September 1, 2012 - During this Presidential election year, we are bombarded by messages from candidates at every level, all trying to get their points across to voters. In listening to some of the political talk show pundits, we hear a variety of comments like: “They have no message.” “Their message is not clear.” “They circulate talking points to get their message out.” “He stayed on message.” “They are very effective in getting their message out.”
By Anne Graham Lotz
The buzz about the messages and the messengers has caused me to pause, and to think …
I know God has a message He wants to get out. Do I know what His message is? Have I read His talking points? How closely do I follow them? Am I an effective messenger for Him?
Malachi was one of the last of the Old Testament prophets. His very name means messenger. In the last book of the Old Testament, which bears his name, he provides several characteristics of an effective messenger that I believe apply to you and me today.
Read Malachi 1-4
I. EFFECTIVE MESSENGERS EXALT GOD’S NAME
- In Malachi 1:11, what is the focal point of the message? How many times in this one verse is it repeated? Put the focal point in your own words.
- Who is the target audience for the message? Give phrases that support this.
- As we seek to exalt God’s name, give a talking point-—a persuasive reason for the listener to be drawn to Him— from each group of verses below:
- Psalm 63:11, Psalm 69:30
- Micah 4:5
- Psalm 52:9
- Psalm 44:5; Psalm 20:5, 7
- Psalm 5:11-12, Psalm 91:14-15, Proverbs 18:10
- Reflect on the names of God. Which one is especially meaningful to you today?
- Read Malachi 2:5. What should be our everyday attitude toward God’s name?
- Read Psalm 2:1-6. How do you think God views the political correctness and the increasing secularism of our day that’s trying to erase His name from our culture?
II. EFFECTIVE MESSENGERS EXALT GOD’S TRUTH
- In what two primary ways does a messenger exalt God’s truth? See Malachi 2:6.
- How are these same two ways of exalting God’s truth described in Psalm 15?
- Give characteristics of a messenger’s personal life from Ephesians 4:1, 15, 25 and 5:1-2.
- Are we to hold back the truth when it becomes unpopular and people don’t want to hear it? Read Psalm 40:9-10 and Jeremiah 26:12-15.
- What is one good reason to exalt the truth with our lips? See Zechariah 8:16-17.
- In your own words, describe ways that people “swear falsely” today, perhaps especially obvious in the political arena.
- How does God view the spin? Read Proverbs 6:16-19.
- What phrase is repeated in the following verses: Matthew 5:18, 26; 6:2, 5, 16; 8:10; 10:15, 23, 42; 11:11; 13:17; 16:28; 17:20; 18:3, 13, 18; 19:23, 28; 21:21, 31; 23:36; 24:2, 34, 47; 25:12, 40; and 26:13, 21, 34.
- While the previous exercise may have been tedious, let me ask you: If Jesus Himself exalted the truth over and over again, why would we hesitate to do the same?
III. EFFECTIVE MESSENGERS EXALT GOD’S SON
If we exalt God’s name and God’s truth, who are we exalting? List phrases from the following verses: Philippians 2:5-11, John 14:6, Matthew 1:18-23.
- What three different positions or titles does Malachi attribute to God’s Son? Read Malachi 3:1, 3:2-5 and 3:6-7.
- Match each of these titles with one of the following verses: Luke 2:11; Revelation 19:16; John 5:22-23, 27; John 4:42; 2 Timothy 4:1, 8; Revelation 17:14; Titus 2:12-14; and 1 Timothy 6:13-16.
- How faithful was the early church in sticking to the message? See Acts 4:2, Acts 5:42, Acts 13:38, Acts 17:2-3 and 1 John 1:1-4.
- How effective was the early church in getting the message out? Read Acts 2:41, 2:46-47, 5:14 and 6:7.
- Explain in your own words why it is imperative for you and me to be effective messengers. Read Romans 10:13-17.
- Who has believed in Jesus because you have been faithful to exalt God’s Son?
Every generation has had effective messengers who have been faithful to get the message out and to pass it on to the next generation, or you and I wouldn’t be believers today.
If the pundits who evaluate politicians critiqued your effectiveness in getting the message out, what would be their comments? Would they conclude that, “He has no message”? Or would they affirm, “He stayed on message. He’s very effective in getting the message out.” Think about it…?©2012 Anne Graham Lotz