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Malachi 3:13 – 4:6

Sunday Morning Bible Study

January 25, 2015


Do people see Jesus? Is the gospel preached? Does it address the person who is: Empty, lonely, guilty, or afraid to die?  Does it speak to the broken hearted? Does it build up the church? Milk – Meat – Manna Preach for a decision Is the church loved? Regular:  2900 words    Communion: 2500 words

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Malachi’s name means “my messenger”.

He was a messenger for God.

We think he might have been a priest because of his knowledge of the priesthood.

Malachi ministered during the time of Nehemiah.

Malachi wrote somewhere between 450-400 BC.

Malachi is not only the last book of the Old Testament, he was the last voice, the last prophet to speak of the coming Messiah until John the Baptist.

After him there will be four hundred years of silence from God until the coming of Jesus.

In Malachi’s day, the people had returned from exile in Babylon, the Temple had been rebuilt, and the Temple worship had been restarted.

Yet the nation is once again in spiritual decline.

3:13-15 Harsh Complaints

:13 “Your words have been harsh against Me,” Says the Lord, Yet you say, ‘What have we spoken against You?’

:13 harshchazaq – be strong; to be severe, be grievous

:13 Yet you say

This is the final time that the people respond to Malachi’s exhortation by challenging what he is saying.

(Malachi 1:2 NKJV) —2 “I have loved you,” says the Lord. “Yet you say, ‘In what way have You loved us?’ Was not Esau Jacob’s brother?” Says the Lord. “Yet Jacob I have loved;
(Malachi 1:6 NKJV) —6 “A son honors his father, And a servant his master. If then I am the Father, Where is My honor? And if I am a Master, Where is My reverence? Says the Lord of hosts To you priests who despise My name. Yet you say, ‘In what way have we despised Your name?’
(Malachi 2:14 NKJV) —14 Yet you say, “For what reason?” Because the Lord has been witness Between you and the wife of your youth, With whom you have dealt treacherously; Yet she is your companion And your wife by covenant.
(Malachi 2:17 NKJV) —17 You have wearied the Lord with your words; “Yet you say, “In what way have we wearied Him? In that you say, “Everyone who does evil Is good in the sight of the Lord, And He delights in them,” Or, “Where is the God of justice?”
(Malachi 3:13 NKJV) —13 “Your words have been harsh against Me,” Says the Lord, Yet you say, ‘What have we spoken against You?’

One of the lessons we talked about back in chapter one was, “Lose the attitude”.

Growth in your life doesn’t come by challenging those who are pointing out truth to you.

:14 You have said, ‘It is useless to serve God; What profit is it that we have kept His ordinance, And that we have walked as mourners Before the Lord of hosts?

:15 So now we call the proud blessed, For those who do wickedness are raised up; They even tempt God and go free.’ ”

:14 uselessshav’ – emptiness, vanity, falsehood

:14 serve ‘abad to work, serve; to serve (with Levitical service)

It could be referring to doing work for God, but it could also encompass what we call “worship”.

:14 profitbetsa– profit, unjust gain

:14 ordinancemishmereth – guard, charge, function, obligation, service, watch

Malachi is primarily speaking to the priests, so this has more to do with performing the regular “worship” of God, the sacrifices, prayers/incense, lighting the menorah, showbread, etc.

:14 mournersqedoranniyth – mournfully

fromqadar – to mourn, be dark

:15 proudzed – arrogant, proud, insolent, presumptuous

:15 blessed‘ashar – (Piel) to pronounce happy, call blessed

:15 wickednessrish’ah – wickedness, guilt

:15 raised upbanah – (Niphal) to be built; to be built up (of childless wife becoming the mother of a family through the children of a concubine)

:15 temptbachan – to examine, try, prove; to examine, scrutinise

:15 go freemalat – to slip away, escape, deliver, save, be delivered

(Malachi 3:14–15 NLT) —14 “You have said, ‘What’s the use of serving God? What have we gained by obeying his commands or by trying to show the Lord of Heaven’s Armies that we are sorry for our sins? 15 From now on we will call the arrogant blessed. For those who do evil get rich, and those who dare God to punish them suffer no harm.’ ”

:14 It is useless to serve God


Is it worth it?

They didn’t see any benefit in doing what was right.
They had tried to keep God’s laws.
They had tried to mourn over their sins.
They had tried to walk in humility, but the people they considered “happiest” (blessed) were proud people, not humble people.
People who did outright wickedness were the ones that got ahead in life.
People who challenged God didn’t suffer any consequence
It’s not easy to serve God.
You will find that with every step you take closer to God, the enemy tries to stop you.

(1 Peter 5:8–9 NKJV) —8 Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil walks about like a roaring lion, seeking whom he may devour. 9 Resist him, steadfast in the faith, knowing that the same sufferings are experienced by your brotherhood in the world.

We see it over and over again when folks make a commitment to serving at church – we kind of hold our breath to see how they do when the attacks start coming.
I am finding that it seems hard for some folks just to make the commitment to come to church.

A couple times a month I meet people out on the patio who say to me, “We love this church, and we have decided to make this our regular home church.”

And then I never see them again.

We make a mistake by thinking that serving God in this life will make things better in this life.
We serve God because it’s right, not because it makes our life easier.
We serve God and expect to be rewarded, but our true rewards won’t come until we see Jesus.

Paul’s hope in the future resurrection was the thing that kept him going in difficult times:

(1 Corinthians 15:30–32 NKJV) —30 And why do we stand in jeopardy every hour? 31 I affirm, by the boasting in you which I have in Christ Jesus our Lord, I die daily. 32 If, in the manner of men, I have fought with beasts at Ephesus, what advantage is it to me? If the dead do not rise, “Let us eat and drink, for tomorrow we die!”

3:16-18 Book of Remembrance

:16 Then those who feared the Lord spoke to one another, And the Lord listened and heard them; So a book of remembrance was written before Him For those who fear the Lord And who meditate on His name.

:17 “They shall be Mine,” says the Lord of hosts, “On the day that I make them My jewels. And I will spare them As a man spares his own son who serves him.”

:18 Then you shall again discern Between the righteous and the wicked, Between one who serves God And one who does not serve Him.

:16 a book of remembrance

When you are trying to serve the Lord, you may not always feel like anyone is paying attention.

Not so.

God keeps track of all those who walk with God, fear God, and honor God.

4:1-6 The day of the Lord

:1 “For behold, the day is coming, Burning like an oven, And all the proud, yes, all who do wickedly will be stubble. And the day which is coming shall burn them up,” Says the Lord of hosts, “That will leave them neither root nor branch.

:1 the day is coming

We call this the day of the Lord.

It is the time of God’s judgment on the earth, the day that Jesus returns.
Jesus came the first time to save.  He’s coming the second time to judge.

The prophet Zephaniah wrote,

(Zephaniah 1:14–15 NKJV) —14 The great day of the Lord is near; It is near and hastens quickly. The noise of the day of the Lord is bitter; There the mighty men shall cry out. 15 That day is a day of wrath, A day of trouble and distress, A day of devastation and desolation, A day of darkness and gloominess, A day of clouds and thick darkness,

:1 burning … oven … stubble

The day of judgment is often described in terms of fire burning up all that’s worthless.

:1 leave them neither root nor branch

Sometimes a tree or bush might be badly burned in a forest or brush fire, but still be able to come back to life when the next rain comes.

The wicked will not be able to come back from God’s final judgment.


The Great Escape

Did you know that there is a way to escape the judgment of God?
The judgment of God is based on our sin.
The problem is, we have ALL sinned.

(Romans 3:23 NKJV) for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God,

But you don’t have to face this judgment.  There is a way out.
Jesus Christ died on a cross for the very purpose of paying the price for your sins.
It’s as if you were convicted and received the death penalty, but Jesus died in your place.
All God asks is that you choose to believe and follow His Son Jesus Christ.
(John 3:16–18 NKJV) —16 For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life. 17 For God did not send His Son into the world to condemn the world, but that the world through Him might be saved. 18 “He who believes in Him is not condemned; but he who does not believe is condemned already, because he has not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God.

At the end of today’s service, I’m going to give you a chance to make this “great escape” that God has made for you.

:2 But to you who fear My name The Sun of Righteousness shall arise With healing in His wings; And you shall go out And grow fat like stall-fed calves.

:3 You shall trample the wicked, For they shall be ashes under the soles of your feet On the day that I do this,” Says the Lord of hosts.

:2 The Sun of Righteousness

In English, we might confuse the “sun” with the “Son”, but this “Sun” is still hinting at the Messiah.

Just as a long, dark night ends with the Sun peeking up over the horizon, the long dark night of the world will end when Jesus returns.

Charles Wesley wrote these words,

Hail the heaven-born prince of Peace!
Hail the Sun of Righteousness!
Light and life to all He brings,
Risen with healing in His wings.
Mild He lays His glory by,
Born that man no more may die;
Born to raise the sons of earth,
Born to give them second birth.
Hark! The herald angels sing,
“Glory to the newborn King.”

:1 For behold, the day is coming


Last Days Perspective

As the people struggle with the question, “Is it worth it” when it comes to serving the Lord, God reminds them of what’s up ahead.
There is a day of judgment coming.
How do we know that judgment will really take place?
Fulfilled prophecy

The Bible is filled with things that God has predicted, long before they happen.

When Jesus came the first time, He fulfilled over 300 specific prophecies, things predicted hundreds of years before He came.

If His first coming was so accurately predicted, don’t you think you can count on the Second Coming happening?

The idea we’ve been talking about of good people struggling when they see wicked people prospering is not a new thing.
The ancient Psalmist wrote about it.

(Psalm 73:2–5 NKJV) —2 But as for me, my feet had almost stumbled; My steps had nearly slipped. 3 For I was envious of the boastful, When I saw the prosperity of the wicked. 4 For there are no pangs in their death, But their strength is firm. 5 They are not in trouble as other men, Nor are they plagued like other men.

The Psalmist goes on to talk about how unfair it seems that wicked people have such a good life …

(Psalm 73:16–18 NKJV) —16 When I thought how to understand this, It was too painful for me— 17 Until I went into the sanctuary of God; Then I understood their end. 18 Surely You set them in slippery places; You cast them down to destruction.

It’s when he gets into God’s presence and begins to understand their “end”, and how they will one day face God’s judgment, that he begins to realize that it’s a good thing to be living according to God’s ways.

When Jesus returns, He will judge this world.
If you look at the last week before Jesus’ crucifixion, you will notice that He spoke a LOT about the day that He would return.
He told a series of stories about landowners or kings going on a long journey, and returning to see what their servants had done.
When He told a story about the owner of a vineyard whose vineyard workers kept beating the servants he’d send to receive their rent…

(Matthew 21:40–41 NKJV) —40 “Therefore, when the owner of the vineyard comes, what will he do to those vinedressers?” 41 They said to Him, “He will destroy those wicked men miserably, and lease his vineyard to other vinedressers who will render to him the fruits in their seasons.”

(Matthew 21:33–41 NKJV) —33 “Hear another parable: There was a certain landowner who planted a vineyard and set a hedge around it, dug a winepress in it and built a tower. And he leased it to vinedressers and went into a far country. 34 Now when vintage-time drew near, he sent his servants to the vinedressers, that they might receive its fruit. 35 And the vinedressers took his servants, beat one, killed one, and stoned another. 36 Again he sent other servants, more than the first, and they did likewise to them. 37 Then last of all he sent his son to them, saying, ‘They will respect my son.’ 38 But when the vinedressers saw the son, they said among themselves, ‘This is the heir. Come, let us kill him and seize his inheritance.’ 39 So they took him and cast him out of the vineyard and killed him. 40 “Therefore, when the owner of the vineyard comes, what will he do to those vinedressers?” 41 They said to Him, “He will destroy those wicked men miserably, and lease his vineyard to other vinedressers who will render to him the fruits in their seasons.”

One story was about a business man who entrusted His financial portfolio to His key servants before travelling to a far country.  When the business man returned, he demanded a financial status report.  To the two good servants who made wise investments with the master’s finances,

(Matthew 25:21 NKJV) His lord said to him, ‘Well done, good and faithful servant; you were faithful over a few things, I will make you ruler over many things. Enter into the joy of your lord.’

But to the servant who didn’t invest well,

(Matthew 25:30 NKJV) And cast the unprofitable servant into the outer darkness. There will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.’

(Matthew 25:14–30 NKJV) —14 “For the kingdom of heaven is like a man traveling to a far country, who called his own servants and delivered his goods to them. 15 And to one he gave five talents, to another two, and to another one, to each according to his own ability; and immediately he went on a journey. 16 Then he who had received the five talents went and traded with them, and made another five talents. 17 And likewise he who had received two gained two more also. 18 But he who had received one went and dug in the ground, and hid his lord’s money. 19 After a long time the lord of those servants came and settled accounts with them. 20 “So he who had received five talents came and brought five other talents, saying, ‘Lord, you delivered to me five talents; look, I have gained five more talents besides them.’ 21 His lord said to him, ‘Well done, good and faithful servant; you were faithful over a few things, I will make you ruler over many things. Enter into the joy of your lord.’ 22 He also who had received two talents came and said, ‘Lord, you delivered to me two talents; look, I have gained two more talents besides them.’ 23 His lord said to him, ‘Well done, good and faithful servant; you have been faithful over a few things, I will make you ruler over many things. Enter into the joy of your lord.’ 24 “Then he who had received the one talent came and said, ‘Lord, I knew you to be a hard man, reaping where you have not sown, and gathering where you have not scattered seed. 25 And I was afraid, and went and hid your talent in the ground. Look, there you have what is yours.’ 26 “But his lord answered and said to him, ‘You wicked and lazy servant, you knew that I reap where I have not sown, and gather where I have not scattered seed. 27 So you ought to have deposited my money with the bankers, and at my coming I would have received back my own with interest. 28 So take the talent from him, and give it to him who has ten talents. 29 ‘For to everyone who has, more will be given, and he will have abundance; but from him who does not have, even what he has will be taken away. 30 And cast the unprofitable servant into the outer darkness. There will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.’

Jesus described the day of judgment like a shepherd gathering His flock and separating the sheep (good guys) from the goats (bad guys).  To the good guys …

(Matthew 25:34 NKJV) Then the King will say to those on His right hand, ‘Come, you blessed of My Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world:

But to the bad guys…

(Matthew 25:41 NKJV) “Then He will also say to those on the left hand, ‘Depart from Me, you cursed, into the everlasting fire prepared for the devil and his angels:

(Matthew 25:31–46 NKJV) —31 “When the Son of Man comes in His glory, and all the holy angels with Him, then He will sit on the throne of His glory. 32 All the nations will be gathered before Him, and He will separate them one from another, as a shepherd divides his sheep from the goats. 33 And He will set the sheep on His right hand, but the goats on the left. 34 Then the King will say to those on His right hand, ‘Come, you blessed of My Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world: 35 for I was hungry and you gave Me food; I was thirsty and you gave Me drink; I was a stranger and you took Me in; 36 I was naked and you clothed Me; I was sick and you visited Me; I was in prison and you came to Me.’ 37 “Then the righteous will answer Him, saying, ‘Lord, when did we see You hungry and feed You, or thirsty and give You drink? 38 When did we see You a stranger and take You in, or naked and clothe You? 39 Or when did we see You sick, or in prison, and come to You?’ 40 And the King will answer and say to them, ‘Assuredly, I say to you, inasmuch as you did it to one of the least of these My brethren, you did it to Me.’ 41 “Then He will also say to those on the left hand, ‘Depart from Me, you cursed, into the everlasting fire prepared for the devil and his angels: 42 for I was hungry and you gave Me no food; I was thirsty and you gave Me no drink; 43 I was a stranger and you did not take Me in, naked and you did not clothe Me, sick and in prison and you did not visit Me.’ 44 “Then they also will answer Him, saying, ‘Lord, when did we see You hungry or thirsty or a stranger or naked or sick or in prison, and did not minister to You?’ 45 Then He will answer them, saying, ‘Assuredly, I say to you, inasmuch as you did not do it to one of the least of these, you did not do it to Me.’ 46 And these will go away into everlasting punishment, but the righteous into eternal life.”

Is it worth it?  It surely is.  The end will indeed come.  Jesus will return.

:4 “Remember the Law of Moses, My servant, Which I commanded him in Horeb for all Israel, With the statutes and judgments.

:4 commanded him at Horeb

Horeb is another name for Mount Sinai.  God is reminding them of the day He gave Israel the Ten Commandments.

God is reminding His people to remember the agreement He made with them on Mount Sinai.

:4 Remember the Law of Moses


Treasure the Law

This is particularly aimed at the Jews, “for all Israel”.
The Jews indeed need to follow the Law.
Sometimes as Gentile believers, we think that we ought to discard the first two thirds of our Bibles (the Old Testament).
Yet Jesus said,

(Matthew 5:17 NKJV) “Do not think that I came to destroy the Law or the Prophets. I did not come to destroy but to fulfill.

There are some aspects of the Law that still apply today.
Do not murder.
Do not steal.
Do not lie.
There may be some aspects in which the Law does not apply to us:
Some of the Laws, like the Sabbath, are supposed to be unique identification for the Jews.
Some of the dietary laws (Jesus declared all foods “clean”)
The principle of sacrifice for sins.

Jesus has paid for all sins with His one sacrifice.

Yet there is still great value in the Law
As Gentiles, we may not worship on the Sabbath, but the principle of taking a day to rest and honor God is a good one.
As Gentiles we may be allowed to eat bacon and shrimp, but the principle of being careful about your diet is a good one.
We may no longer need to present sacrifice to atone for our sins, but understanding the principles about sacrifice is at the root of how we are saved, and we are eternally grateful for Jesus’ sacrifice for us.
Don’t be quick to toss out the portions of the Bible that you don’t like.

:5 Behold, I will send you Elijah the prophet Before the coming of the great and dreadful day of the Lord.

:6 And he will turn The hearts of the fathers to the children, And the hearts of the children to their fathers, Lest I come and strike the earth with a curse.

:5 day of the Lord

This is that day of God’s judgment.

:5 I will send you Elijah the prophet

Elijah the prophet was one of two men in the Old Testament who did not taste literal death.

Elijah’s ministry on earth ended when he was taken up into heaven on a chariot of fire.
Malachi tells us that just like Arnold Schwarzenegger, he’ll be back, as the “messenger” that prepares the world for the coming of the Messiah.
(Malachi 3:1a NKJV) “Behold, I send My messenger, And he will prepare the way before Me…

The Jews set an empty place setting at the table during Passover.  The place is for Elijah in case he shows up.

There was a sense in which this has been fulfilled through John the Baptist, who came in the “spirit and power of Elijah” (Luke 1:17).

(Luke 1:17 NKJV) —17 He will also go before Him in the spirit and power of Elijah, ‘to turn the hearts of the fathers to the children,’ and the disobedient to the wisdom of the just, to make ready a people prepared for the Lord.”
Jesus Himself said that John the Baptist fulfilled a portion of this prophecy (Mat. 17:11-13)
(Matthew 17:11–13 NKJV) —11 Jesus answered and said to them, “Indeed, Elijah is coming first and will restore all things. 12 But I say to you that Elijah has come already, and they did not know him but did to him whatever they wished. Likewise the Son of Man is also about to suffer at their hands.” 13 Then the disciples understood that He spoke to them of John the Baptist.
Keep in mind, these are the final words of the Old Testament, the final words spoken through a prophet until the day that John the Baptist began his ministry four hundred years later.

There is also a sense in which the final fulfillment of this prophecy won’t take place until the time of Jesus’ Second Coming.

We believe Elijah will be one of the two “witnesses” described in Revelation.
(Revelation 11:3–6 NKJV) —3 And I will give power to my two witnesses, and they will prophesy one thousand two hundred and sixty days, clothed in sackcloth.” 4 These are the two olive trees and the two lampstands standing before the God of the earth. 5 And if anyone wants to harm them, fire proceeds from their mouth and devours their enemies. And if anyone wants to harm them, he must be killed in this manner. 6 These have power to shut heaven, so that no rain falls in the days of their prophecy; and they have power over waters to turn them to blood, and to strike the earth with all plagues, as often as they desire.
Who are these “two witnesses”?  I believe they could very likely be Moses and Elijah.

It’s interesting that Malachi mentions Moses (vs. 4) and then in the next breath mentions Elijah (vs. 5).

While Moses had the ability to bring miraculous plagues like turning water into blood (Rev. 11:6), Elijah had the ability to command fire to fall from heaven and to make the rain stop falling (Rev. 11:5,6)

:6 turn the hearts of the fathers


Family healing

This will be part of Elijah’s ministry in the last days.
I have a sneaking suspicion that family must be close to the heart of our God who calls Himself our “Father”.
I’d imagine that the breakdown of the family might be considered one of the signs that we are in the last days.
Some parents just don’t quite understand their role in raising their kids.

A couple from a circus go to an adoption agency, but social workers have doubts about their suitability. So they produce photos of their 50 foot motorhome, the back half of which is a beautifully equipped nursery. The social workers then are doubtful about the education that would be provided. “We’ve employed a fulltime tutor who’ll teach the child all the subjects along with Mandarin and IT skills.” There are then doubts expressed about the child’s healthy upbringing. “Our fulltime nanny is an expert in pediatric welfare and diet,” they reply. The social workers are finally satisfied, and ask what age of child they were hoping to adopt. “It doesn’t really matter,” they say, “so long as he fits nicely into the cannon.”

One of the sad things happening in our current society is how increasingly kids are disconnected from their parents.
Kids are being raised by single moms, and some dads are nowhere in the picture.
I don’t think we need to wait until Elijah shows up to make our family relationships a priority.
There’s a commercial they play about once every hour on the MLB channel that contains this clip:
Video:  Military father surprises son

The words at the end are, “There are those that protect the plate, and those that protect home”…

Note that in our text it all starts with fathers
It starts when your kids are little.

Video:  Dad Life

Being a Dad doesn’t end when they’re grown up.

Video:  Father’s speech at wedding

How can a heart be turned?  What if you’re not all that excited about your kids … or your dad?
I don’t have any easy answers.  I imagine there are as many answers as there are family problems.
I’d start with prayer.  I find that the people I pray for each day are people that I grow more and more in love with.
That’s not going to be the end of it.  There will be many more steps to take, things to do, but start with prayer.