Malachi 1:6, “6 “‘A son honors his father, and a servant his master. Then if I am a father, where is My honor? And if I am a master, where is My respect?’ says the Lord of hosts to you, O priests who despise My name. But you say, ‘How have we despised Your name?”
In verse 6 we see the focus of Malachi turning toward the priests, “O priests who despise My name.” The priests in the Old Testament were the spiritual leaders of the community, therefore, in verse 6 the God of Scripture turns to the priests and asks, “Why do you despise My name?”
The word, “Despise” means “to make light of” so that the spiritual leaders were “making light” of God’s glory, and you need to know the spiritual health of any community is directly linked to the spiritual leaders of that community.
Everything rises and falls on spiritual leadership. It is true in Malachi 1, and it is true in North Village Church. When the God of Scripture wants to provoke life transformation in our church family He is going to move through the leaders.
When Jesus enters into human history He doesn’t go to every single nation, but instead Jesus enters into one place at one point in history, and gathers a bunch of leaders to Himself to win them, train them, and sends them into all the nations of the earth.
Therefore, the spiritual health of our church family is really important. The elders, their marriage, their inner life is going to have a huge influence on the spiritual health of our church family. But, it isn’t just our elders, and their wives, but it is also the spiritual health of our staff, our Ministry Leaders, Group Leaders, Triad Leaders, Kids Village Teachers and Youth Village Leaders.
Therefore, lets remember to pray for our spiritual leaders because the more spiritually healthy our leaders are the more spiritually healthy we will be as a church family.
Does that make sense? Look at verses 7-8: (SLIDE)
Malachi 1:7-8, “7 You are presenting defiled food upon My altar. But you say, ‘How have we defiled You?’ In that you say, ‘The table of the Lord is to be despised.’ 8 But when you present the blind for sacrifice, is it not evil? And when you present the lame and sick, is it not evil? Why not offer it to your governor? Would he be pleased with you? Or would he receive you kindly?” says the Lord of hosts.”
In verse 6 the Lord says to the priests, “Where is my honor” and the priests say, “What do you mean we don’t show you honor?” Therefore, in verse 7 the Lord says, “Look at your sacrifices!” They are blind, lame, and sick.
The sacrifices in the Old Testament were a means of grace. It was a way for the people to say, “Our sin against God is worthy of death, and this animal is going to stand in our place.” Which means verses 7-8 is describing an act of worship! Write down next to verses 7-8, “Acts of worship!” But, in verses 7-8 their “acts of worship” have become half-hearted because they are offering up animals that are blind, lame and sick.
Illustration: You have to remember the people in Malachi didn’t have Apple Pay to make donations. If you were a farmer you would bring a crop. If you were a shepherd you would bring animals. If you were a businessman you would bring coins.
It is as if they are saying, “See that old goat over there that is dying. Let’s just done that one.” See those rotten eggs we can’t eat, let’s bring those? Oh, just drop those in the offering! It was “half-hearted worship” and the Lord says, “It is not evil?” Would you bring that to your governor? No, then why would you bring that to the One who speaks all creation into existence? It was half-hearted acts of worship! Write that down, “Half-hearted acts of worship.”
Please don’t misunderstand: The God of Scripture isn’t concerned about quality name brand animals, but instead He is concerned about the heart of the worshipper.
Illustration: It’s like when you open the Scriptures with the television on in the background, just so you can tell yourself that you “I did my Bible reading for the day.” No, you are learning about God, give your best. Even if it is 3 minutes, then give the Lord the best 3-minutes of yourself.
It’s like when some of you are cleaning out your house for things you don’t want and you say, “We don’t want this anymore, lets donate that to the church!” No. Don’t give our church family your ratty old things you don’t want. Give your best, and you keep the leftovers, and you dedicate the best to the Lord because He is worthy!
It’s like when you show up on Sunday running late, dragging kids, and arguing with your spouse. The answer isn’t to turn around and go home. No, the answer is to stop, consider why you are late, confess those things to Jesus, and ask for His help submit yourself 100%, heart, soul and mind to the Lord.
When we stand up to sing we take time to consider to ourselves, “What words am I singing? Do I believe those words? When speak to one another are we prepared to ask questions, encourage, listen, and speak truth? When we give financially do we do so with joy and sacrifice, because He is Lord!
Listen to me, God’s Word isn’t here this morning to make us feel guilty, but the Spirit of God is here to press into our souls and ask, “Are you in awe of the glory of God?” Every time you show up, read His Word, open your mouth, or give energy or money, might we remember that we are participating in the glory of God! Look at verses 9-11: (SLIDE)