this is not saying that you can lose your salvation know but it is saying you can fool yourself into thinking you're submitted to Christ when in actuality you just submitted to your own selfish desires and hope to fix things for you. We have to make be mindful that we don't break the Covenant with God by just focusing on ourselves. We need to look at Christ. We need to submit to Christ. We need to know Christ so that we are in the Covenant with God, but he says it's it's not just your relationship with me is real this broken. It's not just this Covenant that you've broken your breaking covenants with one another. He says in particular and this second thing you do first thing verse 13 rather and the second thing you do you cover the Lord's Alters with tears with weeping and groaning because he no longer receives. You're offering her accept it with favor from your hand. But you say why does he not because the Lord was witness between you and the wife of your youth to whom you've been faithless though. She is your companion and your wife by Covenant. Did he not make them one with a portion of the spirit in the Union? What was the one God seeking Godly Offspring so guard yourselves in your spirits and let none of you be faithless to the wife of your youth for the man who does not love his wife but divorces her says the Lord the god of Israel covers His Garment with violence says the Lord of hosts so guard yourselves in your spirit and do not be faithless. Now this is a hard word in our modern-day. Do you know why some of you do and you know, it really personally because divorce is the reality of our day and we know from from studies that it's likely that in the church. The statistics are about the same as outside the church The divorce is a reality that reality is pointing us back to a bigger truth though. We are terrible at keeping our word. We humans are terrible at keeping our word with one. Another. God says it's yes, you've broken your Covenant with me, but look at the damage that it's done your lack of faith one is looking into those relationships around you look at the pain that's been caused by the divorce statistics in America. Look at the disintegration of the family. We want to get up on a high horse and forgive me, but it's Christians. We want to get up on a high horse and say I can't believe this world. We live in I can't believe that it's the culture going down the tubes. Look at the violence. Look at this. Look at that when every single one of those statistics that we bemoan be at abortion be at violence be at whatever almost every single one of those has its roots in the disintegration of the family and the disintegration of the family has its root in the Disposable covenants. We make with one another so that it's nothing for us to divorce. I understand. We live in a fallen World divorce happens. But what I don't want to leave us with is the sensor that has to happen. God says Covenant with me Covenant with one another be faithful to those things. Don't break them. That's how you say that you love God. So many people say I love God and yet they treat the people around them like garbage.
And I know many in this room who have been divorced who would say that I mean like I didn't do it like it wasn't it wasn't my fault. I get that. I don't want to dredge up old pain and I don't want to poke where I have no business poking. But I do want to say this.
Doesn't matter what happens then? What happens in the future is vitally important even if covenants have been broken before that does not mean the covenants must be broken, henceforth. Even though you may have that heartache and that Brokenness in your past understand that your future can be a testimony to Covenant keeping faithful love. It's not just marriage either right? We we have covenants that we make with one another right as a church. We have a church covenant in January will be talking some more about that will have an opportunity for those who want to be members of the church to affirm this Covenant with one another commitment that we make to one. Another that Covenant is nothing more than just the one another's of scripture. Love one another submit to one another serve one another right? Those are the ideals and yet this year. I can think of places where I did not speak as I ought to a brother or sister did not encourage but instead broke down I can think of times we're wanting Unity was there but practicing Unity was much more difficult. I think that God would look at us and say if you love me keep your covenants with one another and with me the people of God fail to love God when they doubt his goodness. When they doubt his goodness look at verse 17. You have wearied the Lord with your words, but you say how have we weird him by saying everyone who is eat who does evil is good in the sight of the Lord and He Delights in them or by asking where is the God of Justice these things that they're saying these things that they're asking the people in that day. They're saying God cannot be good. If he is allowing this to happen, he might as well love the evil if he's letting them get away with that wears the God of Justice. They doubted God's goodness in this is a Temptation for us today. The Temptation for us is to doubt the goodness of God because we do look at a world that's broken. We do look at a world filled with heartache and a school shooting happened. We say where was God And a tsunami strikes when we say where was God and an earthquake hits we say, where was God. Can he be good if these bad things are happening the answer from the word of God not an easy answer but the answer is yes, he's good. And yes, he will bring from this Brokenness wholeness and he will one day reconcile all of the wrong and make it right.
It's going to happen. Don't doubt it Church. Don't doubt the goodness of God. You don't have to doubt it. You just have to look back at that cross where Jesus hung. Died breathed his last Bloodshed breath gun body starting to decay in the ground and yet he walked back out whole and healthy. God can take the most broken disgusting nasty things and he can turn them to good. He can restore as Joel said the prophet Joel he can restore the years that the Locust has eaten. He can restore the Brokenness of the past and the future can be bright because we see it in Christ. We know it to be true. Do not doubt the goodness of God Israel doubted. God lovely doubted God's goodness. They said look at the look at those evil people getting ahead in life. Would you receive any evil people getting ahead in life today?
If you don't can I come live under that rock with you? Is there space for more than one? Evil people succeed righteous people fail. You don't have to look any farther than our brothers and sisters around the world to know that righteous people sometimes suffer more. That does not mean that God is not good at just means he has a purpose that transcends that moment a purpose that is bigger than any single one of us. To bring all things into submission to Christ to bring all things into rightness when we see a new Heaven and new earth to sending right when we see all wrongs made right then we know this is God's goodness displayed, but we're not there yet. Don't doubt his goodness along the way. Another way that the people of God failed to love God was they failed to give to the needs of the church. They failed to give to the needs of the church. Look at chapter 3 verses 6 through 10. Rival or do not change their for o children of Jacob you are not consumed from the days of your father's you've turned aside for my statutes and if not kept them return to me and I will return to you says the Lord of hosts, but you say how shall we return will a man rob God yet. You are robbing me. But you say how have we robbed you in your tithes and contributions you are cursed with a curse for you are robbing me the whole nation of you bring the full tithes into the storehouse that there may be food in my house. And thereby put me to the test is Lord of host. If I will not open the windows of Heaven for you and pour down for you a blessing until there is no more need now. If you've been in church for any amount of time it almost doesn't matter which church you've heard a message on Malachi chapter 3. Usually when finances are getting tight and budgets not being mad. I don't mean to be contradictory, but I don't think that's what he's talking about. This is not talking about meeting the budget of the 501 c 3 organization known as Red Hill Southern Baptist Church. That's not what God's talking about here. When he says bring the tithes into the storehouse when he talks about my house having food, he's talking about the temple Malachi's talking about the temple just like we did with the priest. We were like those not just talked about pastors because in Christ, we are all priests. So here he's not talking about a building or an organization. He's talking about the church. Are these four walls the church?
Who is the church? Yes, the people are the church and it one of the most incredible passages in the Bible to me is Acts chapter 2. And Acts chapter 4 & 5 really the book of Acts don't be surprised. If it's some point we preached through the passes. We preached through the book of Acts. It's amazing to me. When we look at these driving by the spirit granted power through him to be the people of got to be the church. And what do you see there was no one that had need among them for if anyone had me they would sell and they would provide for that need this radical Fellowship this radical connectedness to one another where the people did not have needs where those needs were met Paul. One of the Apostles is he's writing to a church that he preached. He started the Corinthian Church that sure she writes to them and he says, what's the deal guys? The rich get richer the poor get poorer. There's this class system in the church. And there's those who come starving and those who leave glutted. What's the deal? I think if you looked at the American Church, it would be much the same. What's the deal guys? You got fancy buildings. You got all kinds of cool stuff filling it up, but there's people in your fellowship who are desperately in need for working 80 90 hours a week trying to make ends meet. Where you at for one another or do you have relationships with the other Christ followers around you to the point where you could meet somebody's need?
That's what I think Malachi is talking about when we bring it into the New Testament context. He's not talking about church budget. He's talking about meeting one another's needs. It says test me in this. See if I don't bless you. When you're meeting the needs of my body, see if I don't bless you when you're taking care of one another. Write this isn't to disparage the church. Like we have a building we have bills. But I understand that that's not the whole of it. Right if if we're getting off the hook by just dropping some dollars in the plate every Sunday and not having to build any sort of relational connection with the other people around us. That might somehow cause us to come in conflict with their knees and have to do something about it. Like we're missing the point. I will go so far as and Dave will be upset with me. Sorry Dave. I will go so far as to say this if you think that Christian giving stops and starts with the offering plate that passes each Sunday. Quit giving
Build relationships with the people around you start meeting the needs of real-life Christ followers start getting involved with one another's lives to the point where you can actually do that. That's the challenge of Malachi to me and in church. You've been you're so faithful to give to this now be faithful to give to one another as well. We need one another if there is a word for 2020 and beyond that the Lord has impressed on your pastors. It's that we need one another. We need to be in Fellowship. We need to be connected with one another just as we're connected with Christ. And that's a great way to start is to start meeting the needs of those around us. Final thing that Malachi says they failed to love God when they speak against serving him. Look at it chapter 3 verse 13 your words have been hard against me says the Lord but you say how are we spoken against you? You have said it's vain to serve God. What is the profit in our keeping his charger of walking as if in morning before the Lord of hosts, we call the Arrogant blessed evildoers. Not only Prosper they put God to the test in the escape. This is the third out of his goodness kind of repackaged. What's the point of serving God? What good does it benefit us? It goes back to that initial question how have you loved us? Why should we serve you God? And this this right here. Is where we finally see a breakthrough for the people of God. Because While most are speaking in serving don't even bother serving God. He doesn't care if he doesn't love us, he's not just don't even bother serving him while many are speaking against him were introduced to this group. Richard juice to the remnant if you will in verse 16, then those who feared the Lord spoke with one another. Did those who fear the lord spoke with one another as God loves you prove it?
God loves you. Well, here's how you failed to love him Malachi goes step by step. He says you give him your leftovers you failed the value truth. You broke your covenants you doubt it is goodness. You didn't give you spoke against serving him. There's a group that perks up and says whoa! Whoa, whoa whoa, whoa.
Hold on that's not going to be us. Those things are going to Mark us. We love God. And so they began to speak to one another and that is the shortest most concise statement of unity amongst the people of God that I've ever seen they began to speak to one another and they were just talking about the beating that LSU put down yesterday. They were just talking about the weather. they were saying we're God's people. We're God's people. And we should not be marked by these things. They made a choice in speaking to one another and calling one another. Let's be God's people. Let's love him. They feared God and they spoke with one another may it be said of Red Hills that we fear God and we speak with one another. We're told in the New Testament that we ought to encourage one another that we got to build one another up that we got to outdo one another in doing good. That's what Malachi's talking about. The people of God hear the word of God and they go to the people have gotten if they let's do this together and look at how the Lord response.
the Lord response
by saying the Lord paid attention and heard them and a book of remembrance was written before him of all those who fear the lord and esteemed his name. Oh, I want that to be true of Red Hills. The God would be pleased with us and how we relate to him and how we relate to one another. We have a choice to make will we be like the people who broke Covenant to doubt it is goodness. You didn't give who gave him leftovers when they did we failed evaluators. Will we be like that or will be be like those who fear God and encourage one another in 2020. May it be true that we do the latter? May it be true that we fear God and speak to one another in 2020. Do you know why? Because how we decide on that question. Will we follow God or will we follow this rebellious people? Will we submit to Christ or will we instead do whatever the heck we want to do? How we respond how we decide is going to influence how the Lord will deal with us. how the Lord will deal with us and this is the point at which when I'm preaching through scripture, I'm like, that's not how I would have ended that. But I don't get to make that call and so look with me and Chapter 4 verses 1 2 3. For behold the day is coming burning like an oven when all the arrogant and all the evil doers will be stubble. The day is coming shall that is coming just set them Ablaze says the Lord of hosts so that it will leave them with neither root nor branch.
destruction for those who fail to submit to Christ is King. That is the end. That is the how the Lord deals with those who break Faith with him. That is how the Lord deals with those who will not submit to him. but look how he deals with those who do but for you who fear my name the son of righteousness will rise with healing in its wings. You shall go out leaping like Calves from the stall.
God has given us an Incredible Gift. I have a choice to make. Will we submit to him or will we reject him? I want to feel the sun of righteousness Rising with healing in its wings. This is is this oddly picturesque language. It it it it it stands in stark contrast to some of the other words that we've seen throughout the prophets. But if you have any scrap of poetry in your soul, don't you want to feel healing coming with the Rising Sun? This is why I love English. I normally hate English. I love that. We have a homophone sun and sun sun and son because the Sun that rises that Malachi alludes to is the sun who Rises. Jesus rose from the dead with healing Jesus rose from the dead to heal us of our sin in our Brokenness and if we remember nothing else in the new year, but that we do well Church to Rejoice to feel the healing that Jesus brings When We Fear God when we submit to him we run I talked about my dad raising cows. I I I was a small part of that before I left home. Have you ever seen a calf on a warm spring morning? Oh man, there is nothing more entertaining to watch just goes jumping for joy all throughout the pasture or the Corral. It doesn't really matter to them what the surrounding are they feel that sun and they just can't hold it in and they just go leaping. He says that's how the people of God are when they experience God's healing when they experience their salvation when they experience cries when they keep their eyes on him. They leap for joy. Leap for Joy. When was the last time Christ follower that you left for joy that you were so overcome with the reality of God saving you that you couldn't keep it in and you had to seeing you had to shout you had to do something. When was the last time you actually knew this kind? A joy made it be every single day of 2020 because you keep your eyes fixed on the rising son, son. And rejoice in the Salvation that he brings may it be that that would be your experience.
To know him is to love him to fear Him to submit to him and to rejoice in him Red Hills as we close 2019 and we enter into 20/20 may we be people who rejoice in God salvation through Christ together. Let's pray.