Summary: What is the real evidence that we live with the Father? What is the real evidence that we have spiritual eyes that God has revealed Himself to? Is it hands raised in the sanctuary, a hymn sung in quartet harmony, a chorus completed on Sunday morning? N

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Intro: What is the real evidence that we live with the Father? What is the real evidence that we have spiritual eyes that God has revealed Himself to? Is it hands raised in the sanctuary, a hymn sung in quartet harmony, a chorus completed on Sunday morning? No. It is obedience to God’s word. Jesus clearly said in John 14.24 “The one who doesn’t love Me will not keep my words. The word that you hear is not Mine but is from my Father who sent me.” Which 1.6,7 is honor to Him.

So according to Jesus authentic real worship in Spirit and in Truth is not hands raised, or song sung it is life lived obedient to the father!!

Fathers today we honor and challenge you. Eugene Peterson said in Run with Horses. “The job of a prophet is not smooth things over but to make them right.”

Fathers and others today Malachi’s overarching theme is woven with cords of smaller themes. There is corruption in the priesthood, marrying unbelieving wives, not paying tithes, social wrongs. Malachi is weaving a cord of indifference or unresponsiveness toward God.

The apathetic cold hearts of the people allowed distance between themselves and Yahweh and as a result the practices of the world began to creep into their lives. The same is true today gossip, premarital sex, adultery, anger, lying, unforgiveness, bitterness, division are results of cold hearts toward Jesus.

Ezra instituted reforms and Nehemiah led the people toward understanding all that God had done and would do in them and through them and still the people of God were cold-hearted and unresponsive toward Yahweh. How much we are like the Israelites. No matter how much God provides and does supernatural things in the life of the church we too are often cold-hearted toward the person and presence of God. So how do we correct this?

I. The Father’s invitation to relationship

What is the basis of the Father’s invitation to relationship? Malachi 1.2 “I have loved you,” says the Lord.”

The word love is in the present perfect. It is as the Lord says I loved you, I love you, I will always love you.”

We all too often are just as sarcastic and cynical about God’s father love as Malachi made the Israelites look. “How have you loved us?” He basically says I chose you.

In his book called, “The Sacred Romance,” John Eldredge writes, “God is courting us, as He pursues us with His love and calls us to a journey full of intimacy, adventure and beauty. To ignore this whispered call is to become one of the living dead who carry on their lives divorced from their heart”

In the Old Testament God showed His love by choosing a specific people. In the New Testament He chooses all people through the death, and resurrection of Jesus to be a specific people.

A) Relationship based on the cross

You may be indifferent toward God but He is not indifferent toward you. The Father delights over you, the son died and intercedes for you, the Holy Spirit draws and then lives in you. How is this possible? The cross makes it possible for us to dance in the activity of God, Malachi 3.1tells of the coming of one who would make offerings acceptable to God. When we focus on our circumstances rather than Jesus we become discouraged, disconnected finally distanced from God. God doesn’t love me because He allowed this to happen in my life! God does love you but you must look beyond your life circumstances to His cross!!

B) Relationship based on the resurrection

Malachi 2.17 (read)

God told the Israelites here in Malachi that He was tired of their empty words he was ready for covenant faithfulness. The resurrection shows us that relationship with God is to be filled with the indwelling of His Spirit, the producing of His fruit, and the restoring of our relationships. The Israelites would have looked ok from the outside attending temple, sacrificing animals, going through the motions. It wasn’t open defiance as much as uncaring religion. “The Mosaic covenant was by Malachi's time understood as a quaint, archaic document too restrictive to be taken seriously and inapplicable to a 'modern' age—virtually the same way that most people in modern Western societies view the Bible today." Stuart, Douglas. "Malachi." In The Minor Prophets: An Exegetical and ExpositionalCommentary.

Where do the problems come from as fathers today? We often don’t think God has anything to say to us.

How do we say it today? I need to get back into church. Let’s go to church. We should really get in a good church. God wants us in a relationship that turns us into His church, His dwelling place where His character can draw others to Him! This only happens as we experience the life of the promised Holy Spirit living through us. Malachi called Him the one who would come as a refiners fire, and cleansing lye in 3.2, and a refiners fire and purifier in 3.3. This is a great indication of the cleansing and changing that closeness to Jesus produces.

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