Be Authentic in Worship
By: Jim Eschenbacher
This blog covers the 2nd sermon in Malachi. This series is a wonderful reminder that the Bible is one book. Yes, it consists of two testaments, but both of them are relevant to the picture that has been painted. The New Testament is the fulfillment of the old.
Malachi 1:6-14 (I suggest that you read the Scripture before continuing.) I will refer to specific points that are made in this paragraph, but the “feel” is revealed in the whole text. One thing we learn… God is not pleased. The prophecy was written to the Jews and specifically to the priests. We could ignore it since we are not Jews, but Paul tells us that Jews are such inwardly. One is not a Jew because of outward appearance; one is a Jew in heart because of God. Peter tells us that we are priests when we are in Christ, so, the prophecy is to us as well as the priests in the day in which it was written.
God starts off with an analogy. A son honors his father and a servant his master. If God is our Father and our Master, where is His honor and His fear? We use words like Father and Lord quite often. Do we honor Him as such, or do we just use the words? In verse 7, God begins to dialogue about the animals being sacrificed. They weren’t bringing the best of the flock; they were bringing lame and sick animals. The challenge to us is, are we bringing our best to God? Drew referenced
Romans 12:1, “I appeal to you therefore brothers, by the mercies of God, that you present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God, which is your spiritual worship”.
We no longer sacrifice animals to God; instead we sacrifice ourselves, alive, to him. Now, consider once again, are you giving your best to God? Or are you giving tired left overs?
Point # 1. Do not be quickly satisfied with minimal service.
Rather, love God with everything.
Drew described minimal service. He used himself as an example. Preaching a sermon on Sunday morning is his minimal service. Later that same day, when he is anticipating a nap, if someone needs him to help them through a difficult question, that is ongoing sacrifice. He must avoid saying, “I gave you that sermon this morning; wasn’t that enough?” We give Him our lives not just an event. The verse in Romans is one of the main verses reminding us that worship is more than a song service. It is giving our lives.
The prophecy in Malachi continues…Verse 10 is a real tough verse. “Oh that there were one among you who would shut the doors, that you might not kindle fire on my altar in vain. I have no pleasure in you, says the Lord of Hosts, and I will not accept an offering from your hand.” We can’t hide behind the words, “I’m doing the best I can.” He will not settle for 2nd best; neither should we.
Point #2… Do not take what God has given you to use as you please.
Rather, steward your life regarding every breath as his.
This point could be a sermon by itself. He created even the air we breathe. Every breath is His. Every dollar is His. We really have nothing of our own. When we use the word ”sacrifice” we are only talking about what we could have done instead. I love the song by Jason Upton… “It is no sacrifice”. Google it.
Verse 11 implies that their less than desirable worship causes the nations to not bless God’s name and consider Him great. Fake worship is worse than no worship.
Point #3… Do not worship God with inauthenticity.
Rather, approach God honestly .
We might be inclined to try to clean up before we go to God. He already knows your condition. It is better to be honest about it. We are ugly… but we are washed from sin and clothed in Jesus’ righteousness. God knows that. Be honest about yourself. He is interested in our heart condition.
From Malachi, in the Old Testament, we learn that God knows when our sacrifices are less than our best. Don’t try to trick him.
BE AUTHENTIC IN WORSHIP