Morning Bible Study
Announce: Supper Eight.
Video: Israel Beauty. You’ve got two months to sign up.
Malachi’s name means “my messenger”.
We think he might have been a priest because of his knowledge of the
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.
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
:13 Yet you say
This is the final time that the people respond to Malachi’s exhortation by
challenging what he is saying.
One of the lessons we talked about back in chapter one was, “Lose the
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.’ ”
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.
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
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
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
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:
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
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.
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,
NKJV) —14 The great day of the Lord
is near; It is near and
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
: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.
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
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?
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.
73:2–5 NKJV) —2 But as for me, my feet had almost stumbled; My steps had
nearly slipped. 3
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 …
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.
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,
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,
25:30 NKJV) And cast the unprofitable servant into the outer darkness. There
will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.’
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
: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
: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)
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).
Jesus Himself said that John the Baptist fulfilled a portion of this
prophecy (Mat. 17:11-13)
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
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
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.
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:
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
That’s not going to be the end of it.
There will be many more steps to take, things to do, but start with