Title: Why Serve God? It is a Family Responsibility
Text: Malachi 3:13-4:6
(At the end of the Old Testament the prophet Malachi wrote about 200 years before Jesus was born about the days to come for the people of Israel. They were now scattered all over the known world but their faith prevailed. The key to their survival was the strength of their family bonds. Children learned from and looked up to their parents. God looked and continues today to look to the parents to pass on the message of hope, faith and love to their children, as they waited for the arrival of God’s promised Messiah – Jesus.)
God says, “You have spoken hard, rude words to me.
“You ask, ‘When did we ever do that?’
“When you said, ‘It doesn’t pay to serve God. What do we ever get out of it? When we did what he said and went around with long faces, serious about God-of-the-Angel-Armies, what difference did it make? Those who take life into their own hands are the lucky ones. They break all the rules and get ahead anyway. They push God to the limit and get by with it.'”
Then those whose lives honored God got together and talked it over. God saw what they were doing and listened in. A book was opened in God’s presence and minutes were taken of the meeting, with the names of the God-fearers written down, all the names of those who honored God’s name.
God-of-the-Angel-Armies said, “They’re mine, all mine. They’ll get special treatment when I go into action. I treat them with the same consideration and kindness that parents give the child who honors them. Once more you’ll see the difference it makes between being a person who does the right thing and one who doesn’t, between serving God and not serving him.
“Count on it: The day is coming, raging like a forest fire. All the arrogant people who do evil things will be burned up like stove wood, burned to a crisp, nothing left but scorched earth and ash—a black day. But for you, sunrise! The sun of righteousness will dawn on those who honor my name, healing radiating from its wings. You will be bursting with energy, like colts frisky and frolicking. And you’ll tromp on the wicked. They’ll be nothing but ashes under your feet on that Day.”
God-of-the-Angel-Armies says so…(My prophet will come before me and) he will convince parents to look after their children and children to look up to their parents. If they refuse, I’ll come and put the land under a curse.”
Truth: Why didn’t the families of Israel give up when they found themselves enslaved and having to live in foreign lands? Why didn’t the families of Israel give up on God and decide to believe in the gods that supposedly empowered and guided the people who defeated them?
Today, why should you not give up, give in, or give out in your fight to follow the faith of your parents? The answer lies in this fact: How we respond in this life will decide if we will stand before GOD with a smile or in fear. Just as the families of Israel waited faithfully for God’s promised Messiah, we now look forward to standing before Him too!
Thoughts: For centuries the families of Israel had struggled to live their lives honoring God. Often many of them would feel they were special and there was nothing they could do wrong that would change their relationship with God. They were God’s chosen people – nothing could change that fact. Children felt they were special because their parents were good and right living parents. So what if they walked in ways that were not right or good. It felt right and good to them, even if their parents warned them how their actions and attitudes went against what God wanted for them. These children believed only that God would certainly love them because of their parents! But they found out God was not happy with their choices and there were consequences for the way they chose to live their lives.
Just because life does not always seem fair and right, God is in control. Even when we may feel uprooted and out of place, God is in control. Even when it seems that bad things are happening all around you and others call it good, God is in control.
If you knew there was coming a time in your future when God will step in and take charge of your life in such a way that there will no more pain, no more uncertainty, no more hunger or thirst, what would you do to change the way you live your life now?
The key to our faith are these key points which the New Testament in the Bible reveals.
1. God is in control, and God will not let the bad and wrong things in this life to overcome us if we trust Him and His promises.
2. God is in control, and God will not leave us on our own. God sent His Son, Jesus and His Spirit to guide and guard us through the tough times in our life.
3. God is in control, and God still gives us the same promise of “that day” we all will face when God will receive us as one of His children or reject us because we rejected Him.
4. God is in control, yet God will give you a choice to make in this life: serve God’s will or serve our will.
5. God is in control, and God even decides how we will face death: in fear or by faith.
Not even death can defeat the purposes and plans of God for you and your life with Him.
Dads and moms, God has placed a big responsibility in your hands. Not only do you have your own choice to make, you have to serve God by guiding and directing your children to know God so they can choose to serve Him too.
Is God in control in your life? The choice is left to you, but I pray your parents are helping you to understand the choice you will be making.