Summary: God has promised that we could be blessed. Wheat do we have to do and what will he do?
I was in McKay, a community just off the Great Barrier Reef in Australia when it happened. We were there on holidays, which was to include a diving trip on the reef and a trip to a Alligator reserve and also a visit with Kevin Hudson, a pastor friend of mine. Kev and I hadn’t seen each other for awhile and once the pleasantries of the visit were over we began to talk preaching, as preachers are oft to do when the get together and in the course of the conversation Kevin mentioned the “Italian Prophet.” I was a little confused. I thought I was familiar with all the prophets, both major and minor, having been a preacher at that point for 10 years or so, not to mention my degree which as you can well imagine contained a fair amount of Bible knowledge.
“Yes” he insisted “The Italian prophet”. Well he could obviously tell from the confused look on my face that I just wasn’t getting it. Although a confused look on my face doesn’t necessarily indicate much beyond my natural state. So slowly he said “you know, the last book in the Old Testament, Ma-lee-chee.
Well this morning I will be preaching from the book of Ma-lee-chee or Malachi as it’s better known. And the reason is very simple, I am at the end of the Old Testament and the series wouldn’t be complete without Malachi. To be specific I will be speaking from probably the best know text in the book of Malachi which of course is Malachi 3:10 Bring all the tithes into the storehouse so there will be enough food in my Temple. If you do,” says the Lord Almighty, “I will open the windows of heaven for you. I will pour out a blessing so great you won’t have enough room to take it in! Try it! Let me prove it to you!
Now I know that there is someone out there who is thinking “Aha, Denn’s going to talk about money this morning and I hate it when Denn talks about money.” You think you hate it when Denn talks about money, you have no idea how I feel when Denn has to talk about money. But it’s something that has to be done occasionally, it is the responsible thing to do, after all do you really want to be kept in the dark about our finances? How would you feel if someday you arrived the Lions Den was locked and there was a note on the door that said “due to financial problems Cornerstone Wesleyan Church is no longer able to operate, please feel free to attend one of the other five churches in Bedford.”
I’m sure that most of you, I hope most of you, would think “This is terrible, I wish I had of known.” That’s why occasionally I preach about money, and giving and finances and why I occasionally write you about where we are at, and I do mean occasionally. Actually the great thing about this message is that is was planned to be preached on this date a year and a half ago, including the puppets.
In nine and a half years I have never ever suggested a dollar amount that anyone in this church should give and I never will. And I have never treated anyone differently because of what they do or don’t give. The only time that comes into consideration is when it comes to leadership at Cornerstone. Because I believe that tithing is a Biblical command I am very unapologetic about the fact that if you don’t tithe or come close you will not be nominated for a spot on the leadership team at Cornerstone Wesleyan Church. Not because you are of more or less importance based on your giving patterns but because of your obedience to God’s word.
So with that said this message is really not about money or about giving, it will be mentioned but it is not the “Big Idea” or the “Main Concept.” You all right?
So here we are at the 39th book of the Bible, the last book in the Old Testament. It was not written by the Italian prophet Ma-la-chi, it was written by the Hebrew prophet Malachi whose name in Hebrew means “My Message”, which would seem to be a pretty good name for a prophet. Time wise, you’ll recall that the residents of Jerusalem had been taken captive when the Assyrians conquered Israel, then when the Babylonians conquered Assyria the Jews were allowed to return to Jerusalem to rebuild the city walls and the temple. The temple was completed in 516 BC and this letter was written almost a hundred and fifty years later around 460 BC. Why was it written? Malachi was confronting the spirit of complacency and indifference that had overcome God’s people. The worship that had once been the centre of their culture had now become simply a habit. The enthusiasm they had for building the Temple of God had become a “been there done that” attitude.