Listen - I am Disappointed in your Worship

Bible Book: Malachi  1 : 6-14
Subject: Worship; Adoration
Series: Listen Up - God is Speaking - 8 Sermons

Listen, I Am Disappointed in your Worship

Dr. J. Mike Minnix, Editor,

Malachi 1:6-14

Someone once said, "A cold church, like cold butter, never spreads very well." Indeed, nothing is quite as un-spreadable as dead, lifeless, and cold worship.

It is sad to note that some people who have no faith in a living God have a greater devotion that many Christians. A two inch long discolored eyetooth is reverenced by 400 million Buddhists as the most sacred object on earth. The tooth is supposed to have been reclaimed from Buddha's funeral pyre in 543 B.C. and was brought to Ceylon 800 years later. Today the tooth sets upon a golden lotus in the glorious temple of the tooth in Kandy, Ceylon. It is surrounded by rubies and tons of flowers. Each year a hundred thousand faithful Buddhists come from many countries to gaze at the sacred tooth. They bring gifts of gold, silver and jewels to place within the temple.

Jill Briscoe said, “I love what Corrie ten Boom once taught me. She said, ‘Jill, people thank me so much, and it used to worry me because I didn't want to get a big head. So I began to collect those compliments like flowers. Thank you, I'd say. Thank you, thank you, thank you. Then at the end of the day I'd kneel down and I'd say, Here You are Jesus, they're all Yours.'" - Jill Briscoe

One of the greatest definitions of worship ever laid down was one by by William Temple: "To worship is to quicken the conscience by the holiness of God, to feed the mind with the truth of God, to purge the imagination by the beauty of God, to open the heart to the love of God, to devote the will to the purpose of God."

A.W. Tozer said, "We are called to an everlasting preoccupation with God. Most middle-class Americans tend to worship their work, to work at their play, and to play at their worship. As a result, their meanings and values are distorted. Their relationships disintegrate faster than they can keep them in repair and their lifestyles resemble a cast of characters in search of a plot."

One writer notes that worship in our time has been captured by the tourist mindset. Worship is understood as a visit to an attractive site to be made when we have adequate leisure. For some it is a weekly jaunt to church, while for others, occasional visits to special services. Some, with a bent for Christian entertainment and sacred diversion, plan their lives around special events like retreats, rallies and conferences. We go to see a new personality, to hear a new truth, to get a new experience and so, somehow, expand our otherwise humdrum lives. We'll try anything - until something else comes along.

Is God pleased with our worship? This is a question few Christian every ask or think about. After all, when it comes to worship, that is the One with whom we must be concerned. If He is displeased, it doesn’t matter how much we are pleased with it!

A little boy went with his parents to worship one Sunday and he saw his dad put a dollar in the offering plate. On the way home from church the parents discussed the service. "The music was too loud," his mother said. "The service was too long," the father complained. The little boy chimed in, "I thought it was a pretty good show for a dollar!" Sadly, we are judging the services instead of allowing God to judge the way we worship!

Malachi was prompted by God to speak to the people about their worship. God shared three important things that were wrong with the worship of the people in that day.

I. The Motive Lacking in their Worship - Malachi 1:6

The people in the day of Malachi worshiped from tainted motives. They had lost the true meaning of coming into God's presence. It all became a selfish attempt at going through the motions of worship. The Lord spoke to them about the proper motives for true worship of the living God. He did so by pointing out to them two important lessons, each by way of an illustration.

A. A Son to a Father

Ladies, do not be dismayed that the masculine use of the progeny is used in this passage. In the New Testament all believers are, at one point, referred to as a bride of Christ, which is feminine. I must tell you that I am not the least offended by being referred to in a feminine sense when I am called the Bride of Christ. In the passage before us, all believers, male and female, are referred to as sons. There is a particular reason for the use of that term.

Sons were the ones through whom the family name and wealth was passed down. The picture here is of the child of God being in the family and the rightful heir of God's wealth. Every person who is genuinely saved is a child of God - a son of God. We are heirs of God and joint-heirs with Christ.

When we come to worship we are to approach the event as a great gathering of the family in the presence of the Father. We come into His presence with the realization that we do not deserve to be here. We are like the prodigal son who came home to his father and said, "I am no longer worthy to be called a son." We are sinners and rightfully the Heavenly Father could cast us out into outer darkness; but, no! He welcomes us with open arms. Why? Because we have accepted His Son and He has adopted us into the family of God. We can sing that magnificent chorus,

"I'm so glad I'm a part of the family of God,

I've been washed in the fountain, cleansed by His blood.

Joint-heirs with Jesus as we travel this sod,

I'm so glad I'm a part of the family of God." (William J. Gaither, 1970)

The people of Judah treated the Heavenly Father with indifference, even though He had brought them out of Babylon and called them His own! We must never be guilty of this terrible sin! We are relatives, recipients and have an eternal relationship with the Father through the Son. We must never take our position in Christ for granted. We must never enter worship with a yawn and leave with an attitude that says, "Well, that's over for the week!"

Friend, when you come into this place to worship, it ought to be a celebration. The Father welcomes you. The family is gathered around you. You are accepted by the Holy One. Never let it be said that we came in an attitude of apathy.

B. A Slave to a Master

The Lord used another example to describe our motive for worship. Not only should we worship our Lord as a Father, but we should worship Him as a slave to a master. What is the purpose in such an illustration?

In reality, we were once slaves to sin (See Romans 6:16-22). We were Caught By Sin. Sin enslaved us and put chains of death around us. We served a cruel master. We were dirty and doomed. Nothing stood before our future but a terrible judgment and a Christ-less grave.

Then Jesus came...! We were caught by sin, but thanks be to God, we were bought by the Savior! (1 Corinthians 6:20; Galatians 3:13; 1 Peter 1:18; Revelation 5:9)

"Redeemed how I love to proclaim it,

Redeemed by the blood of the Lamb;

Redeemed through His infinite mercy,

His child and forever I am." (Fanny Crosby, 1882)

He bought me by His blood! I am His willing bondslave.

Friend, we come into the presence each week of the One who purchased our pardon on Calvary's tree. We should come into His gates with thanksgiving and into His courts with praise!

When our motive involves an understanding of our proper relationship to our God as sons to a Father and slaves to a Master, we will worship correctly and completely!

II. The Manner Lacking in their Worship - Malachi 1:7-11

Their motive was wrong, but so was the manner of their worship, and that disappointed God - and that is putting it mildly! They were bringing lame sacrifices to the altar. This was an insult to God because the sacrifice was a picture of the Savior that the Father planned to send for the salvation of the lost. They so grieved the Lord that He stated in verse 10 that it would please Him if the doors to the house of worship were be closed and no service rendered to Him. What a sad indictment upon the people; what a pity that the loving God of Heaven should be treated in this fashion.

How could the people have offered proper worship to Him? What was it that God wanted from them? Be assured that the principles of true worship are unchanged in all generations. Note the fitting manner of authentic worship.

A. It was not Sacrificial Worship

In 2 Samuel 24:24 we read of David offering a sacrifice to God. David would not offer anything to God that did not cost Him something. Worship is the giving of that which we might use for ourselves or others to God simply because He is worthy of it. It may be our energy, which might be spent on other activities. It might be our money, which might buy material things or pleasures. It might be time, which we could employ in some selfish manner. It may be praise, when we little feel like praising. But, be assured, true worship will cost you something. You can't offer "lame" worship to God and please Him!

Look at Hebrews 13:5 as an example. The word used for "offer" in Hebrews 13:5 means to bear as a weight or burden. Praise is not always easy. We must come with praise because of who He is and what He has done, not just because of the way we feel. The people in Malachi's day were depressed and so they offered little praise to God. Thus, their worship was dependent on how they felt not who God was! You will note that the text in Hebrews says we are to offer this praise "continually." That is just another way of stating that God deserves true, passionate praise whether we are in good or bad circumstances. Our lips "confess" his name, meaning that we agree with what His name says about Him.

B. It was not Sincere Worship

There was commotion without emotion in their worship, there was activity without sincerity, and this displeased the Lord as well. The Bible says that they turned up their noses at the worship of God, meaning that they held it in contempt.

In John 4, Jesus said that God is a Spirit and they that worship Him must worship Him in Spirit and in truth. There must a spirit of sincerity in true worship. We must offer the Lord sincere worship and honor Him with sincere service. To do otherwise is to mock His name and person!

III. The Majesty Lacking in their Worship - Malachi - 1:12-14

The people had missed the majesty of true worship. They failed to understand that worship was a glorious and beautiful experience in the presence of almighty God. They missed this through three errors.

A. They Lacked Submission to His Sovereignty (Great King)

Mr. and Mrs. Ed Thompson were members of the church I pastored in the Atlanta Metro area a few years ago. One day they traveled to Asheville to see the Biltmore House. They had their small son with them at the time. They told him they were going to see a castle and he was so excited. He couldn’t wait for them to get there. When they arrived he asked a probing question: "Where is the king?" They told him that the Biltmore House was a castle but there was no king who lived there. Their little son said, "Let's go home, I don't want to be here unless there is a king."

Indeed, that is the attitude of worship. We are not here to see the building, or to be seen by the people, we are here to see the King! When we come in that attitude, we are truly ready to worship. There is a Majesty in Worship because we are worshiping His majesty!

B. They Lacked Subservience to His Supremacy (Lord Almighty)

They lacked the humility that creates true worship. A mountain climber went on his first mountain climbing trek with two experienced guides. He climbed for many hours and was totally exhausted. Finally they came within view of the summit. The guides were going to led the apprentice climber step-by-step to the top so he could see the view first, since this was his first climb. He leaped up to the top and was suddenly hit by the powerful winds on the mountain crest. One of the guides reached up and pulled him down on his knees saying, "Down on your knees, young man, that is the only way to be safe at this height."

That is the true nature of worship. If we would climb the mountain peak of worship to be in the presence of God, the only safe way to do so is to fall on our knees. He is Sovereign. He is Lord. He is Supreme. We must worship Him as such!

C. They Lacked Sensitivity to His Sufficiency

His name is great in all the earth. They did not understand that He was the universal Savior. His grace was sufficient for all who came to Him. If they would not serve Him, He would go to those who would. If still others would not praise Him, the rocks and hills would cry out in adoration.


Do you know today who God really is? Are you worshiping Him as you should? Do you know He is sufficient for all your needs? Let us come to Him now. Let’s climb the peak of worship and fall on our knees before Him. If you don’t know the Lord, His arms are open for you to be saved today.