Posts Tagged ‘ Justice ’

Message Series: Malachi 2:17-3:5

It is about time for a short message series.

For the past few weeks and over the next couple of months, I will upload short messages based on the book of Malachi. It will probably be eight total and based on the section divisions in the English Standard Version of the Bible.

No special titles. Just taking a quick look at what was said.

So read along with me, and let us study what Malachi said to his people about 2,400 years ago.

Malachi 2:17-3:5

Remember that Malachi literally means “my messenger”, so he is God’s messenger, as all the Prophets were.

Chapter 1 was about God’s love for His covenant people – those who obey and love Him – versus those who refuse to listen to Him. The priests offered lame, sick, and injured animals as sacrifices, basically taking the Lord’s name in vain by calling it acceptable even though they were worthless gifts.

Chapter 2 can be called the passage about “bovine scatology”, because priests then (and many now) led people astray with false teachings. So God rebuked them and showed they are outside of the covenant.

Chapter 2 nearly finishes with God rebuking not only the priests but any who practice what God said not to

Now, to discuss the God of justice:

17 You have wearied the Lord with your words. But you say, “How have we wearied him?” By saying, “Everyone who does evil is good in the sight of the Lord, and he delights in them.” Or by asking, “Where is the God of justice?”

3:1 “Behold, I send my messenger, and he will prepare the way before me. And the Lord whom you seek will suddenly come to his temple; and the messenger of the covenant in whom you delight, behold, he is coming, says the Lord of hosts. But who can endure the day of his coming, and who can stand when he appears? For he is like a refiner’s fire and like fullers’ soap. He will sit as a refiner and purifier of silver, and he will purify the sons of Levi and refine them like gold and silver, and they will bring offerings in righteousness to the Lord.[a] Then the offering of Judah and Jerusalem will be pleasing to the Lord as in the days of old and as in former years.

“Then I will draw near to you for judgment. I will be a swift witness against the sorcerers, against the adulterers, against those who swear falsely, against those who oppress the hired worker in his wages, the widow and the fatherless, against those who thrust aside the sojourner, and do not fear me, says the Lord of hosts.

VerseD: Proverbs 21:3

To do righteousness and justice is more acceptable to the Lord than sacrifice.
Proverbs 21:3, ESV

We no longer need to offer animal sacrifices to God, but we must sacrifice our own rights and desires to God’s will to spread His righteousness and fight injustice in our world.

VerseD: Amos 5:24

But let justice roll down like waters, and righteousness like an ever-flowing stream.
Amos 5:24, ESV

Do not let circumstances push you from God. Rather, let God work in and through you in your circumstances for justice and His glory.

VerseD: Matthew 5:6

“Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they shall be satisfied.”
Matthew 5:6, ESV

Those who truly want righteousness and justice find their full satisfaction in Jesus Christ alone.

VerseD: Proverbs 29:4

By justice a king builds up the land, but he who exacts gifts tears it down.
Proverbs 29:4, ESV

Playing favorites, disobeying rules and laws, not setting appropriate limits: all of these can destroy a nation … or a family or business or friendship or church.

Remember: as Christians, we will one day reign with King Jesus. We are all royalty through Him.

VerseD: Micah 6:8

He has told you, O man, what is good; and what does the Lord require of you but to do justice, and to love kindness, and to walk humbly with your God?
Micah 6:8, ESV

Do not seek what is fair, but what is just.

Show kindness to all, not only those who agree with you.

Realize your need for God to change you, not try to change your own life or things in this world.

The Church: What isn’t it?

Is the Church full of hypocrites or only for perfect people?

First, we should deal with something the Church does that kind of refutes what many are fighting for in our culture.

The Social Justice Movement is horribly flawed in one major way: they are demanding the government take care of everyone on the most basic levels. But the government is not meant to do this.

Romans 13:1-7 – The government is for giving out justice … to wrongdoers. It is not the government’s job to meet all of the needs of the people.

The Church is meant to help people. We are the ones who should be helping the widows, orphans, and poor. It is supposed to come from a grateful, loving, and generous heart, not compulsion, which is what taxing people to take care of others is.

The Church is not the government. It is the Body of Christ, separate from the government (but can and should influence the government), serving the lost and hurting.

Which leads to the main point:

Is the Church full of hypocrites or perfect people?

Matthew 9:9-13 and Mark 2:13-17 tell the way Jesus called Matthew/Levi to follow Him. “Why does He eat with sinners and tax collectors?” “It is not the healthy who need a physician, but the sick. . . . learn what this means: ‘I desire mercy, and not sacrifice.’ For I came not to call the righteous, but sinners.”

What this tells us is that Jesus expects to find people in His Church who are able to admit they are not perfect, that they need help. (No one is perfect. All people need God’s help!)

Firstly, this means we have to deal with hypocrisy. Hypocrisy is telling people to do something and not applying that to yourself. Does this mean we find hypocrites in the Church? Absolutely! That is one of many reasons we need God’s grace and supernatural help to truly repent (change our thinking and behavior)! But this also leads to the second part of imperfect people being in our churches.

This means that you should not wait to come to church until you have “everything together and figured out.” The Church is supposed to help guide you through your troubles, problems, and imperfections. Only God can truly help you.

I therefore, a prisoner for the Lord, urge you to walk in a manner worthy of the calling to which you have been called, with all humility and gentleness, with patience, bearing with one another in love, eager to maintain the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace. There is one body and one Spirit—just as you were called to the one hope that belongs to your call— one Lord, one faith, one baptism, one God and Father of all, who is over all and through all and in all. But grace was given to each one of us according to the measure of Christ’s gift.

Ephesians 4:1-7, ESV

Put on then, as God’s chosen ones, holy and beloved, compassionate hearts, kindness, humility, meekness, and patience, bearing with one another and, if one has a complaint against another, forgiving each other; as the Lord has forgiven you, so you also must forgive. And above all these put on love, which binds everything together in perfect harmony.

Colossians 3:12-14, ESV

So … what isn’t the Church?

It is not for perfect, flawless people.

It is a spiritual hospital – a place for hurt, broken, messed up people who can admit that they need help, to trust God to help them … to trust other hurt, broken, messed up (even hypocritical) people. Flaws and all.

And we should help each other turn to God and to get through this life.

What are your thoughts? Comment. E-mail us. (Together@asimplemanofgod.com)