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Healing Love, Part 2

Summit Life / J.D. Greear
The Truth Network Radio
March 14, 2024 9:00 am

Healing Love, Part 2

Summit Life / J.D. Greear

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March 14, 2024 9:00 am

Often, after hearing a powerful sermon, we’ll get excited and make all kinds of promises to God about how we’re going to change and be more like Jesus. But over time, we lose our focus and our excitement begins to wane. If you’ve ever been there, you’re not alone!

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Summit Life
J.D. Greear

Today on Summit Life, a challenging message from J.D.

Greer. There is nothing wrong with upgrading your lifestyle. There's nothing wrong with saving for the future.

The problem is when you do those things first. God's people, their first thing that they do with their money is they tithe to God, who is their primary source of joy and security. Again, everybody tithes to something, and that thing is their God. So what do you tithe to? Welcome back to Summit Life with Pastor J.D. Greer.

I'm your host, Molly Vitovich. You know, many times after hearing a powerful sermon, we'll get all pumped up and passionate and ready to take on the world. We'll make all kinds of promises to God about how we're going to change and be more like Jesus. But over time, we lose our focus and our excitement begins to wane. If you've ever been there, let me tell you, you're not alone.

I think we've all had that experience. And today, Pastor J.D. talks about a time when the nation of Israel had drifted away from God. We're discovering the only cure for our wandering hearts as we wrap up our study of the minor prophets titled Come Back to Me. Remember, if you missed any part of this teaching series, you can listen free of charge at jdgreer.com. But for now, let's join Pastor J.D. for today's message from the book of Malachi. Malachi 3.7 is what sums up the message of the whole book, and for that matter, sums up the entire Old Testament.

Here's what it says. Since the days of your fathers, you have turned from my statutes. All the way back in Genesis, going all the way back to Father Abraham, you have turned from my statutes.

You have not kept them. Return to me, says the Lord, and I will return to you. Malachi's book is the last thing that God says to Israel for 400 years.

The very next time God speaks to them is when Jesus comes. So what Malachi says in this book is going to reverberate in Israel's hearts for 400 years. In this book, we're going to see first the charge against Israel. Then we're going to see, secondly, the problem of Israel's persistent unfaithfulness. And then lastly, we're going to see God's solution. So let's just jump right in to the charge against Israel.

It's got four components to it. They were, these people were religious, but they were self-seeking. In chapter one, Malachi's going to talk about their offerings, and he's going to say to them, you make all kinds of offerings. You're always in church. But secretly, in your heart, when you're making these offerings, secretly you say, what a burden. And you bring stolen, lame, or sick animals. You bring this as an offering? Am I going to accept that from your hands? I am a great king, says the Lord of armies. And the implication is I deserve a great offering.

And my name will be feared among the nations. In other words, their worship was consistent. It was regular, but it was half-hearted. Secondly, they were religious, but letter B, they were self-centered. Religious, but self-centered rather than God-centered. This was demonstrated by their behavior in marriage. Watch this.

This is the second thing you do. He said, you cover the Lord's altar with tears, with weeping and groaning, because he no longer regards your offering. And you say, why does he not regard our offering?

Because the Lord was witness between you and the wife of your youth, to whom you've been faithless, though she is your companion and your wife by covenant. Did he not make them one with a portion of the spirit in their union? Didn't he put his spirit into this? And wasn't he the one behind this? And what was the one God seeking?

Godly offspring. The man who does not love his wife, but divorces her, says the Lord, the God of Israel. That man covers his garment with injustice.

Here's what was happening. If you read back a few verses earlier in chapter two, you'll see that many of the Jewish men had taken a fancy to foreign women. But these women, they worshiped other gods. And so a lot of these Hebrew men were divorcing and God confronts them about this in two ways. Listen, verse 15, he says, first of all, your marriage was a covenant that you made before me.

And that covenant was supposed to reflect my love for you. Second, he says, one of my primary intentions in your marriage was to raise up godly children. But you, he says, you have started to look at marriage as if it were all about you. Divorce is a lot of times not the problem, it's the fruit of the problem. And that problem is a self-centered approach to life that you went into marriage with. That self-centered approach to marriage even affects how we think about children.

They think of it in terms of what they want or what will add enjoyment to their lives. And that's what he said, you're self-centered and that shows up in your marriage. Thirdly, they were religious, but let us see, they were unbelieving. You're gonna see that in verse 17, chapter two, you have wearied the Lord with your words. Yet you ask, how have we wearied him?

You wear him when you say, where's the God of justice? You've spoken arrogantly against me, says the Lord. This is chapter three, you've said, it's futile to serve God. The arrogant are blessed and the evil doers prosper after all that God had done for them.

Y'all, they were still looking around at the world, walking around saying, God, it's not fair. Keep in mind that God had delivered them from a self-inflicted captivity now, not once, but twice. And God says, still, still you doubt my commandment to you, what more would I have to do? Some at church, I often tell you that it is okay for you to ask questions of God and it is, but a persistent failure to trust God, wearies him. Maybe your doubt never drives you by the way, all the way into unbelief, but maybe your second guessing of God dulls your joy and mute your worship.

You see, it's okay to ask your question, but there comes a point at which the doubting has to stop and not trusting God becomes an insult. And that's where these people were. Lastly, they were religious, but letter D, they were untrusting specifically with money. Here's God's fourth charge against them. He says, well, a man robbed God, it's your robbing me. You say, how have we robbed you and your tithes and contributions? Therefore you are cursed with a curse. Bring the full 10th, that's just another word for tithe, because that's what tithe means is a 10th of what God gives to you, into the storehouse that there may be food in my house and thereby put me to the test.

That's a huge word. Says the Lord of hosts and see if I will not open the windows of heaven for you and pour down for you a blessing until there is no more need. This is one of the clearest explanations in scripture of how God feels about something Christians call the tithe. Tithe just means a 10th and it means a 10th of everything that God gives to you.

You give the first 10th of that back to him. Clearly God does not ask for that because he needs it. He has the storehouses of heaven.

You can see that in that verse. He's got the storehouses of heaven that he can open up anytime he wants. He can use it to pour a blessing on us that would just overwhelm us, but he commands us to give the tithe to him as a way of our declaring our trust in him. I often say this, tithing is one of the single best indicators of whether or not we really trust God and whether we really are surrendered to him. And you can see that God here takes it very seriously.

He calls not doing it like robbing him, like breaking into his house and stealing from him. And y'all please note, I'm not bringing this up because we have financial needs in this church. I'm bringing it up because it's in the Bible and it would be unfaithful for me not to bring it up. We're not doing a special offering. God brings it up because it is a barometer of our hearts.

Let me give you a couple of really bold statements. If you have not yet begun to tithe, you have not yet really begin to begin the walk of faith. You might really talk a big game of faith, but in this area where the rubber actually meets the road, you don't actually trust God enough to do what he says. Something in your life gets your first and your best, and it's whatever you think gives you the most meaning in life, whatever provides the greatest security. So ask yourself the question, what is it that you give your first and your best to with your money? For some it is the first thing they do is they provide themselves with creature comforts.

And that's because you think that what most brings happiness in life is an improved material station. For others you save. And that's because you're not sure of what might happen in the future and extra money provides that security for the future. Hear me, there is nothing wrong with either of those things. There is nothing wrong with upgrading your lifestyle. There's nothing wrong with saving for the future.

The problem is when you do those things first. God's people, their first thing that they do with their money is they tithe to God who is their primary source of joy and security. Again, everybody tithes to something and that thing is their God. So what do you tithe to? What gets your first and your best out of your paycheck?

Or when you have a big financial windfall, what do you do first with the money? God says when you take what belongs to me, your first and your best, you're robbing me and I will not be robbed. Failing to give me your first and your best, he said, in fact, puts you under the curse. Some of you may wonder why things never work out for you financially.

Is it possible that you are under a financial curse for failing to trust and to prioritize God? By contrast, he says, look, look at this, put me to the test. You don't find that phrase much in scripture where God says actually test me. You test me.

Take it to the bank says the Lord of hosts and see if I won't open the windows of heaven for you and pour down on you a blessing until there is no more need. You can't out win me in this. This is a test and if you test me in this, you will see what I am talking about. These are four things that religious people do that indicate that though they are hyper-religious, their hearts still really don't belong to God.

They're religious, but they're self-seeking, they're self-centered, they're disbelieving, and they are untrusting, which brings us to the problem of persistent unfaithfulness. So what's the answer for Israel? Need another sermon? Need somebody to stand up and yell at him again? Need to go through another national revival?

How many times do they need to go through this cycle? Malachi says this problem Israel has had from the beginning. When Israel first came back from captivity about a hundred years before Malachi, the two of the greatest leaders in Israel's history, two of the greatest preachers, Ezra and Nehemiah, led in a national revival. And when they came out of this revival, the nation makes a covenant with God. Nehemiah records the covenant at the end of Nehemiah chapter 9.

Here's what he says. In view of all this, we, the nation, we're going to make a binding agreement. We're going to put it right. Our leaders, our Levites, our priests, that was like their noted republics, would have fixed their seals to it. This was as strong of a covenant as you could make in Israel.

This was like their version of an eighth grader's pinky swear. And you say, well, what did they promise God? Well, he actually tells you in chapter 10, he tells you the things they promised God.

Watch this. Here's three things they promised him. This is the covenant they wrote out. They promised we will, Nehemiah 10, we will give God our first and our best. Secondly, they said, we will put God's temple first with our tithe. Thirdly, they said, we will honor God with our marriages.

We're not going to intermarry with unbelievers. Do those things sound familiar to you? Did you listen to the first half of the sermon? These are the very things they promised in the previous generation.

They didn't even make it through their generation. Before Nehemiah was dead, they'd already gone back on these things. Nehemiah, in chapter 13, he talks about how they had fallen away from all these promises. In fact, one of my favorite Old Testament verses, it says this, so I went to them and I confronted them and I cursed them and I beat some of the men and I pulled out their hair. You better be glad Nehemiah is not your pastor, right?

I didn't get a class on that in seminary, but it sounds awesome, right? This is how he is. He was the ultimate accountability partner.

And of course, these are the very things that Malachi was confronting them on again 100 years later. Thanks for listening to Summit Life with Pastor J.D. Greer. We'll get back to our teaching in just a moment, but I wanted to take a second and tell you about our brand new featured resource this month. While we're finishing the Come Back to Me teaching series today, we've put together a resource that shares the same name and expands on the teaching you've been hearing here on Summit Life for the last couple of weeks. Pastor J.D. preached through five minor prophets here on the program, but this is a devotional and 21-day scripture guide through all 12 of the minor prophets. Each of these books of the Bible are incredibly rich and applicable to our lives today. The daily reading will help you study, pray, and apply the scripture that you're going through, and it's a perfect supplement to your daily time with the Lord or as a guide for small group discussions.

To get your copy, give your gift of $35 or more today by calling us at 866-335-5220 or visit us online at jdgreer.com. Now let's finish up our series in the minor prophets here on Summit Life. Once again, here's Pastor J.D. Now I know what you say. I know what you say.

Well, there's fickle Israelites. But haven't we all at some point in our life said, I really need to do better here. I need to be a better husband. I need to be a better student. I need to be more courageous. I need to be a better mom or dad. I need to stop looking at those images in the internet. I need to pray more.

So here's what I'm going to do. And you come up with some kind of covenant and maybe you put it in your mind. It's in your mind. Maybe it's just in your Bible. You get an accountability partner and you make all these promises and it lasts for a little while.

And then you go back to the point where you're worse off than you were at the start. What's the problem? Is it you weren't sincere enough? Maybe your accountability partner's not mean enough.

Maybe he doesn't pull out your hair. Is a problem that you should try harder? No. The problem, listen, the problem is there is latent sin in you that no promise or resolution on your part can eradicate from you. Malachi says, this problem Israel has had from the beginning.

See that? Remember verse seven? Since the days of your fathers, all the way back to Abraham, you just kept turning from my statues.

You haven't kept them. Remember back in Exodus? He's saying, remember back in Exodus when I gave you the 10 commandments and you promised all God will be yours forever. Before the cement was even dry on the stone, you'd already erected a golden calf and started to chase it.

And then you got a golden calf and started to chase after it. Remember the greatest King in your history? His name was David. The high point of David's spiritual life was 2 Samuel 7, where God appeared to him and said, I will make you a house I will build forever. And David said, oh, isn't God good?

And before the month was out, he was sinning with Bathsheba. Isn't this the problem? The problem is not your promises. The promise is not your resolution. The promise is you don't have the promise me.

You and I are the same way, aren't we? We don't need somebody who's going to come and give us new laws. We needed somebody who could give us new life.

We didn't need somebody who would step onto the scene of history and call us to reform. We needed somebody who would enter our heart and give us the power of rebirth. You look in your Bible there, if you've got a Bible in front of you, look at the last word of chapter four. The last word of the Old Testament is the word curse.

Isn't that ironic? Remember how God started the Old Testament? Creation, blessing, peace, beauty, life, light. It ends with the word curse. God could have put a period right there. That could have been the end, probably should have been the end, but it wasn't.

Number three, God's solution. The book ends with the word curse, but tucked in the last chapter, might be one of the most beautiful and clear promises of the Messiah that we have in the whole Bible. Malachi 4, 1, surely, surely the day is coming. It will burn like a furnace. All the arrogant and every evadore will be stubble, says the Lord almighty. That's the part we understand and we expect. But for you who fear my name, the son of righteousness shall rise with healing in its wings. You will go out leaping like cows from the stall.

I'm not really sure what that means, but it sounds happy. The human race has a dilemma, doesn't it? Our dilemma is that we want God to deliver us from evil. But some of the evil we want Him to deliver us from is also inside of us.

Isn't that fair? If I say God, if I pray God deliver us from evil, and we all said amen, and tonight God removed all evil from the world at 12 o'clock, which one of you is going to be here at 1201? We're all like, God, I want to go to heaven because there's no more tears in heaven. I think about how many times I've made somebody cry in my life. If there's no more tears in heaven, in one sense, that means there's no more J.D.

Greer in heaven. See the dilemma? We want God to deliver us from evil, but some of the evil He's got to deliver us from is actually inside of us.

Here's the dilemma number two. We want God to be a God of justice. Don't we hate injustice?

Don't we hate it when somebody shoots somebody and the judge says, no penalty? And we say, no, the victim's life matters. Well, the dilemma is God says God's glory matters. Justice matters. The dilemma is we want God to be just, but if God applied His justice to us, we would be destroyed.

Third part of the dilemma, no matter how much we resolve to do better, it never lasts. The Messiah, He's talking about in chapter four, as He answered all those dilemmas, He came like a furnace. That was the justice and the wrath of God for our sin. It came to give God's justice, but the fire of God's wrath burned into Jesus, not through Him to us yet. So what Jesus became, watch this, this is so beautiful, so that this furnace became the son of righteousness, S-U-N, of righteousness. The sun is a furnace, is it not?

I mean, it's an exploding ball that would burn you up a bazillion times over, but in your life it brings life. And what Jesus, what Malachi is saying is there's going to be a Messiah who comes, He's going to come as the furnace of God's wrath, but somehow that furnace of God's wrath is going to become God's healing towards you. 400 years after Malachi talks, Jesus shows up on the scene and He picks up right where Malachi left off. His first sermon, Mark chapter one, His first sermon, Mark chapter one, repent. You're looking for verses to memorize?

There's a good one to start with right there. Repent. That's where Malachi left off. But then after Jesus says repent, He went around reversing the curse that Malachi had ended the Old Testament with. So He went around healing diseases, opening blinds eyes, walking on water, cashing out demons, raising the dead.

And the reason He could reverse the curse is because He had taken the curse into Himself. So now you have to choose what Jesus, the Messiah, is going to be to you. Is He going to be the furnace of God's wrath or is He going to be the healing son of righteousness? Malachi talks about this again in maybe an even more interesting passage about the Messiah.

See, I'm going to send my messenger and He will clear the way before me. That's a reference to John the Baptist. It's a prophecy about John the Baptist. Then the Lord you seek will suddenly come to His temple. That's a reference to Jesus suddenly coming to the temple and cleansing it. Who can endure the day of His coming? And who will be able to stand when He appears? That's not fear.

But all of a sudden it changes. Look at the next verse. He will be like a refiner and purifier of silver. He will purify the sons of legal and refine them like gold and silver. He's not talking about destruction. He's talking about purification. Then they will present offerings to the Lord in righteousness. Righteousness means from pure motives.

It's not that they're just being compelled to do what they want to do it. And the offerings of Judah and Jerusalem will please the Lord like in the days of old. They'll be doing it the way that that I've always wanted them to do it.

How is this going to happen? You see the Messiah that comes will either destroy or purify. He'll either be the son of righteousness, bring healing, or the furnace of God's wrath. Watch this.

Listen. Repentance is when you separate yourself from your sin and say God this sin is in me and I hate it and I want you to help me destroy it. Rebellion is when you say God I'm going to hold on to that sin and so God destroys you along with it. Either way, either way God's going to destroy sin.

The question is whether you will be destroyed along with that sin or you will be saved. By the way for you believers, this shows you what Jesus is doing in your life after you've repented. After you've repented and separated yourself from your sin, God goes to work refining. That process of refining was where they would take metal or or salt and silver or gold and they would bring it to a boil.

Those are heavy metals so the lighter things kind of rise up to the top and then the refiner would just skim off the impurities so that what was left was pure gold or silver. This is what Malachi says the Messiah would do. Jesus would come and he would bring your life to a boil. What he was doing was he was purging out all the false confidences and all the false gods so that what would be left in your life is pure beautiful trust in him. One of the best pictures of this is Peter. Peter was a man of big promises, wasn't he? Remember the last night where Jesus died? Peter stands up like I'll never deny you. I'll die for you. And Jesus is like, all right.

Turns the heat up. Three times in one night Peter denies Jesus. This is the same Peter who would become the leader of the church who would stand up in Acts 2 and look at an angry crowd and say you killed Jesus but God raised him from the dead. That's the same Peter who would never again deny Jesus in his life. The same Peter that would be crucified upside down.

What was the difference? The difference is God in Peter's failure showed Peter his steadfast love. Peter, you failed me. I'm not going anywhere. And then God put not only his steadfast love but he put his spirit into Peter and after he had boiled off the impurities of his false confidences, he put into him the gold and silver of his presence.

That's what he's doing with you. And let me go ahead and tell you, it's painful. It is painful when God brings your life to a boil, but it's how he puts his power into your life.

So let me say a couple of things just in closing this series. All the prophets, all the modern prophets point forward to very clearly, very miraculously the Savior who was to come. You got to choose. They all say this, you have to choose. Whether you're going to face him as the furnace of God's wrath or whether you're going to experience him as the son of righteousness with healing in his wings, you got to choose.

Have you made that choice in your own life? If not, or if you still have questions about what all of this means, visit us at jdgrier.com. You'll find lots of free resources meant to help you get started in your walk of faith. Right now, we're going to be talking about the help you get started in your walk of faith. Right now, we're very excited to be offering a brand new premium resource to our gospel partners and anyone who supports this ministry financially this month. It shares the same name as our teaching series we just completed today, Come Back to Me. This new study covers all 12 of the minor prophets, and it features 21 daily scripture readings and nine devotionals to help you fully understand and apply what you're learning.

It also challenges you to pray by journaling, something that may be new but is a wonderful way to synthesize what God might be saying to you. You can receive your copy today with a gift to this ministry, so give us a call at 866-335-5220. That's 866-335-5220, or give online at jdgrier.com. When you visit our website, you can also sign up for our email list to get ministry updates, information about new resources, and Pastor J.D. 's latest blog post delivered straight to your inbox.

It's a great way to stay connected with Summit Life, and it's completely free to subscribe. Sign up when you go to jdgrier.com. I'm Molly Vidovitch inviting you to join us again tomorrow when we kick off a new teaching series called Can't Believe. See you Friday here on Summit Life with J.D. Greer. Today's program was produced and sponsored by J.D. Greer Ministries.
Whisper: medium.en / 2024-03-14 12:30:15 / 2024-03-14 12:41:15 / 11

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