Long ago God spoke many times and in many ways to our ancestors through the prophets.
Haggai – God of Renewal
Haggai 1:3-5 3 Then the word of the Lord came by the hand of Haggai the prophet,4 “Is it a time for you yourselves to dwell in your paneled houses, while this house lies in ruins? 5 Now, therefore, thus says the Lord of hosts: Consider your ways.
Haggai 1:13 13 Then Haggai, the Lord’s messenger, gave the people this message from the Lord: “I am with you, says the Lord!”
Haggai 2:4-7 4 Yet now be strong, O Zerubbabel, declares the Lord. Be strong, O Joshua, son of Jehozadak, the high priest. Be strong, all you people of the land, declares the Lord. Work, for I am with you, declares the Lord of hosts, 5 according to the covenant that I made with you when you came out of Egypt. My Spirit remains in your midst. Fear not.
Zechariah – God of Restoration
Therefore tell the people: This is what the Lord Almighty says: ‘return to me, declares the Lord almighty, ’and I will return to you,’ says the Lord Almighty.
Zechariah 2:6-9 6 Up! Up! Flee from the land of the north, declares the Lord. For I have spread you abroad as the four winds of the heavens, declares the Lord.7 Up! Escape to Zion, you who dwell with the daughter of Babylon. 8 For thus said the Lord of hosts, after his glory sent me to the nations who plundered you, for he who touches you touches the apple of his eye:9 “Behold, I will shake my hand over them, and they shall become plunder for those who served them. Then you will know that the Lord of hosts has sent me.
Zechariah 4:6-7 6 Then he said to me, “This is the word of the Lord to Zerubbabel: Not by might, nor by power, but by my Spirit, says the Lord of hosts. 7 Who are you, O great mountain? Before Zerubbabel you shall become a plain. And he shall bring forward the top stone amid shouts of ‘Grace, grace to it!’”
Malachi – The Lord’s Love for Israel
1 This is the message that the Lord gave to Israel through the prophet Malachi. 2 “I have always loved you,” says the Lord.
God has always loved you – That’s not the questions. The question is: Do we love Him back?
2 great commandments: Come from Deut. 6
36 “Teacher, which is the great commandment in the Law?” 37 And He said to him, “you shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. 38 This is the great and first commandment. 39 And a second is like it: You shall love your neighbor as yourself. 40 On these two commandments depend all the Law and the Prophets. “
The Old Testament is one big story of God’s love for His chosen people of Israel.
4000 BC – Creation – Adam and Eve
2350 BC – Noah
2165 BC – Established Covenant with Abraham
2080 BC – Ishmael
2065 BC – Isaac
2006 BC – Jacob and Esau
1898 BC – 12 sons of Jacob – Joseph – sold into slavery
1876 BC – Jacob arrives in Egypt
1870-1450 BC – Egypt – Egyptian captivity
1450 BC – Moses – Exodus from Egypt
1450-1410 BC – Wilderness
1410-1390 BC – Joshua – Promised Land
1245-1045 BC – Judges period
1055- 930 – Kings Period – Saul, David and Solomon
930 BC – Kingdom is divided
870 BC – Prophets start coming on the scene
725 BC – Assyrians conquer the northern Kingdom of Israel
605 BC – children of Israel begin to be exiled to Babylon.
590 BC Babylonians finish the conquer of the Southern Kingdom of Judah
590-520 BC – Babylonian Captivity
536 BC – 1st Remnant allowed to return with Zerubabbel
460 BC – More return with Ezra
470 BC – Esther saves the Jewish people in Persia
460 – 430 BC – More Jewish people return with Nehemiah – Governor
435 – 425 BC – Malachi Preaches
How Have I loved you??? Let me Count the ways!!!
How should we respond to God’s love? With worship!! Our worship to God is a response to the Love of God for us. In fact, you could define worship as that very thing: Simply loving God with our whole heart soul mind and strength.
1. God’s love expects our Finest
The Lord of Heaven’s Armies says to the priests: “A son honors his father, and a servant respects his master. If I am your father and master, where are the honor and respect I deserve? You have shown contempt for my name!”
Worship demands our sacrifice
Do you offer God your best? He takes these things seriously!
“The purpose of my covenant with the Levites was to bring life and peace, and that is what I gave them.
Do we give God our leftovers?
God is worthy of our best!!!!
Worship requires Reverence
Let the love of God BREAK OUR Hearts of our sin.
2. God’s love demands our faithfulness
The disobedience of the priests led to disobedience of the people.
13 Here is another thing you do. You cover the Lord’s altar with tears, weeping and groaning because he pays no attention to your offerings and doesn’t accept them with pleasure. 14 You cry out, “why doesn’t the Lord accept my worship?” I’ll tell you why! Because the Lord witnessed the vows you and your wife made when you were young. But you have been unfaithful to her, though she remained your faithful partner, the wife of your marriage vows.
Let the love of God cause us to Guard OUR HEARTS!
Worship demands our faithfulness
3. God’s love is worthy of our Firsts
6 “I am the Lord, and I do not change. That is why you descendants of Jacob are not already destroyed. 7 Ever since the days of your ancestors, you have scorned my decrees and failed to obey them. Now return to me, and I will return to you,” says the Lord of Heaven’s Armies.
“But you ask, ‘How can we return when we have never gone away?’
8 “Should people cheat God? Yet you have cheated me!
“But you ask, ‘What do you mean? When did we ever cheat you?’
“You have cheated me of the tithes and offerings due to me. 9 You are under a curse, for your whole nation has been cheating me.10 Bring all the tithes into the storehouse so there will be enough food in my Temple. If you do,” says the Lord of Heaven’s Armies, “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! Put me to the test!
Let the Love of God Open our hearts to His provision and blessing
4. God’s love secures our Future
“Look! I am sending my messenger, and he will prepare the way before me. Then the Lord you are seeking will suddenly come to his Temple. The messenger of the covenant, whom you look for so eagerly, is surely coming,” says the Lord of Heaven’s Armies.
Malachi 3:2“But who will be able to endure it when he comes? Who will be able to stand and face him when he appears? For he will be like a blazing fire that refines metal, or like a strong soap that bleaches clothes.
John 3:16 –“For this is how God loved the world: He gave his one and only Son, so that everyone who believes in him will not perish but have eternal life.
Jesus died once and for all! No longer did the sheep have to die for the shepherd…
for the good shepherd had come to die for His sheep.
Jesus is love personified – all the love of God for His people wrapped up in the flesh….and they Knew Him not….
But the beauty of the good news is that not only did God complete and seal His covenant with the sacrifice of His son for His people…but by doing this, He opened up the opportunity for ALL people…even you and me to experience His everlasting love and salvation!!!
He gave us His best – His one and only son – Jesus… the spotless lamb of God
Let the love of God Heal our hearts with the forgiveness of our sin.
But for you who fear my name, the Sun of Righteousness will rise with healing in his wings. And you will go free
But God showed his great love for us by sending Christ to die for us while we were still sinners.
1 Long ago God spoke many times and in many ways to our ancestors through the prophets.2 And now in these final days, he has spoken to us through his Son. God promised everything to the Son as an inheritance, and through the Son he created the universe. 3 The Son radiates God’s own glory and expresses the very character of God, and he sustains everything by the mighty power of his command. When he had cleansed us from our sins, he sat down in the place of honor at the right hand of the majestic God in heaven. 4 This shows that the Son is far greater than the angels, just as the name God gave him is greater than their names.
And He is the embodiment…the greatest expression of love the human heart can fathom.
Is He worthy of our finest? Yes He is.
Is He worthy of our faithfulness? Yes He is.
Is He worthy of our firsts? Oh yes…and so much more.
And Because His love has paid for our forgiveness…He holds our future in His hands.
The message of Malachi, The message of the Old Testament, the message of the New Testament, and the message of the cross of Christ is so profound and so rich that there’s not enough sermons we could preach or books that could ever be written to adequately describe it! And yet, it is so simple you can put it into three words…