God wants a relationship with humanity as a Father and His children. His means of making that happen is the gift of the Holy Spirit within the human heart. He is the voice the cries out “Abba, Father” from within us. Jesus Christ made this possible. He was the Son of God who made a way for us to receive the Spirit bearing His name within our hearts. His gift of mercy and His gift of grace enable all to come and know the life of being children of God. The Prophet Malachi foretold of this day. God’s answer to restoring the relationship of man and God is the Holy Spirit within.
Malachi 3:1 “Behold, I send My messenger, and he will prepare the way before Me. And the Lord, whom you seek, will suddenly come to His temple, even the Messenger of the covenant, in whom you delight. Behold, He is coming,” Says the LORD of hosts.
The Holy Spirit comes to His temple. His temple is the body of Christ. He is the one who writes the law of God’s love upon our hearts and upon our minds. He is the one who changes our hearts and gives us an outward testimony that reveals us as children of God.
Malachi 3:2 “But who can endure the day of His coming? And who can stand when He appears? For He is like a refiner’s fire and like launderers’ soap.
Holy Spirit removes the things in our lives that cannot stand. These are the things that cannot inherit the testimony of the kingdom of God. The result is seen as a true testimony of Christ in our hearts. It is a real testimony from the inside out that reveals our dependence upon God.
Malachi 3:3 He will sit as a refiner and a purifier of silver; He will purify the sons of Levi, and purge them as gold and silver, that they may offer to the LORD an offering in righteousness.
The testimony of Christ’s change in our lives is a witness to the redemption that Jesus paid for us all. He has restored our relationship with God as our Father and joined us in our hearts to Him. Our praise and our vision of peace has been restored.
Malachi 3:4 “Then the offering of Judah and Jerusalem will be pleasant to the LORD, as in the days of old, as in former years.
It is through Christ in us that our internal flaws will be healed. These are our iniquities, our weaknesses, our propensities to pursue other things and live our lives as something less than whom we were intended to be as children of God. These are the false testimonies that propose a truth about us that only a lie to the likeness and image of God. God has made a way for these false testimonies to be removed.
Malachi 3:5 And I will come near you for judgment; I will be a swift witness against sorcerers, against adulterers, against perjurers, against those who exploit wage earners and widows and orphans, and against those who turn away an alien— Because they do not fear Me,” Says the LORD of hosts.
The judgment that God brings is not a judgment of our condemnation and death. It is a judgment that removes the lies in our lives. He comes to remove the illegitimate voices in our lives. He comes to remove the illegitimate relationships that breach the testimony of our covenant with God. He comes to remove the deceptions and the lies that entrap us in the bondage of sin. He comes restore the nature of God our heavenly Father within our heats. It is good news for a Jacob generation. It is good news for those who seek Him to be a blessing to the world they live in.
Malachi 3:6 “For I am the LORD, I do not change; therefore you are not consumed, O sons of Jacob.”
Those who seek God, those things within us that seek God, are not consumed. God does not want to destroy us. His heart is to restore us to our true identity. We are the children of God who were destined to be the likeness and the image of God. If we view God is a master who controls us or some god that demands things from us, we will fail to become who we were meant to be. The prophet Malachi foretold of voice of God that would come to the human heart. He has always wanted a relationship with us as His children.
Malachi 3:7 Yet from the days of your fathers you have gone away from My ordinances and have not kept them. Return to Me, and I will return to you,” Says the LORD of hosts. “But you said, ‘In what way shall we return?’
God’s desire to restore our responses to Him and our actions testifying of him in life. These are the tithes and the offerings. Tithe is a response level relationship with God. Offerings are the actions we make that reveal we are God’s family.
Malachi 3:8 “Will a man rob God? Yet you have robbed Me! But you say, ‘In what way have we robbed You?’ In tithes and offerings.”
The actions of giving the burnt offering, sacrifice, tithe, heave offering, vowed offering, freewill offering, and the first of our possessions were really a testimony to the type of people we are meant to be (Deut. 12:5-7). It is really about learning to be like God. God doesn’t want us to do things for Him; He wants us to be people who act like Him. Holy Spirit is in our lives to restore the testimony of the family of God in the earth.
God doesn’t want to tell us how to act. He wants us to be inspired from our hearts to act like His children without being told. When a dad or mom tells their children to do something they aren’t interested in merely getting their children to obey. It isn’t about picking up their clothes, cleaning their room, or some kind action commanded them. A parent doesn’t want to tell their children to do things. They want their children to learn to do things that are in the character of the family. God wants to inspire us to spontaneously act the way children of God act. The actions are merely a testimony of the character of the family. That is the kind of family we are. We are God’s family.
We are the kind of family that never hides from mom, dad, our sisters or our brothers. We never hide from God, but have a commitment to be in relationship with Him. After the fall of Adam and Eve, God made clothes for them. They were hiding from God because they were ashamed of their nakedness, but God didn’t want them to hide from Him for shame. Sin caused man to hide from God, but God made a provision of a burnt offering so they wouldn’t have to hide from Him. God’s mercy has triumphed over every judgment and He doesn’t want us to hide from him. When we know this it shows we have a really good attitude and we know that we are loved. We must never hide from God or from those who love us.
We are the kind of family that does good things for one another. We do them because we love each other. These are our actions of faith. They are sacrifices motivated by love. We are inspired in our hearts to do things for God and for other people.
We are the kind of family that appreciates what others do for us and we appreciate who others are. We do the same with God. When He gives us our daily bread and life we respond to him by giving him a portion of ours. We appreciate who He is and we respond to Him in ways that lets Him know that we want all of Him in our lives. That is called tithe. It is not merely a matter of money; it is a matter of making a confession that we want all of the substance of who He is in our lives. We are the kind of family that does things that show God and others how much we want them in our life.
We are the kind of family that knows who others are and we listen to those we are supposed to listen to and we help people we are supposed to help. This is called true submission. It was portrayed in the choice offering given to the priest, lifted to God, and then received by the priest. It was an action that demonstrated a confession of submitting to one another as unto God. If we have some water and our brother or sister is thirsty we want to give them some. Submission is the receiving of the life of authority in others so we can also give life to others. It is with this attitude that we obey God, obey those we are supposed to obey, and help others in this life.
We are the kind of family that does the best we can at what we can do and we are always true to being ourselves so that others can do what they can do and they can be themselves too. God knows who each of us are. Without Him we are nothing, but in Him we are each a treasure of life as a part of the mystery of the fellowship. When we are true to what God says about us we can be true to contributing life to others in the truth of who we really are. This is like a vowed offering, an offering that is true to what God declares it is. We must be ourselves and help others be who they are too.
We are the kind of family that looks for times when we can show love to others just because we want to. They might not even know we did something nice for them, but we are glad they are happy. This is true community. It is a freewill relationship of love. We love God and we love others, because we really want to.
We are the kind of family that puts God first so that He can bless us, our family, bless us as we grow up, bless our children when we have children, and bless our grandchildren when we get white hair like me. We put God first and expect His blessing in our family. This is called a first fruit, an offering of the first of what we have to God. When we give to Him first He comes to our house and changes things that need to change. Giving God the first of something is the same as praying. It is putting God first and inviting Him to be in every part of our lives. We give the first to God with joy and rejoicing! When we give it we are telling God we need Him in every part of our lives. We are asking God to bless everything that is going to happen this year and in the years to come. We are praising Him and praying to Him when we give. It is like asking God to eat first at our table, so He can be with us at every meal. When we give to God first we can enjoy everything we have. We are believing for God’s blessing and presence in our lives We are believing He will help us think, get new ideas when we need them, do what we need to do, to be able play well, learn well, work well, and sleep well.
God has put His Holy Spirit inside of us so we will know to do these things because He wants to really bless our families and us. This is the kind of family we are:
1. We Never Hide From God or Loved Ones
2. We Do Good Things For God and Other People
3. We Do Things That Show God and Others How Much We Want Them In Our Life
4. We Obey God, Obey Those We are Supposed To Obey and Help Others
5. We Are True to Being Ourselves and We Help Others Be Who They Are Too
6. We Show Love to God and Others
7. We Put God First and Expect His Blessing In Our Family
Food For Thought,
Ted J. Hanson