Sep 20, 2020 | Lee Becknell

When a nation no longer honors God it won’t be long before they cease to honor each other.

    Text: Malachi 1:1-11

     “I hate going to church. The church is frustrating and boring. It’s full of hypocrites who are just going through the motions.” You might think this is the words coming out of the mouth of a famous atheist or your 16-year-old child. These are God’s words. In fact, God tells Israel that instead of being eager to receive His people’s worship each morning, He wishes that they would quit and simply close the doors.  Malachi 1:10

    Title: “When a nation no longer honors God it won’t be long before they cease to honor each other.”

    Theme: “The Book of Malachi is structured as an argument between God and his people. God tells the people how He expects them to live, the people respond with a cynical question, and then God expands on his original concern. Malachi begins by telling them that God loves them with a tender, affectionate, and unconditional love. In return, our only reasonable response is to worship Him with devotion and sacrifice. Unfortunately, their worship had become insincere, going through the motions. Beloved, don’t let this happen to you.”

    * What do we have in common with Israel? We are rebellious sinners saved by grace. We are commanded to obey, yet don’t have the ability. We are ill-deserving, yet mercy-receiving. We are a pursued people. We are a people who ought to be overflowing with affection for our Lord, yet we often aren’t.

    * God is holy and just and throughout scripture He judges His people when they sin and refuse to follow Him. 

    * America is 244 years old.  Look how we have wondered away from God.” Just think of all the children that are killed in abortions each year.  We have become so use to it.  How many murders each year or sound I ask each weekend? 

    * Wake up Christian. This morning, I would like to share with you the following lessons.

    1. How has the Lord loved us?

    Malachi 1:1-5, “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 but Esau I have hated. I have laid waste his hill country and left his heritage to jackals of the desert.” 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.’” Your own eyes shall see this, and you shall say, “Great is the Lord beyond the border of Israel!”

    * Now you need to remember that in those days the elder son was the one who received the inheritance but God looks at the heart of people and Esau was not pleasing to God.

    Genesis 25:21-23, “21 And Isaac prayed to the Lord for his wife, because she was barren. And the Lord granted his prayer, and Rebekah his wife conceived. 22 The children struggled together within her, and she said, “If it is thus, why is this happening to me?” So she went to inquire of the Lord. 23 And the Lord said to her, “Two nations are in your womb, and two peoples from within you shall be divided; the one shall be stronger than the other, the older shall serve the younger.”

    * Beloved, you have two things going on in life.  1. God calling people. 2. People seeking God.  Both are needed for salvation.  This is very important when you trying to understand the way God feels about Esau.

    Isaiah 55:6-7, “Seek the Lord while He may be found; call upon Him while He is near. Let the wicked forsake his way and the unrighteous man his thoughts; and let him return to the Lord, and He will have compassion on him, and to our God, for He will abundantly pardon.

    John 6:44, “44 No one can come to me unless the Father who sent me draws him. And I will raise him up on the last day.”

    * Esau’s behavior towards God resulted in the harsh statement that God hated Esau and loved Jacob.  When comparing the love God had for Jacob to way He felt about Esau, it could only be called hate.

    * Beloved, I have a great desire that God would love me.  Do you?

    1. How have we despised the name of the Lord?

    Malachi 1:6, “A son honors his father, and a servant 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, O priests, who despise my name. But you say, ‘How have we despised your name?’

    * In the original Hebrew the word honor means literally to be heavy. So when you honor someone it means you treat them as a heavyweight in your life - someone of extreme importance, someone of great significance, someone who is huge.

    * When God says in the Ten Commandments, "Honor your father and your mother," he's not saying just obey them and respect them, but treat them as if they're truly significant to you.

    * God says here: I'm a father. I'm a master. I expect honor. I expect reverence. Don't treat Me with contempt.

    * Years ago, Henry Ward Beecher, was one of the most famous preachers in America. People from all over the nation came to worship at his church. One Sunday he was absent, and a visiting preacher substituted for him. When the visiting minister came to the pulpit the people realized that Henry was gone. Some of the people started for the doors. The minister said, "May I have your attention. All those who came this morning to worship Henry Ward Beecher may now withdraw from the church. All who came to worship God may stay."

    * The first verse of Malachi reads literally, "The burden [not 'oracle'] of the word of the Lord to Israel by Malachi." God had given Malachi a burden. The word of the Lord is often called a burden in the Old Testament. Why do you suppose that is?

    * One reason is that the word of God is never light and trifling. It is always weighty and serious and heavy. The word of God comes to a prophet as a burden because it is so thick and rich with truth.

    * The other reason that the word of God is called a burden is because even when it's good news, it will be rejected by many.

    Malachi 1:11, “For from the rising of the sun to its setting my name will be great among the nations, and in every place incense will be offered to my name, and a pure offering. For my name will be great among the nations, says the Lord of hosts.

    * Every nation and person under the sun from rising to setting are obligated to worship and honor the name of God. The Bible tells us that there will be devastating results when a nation no longer honors God. 

    * It is hard for me to imagine some of our leaders today honoring God.  Instead they honor themselves and they promote a secular state.  This is just another lie they panhandle to us.  The Bible says that God sets up and takes down Governments.

    John 19:11, “Jesus answered, “You would have no authority over Me, unless it had been given you from above; for this reason he who delivered Me to you has the greater sin.”

    1. How have we polluted our worship?

    Malachi 1:7-8, “By offering polluted food upon my altar. But you say, ‘How have we polluted you?’ By saying that the Lord's table may be despised. When you offer blind animals in sacrifice, is that not evil? And 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.”

    * God made His allegation to the priests, the professional worshippers. They should have known better. They were responsible for the people's obedience.

    ILLUSTRATION: Around Thanksgiving years ago, radio commentator Paul Harvey shared a true story of a woman and her frozen Thanksgiving turkey. The Butterball Turkey Company set up a telephone hotline to answer consumer questions about preparing holiday turkeys. One woman called to inquire about cooking a turkey that had been in the bottom of her freezer for 23 years. That's right—23 years. The Butterball representative told her the turkey would probably be safe to eat if the freezer had been kept below freezing for the entire 23 years. But the Butterball representative warned her that even if the turkey was safe to eat, the flavor would probably have deteriorated to such a degree that she could not recommend eating it. The caller replied, "That's what I thought. We'll give the turkey to our church."

    * I challenge you to bring your best. I stand before you and say, the least amount God deserves is the first ten percent of your income. That's what Scripture teaches. I make no apologies when I say get involved in ministry and service here. Roll up your sleeves. Use the talents and gifts God's given you. Find a place to serve. Worship God enthusiastically.

    * If you are healthy and under 65 with no previous medical conditions you need to be in God’s house.  Are you giving God the honor and respect He requires?

    * With God's favor come great benefits.

    ILLUSTRATION: We live in a fast-paced culture, but some things just ought to happen slowly. The book Final Salute tells the story of Major Steve Beck, a U.S. Marine whose heart-wrenching task is to inform the nearest of kin when a Marine is killed in Iraq. Beck doesn't just break the sad news and then leave; for several days he may help the family through the process of the funeral. That includes supervising the Marine honor guard who stands near the fallen soldier's body. The honor guard learns from Beck how to salute their fallen Fellow-Marine as they leave or resume guard with a slow salute that isn't taught in basic training. The slow salute requires a three second raising of the hand to the head, a three second hold, and then a three second lowering of the hand—a gesture of respect that takes about nine times longer than normal. Beck explains: "A salute to your fallen comrade should take time." Indeed, those who die serving our country are worthy of great honor, worthy of a slow salute, worthy of extra time. To do some things fast, just to get them done so we can move on to the next thing in our lives, sends a subtle message of disrespect.

    So it is with our worship of God. God deserves a slow salute. The Savior who gave his life for us is worthy of our honor!

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