Tuesday, October 7, 2014

Serving God Isn't Pointless (Malachi 3.13-4.6)

The audio for this sermon comes in two parts, due to an unforeseen albeit somewhat humorous interruption while I was giving it.
Part 1
Part 2

Scripture: Malachi 3.13-4.6 [MT 3.13-24]
Translation: 3.13“Your words are harsh against Me” Yahweh says. But you say, “How did we speak against You?” 14You say, “Serving God is pointlessness!” and “What benefit is there if we obey His law and if we walk mourning before Yahweh of Armies?! 15And now we are blessing arrogant people—moreover people who are doing evil get built up—moreover they are testing God, and they get away [with it]!”
16Then the people who feared Yahweh—each and every one of them—spoke up. And Yahweh paid attention. And He listened. And He wrote a book of reminder before Him for the people who feared Yahweh and for the people who valued His Name. 17“And they will be for Me”—Yahweh of Armies says—“on the day that I act a special treasure. And I will have compassion on them just like a man has compassion on his son who serves him.
18And you will turn and you will see the difference between the righteous person and the wicked person, between the person who serves God and the person who doesn’t serve Him. 19Because—look! The day is coming burning like a campfire! And all arrogant people and all people who do evil will be chaff and the coming day will set them on fire!”—Yahweh of Armies says—“because it will not leave them alone—root and branch! 20And a sun of righteousness will rise for you, the people who fear His Name, and healing will be in its wings! And you will go out and jump like calves kept in stalls! 21And you will crush wicked people, because they will be ashes under the soles of your feet, on the day that I act!” Yahweh of Armies says! 22Remember the Law of Moses My servant, because I commanded him at Horeb to all Israel—requirements and judgments! 23Look! I am sending you Elijah the Prophet before the coming of the Day of Yahweh—the Great and Terrifying [Day]! 24And he will turn the heart of fathers toward sons and the heart of sons toward their fathers, so that I don’t come and strike the land as something dedicated to Yahweh through destruction.

1.      Structure
a.       Whole Book
                                                              i.      Heading, 1.1
                                                            ii.      Case 1: Denial of God’s Love (1.2-5)
                                                          iii.      Case 2: Denial of Honor to God (1.6-2.9)
                                                          iv.      Case 3: Rejection of Godly Marriage (2.10-16)
1.      Part A: Undefensible: Marrying an Idol Worshiper
2.      Part B: Flagrant: Divorce/Adultery of the wife of their youth
                                                            v.      Case 4: Rejection of Justice (2.17-3.5)
                                                          vi.      Case 5: Rejection of Repentance and Tithing (3.6-12)
                                                        vii.      Case 6: Rejection of the Value of Serving God (3.13-4.3 [heb. 3.16-21])
                                                      viii.      Closing Statements: (4.4-6 [heb. 3.22-24])
1.      Call to Obey (4.4 [heb. 3.22])
2.      Call to Wait (4.5-6 [heb. 3.23-24])
b.      Section: Case 6: Rejection of the Value of Serving God
                                                              i.      Accusation:
                                                            ii.      Denial
                                                          iii.      Rebuttal by The Faithful
                                                          iv.      Response to the Faithful
                                                            v.      Response to the Rebellious
                                                          vi.      Promise/Vindication of the Faithful
2.      Themes
a.       Serving Yahweh
b.      Value
c.       Righteousness/righteous people
d.      Arrogant/rebellious people
e.       Judgment
f.       Doing evil
g.      Hope
h.      Commands
i.        Yahweh taking action
j.        The Day of Yahweh
k.      Mercy, compassion, love
l.        Burning
m.    Fearing Yahweh
n.      Testing Yahweh
o.      Remembering
p.      Future fulfillment
3.      Doctrines
a.       Jesus is coming back!
b.      There will be a final judgment where all people are held accountable
c.       The people who fear Yahweh will take part in the Armies of Yahweh bringing final judgment against evil people
d.      The Judge of Judgment Day is Yahweh
e.       There is immense value in serving and worshiping Yahweh, there is value now, and later, lots of value later

1.      Outline
a.       There is Great Value in Serving God, because it’s not pointless and joyless
                                                              i.      We accuse God of this in many ways
1.      Sometimes we outright think it or say it. We say almost the exact same thing these people have: “It’s pointless to serve God!” or “It’s not doing me any good to do what God wants.” or “Repentance didn’t work out for me.” or even “I know people who hate God, and challenge Him, but they don’t drop dead!”
2.      But we don’t have to think things like this to be saying it with our actions. Sometimes we say things like this by how we live,
a.       like not doing what we know God would want us to do.
b.      Or even not going to a retreat because you think there are too many fake people there.
c.       Or even saying you’re going to repent, but then never giving the sin up
d.      Or acting as though you will never face God for your actions
3.      Sometimes we even go so far as to envy the people we know who are sinning and seemingly getting away with it and getting all the supposed benefits that sin offers
a.       Maybe you’re here and you’re thought something like, “Man, why can’t I just cheat like everybody else. Then I wouldn’t have to stress about studying and my parents won’t yell at me for getting a bad grade.”
b.      Or “look, a lot of my friends are having sex, and it doesn’t seem to be getting them in any trouble, everyone says how great it is, what’s the point in holding on to my purity or even my virginity?”
c.       Or perhaps, “look, I know God doesn’t want me to compromise my standards to have a boyfriend/girlfriend, but look at least then I wouldn’t be alone” or even “If I don’t sleep with him, or at least let get close, he’ll leave me”
d.      Or perhaps “man, I know Christians aren’t supposed to get back at people, but what am I supposed to do? That person hurt me so bad, I’ve got to get even! I can’t wait!”
e.       Or more commonly in church, “ok, so maybe this is gossip, but it’s so juicy, I’ve got to tell someone, I’ve gossiped a lot of times and no one got hurt, and I felt better about myself”
f.       Or perhaps even more commonly, “I don’t want everyone thinking bad about me, I’ll just lie and tell everyone I’m fine. I know that so and so did that when they were depressed or so and so when they were angry, so I’ll just do it now, so I’m not embarrassed”
g.      Or perhaps, “man, atheists have it so good on Sundays. They don’t have to wake up and go to church, and they don’t have to go through trying to live for God in a tough world”
h.      Or even, “maybe my life would better if I gave up on God and Christianity”
                                                            ii.      Sometimes we misunderstand the purposes God has for us
1.      While true repentance is important, it is also important that we recognize that in fact, sorrow is not the only mode of like God has for us. Sometimes people think God wants us to be sad, depressed, and remorseful all the time, but even in this passage we see that that is just not true!
2.      Verse 20 talks about us jumping around for joy like a baby cow that’s been trapped in a stall it’s whole life! God has joy for us.
a.       Sometimes may you’ve thought, “man, I’m sick of going around sad about my sins all the time” well God is basically saying, “Yeah, well, Me too! I want you to also experience the joy and freedom I have for you!”
b.      There is Great Value in Serving God, because Grace is Coming for those who do
                                                              i.      You will be remembered by God
                                                            ii.      You will be treasured by God
                                                          iii.      You will be loved by God
                                                          iv.      You will be spared by God
                                                            v.      You will be blessed by God
                                                          vi.      You will be healed by God
                                                        vii.      You will be made happy and free by God
                                                      viii.      You will be participating with God in bringing judgment
c.       There is Great Value in Serving God, because Judgment is Coming for those who won’t
                                                              i.      They will be judged by God
                                                            ii.      They will be incinerated by God
                                                          iii.      They will not escape from God
                                                          iv.      They will be totally destroyed by God
                                                            v.      They will be trampled like dust under the feet of God’s people
d.      Two Responses to Realizing that Serving God is not pointless, useless, and joyless, but instead is purposeful, valuable, and joyful
                                                              i.      Obey God
1.      Do what God wants, because serving Him has great value
                                                            ii.      Hope in God

1.      Look ahead to the day when God brings peace through a messenger 

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