Blessings into Curses – Malachi 2:1-2

I hope you believe that God is God. Do you understand what I mean by that? I don’t mean, I hope you believe that Jehovah is God, or Elohim is God. That is an eternal truth. I mean: I hope you believe that God is truly sovereign. Sovereignty is a part of the definition of the word “God.” He is a true King who can do whatsoever He would like to do. For example, I hope you believe that Jehovah has both the power and authority to permit or restrain Satan from touching Job or Adam and Eve or you. I hope you know that the Son of God can call Lazarus out of his tomb, and that He can give the rocks the ability to praise His name. He can order a donkey to speak, and He can make the sun stand still in the sky. He can turn off the light and heat from the sun; He can make the largest meteor to suddenly veer off course and not smash into earth. There is nothing that God can not do. He sets up kings and political parties, and He removes them. “The king’s heart is in the hand of the Lord; he turneth it whithersoever He will.” “God can do anything, anything, anything; God can do anything but fail.” With that planted deep in our hearts, isn’t it a logical desire to have the blessing of that omnipotent God? “He can save, He can cleanse; He can keep, and He will; God can do anything but fail. He’s the Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the end;...

The Absolute Most Important Thing – Malachi 2:1-2

Speaking through Malachi, God has been correcting and criticizing both Israel’s priests and her people. Those priests, as part of the leadership of the nation, should have been setting a godly example. But they were accepting and offering corrupt sacrifices from the nation at large. They might have been justifying themselves by saying they were only offering what had been given to them. But still, it was they who were offering polluted bread upon God’s altar. So the criticism in the first chapter went back and forth between the people and the priests. But now, in this second chapter, the Lord focuses on the sons of Levi and Aaron. “And now, O ye priests, this commandment is (specifically) for you.” In Israel’s beginning, the Lord had blessed the tribe of Levi, setting them apart from the rest of the nation. At points during the Exodus, they had distinguished themselves in their zeal and service for the Lord. So the Lord had given them special privileges and responsibilities. Their primary duties were in and around the altar of the tabernacle and eventually the temple. They tended to the lamps inside the Holy Place; they offered incense upon the golden altar. They prepared and replaced the shewbread. Along with their brethren, the Levites, they probably maintained the building and all its parts. They were the only people permitted inside the temple. Not only did they offer the morning and evening sacrifices, but they slew and presented all the doves, lambs, goats and bullocks of the people. In addition to these things, they were supposed to be the primary teachers of the...

September 12

The early Baptists in Connecticut were persecuted by the state, especially in the area of ministerial taxes. Everyone, by law, was to pay an assessed amount for the support of the local Protestant minister. The Baptists, on principle, refused. They were often taken to jail and their properties were confiscated, forcing their compliance. On one occasion a whole congregation was arrested in the midst of their worship service, and taken to the New London gaol. On this day in 1794, Jabez Clarke, a Justice of the Peace wrote to Samuel Perkins, a collector of Society Taxes. It read in part, “Greetings: By authority of the State of Connecticut, you are hereby commanded forthwith to leavy and collect of the persons named in the foregoing list herewith committed you, each one of his proportion as therein set down… If any person shall neglect or refuse to pay the sum at which he is assessed, you are thereby commanded to distrain the goods, chattels, or lands of such persons so refusing; and the same being disposed of as the law directs, return the overplus, if any, to the respective owners; and for want of such goods, chattels, or lands whereon to make distress, you are to take the body or bodies of such persons so refusing and them commit to the keeper of the goal in said county of Windham within the prison, who is thereby commanded to receive and safe keep them until they pay and satisfy the aforesaid sums…. Dated at Windham, this 12th day of September,...

Weariness in Well Doing – Malachi 1:13

  I don’t know if it is true of every pastor, but this pastor has been getting unsolicited suggestions to buy stuff. And one which has come up recently, over and over again, are materials dealing with “ministerial burn-out.” “Ministerial burn-out” is a term which others have called “Pastoral Fatigue,” or “Spiritual Workers Weariness.” Spurgeon in his “Lectures to My Students” called it “The Minister’s Fainting Fits.” There are days, weeks and whole months when the man of God may be ready to quit the ministry. It may seem like he’s spinning his wheels and accomplishing nothing for either God or his church. He may feel spiritually drained; his spiritual gas tank is empty. God has put him on the shelf, and he’s looking down on the world which is passing him by. I haven’t bought any of those books, because it’s been a long time since I have had one of those fainting fits. I will not say that this the same thing as what we find in verse 13, but it is related. Let’s consider that word “weariness” this evening. God said, “Ye have profaned (my name), in that ye say, The table of the Lord is polluted; and the fruit thereof, even his meat is contemptible. Ye said also, Behold, what a WEARINESS is it!” Did you know that this word is found in one form or another more than sixty times, and several of them are fairly well-known New Testament scriptures? We can conclude that weariness, whether ministerial or otherwise, is apparently fairly common. And, by the way, the Lord even uses it of Himself,...

The Dreadful King – Malachi 1:14

Do you see the word “voweth”in this verse? “Cursed be the deceiver, which hath in his flock a male, and VOWETH, and sacrificeth unto the Lord a corrupt thing.” If I am not mistaken, that word takes us from Israel’s required sacrifices to their freewill offerings. This may have involved sacrifices related to special promises, like the dedication of the Nazarite. Even if the earlier verses were speaking about sin and trespass offerings, “voweth” suggest, perhaps, peace and thank offerings. In other words, these Jews were not under any pressure to make these offerings. Is that an important distinction? I think so. It takes us back to Ananias and Sapphira, and their freewill offering of money. In Acts 5, when this married couple tried to deceive the church about the nature of a large financial gift, the Lord, who is never deceived, struck them both dead. They weren’t being forced to give anything to God’s work, and they certainly didn’t have to lie. Their offering was corrupt because they were trying to paint a picture which wasn’t true: a portrait of generosity, self-sacrifice and concern for the progress of the church. They were cursed by God, because they were deceivers, and the sovereign King took their lives. And that, by the way, was judgment on people who professed to be children of God. With that in mind, please turn to Leviticus 22, one the scriptures to which, I think, Malachi was referring. “And the LORD spake unto Moses, saying, Speak unto Aaron, and to his sons, and unto all the children of Israel, and say unto them, Whatsoever he...

September 5

On this day (September 5) in 1651, Obadiah Holmes was whipped nearly to death in a public ceremony. His crime was only that he was a Baptist trying to serve the Lord according to the principles of the Bible. But Holmes is not the subject of this history. When Holmes was released from the whipping post, two men, John Spur and John Hazel rushed forward to offer their support to the beaten man. At the time neither Spur nor Hazel were Baptists. For their heinous crime of sympathy, the two men were haled into court. Spur defended himself by pleading the Biblical exhortation to show kindness to those in need. He was found guilty and fined forty shillings or he was to be whipped as Holmes had been. When a friend stepped forward to pay the fine, Spur tried to send him away, but the court accepted the money and told Spur to leave. John Hazel was about sixty-years old and not in good health, but he possessed a great deal of wisdom and legal acumen. When he was asked whether or not he thought Obadiah Holmes was guilty of a crime in immersing people, Hazel declared he was not on trial for anything Holmes might have done. When it was declared that he shook Holmes’ hand, he pointed out that such a public gesture was not a crime. When the court wanted to condemn him, he pled his right to a trial by jury. When it was said he showed contempt for legal authority, he said it was not true and demanded the state produce witnesses. He said,...

Praying for Grace – Malachi 1:8-9

So Satan has once again come to you; this time through the portal of your conscience. For the umpteenth time you have committed that particular sin – that special weakness of yours. What was it? Pride over something you’ve done? Coveting something your neighbor has? Maybe it was seeing someone and remembering what she had done to you, and you resented her. Was it a lack of forgiveness? Was it another fit of unjustified anger? Some sort of lust? Maybe it was a more outward reaching sin: a lie, a small theft, something mean. Whatever it was, your conscience has been stirred and some ambassador of Satan has taken advantage. “Look what you have done. Once again you have brought shame to yourself and to your Saviour. How can you go to prayer now? How can you, with that filthy heart, call on the righteous name of God? Not only are your shoes unfit for God’s holy temple, but you can’t take off your shoes because your feet are unfit as well.” “Woe is me! for I am undone; because I am a man of unclean lips, and I dwell in the midst of a people of unclean lips.” Has an evil spirit ever taken the righteous conviction of the Holy Spirit and turned it against you in an attempt to keep you from praying or serving God in other ways? That was the thought that came to me as I was reading verse 9 the other day. I mentioned in our last lesson that the experts are divided about the attitude or intent of the words: “Now, I...

Do You Despise the Holy Name? – Malachi 1:6-14

If you were going to define “salvation” according to Biblical terms, what words would you use? If you need some help, let me give you some suggestions. When Zacharias, the father of John Baptist, had his voice miraculously restored, he began to praise God. One of the things he said was: “Blessed be the Lord God of Israel, for he hath visited and REDEEMED his people, and hath raised up an HORN of SALVATION for us in the house of his servant David.” He was saying that salvation is found in Jesus Christ, the promised son of David. And that, by the way, is the first reference to “salvation” in the New Testament. Zacharias went on to say, John’s ministry will be “to give knowledge of salvation unto his people by the REMISSION of their sins.” Salvation boils down to remission of sin, the removal or forgiveness of sin, through the sacrifice of Christ. Elsewhere we read, “So Christ was once offered to bear the sins of many; and unto them that look for him shall he appear the second time without sin unto salvation.” “Neither is there salvation in any other: for there is none other name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved.” If salvation involves the remission of SINS, we need to understand the nature of SIN. In order for someone to be saved, he must understand that he is a sinner before God. So what is sin? The Apostle John succinctly says, “Sin is the transgression of the law,” referring to the law of God. Two chapters later he says, “All unrighteousness...

July 2021

We have great news! Greater Vision has grown in its membership and the Pearson have grown in its family numbers! Mrs. Perason will be having another Pearson baby. Our newest member is due December 18th. We are excited and very thankful for God’s grace to bless us with baby number 5. Please pray for a healthy baby and mother. Any suggestions for names are welcome. More good news is God has blessed us in our worship services through our community outreach. We have seen an increase in visitors in both Wednesday Bible study and Sunday service. We have hit a snare at our mission house, ministry always brings wars. The snare is a liquor store preparing to move in next door to us. This will bring unwanted problems such as panhandling and drug-dealing in front of our mission house, also the alcohol use in our community will only increase, and with us being so close we with the business. We have brought these issues up to our neighbors within the building but as of now the business will open in a informed the landlord that if the problems grow quickly we will give her a two months notice and seek a new location. Please pray that either it doesn’t come to the point of moving out, or pray that God will give us another place to move into. Whatever way it goes and wherever God leads, our mission is the same, to plant the Lords Church. Wherever God desires that to be, we are resolved to fulfilled the great commission. Pray for us as we fight the good fight....

September 2021

Dear Pastor and Church, “That ye may know that ye have eternal life” 1 John 5.13 July – September 2021 Praise the Lord for new births! Another soul has been born again, and Shelley and I have become grandparents! On the 14th of June, Caitlin and Joshua welcomed little Archer into their lives! They are all healthy and happy and serving the Lord in their local church where Joshua is stationed with the US Army. Caitlin sends us photos every day, and would you believe that Archer is just the cutest little man?! That’s Archer to the right getting the US Army sorted out! Then earlier this year, I was told I needed to have a hip replacement, and I started a free exercise and physiotherapy program leading up to the surgery. Jennifer was one of the physiotherapists, and when she heard I was a pastor she told me she needed to begin a spiritual journey. She had many questions over the next few weeks, and I shared the gospel with her, gave her our church tract, and invited her to church – not thinking she would come. But then one day out of the blue she asked me if she could actually come to church. She attended Sunday mornings for a month, saying that she had started her spiritual journey, and she believed she was a Christian now. A few of her other Christian friends told her they were happy for her. But finally, last Sunday morning after church she asked to talk to me. She said she was struggling with not knowing if God was listening to...