I recently visited The Branch Church and heard a sermon by Chris Seidman. It was all about honor. Honoring God and honoring others. (You can hear the sermon HERE.) It has stuck with me and I thought I’d share with you some of the notes from the sermon.
In Malachi 2:17, God is weary.
17 You make God tired with all your talk.
“How do we tire him out?” you ask.
By saying, “God loves sinners and sin alike. God loves all.” And also by saying, “Judgment? God’s too nice to judge.”
God answers in Malachi 3:1
“Look! I’m sending my messenger on ahead to clear the way for me. Suddenly, out of the blue, the Leader you’ve been looking for will enter his Temple—yes, the Messenger of the Covenant, the one you’ve been waiting for. Look! He’s on his way!”
You see, God was sending justice to the world in the way of Jesus. During His ministry, He enters the temple, cleansing it of those that would make it a den of robbers instead of a house of prayer. He deals with his own house first, cleansing it of sin. He disciplines his people, refining them in the process.
He speaks about this refining process in Malachi 3:2-4.
2-4 But who will be able to stand up to that coming? Who can survive his appearance?
He’ll be like white-hot fire from the smelter’s furnace. He’ll be like the strongest lye soap at the laundry. He’ll take his place as a refiner of silver, as a cleanser of dirty clothes. He’ll scrub the Levite priests clean, refine them like gold and silver, until they’re fit for God, fit to present offerings of righteousness. Then, and only then, will Judah and Jerusalem be fit and pleasing to God, as they used to be in the years long ago.
The coming of Jesus is likened to a refiner’s fire, not an incinerator. When He refines us, it’s not for destruction, but for restoration. It’s to remove impurities and make us valuable. How do we know when the refiner is finished refining? When the refiner can see his reflection in the metal. Same with God. His aim is to restore His reflection in us.
Then God says He will come in judgment. Judgment upon those who dishonor Him and others. Malachi 3:5:
5 “Yes, I’m on my way to visit you with Judgment. I’ll present compelling evidence against sorcerers, adulterers, liars, those who exploit workers, those who take advantage of widows and orphans, those who are inhospitable to the homeless—anyone and everyone who doesn’t honor me.”
God comes to stand up for those who have been dishonored. As people reflecting God to the world, we need to be concerned with what concerns Him. Where is the God of Justice? Look in the faces of His people. These people of His should give voice, give action, to justice among the dishonored.
Honoring God involved joining Him in His concern for the over-looked, oppressed, and dishonored.
Whoever oppresses the poor shows contempt for their Maker,
but whoever is kind to the needy honors God. Proverbs 14:31 (NIV)
We are called to be more than stewards of just us. We are called to care for others. For those in need. For those who have been dishonored by neglect.
Honor means to “respect”, “esteem”, or “give weight to”.
What are you giving weight to in your lives? How are you honoring God? Honoring others?