I Pledge Allegiance

Malachi 1:6-8 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.”

These are some very good questions which I believe the Lord is asking his church today, or he is asking of those who profess faith in him today, at least here in America. If God is truly our Father, where is our honor for him? Where is the fear of the Lord in our hearts? Do we honor him as Lord? Do we walk in the fear of the Lord? Do we even know what it means to fear God?

What he is saying here is that if truly he is our Father, then it should be evident by how we honor him as Lord (owner-master). And, this means that we must respect and revere him by obeying him and his commands. And, we must submit to his Lordship over our lives, and do what he says, and we must not to do what he says not to do, as a matter of our life course.

But so many people who profess faith in Jesus Christ today do not honor God as Lord and as Master of their lives. They do not submit to him, nor do they walk in obedience to his commands. They believe they don’t have to. But this is not just Old Testament teaching. This teaching is repeated for us all throughout the New Testament, too (Rom. 6:1-23; 1 Jn. 2:3-6).

Yet, how many professing Christians today believe they don’t have to obey God, but they will pledge their undying devotion to the government or to their political party? They will wave their national flags with pride, and vote in elections, and they will promote their political candidate as though he is the answer to what ails us, while they despise God and his commandments and thumb their noses at him.

But, it isn’t just that individuals who profess faith in Jesus Christ are despising the Lord’s commands, but it is that it seems as though most of the leaders in these “churches” are leading the people to despise the Lord’s commands. They are telling the people to despise the altar of God, which is both the sacrifice of Christ for our sins on the cross and our dying with him to sin and living to him and to his righteousness by his grace, through faith.

For, they are teaching a false faith in Jesus Christ which is a mere flirtation with God, but with no real commitment to him. They have a casual interest in Jesus Christ, but not enough to surrender their lives to him. For, they don’t take God and his word seriously. They just toy with faith in him.

They think faith in Jesus is a free ride to heaven so they can escape hell. But they have gotten in the wrong vehicle. They think it is all about what God can do for them without consideration of what God requires of them or what the true purpose of our salvation is, which is to deliver us from our bondage to sin and to free us to walk in Christ’s holiness (Rom. 6:1-23; Eph. 4:17-24; 1 Jn. 1:5-9; Lu. 9:23-26).

1 John 2:19: “They went out from us, but they were not of us; for if they had been of us, they would have continued with us. But they went out, that it might become plain that they all are not of us.”

And, this has nothing to do with people leaving the institutional church, which is not the church at all. This has to do with people leaving the right way, the way of the cross of Christ, the way of holiness and righteousness, which is the narrow way that leads to life with God eternally. They have left the right way to follow the way of man and of the flesh, so that they continue living in sin without conscience or guilt.

And, this wrong vehicle they have gotten into is pacifying them in their sin, instead of confronting sin. It is telling them that they can believe in Jesus and have heaven guaranteed them, but that they don’t have to walk in the fear of the Lord, and they don’t have to honor God as Lord, and they don’t have to leave their lifestyles of sin behind them, and that they don’t have to obey the Lord’s commandments, but that they can keep on in their sin.

Malachi 1:9-11 ESV

“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.”

So many people want God’s grace. But how they want it is like wanting the resurrection of Jesus without his death on the cross. They want forgiveness of sin without repentance. They want the blessings of God without obedience. And, they want to spend eternity with him in heaven while they ignore him and his commands while they still live on the earth. For, what they want is a genie in the sky to grant them their every request. They want God to do everything for them and for them to have to do nothing.

They have, thus, cheapened his grace to appease human flesh, and to coddle people in their sins. And, they have turned the church into a marketplace to be marketed to the world like any other business. And, thus they have altered the gatherings of the church to appeal to the world and to the flesh of man, and they have diluted the gospel so that people can keep on in their sin while claiming heaven as their eternal destiny.

“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.”

The Lord did, indeed, shut the doors to these “churches” who refuse to honor him as Lord, and who refuse to obey his commands, and who teach a cheap grace gospel which permits its adherents to continue living in sin without guilt. Some of them are reopening, but it is not the same as it was before, and I suspect it will never go back to what it was, which is a good thing, if what they are teaching is the cheap grace gospel.

Now, not all congregations of the saints of God have dishonored God in this way, but the vast majority seem to have gotten in the wrong vehicle and they are going the wrong direction, and they are leading many people astray. And, that is deeply concerning to our Lord.

For, as his people, we are to honor him as our Lord and Master. We are to give our allegiance to him, and to him alone. He is to be our only Lord, not the gods of this world. We are to honor him with our lives, not continue to live for the flesh. And, we are to give to him pure offerings coming from pure hearts which submit to him as Lord and which follow him in his ways. For, he is to be honored, and our lives are to be for his praise and for his glory.

Carousel of Life

Words & Music by Gerry McClintic

Carousel of life I see you turning round,
People everywhere are sad and wear a frown,
Is there an answer to give this troubled world?
Can there be peace found within and love unfurled?

There once lived a man who bled and died for you,
To a troubled world He came to see us through,
He has the answer my friend, so hear my song,
God made Himself into man to right our wrong.

This man was Jesus, He is your friend,
Find peace and new love that has no end,
A life that’s filled with all these things,
Has joy that never dies, new faith that satisfies!

See the carousel of life keep turning round,
Still some people here are sad and wear a frown,
They won’t take one chance to see what God can do,
If they will put trust in Him, He’ll see them through.

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