This week, Pastor Chris continued in our new series through Malachi with a powerful word about giving God our best. Malachi is a continuing dialogue between God and His people who have fallen into spiritual indifference. This final book of the Old Testament is strategic for us to read now as we prepare for Christ’s second coming. In Malachi, we find that God corrects those He loves, and that right understanding of His love will change whether we give Him our best or our leftovers. His banner over us is love, and our Father deserves the very best that we can offer him.
Love & Correction
Hebrews 12:5–11 (NLT)
5 And have you forgotten the encouraging words God spoke to you as his children? He said, “My child, don’t make light of the Lord’s discipline, and don’t give up when he corrects you. 6 For the Lord disciplines those he loves, and he punishes each one he accepts as his child.” 7 As you endure this divine discipline, remember that God is treating you as his own children. Who ever heard of a child who is never disciplined by its father? 8 If God doesn’t discipline you as he does all of his children, it means that you are illegitimate and are not really his children at all. 9 Since we respected our earthly fathers who disciplined us, shouldn’t we submit even more to the discipline of the Father of our spirits, and live forever? 10 For our earthly fathers disciplined us for a few years, doing the best they knew how. But God’s discipline is always good for us, so that we might share in his holiness. 11 No discipline is enjoyable while it is happening—it’s painful! But afterward there will be a peaceful harvest of right living for those who are trained in this way.
Common Ways People Respond to Discipline
- Accept with resignation.
- Accept with self-pity.
- Be angry and resentful.
- Accept it gratefully from our loving Father.
God’s Loving Correction
Malachi 1:6 (ESV)
6 “A son honors his father, and a servant his master. If then I am a father, where is my honor? And if I am a master, where is my fear? says the Lord of hosts to you, O priests, who despise my name. But you say, ‘How have we despised your name?’
1 Peter 2:5 (ESV)
5 you yourselves like living stones are being built up as a spiritual house, to be a holy priesthood, to offer spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ.
Dangers of Withholding our Best
Malachi 1:7-8 (ESV)
7 By offering polluted food upon my altar. But you say, ‘How have we polluted you?’ By saying that the Lord’s table may be despised. 8 When you offer blind animals in sacrifice, is that not evil? And when you offer those that are lame or sick, is that not evil? Present that to your governor; will he accept you or show you favor? says the Lord of hosts.
4 Types of Gifts to the LORD
- Thoughtless Exchange – Some attempt to give an obligatory gift to God once they feel guilty about something He gave them.
- Anxious Purchase – Some throw a gift together for God because they are so busy with other priorities.
- Appearance with no Substance – Some give the appearance of an expensive gift so that others can see it, but there is actually nothing of substance on the inside. Shiny/glamorous looking.
- Authentic Offering – Some offer God their best out of the overflow of what God has given them.
- Definition of Leftover: something remaining after the rest has been used or consumed; scraps.
Malachi 1:9 (ESV)
9 And now entreat the favor of God, that he may be gracious to us. With such a gift from your hand, will he show favor to any of you? says the Lord of hosts.
Malachi 1:10 (ESV)
10 Oh that there were one among you who would shut the doors, that you might not kindle fire on my altar in vain! I have no pleasure in you, says the Lord of hosts, and I will not accept an offering from your hand.
Revelation 3:15–17 (ESV)
15 “ ‘I know your works: you are neither cold nor hot. Would that you were either cold or hot! 16 So, because you are lukewarm, and neither hot nor cold, I will spit you out of my mouth. 17 For you say, I am rich, I have prospered, and I need nothing, not realizing that you are wretched, pitiable, poor, blind, and naked.
2 Corinthians 13:5 (ESV)
5 Examine yourselves, to see whether you are in the faith. Test yourselves. Or do you not realize this about yourselves, that Jesus Christ is in you?—unless indeed you fail to meet the test!
What does it mean to be rich toward God?
Luke 12:21 (ESV)
21 So is the one who lays up treasure for himself and is not rich toward God.”
1 Timothy 6:18 (ESV)
18 They are to do good, to be rich in good works, to be generous and ready to share,
Malachi 1:11 (ESV)
11 For from the rising of the sun to its setting my name will be great among the nations, and in every place incense will be offered to my name, and a pure offering. For my name will be great among the nations, says the Lord of hosts.
Luke 19:40 (ESV)
40 He answered, “I tell you, if these were silent, the very stones would cry out.”
Malachi 1:12–13 (ESV)
12 But you profane it when you say that the Lord’s table is polluted, and its fruit, that is, its food may be despised. 13 But you say, ‘What a weariness this is,’ and you snort at it, says the Lord of hosts. You bring what has been taken by violence or is lame or sick, and this you bring as your offering! Shall I accept that from your hand? says the Lord.
3 Reasons why God hates complaining so much
- Complaining poisons our attitude.
- Complaining infects the attitudes of the heart.
- Complaining implies that we don’t trust God.
1 Corinthians 10:10 (ESV)
10 nor grumble, as some of them did and were destroyed by the Destroyer.
Malachi 1:14 (ESV)
14 Cursed be the cheat who has a male in his flock, and vows it, and yet sacrifices to the Lord what is blemished. For I am a great King, says the Lord of hosts, and my name will be feared among the nations.
Cost Me Nothing?
2 Samuel 24:24 (ESV)
24 But the king said to Araunah, “No, but I will buy it from you for a price. I will not offer burnt offerings to the Lord my God that cost me nothing.” So David bought the threshing floor and the oxen for fifty shekels of silver.
Repent therefore, and turn back, that your sins may be blotted out, that times of refreshing may come from the presence of the Lord
Repentance is a Gift
God exalted him at his right hand as Leader and Savior, to give repentance to Israel and forgiveness of sins.
The Love and Kindness of God is the Catalyst for Repentance
And when Jesus came to the place, he looked up and said to him, “Zacchaeus, hurry and come down, for I must stay at your house today.” And Zacchaeus stood and said to the Lord, “Behold, Lord, the half of my goods I give to the poor. And if I have defrauded anyone of anything, I restore it fourfold.”
The Effect and True Nature of Repentance (Ephesians 4:25-32)
1. How would you describe a believe who acts mediocre toward God?
2. Have you ever felt more passionate about someone or something than God? Why do you think that was?
3. How do you typically respond when God corrects you? Do you accept His discipline, or do you run from it/fight against it? How should we respond to His correction?
4. How do you withhold from God? Where do you need to realign and give Him your best?
5. Ask yourself honestly this week: am I rich toward God with my affection, my time, my thought life, my decision-making, and my resources?
6. Be honest, how quick are you to repent of your sin and find refreshment? Do you need a right understanding of repentance as a gift of God? Talk to a friend or mentor about this and get prayer.
7. Are you currently withholding your best from God in a specific area right now? Pastor Chris said that you don’t need to work or strive to make a change, you need right eyes to see His love for you. This love will turn your heart back to the God who has given you His best. The only response to this love is to give back our very best.