Hello Project Ezra! I pray you are having a good week, and are looking forward, once again, to share the blessed gospel of Jesus Christ through the reading of the scriptures. This week’s suggested chapter is Malachi chapter three. Malachi is the last of the Old Testament Minor Prophets, and the book was written at the beginning of what is often called the 400 years of silence. The temple had been rebuilt, but after only 100 years the nation of Israel had already fallen into complacency and idolatry. Here Malachi reminds the people of their sin, and reminds them that the Day of the Lord is coming, and that when He comes it will be a time of testing and purifying. He lists some of the sins they are guilty of, many of which are mentioned in the gospels as well. And he mentions purifying as silver and gold, which are purified by fire.
Our country has a similar problem. Though there is debate over whether or not our country has a Godly heritage, it is certainly not Godly now. The moral principles, principles found in God’s law, which were taken for granted for much of our history, have been trampled underfoot, and those who take God’s word seriously are marginalized at the least, and often openly mocked. Our country accepts and promotes sin, and needs to be called to repentance. But our country will never be changed as a whole unless we are changed individually, and that will only happen through people turning to and being transformed by Christ. So let’s pray that people are transformed this weekend through the power of the gospel, and by His grace, may we preach it with compassion, but without compromise.
All for His glory,
INTRODUCE YOURSELF AND PROJECT EZRA
READ MALACHI 3
Malachi is the last of the Old Testament Prophets, coming right before 400 years of silence leading up to the coming of Jesus Christ.
His words look forward to the coming of the Messiah, and the messenger sent to prepare the way, which he speaks of, is John the Baptist
The Jews had turned away from God since the temple in Jerusalem had been rebuilt, and fallen into complacency and idolatry.
Many would argue that our country is rooted in the Christian faith. If that was true in the past, it is certainly not true now. We too have fallen into complacency and idolatry.
As Malachi stated, God will draw near for judgment, as he did for the Jews. And as with the Jews, He will be a swift witness against our sin.
The Old Testament speaks much of God’s judgment, and because of the accounts of His judgment, many believe the God of the Bible is evil, and vindictive.
But He is neither. He is holy and just, and we are deserving of wrath for our sins, as the nation of Israel was.
Malachi speaks of many sins the Jews had committed that we have as well.
He speaks against sorcery, which was generally tied to drug use. Drugs have become more and more acceptable in our society despite serious mental and physical effects. Have you been involved with, or approved of, drug use?
He speaks about adulterers. Sex outside of marriage is so common, it has become passé. It is the norm.
What the Bible calls sexual immorality is on every prime time TV show nearly every week.
Adultery includes looking with lust. Have you committed adultery of the heart?
He speaks against swearing falsely. Have you done that? Have you lied, because you knew you could get away with it?
Have you committed blasphemy by misusing God’s name, or have you dishonored Him in thought, word, or deed? Then you do not fear the Lord, as you should.
What about taking advantage of people, or ignoring the needs of the poor and helpless? None of us has loved his neighbor as he should.
There are many other sins we could name, and every one of us is guilty of more sins that we could possibly remember.
We are all guilty. And God has written His law on our hearts, so we know we are guilty. His standard is perfection, and we are no where close.
The Bible tells us the fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom. Yet despite our knowledge of our own sin, we have not been wise.
As in the time of Noah, our thoughts are only evil continually. We choose rebellion against our creator, because we lust after freedom, and believe we have the right to go our own way.
And though God would be right in destroying the world utterly, as He did in Noah’s day, He has chosen not to.
Though we deserve justice, though we deserve pain and punishment in Hell for our continual sins right now, God has stayed His hand.
Malachi tells us that because the LORD does not change, the nation of Israel was not consumed.
What has not changed is His patience, what the Bible often calls long suffering.
We are told that God is not slow in keeping His promises, but patient with us, not willing that any should perish, but all come to repentance.
Could it be that the only reason you are still alive is that God being patient with you, waiting until you turn to Him?
Do you know how you can do that? Do you know how you can find Godly repentance, how you can find peace with Him?
It is not through ceremony or sacrifice, as the Israelites attempted to do.
It is not through doing your best and trying for follow God’s law. None of our lives could ever be clean enough to meet God’s standard of perfection.
We need our sins paid for, and we need perfect righteousness. Both were provided through Jesus Christ.
Jesus, God in human flesh, came to earth, lived the perfect life we could never live, and then died the perfect death, providing the perfect sacrifice we needed to pay for our sins.
On a Roman cross His blood was shed, and our sin paid for.
He died. Then three days later He rose from the grave, proving His power over death, and proving who He was.
And now, all those who repent, or turn from their sin, and trust in Him and Him alone, will be saved.
God’s standard is perfection, and we can stand before the Judgment seat not based on our own perfection, but on the perfection of another.
Only Jesus Christ is fully man and fully God, perfect and sinless.
Only if His goodness, and payment for sin, is applied to us, can we be saved from Hell.
We are saved through His grace, and through His grace.
By grace you are saved, through faith. This is a gift of God, not a result of works.
So turn to Christ today and live. Turn from your sins and trust in His grace, and you will be saved!