Monday Morning Coffee with Mark

Authority - What if the Bible doesn't say "Don't"?

December 18, 2023 Mark Roberts Season 3 Episode 57
Monday Morning Coffee with Mark
Authority - What if the Bible doesn't say "Don't"?
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Welcome to the Westside church’s special Monday Morning Coffee podcast with Mark Roberts. Mark is a disciple, a husband, father and grand dad, as well as a certified coffee geek, fan of CS Lewis’ writings and he loves his big red Jeep. He’s also the preacher for Westside church.

Speaker 1:

Hello, and welcome to the Westside churches special Monday Morning Coffee podcast on this podcast, our preacher Mark Roberts will help you get your week started right. With look back at yesterday's sermon so that we can think through it further and better work the applications into our daily lives . Mark will then look forward into this week's Bible reading so that we can know what to expect and watch for. And, he may have some extra bonus thoughts from time to time. So grab a cup of coffee as we start the week together on Monday Morning Coffee with Mark.

Speaker 2:

Good morning. Good morning. Welcome to the Monday Morning Coffee podcast for Monday December the 18th. Wow, December 18th. I'm Mark. I am kind of wondering that we're this deep in December already. I'm working some coffee this morning. I hope that you have some great coffee going, hope you have your Bible open to the last book of the Old Testament. This is Malachi week, which goes perfectly with the sermon yesterday. Let's put it all together. Let's get started. So yesterday I continue to preach in this Bible Authority series that I began earlier this year trying to read plow some of that ground that helps us understand how to please God and what is God's will for our corporate worship, for our work together as a church, but even in our lives, what has God authorized us to do? And a huge question is what do we do when God has not said don't do that In Ephesians five 19 it says to sing but it does not say in big letters and don't even think about having a praise ban . Lots of people as I detailed yesterday, feel very free to go ahead since God did not specifically forbid something we are free to act. And yesterday I tried to demonstrate how that doesn't work. It doesn't work biblically, but it just doesn't work in regular everyday life. That's a huge portion of what I'm trying to get done in that sermon yesterday that this is not some made up rule that preachers got together and figured out that this is some weird church thing. No , this is how life works and if you get a party invitation and it tells you when to come, it doesn't have to say, don't come on this day, don't come on that day. Don't know we get it, we get it. This is when the party is, we get it. Ephesians five 19 says sing, we're gonna sing. So lemme just add then to that something called the regulative principle of worship. Wow, that's a mouthful. Especially early in the morning. What is the regulative principle of worship? The regulative principle of worship is an idea that is circulating among denominational churches. I'm reading here from a blog by Dr. Lingen Duncan and he is at Reform Theological Seminary. I've got a piece here from Table Talk magazine by Derek Thomas. These are men who are part of some denominational churches that are very far afield from anything that any church of Christ is even close to being involved in. These are not Church of Christ preachers by any stretch stretched the imagination, but they are endorsing the regulative principle of worship. What is that? Well, I'll let Dr. Lingen Duncan tell you the regulative principle is simply the assertion that we must worship God in the way that he has revealed himself and the way he has commanded us to worship him in his word. We need to worship God according to scripture. Our worship needs to be directed by scripture. The form and content of our worship needs to be in accord with the Bible, informed by the Bible and warranted by the Bible. It needs to be founded in the scriptures. That is an emphasis so important today. Then in this article in Table Talk magazine s scriptural warrant by Derek Thomas, where does the Bible teach the regulative principle in more places than is commonly imagined? He says, including the stipulation of the book of Exodus with respect to building the tabernacle that everything should be done according at or according to or after the pattern shown you. He then goes on to detail judgment was pronounced on Kane's offering in Genesis four, the first and second commandments in Exodus 20 show God's particular care with regard to worship the incident of the golden calf teaches that worship cannot be offered according with our own values. The story of nabt Abba Hu and the offering of strange fire and Leviticus 10 figures in here, all of these indicate a rejection of worship offered according to values and directions other than those specified in scripture. Can I read that line again? All these indicate a rejection of worship offered according to values and directions other than specified in scripture. That's what the regular principle is. The regulative principle is that we cannot do what God has not specified. I didn't call it the regulative principle yesterday. I've never heard anybody among churches of Christ call it the regulative principle, but the idea that worship has to be conducted according to what is specifically commanded , mandated, and shown to us in scripture is now being termed the regulative principle and it is being widely talked about, discussed and implemented in denominational circles. How about that? So this idea that those Church of Christ folks are just so strange, no, as worship has gotten wackier and wackier, there is a incredible video of a church that has a star war storm trooper dance going on in church. More and more people saw stuff like that and said, wait a minute, this is not what the worship of God is supposed to be. Began to examine what the worship of God is supposed to be. Someone began to look at how worship was conducted in scripture and finally someone said, you know what? We have to do it God's way. We have to do what God says and we are not free to make it up and do it our way where God has not expressly said, don't even think of doing that. And that's been termed the regulatory principle and it is making inroads and denominational circles and I give you all of that just to say that at a time when churches of Christ are ditching the regulative principle or what we have often called the silence of the scriptures, a lot of folks are saying, you know what? That is correct. That is how communication works. That's how the Bible works. We need to do what God says in the scripture and we're not free to add to that, to take away from that or to fill in when God hasn't expressly said, don't do that with something of our own choosing. Isn't that amazing? The regulative principle? I kinda like that and I think Malachi would like that as well find Malachi chapter one. It's time to talk about our daily Bible reading for this week. It is Monday and today we are reading the first chapter of Malachi. Let me say a few words to introduce the book of Malachi. This is a book that talks to people who seem to have seem to have lost their way internally. This is not a book that will call the people back to God because they are chasing after Baal or Molech or some Babylonian God. No, they're going through the motions. They're serving Jehovah God, but they are not doing it internally. The heart is not right here. Malachi may not even be his name. It could be a title. Malachi simply means my messenger. No other prophet spoke or wrote anonymously. So it may be this is not a title, it may be his name. Most people do seem to think it's that way, but maybe more importantly than whether this is Malachi the messenger or Malachi as his name is the idea of when exactly this occurs and we aren't exactly certain of that either. The date just isn't given here as we've seen in some other prophets with laser precision. We know that Ezra and Nehemiah were trying to lead some reforms and clarifying all of that out of the chapters in Ezra and Nehemiah, some which we read, some which we did not. That's also problematic and difficult. We know that Nehemiah came and was the governor and then he appears to have gone back. There was a gap, Nehemiah 13 in verse six, and then it seems like he came back and was the governor again. And maybe Malachi is preaching here somewhere in that 4 50, 4 40 range, maybe something even as latest four 30, somewhere around in there, maybe supporting the reforms of Ezra and Nehemiah trying to get people to get their hearts right before the Lord. The people have been home a hundred or so years from their exile. They returned in 5 39 give or take roughly speaking, and the temple has been completed since five 16 bc but the people now are complacent and they're indifferent and they are neglecting God. Sometimes it even sounds like they're a little bitter that the Messiah hasn't shown up yet. Malachi calls for proper worship. Talked about that yesterday, didn't I? This is about true worship, real devotion and his message is we need to get some things right and that's gonna need to be a right understanding of God as being the great God, a right kind of worship, right Relationships in marriage in chapter two, treating each other right? That's in chapter two. And of course having a right relationship with God, chapter three into chapter four, Malachi's format is a little unusual. He does engage in kind of a back and forth like a dispute. You say , uh, that expression occurs eight times. This is what you are thinking, this is what you say. And now I'm answering for God. This is kind of unique in the Old Testament, more than 20 times. He uses the expression thus says Jehovah of host showing the emphasis here is you need to listen to God. And we get that heavily in chapter one. We get the idea that you have been chosen by God. I have loved you, says the Lord. Verse two, but you say we don't feel very loved. You are loved Esau. I hated that just means loved less. It doesn't mean that God was actively against Esau, but you are my people and your eyes are going to see that I am great. Verse five, and I need to be treated as a great God that leads to a discussion of worship because in verse six of chapter one, we've began to read about bad sacrificing. They're just going out and picking out whatever's weak and sick and lame. Hey, that's gonna die anyway. So we'll just use that as an animal sacrifice. When you do that, you despise my name, verse six, my name verse 11 will be great among the nations, my name will be great among the nations. Again, verse 11, God needs to be seen for who he is and he needs to be treated right. This is the season of gift giving and if you need to give a gift to somebody and so you rummage around in the back of your closet and you find an old shirt that's got holes in it, it's missing two buttons and you painted the house wearing it, it's got paint all over it and you wrap that up and give it to someone, they are not going to feel honored. And in fact, we would never give such a gift to our boss, for example. And so Malachi says, what are you thinking? Giving this kind of worship to the Lord? You seem bored verse 13, but I am a great king in verse 14, my name, that's the operative phrase here, verse 14, verse six, verse 11, my name will be feared among the nations treat God right? And if there's anything that I would underline outta Malachi chapter one in your mind, it would be that actions speak louder than words claiming that we reverence God, claiming that we love God when we don't treat him right. Well, he's not fooled and we should quit thinking that we can fool the Lord. What a great chapter to learn about strengthening the heart of holiness. I preached on holiness as part of the preaching theme. Malachi one plugs into that beautifully and there'll be more of this. I'll see you tomorrow as we continue in Malachi two . It is Tuesday and today we read from Malachi chapter two. This is not a long chapter, but it is a sharp chapter. There are two admonitions here , an admonition to the priest in verses one to nine and then a section on marriage and divorce. In verses 10 to 16, the admonition to the priest is very pointed. It works all the way down through verse nine, as I said, and it speaks heavily to people who are not priests who are not teaching the people like they should. And as a result they are not treating God the way they should. And you get verse three, this idea of the punishment fitting the crime. How often do we see that in the Bible they are treating God with contempt and so he will treat them with contempt. And the idea here of i'll spread dung on your face is , is the idea of the D or the internal waste from a sacrificial animal. To have that smeared upon your face would be a horrendous insult and that shows how God feels about how the priests are treating him. They are not treating God with honor and respect. This goes back to what we talked about in chapter one yesterday and in verse seven, eight and nine there's discussion of instruction. Leviticus chapters 10 and 11 and also in Deuteronomy 17 shows that the priests were to know the law and to be consulted about things because they knew the law. Look what could have happened if these priests had been faithful. Instead, they are not faithful and they're leading people astray. Speaking of being led astray, everybody's going astray in the matter of marriage and that's where Malachi goes next. In verses 10 to 16, this begins a section where Malachi warns all the people, not just the priest. And this section does extend all the way to chapter three and verse 15, our chapter division here is difficult and hard to work with. The treachery then and the faithlessness is identified in verse 11, marrying foreigners. And if you're familiar with Ezra and Nehemiah, you know that both of them had to address the problem of the Jews when they returned from exile intermarrying with foreigners. That was a violation of the law of God. And when people got involved with foreign women particularly it seems to almost always have led to a compromise of God's religion. I'm looking at you Solomon, you're not doing right because you got idol worshiping wives who've turned your heart away from the Lord. One kings chapter 11, this led to all kinds of problems . One sin is marrying foreign women and then another sin is divorce . Verse 13, the tears of the put away wives cause God not to receive offerings. The picture is almost one whose tears are extinguishing the fire of the altar. In verse 14, the wife of your youth seems to suggest the divorcing of an older woman for a younger woman. Wow, sometimes we think the Bible doesn't speak to today. It's that old dusty book. Try again, Adam Malachi two 14. There's nothing new under the sign that leads to verse 15, which is really difficult. Did he not make them one with a portion of the spirit in their union? And what was the one God seeking godly offspring? That is a very hard passage and I'm not sure that I can work all of that out on a podcast , on a podcast here. But the context sets the meaning clearly. They're being treacherous, they're being faithless to their wives. Their divorce is wrong in God's sight, which leads to verse 16, which is equally difficult with verse 15. If you're reading the English standard version, it says, for the man who does not love his wife but divorces her, says the Lord, the God of Israel covers his garment with violence. So guard yourselves in your spirit and do not be faithless. But if you are reading a different translation, oh I don't know, the New American standard for example, says for I hate divorce, says the Lord, the God of Israel and Him who covers his garment with wrong says the Lord of hosts take heeded to your spirit and don't deal treacherous. So verse 16 reads very differently into very reliable translations and that ought to signal us that the Hebrew here is difficult and that Hebrew scholars who are far more advanced in their understanding than I have some con , have some questions and some controversies about how exactly this passage is to be, how this passage is to be translated. The English standard though has strong support. I have read after this in various journal articles and the Hebrew here is difficult, but I think the ESV has very good reasons for translating it. The man who doesn't love his wife but divorces her, covers his garment with violence rather than the more familiar translation. I hate divorce. I think the difficulty about some of this is that this passage is unclear and uncertain. Yet I have heard it cited as proof that we must not sanction divorce under any circumstances. I have seen Malachi two 16 brought to the marriage divorce during marriage controversy as kind of the Trump card or the nuclear option. Well here it is. God says he hates divorce. So we need to be very careful about that. I certainly am not for trying to derive some new theology of marriage, divorce remarriage because we uh , make some appeal to an obscure passage in the original language. But I'm also not for building a giant house of theology on a passage that we need to be honest about. It is not certain, it is not clear that Malachi two 16 somehow designates divorce as this outrageous abominable sin before the Lord and as a result we have to do thus and so and thus and so and thus and so I think Malachi has made clear that God is opposed to these treacherous divorces, but we'd want to be careful with the conclusions that we draw from Malachi two 16 particularly sometimes divorced people have been made to hear or maybe they have heard God hates them because they got a divorce. We certainly want to be careful with Malachi two and verse 16. Tomorrow we'll dive into Malachi three as the prophet continues to urge the people to have a right heart to toward God. It is Wednesday and today we're reading Malachi III chapter. Actually I need to back up to chapter two in verse 17. That's where this section really begins. Two 17 starts the rest of the book. And I think maybe the guy who did the chapter divisions in Malachi probably should have read it before he divided it up. We'll talk more about that when we get to chapter four. But this begins a section where they're asking Where is the God of justice? Two 17, Hey, we've come back. We thought there was gonna be prosperity land that flows with milk and honey, second exodus, you know all that stuff that Mark's gonna talk about in that podcast several hundred years from now. Where is all of that going on? And Malachi says, you're gonna get some of that. You're gonna get some of that, but it's not gonna look like you think it's going to look to start with, I'm sending a messenger three, one who will prepare the way before me. This messenger of course is John the Baptist and is the promise of the messenger from Isaiah the 40th chapter, the second Elijah if you will. And all four gospels use this passage to affirm John the Baptist is this messenger. Matthew three, three, mark one, three. Jesus says so in Matthew 11 in verse 10, can't argue with the gospel. Writers can't argue with Jesus. This is John the Baptist. And the idea here is the coming. Verse two will not be what they expect instead of him bringing them all kinds of good things. This is Santa Claus showing up with a sack full of S for everybody. He will judge them. They aren't what they need to be. That's where the problem lies. The problem isn't with God, the problem is with them. In verse five, we hear the echoes of social justice themes that we've been reading all year in the prophets not treating people right and you don't fear me. Verse five, which leads then to Malachi opening up the discussion of the tithe in some ways, revisiting some of the ideas in chapter one, you're robbing God because you don't pay the tithe. Verse eight, well , a man robbed God, yet you are robbing me. You say, how have we robbed you in your tithes and contributions? So God challenges them to give as the law mandates. And it's probably important to say something here about how this passage is miserably misused by so many TV preachers and others to try to enforce the tithe in some way or to tell people if you give, then you're gonna get, we're not under the Deuteronomy code, we're not under the law of Moses. We're not the people of God like the Israelites. Were in the physical nation in a physical way expecting physical blessings. If we obey God, don't misuse or miss the point here. The point is these people need to be faithfully obedient to God under their covenant, under the law of Moses that meant they needed to tithe. No such restriction is given. No such command is given in the New Testament about our giving. We cannot bind what God has not bound. Think about that. Malachi three is just telling people they need to obey the Lord fully. We'll pick that theme up tomorrow as we complete chapter three. I'll see you on Thursday. Welcome to Thursday. We begin reading in Malachi the third chapter in verse 13, where once again, the people are speaking against God. They say, Hey, we don't remember speaking against God. God says, certainly you speak against me. Verse 14, when you say it is vain to serve God, what is the prophet of our keeping his charge? And now you even call the arrogant blessed. So these people actually say, we've mourned and gone through the formality of worship, yet God doesn't seem to notice us. Why should we be serving God? Yet they aren't really serving God. We saw that in Malachi one. We saw that in Malachi two . The priests aren't teaching the people, the PE priests aren't leading the people. There's all kinds of unlawful divorce going on, and now we see that they're not keeping the tithe. They haven't really served God. And then verse 15, they dare to charge God with helping the wicked. It doesn't make any difference whether you serve God or not because God doesn't care what a disaster these people need. The preaching of Malachi. Then beginning in verse 16, there are people who respond to Malachi's preaching. This material really goes with chapter four. Once again, the chapter divisions here just dreadful. There were some who were still faithful and they decide to repat and so they write a book of remembrance. That's a very common idea in the Bible. Exodus the 32nd chapter has that idea several times in the Psalms and Ezekiel and Daniel, a book of remembrance. We're gonna write these things down in Nehemiah. We saw that the people in Nehemiah at the end of chapter nine, they write these things down to make a covenant with the Lord. And so the folks who want to repent, they write down that we fear the Lord and we esteemed his name . Do you see that? That's what came out of chapter one. See how the book is coming back full circle? They esteemed his name. Chapter one in verse six says, people were despising God's name. Now they esteem his name and these people will be spared from the judgment that will fall upon those who are not serving God. There'll be a distinction verse 18, between the righteous and the wicked, which rolls into chapter four. Someone's gonna say Distinction. Distinction, when judgment comes, what ? What's that all about? That's all about Malachi chapter four, the last chapter in the Old Testament. We're reading that on Friday. It is Friday and today we read the fourth chapter of Malachi. What an amazing journey it has been this year working through the prophets. We're not quite done. We have some wonderful stuff in Isaiah to read next week, and I'll be preaching from Isaiah 53 in the 9:00 AM on Sunday. So lots still to go, but we have reached the end of the prophets as we read them in chronological order. This is the last message in the Old Testament, and it comes directly out of what we read yesterday in chapter three verses 16, 17, and 18. There's gonna be a distinction verse 18, between the righteous and the wicked. Why does there need to be a distinction? Because the Lord's day is coming. Chapter four, verse one, when there is going to be a destruction that may be a reference to the destruction of Jerusalem. There's more discussion of this in verse six, I will strike the land. Some think that is the destruction of Jerusalem, which leaves the temple meaningless and desolate. Others think it is the land they failed to honor God and so the land is taken from them. Whatever you want to make of that, it is clear that God's judgment is going to fall on people who are indifferent and apathetic and their approach to God and to his worship. There will be those though who will respond, those who fear my name. Verse two, the son of righteousness shall rise with healing in its wings. What a beautiful, beautiful metaphor, and there's going to come one Elijah the prophet, verse five. He will turn the hearts of fathers back to the children, and so one is coming a second. Elijah, we understand the concept of a second David. We've talked about that in Ezekiel 34. This is a second Elijah, and he works for the conditions of heart that can receive the Messiah. This is of course John the Baptist who prepares the way for Jesus. What does it mean to turn the hearts of the fathers back to the children? Something that means there'll be an ending of family quarrels, maybe from mixed marriages and all that divorcing in chapter two. Others think it's just a reference to the ancestors, Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob turn the people back to the way of faithfulness or maybe he'll restore the covenant relationship where wicked children turn back to the one who is really their God. It is clear that this second Elijah is designed to help people receive the work of God and serve the Lord in a more faithful way. All of that is to say then that this second Elijah, John the Baptist, will call them to choose God or suffer the consequences. We don't often think about that in the message of John the Baptist or in the message of Jesus Christ, but it is certainly there and as you read in the gospels, you will certainly hear that there are several places where Jesus talks about a judgment to come upon a faithless generation that refused him. Think about Malachi chapter four when you read Luke 21 and Matthew 24, for example. So the book of Malachi concludes and it ends with two thoughts. Remember the law and a prophet is coming, A prophet is coming to prepare you for the coming of the Messiah. That's Malachi chapter four. That's our reading for today and that closes the podcast for the week. Thank you so much for listening. If you love the Monday Morning Coffee podcast, we certainly do hope that you would subscribe or follow the podcast, giving it a review or a rating, helps more people find it. We would really like for you to talk it up, share it on social media, tell other people about the podcast. But until next week, wow, next week's gonna be crazy busy, isn't it? But until next week, may your coffee be delightful. May your Friday be wonderful, and may the Lord be with you today all day. I'm Mark Roberts and I want to go to heaven, and I want you to come to I'll see you on Monday with a cup of coffee.

Speaker 1:

Thanks for listening to the Westside church of Christ podcast. Monday morning coffee with mark . For more information about west side , you can connect with us through our website, just and our Facebook page. Our music is from that's upbeat with two P'S UPP , B E A T , where creators can get free music. Please share our podcast with others. And we look forward to seeing you again with a company coffee, of course, on next Monday.

Sermon Notes
Monday Malachi 1
Tuesday Malachi 2
Wednesday Malachi 3:1-12
Thursday Malachi 3:13-18
Friday Malachi 4