If God is our Father, Where is His Honor?

Malachi 1:6-9 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.”

Let’s take this passage of Scripture and apply it to the church and to the world we live in today. Since I live in America, I am going to speak from the perspective of what I know of what is going on in my nation. So, I trust that anyone reading this from any other nation, that you will look at this Scripture in light of what you know and are experiencing around you today.

Now, first off, honoring God as the holy God that he is and walking in the fear of the Lord are not being taught much any more in American churches. In fact, it appears that the majority of what is called “church” today in America is literally teaching the opposite of that. For they are widely teaching a gospel message that makes no requirements for submission to Christ as Lord, for the forsaking of sin, and for obedience to our Lord.

In fact, many of them are taking it a step further than that, and they are teaching against the Lordship of Christ over our lives, against the forsaking of our sins, and against walking in obedience to our Lord’s commands. For, they call that “works-based salvation” which is to be avoided. But what they are teaching is a lie, for Jesus and his New Testament apostles definitely taught submission, obedience, and repentance as part of our faith.

So, they do despise the name of Jesus because they refuse to bow to him as Lord and to worship him by giving their lives to him as living sacrifices, holy and acceptable (pleasing) to God, which our acceptable worship of God. They have this mindset that says that all they have to do is “believe” (not defined) in Jesus and now their sins are forgiven, and heaven is guaranteed them when they die, but that how they live doesn’t matter to God. But that is a lie from hell, for it is not what the Scriptures teach.

So, to God, this is like offering polluted food on his altar. It is like offering blind animals and those who are lame and sick in sacrifice to God. And he sees this as evil and as dishonoring to him and as despising him as their Lord (Owner-Master). He sees this as a people who do not fear him as they ought but who take him for granted, who are just using him for what they can get out of him, but who do not love him in return.

So God is saying today, I believe, “Present to your government what you offer to me. Will they accept you and show you favor?” They wouldn’t think of it. For, many professing Christians in America are flag-waving patriots who worship certain politicians and who will honor them as their heroes and who will fight for their honor on social media, who pledge (vow) allegiance (worship, fidelity) to the US government with hand over heart, and who sing their patriotic songs. But they will not obey and honor God.

But God does not accept that. He demands obedience. And he demands the forsaking of our sins and us following him wherever he leads us. He demands that we honor him as Lord of our lives and that we bow to him in worship and in surrender to him and to his will for our lives. If we refuse, we are not worthy of him. And he will cast us out into utter darkness where there will be gnashing of teeth. So, don’t take his grace for granted!!

[Lu 9:23-26; Jn 6:35-58; Jn 15:1-11; Rom 6:1-23; Rom 8:1-17; Eph 4:17-24; 1 Pet 2:24; 1 Co 6:9-10,19-20; 2 Co 5:10,15,21; Tit 2:11-14; Jas 1:21-25; Rom 12:1-2; Eph 2:8-10; Php 2:12-13; Col 1:21-23; Gal 5:16-21; Eph 5:3-6; Gal 6:7-8; Rom 2:6-8; Heb 10:26-27; 1 Jn 1:5-9; 1 Jn 2:3-6; 1 Jn 3:4-10; Matt 7:21-23; Rev. 2-3; Rev 18:1-6; Rev 21:8, 27; Rev 22:14-15]

Malachi 1:10-11 ESV

“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.”

The church is the body of Christ comprised of those who by faith in Jesus Christ have been crucified with Christ in death to sin and who have been raised with Christ to walks of newness of life in him, created to be like God in true righteousness and holiness. Our old self was crucified with Christ in order that the body of sin might be brought to nothing, so that we would no longer be enslaved to sin, but so we would now be slaves of God and of his righteousness (Romans 6:1-23; Luke 9:23-26; Ephesians 4:17-32).

But many people who call themselves Christians have, instead, turned the gatherings of the church into a marketplace to be marketed to the world just like any other business and/or product. And so they have redesigned “the church” to make it more acceptable and appealing to the people of the world and to human flesh, and they have done the same with the gospel. For they want to draw in large crowds of people from the world into their gatherings.

But that is all backwards. The purpose of the church, which is us, the people of God collectively, is that we might nurture, and encourage, and help strengthen and encourage one another in obedient walks of faith in Jesus Christ. We are to use our God-given spiritual gifts in the areas of ministry assigned to us by God in order to help one another reach maturity in our faith and walk with the Lord in holiness and righteousness.

And then we are to go out in the world with the gospel that Jesus taught, and that his New Testament apostles taught (in context), and we are to share with the world that Jesus died on that cross that we might die with him to sin and live to him and to his righteousness. We are to tell them to repent of (to forsake) their sins, to bow to Jesus as Lord, to surrender their lives to him, and to now walk in obedience to his commands. For this is the purpose for why Jesus gave his life up for us on that cross.

But they have flip-flopped the whole thing by bringing the world into the gatherings of the church, and by patterning the church gatherings after what the world is craving, only a cleaned-up family-friendly version of it, and by altering the gospel message so that it does not offend the people of the world so they don’t feel they are being judged. And they have so diluted the gospel message that it no longer calls for us dying to sin and living to God.

And so God is absolutely saying this once again:

“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 our Lord is grieved over what his church has become. He is grieved that so many are slighting him and are refusing to honor him, to obey him, and to forsake their sinful practices. He is grieved that so many have wandered from the faith and have gone off to follow after other gods, and that so many professing faith in him today do not even know him, for they will not obey him, for they believe they don’t have to, or they want their sin more.

But God is still God. He will not be defeated. What he said he will do, he will most certainly do. And just know that all his promises have conditions to them, and if the condition is that we must believe in him, well that has a definition attached to that. For our faith comes from God. Jesus is the author and the perfecter of our faith. And our faith is gifted to us by God and it is not of our own making. And we can’t even come to faith in Jesus Christ unless God the Father first draws us to Christ.

Faith is obedience to our Lord, for God has always and still does see faith as obedience and disobedience as unbelief. And faith is divine persuasion by God as to his righteousness and holiness and of our sinfulness, and of our need to repent of (turn from) our sins to follow Jesus in obedience to his commands. And if we are persuaded of God to believe in Jesus Christ, then we will do as he commands, and we will honor him as Lord (Owner-Master).

[Lu 9:23-26; Jn 8:51; Jn 14:15-24; Jn 15:10; Matt 7:21-23; 1 Jn 2:3-6; 1 Jn 3:4-10,24; 1 Jn 5:2-3; 2 Jn 1:6; Rom 2:6-8; Rom 6:16; Heb 5:9; 1 Pet 1:1-2; Jas 1:21-25; 1 Co 10:1-22; Heb 3:1-19; Heb 4:1-13; Php 2:12-13]

Oh, to Be Like Thee, Blessed Redeemer

Lyrics by Thomas O. Chisholm, 1897
Music by W. J. Kirkpatrick, 1897

Oh, to be like Thee! blessèd Redeemer,
This is my constant longing and prayer;
Gladly I’ll forfeit all of earth’s treasures,
Jesus, Thy perfect likeness to wear.

Oh, to be like Thee! Oh, to be like Thee,
Blessèd Redeemer, pure as Thou art;
Come in Thy sweetness, come in Thy fullness;
Stamp Thine own image deep on my heart.

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