This is the sermon for January 9th, 2011.
Malachi part 2
God’s crazy, wonderful love.
Malachi 1:2-5 NIV – 2 “I have loved you,” says the LORD.“But you ask, ‘How have you loved us?’ “Was not Esau Jacob’s brother?” declares the LORD. “Yet I have loved Jacob, 3 but Esau I have hated, and I have turned his hill country into a wasteland and left his inheritance to the desert jackals.” 4 Edom may say, “Though we have been crushed, we will rebuild the ruins.” But this is what the LORD Almighty says: “They may build, but I will demolish. They will be called the Wicked Land, a people always under the wrath of the LORD. 5 You will see it with your own eyes and say, ‘Great is the LORD—even beyond the borders of Israel!’
Introduction: This is the second sermon in our verse by verse series into the book of Malachi. Last time we looked at the first verse, and did a little contextual background work into the book, preparing us to interpret the meaning of the book to us today.
Now today’s sermon covers a very controversial topic within the body of Christ and there are many a different interpretation concerning it: and that is the topic has to do with God’s love revealed to us in Scripture through His election and predetermined plan. Let’s look at the dictionary.com definition of the words, Election and Predestination:
- Election – the choice by God of individuals, as for a particular work or for favor or salvation.
- Predestination – the decree of God by which certain souls are foreordained to salvation.
Election in Scripture has to do with God, not us, as some people may teach and believe. This doctrine of Election is not God playing a game of – “innie, minnie, miney, moe” as some people betray it; but it is determined by God’s love for those He chooses.
Let’s begin to unpack our text this morning, plus bring some application to us as well.
God’s indescribable love. (verse 2)
Malachi 1:2 – I have loved you,” says the LORD.“But you ask, ‘How have you loved us?’ declares the LORD. “Yet I have loved Jacob…
The first thing we see is that God starts off His call of repentance to the children of Israel by proclaiming His love for them.
- The Hebrew word for love here – אָהַ֤בְתִּי (a·hav·ti) – means more than an affection for, which it does mean that as well. It has to do with love as a choice.
- God is saying that He chose to love the children of Israel.
- Now that may not really hit us too much, but think about this a moment. Throughout their history of being chosen by God, they have never given the Lord a reason to really love them. Time and time again they had turned their back on Him, worshiped false gods, refuse to keep His Law, and too truly worship Him with their heart…but God never stopped loving them. Every time they gave Him a reason to quit loving them, He chose to continue in His love for them.
- I like what the Lord said to them in Jeremiah.
Jeremiah 31:3 – The LORD appeared to us in the past, saying: “I have loved you with an everlasting love; I have drawn you with unfailing kindness.
- I want you to think about this for one moment. God first loved us before we ever had shown any love for Him. In fact, I believe it was the fact that He first loved us that compelled us to love Him. Notice what John says in his first epistle.
1 John 4:19 – We love because he first loved us.
- And we are so much like the children of Israel in this regard – we have given the Lord plenty of reason to quit loving us – yet He continues to love us.
- Why is that? Because His love for us goes much deeper than just mere affection; but His love for us is a choice. He continues to love us because He chooses too.
- And this type of love is what compels true disciples of Jesus Christ to repentance when He exposes our sin through His word.
- Just knowing that He will continue to love me, no matter what a mess I’ve made, but yet still lovingly and kindly calling me to repentance makes me want to love Him and serve Him more, and at the same time be more frustrated and sick with my own sin.
- What a pure love God has for us!
Romans 2:4 – Do you show contempt for the riches of his kindness, forbearance and patience, not realizing that God’s kindness is intended to lead you to repentance?
- Now let’s go to our next point that makes many uncomfortable.
God’s hatred. (verse 3a)
Malachi 1:3a – but Esau I have hated…
Notice that it is not just sins that God says he hates here: but an individual, and the nation that came from the individual.
- This flies in the face of so much that we have been taught. We are taught to love everyone and hate the sin like God does; yet here He says he hates an individual.
- You might say Pastor that is just an Old Testament thing, it has changed in the New Testament. Well, notice what Paul says in Romans 9.
Romans 9:13 – Just as it is written: “Jacob I loved, but Esau I hated.”
Let’s now look at what the word “hated” means:
- Hated in Hebrew is שָׂנֵ֑אתִי (sa·ne·ti). It has less to do with a complete and utter despising and hating. It has more to do with rejection.
- I believe this can be translated the way the NET does: “I chose Jacob and rejected Esau.”
- Now one of the arguments used here is that this is a total rejection of a particular nation, and not an individual rejection; meaning, God accepting one nation and rejecting another. And I think that it is possible that that could be a part of the proper interpretation.
- But Romans 9 makes it clear that this acceptance and rejection came before the nations even existed, before the individual children was even born; let’s look.
Romans 9:6-16 – 6 It is not as though God’s word had failed. For not all who are descended from Israel are Israel. 7 Nor because they are his descendants are they all Abraham’s children. On the contrary, “It is through Isaac that your offspring will be reckoned.” 8 In other words, it is not the children by physical descent who are God’s children, but it is the children of the promise who are regarded as Abraham’s offspring. 9 For this was how the promise was stated: “At the appointed time I will return, and Sarah will have a son.” 10 Not only that, but Rebekah’s children were conceived at the same time by our father Isaac. 11 Yet, before the twins were born or had done anything good or bad—in order that God’s purpose in election might stand: 12 not by works but by him who calls—she was told, “The older will serve the younger.” 13 Just as it is written: “Jacob I loved, but Esau I hated.” 4 What then shall we say? Is God unjust? Not at all! 15 For he says to Moses, “I will have mercy on whom I have mercy, and I will have compassion on whom I have compassion.” 16 It does not, therefore, depend on human desire or effort, but on God’s mercy.
- I believe it can be clear that the children of God is not some national country or people, notice the passage says, “For not all who are descended from Israel our Israel.”
- But the Children of promise are both Jew and Gentile, those whom God has mercy upon.
- Verse 15 is interesting here. “On whom” in the text is the Greek word, ὃν (hos). In Grammar this is ACCUSATIVE SINGULAR MASCULINE. This basically means this is a single person that an action or influence is limited too. In this case, God’s mercy and compassion, or lack of it.
- Now this might raise more questions than it answers, and I’m not sure that I can address all of them with confidence, but I do believe that according to Paul in Ephesians God is talking about an election beyond nationality, or people group.
Ephesians 1:4-6 – 4 For he chose us in him before the creation of the world to be holy and blameless in his sight. In love 5 he predestined us for adoption to sonship through Jesus Christ, in accordance with his pleasure and will— 6 to the praise of his glorious grace, which he has freely given us in the One he loves.
- This is not talking about a nation, but a people – the church. Each and every member who are truly a part of the church God has predestined.
In light of this, how should we consider God’s choice and God’s rejection?
- First off, everyone who God has rejected deserve it – why? Because they have rejected God and His Gospel! It is not that some want to be saved, but can’t; it is the fact that they do not desire the one true God of the Bible – period! So they deserve God’s wrath.
- Those whom God has chosen do not deserve it! It is only by His mercy that we are chosen, not because of any good on our part, or our pedigree.
- How should we view predestination? The best way I’ve heard is by looking at it like through a rear-view mirror. Don’t look forward wondering who will be saved or not, or should be saved or not, but look back on those who are saved, and thank God for saving them.
- We should also continue to preach the good news of the Gospel to every man, woman, boy and girl. And we should preach it in love. It doesn’t matter what sin they are bound by – we share Christ crucified for sins with them and let God do what He does – save.
- We don’t get bogged down on who’s elect or who is not.
- Now let’s quickly finish up the rest of the sermon.
Those God rejects live under His wrath. (verses 3a-5)
Malachi 1:3a-5 – 3I have turned his hill country into a wasteland and left his inheritance to the desert jackals.” 4 Edom may say, “Though we have been crushed, we will rebuild the ruins.” But this is what the LORD Almighty says: “They may build, but I will demolish. They will be called the Wicked Land, a people always under the wrath of the LORD. 5 You will see it with your own eyes and say, ‘Great is the LORD—even beyond the borders of Israel!’
- People may try other ways to build their lives, but God only has one way – through Jesus Christ. All those who reject Christ are under God’s wrath, and we should pray for their salvation.
Romans 2:5 – But because of your stubbornness and your unrepentant heart, you are storing up wrath against yourself for the day of God’s wrath, when his righteous judgment will be revealed.
How do we avoid God’s wrath?
- Let’s let Scripture speak to us on this.
Romans 5:6-11 – 6 You see, at just the right time, when we were still powerless, Christ died for the ungodly. 7 Very rarely will anyone die for a righteous person, though for a good person someone might possibly dare to die. 8 But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us. 9 Since we have now been justified by his blood, how much more shall we be saved from God’s wrath through him! 10 For if, while we were God’s enemies, we were reconciled to him through the death of his Son, how much more, having been reconciled, shall we be saved through his life! 11 Not only is this so, but we also boast in God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have now received reconciliation.
Romans 10:9-13 – 9 If you declare with your mouth, “Jesus is Lord,” and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. 10 For it is with your heart that you believe and are justified, and it is with your mouth that you profess your faith and are saved. 11 As Scripture says, “Anyone who believes in him will never be put to shame.” 12 For there is no difference between Jew and Gentile—the same Lord is Lord of all and richly blesses all who call on him, 13 for, “Everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.”
Conclusion: As we conclude, I know that is has been a very difficult subject to deal with. And I’m sure that many here will disagree with me. But test what I have proclaimed this morning, not with your interpretation – but with the Scriptures themselves. And more than this please know: God has revealed His love to us through His Son. It isn’t that we have first loved Him and chose Him, but He first loved us and chose us; and therefore out of a heart He redeems, we choose Him. And when it comes to those who are outside of faith in Christ; we demonstrate the Gospel by both sharing the gospel of grace to them, but also loving them. Our job is not to decide who God loves or who God hates, but to love all as our neighbor and share Jesus with them.