Summary: Malachi #3
Leading Others Upward
We can learn from others. I would say that one of the people that we learn the most from is our mothers.
Here are some things that only a mom can teach:
Moms teach us about anticipation:
Just wait until your father gets home!
Moms teach us about medical science:
If you don’t stop crossing your eyes, they’re going to stay that way.
Moms teach about genetics: You’re just like your father.
Moms teach us about justice:
One day you’ll have kids and I hope they turn out just like you.
Two weeks ago we were reminded that even though there are many ways in which we fall short, we can always count on God’s unconditional love. Last Sunday our focus was on giving God our best by embracing an authentic faith, giving God priority over our possessions and by grasping His greatness.
I can’t wait to see what God is going to do in each of our lives as a result of our text for today.
I hope you have your Bibles open to Malachi 2:1-9...
I. INTRODUCTION (v. 1)
Let’s begin by looking at verse 1 together...
Some of us might be tempted to check out at this point because this passage is obviously not for us, or is it? The connecting point is the term “priest” because it was not only used to identify a certain group of people in the Old Testament, but is also used to describe every believer in the New Testament. In the Old Testament, priests were descendants of Moses’ brother Aaron, who was from the tribe of Levi. They were called Levites and their job was to serve in the Tabernacle and later in the Temple.
They were set apart for two primary purposes:
(1) To sacrifice animals and (2) To serve God.
Under the New Covenant, Jesus, the high priest, who offered Himself as the final sin sacrifice, fulfilled this office.
We see this in Hebrews 4:14:
“Therefore, since we have a great high priest who has gone through the heavens, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold firmly to the faith we profess.”
Hebrews 7:23-25 makes clear that because Jesus has become a permanent priest, the Old Testament priesthood is now obsolete. Verse 27 tells us that sacrifices are no longer necessary because He has paid the price with His life: “Unlike the other high priests, he does not need to offer sacrifices day after day, first for his own sins, and then for the sins of the people. He sacrificed for their sins once for all when he offered himself.”
Amazingly, the Bible teaches that you and I are priests. We are set apart to be involved in wonderful worship and sacrificial service. 1 Peter 2:9: “But you are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people belonging to God, that you may declare the praises of him who called you out of darkness into his wonderful light.” John put it this way in Revelation 1:6: “And has made us to be a kingdom and priests to serve his God and Father…”
Here’s how this passage percolates into our lives today:
Every believer is a priest and as such is set apart for worship and service. And, just as priests in the Old Testament were to point people to God, each of us is called to lead others upward today. Unfortunately, it’s easy for us to forget our function as followers of Christ. And we see our duty as a drudgery rather than a delight.
I want us to first look at 5 fatal flaws that contributed to the spiritual slide of those who should have known better in verses 2-3 and verses 8-9. Sandwiched in between, in verses 4-7, are 5 leadership lessons that we’ll close with.
II. FATAL FLAWS (vv. 2-3, 8-9)
Do you get tired of hearing about the scandals of inappropriate behavior of pastors, coaches, and others in leadership? We’ve seen it in the church all too often, haven’t we? Jim Baker, Jimmy Swaggert, and now Ted Haggard. We see it in the sports world as well when coaches lose their jobs due to “inappropriate behavior.” In commenting on these scandals, one sports columnist said this: He said that they “…had money, urges and an air of invincibility – a dangerous combination”
Did you hear that the author of the Book of Virtues has an $8-million gambling habit? H.B. London, from Focus on the Family, hits it on the head when he says: “Each of these men has embarrassed himself by exhibiting conduct unbecoming to his profession”
As we look at Malachi 2, we’re introduced to a group of leaders that exhibited conduct unbecoming to their profession.
And, they did it with an air of flippant invincibility.