May 30, 2021



May 30, 2021

Charles Billingsley

Don’t share a name, but do you know someone immediately becomes defensive whenever there’s a conflict? Is there a solution?

As we hear part two of our mini-series on the Minor Prophets (minor only when compared in length of their books to Isaiah, Jeremiah, and Ezekiel), today we learn from Haggai, Zechariah, and Malachi. Malachi is a beautiful book, not only in the amazing love language of God, but also because Malachi foresaw the coming of John the Baptist, the first coming of the Messiah, as well as His much anticipated second coming! As the church, we are in the age between His first and second comings. This sermon will wrap up the last of the messages from the Old Testament as we continue reading the Bible through in six months. This coming week we will begin reading the New Testament, after a four-hundred-year silence between the Old and New Testaments.

Focal Passage: The Books of Haggai, Zechariah, and Malachi.


            ‘This is the message that God gave to Israel through the prophet Malachi. “I have

            always loved you,” says the Lord! But you retort, “Really? How have you loved us?”’

            The question for us should be, “Do you love ME, says the Lord?”


What should our love for Him look like?

            God’s love deserves our Finest

  • Read Malachi 1:6. What is the first indictment (prior to destruction) that God brings to Israel’s attention? In our homes today, how do we feel when our children—or others—show contempt for our expectations of behavior?
  • What are the two ways in which we can best give glory and honor to God? Does anyone other than God deserve our worship and praise? What do these two things indicate we have in our hearts? How does worship require sacrifice?
  • Read Mal. 1:6b-7. How did the people show contempt for God? Read Deut. 17:1. About how many years before Malachi did God give this law to Moses?
  • What are some ways in which we today “offer” Him ourselves in a manner that is less than our best? Do we often give Him what is left over? How, or what?

God’s love demands our Faithfulness

  • Read Mal. 2:13-14. What was this accusation directed at? What are some issues that are fostered by such sins as the men of Israel were engaging in—both at that time and even in today’s world?
  • What are other areas of our lives where we can let an “unfaithful” spirit creep in? What if it is done in secret? Why does it matter so much to God how we live? How will our lifestyle impact our testimony within our sphere of community?
  • Can we truly worship God if there is unfaithfulness or a sinful lifestyle in our life?

God’s love is worthy of our Firsts

  • Read Mal. 3:6-10. How could God have been more gracious than to beg them to return to Him, and be restored to fellowship? How did the people respond?
  • In what manner had they cheated Him? What does He tell them to do? Why are people so afraid to give their money away and “prove” God?
  • If a tithe is 10% of our income, what are some other ways we can tithe the “first fruits” of our lives? Do you really believe that you can’t outgive God? Why?

 God’s love secures our Future

  • Read Mal. 3:1. Who is referred to as “My messenger? Read Isa. 40:3. Is this the same messenger? When were those two prophecies fulfilled?
  • Who was the Messenger of the Covenant he refers to? Did the people miss it?
  • Read Mal. 3:2. What is God referring to in this verse? Has this age come yet?
  • Is God worthy of our finest behavior? Of our faithfulness? Of our Firsts?



The message from Malachi is one we wish we could have memorized in our heads. As we read the condemnations God brought against His beloved people, Israel, it oozes at the same time with love so rich and pure as He assures them—and therefore us—that He has always loved them, He currently loves them, and will always love them! Did you notice how defensive their attitude became with each of God’s questions? if we will but forsake our sinful ways, He says He will allow us to return to Him and He will return to us. Does that resonate in your soul, when you think back on the pit from which He saved you? The question-and-answer format that is displayed here is an amazing criterion for us to use for a self-examination.

Does the lack of respect in their answers indicate to you that they did not receive His love, which He had shown for millennia? It shows their hearts were not broken by their sin. Do you have a broken and contrite heart from the times you have chosen sin over faithfulness? Or possibly you are even now in a situation that is convicting you. Are you sick enough at the sin in your life to take real steps to end whatever it is that is causing you distress and grief? The return to God is one step, with a desperate cry for help. Don’t be unfaithful, even in your thought life, your secret closet, or with your eyes.

Do you trust Him with your finest worship? Or are you still seething because the hymnals have been donated to another church? Or someone was snippy to you? Put those things in the past, remembering that Christ died for you on the cross at Calvary when you were His enemy. You must not hold bitterness or anger, or any other emotion that will defile the temple of your body—causing you to offer Him a blemished sacrifice.

He is so worthy! Were we to have even a minor glimpse into heaven we would never be the same. The old dirt that sticks to us now would fade away, and all things one day will be new. We will be new creatures, with natures of love. But this world is a practice field, meant to train us in the way in which we should go. Are you learning these lessons and giving Him your best every day?