This is the sermon for Sunday, January 16th, 2011.

Malachi part 3

Contemptuous Worship

Malachi 1:6-14 NIV – 6 “A son honors his father, and a slave his master. If I am a father, where is the honor due me? If I am a master, where is the respect due me?” says the LORD Almighty.  “It is you priests who show contempt for my name. “But you ask, ‘How have we shown contempt for your name?’  7 “By offering defiled food on my altar. “But you ask, ‘How have we defiled you?’ “By saying that the LORD’s table is contemptible. 8 When you offer blind animals for sacrifice, is that not wrong? When you sacrifice lame or diseased animals, is that not wrong? Try offering them to your governor! Would he be pleased with you? Would he accept you?” says the LORD Almighty. 9 “Now plead with God to be gracious to us. With such offerings from your hands, will he accept you?”—says the LORD Almighty. 10 “Oh, that one of you would shut the temple doors, so that you would not light useless fires on my altar! I am not pleased with you,” says the LORD Almighty, “and I will accept no offering from your hands. 11 My name will be great among the nations, from where the sun rises to where it sets. In every place incense and pure offerings will be brought to me, because my name will be great among the nations,” says the LORD Almighty. 12 “But you profane it by saying, ‘The Lord’s table is defiled,’ and, ‘Its food is contemptible.’ 13 And you say, ‘What a burden!’ and you sniff at it contemptuously,” says the LORD Almighty. “When you bring injured, lame or diseased animals and offer them as sacrifices, should I accept them from your hands?” says the LORD. 14 “Cursed is the cheat who has an acceptable male in his flock and vows to give it, but then sacrifices a blemished animal to the Lord. For I am a great king,” says the LORD Almighty, “and my name is to be feared among the nations.

Introduction: This is the third sermon in our verse by verse series into the book of Malachi.  Last time we saw God speak about His love for His children.  In this sermon God is still dealing with love; but not His love for His children, but their love for Him.

You see, worship is about love: We love God, therefore out of that love we worship Him.

Israel had so many things to worship God for:  He called them out of the world to be His children; He gave them the Law and the Prophets; He gave them Kings; He had performed mighty acts throughout their history; and even when He had to discipline them, He always did it with the purpose of drawing them back to Himself through repentance.  And how has God been rewarded for His great love toward them: By rejection and in this case, contemptuous worship by both the priests (ministers) and the people.

Now before we point our fingers at the Jews and wonder how they could be so depraved in their worship to God time after time: let’s be honest for a few moments.  We do the exact same thing.  God has saved us; He has done mighty acts on our behalf; He had given us His Word; He has given us not only a place to worship Him, but a people to worship Him with; He has given us talents and abilities to use for His service; He has given us His Holy Spirit and gifted us with spiritual gifts….and yet in spite of all this – we don’t worship Him out of a grateful heart, but a heart that is selfish and loves the blessings, but not the sacrifice.  The American Church has acted contemptuously in its worship to God just like the Jews did here that Malachi is addressing.

This morning, we are going to look into our text and discover four truths that can be applied to us today.  We are not going to look at these verses in the traditional order though.  Let’s begin.

Dishonoring God.

Malachi 1:6-8 – 6 “A son honors his father, and a slave his master. If I am a father, where is the honor due me? If I am a master, where is the respect due me?” says the LORD Almighty.  “It is you priests who show contempt for my name. “But you ask, ‘How have we shown contempt for your name?’  7 “By offering defiled food on my altar. “But you ask, ‘How have we defiled you?’ “By saying that the LORD’s table is contemptible. 8 When you offer blind animals for sacrifice, is that not wrong? When you sacrifice lame or diseased animals, is that not wrong? Try offering them to your governor! Would he be pleased with you? Would he accept you?” says the LORD Almighty.

Malachi 1:12-13 – 12 “But you profane it by saying, ‘The Lord’s table is defiled,’ and, ‘Its food is contemptible.’ 13 And you say, ‘What a burden!’ and you sniff at it contemptuously,” says the LORD Almighty. “When you bring injured, lame or diseased animals and offer them as sacrifices, should I accept them from your hands?” says the LORD.

God is both Father and Master, but not treated with respect. (verse 6a)

  • Here the Lord is speaking directly to the children of Israel.
  • If He is their Father and Master, where is the honor a father receives?  Where is the respect a Master receives?
  • We live in a time that everyone wants to talk about God being their friend, and while there is a truth to that belief – God is so much more than just our friend.
  • First off for the Christian, He is their Father.  He bought us, purchased us for adoption through the blood of His Son, Jesus Christ.

Galatians 4:4-7 – 4 But when the set time had fully come, God sent his Son, born of a woman, born under the law, 5 to redeem those under the law, that we might receive adoption to sonship. 6 Because you are his sons, God sent the Spirit of his Son into our hearts, the Spirit who calls out, “Abba, Father.” 7 So you are no longer a slave, but God’s child; and since you are his child, God has made you also an heir.

  • Not only is He our Father by virtue of adoption through the sacrifice of Jesus Christ; but He is also our Master – our souls our gloriously enslaved to Him.

2 Timothy 2:20-21 – 20 In a large house there are articles not only of gold and silver, but also of wood and clay; some are for special purposes and some for common use. 21 Those who cleanse themselves from the latter will be instruments for special purposes, made holy, useful to the Master and prepared to do any good work.

Those in ministry have defiled the Lord through their worship. (verses 6b-8&12-13).

  • Notice the priest’s defilement listed in these verses: offering defiled, injured, lame and diseased animals and food on the altar; saying that the Lord’s table is contemptible and defiled; and talking about what a burden it is to serve at the temple of the Lord.
  • As a Pastor and preacher of God’s Word it pains me to say that in the church of America, we have treated the holy things of God with absolute contempt and worshiped Him who is holy with defilement.
  • How have we done this?  We have focused on get rich quick schemes and not about the awesome majesty of God; The preaching of God’s word has been replaced with moral, therapeutic, object lessons under the guise of sermons and delivered in an entertaining fashion to draw a crowd; Those who minister are more interested in meeting people’s felt needs instead of meeting their true spiritual need (repentance and forgiveness of sins in Jesus name); and we treat the Lord’s supper as just some boring ceremony, but not the holy moment that it was intended to be.
  • When it comes to the Lord’s supper – it is a serious, holy moment, and God doesn’t play games with it.  Notice what Paul says.

1 Corinthians 11:27-32 – 27Whoever eats the bread or drinks the cup of the Lord in an unworthy manner will be guilty of sinning against the body and blood of the Lord. 28 Everyone ought to examine themselves before they eat of the bread and drink from the cup. 29 For those who eat and drink without discerning the body of Christ eat and drink judgment on themselves. 30 That is why many among you are weak and sick, and a number of you have fallen asleep. 31 But if we were more discerning with regard to ourselves, we would not come under such judgment. 32 Nevertheless, when we are judged in this way by the Lord, we are being disciplined so that we will not be finally condemned with the world.

It is better to shut the doors of a house of worship than to treat God with contempt through our worship.

Malachi 1:10 – “Oh, that one of you would shut the temple doors, so that you would not light useless fires on my altar! I am not pleased with you,” says the LORD Almighty, “and I will accept no offering from your hands.

  • This is such a tragic statement that the Lord is making to the Children of Israel.
  • He would rather that they close the doors of His temple and not offer sacrifices at all, than to offer defiled sacrifices.
  • Sadly Church, I feel that God is not pleased with worship that is self-gratifying and defiling His holiness by pursuing things and doctrines that are not what His Word teaches.
  • Oh, they may draw a crowd and get the world talking about how great they are; but the Lord is not pleased with them.
  • It is better to please the Lord and be hated by the world, than to please the world and live in the Lord’s displeasure.
  • But this is not the end of things – for there is good news to present.

God seeks for true worshippers who fear His name.

Malachi 1:11 – My name will be great among the nations, from where the sun rises to where it sets. In every place incense and pure offerings will be brought to me, because my name will be great among the nations,” says the LORD Almighty.

  • While Israel is defiled and turned their back on God, God will seek out and find those among the Gentile nations that will worship Him from a pure heart.
  • Remember Jesus words to the Samaritan woman.

John 4:23 – a time is coming and has now come when the true worshipers will worship the Father in the Spirit and in truth, for they are the kind of worshipers the Father seeks.

Malachi 1:14 – “Cursed is the cheat who has an acceptable male in his flock and vows to give it, but then sacrifices a blemished animal to the Lord. For I am a great king,” says the LORD Almighty, “and my name is to be feared among the nations.

  • The writer of Proverbs said it well.

Proverbs 1:7 – The fear of the LORD is the beginning of knowledge, but fools despise wisdom and instruction.

What must we do?  Plead for God’s grace!

Malachi 1:9 – Now plead with God to be gracious to us. With such offerings from your hands, will he accept you?”—says the LORD Almighty.

Conclusion: Though we have been unfaithful in worship to the Lord; though we’ve been selfish and focused entirely on our wants and needs, though we’ve treated the Lord’s supper in a haphazard fashion: We’ve never been disowned!  What a great truth.

God’s purpose for His church – locally, nationally, and universally –  is to repent of our sins and receive His forgiveness.  He is seeking out worshippers who will worship Him in Spirit and in truth.  Let’s fall into His hands asking for Him to be gracious to us and make us into the people of God He longs for us to be.

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