Sep 27, 2020 | Lee Becknell

When you stop keeping your commitments to God it won’t be long before you stop keeping your commitments to others.

    When the Apple Maps app first came out there were two incidents when people using their iPhones ended up driving right across the runway at the Fairbanks, Alaska International Airport. Apparently there was a glitch in the app which directed drivers to “Taxiway B”. Although the directions didn’t specifically tell the drivers to cross the runway, once they got to that taxiway and could see the terminal on the other side of the runway they just drove across the runway to get to the terminal. Apparently those two drivers trusted their Apple Maps more than the multiple signs and the motion-activated gate that they had to ignore in order to reach their destination. Fortunately, no one was injured, but you can imagine the potential problems with a car driving across a runway used by large commercial jets. And of course, Apple rushed to fix the problem. Now there are a couple of lessons we need to learn from these incidents. First, if you have an iPhone and you are using the map app, you might want to actually look up once in a while and make sure the directions aren’t leading you across a runway, or perhaps over a cliff.

    * How many Americans are more committed to their Apple I-phone than to God’s word?

    Title: “When you stop keeping your commitments to God it won’t be long before you stop keeping your commitments to others.”     

    Theme: The people of Judah, with the priests leading the way, had failed to keep their covenant agreement with God. They treated God with disrespect, dishonoring His name. They treated sacred things as common. They turned away from God's Law, disobeying His commandments. Finally, they began to divorce their Jewish wives, breaking their vows to marry gentile non believing women.

    * People measure a church by its building, names, or programs; but so many will settle for spiritual junk, as long as it feels religious. This sets the stage for wrong doctrine and shabby living.  Malachi provided a stern rebuke. He presented several reasons why the Jewish people were to honor their commitments. We should follow suit.

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

    1. Listen to the word of God and obey Him.

    Malachi 2:1-9, “And now, O priests, this command is for you. If you will not listen, if you will not take it to heart to give honor to my name, says the Lord of hosts, then I will send the curse upon you and I will curse your blessings. Indeed, I have already cursed them, because you do not lay it to heart. Behold, I will rebuke your offspring, and spread dung on your faces, the dung of your offerings, and you shall be taken away with it.”

    * So there is no official priesthood in the New Testament church then how does this relate to us? In the New Testament we find that Jesus death makes us all priests. The Whole Church is a Holy Priesthood.

    1 Peter 2:4-5, “As you come to him, a living stone rejected by men but in the sight of God chosen and precious, you yourselves like living stones are being built up as a spiritual house, to be a holy priesthood, to offer spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ.

    Revelation 1:6, “and made us a kingdom, priests to his God and Father, to him be glory and dominion forever and ever. Amen. “

    * Malachi warns us not to fail like the priest of his day.  They failed in their teaching and as moral examples. It's one thing to believe something is true. It's another thing to obey it.

    James 1:22-25, “22 But be doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving yourselves. 23 For if anyone is a hearer of the word and not a doer, he is like a man who looks intently at his natural face in a mirror. 24 For he looks at himself and goes away and at once forgets what he was like. 25 But the one who looks into the perfect law, the law of liberty, and perseveres, being no hearer who forgets but a doer who acts, he will be blessed in his doing.

    * W. A. Criswell of First Baptist Dallas quote the laymen of his church one time. They said, "Pastor, we know what the editorialists say, and we know what the commentators say, and we know what the economists and politicians say. What we want to know from you is, DOES GOD HAVE ANYTHING TO SAY?!"

    * No one wants to be cursed. But every single one of us faces a curse from God for what we have done. Why? Because we have all dishonored God in some way or another.

    Galatians 3:10,13, “For all who rely on works of the law are under a curse; for it is written, “Cursed be everyone who does not abide by all things written in the Book of the Law, and do them.” 13 Christ redeemed us from the curse of the law by becoming a curse for us—for it is written, “Cursed is everyone who is hanged on a tree”— 14 so that in Christ Jesus the blessing of Abraham might come to the Gentiles, so that we might receive the promised Spirit through faith.”

    * Thanks to Jesus, we are freed from the curse, freed from our mistakes and failures. We are new and fresh before God!

    1. Guard knowledge and your spirit.

    Malachi 2:4-9, “So shall you know that I have sent this command to you, that my covenant with Levi may stand, says the Lord of hosts. My covenant with him was one of life and peace, and I gave them to him. It was a covenant of fear, and he feared me. He stood in awe of my name. True instruction was in his mouth, and no wrong was found on his lips. He walked with me in peace and uprightness, and he turned many from iniquity. 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 and abased before all the people, inasmuch as you do not keep my ways but show partiality in your instruction.”

    * Malachi also compares the original covenant with Levi and finds the priest of his day to be poor representatives.  Levi modeled the God life we so need today. 

    * The litmus test of obedience is whether or not you are living what you know to be true. Malachi provides the details:

    1. Fear God (v. 5) Stand in awe of God. We live with a high view and enormous respect for God's holiness.
    2. Receive truth (v. 6) Accept God's instruction. God's Word should penetrate our lives.
    3. Live Righteously (v. 6) Walk in a manner that is good and upright, turning away from sin.
    4. Be God’s messenger (v. 7) We are God's messengers to a lost world. We guide people into the truth.

    Here are a few boundaries to consider erecting to protect the commitments you make: I can't do everything, so it's okay to say no.

    • I will speak with purpose.
    • I will only make commitments I intend to keep.
    • I will write down all the agreements I make.
    • I will clear up any broken agreement at the first opportunity.
    • I will follow through on the commitments I have made even though it may require sacrifice, work, and cost.
    1. Be faithful to your companion in life.

    Malachi 2:13-16, “And this second thing you do. You cover the Lord's altar with tears, with weeping and groaning because he no longer regards the offering or accepts it with favor from your hand. 14 But you say, “Why does he not?” Because the Lord was witness between you and the wife of your youth, to whom you have been faithless, though she is your companion and your wife by covenant. 15 Did he not make them one, with a portion of the Spirit in their union? And what was the one God seeking? Godly offspring. So guard yourselves[i] in your spirit, and let none of you be faithless to the wife of your youth. 16 “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

    * Three times in chapter two Malachi uses the phrase guard. Verse 7, to guard knowledge. Verse 8, guard yourself and in verse 16, guard yourself and your spirit. The word watch or guard means "to hedge with thorns" or "to protect by attending to."

    The Jewish men had violated the covenant agreement with their wives (v. 10). They had failed to keep the commitment to their spouses. But this was only a repercussion of the larger issue stated in verse 8: "'You, on the other hand, have turned from the way. You have caused many to stumble by your instruction. You have violated the covenant of Levi,' says the LORD of Hosts" (Mal. 3:8).

    * We support the first commandment in the Bible given to a husband and wife that they should produce fruit through bearing and raising children. We believe that marriage laws in America should not include unions other than those between a man and a woman.

    * The Bible makes it clear that believers are to marry other believers. The Bible says we are to marry in the Lord.

    * We are in real trouble in our marriages in America today. In 1920, one out of 7 marriages ended in divorce. Today in America there is one out of 2 marriages will end in divorce and it is the same even with believers. God’s plan for the marriage is one man and one woman for life.

    * Many a marriage, friendship, or business partnership has been rendered useless because one person failed to honor a commitment.

    The book, "A Promise Kept", is the story of Robertson McQuilkin, a former missionary and seminary president who gave up his post because his wife Muriel had Alzheimer's disease. He dedicated himself full-time for as long as the Lord deemed necessary to take care of his wife. He wrote of traveling with his her: Once our flight was delayed in Atlanta and we had to wait a couple of hours. Now that's a challenge. Every few minutes we'd take a fast-paced walk down the terminal in earnest search of what? Muriel had always been a speed walker. I had to jog to keep up with her. An attractive woman executive type sat across from us, working diligently on her computer. Once when we returned from an excursion she said something without looking up from her papers. Since no one else was nearby I assumed she had spoken to me, or at least mumbled in protest for our constant activity. "Pardon?" I asked. "Oh," she said, "I was just asking myself, Will I ever find a man to love me like that?"  McQuilkin turned to the woman and said, "Oh yes, you can find a man like that. You can find a man like that, because I've found a man like that. The only reason I love my wife the way you see me loving her is because the man Jesus first loved me. The only resources I have to draw upon to love my wife the way I do are the resources he gives me. Mirrored in my relationship here with my wife you can see the faithful love of God for me."

    When we honor our commitments we are like God.

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