"Honoring God with True Worship"
What does it mean to "honor your father" when God is your Father? How does worship - your worship in this building and your worship in private - honor God?
Honoring God With True Worship
A. Worship is a celebration of our relationship with God through Christ in the power of the Holy Spirit. For the Jews, worship was a part of their covenant between them and God. There were three times when at least the adult males were called to Jerusalem to worship God. They were the feasts of Passover, Pentecost (known as the feast of weeks) and the feast of Tabernacles or Booths.
B. Because these were harvest times, we find food offerings connected to each of them. They were times of joy and celebration for what God had done and will do to sustain Israel. So when they came to Jerusalem to worship, they were to bring animals from their flocks, wheat and fruit from the their fields and whatever gifts they wanted to give God.
C. Let’s start with an obvious fact – God doesn’t need food to survive. I need food, but God doesn’t. Now I will tell you I have certain preferences of food, but God doesn’t choose a lamb or grain offerings because God wants a good dinner. What God asked for from the people was their FIRST and their BEST. But what if I didn’t give that?
I. Who Cares?
A. Let’s be honest, if God doesn’t need it, why does God care about the offerings I give. Shouldn’t God be happy that I gave anything? But listen to God talk through Malachi (READ Mal. 1:6). God is both our father and our master, and as such, we should give him the honor and fear due to who he is and who we claim him to be.
B. I would guess everyone here today sees God as both your father and your Lord (master). That being the case, the question God asks us, as well as the statement made to them is, “If” I am who YOU say I am, then how where is the honor? Now look at the last phrase, “who despise my name.” The idea here is that of disrespect or dishonor.
C. So the response by the priests is, “How?” They claim complete innocence in dishonoring God and want to know why God feels dishonored. Now, listen to his reply (READ Mal. 1:7-8, 12-13).
D. I put verses 12 and 13 with verses 7-8 because what is happening when they come to altar of God and the table of bread that was used in the temple. The point is, these priests offered on behalf of the people the junk that no one wants. The problem is they showed contempt and in doing so treated the worship of God flippantly or lightly.
E. Now come back to my earlier statement (God doesn’t eat the food). If this food is just going to be burned, then does it really matter if the offering was of a lame lamb or of a perfect lamb? The answer is YES!
F. We think that those is political leadership deserve honor because of the office they hold – by the way, God is not arguing that point. What God is saying is that these same people would not offer their political leaders with disgusting food and think they would be kind to you, so why do you think God is going to accept this contemptuous sacrifice?
G. And they don’t get that. It is as though they are saying, “God should be happy with what I give.” It places the emphasis of glory on the giver not on the one to whom the gift was given. That is a heart issue.
II. The Right Thing Done Wrong
A. The priests were doing the right thing in offering the sacrifices. The priests were offering the prayers and blessings that would go along with the sacrifices.
B. But it is more than just doing the action. Why does the heart make a difference? Let me take you back to the Law for just a moment. They were to bring the FIRST and the BEST to God’s table. It was first a gift to God, a gift of thanksgiving for what God had and will provide. It showed their love and devotion to God by such a gift.
C. Valentine’s Day is coming up and your husband gives you a new mop, the gift may have some practical good to it, but what does it say of the husband’s love for his wife?
D. The animal sacrifice was also seeking the atonement for their own sin. But since it was offered to a pure and perfect God, the animal was to be pure and perfect. How much is the death of Jesus on the cross and the removal of your sin worth to you? How much is his resurrection and your ability to live forever with God in heaven worth to you? The reason why the NT doesn’t ask for us to give “tithes and offerings” is because that’s too small a gift. Everything I have belongs to the Lord and should be able to be used as God sees fit. What I put in the plate is should simply be one gift of thanksgiving, but my life, my worship, my heart is all a part of that gift. I don’t offer to God the left over parts of me, I offer myself as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to Him.
E. You what to hear God’s anger about heartless worship, look at vs 10. Worship is far more than just this hour on Sunday. Worship is my coming before God every moment of every day. Should this collective time be seen as holy? Should it show God our heart in prayer, in communion with him and thankfulness around the table, in the songs we sing or the act of collective giving and sharing? YES!
F. How many church doors would God want shut? I read of seven church in Revelation and five them stood in jeopardy of God closing the door of relationship.
A. Let me close by looking at verses 11 and 14. God claims that other people show more holiness to him than his own and that is sad. But the truth is they do. These people were chosen and loved by God and they do not honor him as much as others who believe in his name but are not Jews.
B. There is point I want you to leave here with. God’s name among the nations is viewed, in part, by how the people who claim God worship God. Now, if we say we love God but our lives show that don’t live in accordance to God’s will, how can we be a light to the world? If our worship is more about self-glory than God glory, what would an unbeliever think when they worship with us? God’s name is to be honored. Let’s honor it always with our worship to Him.