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What God Expects Of You - Part 1

Fellowship in the Word / Bil Gebhardt
The Truth Network Radio
August 12, 2021 8:00 am

What God Expects Of You - Part 1

Fellowship in the Word / Bil Gebhardt

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August 12, 2021 8:00 am

An overview of the book of Malachi.

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Today on Fellowship in the Word, Pastor Bill Gebhardt challenges you to become a fully functioning follower of Jesus Christ. New Testament says we love God because he first loved us. The New Testament says while we are still at enmity with God, his enemy, Christ came and died for us. The New Testament also says that because you and I are in Christ, we were foreknown to be in Christ before the foundation of the world, all because of one thing, God loves us. So if you start this idea, I just don't think God loves me.

God says that's an insult. I have always loved you. I've proven my love for you.

I sent my son. For God so loved the world, he sent the son. The son so loved us, he died on the cross. And yet often what happens even in our lives, we begin to doubt the love of God. Thank you for joining us today on this edition of Fellowship in the Word with Pastor Bill Gebhardt.

Fellowship in the Word is the radio ministry of Fellowship Bible Church located in Metairie, Louisiana. Let's join Pastor Bill Gebhardt now as once again he shows us how God's word meets our world. One of the things that has been difficult for me as a pastor is spending time with you, especially in real crisis and finding out as we are talking that there's something bothering you. And it's this, that God isn't meeting your expectations. You expected something else.

You expected something more. So often for us, we expect God to enter into our lives and do for us exactly what we want him to do. And when he doesn't, we become disappointed with God. We want God to bless our lives, but we want it in a very particular way. We want him to bless us according to the blessings that we'd already like to have for ourselves. And when that doesn't happen in our lives, what ends up happening to us is we become disappointed with God.

But have you ever thought of the other side of the coin? Do you meet God's expectations? He has expectations for you and me.

And do you ever really think about it? Am I meeting God's expectations in my life? There is a book in the Bible that the total content of the book is God's expectations for you and for me. It is the book, the last book of the Old Testament, Malachi. So I invite you to open your Bible to Malachi. And as you do, I'm going to do something today that I've not ever done before. I'm going to preach the entire book of Malachi.

So if you have reservations for lunch, you might need to just push those back a little bit. It's an interesting book. Israel has been back in the land from the Babylonian captivity that was led by Zerubbabel and Ezra. And then Nehemiah got involved for about 100 years. And things are not going very well for them. They have the second temple built, but it's a much smaller, more discreet temple than the one Solomon built. And so the people have become very pessimistic, very apathetic, very spiritually lethargic. And so Malachi is lifted up by God to be the prophet to the nation. The word Malachi means messenger. And so Malachi is the messenger of God to this nation. And if you look at the first verse, it says, the oracle of the word of the Lord to Israel through Malachi. The word oracle is the Hebrew word matzah. And matzah can be translated oracle, but actually I believe the better translation is the word burden.

It's the same thing that you find in Nahum and Habakkuk. Think of it that way. The burden of the word of the Lord to Israel through Malachi. God is extremely upset with them.

They are not the people that they should be at all. And one of the things I noticed studying the book this week, the whole way through, is this. When you are an apathetic, carnal, immature Christian, you don't know it. You don't really know it. You think you're doing great. You think everything's fine.

I just want to read through the book. Just follow me on these verses. Look at, these are them, the people of Israel speaking, verse 6. But you say, how have we despised your name? You are presenting defiled food on my altar.

But you say, how have we defiled it? Verse 13, you say also, how tiresome this is. And then if you move over to verse 17, you have worried the Lord with your words, yet you say, how have we worried the Lord? Verse 7, but you say, how shall we return? Verse 8, will a man rob God?

Yet you're robbing me. But you say, how have we robbed you? Verse 13, your words have been arrogant against me, says the Lord. Yet you say, what have we spoken against you? When you read this, no matter what God says to them, they go, ah, that's an exaggeration. There's nothing wrong with us. Everything's just going fine with us.

We're doing everything we need to do, but they're not. And that's what the book's about. God is going to refute all of that, and he's going to give seven different commandments to them and to us. The first commandment you'll see here is in verses 2 through 5 of chapter 1, and he says this, don't doubt God's love. He doesn't like it when you do that. Don't doubt God's love. And by the way, I know for a fact that many of you do at times. I know you do that.

How do I know that? Have you ever said this? Because some of you have said it to me. God never answers my prayers, never. I don't think he even hears me. I don't know if he notices me. What are you really saying?

Be honest. I don't think he loves me. I mean, he doesn't answer my prayers. By the way, that's what they were doing at this time.

I mean, look at how bad our situation is even though we're back in the land. I mean, God doesn't love us, so God speaks. He says, I have loved you, says the Lord, but you say, how have you loved us?

Now, his illustration here is interesting. He said, was not Esau Jacob's brother, declares the Lord, yet I love Jacob. But I have hated Esau, and I have made his mountains a desolation and appointed his inheritance for the jackals of the wilderness. He says, though Edom says, we have been beaten down, but we will return and build up the ruins. Thus says the Lord of hosts, they may build, but I will tear it down, and men will call them the wicked territory and the people toward whom the Lord is indignant forever. Your eyes will see this, and you will say, the Lord be magnified beyond the border of Israel.

Here's his illustration. In their world, who gets the blessing? Firstborn. That's Esau. But Esau didn't get the blessing. Jacob did. Now, if you know anything about the story, Jacob got the blessing because he was such a wonderful man, right? Jacob was so good at everything devoted. He wasn't anything like that. He was a scoundrel. But he said, Jacob, I loved, and Esau, I hated. That's a comparison, by the way.

The Jews do that often. Jesus even tells us you have to love him so much it appears like you hate your parents and your siblings. In other words, it's a primary love that you have for him.

It's a comparative thing. But remember this. First of all, God's all-knowing. So he knows the end from the beginning. So even though it says in Romans that God hated Esau from the womb and loved Jacob, God knew everything that was going to happen. One, Esau sold his birthright.

Remember that? His birthright, he sold it. He was hungry. That sort of tells you his spiritual depth. Secondly, then, his people became the Edomites. The Edomites are terrible people. God-hating people.

These are not good people at all, and he said, even if they say they're going to build themselves back up, I'll just tear them down again. They've been judged by God. They said, I've always loved you, in spite of yourself. The New Testament says we love God because he first loved us. The New Testament says while we are still at enmity with God, his enemy, Christ came and died for us. The New Testament also says that because you and I are in Christ, we were foreknown to be in Christ before the foundation of the world, all because of one thing, God loves us. So if you start this idea, I just don't think God loves me.

God says that's an insult. I have always loved you. I've proven my love for you.

I sent my son. For God so loved the world, he sent the son. The son so loved us, he died on the cross. And yet often what happens, even in our lives, we begin to doubt the love of God. God says don't do that.

Don't doubt my love for you. Then secondly, he says this, don't offer me worthless worship. Whatever you do, don't offer me worthless worship. He says, a son honors his father and a servant his master. Then if I am a father, where is my honor? And if I am a master, where is my respect, says the Lord of Hosts. Oh, priest who despised my name.

But you say, how we despised your name? From God's point of view, when we worship God, it's a matter of honor. God says, do you honor me? Of all the people we honor, we honor all kinds of people with authority.

Don't we? We honor elected officials, we honor judges. If you get pulled over by a state trooper, there's a little moment of honor going on, right? We honor them. God says, don't honor me. And I don't want to brag in any way, but my name is God. If you don't honor God, you see, who would you honor? When you worship, you're to honor me.

He goes on then and he says this. He says, verse 8, But when you present the blind for sacrifice, is it not evil? And when you present the lame and sick, is it not evil?

Why not offer that to your governor? Would he be pleased with you? He says, or would he receive you kindly, says the Lord of Hosts. God gets it.

Why do you honor people and you don't honor me? And see, what they did, you have to understand, he talks about the sacrifice. If you're a Jew at that time, there were certain offerings you made wherever you lived. They're grain offerings.

You make three of them a year. You make a spring offering, and the first thing you do in the spring offering is you offer God the first fruits of your barley. Then there's a summer offering and you offer God the first fruits of your wheat.

Then there's a fall offering, and that's from all the crops that grew during the summer. You offer the first of it to God. But if you go to Jerusalem, you have to honor God by offering him an animal. You have to make an offering of an animal to God. And the idea was God only had one condition on what you offered him.

It had to be your first fruit, and it had to be as perfect as it could be. I get the first one. Well, notice what they did. He says, but when you present the blind for sacrifice, is it not evil and the lame and the sick? You see, and they thought a lot like we do.

They were logical. No, wait. If I bring this sheep to God, this perfect sheep, good breeder maybe, the priest is going to just kill it.

Then they're going to burn it. And that's that. What difference does it make? Here comes, I've got a blind one here and one that can't walk. Dead's dead, let him kill that sheep and I'll keep the other for myself. God's like, you don't understand, I said you'd give the first to this. And then he says, would you not, he said you wouldn't do that offer to your governor. That's interesting.

No, we don't do that because we don't make offerings that way, Christ finished all the offerings and God made it. But isn't it interesting? I mean, think of something applicationally easy for us. If you had an appointment at 9 o'clock in the morning tomorrow that has a serious accusation against it before a judge, when are you showing up? Answer me, be honest.

About 20 after. Are you? Be honest. No, I'm not, no.

I wouldn't do that. By the way, even with a doctor, did you ever notice some of the things they say now? Do you have to be there for the appointment? Yes. If you don't, is there a price to pay?

Yes. Now, you could be there at 9 and on time and he may not see you till 9.40 but that's tough for you because he's the doctor. But we honor people that way.

We come to worship God. Hey, 20 after is fine. He doesn't care. He does. It's dishonoring. You stand before God and say, no, no, I can go when you want, leave when you want.

That's just the way it is. God says that's dishonoring. You're supposed to be worshiping me. He said we would never do that to someone in authority in your culture. He then goes on and says, but now, will you not entreat God's favor that he may be gracious to us with such an offering on your part? Will he receive any of you kindly, says the Lord of hosts?

Absolutely not. He says, and yet, on the other hand, when something bad happens in your life, where do you go? Oh, God, help me. I'm praying for this.

Please make me, please make it be benign, God, please. Wait, you weren't honoring him before, but when you have a need, you're going to run right to me, he said, and you're going to tell, oh, help me, be gracious to me. He goes on and says, oh, that there were one among you who would shut the gates so that you might not uselessly kindle a fire in my altar. I am not pleased with you, says the Lord of hosts, nor will I accept an offering from you. Better to stay home, is what that says. You're better off not coming. Just stay home. Don't come and offer me something worthless.

Stay home. He said someone could shut the gates. He said from the rising of the sun even to its setting, my name will be great among the nations and in every place incense is going to be offered to my name and the grain offering that is pure and my name will be great among the nations. He said, but you are profaning it and that you say the table of the Lord is defiled and he said and asked for its fruit, its food is to be despised and yet you say something else. I'll say that in a moment. Here's what he's saying.

It's kind of interesting. Don't you realize in the end everybody on this earth will recognize me. Remember the New Testament said every knee will do what? Bow.

Every tongue will do what? Confess Jesus Christ is Lord. He said you know why? I'm God. Now you don't even do that. You see you don't even do that.

I'll get by and in the end I'll be honored but not through you. He goes on and he says then, verse 13, you also say my how tiresome it is. I love that. I just love that. You can identify with this.

You know what worshipping God is for many of us? Boring. It's just boring. I mean golly, did you hear what he said earlier? He could go on and on today. Oh gosh. You see?

This is going to go on and on. Oh my goodness gracious. You see that's what they're saying. Here they are the people of God to honor God and they say how tiresome it is and you disdainfully sniff at it says the Lord and you bring what was taken by robbery and what is lame and sick and so you bring an offering. Should I receive it from your hand says the Lord? He said let me tell you something but cursed be the swinner who has a male and his flock and vows it but sacrifices a blemished animal to the Lord for I am a great king says the Lord of hosts.

My name is to be feared among the nations. Don't offer me worthless worship. Better not to worship at all.

Don't doubt God's love. Don't offer him that kind of worship. It's kind of an interesting thought when you think about it and then he goes on and says this, don't ignore God's word.

You'll see how he says this in chapter 2. He says and now this commandment is for you O priest. If you do not listen and if you do not take it to heart and give honor to my name says the Lord of hosts then I will send a curse upon you. I will curse your blessings and indeed I have cursed them already because you're not taking it to heart.

Now he won't explain why. He says behold I am going to rebuke your offspring and I will spread refuge on your faces the refuge of your feast and he says and you will be taken away with it. Is there a clearer picture of God's disdain than that?

I just take refuge and smear it on your face. I'm saying he's upset. You see I think this is very serious to God from God's point of view. And he goes on then he says then you will know that I have sent this commandment to you and my covenant may continue with Levi. He said my covenant with him was one of life and peace and I gave them to him as an object of reverence and so he revered me and he stood in awe of my name. True instruction was in his mouth and unrighteousness was not to be found on his lips. He walked with me in peace and uprightness and he turned many back from iniquity.

What did Levi do? He taught the truth. He taught the word of God. He taught the truth and he said he turned many people back to God. The next verse he says basically the same thing for the lips of a priest should preserve knowledge and men should seek instruction from his mouth for he is a messenger of the Lord of hosts. That's his job to speak the truth. But next verse as for you you have turned aside from the way you have caused many to stumble by the instruction. You have corrupted the covenant of Levi says the Lord of hosts. He told lies. They didn't speak the truth. That's kind of a fearful thought right now in our culture. It's an amazing thing to see among the church of Jesus Christ the diminishing of the word of God in every way they can. I see things all the time that if you want to continue to grow this way you need to take the word and make it go that way.

Because people don't like that too much. Wow. The largest evangelical church in our country. 40,000 people on Sunday.

It's a pretty big church. He never speaks anything negative. I've heard him say publicly I never talk about sin. I don't talk about anything negative ever. I only tell people positive wonderful things.

All of them under the same message. God exists so that you can realize your dreams. That's why there is a God.

So that he will help you realize all your dreams. 40,000 people pile in and say I love that. I just love that message. Is that what the word of God says? No.

No. Remember what Paul wrote in the last days? People will assemble for themselves the kind of teachers that will tickle their ears.

In other words they will tell people exactly what people want to hear. God says that won't do it with me. You can't ignore the truth of the word of God. He then says in verse 20 so I have also made you despise and abase before the people just as he says you are not keeping my ways but showing partiality in the instruction. Don't doubt God's love. Don't offer him worthless worship. Don't ignore God's word.

And then this one which was a little bit alarming for me at first. Every one of these relates to how you and I relate to God except this one. This rebuke is different. It's how we relate to one another.

He says this. Do we not all have one father? Has not one God created us? Yes.

Yes. Why do we deal treacherously each against his brother so as to profane the covenant of our fathers? This is part of the covenant relationship God made with Israel. Judah has dealt treacherously and abomination has been committed in Israel and in Jerusalem for Judah has profaned the sanctuary of God. I want you to see what those words are. Treacherously, abomination, profaned. That's serious stuff, isn't it?

So what are you thinking? They must have done something horrific, just horrible to get God to say those things. He says they have profaned the sanctuary of the Lord which he loves and has married a daughter of a foreign God. What?

Yeah. They married an unbeliever. What? What?

That's what they did. They married an unbeliever. As for the man who does this, may the Lord cut off from the tents of Jacob everyone who awakes and answers or who presents an offering before the Lord of God.

I'll judge the nation for that. What? That seems awful important to him, doesn't it?

Watch. There's another thing that you do. You cover the altar of the Lord with tears and weeping, with groaning, because he no longer regards your offering or accepts it with favor from your hand. You know your life's going terrible because I'm judging it and you keep coming to my altar and crying, why is it so bad? Why is it so bad? He said, you say, for what reason? Verse 14, is it so bad?

Because the Lord has been witness between you and the wife of your youth, against whom you have dealt treacherously, though she is your companion and your wife by covenant. What were they doing? Here's what they were doing. They spent 70 years in the Babylonian captivity. Now, when they were in the Babylonian captivity, they were slaves so they could only marry among themselves. So, all the Jewish men had to marry Jewish women in captivity, just the way it went. Now, they're back in the land. So, they come back with all the Jewish men and all the Jewish women, and now we're back in the land and the men start noticing, hey, that pagan girl looks pretty good.

I kind of like the way she looks. And by the way, culturally, Jewish men could divorce Jewish women for almost any reason, all the way to the time of Christ. That was the culture in which Jesus lived. They could divorce their wives for anything. Their wives couldn't divorce them for anything except provable adultery, nothing else. So, they decided they could just marry foreign girls.

We can do this. And that's what God's so upset about. You say, well, why is he so upset about that? He said they've dealt treacherously with their wives. He said, verse 15, but no one has done so who has a remnant of the Spirit. And what did that one do while he was seeking a godly offspring? God says there's a couple things about marriage. One, marriage is a covenant. It's part of our covenant in the nation of Israel. Two, a marriage among believers, by principle, can produce more believers, a godly offspring. You see, that's a principle.

And that's still true today, by the way, if you read the polls or anything. Two Christians who marry are more likely to have Christian children into adulthood than non-Christians. Each person makes a decision on their own, but by principle, that seems to work, a godly offspring. So, he says, take heed, he said, then to your spirit, and let no one deal treacherously against the wife of your youth. He said that the people who make choices like this aren't putting it through a spiritual lens at all. He said, notice, he said, no one who has done so has a remnant of the Spirit.

You're not asking what God thinks, you're just going to do it. You've been listening to Pastor Bill Gebhardt on the Radio Ministry of Fellowship in the Word. If you ever miss one of our broadcasts, or maybe you would just like to listen to the message one more time, remember that you can go to a great website called That's, and you can listen to Fellowship in the Word online.

At that website, you will find not only today's broadcast, but also many of our previous audio programs as well. At Fellowship in the Word, we are thankful for those who financially support our ministry and make this broadcast possible. We ask all of our listeners to prayerfully consider how you might help this radio ministry continue its broadcast on this radio station by supporting us monthly or with just a one-time gift. Support for our ministry can be sent to Fellowship in the Word 4600 Clearview Parkway, Metairie, Louisiana 7006. If you would be interested in hearing today's message in its original format, that is as a sermon that Pastor Bill delivered during a Sunday morning service at Fellowship Bible Church, then you should visit our website,

That's At our website, you will find hundreds of Pastor Bill's sermons. You can browse through our sermon archives to find the sermon series you are looking for, or you can search by title. Once you find the message you are looking for, you can listen online, or if you prefer, you can download the sermon and listen at your own convenience. And remember, you can do all of this absolutely free of charge. Once again, our website is For Pastor Bill Gebhardt, I'm Jason Gebhardt thanking you for listening to Fellowship in the Word.
Whisper: medium.en / 2023-09-16 04:43:08 / 2023-09-16 04:54:22 / 11

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