current bible studies

I Surrender Some (The Message of Malachi)

Please Note: Due to problems with the recorder, this audio lesson is incomplete.


Have you ever forgotten something? We forget our keys and lock ourselves out of the house. We forget to call someone back and make them angry. We forget the things we have learned in school. But, how easy is it for us to forget major events in the past? September 11, 2001 is a date that almost all of us remember because it was a major event in our lifetime. Will we ever forget that day? But the next generation will more easily forget that day. Much like my generation does not remember major events like the Kennedy assassination or the events of Vietnam. I imagine none of us remember Pearl Harbor from 1941 because we weren’t living. Without someone reminding us of these things we are prone to forget about them. When we open our Bibles to the book of Malachi, we see that Israel has forgotten something very important.

We have been studying the exile period and seeing how God interacts with his people during a difficult time in Israel’s history. The Jews are living in a time where they are not popular. They are living in a time where the king that is over them is not their king, and God has not fulfilled his promise for another David yet. All of this waiting has made them impatient, and now they are starting to question God. Malachi is a unique book because it gives us ten questions from the people. These questions probably aren’t questions that the people would have asked. However, they represent the people’s attitude toward God, and they reveal people’s hearts.

In Malachi 1:1-6 we read something startling.

Malachi 1:1–3 (ESV) — 1 The oracle of the word of the Lord to Israel by Malachi. 2 “I have loved you,” says the Lord. But you say, “How have you loved us?” “Is not Esau Jacob’s brother?” declares the Lord. “Yet I have loved Jacob 3 but Esau I have hated. I have laid waste his hill country and left his heritage to jackals of the desert.”

God starts this book by stating what should be evident to every exile everywhere by saying, “I have loved you.” In response, the people show their current condition. They are blind to the wonder of God’s love for them. Daniel saw that love. Ezra and Nehemiah also saw that love. However, this generation has wholly forgotten the love of God toward them. As we continue throughout this book, we see that this is the primary problem that leads to the sin of the people: They do not understand or see God’s love for them. In response to that, God says, “I have loved Jacob, but I have hated Esau.” Esau’s land and people are destroyed and will remain that way, not so with Israel. God is painting a picture for Israel to see what it looks like when he does not love a nation.

Next, he goes into the first of two major sins that the nation has committed.

Malachi 1:6–8 (ESV) — 6 “A son honors his father, and a servant his master. If then I am a father, where is my honor? And if I am a master, where is my fear? says the Lord of hosts to you, O priests, who despise my name. But you say, ‘How have we despised your name?’ 7 By offering polluted food upon my altar. But you say, ‘How have we polluted you?’ By saying that the Lord’s table may be despised. 8 When you offer blind animals in sacrifice, is that not evil? And when you offer those that are lame or sick, is that not evil? Present that to your governor; will he accept you or show you favor? says the Lord of hosts.

The audio picks up during the reading of this text and continues the lesson…


Enemies of the Cross (Philippians 3:18)

Brothers, join in imitating me, and keep your eyes on those who walk according to the example you have in us. For many, of whom I have often told you and now tell you even with tears, walk as enemies of the cross of Christ. Their end is destruction, their god is their belly, and they glory in their shame, with minds set on earthly things. (Philippians 3:17–19 ESV)

We are in a series this year where we are considering the cross of Jesus. The New Testament teaches us about the importance of the cross of Jesus and what the meaning of the cross is to be for us. Philippians 3 is another place where we see the importance of the cross. I want us to focus our attention on the fact that Paul does not say that these people are enemies of Christ. These are people who would claim to be Christians. Paul is not talking about the people of the world because it is not a surprise that they are enemies of Christ. Paul is speaking about those among them who claim to be Christians. But Paul does not call them enemies of Christ, though ultimately they certainly are. Rather, they are enemies of the cross of Christ.

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A Prophet Like Me (Deuteronomy 14-18)

We have seen in our study of Israel in the wilderness that these events were foreshadowing what God was going to do to save the world. The book of Deuteronomy is Moses preaching to the people to prepare them to enter the glory of the promised land. Moses is picturing what life will be like and what they must do as the people of God. In the same way, we are going to see in these chapters glorious pictures of God with his people and what that will mean in later days.
A Holy People (14:1-29)
One of the keys for the people to hear is that they are to be a holy people to be in a relationship with God. Notice Deuteronomy 14:1. “You are the sons of the Lord your God.” This is the first time that we see the people of Israel given this special designation. In Deuteronomy 1:31 and 8:5 the people were told that God treated them like a father treats a son. But now Moses flat out declares them to be in a very special relationship with very special privileges: sons of the Lord your God…

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Enter The Rest (Hebrews 4:1-13)

It is a word that sounds so good to say and so good to think about: rest. Rest sounds wonderful. We want to rest from our work. We want to rest on our vacation. We want to rest on the weekend. Our souls long for rest. The author of Hebrews is going to call for us to enter the true rest that is available to you today.

The Warning (4:1-2)

In chapter 3 we saw the preacher of Hebrews give a warning against an evil, unbelieving heart. Israel enjoyed the salvation and blessings of God, yet failed to enter the rest. The reason they failed to enter the rest is because they had an evil, unbelieving heart. Such a heart is revealed through disobedience and sinning. Since this is true, the author tells us that we should fear in 4:1. The Greek word is phobos and we should not soften the idea to mean to be careful or watch out. The NLT hits the idea well, “So we ought to tremble with fear.” We should be concerned about this truth that we can fail to enter the promised rest because of an evil, unbelieving heart. “Let us fear lest any of you should seem to have failed to reach it” (4:1; ESV). The warning is very simple: what happened to Israel can also happen to us.

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