In Isaiah 11, God shares a magnificent vision of peace that is coming to the sin ravaged world through the Messiah. The peace that the Messiah will bring is far beyond our wildest notions of peace. His peace is not merely the absence of conflict but rather a restored perfect communion with Him, our Maker and the reversal of the curse of sin. Furthermore, this peace is total and comprehensive. It is not restricted to one place or to one people. But it will cover the entire earth and be for all peoples.
This morning we recognize Orphan Sunday. A Sunday in which we consider the sufferings of orphaned and vulnerable children and examine the commands of Christ to love our neighbor. Sadly, we seldom think about foster children or orphans. We fail to see them and their need for protection and love. And yet, the church is specifically called to love, care for and shelter these little ones. God is calling the church to be mobilized on their behalf in the Name of Christ and our motivation for caring for these children must not be humanitarianism but rather the glory of Christ. Supplemental Text: Psalm 68:1-10
In Malachi 4, when God’s people question His goodness, righteousness, and justice he answers by revealing his wrath and grace. This coming Day of the Lord will be terrible and severe for those who reject Jesus, yet for those who trust and follow Him it is a day of hope and anticipation. God calls us to prepare for the final judgment by believing, obeying, and persevering.
As part of Missions Sunday, this morning we step out of our series in Malachi and examine who we are as Christians and why we exist. As the Apostle Peter so beautifully writes, we-the church- are a holy nation made to proclaim the excellencies of Christ. We participate in God's good plan to reach the nations through faithfully proclaiming the life giving news of the gospel of Jesus Christ.
God continues to confront his people's sins through the prophet Malachi. The people of Israel have been unfaithful to the covenant they have made with the Lord by refusing to offer acceptable tithes and offerings. They have robbed God by failing to be faithful in their worship of God through tithing. God calls the people to repent and return to him, demonstrating their faith through making appropriate tithes and sacrifices. If they do, the Lord promises to show himself faithful to them and provide for them.
To a wicked and grumbling people, God sends word that He is going to send two messengers. The first will prepare the way for the second, who is the Lord. And when the Lord comes, He will come suddenly and like a refiner's fire, purifying the people. But those who reject the Word of the Lord and his Messenger of the covenant will be judged.
In this 2nd Chapter of Malachi, God, through his prophet, turns his attention to the priests of of the temple. God rebukes them for not being careful with how they represent him before the people - particularly with their teaching. Further, Malachi focuses on one devastating result of the priests not leading the people properly: casual and frequent divorce and re-marriage to pagans. God pronounces judgement on the people and their descendants who violate their marriage covenant. How did things deteriorate so miserably? And more important, how do we guard against going down the same path?
After their return from exile and the rebuilding of the temple, the people of Israel are spiritually lukewarm and disinterested in God. As a result, they fail to honor God and worship Him with reverence. Even the priests lack devotion and respect for the Lord. And as a nation they are languishing in self-pity. The prophet Malachi was sent as a wake up call to Israel to call the people back to the proper worship of the LORD as Father, Master and King and be renewed in their understanding of God's love for them.
John's third letter is meant to be an encouragement to Gaius and also a warning. A man, Diotrephes has risen to a position of authority in the church and is harming the the church. He is filled with personal ambition, inhospitable, authoritarian in his leadership and slanders the Apostle John. He stands as the antithesis of biblical leadership. There is no room in the church for this kind of leadership.