Sermon on September 25 by Pastor Roland Eskinazi
Scripture: Malachi 2:1-9
Last week we considered the wasteful, half-hearted worship in Malachi’s day. The decline began with bad leadership. As goes the pulpit, so goes the pew – as goes the leaders, so goes the ministry.
Four steps in the decline: the priests strayed, caused others to stumble, perverted the plan of God and had favorites.
‘Lord, I am like James and John. I size up other people, In terms of what they can do for me; How they can further my program ; Feed my ego, satisfy my needs; Give me strategic advantage’
Contrast with Jesus: ‘..The Son of Man did not come to be served but to serve and to give his life as a ransom for many’ (Mat. 20:25)
2. THE SURE PROMISE OF FUTURE WORD MINISTRY! (v3-4)
God’s hands were not tied by faithless priests. God builds His church through Jesus who ascended to give the gifts of pastor-teachers to the church. (Eph 4:11-12)
If you are a Christian, pause and praise the Lord for God’s love through faithful shepherds whose influence has shaped you.
- A faithful leader will hear the Word
- A faithful leader will live the Word
‘At the Day of Judgment we shall not be asked what we have read but what we have done; not how well we have spoken, but how holy we have lived’.
(Thomas a Kempis)
- A faithful leader will guard the Word, not dilute it
Hold on to instruction, do not let it go; guard it well, for it is your life.
4. THE SUPREME FAITHFUL WORD MINISTER (v6)
The priests’ failure is a reminder that the people’s need (and ours) was not for better priests, but a Perfect Priest not prone to any failure.
Only one Man was entirely trustworthy, walked in peace and uprightness and turned many from sin. He still does so today.
‘Such a high priest truly meets our need – one who is holy, blameless, pure, set apart from sinners, exalted above the heavens’
Remember! You know you can trust leaders who are always pointing you away from themselves to Jesus who alone can cleanse you from all sins and deliver all that God promises.
QUESTIONS FOR REFLECTION AND DISCUSSION
1. Why does good leadership matter in any area and especially in the church? What is the culture’s definition of a good leader as opposed to the Bible’s definition?
2. Why did the priests in Malachi’s day fail God and the people? How might that show itself today? Read Hebrews 13:7. How does that verse describe a leader? Why does sound doctrine i.e. what we believe about God, matter when it comes to the health of a church?
3. It is not wrong to have expectations from our leaders. Why can no one leader meet all our expectations? What does this teach us about ourselves and our greatest need? Why should the aim of a biblical church and biblical leaders be to tie people to Jesus alone?
4. Take some time to pray for yourself the leadership roles you exercise, in the family, in your work and in the church. Now ask the Lord to continue to give godly leaders our church, who hear the Word, live the Word and guard it for the next generation.
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Photo credit FreeImages.com/Andrew Hildebrand