What does it mean to bring God our best? What does God require from His worshippers? How do we practice a life of excellence for God when the world tempts us with mediocracy? These are some of the questions we seek to answer in this series based from the book of Malachi. In this study, we will discover that just like the people of Israel who were ignorant of God’s decrees against them, that we too can find ourselves ignorant of the nominal ways we’ve practised our faith. From half-hearted worship to a complacent devotional life, we too can be guilty of the charges found in this Old Testament book. The desire in this series is to once again ignite in us a deep passion for the faith, a renewed mindset in worship, and to cultivate excellence in the life of the believer. Our desire is to stir from the stupor of a nominal Christian faith, and awaken to a sincere walk with Christ. “Awake, O sleeper, and arise from the dead, and Christ will shine on you.” (Ephesians 5:14b)

Awaken Love

By: Ian Opiniano

As we begin our study in the book of Malachi, we looked at God’s covenantal love for His people. We saw how God communicates His unconditional love to His people; a love not merited by any good or bad deeds by us, but wholly dependent on God’s sovereign grace to those He would choose to love. We also examined how God has irrevocably chosen His people. This is to say that God’s choice of election cannot be revoked by any human will or deed. Both these truths culminates to God’s purpose for His people, that we were made to worship Him. This great love of God ought to awaken our love for Him and compel us to give our best in worship.

Fit For A King

By: Ian Opiniano

As we continued our study into the book of Malachi, we looked at the first charge God had against His people. We saw how the crime of the people was that of irreverence, and how we too can fall into the same sin when we lack the care necessary in our worship. From our passage we saw how God desires reverence not reluctance; our worship must stem from a deep devotion for God and a willingness to bring glory to His name. When we see worship as a chore or an inconvenience, it is a good indicator that we’ve gone astray. Secondly, we saw how God deserves excellence and not the excess of our lives; God is worthy of our first fruits, not our leftovers. Finally, our worship must be filled with integrity for God demands obedience, not negligence; we must ensure that our worship is not tainted with sin. God is worthy of all our praise, we must, therefore, strive to give God an offering that is fit for a King.

A Holy Zeal

By: Ian Opiniano

As we continued our Awaken series, we looked at God’s specific charge against His priests. We understood that though this charge was specifically to the Levitical priesthood of Malachi’s day, that we too as Christ’s royal priesthood can fall under the same judgment. The summation of their sin was that of partiality towards the things of God; they obeyed God in some of His ways, but not all of His ways. As a result, God called them back to a holy zeal. In the same way, we as believers are called to revere God which only comes from a true understanding of what His holiness entails. In addition, we are to retain the truth of God; unlike the priests who gave partial instructions to the people, we are to follow all the instructions from the Word of God.  Finally, we are to zealously reject sin similar to the example of Phineas the priest. As God’s ambassadors in this world, we have the responsibility to communicate the holiness of God through our lives with a holy zeal. As Christ’s holy and royal priesthood, it ought to be our utmost desire to see the name of God hallowed in the world.

Awaken Devotion

By: Benji Thomas

As we continued our study in the book of Malachi, we looked at the third charge God had against His people. We saw that a lack of devotion to God had allowed for the sin of idolatry and divorce to take root, and how we too can allow sin into our lives if we lack devotion. From our passage, we saw that in order to cultivate devotion to God we must worship the one true God and not substitute Him with the things of this world. We are to worship with integrity and not unauthentically by offering worship while intentionally sinning against God’s Holiness. We are also to worship God by honouring our marriages and relationships. God hates divorce because it goes against what He instituted. We are reminded that while we grow in devotion, it pales in comparison to the devotion that Christ has for His bride, the church. May the love of Christ motivate us to live lives of faithfulness to both God and our relationships.

God of Justice

By: Ian Opiniano

As we continued our study in the book of Malachi we looked at how God demonstrates Himself to be a God of justice. We saw how God in His mercies sends His messenger to warn sinners of His wrath and to urge them to repentance even though they are already guilty of sin. This is similar to how God’s grace is revealed to us through His Word and warns us of God’s wrath for sinners. We also saw how God sends His Messiah to be a propitiation for our sin; God poured out His wrath on Jesus so that the sins of the elect would be punished and the sinner declared justified. Finally, we were reminded of the judgment to come when every sin will be accounted for and punished by God Himself. As we live in a world full of injustices, we can have faith that the God of justice whom we serve will not let sin go unpunished, but that in time will rectify all wrongs.

Get to Give

By: Ian Opiniano

As we continued our study in the book of Malachi, we examined one of the most popular passages in Scripture that is often taken out of context. This is referring to Malachi 3:10 where God invites His people to test Him in their tithes and offerings, that He might open “the windows of heaven” and pour out a blessing. What we aimed to do in this sermon was to uncover the context of this passage and be awakened to the real reasons for giving. What we found is that God’s desire was for His people to once again communicate worship; God’s people were to return to God by demonstrating their devotion to Him in their tithes and contributions. God also calls His people to demonstrate stewardship over the resources that He blesses them with. We learned that this is done by how we demonstrate both administration and dispensation of those resources. Finally, we saw how God’s overall purpose in this passage is to invite His people back to an intimate relationship with Him; the invitation to test God was an invitation to trust Him. God deserves our worship regardless of what season we find ourselves in, and a tangible way of expressing this is through our tithes and offerings. Let us therefore give cheerfully to a God who has given to us so graciously.

Not In Vain

By: Benji Thomas

As we continued our study in the book of Malachi, we looked at the final charge God had against His people. We saw that the issue of irreverence amongst the people of Judah had deeply grieved God’s heart. The people of Judah wrongfully equated the prosperous world around them with blessing. While the world may think it’s pointless to serve God, we the church are called to think differently because we understand blessing to be immaterial. We serve God because He attentively listens to us, He esteems us as treasured possessions and mercifully spares us from His wrath on account of the forgiveness of sins found in the person and work of Jesus Christ. It is on this account that we will be remembered as people who faithfully feared the Lord. So we must continue to serve God wholeheartedly; your efforts are not in vain!

The Dawn

By: Ian Opiniano

In the final sermon of our Awaken series, we looked at the hope that God promises in the last chapter of Malachi found in the “Dawn”. As we saw in this final sermon, the Dawn that Malachi spoke of was a metaphor for the Bright Morning Star—Jesus Christ. We concluded that all of the desires and hopes for justice in Malachi’s day and in our day was/is answered in the person of Jesus Christ. We were encouraged to awaken to Jesus by placing our hopes, our trust and our satisfaction in the Savior. This was a call to center our hearts once again to God’s sovereign plans rather than the endeavors of man to bring about change. We were reminded that our first and primary message as the Church was that of Reconciliation to God, not Reformation of man. In the end, we can rest assured that “The night is far gone; the day is at hand” and that the Sun of righteousness has risen with healing in His wings.