“A son honors his father,
And a servant his master.
If then I am the Father,
Where is My honor?
And if I am a Master,
Where is My reverence?
Says the LORD of hosts….” (Malachi 1:6a)
Christianity is a lifestyle. It is not reserved for special occasions. Maybe you heard of the Pastor who ended the Easter service with, “Merry Christmas!” because he knew that would be the next time he would see some of them. Our faith isn’t just to be practiced on Sunday and ignored the other six days. The late evangelist, Vance Havner, used to say that a lot of church folk are like Sunday morning glories—they bloom at 11 AM and snap shut the rest of the week! That kind of superficial spirituality is what Malachi confronted. There are several signs you may be a Sunday morning glory.
The first one is A PROFESSION THAT IS EMPTY (v.6). These people professed to be God’s sons and His servants, yet their performance was lacking.
I was far from a perfect son, but I knew better than to be disrespectful to my father. Yet, this is how the Jews of Malachi’s time were treating God. We like the rewards of being God’s children, but don’t want the responsibilities that come with it. They took God, “lightly.” This is being like a grown child who never comes to visit Dad and Mom unless he needs something. Do we treat God that way?
A servant exists that he or she might obey the master’s wishes. Otherwise, what good are they? These Jews had lost the fear of God. We have also, I believe. God’s will is not optional; it is mandatory! Jesus asked, “Why do you call me, Lord, lord, and do not do the things I say?” Peter Lord said, “We practice daily what we truly believe and all the rest is just religious talk.”
Another sign is A PERCEPTION THAT IS DULL (v.6-7). It is bad to be sick, but it is worse to be sick and not know it. That was the spiritual dullness of the Jews in Malachi’s ministry. When the prophet told them their condition, they were shocked. They expected a clean bill of health—after all, didn’t they believe in God, pray, and give an offering? That was good, but not good enough. Like the Pharisees of Jesus’ day, they were blind to the evil in their hearts. That’s what a veneer of religion will do—it looks like the real thing, but it isn’t solid.
There may be A POLLUTION THAT IS PRESENT (v.7-12). Hypocrisy eventually leads to impurity. They gave God the leftovers. They would have had more respect for a government official than for God. We act like we are doing God a favor by occasionally giving Him a hour on Sunday. The attitude is, “What am I going to get out of this?” So many want to know what the church can do for them, rather than what they can do for the church. God finds no pleasure in our service if what we do is grudgingly given. God intended for the Jews to be a light to the Gentiles, but instead of being stepping stones, they were stumbling blocks.
Then, there can be A PERFORMANCE THAT IS LACKING (v.13-14). Carrying the cross was hard for Christ. Why do we have to beg people to serve when Jesus sacrificed so much? There is a curse on such hypocrisy. Such a spirit will kill a church! Don’t be a Sunday morning glory!