Summary: Attitudes and actions that lead to a renewal in the hearts of straying believers.
THE WAY BACK HOME
Wednesday, March 9, 2005
Pastor Brian Matherlee
“And you will again see the distinction between the righteous and the wicked, between those who serve God and those who do not.”—Malachi 3:18
In George Barna’s new volume, “Moral and Spiritual Anarchy”, he flatly states that moral anarchy has arrived and rules our culture today. The argument hinges on a substantial amount of attitudinal and behavioral evidence: record bankruptcy levels, frivolous lawsuits, the rapid growth of the pornography industry, highway speeding as the norm, income tax cheating, computer hacking and viruses, rising levels of white collar crime, rampant copyright violations (movies, books, recordings), terrorism and intimidation tactics, Net-based plagiarism, emotional comfort with lying and cheating, increasing rates of co-habitation and adultery, and so forth.
Moreover, Barna takes the argument farther and suggests that the United States is now in a state of spiritual anarchy as well. He mentioned that millions of people’s faith activity is no longer affected by parameters such as church loyalty, respect for clergy, acceptance of absolutes, tolerance of Christianity, reverence for God, a desire to strive for personal holiness, sensitivity to theological heresy, and appreciation of tradition. The rejection of these elements has created a void that has been filled by the customized spirituality that lacks biblical moorings.
SOURCE: Moral and Spiritual Anarchy (Barna Research Group of Ventura, California, www.barna.org)
Many questions are directed towards God in Malachi. They ask 9 questions. They ask God about the accusations He is making against them. Every time they ask a question it points to the fact of their ignorance towards the things of God and their own condition.
Israel displays several characteristics:
1. Ungrateful (1:2)
2. Cheap (1:7b-8, 12)
a. Two men were marooned on an Island. One man paced back and forth worried and scared while the other man sat back and was sunning himself. The first man said to the second man, "aren’t you afraid we are about to die." "No," said the second man, "I make $100,000 a week
and tithe faithfully to my church every week. My Pastor will find me."
3. Shortsighted (2:17)
4. Presumptuous (3:5 “but do not fear me”)
5. Fickle (3:6-7)
a. God is solid and the people have a history of change
6. Greedy (3:8)
7. Blasphemous (3:13-14)
a. Attributing to the devil the things of God or calling into question the power or plan of God.
Attitudes that bring the life of distinction back:
“Then those who feared the Lord talked with each other, and the Lord listened and heard. A scroll of remembrance was written in his presence concerning those who feared the Lord and honored his name.” 3:16
• 2 Chr. 7:14, “If my people, who are called by my name, will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then will I hear from heaven and will forgive their sin and will heal their land.”
“A scroll of remembrance was written.”
• NU 15:37 The LORD said to Moses, 38 "Speak to the Israelites and say to them: `Throughout the generations to come you are to make tassels on the corners of your garments, with a blue cord on each tassel. 39 You will have these tassels to look at and so you will remember all the commands of the LORD, that you may obey them and not prostitute yourselves by going after the lusts of your own hearts and eyes. 40 Then you will remember to obey all my commands and will be consecrated to your God. 41 I am the LORD your God, who brought you out of Egypt to be your God. I am the LORD your God.’ "
• Remembering keeps me out of trouble.
“Feared the Lord.”
“Honored his name.”
• Contrast the attitude here with the attitude of the priests in 1:12