Pastor James J. Barker

Text: MALACHI 1:1-14


  1. Malachiís name means "Messenger of Jehovah."
  2. Practically nothing is known of Malachiís personal life. Therefore, some liberal critics deny that he was an actual person. Of course, those of us who believe the Bible, believe that there was a real prophet named Malachi who ministered to the restored remnant after the 70 year captivity.
  3. Scofield dates the book at 397 BC, some date it a few years earlier.
  4. And yet the problems Malachi encountered 2,400 years ago are the same problems we face today: saved people marrying the unsaved (2:11; cf. Neh.13:23-31), men were divorcing their wives (2:14-16), they were so backslidden that they were actually wearying God with their words (2:17; cf. Neh.13:15-22), and they were not tithing (3:8-10; cf. Neh.13:10-14).
  5. Malachiís message is called "the burden of the word of the LORD" (1:1). "Burden" here means the judgment of God. This prophecy contains strong words of rebuke to a haughty and backslidden nation.
  6. "Haughty and backslidden"? Sounds very much like the USA!
  7. We see here many reasons why God had to rebuke these haughty backsliders Ė men taking unsaved wives, men divorcing their wives, wearying God with their words, not tithing, and so on. Here is one more thing Ė they kept contradicting God. The book of Malachi is marked by eight contradictions Ė eight instances where these haughty Israelites, insensitive to their own sinfulness, ask the LORD for evidence of their wrongdoing (1:2,6,7; 2:13,14,17; 3:7,8,13).
  8. We do not have the time today to look at all eight of these contradictions, but Lord willing, we will look at the first three, found here in chapter 1.



    1. God reminded them that He loved them but they responded by saying, "Wherein ("How" or "In what way") hast Thou loved us?" (1:2). They did not appreciate Godís great love for them (cf. Deut. 7:6-8; 10:15,16).
    2. How many in America really understand the love of God? Millions of Americans can quote John 3:16 from memory but they live just like devils! God judged Israel. We can only wonder how much time does America have left?
    3. "Wherein hast Thou loved us?" Today, multitudes of ungrateful sinners turn their back on Godís love and mercy. Many have begged God: "If you get me out of this, Iíll serve you till I die" and then after God delivers them, they soon forget all about it.
    4. They were not only ungrateful, they were haughty and insolent. How can a man be so disrespectful and impertinent as to defiantly challenge God? --"Wherein hast Thou loved us" (1:2).
    5. They were insensitive to Godís love because they were insensitive to their own sinfulness. Sin blinds people to Godís love.
    6. They were insensitive to Godís grace. God had brought them back from Babylon and they should have been grateful. But they were not grateful.
    7. God allowed them to reestablish the temple; He brought revival under Ezra and Nehemiah; and He gave them rest from their enemies. But their ungrateful hearts blinded them to Godís love.
    8. I know people who were deep in sin. They professed faith in Christ, got baptized, and joined the church. But now they are backslidden and bitter. Iím sure you all know folks like that. Sin blinds people. And if it is not dealt with, sin destroys people.
    9. This insensibility to sin, this callused and hardened conscience, this deluded religiosity and hypocrisy eventually developed into the Phariseeism of our Lordís day. You may recall that the Pharisees were always contradicting our Lord (cf. John 8:12ff).



    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. In the Bible God is seen as our Father. A child is supposed to honor his father. The fifth commandment says, "Honor thy father and thy mother" (Ex.20:12).
    3. But the children of Israel were not honoring God. God is specifically addressing the priests here (1:6).
    4. May we make an application here and say that the so-called clergy of today are just like these unregenerate priests of Israel. They honor God with their lips but their hearts are far from Him.
    5. And certainly this would apply to many fundamental Baptist preachers Ė men who spend more time watching TV than they do reading their Bible, men who spend precious little time soulwinning and praying but plenty of time goofing off. Iím not even going to talk about independent Baptist adulterers. Weíll let someone else deal with that horrible subject.
    6. We have to be honest. America is in a filthy mess today and we might as well stop blaming Bill Clinton and Al Gore, and Hollywood, and the rock and roll crowd, and the homosexuals, etc. A good part of the blame has to go to preachers who despise Godís name. Notice Malachi goes after the priests, not the devilís crowd. John the Baptist went after the Pharisees and Sadducees.
    7. We have too many Baptist Pharisees and Sadducees. The Baptist Pharisees are the phony hypocrites and the Baptist Sadducees are the worldly liberals. May God give us wisdom to stay clear of both groups.



    1. I do not know about you, but I am sick of hearing all this talk about pollution. These tree-huggers and rat-worshippers never say a word about the worse kind of pollution Ė sin pollution!
    2. The Israelites were polluting Godís altar. They were treating Godís altar with contempt. They were offering to God blemished sacrifices (1:7,8, 12,13).
    3. According to Godís law (Deut.15:21), they were specifically forbidden to bring blind, lame, and sick sacrifices to the Lordís table. When the priests accepted these polluted sacrifices, God says it was "evil" (1:8).
    4. God points out that they would not dare bring these unacceptable sacrifices to the governor because they knew the governor would not like it. They knew he would be insulted (1:8).
    5. Yet they had no qualms about giving God their garbage.
    6. Beloved, when churches allow satanic rock music to get into the church and they call it "contemporary praise music," they are giving God nothing but the worldís trash. How else can we describe nasty, filthy, raunchy, demonic, dirty rock and roll music? It is garbage from hell. And yet many independent Baptist preachers are bringing this trash right into their churches.
    7. When getting a big crowd is more important than holiness and godliness, they are disparaging Godís altar. Look at Malachi 2:11. "For Judah hath profaned the holiness of the LORD." No matter how you look at it, once a church goes along with the contemporary rock beat, it is no longer a holiness church. They can talk about holiness and separation and godly living but they are deceiving themselves.
    8. Next comes the women in pants, men with earrings, etc. I was talking to a preacher friend about a church that got rid of their standards and brought in rock music. He said he thought this church was "King James Only." Maybe they are, but what good is being "KJV-only" if you are using Satanís music and youíve become as worldly and messed-up as a new-evangelical church?
    9. Besides, many men say they are KJV-only but they do not OBEY the KJV. The KJV says, "Be ye holy; for I am holy" (I Peter 1:16).
    10. Well, letís get back to Malachi 1:7. When churches lower the standards to the point that you cannot tell church members from the worldly crowd, they are polluting the House of God.
    11. God says here in 1:10 that He would rather see the temple doors shut because their sacrifices were totally unacceptable to Him. I believe with all my heart that God would rather see some independent Baptist church doors closed because the music is an abomination, the people are not living right, and the preacher is a weak, wishy-washy compromiser.
    12. "So then because thou art lukewarm, and neither cold nor hot, I will spue thee out of my mouth" (Rev.3:16).
    13. Too many preachers have no backbone.


  1. We are hearing a lot today about so-called "pastoral burn-out." I cannot accept this. My Bible says, "Be filled with the Holy Spirit" (Eph.5:18).
  2. It is impossible to be filled with the Spirit and burned out. (We may feel a little "beat-up" but not "burned-out.")
  3. The priests back in Malachiís day were saying, "Behold, what a weariness is it!" (Mal.1:13).
  4. Beloved, if we ever get weary of preaching the Gospel we are in trouble.

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