Greg Spires – Teaching Pastor
In Acts 5:17-42, we read about an occasion where Peter and the other apostles were presented to the leadership of Israel. They were told in no uncertain terms they were to stop preaching that Christ was raised. Peter responded that they could not be silent about their testimony: Jesus, the one these very leaders had crucified, was risen and offered life to all who would believe in Him.
The leaders were furious and wanted to kill Peter and those with him on the spot. However, cooler heads prevailed as one of their wiser colleagues, Gamaliel, gave insightful counsel.
In Acts 15:27-39, his words are recorded. He told them to remember, “…Judas the Galilean rose up in the days of the census and drew away some of the people after him. He too perished, and all who followed him were scattered. So in the present case I tell you, keep away from these men and let them alone, for if this plan or this undertaking is of man, it will fail; but if it is of God, you will not be able to overthrow them. You might even be found opposing God!”
His point to the gathered leaders was very simple: If the message of the apostles was simply the idea of a few men, it would soon fade away as all new ideas do. However, if this message was from God, then there would be no way for the leaders to oppose it because God’s purposes cannot be stopped!
Gamaliel’s words proved to be true. The message the apostles proclaimed has spread around the globe several times over. Despite numerous attempts by various powers throughout history to stop this message, it cannot be stopped because it is from God Himself.
Understanding God’s power is one of the important features of those who worship Him. To worship God is to recognize His power and the inevitability of His will being accomplished. It is impossible to worship God if the power of His might is not recognized.
This was the case of the Edomites in Malachi 1:4. God had judged Edom for their wickedness and mistreatment of the people of Israel. His judgment led to destruction in their land. As a response, Edom planned to repair the destruction God had brought. Malachi 1:4 says, “If Edom says, ‘We are shattered, but we will rebuild the ruins,’ the Lord of hosts says, ‘They may build, but I will tear down, and they will be called ‘the wicked country,’ and ‘the people with whom the Lord is angry forever.’”
Instead of humbly worshipping God, who is powerful, Edom in their arrogance opposed God by seeking to establish their own greatness. God’s response was to remind them He will destroy again because His judgment was certain.
By observing the interaction of Edom and God, we can learn something of worship. We learn that to worship God; our heart must be in a posture of humility, not arrogance. Humility is the ability to see things the way they really are: God is powerful; we are not. Arrogance is blindness to reality: assuming we have power we don’t have, and that God can be manipulated.
The book of Malachi has a lot to teach us about God and how we can worship Him. However, one of the most important things we need to learn about worship occurs right at the beginning of the book: Worship is a matter of the heart. Our heart must be in the right place to worship God. There may be a lot of things we could DO to worship God; however, if our heart isn’t right, those things are a waste of time. The first step to having a heart of worship is seeking a posture of humility as we recognize God is powerful.
I look forward to being with you this Sunday as we celebrate the work of God in Jesus Christ together! This Sunday, we will be seeking God through His Word in Malachi 1:1-5.
See you Sunday,