Relationships Matter

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And I’m going to invite you to the book of Malakai’s. We get through our series together on leg on the legacy and leaving a legacy for the Lord. The book of Malakai is the last book of the old Testament. It’s the last book before you come into Matthew of the new Testament. And we’re going through the series together for a really a few reasons. One, because our desires for God to use us to, to live out a legacy in him that not only impacts our lives, but those around us and generations to come on top of that we’ve noticed as we’re going through this book of Malakai together, is that this is a difficult book of scripture really with some of the concepts that it wrestles with. And so when we attack it boldly and we go for it, just desiring what God’s heart is for us, uh, leaves us really with this conclusion.

When you, when we take a look at this and we walk away with this and you’re like, Hey, I’ve learned, I’ve grown in the Lord. I want us as a church family to, to know, um, and just learn that there’s, there’s no question for us that’s off limits. There’s no question that you’re gonna ask that’s really gonna uh, rock the Christian faith. It’s been around for thousands of years, but there is a place for us to be able to ask those questions and we want you to feel a safe place here in our church as we talk about what we believe and why we believe it and it’s foundational to life and the way you choose to live your life. And today’s going to be no different than the last few sessions that we looked at together. And the first two weeks, uh, we talked about love and hate, how God describes himself as a loving God and a hateful God at the same time and how that works in chapter one.

And then if you know what alligator arms means, that’s because you were here last week. But it’s the way that we serve God and foundational to everything that God’s saying in Malakai. If you remember how this book fits in context to scripture, this is the last message that God shares you. Remember, you look at the old Testament, it’s important to recognize when you see the old Testament that the old Testament is not put together chronologically, meaning the books don’t follow in sequential order as to when they were written according to the chronology of their writing. But rather the books of the Bible are formulated together according to literary genre. But it just so happens that the last book of the Bible, the book of Malakai is in a cluster of books which is called the minor prophets at the end of the old Testament, but Malakai chronologically, his last book written in the old Testament, God is about to go silent for 400 years before the coming of Jesus and the pronouncement of the coming of Jesus by John the Baptist.

And so God gives this last message to Israel before his 400 years of silence and he builds the foundation of his message on one thought. And that is love. God’s created you for a relationship in him and the health of all good relationships find itself centered and unconditional, sacrificial love. And that’s the way God demonstrates himself to us in Malakai chapter one and exactly how we interpreted what it means when God talks about love and hate. But from there we talked about in the way in that love, we find ourselves secure in that love so that we can respond with love. The Bible us, we, we love him because he first loved, loved us, and the demonstration of his love inspires his people in, in love towards him. And so the rest of scripture is the encouragement of God’s people to live out their love for the Lord because of his love that has been demonstrated to us. And God shares six messages in the book of Malakai. Most of these messages start with a question. ISR often gives a response and it’s to share this particular area in which God is challenging his people to live out their legacy in love with him. That impacts not only their lives but generations to come.

And he says this in chapter two talking about the third message that he communicates to Israel this morning. He, he says in chapter two in verse 10 do we not all have one? Father has not one God created us why do we deal treacherously each against his brother so as to profane the covenant of our fathers. Judah has dealt treacherously and an abomination has been committed in Israel and in Jerusalem.

Couple of things I want to point out about this burse before I dive into the context of why God is saying this, but the first thing God identifies for him as again his position of his communication to his people. The foundation for why he is saying isn’t to destroy us but to build us up. And so he identifies himself and his nature towards his people as he communicates this message and he says two things about himself, which is communicating also our identity in him. He says, this does, how do we not all have one? Father has not. One God created us and so what God is saying here is I am creator. You are creature and sod design you for a purpose. And more than that, I am father and you are children, meaning my hands over yours, one of a father’s concern and care for your life. And the response that he identifies out of the people of Israel in this versus to is this to say to them, why? If I am your father, are you acting like orphans? And he begins to to identify how they’re living that out in their lives. He’s, he’s saying, uh, you have, uh, you have dealt treacherously against his brothers so as to profane the covenant of our fathers, this idea of dealing treacherously their actions are hurting one another and he, he roots this back in the idea of covenant.

And this, this thought of covenant really is what gave Israel their identity. If you, if you think about what the, the formulation of the people of Israel was all about. When you, when you read the book of Exodus and you see they are slaves in Egypt and that ragamuffin group of individuals are called to be free through through Moses, God speaks and they find themselves set free and they’re wandering in the wilderness. They’re their slaves. Now finding new identity in God and God shapes that identity in what’s called the old covenant. In fact, you identify it in your life when you hold the Bible and you reference old and new Testament that the word for Testament is covenant and so within scripture where marking that there is something significant there. This, this idea of covenant, the old covenant and the new covenant and what God is referencing in Malakai is the old covenant that Israel has shaped their identity in the old covenant.

Now in our culture today, we don’t really grasp the thought of covenant much. We, we usually work in terms of contract. The idea of contract is we hold each other under these obligations of contract. If you don’t fulfill those obligations under a contract, then because you don’t fulfill those obligations under contract, we move on. It’s like if you, if you set an appointment in the doctor’s office and you don’t show up to the doctor’s office, the doctor can move on from you and your appointment. You set this a contract, you didn’t oblige to show up to the appointment, which you’ve established and so they move on. But a covenant is a little different than a contract. Covenant runs deeper and it’s, and it’s love and appreciation towards someone else. The most prominent covenant in the Bible is found in Genesis chapter 15 between Abraham and God.

God comes and he establishes in Genesis chapter 15 a covenant with Abraham, but the Bible tells us within that story, when he sets this covenant with Abraham, he causes Abraham to fall asleep and God establishes this covenant with Abraham on his own authority and he’s communicating to Abraham that the fulfillment of this covenant is based on his character in nature and has, has nothing to do with Abraham’s character and nature. That this idea of covenant is a, is a language that thinks of the wellbeing of the individual or of another at the sacrifice of the one who was establishing the covenant. And so he’s saying in this passage to Israel that you’re not considering this covenant that we’ve established with one another and you read the old Testament, uh, the, the terms, the covenant or in Exodus chapter 19 and verse 24, that the way that they would live out the covenant is found in the book of Deuteronomy.

The blessings and curses that come with that, especially in, in chapter 28 but the Bible tells us not just that there’s the old covenant Israel established under Moses, which is under the law, the old Testament system and the law law. But the Bible more importantly talks about a new covenant, which is where we find ourselves today. In fact, in the, in the book of Galatians, the Bible tells us that the old covenant was established as a tutor until Christ would come, but the new covenant would be delivered to us because the new covenant is what God desires to give us to set us free. In fact, in the book of Genesis and chapter three, promise of that new covenant is given to Adam and Eve, but the consummation of that covenant isn’t established until the coming of Jesus, Jesus, and setting that new covenant for us sets his people free because he becomes the ultimate sacrifice for the gift forgiveness of all sins. That covenant gives identity to God’s people.

That’s what we live for. It’s the way in which God shapes us and how we live our lives. Hebrews chapter eight it says this, in speaking of a new covenant in verse 13 he makes the first one obsolete. Talking about the old covenant and what is becoming obsolete and growing old is ready to vanish away. So the promise and the prominence of this new covenant is given even in old Testament verses and as equal chapter 30 36 verse 26 and 27 and Jeremiah chapter 31 verse 31 this in fact, this verse is the reason we talk about the old and new Testament. They get the term for old and new Testament from this portion of scripture and this is what it says, behold the days are coming, declares the Lord when I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel and the house of Judah, not like the covenant that I made with their fathers, which is the old covenant, the law of Moses on the day when I took them by the hand to bring them out of the land of Egypt, my covenant that they broke though I was their husband, declares the Lord what what God is saying in Malakai chapter two remember that we talked about this last week, but but it’s important that it lays into this week as well, that when God calls us to do things for him, it’s not because he needs us.

We talked about it in prayer. We talked about it in serving God. When God calls you to pray or when God calls you to serve, it’s not because he needs you. Do you want to reference to look in scripture that I’ll identify that for you? Acts chapter 17 verse 24 to 25 God does not serve by human hands as though he needs anything, but he himself gives life and breath to all mankind. So the question then is, why isn’t this got cost to serve? Why then does God call us to pray? It’s not for his benefit, but for yours, it’s for his glory. But to your benefit, God doesn’t need to hear from us in prayer.

God doesn’t need us and depend on us to do things. He himself is more than capable. And so what we find that the benefit of serving the Lord is one, our lives are transformed in the way that we walk with God and serving him, but not only our lives, but the lives of those around us and what God is saying in Molokai. Two in verse 10 11 is that you’ve dealt treacherously. You’re profaning the covenant and here’s what’s happening. It’s hurting the people around you. And the reason that it’s happening this way is because they’re not considering that in serving God. The benefit of serving God is the blessing that other people receive in that service towards the Lord. They they look at it, we saw in just the previous verses that they’re huffing and puffing about serving God, and they don’t realize that it’s to their own demise. Israel is supposed to be building a lasting legacy through their relationship with God, and instead they find themselves tearing it down. And so the Israel would ask the question then, how does that happen in our lives that this is it’s taking place and I’m pretending to click, but I can’t.

And then he says this, verse 11 or Judah has profaned the sanctuary of the Lord, which he loves and is married the daughter of a foreign God. That’s for the man who does this. May the Lord cut off from the tents of Jacob, everyone who awakes and the answers who presents an offering to the Lord of hosts. I want to tell you the rest of these verses this morning are difficult passages because they’re personal. What God is saying here is significant towards building a legacy and what God’s saying in verses 11 and 12 he’s saying to them, here’s how. Here’s how you’re dealing treacherously with one another. This is how your legacy is ending. It’s because you’re getting married and you’re marrying people that don’t care about me, and so in terms of legacy, what he’s saying is your, your home is being divided. When the homes divided, the the nation becomes divided because its identity doesn’t root in me anymore. It’s a tough race.

Some look at a passage like this and maybe ask the question, what right does God have to direct my life like this? In verse 10 that’s how he opened. I am your father and I am creator and that’s a pretty good list, right? Okay. I know what I’m talking about here when it comes to legacy, because when I created you for it and too, I love you. I’m watching over you and you look at verse 10 it’s an 11 and 12 and what he’s communicating here and talking about legacy, and maybe you ask the question, well now I’ll say, who has the right over who I marry or do not marry, right? You, when you think about significant events in your life, I think the most important decision you make, who is your God?

The definition of that answer in the way that you choose to live your life in the lie. The answer really dictates the pursuits of your life. You know, the second most important decision someone could make, who do I marry in appearance? When you think about children and it comes to important decisions of their lives, when they pursue careers, you get around them, you encourage them, coach them, you help them.

God forbid when they turn 16 and they get a driver’s license, right? I mean they have to take tests for that and even if they pass the test, are you really that comfortable? Now you’ve got to get them to jump through some hoops, take some extra classes, make sure they’re ready. I mean, you get around them when they make those kinds of decisions because they’re important.

What about marriage? Just whoever you want. As long as you’re infatuated. If if you, you know, say that you love each other, I can tell you anyone that’s been married for more than a month you already know what makes marriage sustain. What helps marriage build a, you know, in marriage that’s unconditional, sacrificial love for one another. Because when you get day in and day out, under the same roof, a roof, you start to smell each other stinky breath and you’ll start to see the warts and everything starts popping out, right? But it’s the unconditional, sacrificial love built on a foundation that’s unified, that helps marriage thrive. I don’t say amen to this if you’re married, but it’s better to be single then it has to be miserably married. When you look at the context of the scripture, I think it’s worth considering what God’s saying in this passage, that of a loving father and creator. That’s not saying now go overboard and hate people that don’t agree with the Lord that you want to follow, but what it’s getting us to acknowledge as the foundation of the home and how that’s central to the legacy you want to lead.

Oh God. You consider the the thought of this verse of this passage of verses as it relates to other verses in the Bible. Deuteronomy chapter seven verses three and four, God tells the people of Israel to marry in their own faith or else their hearts will be tempted to wonder from the Lord. Oftentimes when people talk about marriage and what God’s desire is, they’ll turn to second Corinthians chapter six and verse 14 that says, do not be unequally yoked. And I’m, I want to let you know if you read the context of that verse, you ever heard that in your life. That passage is not talking about marriage, it’s actually talking about business and it’s talking about going into business with other people. And its comparison is of two oxen yoked together on a journey. And when those oxen don’t work as a team, guess what happens?

The unequally yoked the, the cart doesn’t move right? And one’s pulling on the other and someone else’s carrying the weight and they may not be going in the right direction and they’re not in succinct. But the reason people use that verse to quote not only just to business, but to also relational life and married life is because it works in every arena which you have relationships. And the more significant the relationship becomes, the more prominent that verse is. But Paul says, first Corinthians seven 39 Mary in the Lord Bible doesn’t tell you you can’t love people outside of your faith. In fact, I think that’s what Jesus did and does and calls us to do. But what is it? Inquiring our minds and encouraging minds and declaring to us is to consider the foundation things that you build so that you can spring from that in a healthy way. What God’s ultimately saying through this example. He’s saying, you love me.

Then don’t live as an orphan and listen, heart’s desires for the legacy of your lives that it may flourish not just as an individual but as a community.

Let me just be clear in this far. What I don’t think this passage is also saying is, is as you consider marriage and what the Lord wants us to do, don’t just go ask someone, are you a Christian? And if they say yes, then then just be content with that they said, yes, let’s move on. I think just because someone says they’re Christian too, that may be maybe there might want to be a little more inquiry than just the thought of the statement coming out of their mouths. Meaning not only are they professing to be a follower of Jesus, but they demonstrate to be a follower of Jesus. It should look like this when someone says they’re a Christian.

You have reason to question. I mean maybe, maybe if they’re posting grossly immoral pictures downgrading women demonstrating poor character, the indication might be from the fruit of their lives that their pursuit really isn’t Jesus though it’s verbally professed off their lips. What God is saying is what we need. Men that use this, their strength to bless others, not men who are content to degrade women because they would rather think with another part of their body than their brains did. They have the integrity to live under the authority of the Lord for the benefit of not only themselves but others and be on the flip side ladies, it would work like this and our vocabulary of sentences that we choose to describe men that if your statement becomes he has a good heart, you just have to look past that idiot that perhaps maybe he’s not ready to be marriage material. It’s not just to say that I am a Christian but the pursuit is Jesus.

The reality is, is what he’s acknowledging in this verse is that anytime families faced vision, no matter the topic, there’s pain and the less division that you experience, the better the family is off for it. And that Jesus then builds a foundation to living out a legacy that impacts beyond you. So the encouragement it’s always, always no matter the topic, okay, be faithful, be faithful. I listen, I know I live in the real world and I know our homes aren’t always used the five.

And I want you to know if you experienced that in your environment just because you experienced that, and it may not be deal’s situation that God doesn’t stop working. In fact, praise God for the presence of you in the relationship because the Bible tells us in multiple places, believers asked, what they found in the early church in the first century is that people were coming to Christ. Christianity is birth. Jesus has died, people coming to Jesus, but within the context of family, not everyone comes at the same time to Christ. So what do you do? You’d be faithful.

You demonstrate sacrificial, unconditional love to everyone around you. Because through that, the Bible tells us first Corinthians seven 14 first Peter three one that you have the opportunity to make an impact in the most intimate of relationships in your life. But love Jesus, love Jesus and Malakai chapter two verse 13 as if that wasn’t, you know, hard enough to just dialogue through. He says this, this is another thing you do. Oh great. They’re talking about something else. Now you cover the altar of the Lord with tears, with weeping and with groaning because he no longer regards the offering or accepts it with favor from your hand. Yet you saying for what reason? And this is pretty significant, you think about Israel’s coming to worship and they’re sacrificing animals on the old sir, when they’re giving of their resources in life there, their livelihood and God’s not accepting it. You gotta be asking the question why?

They’re even weeping over the thought that the Lord is distant from them and they’re, they’re asking the question, Lord, how is this happening? And then he says this in verse 14, he uses the D word here because the Lord has been a witness between you and the wife of your youth against whom you have dealt treacherously. Though she is your companion and your wife by covenant. Did he not make them one with a portion of the spirit in their union? And what was the one God seeking? Godly offspring. So guard yourselves and your spirit and let none of you be faithless to the wife of your youth. For I hate divorce, says the Lord, the God of Israel and him who covers his garment with wrongs is the Lord of hosts. So take you to your spirit that you do not deal treacherously.

Let me say a few things. Get into this, that when we talk about passages like this, I understand that a lot of us carry or can carry wounds over the discussion. We don’t rest easy reading words like this, that there there’s a reality of pain that we often experience. And I just want to say this morning, um, we don’t have the power to undo the past, but we can choose today to live for our future in Christ. And so where are you are today? That’s my encouragement to you and living out how God calls us to live with him. And I’m going to explain why, because why becomes important? Because it’s where our heart attaches to what Jesus has to say. But when you read this verse, a scripture verse, 14 hours, read this at weddings. Every time I do a wedding, because one of the things I’ll love to get across, we’re conducting a wedding.

I’m Mary. When I do weddings, I love to do it between, Oh, I’ll do it. I just do it between two believers because this is something that we’re honoring before the Lord. But when we, when we go into a marriage covenant, what he’s saying in verse 14 is that it’s not just two people, that there’s actually three people present. There might be more than that, but there’s definitely three people present if you to know who they are. It’s the two getting married and it’s the Lord because God is saying he sees this as a covenant. And what God got assigned to this as in the passage of scripture is that the way you treat, choose to treat your wife, even at the wedding ceremony and beyond, it’s or our husband, it’s worship before the Lord. It is looked at as worship before the Lord in verse 15.

I just want to make you aware of this. I put this in a Tallix just so we could signify the difference here. If you read this in some translations, more literal translations, um, it doesn’t make a whole lot of sense because the sit and structuring Hebrew. So the NTSB, if you read this in the NSB, which is the translation we have this morning, uh, they follow almost the way the Hebrew sentence structure is, which in English doesn’t make a whole lot of sense. I inserted here the ESB translation. So what he’s saying here is the way you deal with your, your wife. God’s interested in not just for her and the worst you bring before the Lord, but because of the godly offspring that comes for that as well. That when there’s a spiritual relationship that takes place or a physical relationship that takes place in marriage, there’s also spiritual. The Bible tells us in Matthew chapter 19 what God puts together, let no man divide that there isn’t a particular intimacy that God has created within marriage context that’s different than all other relationships. It’s intimate in such a way that God establishes that relationship spiritually as well.

God says, and the next phrase, his, his hatred, we talked about love and hate in chapter one, but, but uh, God’s feelings towards that. And he’s saying this, that, that the marriage covenant is a demonstration of his covenant towards us. That’s why he loves and enjoys the thought of marital unity because for us, it’s a living out of the reflection of God’s relationship with his people.

Here’s the point, God is saying to Israel, Israel, you’re dealing treacherously with one another. And I’m concerned with that. And the reason he’s, he’s identifying this, he goes to, he goes in as examples in both examples. He gives in verse 11 and 12 in verses 13 and 14 and both examples that he gives, he goes to the marital relationship as the prominent example because it’s the most intimate of relationships and he wants us to recognize something and he’s building to it to this point that your relationship with God, it’s directly connected to your relationship with others. Let me set again, the way you treat people, it’s directly connected to your relationship with God. You cannot separate the two.

Sometimes we like to compartmentalize that and in in our society and our culture, we have the tendency to say to one another, you know, we have religion, topic of religion we don’t discuss. And that’s personal. You keep it to yourself privately and then we do everything else outside of that. But the Bible doesn’t define it that way. And in fact the Bible has to say everything that has to do with God impacts the way you choose to live out your life or not. And so your relationship to others is not exclusive from your relationship with God. Then the ultimate example is the marital relationship, which he’s saying the way that you have chosen to treat your wife of your youth. God is seeing that in Matthew five it says this in verse 23 in talking about your worship before the Lord. He says, therefore, if you’re presenting your offering at the altar and there, remember that your brother has something against you.

Leave your offering there before the altering go first. Be reconciled to your brother and then come and present your offering. Got saying when you show up to church and you began to realize that God cares about your relationships and, and the reason ministry exists is because of people [inaudible]. The reason God calls us to serve isn’t because he needs anything, but rather through the way that we serve. We bless one another and what God is interested in. The reason God came and the reason God gave us life was because he loves people. And when the Bible talks about the fruit of the spirit, love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, gentleness, those are relational words that we begin to understand that when God intersects our lives, it should impact the relationships around us. That is so important to me. The one those aren’t right? It interferes with my connection to you. And so when you’re coming before me to warship and you recognize there are things that aren’t right because you love me. Reconcile those.

In fact, in just using a mil, a marriage illustration, Peter said this in first Peter, chapter three. Husbands in the same way, live with your wives in an understanding way. I like controversial verses. So here’s this Libby, the wise and understanding way as with someone weaker since she has a woman, Oh boy. And show her honor as a fellow heir of the grace of life so that your prayers will not be hindered. Well, let me just say this. Um, Bible already identifies men and women are created equal. And so there’s no one more valuable than someone else. Race, gender doesn’t matter. But what it’s getting us to acknowledge here as men is that guys in general, I’ve seen this, not always true, but um, men tend to be physically stronger than women and guys, you can use that authority to dominate and look vicious, but God doesn’t call you to use your strength in that way.

God calls you to use your strength to honor her. Now, whatever strength you have and however you want to apply that to this verse, maybe it encourages you to get lifted weight, go lift away. But the point is God desires for you to honor her because this is why your relationship to God is impacted by the way you choose to treat those around you and especially your spouse. Because when that covenant was established, God was there and when you honor her, you worship him. If I just gave a maybe a concluding thought and the God uses marriage as the illustration in this because it’s the most intimate of relationships, but really we could use any relationship as an example. And in fact, when you read the book of Galatians in chapter six verses nine and 10 it says this, let us not lose heart and doing good. Not because God needs it, but for this reason, for in due time, we will reap if we do not grow weary as we’re going to see the benefit of that. So then while we have opportunity, let us do good to all people and especially to those who are the household of the faith.

Let me tell you something that doesn’t make sense to me. I know sometimes churches aren’t always perfect and sometimes people get burned in their experiences, but it still doesn’t make sense to me. In spite of all that, not to participate in a body of believers. This is Jesus, his bride and did not seek a spot to be a part of that as like talking trash about his wife. No dude has gone to settle. Well with that, I will defend your honor and suck you in the face. That’s, that’s how you feel at least. And so the point is this, that when it comes to the body of Christ, if we want to see a legacy lived out, the establishment of that becomes pertinent here in his community. And if we think about this this morning, sometimes we walk into church and we think God focused, worship God, get my, get my worship on and then head out the door to live out Monday and I did my Sunday. But what’s God is saying is you want to worship me, look to your right and your left. Demonstrate your love for me by the way, that you love each other. If you’re saying that you’re truly a follower of me and you give your life to me and you care about me, then that should, that should intersect in the way you choose to demonstrate that in your relationships. It’s not exclusive, but it’s inclusive. I think about that as you leave this morning, my worship before my King.

It’s seen in the way I choose to live that out and my love towards one another. What that does, it increases the significance of the body of people around you and the words that you choose to express the wrestling, uh, of your heart. When you recognize, ah, violated this, you, you know how it goes in your life, right? When, Oh, he’d done, he’d done roamed Bay, you know, and then all of a sudden you say yourself, vengeance, I am justified. This is calling out as justice. And so you, you express it and then then you back away and you’re like, I just, I feel just as dirty. I blew up on them, but they did it to me. I mean, you call up your girlfriend, your [inaudible], and you’re like, do you know what? Hey, you try to justify it and now you drug somebody else into that discussion because of the frustration in your own heart and all the while you’re wrestling with yourself. Because you know, somewhere in that it just doesn’t feel right. No matter how justified that anger is, you just don’t feel right and doing it. And here’s the reason, because God sees this worship.

God sees it as a worship. The legacy you build, how you treat others, the foundation of who he is. God sees it as a desire of your heart to honor him, by the way, you want her others? Malakai has a hard book, but it’s a good book cause you know, I think it does challenges us. It refines us in complacency. Honestly, one of the things I think God is doing is he’s weeding out the brokenness in our hearts.

The truth is, when it comes to books like this, when we wrestle with the hardest of that, sometimes people see things like this and they’re like, man, I quit. But can I tell you believers? The reason God’s saying this is because he’s seeing in the body of the Lord here complacent people.

Can I tell you, when comes to his church, it’s way more rewarding and joy filled to serve with a handful of devoted people and 300 halfhearted people on the people of God give their hearts to God, all that he wants to do, but world’s transformed through that. Jesus demonstrated that with just 12 this.

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