The slide into spiritual disintegration doesn’t happen overnight. It’s a steady slide over time.
Have you ever wondered how the priests and teachers of the law got so far off spiritually that they couldn’t even see their Messiah, the Son of God, when He was standing right there in front of them?
The spiritual decay of the priesthood went back centuries. Even as far back as the Book of Malachi, over 400 years before Jesus, the spiritual rot was already deep and widespread. And so, God had sent prophet after prophet to call them back to repentance, only to be ignored time and time again. So now, in His mercy, God sends Malachi to give them one final warning with language designed to shock them and call them back from the edge of spiritual decay and disaster.
This sermon looks at the second half of the second dispute in the book of Malachi. It divides the discourse neatly into three sections:
1) The Curse
The priests are in danger of losing their ministry.
If they don’t course correct, all the blessings they enjoy in ministry will be taken away,
just like the offal that’s taken away outside the city and cursed in the fire. Because there is nothing in their worship that is pleasing to the Lord.
2) The Covenant
The priests have corrupted the essence of their calling.
They neglected their walk with God. They distorted the teaching of the Word. They are calloused in their prayers of intercession. They corrupted the sacrificial offerings.
The very heart of their priestly ministry was compromised. And now, like a prosecuting attorney, God will bring the charge.
3) The Charge
The priests have led the people astray with platitudes.
They told people what they wanted to hear, and in so doing, feared people more than they feared God. The priests thought they were being loving by sparing people’s feelings with their sugar-coated half-truths. But it only led them away from God’s life and peace, and there’s ultimately nothing loving about that.
And so, God said that He would make the priests despised and abased before all the people of Israel.
Takeaway: We need the truth, the whole truth, and nothing by the truth…so help us God!
The truth is, we owe God everything. He made us. He gave us life, breath, and everything else. We owe our all to Him.
But we have failed to worship Him as we ought. We all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God. We’ve all failed to love God with all our heart, soul, mind and strength. We’ve all failed to love our neighbor as ourselves.
But God, in his great mercy, sent his Son Jesus.
The bad news of our sin makes way for the good news of our salvation! Tough love gives us the bad news we’d prefer to ignore. Tender mercies give us the good news we find it hard to believe!