Today’s Reading: Mal 2:10–4:6, Acts 28:1–31, Job 31:23–40
Today’s Theme: God, Treasurer and Treasure
Today’s theme is that God both treasures His people and is the greatest treasure to His people. The theme of giving to the Lord of earthly riches and not trusting in riches is looked at as well as our call to live to store treasure in heaven through holy living.
God, The One Father
Have we not all one Father? Has not one God created us? Why then are we faithless to one another, profaning the covenant of our fathers?(Malachi 2:10, ESV)
God is our Father and the one who created us all. As mentioned in Acts He created us all from one blood, He deserves our alliance.
Honour the church building
Judah has been faithless, and abomination has been committed in Israel and in Jerusalem. For Judah has profaned the sanctuary of the Lord, which he loves, and has married the daughter of a foreign god. (Malachi 2:11, ESV)
Some people play down the importance of the church building but the Lord loves His sanctuary, we should honour it too.
God is holy
But you say, “Why does he not?” Because the Lord was witness between you and the wife of your youth, to whom you have been faithless, though she is your companion and your wife by covenant.(Malachi 2:14, ESV)
Our sins are open before God, we simply cannot live in open sin and expect God to hear our prayers and receive our service, God is holy.
Guard your spirit
Did he not make them one, with a portion of the Spirit in their union? And what was the one God seeking? Godly offspring. So guard yourselves in your spirit, and let none of you be faithless to the wife of your youth. (Malachi 2:15, ESV)
Men need to guard against being unfaithful to their wives which leads to divorce. The Lord tells us we need to guard our hearts regarding this, as Jesus reveals unfaithfulness always begins in the heart.
Don’t weary the Lord
You have wearied the Lord with your words. But you say, “How have we wearied him?” By saying, “Everyone who does evil is good in the sight of the Lord, and he delights in them.” Or by asking, “Where is the God of justice?”(Malachi 2:17, ESV)
Hearing and believing false teaching wearies the Lord it causes us to live in a false reality made of apparent facts and assumptions.
“Behold, I send my messenger, and he will prepare the way before me. And the Lord whom you seek will suddenly come to his temple; and the messenger of the covenant in whom you delight, behold, he is coming, says the Lord of hosts.(Malachi 3:1, ESV)
This is John the Baptist.
But who can endure the day of his coming, and who can stand when he appears? For he is like a refiner’s fire and like fullers’ soap.(Malachi 3:2, ESV)
John was like this, he purified hearts in preparation for Jesus.
Pray for the oppressed workers
“Then I will draw near to you for judgment. I will be a swift witness against the sorcerers, against the adulterers, against those who swear falsely, against those who oppress the hired worker in his wages, the widow and the fatherless, against those who thrust aside the sojourner, and do not fear me, says the Lord of hosts.(Malachi 3:5, ESV)
Pray for those who are oppressed in their place of employment. Think beyond your own work place, consider those suffering in the third world where they are paid pennies each day. We should advocate and actively help them through fair-trade etc.
Repent, give to the Lord
From the days of your fathers you have turned aside from my statutes and have not kept them. Return to me, and I will return to you, says the Lord of hosts. But you say, ‘How shall we return?’(Malachi 3:7, ESV)
God is calling His people to repentance, in particular it is repentance over their giving. Tithes in these days for Israel was wrapped up in their taxes as they were a theocratic (ruled by God) kingdom.
The application for us today is not that we must give just 10% but that we must give consistently, generously and with a joy filled heart.
Bring the full tithe into the storehouse, that there may be food in my house. And thereby put me to the test, says the Lord of hosts, if I will not open the windows of heaven for you and pour down for you a blessing until there is no more need.(Malachi 3:10, ESV)
This was not a tithe of money, it was a tithe of food. Notice the blessing is an agricultural one, this was God’s way of running this nation but it required the trust of His people.
You have said, ‘It is vain to serve God. What is the profit of our keeping his charge or of walking as in mourning before the Lord of hosts?(Malachi 3:14, ESV)
There is so much profit in this life and eternity if we live for God.
Then those who feared the Lord spoke with one another. The Lord paid attention and heard them, and a book of remembrance was written before him of those who feared the Lord and esteemed his name.(Malachi 3:16, ESV)
God has a book of remembrance for those who genuinely fear Him. We should live so as to be in that book. By this we are treasures to God and He will keep us.
No grey lines
Then once more you shall see the distinction between the righteous and the wicked, between one who serves God and one who does not serve him.(Malachi 3:18, ESV)
With God it is black and white, either we serve Him or we do not.
Elijah has come
“Behold, I will send you Elijah the prophet before the great and awesome day of the Lord comes. (Malachi 4:5, ESV)
Jesus told us this was John the Baptist.
And he will turn the hearts of fathers to their children and the hearts of children to their fathers, lest I come and strike the land with a decree of utter destruction.”(Malachi 4:6, ESV)
This is where restoration and revival begins, with restored relationships in the home.
When Paul had gathered a bundle of sticks and put them on the fire, a viper came out because of the heat and fastened on his hand.(Acts 28:3, ESV)
This actually happened, however we can see a lesson here too, when the fire of God’s truth comes we need to be prepared for the fact that demonic spirits will not be able to take the heat and will be exposed.
A false god
When the native people saw the creature hanging from his hand, they said to one another, “No doubt this man is a murderer. Though he has escaped from the sea, Justice has not allowed him to live.”(Acts 28:4, ESV)
Not as we know justice, this is a false god literally called Justice.
He, however, shook off the creature into the fire and suffered no harm.(Acts 28:5, ESV)
Those demonic powers are consumed by God’s word.
Healing on the Mission
It happened that the father of Publius lay sick with fever and dysentery. And Paul visited him and prayed, and putting his hands on him healed him.(Acts 28:8, ESV)
Although it is not mentioned here I’m sure this was accompanied with sharing the good news.
And the brothers there, when they heard about us, came as far as the Forum of Appius and Three Taverns to meet us. On seeing them, Paul thanked God and took courage.(Acts 28:15, ESV)
True believers take great encouragement when we see other believers, especially when we are in a new place.
The Hope of Israel
For this reason, therefore, I have asked to see you and speak with you, since it is because of the hope of Israel that I am wearing this chain.”(Acts 28:20, ESV)
Jesus is the Hope of Israel.
Convince through the scriptures
When they had appointed a day for him, they came to him at his lodging in greater numbers. From morning till evening he expounded to them, testifying to the kingdom of God and trying to convince them about Jesus both from the Law of Moses and from the Prophets. (Acts 28:23, ESV)
We should try to convince the lost and Jews in particular through the scriptures that Jesus is the Christ.
And some were convinced by what he said, but others disbelieved.(Acts 28:24, ESV)
Convinced seems synonymous with belief.
Convinced = Belief
Therefore let it be known to you that this salvation of God has been sent to the Gentiles; they will listen.”(Acts 28:28, ESV)
Praise God for His mercy, we are gentiles.
The Kingdom of God
proclaiming the kingdom of God and teaching about the Lord Jesus Christ with all boldness and without hindrance. (Acts 28:31, ESV)
Praise God, what an end to Acts, it ends with God in victory again (without hindrance). Paul proclaimed two things, one was that the kingdom has come in the church, second, everything else is to be seen in the light of Jesus. With boldness he preached the Gospel and so should we.
Acts ends with Paul teaching, we should not shun teaching we should embrace it as God’s way of conveying His truth, to His people and the world.
Don’t trust in riches of this world
this also would be an iniquity to be punished by the judges, for I would have been false to God above.(Job 31:28, ESV)
Trusting in earthly riches and honouring ourselves is us robbing God of the honour He deserves. We have turned ourselves into false gods.
if I have concealed my transgressions as others do by hiding my iniquity in my heart,(Job 31:33, ESV)
When we harbour evil in our hearts it is like we are rotting from the inside. We need to have a clean heart before God and man.
We have an advocate
Oh, that I had one to hear me! (Here is my signature! Let the Almighty answer me!) Oh, that I had the indictment written by my adversary!(Job 31:35, ESV)
Thanks be to God that we can come boldly before the throne of grace and that Jesus is our advocate.
Most of the above post is a copy of the original notes from the same date in 2014.
The Gospel Coalition on Acts 28