Saturday, August 16, 2014

The Importance of True Doctrine (Malachi 2.1-9)

Scripture: Malachi 2.1-9
Translation: 2.1And now to you, the priests, [I give] this command. 2If you don’t listen and if you don’t decide to give glory to My Name—Yahweh of Armies says—then I will send the curse on you and I will curse your blessings, and moreover I will curse it, because you haven’t decided [to give glory to My Name]. 3Look at Me! I’m rebuking the descendents that belong to you, and I will smear entrails on your faces, the entrails of your feasts, and it will take you away with it!
 4And you knew that I sent this command to you in order that My covenant would be with Levi—Yahweh of Armies says. 5My covenant was with him. The life and the peace—I gave them to him. I’m something to be feared, and he did fear me, and he was terrified before My Name! 6An instruction/law of faithfulness/truth was in his mouth. Moreover, injustice was not found on his lips! He walked with Me in peace and in uprightness, and he brought back many people from sin! 7Because the lips of the priest should protect knowledge, and they should seek instruction from his lips, because he is the messenger of Yahweh of Armies!
8But you turned from the way! You trip up many people in the law/with your instruction! You destroy the covenant with Levi! Yahweh of Armies says. 9Moreover, I gave you despicable and pathetic people to all the people despite the fact that none of you are keeping My ways and rendering justice through the law/instruction!

1.      Structure
a.       Second Case: 1.6-2.9
                                                              i.      Part A: You have defiled/desecrated My Altar! (1.6-14)
1.      Issue: You give me garbage for offerings, so I don’t accept it! (1.6-10)
2.      Cause: I am Great, but you treat Me like I’m not! (1.11-13)
3.      Judgment: The Scammer is cursed for offering less than his best (1.14)
                                                            ii.      Part B: You teach lies!
1.      Judgment: I’m cursing your blessings, defiling you, and getting rid of you (2.1-3)
2.      Cause: The Covenant of Levi was to provide life, peace, and instruction to the people (2.4-7)
3.      Issue: You have broken that covenant of Levi by teaching lies (2.8-9)
2.      Themes
a.       Cursing/blessing
                                                              i.      The priests were responsible for giving the blessing of the animals and the people, but their ungodly actions, has resulted in God turning those blessing pronouncements into curse pronouncements
b.      Defiling/desecrating
                                                              i.      This theme continues with the reversal of the blessings into curses
                                                            ii.      And God’s threat to smear them with entrails, which were considered extremely unclean is a threat to defile them (like they have been doing to His altar and His people), and to get rid of them, like entrails are…taken out of the camp and burned there
c.       Sacrifices
                                                              i.      Sacrifices are again alluded to, but in this case as part of the judgment Yahweh is threatening the priests with
d.      Sending
                                                              i.      Yahweh is sending His command via Malachi
                                                            ii.      This calls up images of Moses, especially with all the talk of Torah
e.       Torah/instruction/law
                                                              i.      The word תורה here alludes to the Mosaic law to be sure, since the Levites were charged with teaching it to the rest of the people
                                                            ii.      However, the word is probably a bit broader as well, alluding to instruction in general, the priests and Levites should have been teaching the people wisdom and instruction in general, especially as application and interpretation of the Torah.
f.       Glory and Honor to Yahweh
                                                              i.      In 2.2 the theme of glory and honor to Yahweh is again renewed as a facet of the second part of the charge
g.      Name of Yahweh/Yahweh of Armies
                                                              i.      Yahweh is very concerned with the honor and glory due His Name, and His Name is referenced, as is the “Yahweh of Armies says” formula.
                                                            ii.      The “Yahweh of Armies says” formula is clearly both an affirmation of the authority of the message as much as it is a threat that Yahweh Who reigns over the heavenly armies as well as earthly armies will bring judgement upon the covenant breakers via those armies. The point is they are not messing with a powerless God, but the all-powerful God.
h.      Abuse
                                                              i.      The abuse here seems to result from false teaching, and probably a denial of justice and hope for the people
i.        Covenants
                                                              i.      Here the Covenant of Levi for priesthood is in view in terms of it being violated
                                                            ii.      In contrast, the overall setting for the prophetic message of Malachi is the Covenant Love and Faithfulness on the part of Yahweh, without it being particularly reciprocated by the Jewish people
3.      Doctrines
a.       Yahweh is the King of the Universe
b.      Yahweh is the source of the power of both blessings and curses
c.       Yahweh will send Judgment if people refuse to repent
d.      False teaching is hated by Yahweh, therefore, it must be dealt with, and people should be careful to watch out for it
1.      Outline
a.       We must glorify Yahweh as the Sovereign Judge
                                                              i.      This means recognizing that Yahweh is the one in control of all spiritual blessings and cursings—our blessings only have power if Yahweh is behind them, and so do our curses, but likewise the curses of others only have power if Yahweh backs them up, and it is clear that for us in the church today, Yahweh has taken all the curses away when He died on the cross.
                                                            ii.      This also means giving Him the appropriate fear, respect, and glory, because we know that He is the One Who is evaluating our actions and who can punish us harshly
                                                          iii.      It also means that we don’t need to be ashamed of the doctrine of hell, because it gives Yahweh glory and is an important facet of seeing Yahweh as the Ultimate Judge
b.      We must see True Teaching as Important
                                                              i.      This means that we need to be careful to evaluate the teaching we receive
                                                            ii.      This means that we need to be careful to get good teaching
                                                          iii.      This means that we need to be careful to give good teaching
c.       We must fulfill and embrace our own calling to be Yahweh’s messengers in the world
                                                              i.      This means getting our walk with God strong and healthy in Jesus’ Name by the Holy Spirit’s power—faithful, Godly Christian lives
                                                            ii.      This means getting deep into the word and into Christian theology
                                                          iii.      This means getting into the world, and bringing Yahweh’s message, hope, and truth into it
1.      You see, we all in Christ have been made into priests and messengers to the world, we don’t need a priest to mediate our relationship with God apart from Jesus Christ our Great High Priest, but non-Christians do need you to be the person they can come to with their problems, where they can get good advice, where they can find out about God and salvation, where they can find someone who will tell them the truth and teach them the Scriptures
2.      Questions
a.       How do your friends feel about hell? How do you feel about it?
b.      Where are some places you can find reliable Bible teaching/preaching/advice?
c.       Plan an event for us as a group to go out into the world and fulfill our calling to be God’s messengers.

1.      My Grandmother and Arminian Theology

2.      My friend and hyper-charismatic theology and cessationist theology 

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