Thursday, June 19, 2008

Are You a Saint? Part 2, Post 2

Here is the Second part of "Are you a Saint?" Part 2

There’s a second thing that saints love because it’s something that God loves. And it’s something that we need a whole lot more of these days. Do you have any idea what it is? Let’s read Malachi 2:10-16.

Have we not all one Father? Has not one God created us? Why do we deal treacherously with one another by profaning the covenant of the fathers? Judah has dealt treacherously, and an abomination has been committed in Israel and in Jerusalem, for Judah has profaned the LORD’s holy institution which He loves. He has married the daughter of a foreign god. May the LORD cut off from the tents of Jacob the man who does this, being awake and aware, yet who brings an offering to the LORD of Hosts!
And this is the second thing you do: You cover the altar of the LORD with tears, with weeping and crying; so He does not regard the offering anymore, nor receive it with goodwill from your hands. Yet you say, “For what reason?” Because the LORD has been witness between you and the wife of your youth, with whom you have dealt treacherously; yet she is your companion and your wife by covenant. But did He not make them one, having a remnant of the Spirit? And why one? He seeks godly offspring. Therefore take heed to your spirit, and let none deal treacherously with the wife of his youth. “For the LORD God of Israel says that He hates divorce, for it covers one’s garment with violence.” Says the LORD of hosts. “Therefore take heed to your spirit, that you do not deal treacherously.”

Do you understand what the LORD, through His prophet Malachi is proclaiming here?

In effect the LORD is declaring: “I love fidelity – faithful God that I am. I love faithfulness.” And yet, many of God’s people in Malachi’s time, and far too many in our time, have forgotten or neglected this. God loves fidelity. He loves faithfulness! And so do his saints.

And notice: these verses indicate that fidelity – that very precious commodity of faithfulness – on the horizontal level cuts two ways. Number one, it pertains to our relationship with God. Are we faithful, are we showing fidelity toward Him? Verse 11 tells us that the Israelites in Malachi’s day had committed an abomination against God. They had profaned God'’ holy place by linking up with foreign gods, with idols. But that’s only half the story. Not only were Malachi’s people unfaithful to God – desecrating His holy sanctuary, but on the human-to-human level they were demonstrating great infidelity, too!

A holy institution, created by God, called marriage was being obliterated, too, by their unfaithfulness. What God had meant to be His instrument for raising up godly offspring was being ruined by God’s people seeking ways to break those covenant unions.

Listen up, my dear ones. The Scripture is pretty plain, isn’t it? God loves fidelity and hates infidelity. And, saints – children of God, if they really are saints, will love and hate those things, too. And, they will demonstrate that love and that hatred right here [point to wedding band] in that uniquely, precious covenant relationship called marriage.

The things saints love – they love the things God loves. Things like righteousness and truth and faithfulness and justice. But is that ALL they love? Are these things the only things that God loves? Well, the answer to both of these questions is “No.”

There are several more things that God loves and that saints – if they really are saints – will love, as well.

But before we close, allow me to change directions just slightly. The things saints love. They love what God loves. That’s what we’ve been looking at up to this point, right? Now, listen carefully. As I was looking into this topic, I found that there were many things that God loves. But then, do you know what I noticed? I picked up on the fact that not only does the Bible tell us about WHAT God loves, it also underscores for us WHO God loves.

We read it earlier, but listen to it again, Psalm 146:7-10, “The LORD opens up the eyes of the blind, and raises up those who are bowed down; the LORD loves [there’s that phrase again] the righteous, protects the strangers, and He supports the fatherless and the widow…”

Whom does God love? He loves all of these – the righteous, the stranger, the fatherless and the widow. Psalm 87 says, “God’s foundation is in the holy mountains. The LORD loves the gates of Zion more than all the dwellings of Jacob. Glorious things are spoken of you, O city of God!” Jeremiah 31:1 and following reads, “The LORD says, ‘I will be the God of all the families of Israel, and they shall be My people. Yes, [He says,] ‘I have loved you with an everlasting love, and with lovingkindness I have drawn you [to Me].”

Listen my friends. God doesn’t just love things, things like righteousness and truth and faithfulness and justice. No! God also and every bit as much loves His people. He has set His love on and, by His Holy Spirit, has poured out His love INTO His people, those who come to Him by faith in Jesus Christ His Son – His saints.

So what? So, if saints love the things God loves, if they love WHAT God loves, then what? They will also love WHOM God loves. They will love the people God loves. One passage from First John summarizes the point. 1 John 4:20 and 21, “If someone [some supposed saint] says, ‘I love God’ yet hates his brother, he is a liar! For he who does not love his brother whom he has seen, how can he [truly] love God whom he has not seen? And this commandment we have from Him: He who loves God MUST love his brother also.” Saints – if they really are what they claim to be – they will not only love the things God loves, but also they will love the people God loves – their Christian brothers and sisters.

The things saints love. They love the things AND the people that God loves. Are you a saint? Am I? Having seen what we’ve seen today through this Book, what do we see in the Mirror? It’s true, isn’t it. You really can tell a whole lot about a person – about yourself – by discerning what that person loves and by then observing what he worships and serves. May this Mirror reflect the fact that you and I really do love the things [and people] God loves! Amen? Amen.


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