DISHONORING GOD

Pastor James J. Barker

Text: MALACHI 1:6-14




INTRODUCTION:


  1. If you know your Bible, you know there have always been problems with false prophets and false teachers (cf. II Peter 2:1,2).
  2. Back in the O.T. Israel had a priesthood. And there were many corrupt priests. We think of Nadab and Abihu (Lev.10:1,2) and the wicked sons of Eli (I Sam.2:12-17).
  3. There have always been men that go through the rituals but their hearts are not right with God.
  4. I have entitled todayís study, "Dishonoring God." The priests back in Malachiís day were dishonoring God by their wicked ways.
  5. Application: today all true believers in the Lord Jesus Christ are priests (cf. I Peter 2:5,9). We call this doctrine the priesthood of the believer.

 

I. BY DESPISING HIS NAME.

    1. Godís name represents His person. Godís name represents all that He stands for. Therefore, when men despise Godís name, they are despising God (1:6b).
    2. This is one of the ways in which they were dishonoring God. A son is supposed to honor his father. The fifth commandment says, "Honor thy father and thy motherÖ" (Ex.20:12).
    3. In the Bible, God is identified as our Father (cf. Isa.63:16; 64:8). Therefore, God wanted to know, "If I then be a father, where is mine honor?" (1:6).
    4. They were not honoring God. We are to honor God and obey God and love God with all our heart, and with all our soul, and with all our mind, and with all our strength.
    5. And yet many people say they love God and honor God but they are insincere (cf. Mark 7:6).
    6. After being rebuked by God, they had the audacity to challenge God Ė to actually contradict Him (1:6b).
    7. Their haughty and arrogant spirit is seen over and over (cf. 1:2,6,7; 2:14,17; 3:7,8,13). This demonstrates their spiritual insensitivity and self-deception.

 

II. BY DISPARAGING HIS ALTAR (1:7).

    1. The priests foolishly asked the Lord, "Wherein have we despised thy name?" (1:6). The Lord answered them (1:7). They were offering blemished sacrifices (1:7,8,12,13). They were giving God their garbage.
    2. Again, they dared to talk back to God Ė "Wherein (how) have we polluted Thee" (1:7). They were treating Godís altar with contempt (1:7).
    3. This happens all the time. People are not right with God but they come to church and act real pious. They even take the Lordís Supper, stand up and pray, even preach!
    4. According to Godís law (Deut.15:21), they were specifically forbidden to bring blind, lame, and sick sacrifices to the Lordís altar. When the priests accepted these polluted sacrifices, it was "evil" (1:8).
    5. God points out that they would not dare bring these unacceptable sacrifices to the governor because they knew he would not like it. They knew he would not be pleased (1:8), that he would feel insulted. Yet they thought nothing about giving God their garbage.
    6. Read Malachi 1:8 carefully and allow me to make an analogy. If the governor or some other important official made an appointment with you, you would not dare bring him a polluted offering. Youíd give him your best.
    7. But do you give God your best? Are you faithful with your tithes and offerings (cf. Malachi 3:8,9). Listen to these words from G. Campbell Morgan: "Sacrilege we have always thought was the breaking into a church and stealing therefrom. That is not so; it is going into Church and putting something on the plate. Do not forget that. Sacrilege is centered in offering God something which costs nothing. God looks for the giving at His altar of a gift that costs something."
    8. If the governor made an appointment with you, would you keep him waiting? Would you show up 15 minutes late? Yet some Christians always show up 15 minutes late. How come some Christians are never late for work but always late for church?
    9. Would you fail to keep your appointment? And if he called the next day to find out why you did not show up would you give the governor the same sorry excuses you give God?
    10. If you had an appointment with the governor, what clothes would you wear? Your "Sunday best"? Or any old sloppy clothes?
    11. Beloved, God is not pleased with hypocrisy and lukewarmness (cf. Rev. 3:16).
    12. In fact, God says He would rather see the temple doors shut because their sacrifices were totally unacceptable to Him (1:10a). Likewise, today I believe God would rather see most church doors shut because the worship is unacceptable to Him Ė worldly music, weak man-centered preaching, no holiness, etc.
    13. When people come to church they ought to see that there is a big difference between the world and the church. But most churches are trying to make their church as worldly as possible (cf. Ezek. 22:26).
    14. The Gospel seldom is preached in most churches. The people are usually given some religious pep-talk designed to make them feel good about themselves. God would rather see the doors shut (1:10).

 

III. BY DISHONORING HIS NAME (1:11-14).

    1. Despite manís unbelief, and despite the apostasy of Israel and the apostasy of Christendom, Godís "name shall be great" (1:11).
    2. In a book that starts out by emphasizing Godís love for Israel (1:1-5), it is heartening to read that His "name shall be great among the GentilesÖ" (1:11).
    3. One night I was driving in my car and listening to a Christian lady explain how she rebuked Kalid Mohammed. He called her "sister" and she said, "Do not call me Ďsisterí Ė I am not your sister. I believe in the Lord Jesus Christ and you believe in some god called Allah."
    4. The family of God has nothing to do with skin color. It has everything to do with the true name of God. Because His "name shall be great among the heathen, saith the LORD of hosts" (1:11; cf. Acts 4:12).
    5. The priests were so far from God that they found their ministry tiresome. They were complaining, "Behold, what a weariness is it!" (1:13). There are many church people like that today! They are tired of reading their Bibles. They are tired of getting up for Sunday School. They are tired of praying. They are tired of going to prayer meeting. They are tired of going back for Sunday night service. They complain: "What a weariness is it!"
    6. D.L. Moody used to say: "I get weary in the work, but I never get weary of the work."
    7. Itís funny Ė some people never grow weary of watching baseball games or sitting in front of the TV watching nonsense, but they are weary of going to church.
    8. A lot of folk are weary of strong preaching and so the preacher tones down the message and tries to entertain the people.
    9. Like the priests who "have snuffed at it" (1:13), many church people stick their nose up at the pastor. And they keep giving God their garbage! (1:13b).
    10. God put a curse on "the deceiver" (1:14) who has a good animal in his flock and vows to give it to God but he deliberately sacrifices a "corrupt thing" (1:14). As if a man could deceive God?
    11. And yet there are many people who think they can deceive God. They promise to give God their best but they do not. Their sacrifices are polluted. They give God their garbage.
    12. How can a man or a woman come forward at an invitation, sometimes with tears in their eyes, and promise to give God their best, and sing "I Surrender All" and get on their knees before God and say, "From now on it will be different" and then the next day go back to their old ways? They still donít tithe. They still do not go out soulwinning. They still skip church, etc. They are "deceivers."

CONCLUSION:

  1. Henry Martyn was a British missionary to India. After serving in India for a number of years, he felt God calling him to Persia (Iran). The doctors told him that the heat would kill him if he stayed in India, and the heat in Persia was worse.
  2. Nevertheless, Henry Martyn arrived in Persia, studied the Persian language and translated the entire NT and the book of Psalms in an incredible nine months.
  3. But then he was told he must have the Shahís permission to circulate these Scriptures. So he traveled 600 miles to Tehran, only to be denied permission to see the Shah. So he turned around and made a 400-mile trip to speak to the British ambassador who gave him a letter of recommendation. He told Henry Martyn, "This is all I can do. You will have to go and present this letter yourself."
  4. He was exhausted by this time but he rode in the sweltering heat on the back of a mule all the way to Tehran. This time he was received by the Shah and given permission for the Scriptures in Persian to be circulated throughout the country.
  5. The year was 1812. Ten days later, Henry Martyn died at the age of 31. He did not give God garbage. He gave God His best. What about you?


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