Sermon Prepared by James McCullen
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When The Priest Had Manure on their Faces
Mal 2:1-9

NKJV    1 "And now, O priests, this commandment is for you. 2 If you will not Hear, And if you will not take it to heart, To give glory to My ame,"Says the LORD of hosts,"I will send a curse upon you, And I will curse your blessings. Yes, I have cursed them already, Because you do not take it to heart. 
3 "Behold, I will rebuke your descendants And spread refuse on your faces, The refuse of your solemn feasts; And one will take you away with it. 4 Then you shall know that I have sent this commandment to you, That My covenant with Levi may continue,"Says the LORD of hosts. 
5 "My covenant was with him, one of life and peace, And I gave them to him that he might fear Me; So he feared Me And was reverent before My name. 6 The law of truth was in his mouth, And injustice was not found on his lips. He walked with Me in peace and equity, And turned many away from iniquity.   7 "For the lips of a priest should keep knowledge, And people should seek the law from his mouth; For he is the messenger of the LORD of hosts.  8 But you have departed from the way; You have caused many to stumble at the law. You have corrupted the covenant of Levi,"Says the LORD of hosts. 9 "Therefore I also have made you contemptible and base Before all the people, Because you have not kept My ways But have shown partiality NKJV 
NASU      1 "And now this commandment is for you, O priests.  2 "If you do not listen, and if you do not take it to heart 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; and indeed, I have cursed them already, because you are not taking it to heart.   3 "Behold, I am going to rebuke your offspring, and I will spread refuse on your faces, the refuse of your feasts; and you will be taken away with it.  4 "Then you will know that I have sent this commandment to you, that My covenant may continue with Levi," says the LORD of hosts.  5 "My covenant with him was one of life and peace, and I gave them to him as an object of reverence; so he revered Me and stood in awe of My name.  6 "True instruction was in his mouth and unrighteousness was not found on his lips; he walked with Me in peace and uprightness, and he turned many back from iniquity. 7 "For the lips of a priest should preserve knowledge, and men should seek instruction from his mouth; for he is the messenger of the LORD of hosts.   8 "But as for you, you have turned aside from the way; you have caused many to stumble by the instruction; you have corrupted the covenant of Levi," says the LORD of hosts.  9 "So I also have made you despised and abased before all the people, just as you are not keeping My ways but are showing partiality in the instruction. NASU 
 
Introduction
Charley Brown held up his hands and said "these hands could be the hand of a great pianist, these hands could be the hands of a great writer, these hands could be the hands of a great artist" then Lucky interrupted him and said "Charley you got peanut butter and jelly all over your hands."

The Priest in this text get manure on their faces. Let's look for the reason.
 
 
 

1. Manure on Their Faces Because They . . Rejected
    the Commandment of God. vs. 1-2 b

    A.    They Rejected A . . Specific Challenge. v 1
            "And now, O priests, this commandment is for you.

    B.    They Rejected A . . Specific Charge. v 2 a
            "If you will not hear, And if you will not take it to heart, To give glory to My name,. . . "

    C.    They Rejected A . . Specific Commander. v 2 c
            ". . . Says the LORD of hosts, . . . "

Illustration God's Law, Can't Break:
You can't really break the law of God. The only thing you really break when you disobey God's law is yourself. If a man or woman does not repent of his or her sins they will destroy their own life, but the word of God will still stand.

Application

You can reject the Commands of God but they still remain the command of God.
 
 
 

2.    Manure on Their Faces Because They . .Received
       the Curse of God. vs. 2 c - 5

Intro: The Cause of the Curse. v 4
    4 Then you shall know that I have sent this commandment to you, That My covenant with Levi may
    continue,"Says the LORD of hosts.

A.    They Received A Curse on their . . Offerings. v 2 c
        2 c ". . . I will send a curse upon you, And I will curse your blessings. Yes, I have cursed them
        already, Because you do not take it to heart.

        1. The Priestly Offerings . . of the Priest.
        2. The Priestly Offerings . . To the Priest.

B.    They Received A Curse on their . . Offspring. v 3 a
        3 a "Behold, I will rebuke your descendants . . . "

        1. The Minister's Children are affected by the Dedication and Obedience of the Minister.
        2. God was not going to call their sons into the ministry.

C.    They Received A Curse on their . . Outlook. v 3 b
        3 b ". . . And spread refuse on your faces, The refuse of your solemn feasts; And one will take you
        away with it."

        1.    This is figurative but expresses God's feeling about these Priest.
                Word translated Dung all 7 times it is used.
        2. God Assigned the a place of the dung heap

Illustration
Several years ago a very negative fellow fell asleep in the barber shop. As a prank the other men got some Limburger Cheese and stuck it on his handlebar mustache. He woke up and said it smells horrible in here and left. He went all around town sniffing and making the same observation. Finally he came back to the barber shop and announced the whole town stinks.

Application

God placed a curse on these Priest.
 
 
 

3. Manure on Their Faces Because They . . Resisted
    the Covenant of God. vs. 4 b-8

Intro: MacArthur Study Bible:
The covenant was one of mutual responsibility, in which God expected reverence for Himself in exchange for life and peace for the priests. Verbally similar to the covenant made with Phinehas relating to the lineage of the High-Priest (cf. Num. 25:10­13), this covenant was made with Aaron of Levi's line and his descendants. The Jewish priests of Malachi's day had deceived themselves by claiming the privileges of the covenant, while neglecting the conditions of it, as if God was bound to bless them even while they rejected the obligation to serve Him.

A.    Resisted as They . . Follow NOT the Example Set before Them. vs. 5 -7

        1.    An Example of . . Reverence. vs. 5
                a. Observance of the Covenant. v 5 a
                    5 "My covenant was with him, one of life and peace, And I gave them to him that
                    he might fear Me; . . . "
                    1) This Fear is the Referential Fear of God.
                    2) An Old Definition of Fear equals reverence.
                            a) Check an unabridged Dictionary
                            b. Obedience To the Covenant. v 5 b
                                    ". . . So he feared Me And was reverent before My name. "

        2. An Example of . . Respect. vs. 6 a
            6 The law of truth was in his mouth, And injustice was not found on his lips. He walked
            with Me in peace and equity,
                a.    Instruction. v 6 a
                b.    Injustice. v 6 b
                c.    Integrity. v 6 c

        3. An Example of . . Responsibility. v 6 b - 7
                a.    Responsibility to . .Turn People Away from Sin. v 6 b
                        ". . . And turned many away from iniquity.

                b.    Responsibility to . .Talk Knowledgeably. v 7 a
                        "For the lips of a priest should keep knowledge,. . . "

                c.    Responsibility to . .Truth from his mouth/ v 7 b
                        ". . . And people should seek the law from his mouth; . . ."

                d.    Responsibility to . .Trust from the Lord. v 7 c
                        ". . . For he is the messenger of the LORD of hosts."

Illustration Integrity:
In Billy Graham's lifetime there have been many other evangelists who have fallen because of various moral indiscretions. But throughout a career that has spanned fifty years there had never been a serious charge of malfeasance - financial, sexual, or otherwise - leveled against Graham. That was not left entirely to chance. Early in his career Graham gathered his associates - "the team," he called them - into a hotel room to discuss how they might avoid some of the pitfalls that had "done in" other evangelists. What emerged was what Cliff Barrows, Graham's longtime associate, called "the Modesto Manifesto."

Graham and his organization resolved never to exaggerate attendance figures at their meetings and to accept only fixed salaries from their organization, the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association, rather than a percentage of the offerings. The team agreed not to criticize fellow members of the clergy, and they set up elaborate precautions to protect themselves from sexual temptation or even the appearance of sexual impropriety. The writer then suggested that in an age that has seen evangelists succumb to all manner of spectacular scandals, Graham's greatest legacy may be his integrity. Paul W. Powell, {Taking the Stew Out of Stewardship, }(Dallas, TX: Annuity Board of the Southern Baptist Convention, 1996) 11-12

B.    Resisted as they . . Forsook the Example Set before Them. v 8

Intro: MSB
The priests were the messengers of God in Israel. Not only were they to represent the people to God, but they were also responsible to represent God to the people by teaching the law of Moses to the nation

        1.    Personal Forsaking. v 8 a
               8 But you have departed from the way;. . . "

        2.    Persuasive Forsaking. v 8 b
                ". . . You have caused many to stumble at the law.. . . "

        3.    Perverted Forsaking. v 8 c
                ". . . You have corrupted the covenant of Levi,"Says the LORD of hosts."

Illustration
In response, a group of Methodist evangelicals slapped Sprague with a heresy complaint--his fourth so far. And for the fourth time Methodist officials dismissed the complaint out of hand, praising Sprague and dressing down the complainants. As Methodist theologian Richard Steele told Christianity Today, "It's hard to imagine any theological position that would get you convicted of heresy in the United Methodist Church--except, perhaps, for teaching that heresy deserves to be a chargeable offense."

It may come as a surprise, then, that underneath the surface evangelical forces are reshaping mainline Protestantism. In every mainline denomination, evangelical clergy and laity have organized what they call renewal organizations. There are now upward of 30 such groups. Collectively, they are revitalizing worship, reviving evangelism, and reforming the theology of mainline churches.

Application

God gave His Word and Called ministers to live His Word and impart it to others. Some have been excellent examples. We always can use more good examples.
 
 
 

4.    Manure on Their Faces Because They . . Reaped
        the Contempt of God and the People. v. 9

Intro: MSB
The priests of Malachi's day had made a radical departure from God's standard, originally given to Levi, causing others to stumble by their bad example and false interpretation of the law. Consequently, the worst shame and degradation fell upon them.

A.    The . . Consequences of God's Contempt. v 9 a
        "Therefore I also have made you contemptible and base Before all the people, . . . "

B.    The . . Cause of God's Contempt. v 9 b
        ". . . Because you have not kept My ways But have shown partiality."

Illustration
One of America's greatest preachers came one Sunday in midwinter to an appointment. The day was unusually stormy and bitterly cold, and he found the building empty. However, he took his seat in the pulpit and waited. One man came in, and at the appointed hour the preacher stood up and opened the service. At its close the solitary auditor departed without waiting to face the minister.

About twenty years later, the same preacher was accosted by a stranger. "Do you remember," he asked, "preaching years ago to one man at such a place?" "Yes, I do, indeed," replied Dr. Lyman Beecher. "If you are that man, I have been wanting ever since to meet you." "I am the man," was the answer. "That sermon saved my soul, and led me into the ministry. The converts of your sermon, sir, are all over Ohio." William Moses Tidwell, "Pointed Illustrations."