Summary: Take time to evaluate your commitment to God. Evaluate wither you are giving God the honor and respect to God.
A Moment of Evaluation
I have to start with a hard question… Do you remember getting your first speeding ticket?
Driving down the road and there is a policeman on the side of the road….Get a knot in stomach. If speeding it seems worse…but most of the time I never know if I was speeding…Because I have a reaction that my foot leaves the accelerator I instantly slowdown.
Whenever I see a policeman, I do an immediate evaluation of my driving and speed.
I hope that this morning will cause a similar kind of a response in your spiritual journey
Is there anyone her that can evaluate your life and your spiritual journey and really claim that you are 100% committed to God?
That would mean that everything in your life orbits God in the center of your choices.
I think that all of us have a problem being 100 % committed to God. I doubt that any of us would be honest to our level of commitment. We might think, 75% that sounds really good. But if pressed in public few of us could keep a straight face saying that here in church….
Anyone want to throw out an HONEST percentage of your personal commitment to God?
-- Will anyone admit that the number is perhaps embarrassingly low?
The basic idea that I hope you will accept today is that even a 95% commitment to Christ/God is 5% short of what God wants and expects!!!
Why does that happen? How is it that we end up 100% committed to what we want and not so committed to what God expects?
I think it comes down to forgetting something very important. We forget or maybe never really know who God is!
Until we know we will never fully surrender everything to God.
I decided not to use the New Testament this morning because we all know who Jesus sez he is. I decided to use Malachi from the Old Testament because it reminds me that God never changes…4000 years ago, 2000 years ago and today God holds the same titles. The same place in and out of creation.
It seems that the people in Malachi’s day may have held similar views about their relationship with God. It seems that there was a wide range beginning with son and extending to master. Each relationship, automatically holds God in the most important position. The prophet, speaking for God asks, “If I am a father, where is the honor due me? If I am a master, where is the respect due me?"
Malachi is serving as the cop on Israel’s journey. He is the symbol and voice of God and he is there speaking with authority. His points are specific to the people to evaluate their view of God and their relationship with God. Am I going the wrong way on a 1 way street?? And I going too fast or guilty of breaking some other rule?
It seems that Israel is not giving God the honor and respect that he is entitled to. He is calling them on this failing.
Then God gets more specific…."It is you, O priests, who show contempt for my name. "But you ask, 'How have we shown contempt for your name?'
In this day there was a formal priest organization. They were trained and prepared. They were professional intercessors and they were instruments of atonement that gave the people a pathway to forgiveness and blessing.
I think that this scripture is important to us because Jesus life, death and resurrection took out the middle men and in 1 Peter 2 we are told that we, Christians, believers, sinners all have a direct path. We in essence are priest of God. When Malachi speaks to the priest he is speaking to us. As priest, we represent ourselves and sometimes others to God.
Here is the important detail about the priestly role, They were the ones that inspected the Gifts and assured adherence to the LAW. First fruit, best Lamb was the standard. The offering God requires is due him because of his position and the priest accepted the sickly animals and damaged fruit and grain and did not see a problem.
Oh come on, God does not really eat it or need it. Why should the farmer or herder really bring first quality? It is smart business to take the best to the market and to bring God What is left. What has less value.
Malachi, tells them that God knows what they are doing,
"You place defiled food on my altar.
"But you ask, 'How have we defiled you?'
"By saying that the LORD's table is contemptible.
When you bring blind animals for sacrifice, is that not wrong? When you sacrifice crippled or diseased animals, is that not wrong? Try offering them to your governor! Would he be pleased with you? Would he accept you?" says the LORD Almighty.