Summary: This is about the problem of spiritual indifference, and God’s promise, "return to me and I will return to you."
Main Idea: The problem with spiritual indifference.
God’s Promise: Return to me, and I’ll return to you.
A quote from David Hansen (The Power of Loving Your Church) about being ’at war’ with God sometimes but at least not ambivalent. (The strong wording of the quote gets one’s attention and suggests that being ’nice’ is not exactly what God wants from us.
Is there something in that quote which you long for?
This is addressed to people who have been for 100 years fat and happy…
Like those in Laodicea (Rev 3) whose spiritual life is in stark contrast to thriving, exciting ’business’ environment, etc.
You really can draw nearer to God by avoiding the pitfalls of complacency Malachi reveals:
a. Embrace the purifying work of God
b. Invest in the mission of God
c. Accept the remarkable in God
Embrace the PURIFYING work of God
"Rugged" (as is shoved under the rug) sin is one of the greatest, most common blocks to fullness in Christ. The Bible talked about squelching the Spirit. Setting a noise threshold above listening. We tolerate and tune out our conscience (as it is inspired) and fail to hear the voice of God at all.
"How have you loved us?" (1.2b)
ILLUST> Celebrity marriage saved, and failed.
Bee lady story (this copyrighted story was about a woman whose home was invaded by thousands of bees, which she ignored because she did not want to deal wih the situation)
Or, friend – a passionate pastor – who shared with other pastors his personal failure; of which some did not want to hear.
But that’s where passion comes from! Want to kill it? Pretend.
Hypocrisy starts small, blemished sacrifice subs, etc. (1.7-8) kept appearances – begins to feel like a burden to them.
No accident followed by Psalm 1 in Hebrew canon
Have you experienced his cleansing work in your life lately?
They’ve stopped listening to the still small voice of the Spirit.
1Thess 5.19 – don’t quench the Spirit
INVEST in the mission of God
There is nothing to bring freshness to our love for the Lord, like getting involved in what he is doing in our world.
We become passionate for Christ, when his passions become ours as well.
Jesus, on loving God and money – it just doesn’t work. (What we feed)
(1.8) try offering them to your governor! (1.10) just shut the doors.
Whole tithe idea - it is about the heart! (3.10,f.)
Tithing tames money – it frees!
ILLUST> Church robber – too many $1s – God too? Real tragedy is…
What’s the most fun you’ve ever had? Give it a chance, and you’ll be able to point to something you’ve done for the kingdom, for others! Difference between being a spectator and a player.
Don’t wait till you’re excited about serving God. It doesn’t work that way.
Givers become cheerful! And more, and more…
Be zealous and turn from self.
What did Jesus say? Save your life and lose it, give it away and gain!
How do you invest time, talent, and treasure in the kingdom of God? How is your enthusiasm level for God’s work?
Compromised sacrifices demonstrated the content of their hearts.
New Christians don’t create problems, they reveal them.
Hebrews 13.15-16 sacrifice of praise AND doing good to others, pleases God
1John 3.16-20 – how we know what love is…
Accept the REMARKABLE in God
When we fail to trust in the remarkable, we are not going to be very excited about faith. We are going to figure what we can do in life is all there is, so who needs him.
They are cynical.
VBS kids learned this week…
What does James mean, “You don’t have because you don’t ask?”
There’s really nothing greater than seeing God’s power at work!
Look at you - easy divorces, etc. (2.13,f.)
Day of the Lord is coming!...
How real is God (144)
“They tend to become cynical about whether God actually intervenes in anyone’s life since they seldom observe Him in their own.” True?
Sadly, most of the people would not be ready for Messiah…
What are you prayerfully expecting of God that must be a supernatural event?
Ephesians 3.20-21 – immeasurably more! (follows a prayer for spiritual passion)
Big issue is forgetting the power of his love.
Return to me, and I will return to you.
Rev3: I stand and knock… (read and talk about it here)
Overcoming spiritual mediocrity is not about trying harder. Nor is it beyond you, with God’s help.