We live in a changing world; everything around us is in a state of change. Chloe keeps asking Big Mama when she is going to get young again. Chloe Bug does not understand the law of thermodynamics, that everything is winding down. I have less energy now than I did 50 years ago. The truth is, I have less than I did 50 days ago. Modern technology is changing so rapidly that folks like me can’t keep up. I never dreamed I would own a smart phone and now we have a smart car. It talks to you. I was on my way to Birmingham Saturday and a warning light began flashing on the dash and a voice said, “Driver is tired or distracted, please pull over for a rest.” It will not allow you to tailgate. It breaks automtically if you get too close to the vehicle in front of you. Everything is changing so fast that I cannot keep up. Sometimes I feel like an 8 track player in a smart phone world. It is a comfort to know that somethings do not change.
Tonight, I want to talk to you about three things that do not change.
I. YAHWEH IS IMMUTABLE “I am the LORD, I do not change.” [v.6]
A great number of people living today in these United States believe in moral relativism and the evolution of morality. Their rationale, if I understand correctly, is that we know more today than ever before. Thus this greater knowledge has somehow advanced morality so that things we once viewed as being sinful and wrong or no longer sinful or wrong. The hot topic of course is homosexuality.
As Christians, we reject this godless thinking and it is godless. God is the supreme law giver, morality emanates from HIM. He told Malachi in no uncertain terms, “I AM Yahweh and I do not change.”
Balaam said in Numbers 23:19… God is not a man, so he does not lie. He is not human, so he does not change his mind. Has he ever spoken and failed to act? Has he ever promised and not carried it through? Balak was trying to get Balaam to curse the Israelites but Balaam told him, how can I curse someone the LORD has blessed. Balaam understood that he could not change God’s will or purpose.
Actually, God’s immutable nature is captured in His name Yahweh. It is the Hebrew verb for being. God’s personal name is a verb and it contains every tense imaginable. We see past, present and future but God lives in the eternal present. He sees past, present and future at the same time. Therefore, He is never surprized or shocked.
Nor does God change in nature or essense. God is a loving God. He is merciful and gracious and quick to forgive. He is perfect in all of His attributes. We cannot make God more loving. Nothing we do will make Him more holy. He is perfectly holy, competely holy. Our beloved immutable God needs no enhancement, no improving and no updating. He is totally intergrated. He has it all together. He is faithful. He keeps every promise.
You sons of Jacob are not destroyed. Malachi is reminding the Jews that they should be thankful that God does not change His mind, purpose or essense. Here is the POINT…these sorry Jews deserved to be destroyed. They were ungrateful. They were covenant breakers. They were rebels from the beginning. They had not lived up to their side of the covenant and yet they are blaming God. God would have been just to have whipped them from the face of the earth. The verb Malachi uses means to finish, to completely consume, to utterly destroy, to anniliate. Except for the grace and mercy of God, the Jews would have been anniliated.
The Jews of Malachi day are complaining when they should having been praising God for His marvelous grace. What a bunch of ungrateful jerks. Do they remind you of anyone you know?]
It is very important that we see ourselves in this story. You and I are the ungrateful Jews. The covenant breakers, the self-willed rebels. We are as guilty as these Jews and except for God’s grace, we would be burning in hell. We like to think we have earned our good fortune but nothing is further from the truth. We have been saved by God’s grace. Our salvation has nothing to do with our performance: it is all grace and God gets all the glory.
II. MAN HAS NOT CHANGED…Ever since the days of your ancestors, you have scorned my decrees and failed to obey them. [V.7]
It is impossible to please God without faith. Faith is God’s way of relating to us but there are some areas where no faith is required, not for me. I do not believe that man is a sinner, I know he is a sinner. We are born with a self-centered tendency and we want what we want when we want it.
I think Isaiah describes it best in Isaiah 53:6...All we like sheep have gone astray; We have turned, every one, to his own way; And the Lord has laid on Him the iniquity of us all.
Our rebellion stems from the fact that we want our way. This is not just a problem in the world, it is a huge problem in the church. O the damage that is done by carnal members fighting to get their way. The self-centered tendency which leads to rebellion is the essense of sin and we find it in little children.
The scripture makes it clear, there are no exceptions…All we like sheep…All have sinned and come short of the glory of God…There is none righteous, no, not even one. The first step to recovery is to acknowledge the problem. The first step to salvation is to acknowledge that you are a sinner. It is not hard to get a sinner to Jesus, the difficult part is to get a human to admit their are a sinner. Once a person sees their sin, undoneness, they have no problem seeing the need for a Savior.
I had to have a root canal a couple of weeks back. I had talked Ashley into patching me up last January. She said emphatically, “Bro. Jack get this tooth fixed before it gets infected.” I heard what she said but I thought to myself, “I’ll get it fixed when it goes to hurting.” Five months later, it abscessed. I go for the root canal and they cannot deaden the tooth due to the abscess. I was on antibiotics for an extra week and then they tried the second time but this time they gave me so much medication that my jaw stayed numb for 7 hours. He is had to convince a man to go to the doctor when he is not hurting but once the pain sets in and he is convinced in his mind that he is sick, he will go gladly.
Likewise, not sinner is coming to Jesus until he sees the damage his sin is doing. Righteous people are not drawn to Jesus.
I do need a show of hands. I don’t need surveys. I have the word of God and 68 years of experience and I tell you by the authority of God’s word, you are a sinner; you have always been a sinner. I don’t need faith to believe it–I see it everyday in myself and others.
There is no such thing as “Moral Evolution.” Man is not getting better, he is still as depraved as ever. This is why morality had to be revealed to us by a holy God. We are law givers or law makers, we by nature are law breakers. What was wrong in the garden is wrong today. Homoseuality was wrong in the Old Testament and it is wrong today. God made the law and He does not change.
III. THE NEED AND NATURE OF REPENTANCE HAS NOT CHANGED…Now return to me, and I will return to you,” says the LORD of Heaven’s Armies. [v.8]
We have sinned. Like the prodigal, we have rebelled against a good and benelovent Father. The Father is waiting, watching but we have to repent, we have to return. The Father has done all that is possible to make it easy for us but we have to return before He will restore. This is the way it works. Don’t wait for God to send someone after you, come to your senses and return before it is too late.
The Jews said, “How can we return, we have never gone away.” How can we repent, we haven’t done anything.”
I can deal with sinners, with honest people but I cannot help those who refuse to acknowledge their sin.
Forty years or so ago, I had a woman to ask me to marry her and her boy friend. She had been married six times and all of them ended in divorce: this was her last shot because the limit in Alabama was seven at the time. I was a friend of her boyfriend. He was a good man as men go; a hard worker and very generous. I had been in the ministry just long enough to realize that do weddings was not always pleasant. I had already had two or three bad experiences. I told her on the phone, that I would consider doing the ceremony but not until I had talked with them.
I arrived at her house and began the questioning. I didn’t like some of her answers. When I was through asking questions, I said, I will do the ceremony under one condition: both of you must acknowlege you failure in your prior marriages. I will marry you if you are repentant: otherwise, I want no part in the affair. She bristled up immediately, she said, “I will not because my marriages did not fail because of me.” I said, “You’ve been married and divorced six times and yet you take no responsibility in any of the failures?” She said, “No, I do not.” I said, “I am very sorry but you will have to get someone else to perform the ceremony.”
I have seen her attitude in the Baptist church. I don’t know how some folks got it but obviously they did not repent. If you aren’t repentant, chances are you have never repented.