RHETORICAL GOD | Hard Answers to Easy Questions
The Book of Malachi ( ִכָ אְ ל ַמ י): Malachi’s place among the Minor Prophets may seem relatively obscure to most Christians except for the fact this little book is placed at the end of the Christian ordering of the Old Testament. And just because of its placement and designation of being a “minor” prophetic book, its explicit message to God’s covenant people is literally as important today as it was over two millennia ago. Even so, you’re probably wondering why we chose this book relative to any of the other Minor Prophets.
The title we chose for the Malachi series, Rhetorical God: hard answers to easy questions, is a partial explanation for our focus on Malachi’s message. Often in life we want simplistic answers to simplistic questions, but as we’ll see in Malachi, God often reveals that our questions are not so much in the way of our faith as our hearts. God is not interested in flippant, halfhearted religion, but in the hearts and minds of his people. Malachi, therefore, speaks into the lives of all Christians as a serious wake-up call regarding their covenant faithfulness to the God who first loved, loves, and will continue to love them.
Additionally, the content of Malachi is extremely relevant for the Christian church today. There are a host of topics within Malachi such as God’s love and judgment, proper worship, Christian marriage & divorce, adultery and other moral issues, tithing/sacrificially giving, and for God’s mission. Virtually all of these topics are not only relevant but crucial for the health of the church.
We believe that the entire Bible is inspired by God — 2 Tim 3:16. While churches often preach through neatly packaged topical sermons with clever titles focused on Christian living, we don’t. Instead, we have chosen to go verse by verse—exegetically—through books of the Bible that speak to larger and weightier theological concepts like the sovereignty of God, his redemptive work, and our response to his example and power working in our lives. We believe that if we focus primarily on knowing God as opposed to how to reform our behavior, we will end up living transformed lives that glorify him.
We believe Malachi is an excellent book to challenge us in our faith and relationship with God, as well as give us hard answers to easy questions. We love Malachi’s satire, his rawness, and that he doesn’t pull punches when revealing God’s direction to the covenant people. Our prayer throughout this series is that we will be renewed again and again in our covenant fidelity toward God.
[Sermon Text and Notes available upon request]
GOD IS COMPLEX: Introduction | 1.1
GOD IS MERCIFUL: How have you loved us? | 1.2-5
GOD IS WORTHY: How have we despised your name? | 1.6-2.9
GOD IS FAITHFUL: How have we polluted you? | 2.10-16
GOD IS REFINING: How have we wearied you? | 2.17-3.5
GOD IS GENEROUS: How have we robbed you? | 3.6-15
GOD IS PRESENT: How have we spoken against you? | 3.16-4-3
GOD IS ETERNAL: How shall we return? | 4.4-6