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July 1, 2020 8:00 am
Welcome to the Bible study reviewing Internet ministry confessing featuring the Bible teaching of Dr. James Bortz for more information please contact us by calling toll-free one 804 88 18 and now the alliance is pleased to present the Bible study our repairing you to think and act biblically sometime ago I was counseling a young man who had become a Christian, a number of years previously, but who had been having a great deal of trouble with sexual sense. I had told him that that was an area of his life he had to get under control and bring into obedience to Jesus Christ. But the struggle is still gone on. We had talked about it many times and in this particular occasion he had something different to say months before this he had stopped having sexual relationships with his girlfriend and he hoped that by doing that he get his life straightened out and things begin to fall in the place of having all kinds of problems.
What he said to me in this particular counseling session, is it hasn't worked.
Made a great deal of sacrifice C sought on his part. And although there were a lot of things that still weren't right. Nevertheless done a great deal and God had not kept to the side of the bargain.
Things were supposed to get straightened out immediately and I had I thought of that when I came to this section of Malachi, because this is precisely the situation that existed among the people of the prophet Malachi's day, doing all sorts of things were wrong. Malachi begins to talk about them in this section. Indeed, in his book as a whole. The priests were offering defiled sacrifices taking the service of God lightly. Naturally, the people were picking that up.
Priests said the people alike were divorcing their wives something which God says he hates remarrying unbelieving women are unbelieving man and then in this section of the third chapter.
Malachi points out that they were withholding their ties and offerings cheating on and what was due him of their substance, their goods, and yet in spite of all these things the people nevertheless block that they had been doing quite well and they had the audacity to say that although they were serving God and doing so wholeheartedly and faithfully, God was not serving them. He was unfaithful. They could've put it in contemporary words which Malachi doesn't use but which might well have been used by them to express their problem. They might've said look we have tried it and it doesn't work remind the defiled sacrifices. Never mind the divorces and the remarriages never mind the ties and offerings. We have done a great deal from our point of view. We've been faithful and God has not been faithful hasn't worked, and we might as well throw the whole thing over. Malachi begins to deal with at the end he does it in this way, the answer is, I'm sure you will understand is that God is not changed its way will change. This is what is said in the verses immediately before this God calls attention to the way in which the people did offer sacrifices and obey him with a surrendered heart in days gone by. In former years was a time when they did properly is not God's changes the people who would change the name change by falling away from him. But one way to put it, we could say and the other way that one of the problems.
An additional problem is that from another perspective, the people to change all too little for their falling away from what had been true in the past, but for many, many, years, decades. For centuries they'd been living this way and what really needed to be done is that they needed to change. They needed to repent they needed to return to God, which is precisely what this says return to me and I will return to you, says the Lord Almighty. Some of us need to do that today we been away from God.
We been justifying ourselves we been ignoring our sins to forget that from the sentence and come back to God.
Not very long ago I was preaching on Malachi 2 and I reached about this matter of divorce, how strongly God speaks out against it here in this chapter is not only a Malachi, but throughout the Bible. Afterwards, a man came up to me and said you know I have never in all my life I've been going to church all my life but I have never in all my life heard a sermon on the chapter. Malachi I said well I'm not surprised at the very thing I was talking about people ignore passages like this because they don't want to hear it, but he said I got a twinkle in his eyes.
I'm a Baptist, I've heard lots of sermons about Malachi 3 of the reason he said that is that in the third chapter of Malachi, there is what is undoubtedly the most popular verse in all the Bible for stewardship sermons. Malachi 310 says bring the whole tithe into the storehouse, that there may be food in my house.
Test me in this and see if I will not throw open the floodgates of heaven and pour out so much blessing that you will not have room enough for this man. Undoubtedly, in the course of a long Christian life but heard dozens upon dozens of sermons on that text.
It is interesting however that when you look at that text, which certainly does have to do with stewardship.
When you look at that text in the context of the chapter. Find what God is concerned with here is not so much the question of stewardship that is an example and illustration of what he wants to talk about what God is chiefly concerned about in this chapter is the unfaithfulness of the people, and his faithfulness brings in the matter of stewardship to say what did you do your part.
If you do what I told you to do if you will obey me go find me to be exactly the faithful God want me to be.
Moreover, you'll find me to be a gracious, loving as well is a faithful God in blessing you and your families and your nation. This of course is what flows naturally from the verses we were looking at earlier in the first part of this chapter your seat is really remarkable thing here we saw when we were looking at that earlier passage that the people had been accusing God of injustice. I have been saying, look, we done our part. You haven't done your part, that means you're not faithfully or unjustly said where is the God of justice. One of the God of justice to come to deal with unjustly according to what they imagine to be their good works. God's reply to that is that if he were to come injustice which he is certainly going to do one day it would not mean their vindication which they hope for. It would mean their judgments were not holy.
They were not living up right before it even though they thought they were.
So what God says here is I am going to come but I'm not going to come in the way you want me to calm you want me to come injustice and I came injustice and judgment could be judged to come that way. Instead I'm in the coming race and why am I going to come in grace. I'm in the coming race. Am faithful God, you're saying God is not all God is saying it's because I'm faithful that you're not judge see it's the faithfulness of God.
The unchangeable mass of God gives us a chance to change when theology this is the doctrine of God's immutability does means a God doesn't change one of the great texts on the immutability of God is Malachi 36 verse that leads off this section I Lord do not change your read that I the Lord do not change you look at it immediately following the verses that say so I will come near to you for judgment and you think that what God is going to talk about.
There is judgment. I the Lord do not change. I would just the coming judgment. I've always been just that is what he says I the Lord do not change so you all descendents of Jacob are not destroyed how to expound the text having to do with the immutability of God.
We can do with it in any one of God's attributes you can talk about his omniscience. God does not change in his omniscience, you can talk about his sovereignty. God is not change in his sovereignty.
You can talk about is holiness, God did not change in his holiness or his justice court's judgment or his wrath, or any of those things, but that's not what God is thinking about here when he says I do not change what he's talking about here is his mercy and his faithfulness and he says I don't change and that either. And that is why you are not destroyed. See, I'm giving you a chance because of my grace to turn from your sin, and the great God is not a marvelous thing we don't deserve that a God is lazy as it would seem tolerance. He postpones judgment as it seems to last year after year after year was not infinite.
Eventually, God is going to charge but there's all this long. God withholds his judgment in order that we might come this thing. God why great gospel, God speaks to us out his unchangeable love and faithfulness in this age well you say were to return to God. How is it they were to return to it.
What is it God requires a number of things God requires first when the dimensions here is matter of stewardship.
The people said how are we to return God replied with a man rob God. Yet you rob me. And then they said well how do we rob you. God replies it's in tithes and offerings they were withholding that which he had commanded them to bring outside means attempt and under the Old Testament regulations of the board to bring 1/10 of their substance, a race she had 100 new sheet.
One year they were to bring 10 they were traitors.
They made 100 shekels of silver.
One year they were to bring 10 they made a thousand gold pieces they were to bring 101 10th of all they made was to be brought to the Levites of the Lord service and then the Levites who were the priests were themselves to tie 10 and scattered throughout the pages of the Old Testament. There were other times from time to time.
The people were to bring these things. This was the will of God for the people during this dispensation. Sometimes people say to me. Well, now, does that mean that in our day were under that same obligation, we require as Christians under the New Testament to bring 1/10 of all we have like to point out at that point that there is not any single command in the New Testament that I can find says were to bring 1/10 of our substance.
It does say they were to bring offerings that would give you know that as they were to bring the weekly so we know that place in the New Testament says were to bring a tent that makes me think when we talk about ties and percentages. All of that really talking about something that a certain unique quality connected with the Old Testament revelation. This was God's will for the people had to do in the management of their nation. All those things where I explained that there are always people to say well they wipe their brow. I certainly didn't want to give 10% of all I had and it does not follow that conclusion be drawn. It is true that in the New Testament we don't have anything that says Christians living in the church age or to bring 10% of all they have, but I do notice whenever in the New Testament testament obligation is spoken out, the tendency is not to make the Old Testament obligation last bit of anything to strengthen it. Certainly to strengthen it in terms of the spirit of the law as well is the outward observance 10% yes but 10% that's given with the gratitude of our hearts to God, not merely counting it out joyfully, giving, and I sometimes say that I find it very hard to imagine in our particular society with the kind of material blessings that we have that you can have a Christian under normal circumstances. What is going on with the Lord and really obeying the Lord the doesn't give at least the 10th, perhaps more than that.
Undoubtedly, many cases more than that should be more than that, for the Lord's service. Why don't we do that, but something to think about. I would imagine I don't know your hearts. I don't know precisely what you give far as I know none of you ever showed me your checkbook, but I would imagine that in the group this size.
There are hundreds hundreds don't give anything here like the 10th of their substance to God. Why is it why don't we do that, but I can only think of a number of reasons I can. The number one that we are trying deliberately to do what Malachi accuses the people doing robbing God, you know, God deserves that you know God once that you know you want to do that would you're not going to do it so your robbing that's the case, you had better examine yourself to see whether you're really a believer or not, because that is not the spirit that flows from the life of Jesus Christ within it's hard to imagine that a person is regenerate if they think that way.
I suppose you might think this is probably what is true in the majority of cases that if you were to give 10th to God, or more than that to God.
Whatever God lays upon your heart you would expose yourself to all sorts of calamitous romance you would say I need my money. After all, you know, it's an uncertain world.
People get sick, you have hospital bills and sometimes you lose your job you have to lay up. You have to protect you after that's what you're thinking of that really is the reason. Isn't it true what you're saying when you think that way is that you really don't trust God to take care of you have to care myself to take care of it. 90% is even good enough to take care of myself. I needed all work. Certainly I need or 90%. All God can take care of me on the side of the wand would basically have to take care of myself so you don't trust him to provide one of the greatest exercises Christians can have some point in their life. I don't know that you have to live this way all the time, but at some point in our lives to well it what we would say is go out on a limb really really make a big commitment. A big sacrifice and see God is unable to remain faithful and take care of you and provide I think that connection of the classic story that Oswald Smith who was a former pastor of the People's church in Toronto and is involved in the great missionary program of that church a story used to tell. He went to that church as a young man and early on his arrival they were in the middle of their missionary conference in one of the things I did in their missionary conference was to give up faith promise parts I never seen this done before they were running the conference. He was just there. He was so he sat on the platform and that portion of the service came in. The ushers went up and down the aisle giving out the faith promise guards. I was finding him like that, but he was astounded when one of the ushers as he said and I quote had the audacity to come up on the platform and hand him a card. Nobody ever done that before. He looked at that card said independence upon God. I promise to give was a big blank.
There with a dollar sign in front of the missions program. The People's church during the coming year.
I said really thought about a situation he was earning $25 a week. At that time was wartime prices were sky high didn't anything in the bank. Nothing at all, and a family.
One child had to take care of the sick like this can give anything and he looked up and people were praying, so I thought I better pray began to pray and God seem to say to him as he prayed that he was to do something again argue with God. He said God you know and we get $25 late anything in the bank.
I can give you anything. God seem to say I know you are $25 a week. I know everything I know you don't have any money in the bank I that's true but I'm not asking you how much you have that you can spare know you can spare anything.
I'm asking how much can you trust me for all I was different. Well, he said, how much can I trust you for and God said $50.50 school weeks everywhere in the world. Will I ever get $50. Don't think I can provide all my owes of the big decisions of life. There was a card staring him in the face finally eroding $50 and he signed his name. He said as he look back on that he don't doesn't know how we ever did it, why every month. He had to pray for God to send four dollars and yet God did, and the end of that year he was sold last just the way I want to commend so astonished him and opened his eyes to the greatness of the grace of God that when it was a missionary conference the following year, even though his salary hadn't gone to be doubled is allegedly pledged hundred dollars for the year to come. God like that your God is Oswald Smith, God, you have a God like that your God is Malachi's God, you have a guy like that. If your God is the father of the Lord Jesus Christ.
You have a God like that you disobey God. At that point if you want God always ties and offerings, whatever it may may you are slandering the name of God, because you're saying God is not able to take care of me. I have take care myself.
Well it's a great thing to learn to trust God with our money is another area in which we rob God.
It's his matter of the Lord's day, how we use it.
I suppose when we talk about the Lord's day, we find ourselves in a situation somewhat analogous to the one that exists when we talk about tithing you say well what the Old Testament regulation. What is the New Testament obligation. Is there a difference between the two and the answer is yes, in some respects there is just as I believe there's a difference in tithing. So I believe personally that there's a difference between the Sabbath of the Lord's day Sabbath had one set of characteristics. It was a somber day of inactivity and reflection. Lord's day as I read about it in the New Testament seems to be a day of joy. Activity joy is expectation to entirely different days. The one anticipating the coming of Christ. The other looking back on Christ coming and rejoicing in the resurrection all that's true yet having pointed out the difference of the characteristic of the days I have to say that it is nevertheless true that Christians have their day. We have a responsibility for using back day in God service. Just as those in the Old Testament.
Had an obligation for using the Sabbath. I wonder what God thinks of the way we use his day from years ago very end of the 18th century beginning of the 19th century there was a preacher in Wales whose name was John Elliott's Elliott's was a great preacher he really was very very effective and greatly blessed by God and one of the things that bothered Elliott's in his day was a fair that was held in the town of North Wales called Rutland Redlands. Thomas given us the name of one of our famous hymn tunes Gladys McFerrin Rutland every year prison will fall harvest time and it was time while carousing was always held on Sunday time when the farmers were common hired hands for the fields when all sorts of instruments will be bought and sold. The bars were open and there was dancing and carousing all of the boards laws were broken, rather than on the day.
This bothered Elliott's so Elliott's on one occasion collected a group of Christian friends and went to Rutland on Verde right there in the afternoon. Sunday afternoon, all the streets were jammed was the busiest time in the fair thousands of people I collected in the stop John Elliott's made his way to the very heart of the town, the very heart of the fair.
There was an in their public house bar had three steps leading up to it.
Little tiny porch the top of the steps in this is where Elliott's wedding went up those stairs and his followers gathered around and he announced the singing of the hymn hymn was the 24th Saul began to sing, it went like this. The earth is the Lords and everything in the world and all live in it who may ascend the hill of the Lord who may stand in his holy place you with clean hands and a pure heart does not lift up his soul when I don't swear by what is false. They saying that as my little band began to say already change crept over that crowd was remarkable. People began to collect by the files on the hush began to fall over the fair when the hymn was finished.
Shelley us began praying as he prayed. Tears ran down his cheeks and people were ashamed they began to hide things that they had purchased when they finished, Elia stood up and he began to preach and he preached on this great text from Exodus Exodus 3421 six days you shall labor but on the seventh day you shall rest even during the plowing season and harvest, you must rest. Many started to preach like a divine messenger sent to Rutland fair. People began to break down.
They were afraid began to weep. When he shouted in a loud voice, all robbers robbers you are robbing the Lord you are robbing my God of his day. Got so blessed that Sir John Elliott's that that was the last time harvest 1802. The fair was ever held in run affairs not been held in Rutland to this very day. I wonder what John Elliott's great preacher would say he would come to our city on a Sunday and see what's done. Suppose it say about super Sunday you suppose it say about the participation of Christian and worldly events on the Lord's day. I'm not being legalistic at this point I'm not saying that if you have a friend you're working with and testifying to what you can spend some time with a friend talking about Christ by taking them to some secular activity that that's forbidden by the New Testament. I don't believe it is. I think that's great. I wish people would do that more often. That's what they have in mind as well as I know that that is generally not the problem. The question is how do we use God's day wouldn't touch Elliott's say about us as he did in 1802 in North Wales, robbers, robbers of God, you are robbing my God of his day say that of Christians in our time with Malachi say the same thing if he were applying this text personally, I suppose. The bottom line of all this has to do with the giving of ourselves to God because of course that's where it all comes down to.
It's not a question merely percentages of our income. Though that's an indication of where our heart is. It's not a question merely of certain percentage of time on our week so that's an indication of where our heart is but real problems where we are. Does God have us you know what the apostle Paul wrote, you are not your own.
You were bought with a price. Therefore honor God with your body said in first Corinthians therefore, I urge you, brothers, in view of God's mercy. Offer your bodies as living sacrifices, holy and pleasing to God which is your spiritual worship is what he wrote in Romans.
We really given God, ourselves, we are his work is by creation he made us, we didn't make ourselves where his my redemption.
He brought us.
We did not save ourselves. We really consider ourselves to be God's or do we handle our lives in such a way that God would look down upon us this day say to you and say to me you rob me of yourself. You rob me of that which is mine. Malachi gives a challenge here very interesting how God puts it, God challenges the people to put into the test and it really falls in four-part servers. First of all, a call for obedience first 10 bring the whole tithe into the storehouse of the baby food in my house. Then there's a challenge. Test me in this, says the Lord Almighty and see and there's a promise see if I will not throw open the floodgates of heaven and pour out so much blessing that you will not have room for it and then finally there's an ultimate result then all the nations will call you blessed for yours will be a delightful land, says the Lord Almighty. That test is something we should be familiar with because we've already seen it in the minor prophets just a little bit before this and the minor prophet hi guy we had the same thing hi guy live in the day when the people meant well really were trying to serve God, but they had.
They had left undone that which in there. God given them to do their task was to build the temple.
That's what they were doing all they made all kinds of excuses, but the excuses were inviolate. God sent not providing for yourselves. You have homes in which to live.
But you haven't taken care of my temp and as a result of that said, God, I withheld the rain from you your crops and failed where you go to gather a lot.
You find a little. She just wake up and understand what's happening. Come back to me begin to do what I tell you to do obey me and see if I don't bless you. Here's a way God put it through the prophet hi guy, it has to do with thinking these things over reflecting on them soberly goes like this. Now, since God give careful thought, from this day on, consider how things were before one stone was laid on another in the Lord's temple, anyone came to a heap of 20 measures only 10 when anyone went to a wine vat to draw 50 measures that were only 20 from this day on, from this 24th day of the ninth month give careful thought to the day when the foundation of the Lord's temple was laid give careful thought, from this day on I will bless you, this is just what Malachi is saying you're cheating me your keeping back to tie your keeping back worship your keeping back yourself above all. Test me in this, you're experiencing the fruit of your disobedience, obey and see if, as you obey me. I do not throw open the floodgates of heaven and pour out so much blessing that you will not have room enough for it.
The judgment of God is coming.
The God will judge is still the faithful, loving God and he has not changed in the promise of Malachi's day, promise. God speaks to us test and see. Let us pray our father, we confess that we are afraid to test your we draw back from that because we think that perhaps we do and you don't come through and our testimony will suffer, and perhaps will even look foolish in the eyes of other people, which only shows we think more of them that we think of you are father teaches what it is to live in the light of your countenance to live in obedience to every known and understood command and then obeying to enjoy the fullness spiritual blessing find that you are indeed able to care for us and bless us out.
Only now, but throughout life and for all eternity.
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