If we sat in the audience listening to the prophet Malachi we would have heard a powerful, passionate, pleading appeal to repent of our sins and return to God. Coupled with that appeal for repentance was joined a rich promise at our response, but a stern warning if refused.
He speaks not only to his day, but to our day 2,500 years later. He is appealing to us to repent of our sins and to return to the God who made us. He offers us the promise of full salvation, of forgiveness, of peace with God when we respond. He also gives us the warning of coming judgment if we refuse His proposal.I. My Offering to a Loving God
"I have loved you," says the Lord.
Malachi's listeners had visions of a coming Messiah with love in His heart. But it was difficult for them to comprehend such love. Their loving was done mostly with seeking advantage, with strings attached or hooks in it. But bursting on the scene 400 years later was the living God in the form of a man--Jesus Christ. To think that a loving God would reach down to sinful man. But He did!II. My Offering to a Loving God Comes Because He Has Given First and I Want to Give to Others
The New Testament writers coined a new word for us--Agape. God wanted us to see that He revealed Himself in Jesus and wants Christians to relate to one another. John writing in his first letter said, "This is how we know what love is: Jesus Christ laid down His life for us. And we ought to lay down our lives for our brothers." (1 John 3:16
)III. My Offering to a Loving God Comes Because He Has Given First and I Want to Give to Others--Me!
"A village in Greece learned that the king would pay them a visit. How honored the village officials were! They decided to hold a feast so that every villager could offer the king something. Everyone was asked to bring a pitcher of the finest wine and pour it into a vat from which the king would be served.
"The king arrived. The moment came for him to taste the rich wine from the vat. However, when one of the officials turned the spigot, out came water. How embarrassing! Each villager assumed that all of the other villagers would pour in their best and one pitcher of water would not make any difference. The result was dishonoring for the king."
Each of us has responsibilities, but the greatest offering to give God is us. All our talents, abilities, funds, leadership capabilities, knowledge, mercy, faith--all come when He has us.
My offering is ready to be poured into the vat for my loving God, because I know He gave His offering first and it was enough for me.
(Message by Derl G. Keefer, Pastor of Three Rivers Church of the Nazarene, Three Rivers, Mich.)