Malachi 1:6-11 ESV
“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?’ 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. 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.
“And now entreat the favor of God, that he may be gracious to us. With such a gift from your hand, will he show favor to any of you? says the Lord of hosts. 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. For from the rising of the sun to its setting my name will be great among the nations, and in every place incense will be offered to my name, and a pure offering. For my name will be great among the nations, says the Lord of hosts.”
We who have trusted in Jesus Christ to be Lord and Savior of our lives are his temple. We are his body, his church. And, the purpose of the church is first and foremost for the glory and praise of God. Then, it is for the purpose of gathering the saints of God together for worship of God, for Bible study and the preaching of the Word, for prayer, and for fellowship in the Spirit of God. And, it is for the mutual encouragement of one another in Christ and for the building up of the body of Christ to maturity in Christ, our Lord.
When we, the body of Christ, gather together, each of us is to have a part. For, we have all been given gifts of the Spirit for the mutual encouragement and strengthening of one another in our walks of faith in the Spirit of God. Here we are to be equipped for service for God, as well, so that we can encourage one another, and so we can then go out into the world and share the gospel of our salvation so that many others may also believe in Jesus Christ and become one with us, the body of Christ, His church, His temple.
The growth of the church, thus, happens only as people are added who have truly given their hearts and lives to Jesus Christ, who have died with Christ to sin, so that they might live to Christ and to his righteousness. And, it also grows together in maturity in Christ as we are taught the truth of the scriptures regarding our spiritual walks, and as the people of God follow him in obedience to his commands to walk in his ways and in his truth.
Thus, we become church members via faith in Jesus Christ because we, the body of Christ, are the church, and we are all members of it automatically through faith in Christ.
But, this faith in Jesus Christ is not a mere profession of faith, but it is a walk of faith. It is a change of lifestyle away from living for sin and self to now walking by faith according to the Spirit of God, in his righteousness and holiness, as empowered by the Spirit of God. And, this walk of faith is along the narrow road which leads to eternal life with God. It is not along the broad path that many follow which leads to destruction.
But, then something changed. God didn’t change. His Word did not change, nor did his purpose for his church, his body, his temple. But, his church was taken over and made to be something it is not. And, his gospel of salvation was altered, as well, to fit in with the “new plan” for how to “do church.”
And, “the church” is no longer associated with true followers of Christ, but it is associated with buildings and organizations, with denominations and with theologies. It is affiliated with social and civic clubs, with entertainment, with having fun and a good time, and with meeting the felt needs of the people of this world, etc. For, it is now a place for the world to go to in order to get good clean family entertainment and programs and activities for their kids.
And, now so much of the church has become so much like the world that it is barely distinguishable between the church and the world anymore. And, so God is saying to his church, “If I am your Father, then where is my honor? And, if I am your Master (Lord), then where is my fear?”
For, you see, Jesus Christ didn’t die on that cross merely to forgive us our sins and to promise us heaven when we die. When he died on that cross he became sin for us that we might become the righteousness of God. He died that we might be crucified with him in death to sin, and that we might be resurrected with him to new life in him, created to be like God in true righteousness and holiness. And, he died that we might no longer live for ourselves, but that we might live for him who gave his life up for us.
For, when Jesus died on that cross he redeemed us with his blood, i.e. he bought us back for God so that our lives are no longer to be our own, to be lived however we want. But, he bought us back for God with his blood that we might be God’s possession, and that he might be our Lord (owner-master), and that we might serve him with our lives, and give him the honor, the respect and the obedience that he so deserves.
The “New Way”
Yet, in this new way that so much of today’s church has gone is away from this narrow road that leads to eternal life with God, but it is to travel on this broad road that the majority are traveling which leads to destruction. For, the narrow road offends people. The true gospel offends people. And, in order to build their churches, i.e. their earthly kingdoms, they want to avoid what offends people and they want to provide what draws in large crowds of people so that they will want to come back to their gatherings.
Thus, many in today’s modern market-driven churches have diluted the gospel of Jesus Christ, they have removed honor and respect for Almighty God, and they have entirely deleted the necessity of walking in the fear of the Lord, although all of these are taught in the New Testament, too. And, they have reduced the gospel of our salvation to a mere acknowledgement of Christ and of his offering of his blood on the cross to forgive us our sins.
And, instead of following the teachings of scripture, and focusing on loving the Word of God and on doing what it teaches us, they are largely following humanistic philosophy and business marketing schemes for how to grow (in numbers) their “churches” (businesses). So, many of them are teaching that we don’t have to repent of our sins, we don’t have to follow our Lord in obedience and that we don’t have to submit to the Lordship of Christ.
Instead, they have turned their gatherings into places of entertainment and revelry, of worldliness and even mockery of God and his Word, in some places. They laugh, they joke, they tease and they perform well for their audiences so that people want to come back, but they have excluded God and the truth of His Word so that they are not honoring him nor are they truly leading people to eternal life with God, but they are promising them heaven while leading them to still continue in their sinful addictions.
Shut the Doors!
Thus, the Lord is saying to the vast majority of his church today, at least here in America, “Oh that there were one among you who would shut the doors, that you might not kindle fire on my altar in vain!”
God is not pleased with most of what calls itself his church these days, again, at least in America, and so he wants to close the doors of these gatherings called “church” which are not his church, but which are businesses of man, because they are turning people away from God, but in the name of God, and they are leading many people to a false faith, and a false hope of salvation, while leaving them still bound in their sins.
And, many of these organizations called “church” are also leading the way to a one-world religion, for they have reduced Christianity and our salvation to something that most anyone can accept, for it requires nothing of them other than to acknowledge Christ and to “believe” their sins are forgiven and that heaven is guaranteed them no matter how they live from this moment on.
Thus, they have turned the gospel into a social gospel that offends no one and that transforms no one away from sin and to God, and so it easily blends in with the world and it paves the way to this one-world religion, too. And, God is not pleased because his name is being profaned. But, he will see to it that his name will be great among the nations. We can count on that!
Only in Him
An Original Work / February 19, 2014
Based off Isaiah 30
Woe to those who look to man’s help;
Who turn away from Jesus Christ;
Forming an alliance not in step with God;
Making their own plans, and praying not.
Willing not to listen to truth,
They close their ears to what is right.
Pleasing words are all that they’ll hear;
Feel good messages that bring cheer.
Trust in your Lord; turn from your sin.
Put your faith now ONLY IN HIM.
Do not turn to idols. They’ll not satisfy.
Jesus will save you. That’s why He died.
Your Lord will be gracious to you.
He cares all about you, ‘tis true.
He forgives you all of your sin
When you give your life up to Him.
Oh, how truly gracious He’ll be
When you bow to Him on your knees;
Turning now from your sin; walking in his ways.
He’ll lead and guide you all of your days.
Now you will sing praises to Him.
He delivered you from your sin.
You’ll tell others now of His grace,
So they may see Christ face-to-face.
Friday, July 26, 2019