28 Aug 2022

The Phony People [Malachi 1:6-2:16]


In this sermon, we are going to explore how God exposed the hypocrisy of the leaders and the people of God in Malachi’s time. They were religious people who performed their religious duties dutifully, but their hearts were far away from Him. While they seemed to "worship God", they gave polluted offerings to God and were unfaithful in their marriages. They were so insensitive and hardened in their sins that even when God exposed them, they denied any wrongdoing. They were phony people -- hypocrites. Let’s find out more about what God said about them and reflect upon it in our hearts as we listen to this sermon.



Sermon Transcript


During my marriage time, when we were just starting out about one year ago, we have to do a house where God graciously gave us a new home to build. And we had a lot of things to buy appliances and a lot of other little gadget, quite expensive things. And I was thinking that hey, how good would it be to have free appliances that people will give and I came across this website called Canvas. For those of you that are building a home, you'll know this website called Canvas, and I saw that they are giving out 12 Days of Christmas gifts away. And they are like water dispenser, they are like air-cons, they are like washing machines, I'll say I want everything you know kind of thing. But to in order to get this free gift, I have to sign up to show my interest. And after I show my interest, to my surprise, never have it happened in my life before I've never won any lucky draw or giveaway. I receive a text from the selection of winners by Canvas and it says congratulation, you are selected as the winner and you are going to receive his water dispenser. And to me what is this dispenser just water lah, but I will still get it. So I thought I won this prize and all I need to do is to go on to this website to register and to give all my details. And then they will announce that I am the winner and they will deliver over to my house. But I find that this is a bit fishy. I'm not so lucky in life. And I just waited for another day. But thank God the next day the real account, Canvas account, state this, we do not have a second account. This is not our account; we don't give away free gift like that. We will not ask you for credit card information or send you any suspicious link.

Thank God I didn't tell my wife, thank God I never click on the link and give all my credit card details away. So, you see, these are people that are imposing themselves. These are people that pretend to be someone they are not. You know for you maybe you receive MOH call every day. Hello, this is from MOH, this is from ICA: I need you to do this and do that, people pretend to be someone that they are not. That is exactly what we are going to look at for today's sermon. In fact, in the book of Malachi, in chapter one to chapter two, we're going to see a group of phony leaders and the people that pretend to be someone that they are not. They come before God, they are religious people by the way, they come to church every Sunday, they will pay their dues to God, but yet God despise them, and God will not accept their offering. So, today's sermon, you will see that God is going to expose that hypocrisy, to tell them that they are phony people in how they deal with their worship to God. Secondly, we're going to see Malachi will chip in and tell the people of God, not just how they are worshipping God wrongly, Malachi is going to expose them and tell them how they are to treat their wives differently, as how God desire them to as well. So, we're going to see how God expose them and how Malachi expose their hypocrisy as well. Let's begin 25 verses longest as compared to Daniel’s five verse. We have 25 verses to cover today.

“A son honors his father and a servant his master”, and God is speaking to the people, the priests, “if I am your God, then where is my honor? And if I am your master, then where is my fear says the Lord of hosts” (Malachi 1:6), to the priests, the people that are supposed to represent the nation of Israel, these are leaders and God expose them and tell them that you are hypocrites. Where is my honor, you have been despising my name. You know when someone was to rebuke you and expose of your hypocrisy, most of the time, we will say, “Oh no, I'm sorry, this is what I have done wrong and apologize” and we confess our sins and turn back to God right? But the leaders did it differently, did something else. The leaders, the priests, they said, “How have we despised your name?” (Malachi 1:6) They play innocent. God, you say I despise your name. No, I have never done that. I am a religious leader. I have been coming to church and perform all the offerings to you. How am I a hypocrite? How have we despised? I'm yawning. They were people who were insensitive to their sins. They were hardened, their hearts were hardened, and their hearts were far away even though they are doing what seems to be upright.

The Discovery

We're going to discover their hypocrisy. God help them to discover the hypocrisy and expose them. What is this discovery? Ha, this is how they are despising God's name. They are giving God polluted worship, they are giving God corrupted food, polluted food and present it to God, as if that God is going to accept that. Again, they are tiki (very stubborn in Hokkien) very, very tiki. How have you polluted you? How have we despised you? And God is going to reveal to them by saying, hey, this is what you do. This is what you did. You give me “blind animals”, “lamb” animal, “sick” animal on my altar (Malachi 1:8). Hey, that is disgusting. That is not right. Why? Because the priests understood what true and pure offering is. We see that in Leviticus, the Bible tells us, tell the priests of the people of God, that “you shall not offer anything that has a blemish”, or any “animals that is blind or disabled or mutilated” (Leviticus 22:20, 22). This animal, please, I will not accept this kind of offering, even if you present it to me. God rejected their offering, their hypocrisy. And the Bible even tell us that if they were to do that, they will bear the sins for it. And they will even die when they profane the name of God on the altar. God help them to discover their hypocrisy.

The Disgust

Secondly, we see that God was so disgusted with the hypocrisy, that God is going to reveal how disgusting all this polluted worship is. We see the Bible tells us in the next slide, think about this, you give me this kind of lousy worship. You “present this to the governor”. You think your governor “will accept it or show you favor” and grace? (Malachi 1:8) No way, even if the awfully governor understand that this kind of worship is not accepted, how will God accept those offerings who are lamed, corrupted, polluted worship? God will not accept. The people of God, the leaders of God think that they can “entreat the favor of God”, God is gracious, right? God is merciful, right? “That he may be gracious to us. With such a gift from your hand, will he show favor to any of you” who give this kind of polluted worship? (Malachi 1:9) No way. In fact, there's a group of people that claim that they will give God their best, but yet behind the scenes, they swapped their best for the leftover, for the lousy one. “Cursed be the cheat who has a male in his flock”, the best male in the flock. They want to present to God and “sacrifice to the Lord” and they vow to give God their best, but behind the scenes, they change it with a blemish animal (Malachi 1:14). God will not accept these kinds of polluted worship, and he is disgusted with them. In fact, God says, just close shop. Just don't give me anything on the altar. I will not accept that. “Oh, there is one among you who will shut the door that you may not kindle fire on my altar in vain” (Malachi 1:10). God do not want hypocrisy. God do not want people to come and present him an offering that is half halfhearted, that is corrupted, that is polluted. God will not accept them. In fact, close shop, please, “I have no pleasure in you says the Lord of hosts and I will not accept an offering from your hand” (Malachi 1:10). “You profane it when you say that the Lord's table is polluted. The fruits and the food may be despised” (Malachi 1:12). I don't need all these things. I do not need your hypocrisy. And then they continue to say, their attitudes stink, God pierced through the onion, layer by layer and expose their hypocrisy. And God sees through the heart. And God says, “But you say” you priests, you leaders of the church. “What a weariness this is, and you snort at it” (Malachi 1:13). It means that the leaders, the priests find a burdensome to offer offerings to God. They find it, sian (boring in Hokkien), they find this is like so tedious, every day I have to go and present the offering on behalf of the people. You know what, I will just give God half or halfhearted worship. I'll just give God some polluted worship. God despise all these things. This is the attitude of the leaders then, they are doing it out of ‘duty’, but not out of a devotion to God.

Think about this with me. Imagine one day you ask your kid, a son, can you go to the kitchen and to help to clean the dishes for your mom? Your mom has been tired and have been working very hard, ah boy, can you go and help to clean the dishes? And the boy says, wah lao, why do you always call me, can't you ask my sister on the bed playing computer games, playing Mobile Legends or whatever? Why can’t you ask my little brother, that is good for nothing and doing nothing? Why always me, why must you always call me to go and wash the dishes? But then no choice, right? If they don't do it, they will get smacked and all that stuff right? So, they have no choice, they will go to the sink and wash the dishes, and they will make a lot of noise, just to get the attention that he's doing something for the parents. Do you think if you are the mom or the parents, will you accept this kind of thing? Maybe some of you say yes, because things have to be done right. But if you think about it, we will not accept that kind of attitude, right? Even though they may be giving their parents something, but their attitude stink.

These are the leaders, they tell God in their hearts, so burdensome, so worrisome. Why should I do this? They do it of duty, and they continue to give God polluted, corrupted worship. Do you think God deserve this kind of attitude? Do you think God deserve this kind of offering? No way, God says, “Shall I accept this from your hand?” (Malachi 1:13) No way. You know why? Because God is a great God, a great king, and His name is supposed to be feared among nations, He is the God of the universe. He is the same God that brought the people out of Egypt, is the same God, that parted the Red Sea, is the same God that provide for the people of Israel with manna, and this is the God that have done so many things for them. But yet the leaders give God halfhearted, polluted worship. He is the God, He is the God of universe, He is the Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the end. And the Bible says, He is the Lord of hosts, the Jehovah, the self-existing one, the all Eternal One, from Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the end, He is God, He is the great king, and He has a lot of army, angels’ army, that is at His command, and they will bow before Him and worship and fear him. But yet, these leaders who are supposed to represent God, give God halfhearted worship and God was this, God is disgusted with their worship. One day, Malachi 1:11 says one day, all nations “from the rising of the sun to its setting my name will be great among nations. And in every place, incense will be offered to my name”, God's name, “and a pure offering” will be render unto God. One day, the Jews and the Gentiles will come before God and to present to God a pure offering. Not yet, but one day, he will come, and Luzerne will talk more about that next week. Because his name is great. And if His name is great, and God is a great king, how dare we come before God and to give God halfhearted worship?

The Discipline

So we have discovered that hypocrisy, we understand that their hypocrisy is so disgusting to God, and God now is going to discipline His people, His leaders. “And now, O priests, this is the command for you” (Malachi 2:1) priests, leaders of the church, “if you will not listen, if you do not take it to heart, and to give honor to my name says the Lord of hosts, then I will send the curse upon you, and I will curse your blessings” (Malachi 2:2). They live in an old covenant period. All right, we are now living in a new covenant. And what's the Old Covenant? Old Covenant means blessing for obedience, cursing for disobedience, and the people of God, they are having disobedience to God, and they receive this cursing from God. And God says, “Indeed I have already cursed them, because they do not lay it to heart” (Malachi 2:2). They know what is right. They know what the right kind or form of worship is. But yet they choose to not take it to heart, and they choose intentionally to give God halfhearted worship. What is this? What is this curse? The Bible tells us, God is going to curse them and “rebuke their offspring and spread dung on their faces, the dung of your offerings, you shall be taken away with it” (Malachi 2:3). So what happened in the past is that when the Old Testament people, when the priests offer sacrifices to God on the altar, there'll be some leftover, the poop, and the intestine, there's the unclean part, they will be thrown out, and they will be collected, and they will be taken out to the city, out of the city and will be burnt outside of the city. This is a very graphic imagery that God is going to curse the priests and give rebuke to the priests. How? By removing them from their duty as a priest, it is a prophetic word because you're going to see that all these priests who is no longer there anymore, and the great high priest will come 400 years later, that is Jesus. So, God is going to curse the current priests, the priests that give God halfhearted, corrupted worship. And “so that you know that I have sent this command to you and like my covenant with Levi may stand, says the Lord of hosts” (Malachi 2:4).

God now give us the standard of the right type of priests in the next few verses, are the kind of priests that he has in the covenant with the Levites. These are the true and pure offering that he desires. The Bible tells us that the right kind of priests, the Levites priesthood, during in the past as compared to the current priesthood in Malachi, they are very, very different. The right standard of the priests is supposed to be “one that fear God. One that stood in awe of God's name” (Malachi 2:5) is a covenant with God is one with life and peace and abundance that God gave to them. It was a covenant of fear that they will fear God and in turn, God bless them. This is the standard of the priest then. What is this standard? “True instructions were in their mouth, and no wrong was found on their lips.” They were honest, they were upright, they were righteous, “they walked with God” (Malachi 2:6). The standard of the priests, the standard of the leaders then, they will walk with God in peace and uprightness, and they have turned many from iniquity” (Malachi 2:6), from sin. That is the right kind of priesthood. “For the lips of a priest should guard knowledge”, they will protect knowledge, they will not let false teachers come into the church, they will guard and protect, “people should seek instruction from their mouth”, because they are walking with God and “he is a messenger of the Lord of hosts” (Malachi 2:7). This is the kind of priests that God desired them to be. But the leaders, the priests then they did the opposite.

Matthew Henry says this, “Nothing profanes the name of God more than the misconduct of those whose business is to do to honor to it”. These priests, did otherwise, these leaders, did otherwise, what did they do? They have turned many people away from God and away from the truth. They have caused “many people to stumble by their instructions”. They were lovers of themselves, rather than lovers of God, “they have corrupted the covenant of the Levites”, and God is going to humiliate them (Malachi 2:8). And this is the discipline that God is going to impose and give to them, that God will “despise them and abase them or humiliate them before all the people because they do not keep God's way and show partiality in their instruction” (Malachi 2:9). So, you see, God, expose and help them to discover their hypocrisy. Now we see God is disgusted with their hypocrisy, being someone, religious people, being someone that they are not. And then God is going to discipline them. God is going to show them that they have two faces. God is showing them they are actors at the pulpit, at the altar, God despise and humiliate them. Now we're going to see how Malachi is going to come in and chip into what God says. So, we understand God show them their hypocrisy in how they're dealing with their vertical relationship with God, how they're giving God halfhearted worship, polluted worship.

Malachi now come in and show them their hypocrisy in how they're treating their wives at home. Malachi is going to chip in and tell them about their hypocrisy with how they treat people around them. This is Malachi’s words. “Have we not all one Father? Have we all not one God that created us? Then why then are we faithless to one another? How have we profaned the covenant of our fathers?” (Malachi 2:10) What is this covenant of our Father? I'll explain later. “Judas has been faithless and abomination and disgusting thing has been committed in Israel and Jerusalem. For Judah has profaned the sanctuary of the Lord, which he loves” (Malachi 2:11). What is this breaking of profaning of the covenant of our father? “They intermarry with daughters of foreign god” (Malachi 2:11).

Maybe to us we don't understand this, but in a culture then, they knew that they are not supposed to marry daughters and sons of other gods. In Deuteronomy, in the Mosaic covenant that they have with God. And Moses, tell them “Do not intermarry with people that do not share the same faith with you, don't give your daughters to their sons or taking their daughters for your sons”. Do not do that. Do not intermarry for “they will turn away your sons from following me to serve other gods and the anger of the Lord will be kindled against you, and He will destroy you quickly” (Deuteronomy 7:3-4). The people of God knew that they are not supposed to intermarry but yet they chose to do otherwise. And even though they know what is right, you guess what? They continue to come before God to present the offering to God, thinking that God will accept their worship. Solomon was another person, this shows us this is not how it's supposed to be right? “Solomon was old, he has 700 wives”. This is not recommended in in the society now. Right? There's “300 concubines and his wives turned away his heart from the true and living God, his wives turn away his heart after other gods and his heart was no longer fully whole to the Lord his God” (1 Kings 11:3-4). That's why God tell the people to not intermarry, because you will walk away from me, you will break this covenant that you have with my Father, not just that.

Secondly, you will see how they are being a hypocrite, by anyhow, divorcing their wife. Let me continue in Malachi 2:12, “May the Lord cut off the tents of Jacob, any descendants of the man who does this, who brings an offering to the Lord of hosts”. Remember, we are speaking to a group of leaders and people, they are continuing coming before God to present their offerings to God. But God says, you hypocrites, I do not need your sacrifice. Because how you sacrifice me is not the right way. How you're dealing with people around me is not the right way. And God tells them, “The second thing that they did, they cover the altar, with tears and crying and groaning and weeping”. They come before God pretending like the actor, they'll come before God, why do you not accept my offerings? God, I have done all these things for you. God I am giving you the offerings that you require right? Why didn't you accept my offerings anymore? Why, why? Why didn’t you accept my offerings? The Bible tells us “Because the Lord was the witness between you and the wife of your youth, to whom you have been faithless, though she was your companion and your wife by covenant” (Malachi 2:14). So, what does it mean? It means that they're coming before God to worship God, and pretending that they love God, but at home they were intermarrying with daughters of foreign god. They know that they're not supposed to do that, but yet they did it otherwise, not just that, they are now being faithless with their wife at home. What is this faithless thing that they did? We will look at it later. And what is this covenant they made before God? You see in the Old Testament, I mean in currently when you get married, right, you will vow before your wife and your spouse till Death Do Us Part, to love to cherish. And so on, that’s a covenant that you made before God, and before men, they made the Covenant as well don't have the ceremony and all the stuff in the OT time. But they have a covenant they made before God, that they will take these wives as their wife, they will honor and cherish, they will keep them one because they are one flesh, and they will love their wife.

You see someone said this, “Marriage is not a contract, a two-way relationship with a husband and wife, but a covenant, a three-way relationship in which the couple is accountable to God, for the LORD was witness to that covenant.” They make a promise, they make a covenant before God that this is my wife and they will love and cherish, but yet they did otherwise. What did they do? They were divorcing their wives anyhow. “Did he not make them one, husband and wife one, with a portion of the Spirit in their union? What was the one God seeking? Godly offspring. So guard yourselves in your spirit and let none of you be faithless to the wives of your youth” (Malachi 2:15) What is this hypocrisy that God was talking to them about? They were divorcing their wives, “they do not love their wife, but they are divorcing that wife anyhow. In other versions, God says God hates divorce, says the Lord, the God of Israel. And He covers his garment”, with violence because that is not his character, that is not the will of God for marriage, for the covenant that you have made before God. “Guard yourself in the Spirit, do not be faithless” (Malachi 2:16).

You see in the Old Testament, the people then were anyhow divorcing their wives, when their wives cooked a wrong kind of food, a poor seasoning, they will go to Moses and says I will go to divorce my wife and sign a certificate of divorce. And they will be done due and when the when your wives do all these crazy things in the kitchen. They will really anyhow divorce their wife because of what happened at home, poor seasoning or when their wife is noisy, they will go to their leader, I want to divorce my wife because my wife is noisy. My wife snore at home, I want to divorce my wife. The people then they were really mistreating their wife and treating them in differently. God despise them. God says this ought not to be and God expose that their hypocrisy. He was not so from the beginning. God intend marriage to be one husband and one wife, one male and one female. That was all along the original plan of God. That was all along from the beginning. The reason why Moses allowed them to divorce is because of their hardening of heart. But it was not so at the start, and God expose the hypocrisy.


So let me sum up what we have learned today. God rebuked the people, the leaders of God and expose their hypocrisy and to show them what they have done wrong in how they are treating God, in giving God polluted worship. Secondly, we see Malachi came in and says, hey, it's not just how you are treating God, like he's a fairy, fairy God, you're not treating God with fear and reverence. Secondly, this is what you are you are doing, you are a hypocrite. You give God not your best and you give your wife not your best. You treat your wife differently. You are divorcing your wife, and you're intermarrying with women of a foreign god.

When I look at this few verses, 25 verses, a lot of verses, so what? So what if you understand about all this knowledge of the people in Malachi? So what if you understand that, this is what God says. And this is what Malachi says, what they have done wrong and what is supposed to be right. So what how does this apply into our life? And I want to drive more home from now on.

Hypocritter and halfhearted worship

I remember a song that we sang in the Children ministry called Hypocriter. I don't know whether you know about this. But this is a song sang by this group of people that sang the song and they compose the song. And the children will sing this song in Sunday school during my time. And this song goes like this. “Our walk talks and your talk talks, but your walk talks louder than your talk talks. You cannot hide what's inside, is sure to come out, is sure to come out. Your words may whisper by the action shout. Hippocritter, hippocritter, you say one thing.” You say I love God. But then you do the oppositer. You say you worship God with all your heart, soul, mind, strength but at home you treat your wife differently. You treat your spouse differently. Hippocritter, hippocritter, you say one thing and you do the oppositer. It’s a phony life”, fake life, not a genuine kind of life, “full of empty glitter. God is not pleased with a counterfeiter”.

Shall we sing this song together? No. Of course not. I can't remember the lyrics. But that's exactly my point here. And when I look at this song, God was reminding me of this song when I was preparing this sermon, I realized that sometimes we can be like the people of Israel. Leaders can be like the people or the priests of God. Members, we can be like the people that are faithless to our wives, and we dishonor God's name, despise his name by giving a halfhearted worship, polluted worship, and we treat our wife differently as compared to how God wants us to treat our wife and our spouse. Maybe today you find yourself in this room. No, I am not a hypocrite. My wife is a hypocrite. I'm not a hypocrite. The people around me all are hypocrites, how they live their life, they say they love God, they come to church every Sunday. But then they live a very different life at home. They come to worship God every Sunday, but they live their life from Monday to Saturday like the devil.

Maybe you have been in church for the longest time. Maybe you are the foundation of this building, you know you're standing. By the way, this is building when we took many years ago, when this building is not even built, we will go to have this ceremony and we want to say to God be the glory. We want to use this building for the furtherance of God's kingdom and for the glory of God. We have been there. Maybe you are not just there, maybe you just came recently. Or maybe you have been in church for the longest time ever since Pastor Paul founded the church, where Pastor Paul was under the coconut tree preaching the gospel, you are there under the coconut tree or the palm tree. You were here since the beginning. But now we become religious. We go through the motion, like the people in Israel. We know the right words to say. We can even be the leaders of the church. We can even be pastors. We can even be serving God actively in cooking and giving out a lot of amazing food to the people. We can be serving in the worship team. You can be serving the AV team, we can be serving as a CG leader. But yet we can be doing all these things and giving God our offering. But our hearts we are far away. We may have the form of godliness, but we deny the power thereof.

Maybe this video helps us to summarize what I'm trying to say here so let's take a look at this simple video, “I will sing of your love on Sundays, only sing of your love on Sundays, I will sing of your love on Sundays then this feeling is gone by Monday. I surrenders some, I surrender some, Jesus, I will give you little, I surrender some. I stand amazed at my hairdo, my stylist outdid herself. I lift my hands and see my nails. They match my eyes, oh, so well. How great is this song, sing with me, how great is this song. Man, I love to sing, to sing this song. Savior, I don’t need a savior, I’m busy livening my life, busy living my life. Christmas, go to church on Christmas, and maybe Easter, too, so my faith is renewed. I've sung this song for years it's now a standard here but I still sing it though I don't mean it. And I just go, go through the motions, and I fake the emotion. I exalt me, I exalt me, I exalt me, only me.”

We come before God and we say we love God. We will live our life so differently from how God wants us to be. We sing songs on Sunday but on Monday through Saturday, we sing, we tune to our Kpop songs and worldly songs then we don't worship God. We come to church on Sunday to read the Bible. But that's not enough for us. We have read the Bible from every day of our life to have a relationship with God isn't it? Don't be a hypocrite, don't just surrender some, surrender all when God gave his all for us. I didn't arrange with Glenn to sing the song but if you think about that, when we sing, I surrender all do we really mean it? Or do we say I surrender all, but God I keep some parts in my life to myself, there are some doors that I closed. I don't want you to come in. God, I surrender all but these are things that I don't want to surrender.

Hey, when we say we come before God to worship Him with our heart, soul, mind and strength, we want to mean we don't want to go through the motions. We don't want to be like the hypocrite who come to church to impress people. How well we dress, the new shoe, can you check out my new shoe, can check out my new eyelashes, or my LV back. We don't come here to impress people. We come here to worship God with the best that we know how. We don't want to go through the motion, we don’t want to come to worship God and then somehow in our hearts we know that there is someone that we have offended, and we have not reconciled with the person and then we will come before God, God I surrender all but there's someone that you're hating on the inside. The Bible tells us, “if you therefore offer your gift at the altar, and there remember that your brother has something against you, have anything against you. Don't come and worship me first. Leave the altar there before the altar and go your way, be first reconciled to your brother and then come and offer your sacrifice, come and offer your gift” (Matthew 5:23-24). You see, God is not pleased, when we come before him pretending to be someone that we are not. He exposes our hypocrisy and confront and show us that.

Can I say this also, the reason why God and Malachi exposed the people's hypocrisy is not to condemn them, but to wait for them to come back to Jesus, to return to Jesus, to return to their wife, to be faithful to their wife, and to be faithful to God. God and Malachi, exposes them, not to condemn them, but to give them the grace for them to come back to him. Worship is the response of all that we are to all the God is and what He has done for us. That is the right kind of worship, is not surrendering half, some but keep some to yourself, worship is the response of all that we are. What does it mean in Romans 12, verse one, “I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that you present your body, your entire life, to God, holy and acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service”. God wants our all, not some to all that God is. Who is God? God is gracious, God is love. God is merciful. And God is over and over again in the Old Testament, and even right now, he's still showing grace after grace, grace upon grace, grace upon grace. And the reason why he has not come back is because he is still waiting for people to repent, believers and non-believers alike, so that we can have a relationship with Jesus Christ. Don't be people that honor God with your lips, but your hearts are far away, come back to God. Stop living that double standard life. Stop trying to be someone that you are not in church, in religiously. God wants our all, come back to the “God who is merciful, who is gracious, who is loving” (Psalms 103:8) and waiting for people to return back to him. You will see that in the entire book of Malachi, God expose them. And then they tiki, they stubborn people, where got? And God continue to show grace to them. And God is continuing to show grace to you even this morning. “A broken spirit and a contrite heart, God will not despise” (Psalms 51:17). He despises when we become a hypocrite, but he don't despise and when we come before him, just as we are broken, sinful people before him, God loves them, God will not despise that. So come back to him will you, as church people as brothers and sisters in God as in Christ. Don't be like a hypocrite, follow God, love Him, obey His command, repent, repent, confess your sin, come back to him.

Being faithful in marriage

Second application that I want to make this morning is not just in how we deal with our relationship with God, vertically, but how we deal with our wives and our spouse horizontally at home. God says this, “Guard yourself in the spirit, do not be faithless” (Malachi 2:16). Because you make a vow. Remember, you make a vow before God. And God is the witness of your wife, the covenant that you've made before God. For me, it was one year and one month ago, I made that, thankfully my wife is not here, I made the vow before God and says God, I will vow before you and before your witness, that I will love and cherish, to protect and to provide, till death do us part. I made a vow, I made a promise to God. I made the covenant before God. And I have to honor that and cherish that. And love that. Yes, there are times that I fail my wife. There are times that I wasn't faithful or loving to my wife and there are times that I don't understand my wife. Yes, guys, we sometimes don't understand our wives, right? No matter how much you try to understand your wife. We still don't get it. That’s me. But remember the vows that you make, whether you understand or not, whether they are old or young, whether they have pimple or no pimple, whether they have wrinkles or no wrinkles, till death do us part. You've made a vow before God. Keep it. Do not be faithless, but be faithful to God. Keep loving your wife.

I want to end with two story. The first story was actually a story by a pastor that we came across. A few weeks ago, we went to the conference by Pastor Ray Oakland. And he was sharing about his life and someone asked him a question, you are busy in church, right? You're doing a lot of things, presenting your ‘offering’ to God, how do you spend your time at home? And he shared this simple story. He shared one day the wife came to him and say the statement to him. The wife said to him, Dear, darling, we have love you always. The wife. She's very wise and smart and loving. And she used kind words and not accusative words. Why you never, why you never. The wife come to the husband and says, dear, “we have loved you always”, here comes to feedback. “But we will not have you always”. Yes, we love you. But you're so busy. You're so busy in church, you're so busy doing things for God. But we don't have you, we don't see you at home. The sons and daughters need you at home. Can you do something about it? We need you. And guess what the pastor did? He said, No, I'm serving God, I'm doing all these things. Of course not. The pastor repented and shared this story with us. He confesses his sins and repent and turn back to the wife and he apologized to the wife and says sorry. And they reconcile and he make amendment, he made changes in his life, so that he will honor God, giving God pure offering, but at the same time not neglecting his wife, his wife at home and his spouse and his daughters and sons.

I want to end with my story. I find myself being a hypocrite. As I was sharing this sermon, I will say, wah, the people of Malachi, wah they are such a hypocrite? The leaders are hypocrite, the people are hypocrites, then I ask myself, am I like that, too? I am a leader, I have recently become a pastor, am I like a hypocrite? Let me share with you, my story. You know, just half a year ago, we just moved into our new place. And in a new place if we want to have Bible principle. We want to cultivate biblical value installed in the family and especially with the baby boy that's coming out yes, thank God is a baby boy, even though I want a girl, but God give me a boy. And I want to cultivate Bible principle, insert principle, gospel principle, to my family, to my wife, to myself, to my kids. And, and my wife wisely lovingly says, Hey, let's do this, I read a book called twelve foundation of a family, something like that, can't remember exactly because I have not read the book. But she has read. And I look like all these twelve principles, I strongly agree. And I'm convicted to introduce this principle to my family. But guess what I was the hypocrite, the very principle that I want to share to my family, or the very principle, immediately, five years ago, I broke. What happened was this, after we received a cardsheet from US, and we have to frame it out, so we go to Ikea, two-dollar frame, a bit cheap but a bit flimsy cannot then we went to spotlight to buy another frame cost $8. And hey, it is a bit too expensive. We don't spend that kind of money. And we found one that is about $3 for one frame, cheap, but it is black colour. We don’t like black colour. Our house is all white and cream and stuff, like Muji kind of thing. And we don't like black in the house. So, what happened right, no choice $3, we buy, cheap. So, we buy a paint, I bought a oil paint, I paint over it for hours and hours. I will spray paint that thing to make sure that the thing you become white, then my wife complains, not complain, give a suggestion, hey, this, this spot or this spot, there's something wrong with this spot? Can you just change it, then no choice I get a bit irritate already. Wah, you talk a lot but you don't do anything because I don't understand my wife. I don't love my wife enough. In my head, I was saying all these things. So never mind I do it, I love her. All right, so I change it. Then after that, she says, can you change the color a bit so I use a wall paint to paint over the frame. Again, hours of work. Then I say can already or not. She says something again, that made me even more irritated. And I just say, wah, why can’t you just be appreciative for what I have done? Why can’t you just affirm what the things that I have been doing for you in the family? But guess what?

The very principle that I want to cultivate are the very principle that I choose intention not to cultivate. The principle is this, be an encourager and build one another up. Instead, I'm tearing her down. Why didn't you say this? What can’t you be appreciative of me and so on so forth. I tear her down and make her feel bad about herself. I didn't love her. I didn't understand her. She was tired. She's about one month into the baby being popped up and she's tired. And she has a lot of things to do, she has to hand over a lot of things to the children ministry leaders, before she takes a four-month break. I failed to understand her needs. I choose to insist my needs on her. And I fail to encourage me to help I fail to bear with her and forgive her as Christ has forgiven me. The very principle that I want to cultivate is the very principle that I break, I found myself being a hypocrite. And I told her, I need a break, I cannot stand anymore. I need a break. And I reflected about this. And I asked God to forgive me for my impatience. I've asked God to forgive me for me being impatient and unloving and not understanding to my wife. And the next hour, I went to my wife and apologize to her, tell her that I'm sorry that I made you feel this way. I'm sorry that I use unkind words to you. I'm sorry that I didn't understand you. And we reconcile, we hug, and we reconcile. As I look back in my life, it is so easy for all of us to be hypocrites. One thing we say we love you God, but it is another thing in how we live our life at home. So repent, turn back, return to God.

So, for Christians, check yourself, how are you treating God? Are you despising God by giving him halfhearted worship? Are you despising God? Because you say you love God by you treat your wife and your husband and your spouse and other people around you all very differently. God forbid.

Maybe you're not a Christian in this room, maybe this is your first time in church. You say yeah, you Christian, you hypocrite? Yes, I want to apologize on behalf of all the Christians. Yes, sometimes we are hypocrite, we say one thing and we do the opposite. We ask for your understanding because we are Christians. We are Christians saved by the grace of God, still under construction. Don't fix your eyes on the Christians that fail all the time. Fix your eyes on God who is able to save you. You say we Christians, we are more sinful and fallen that we can ever imagine. But we understand that because of Christ, He died for our sins, that's why we can come before Him just as we are. But we do want to stay as we are. We want to change. We want to love God because of all the things that Christ have done for us on the cross.

And I'll end with this quote to you. Tim Keller once said this, Christians, yes, we are more sinful. Christian and non-Christian alike, “we are more sinful and flawed in ourselves than we can ever dared believe”. I am sinful. I fell short of the glory of God and you have fallen short of the grace of God, we are sinful. “But yet at the very same time we are more loved and accepted in Christ Jesus, that we ever dared hope”. Today you can have this hope. Today you can receive this amazing grace. Because I have received, my life was transformed from the inside out. I received this amazing grace, I know this God loves me. What did I do? I repent of my ways. I recognize that I'm a sinner. I recognize that I need a savior. I recognize that good works doesn't save me, and who save me? Only Jesus can. And he came to die for the sins of the whole world. He gave his all for you, so that we can have life. And lastly, will you receive him? Will you return and repent of your way? And turn to Him and trust Him to be your savior this morning. And if you have more questions about Christian faith, speak to your friends that have invited you, ask them challenging question, investigate about Jesus Christ. So let me close with this. Malachi speak to the people then. And Malachi is still speaking to the people now. May we find ourselves not being faithless? May we find ourselves being faithful to God and to our spouse at home?


Let us bow with a word of prayer. God, we come before you, we acknowledge our sinfulness. We are sorry for the time that we pretend to be someone that we are not just like the priests, just that the people of God in Israel. God, we ask for your help. We come before you confessing our sins because you are faithful and just to forgive our sins. We come before you repenting of our way, on knowing what we have done wrong and we want to move forward to holiness to be more and more like Jesus. God, we know that we can't but you can give us the power, help us to be walking right with you, to be sensitive to your spirit’s leading in our life, and every time when you expose our sin, will you expose our sin to the point that we will turn back to you, every day of our life, we will repent, we will believe, and we will obey you for the rest of our life because you died for our sins. You are our Redeemer. You are our Savior. You are our great king. Thank You that we can come before you today to worship you. Not with a kind of halfhearted worship. But we can come before you with pure offering, giving our hearts and lives to you. Not perfectly, but sincerely. We thank you for this time that we can learn from Your Word. We pray for not just information, but transformation. We thank you, we love you in Christ’s name we pray, Amen.

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