MALACHI 1.1-5 (Study And Application)
Malachi 1.1-5, LOVED
THE ORACLE OF THE WORD OF THE LORD: Malachi, among many things, is a book of rebuke and correction. There is much grace offered, but additionally, that grace is meant to produce repentance. As you prepare to study through this book it is important to understand the different ways you can respond to the Malachi’s message. After you read through the different approaches decide which response you are going to pray God grants you.
Ignore: Some may choose to ignore the message of Malachi. This can happen through dismissing too quickly God’s Word in this Book. Ignoring can also happen by drowning out its message by cluttering up your life with busyness or by medicating the message away through distraction.
- Do you believe you need the message of Malachi?
- Is your life too busy to sit and listen to this text? In what ways might you try to medicate and distract yourself from Malachi?
Worldly Grief: Read 2 Corinthians 7.8-11
- What is the result of worldly grief?
- How is worldly grief the product of a religious attitude?
- How does worldly grief produce confession without repentance?
Godly Grief: Read 2 Corinthians 7.8-11
- What are the results of godly grief?
- How does godly grief reflect a “gospeled” life?
WHO THE WORD IS TO: Like every book in the Bible, Malachi is written to a specific people in a specific time. Familiarity with the cultural setting of the book is helpful in understanding the message for us today. Many of the issues Malachi was addressing in his time are the same problems that plague the church today. Following is a brief list of the different “types” of people addressed in Malachi. As you look at each of these approaches to faith ask yourself where you see evidences of each of these “worldviews” in your life.
Practical Atheism (Live As If God Doesn’t Exist, Material And Temporary)
- How often do you consciously think about God throughout your day?
- How much of your day is spent focused on material and temporary things?
Functional Deism (Live As If God Doesn’t Care, Distant And Indifferent)
- What does your prayer life look like? Does it feel like anyone is listening?
- How often to do you talk with God about decisions and direction in your life?
Cynical Agnosticism (No Judgment, No Resurrection, No Relationship)
- How often do you think about the return of Jesus?
- How often do you think about eternity and heaven?
Religious Formalism (Spotted Leftovers, Minimum Offerings, And Rule Driven Routines. Obedience To Be Accepted)
- Is your faith more rule-oriented or relational?
- When you fail in your obedience do you believe God is going to leave you?
- Do you find yourself doing the very minimum you can so God “isn’t angry with you?”
Stoic Spirituality (Passionless Worship, Lukewarm Affections, And A Joyless Relationship)
- What is your passion?
- What do you spend most of your time talking about, thinking about, excited about?
Misdirected Hedonism (Immediate, Finite, Comfort Seeking And Control)
- In what ways do you pursue temporary pleasure in place of eternal satisfaction?
- What do you delight in?
GOD’S CONTRACONDITIONAL LOVE David Powlison asserts, “the Gospel is better than unconditional love. The Gospel says, “God accepts you just as Christ is. God has ‘contraconditional’ love for you.” Christ bears the curse you deserve. Christ is fully pleasing to the Father and gives you His own perfect goodness. Christ reigns in power, making you the Father’s child and coming close to you to begin to change what is unacceptable to God about you. God never accepts me “as I am.” He accepts me “as I am in Jesus Christ.” The center of gravity is different. The true Gospel does not allow God’s love to be sucked into the vortex of the soul’s LUST for acceptability and worth in and of itself. Rather, it radically decenters people—to look outside themselves.” The following questions attempt to unpack Powlison’s insights as applied to Malachi 1.2-5.
God Has Loved You
- In what way is God’s love the ground of the entire book of Malachi?
- Why are God’s words both unexpected and undeserved?
- Why did God love (choose) Jacob and hate (reject) Esau? (See Romans 9)
- How can a holy God love sinful people?
- Why is God’s contraconditional love such good news for sinners? How does God’s love for us “as we are in Christ Jesus” both comfort us and compel us to respond?
Responding To God’s Love The rebukes throughout the book of Malachi are particularly strong in light of the initiatory, electing, contraconditional love of God for His people. This kind of love demands a response. God’s love will produce a response. Read the entire book of Malachi in one sitting asking these two questions:
- How has God loved His people?
- Have God’s people loved Him?