29 June, 2022

Lesson for August 30, 2015: A Plea to Return to God (Malachi 3:1-12; Matthew 7:12)

by | 24 August, 2015

This treatment of the International Sunday School Lesson is written by Sam E. Stone, former editor of CHRISTIAN STANDARD. It is published in the August 23 issue of The Lookout magazine, and is also available online at www.lookoutmag.com.

______

By Sam E. Stone 

During the past three months we have seen how various Old Testament prophets took God”s demand for justice to the people. We have considered Amos, Micah, Isaiah, Jeremiah, Ezekiel, and Zechariah. Though their careers spanned several hundred years, they preached a single message: the nation”s relationship to God called for faith and obedience.

When the prophet Malachi came on the scene, a remnant of the Jewish nation had returned from captivity and rebuilt the temple. His name means “messenger,” and his book concludes the Old Testament. After Malachi, 400 years passed with no prophet from God until the coming of John the Baptist.

Malachi warned the people, “You have wearied the Lord with your words.” Specifically he corrected their false view that those who do evil are still good in God”s eyes (Malachi 2:17). The people seemed to have lost faith in the promises of God because he had not acted in the way they had expected nor as quickly as they had wanted. At the same time they saw that their wicked neighbors continued to prosper.

What to Expect | Malachi 3:1-5

I will send my messenger,” the Lord promised. “Suddenly . . . (he) will come.“ God had not yet set up his kingdom because the people were not properly prepared for him to do so. Later Jesus explained that the “messenger” preparing the way was the one who came in the power and spirit of Elijah””John the Baptist (Matthew 11:10-14). After John”s ministry, then the Messiah was to come, the messenger of the covenant (Isaiah 42:6).

Who can endure the day of his coming? the prophet asked. Malachi spoke elsewhere of “the day of the Lord” (see 3:16-18; 4:1-6). This term seems to include the entire Christian dispensation, with special emphasis on the end time. No one can stand before God”s righteous judgment (Joel 2:11). He will sit as a refiner and purifier of silver. Like a smelter purifies gold or silver by fire so, when the Messiah came, he would remove all corruption and impurities from God”s people. They would be made clean, like clothes bleached white by a launderer”s powerful soap (see also Mark 9:3; Revelation 3:5).

Then the offerings of Judah and Jerusalem would be acceptable to the Lord, as in days gone by. The Levites were to serve at the altar, representing the people before God. Judgment must begin there. Once they had been cleansed of their sins, then their sacrifices would once more be acceptable to the Lord (see 2:1-5). The former years could refer to the times when Moses, David, and various godly kings encouraged the people in sincere, faithful worship. Today Christians are considered priests in God”s kingdom (1 Peter 2:9; Revelation 1:6).

The Lord will do just as he has said: “I will come to put you on trial.” God will judge not only the Levites, but all of the people. He is concerned about personal morality, not just formal worship.

Malachi lists sins that are especially serious, some punishable by death. Sorcerers and adulterers are clearly condemned (Exodus 22:18; Leviticus 20:10; Deuteronomy 22:22). Perjury and the abuse of servants will also bring God”s wrath. Throughout the Bible, people who mistreat widows, orphans, and aliens are viewed as deserving God”s judgment. Those who commit such sins prove by their actions that they do not fear God.

How to Prepare | Malachi 3:6-10

God calls sinners to repentance. He promises them, “Return to me, and I will return to you.“ Jesus taught this principle when he described the patience of the waiting father longing for the return of his son (Luke 15:20). James said, “Come near to God and he will come near to you” (James 4:8).

The people in Malachi”s day seemed oblivious as to how their rebellion was viewed by God. In their eyes they were just fine. The prophet described one specific way in which they needed to demonstrate repentance and contrition. They had been robbing God of the tithes and offerings that were due him (Numbers 18:21). They were to give the firstfruits of all their crops and livestock to the Lord.

God assured them that, when they obeyed this command, he would “pour out so much blessing that there will not be room enough to store it.“ Similar generosity is commanded for God”s people today (2 Corinthians 8:1-15).

________

*Lesson based on International Sunday School Lesson, © 2009, by the Lesson Committee. Scripture quotations are from the New International Version ©2011, unless otherwise indicated.

HOME DAILY BIBLE READINGS
August 24: Psalm 25
August 25: Matthew 7:7-14
August 26: Malachi 3:11-18
August 27: Joel 3:9-16
August 28: Jeremiah 6:26-30
August 29: Isaiah 57:10-21
August 30: Malachi 3:1-10

Christian Standard

Contact us at cs@christianstandardmedia.com

0 Comments

Latest News

Fire Destroys Iowa City Church Building (Plus Other News Briefs)

The Iowa City Church building was destroyed in an early morning fire Saturday as a strong storm that produced lightning and caused flash flood warnings rolled through the area. . . . Plus briefs from Tonganoxie Christian Church, Casas por Cristo, Garfield Christian Church, and more.

Roe v. Wade Has Been Overturned . . . What Now?

With the U.S. Supreme Court’s overturning of Roe v. Wade on Friday, the church has a lot to consider. How will we love people with whom we disagree? How can we say we love babies and we love women? How can we share Jesus? How can we best serve our communities?

Fresno Church Sponsoring Summer Camp for Afghan Refugee Children

CrossCity Christian Church in Fresno, Calif., is spearheading an effort to offer a summer camp for Afghan refugee children in its community. Forty families relocated to Fresno after the U.S. military’s withdrawal from Afghanistan last summer. CrossCity has been sponsoring one of those families . . .

THROWBACK THURSDAY: Owen Crouch’s ‘Study of Acts 2:44, 45’ (1953)

Greek scholar Owen Crouch was mentioned earlier this week in an article about Del Harris’s induction into the Naismith Basketball Hall of Fame. Dr. Crouch served several Christian colleges and wrote 10 books. Today we share an article from 1953 that Dr. Crouch wrote about Acts 2:44-45.

e2: effective elders Celebrates 10-Year Anniversary (Plus News Briefs)

e2: effective elders is marking 10 years as a nonprofit parachurch ministry. During that time, e2 has trained more than 9,600 elders and church leaders. Also briefs about the Church of Christ on Lewis Street (in Little Rock), Tony Darling, Jack Cottrell, and more.

Follow Us