Malachi, Messenger of the Unchanging Lord of Love: Part 1

Brian Mahon - 8/6/2023


Call to worship: Revelation 2:2-5

Text: Malachi 1:1-14


This book, mighty in zeal and reproof, accordingly begins with a declaration of God's love for Israel. This love is magnified by its contrast in the history of Esau and Edom, whom God hated. This opening scene is meant to fuel love for God, expressed in biblical worship; at the same time, however, it gives the reason (and rebuke) for Israel's polluted worship. They doubt the love of God. They've lost touch with it; and you cannot lose touch with the love of God for sinners without the corresponding corruption of worship. Setting aside His love is inviting evil to creep into a people's practice. Signifying a shift in one's zeal for the glory of God, it degenerates true worship by demanding less---from the clergy, from the congregation, from our lives, from our hearts. It makes our loving Lord worthy of less than our all. It muddies His reputation and, as He doesn't take kindly to that, as He will be feared among the nations, He will chastise an Israel that, for a loss of 'love that calls out to Love,' fails to be a looking-glass upon His divine greatness.

Sermon Outline:

  1. The love of God for His people, stated and magnified. (1:1-5)
  2. The lovelessness of that people for God, clarified and reproved. (1:6-14)
    • God despised when His altar is cheapened. (1:6-9, 13b-14)
      God despised when upholding His worth is wearisome. (1:10-13a)
  3. Putting the pieces together: Gospel-centered worship matters globally.


Discussion Questions:

  1. Read Malachi 1. Compare with the texts given for our call to worship and intermediate reading above.
  2. What is the oracle/burden of the Lord via Malachi? What is His first assertion? Of what does He seek to convince Israel? Why must he convince them? Why might they doubt His love? What comparison does He offer in His attempt to assure them? Consider Romans 9. What aspects of God's love for His people are found and typified here? How does it relate to believers in Christ?
  3. What's the relationship between keeping a sense of God's love for us and our worship of Him? Is Israel near or far from the love of God? How does that show itself in 1:6-14?
  4. If you were to summarize the deficiencies of their worship, what would they be? How do they treat God's altar? Who does He address initially? How has the lethargy of the clergy affected the offerings of the people? How do we cheapen grace today? How do we cut corners, or treat God and His praise as unworthy of our best?
  5. What does God advise (wish) they would do in light of their evil worship (1:10)? Why would they not care to uphold right worship, or to correct erroneous, even evil, worship (1:13)? How have you seen or heard, intentionally or ignorantly, this attitude towards biblical truth in matters of worship, 'What a weariness this is'? What's the relationship between God's global fame, our love for Him, and His love for us?
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