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Malachi: Return to Me

 

On March 5 at ACC, we are starting a new sermon series looking at key passages in the Old Testament book of Malachi. Malachi was a prophet sent to speak God’s word to the people of Israel during the post-exilic period of their history. His messages to them were probably delivered between 440 and 420 B.C.

Unlike most Old Testament prophets, Malachi has virtually nothing to say about the sin of idolatry. Decades of brutal exile had cured the nation of their inclination to serve false gods. Never again would they succumb to the temptation to bow before pagan idols, rather they would worship the LORD faithfully at his rebuilt temple in Jerusalem.

The problem was that their worship was half-hearted. When their grandparents and parents had returned from the exile, the joy of God’s redemption was still fresh in the people’s minds and worship in Jerusalem was vibrant. Now, however, a generation or two later, the people were no longer amazed at the radical nature of God’s redeeming love. Their worship was dry and perfunctory. They were going through the motions of worship, yet doing so in a sloppy, lethargic way.

Malachi’s message was designed to shake the people out of their complacency. Though Malachi’s words were sometimes harsh, the LORD did not send him to condemn the people. The whole purpose of Malachi’s ministry was to remind the people that God loved them (1:2), that God longed to bless them (3:10), and that what God desired was to restore them to a close relationship with himself (3:17). A key phrase for understanding the message of Malachi is the loving promise God makes in 3:7, “Return to me, and I will return to you.”

The struggle faced by the people of Malachi’s generation is a common one for Christians today. It is easy to lose our amazement at the wonderful message of the gospel and to slip into patterns of half-hearted devotion. If this has happened to you, take heart! God loves you and longs to restore you to a close relationship with himself. He longs to bring spiritual revival to his church.

Come join us for our study of Malachi and hear God’s loving invitation for you to return.