Date: December 10, 2006
Bible Text: Malachi 2:11 | Roger Voegtlin
Series: Transcribed Sermons
Please turn in your Bibles to Malachi chapter 2 verse 11. I’d like to preach a simple message tonight on the holiness of God. In Malachi, we have two key phrases. One is, “Ye say,” and the other is, “Thus saith the Lord.” Throughout the book we see the people saying one thing and God saying something else completely. I’m just going to read one verse-Malachi 2:11: “Judah hath dealt treacherously and an abomination is committed in Israel and in Jerusalem; for Judah hath profaned the holiness of the Lord which he loved, and hath married the daughter of a strange god.”
Most Bible-believing preachers believe we are living in what the Bible calls the Laodecian age, which when defined means the people speak, or the people’s rights. Now doesn’t that sound familiar? We have African Americans who want their rights. We have Mexican Americans who want their rights. We have American Indians who want their rights. We have children and women who want their rights. I want to point something out though, if you’ve accepted Jesus Christ as your personal Savior, you have no rights. You say, Preacher, I’ve belonged to the Union for twenty years. That’s okay. You relinquished your rights when you were saved. If you know the Bible, you know that’s a fact. In II Corinthians 16:20 we read, “Ye are not your own. Ye are bought with a price, the precious blood of Jesus Christ.” And I don’t care what union you are in, Jesus must come first in every decision—every decision. You have no rights. You belong to God Almighty. The reason Israel wasn’t ready for the coming of the Messiah is the same reason that we are not seeing revival in America today. The phrase in the middle of verse 11 that I just read tells us why we’ve not seen revival in the United States of America. “Judah hath profaned the holiness of the land. . .” That’s why God couldn’t work through them, and that’s why He can’t work through us. I don’t know if you’ve ever thought about it, but the Gospel is preached all over on the television. Man, if you drive your car through the night, it’s sometimes hard to find a radio station that doesn’t have preaching on it. I don’t know what the percentage would be, but a huge percentage of professional athletes and college athletes say they’re saved and praise God. They’ll do their little dance and they’ll point toward God. Presidents claim to be born again. There are Christian Schools by the thousands across America. There are Bible preaching churches across America everywhere, I mean everywhere. There are books and sermons on revival by the hundreds. Why don’t we have revival? Again, I think this little phrase answers it. “Judah hath profaned the holiness of the Lord.” You, we, I would say, there has never been revival in the history of mankind until men, women, and even teens have been made to see the holiness of God. It’s not just a bunch of rules—it’s the holiness of God. Now please listen to what I’m saying here. You can go through Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, and you won’t find a statement that God loves man. You must go through four books of the Bible before you find that God loves man. I’m not saying that God doesn’t love man. In I John 4:16 it says flatly that “God is love.” But I remind you before this was penned I John 1:5 said “God is light.” If I were going to take a poll of a typical Bible believing church and ask what the most important attribute of God was, most all people would say love. But that’s not true. God would not be God apart from his holiness. Every other attribute is contingent on His holiness. Now I’m not deep; I never am. It’s easy to understand this. In I Samuel 2:2 we read, “There is none holy as the Lord.” In Leviticus 20:26 it says, “Ye shall be holy unto me: for I the Lord am holy.” In Psalm 111:9 it says, “Holy and reverend is his name.” Isaiah 6:3—here we see that one angel cried unto another “Holy, holy, holy is the Lord of hosts: the whole earth is full of his glory.” In Habakkuk 2:20 it says, “The Lord is in his holy temple: let all the earth keep silent before him.” In the Bible the Lord is holy above all other attributes. Many times you see as a result a display of his wrath in the form of fire coming from Heaven. Oh, people don’t like that. God is love; God is holy. You don’t know the God of the Bible if you don’t realize this. In Genesis 19 we see where God sent two angels down to the city of Sodom to warn Lot. When he left the city, he reigned fire upon that wicked city. In Leviticus chapter 10, we have two theologians who have just graduated from seminary. They went out to the wilderness to pastor at the tabernacle. As they would’ve walked into the tabernacle, the first article of furniture they would’ve seen is the brazen altar. The priest would put a sacrifice on that altar and God would consume it with fire. That brazen altar was a testimony to the fact that God hated and would punish sin. I can hear Reverend Nadab and Dr. Abihu discussing how outdated this altar was. Boy, a God who would punish sin was a dirty bully. Their seminary professors had taught them better. This kind of preaching was okay for Daddy Aaron and Uncle Moses, but it’s not relevant for today. Thinking people won’t accept it. In essence, they rubbed out the word holy and replaced in its place the word love. And this is the same thing that’s happening today. The charismatic movement makes experience the ultimate. The neo-evangelical would make love the ultimate. Fundamental preachers make forgiveness the ultimate. No, read the Bible. If you read the Bible with an open, honest mind, you’ll see that obedience is the basis of all Christian life. Not a kind of drippy love that turns its back on the holiness of God. When Nadab and Abihu did it their way, God sent fire from Heaven, and they were destroyed. Read the Bible. Whenever we read in the Bible of deep moral and spiritual decay, God sends a prophet. His message is not the love of God, but the burden of these prophets’ message is the holiness of God. Our God is a consuming fire, the Bible says. It’s a fearful thing to fall in the hands of a living God. I believe the number one reason for our country being in the mess our country is in is the wrong thinking of professing Christians in this area. People say they’re Christians, and you can’t see any difference between them and the world. That’s not Biblical. The only kind of preaching that will turn America back to God is the kind of preaching that makes God holy. Think: I’m not going to take time to go into it, but think of how people, even Christians, defend the murder of little babies. Think about people defending sodomy. God burned the city up because of sodomy. But some way people say, “Oh, it’s okay; we just don’t understand.” I’m not saying that I do understand everything, but I do know what the Book says. The Book preaches holiness. God’s judgment is coming. How can we not cry out against sin and warn sinners? All the way back in 1794 there was a town called Jacksonborough, Georgia. The town grew quickly, but it was a town full of drunks and liquor flowed freely and it was just a rowdy type of a place. In 1830 a little humpback preacher by the name of Lorenzo Dow came to this town. He preached straight and strong. He preached the holiness of God. People took up eggs and threw them at him. They took up stones and ran him out of town. There was only one man that would give him refuge. His name was Seaborn Goodall. He was a powerful man in town. He took him into his house and bound up his wounds. The next day the little humpback preacher went back out and preached some more and thundered out the judgment of God. This time, they stoned him until the blood oozed out of his body and he left the town. But before he did, he stopped on a little rusted bridge that served as the entrance and exit to the town and bowed his head and prayed a curse against Jacksonborough, Georgia. Shortly thereafter there were terrible storms, the lightning struck, and started fires. They had more rain than anytime before or after. It flooded the whole town out and people ran to the mountains. It was so destructive that the town was never rebuilt. Everything was destroyed but one building—the house of Seaborn Goodall. It stood as a monument to the holiness of God. Now the point I would make is to get that little God out of your mind. Read the Bible and see how God is described, and you’ll get a glimpse of His holiness. It will change your life. Look over in Psalm 101. It will produce a hatred for sin. In Psalm 101 verse 3, we read, “I will set no wicked thing before mine eyes: I hate the work of them that turn aside; it shall not cleave to me.” Well you say, “I don’t agree with the preacher.” This is the Bible. “I will set no wicked thing before mine eyes.” Look over at Psalm 119:104. Here we read, “Through thy precepts I get understanding; therefore I hate every false way.” You know, there’s a thought because of all the liberal churches that you’re not supposed to hate anything. Now you are not supposed to hate anybody, but you’re taught in the Bible to hate sin. I mean, you don’t know the Bible if you don’t understand that. Look at Psalm 119:113. “I hate vain thoughts, but thy law do I love.” Now over to Proverbs 8:7. “For my mouth shall speak truth and wickedness is an abomination to my lips.” Verse 13 says, “The fear of the Lord is to hate evil: pride, and arrogancy, and the evil way, and the froward mouth, do I hate.” You get a picture? We get bombarded with this idea that we’re never supposed to hate anything. No, there’s an awful lot that we ought to hate. You turn on the television and you’ll see a lot that we ought to hate. You turn on the radio, you pick up the newspaper, you go down to the beaches of today, and we can go on and on. There’s an awful lot of sin, and we are to hate sin. Do you really hate sin? Nobody really likes to have a liar for a friend, and nobody wants to have a thief to live in their house, but I’m not only talking about that. It wasn’t the sin of murder or idolatry that plunged the human race into Hell. It was a little sin of disobedience. God told Adam, “No,” and in his pride, and I believe that’s the sin that’s hurting us more than anything, in his pride, he said, “I will do it,” and that was the end. Christians all over live independently of God and think nothing of it. Again they put the straw man up. “I don’t agree with the preacher. I don’t agree with the church.” This is the Book. Don’t go knocking straw men down. How many verses have I read already? It’s God. God is holy, and He expects us to live a holy life. Yet Christians again, just do what they want to do. In II Samuel 6, David was carrying the Ark of the Covenant to Jerusalem, and you know that God made provisions to carry that Ark without touching it. God said you don’t touch that Ark. So there were staves put through rings, and they carried the staves on their shoulders. But David, like so many of us, thought he knew better. Things like this when I was young just hit me like a hammer. He built a cart and carried it across the countryside toward Jerusalem. Evidently, the Ark began to tip, and a man by the name of Uzzah, trying to help God, reached out and touched it and steadied it, and God struck him dead! Again, I can remember the first time I read that thinking, “How can that be?” God is holy, that’s how it can be. God says to do it this way. We do it our way. You say, “I don’t want to serve that kind of God,” then you won’t serve any God. God killed him. If we could call Uzzah back from the dead, he could easily answer our question. God is holy. Do you really see sin as God does? I’m afraid that none of us do, but do you attempt to? One of the early church fathers was named Christendom. He loved God with all of his heart, and because of that he was jailed. By the Emperor Constantinople. The Emperor ordered that Christendom should be put in solitary confinement. His guard said, “Okay, I’ll do it, but let me say something. He’ll enjoy that. He really craves being alone with his God.” Well, Constantinople said, “Well then, kill him!” He said, “Well, I’m your servant, and I’ll do what you say, but he says that he’d love to be ushered into the presence of his God. I think he would really like that.” Constantinople said, “What should we do? What can we do?” His guard said, “There’s only one thing that he fears—and that is sin. If we can make him sin, then we’ll make him miserable.” God gives us members of Fairhaven Baptist Church that fear only sin. Get a glimpse of the holiness of God, and it will give you a hatred for sin. Turn to Genesis 39. I want to look at the tenacity. When we look at Joseph. We know that as a teenager he was sold into slavery and taken to Egypt. He stood for God and was put in a place of leadership in the house of General Potiphar. He was put in charge of everything, even as a young man, including his treasury. The Bible says that day by day Potiphar’s wife tried to get Joseph to fall into sin. Not once or twice, does it say, but day by day. Here’s a young man, if you put yourself in his shoes, doing very good. He’s in a strange land. He knew that if he followed her wishes, it could only help him humanly speaking. If he gave in, it would be really good and it would be ruination if he didn’t. But he knew that God was the one who set him up, and God would take him down. He knew the only way he could be right with his God was to be holy. Now, no one beside Potiphar would think anything of his adultery. Just like America. There was a poll. Sometimes I should write these down. The vast majority of people said they believe in God, these polls blow my mind, but the thing that God me, was of the evangelicals, the people who said they were saved, only 35% thought that adultery was sin. That’s the world we live in. That’s the Christianity we live in—so called. Nobody would have thought of this as being wrong. Do you think he was tempted? I believe so. Do you think she was ugly? No, I don’t think so at all. But look at Genesis 39:9. There is none greater in this house than I. Neither hath he kept back anything from me, but thee. Because thou art his wife, how then can I do this great wickedness and sin against God. His problem wasn’t with Potiphar or his wife, but with a holy God. That holy God, if you have a problem with the internet, would have you take your computer and throw it in the garbage. No big deal. You say, “You don’t know.” I pastored this church, a large organization, I don’t need the internet, and neither do you. I’m not saying it’s wrong to have the computer, but I’m saying if you can’t stay off the trashy parts, throw it in the garbage. The same thing can be said about anything: dirty thoughts, lying, stealing; all sin is against God. You kids when you disobey your parents, it’s not that you’re sinning against your parents—you’re sinning against God. It always amazes me how people will say, “I’m a Christians and I love God,” but you don’t know the God I know. You’re sinning against God. David was an adulterer and he caused Bathsheba to be one. He had Uriah murdered. But the worst thing about his sin is found in II Samuel 12:14. Here Nathan pointed his bony finger at David and said, “Because you have done this, you have given the enemies of God cause to blaspheme.” The worst thing about my sin is that it allows people to blaspheme God. You can understand that, can’t you? If some wicked sin came out about your pastor, the whole town would laugh. And in the same way, my friend, you claim to be a Christian. When you don’t act like a Christian, they laugh at God also. Whatever influence you have, you’re hurting the cause of God. When your family goes bad, not only will you answer for them, but you’re giving excuse for other families. People will say, “Well, it doesn’t really, really work.” We see the tenacity of Joseph because of his right view of sin. If you’re going to be right with God, you’ve got to see your sin as God does and be broken over it. When you sin, you’ve got to be broken over it, and ask for forgiveness of sin.
Let me ask you this, or you ask yourself. “Is sin as wicked in your eyes right now as it ever was?” Sometimes I get down because the old Devil gets telling me that I’m too hard. He says, “Everybody is doing it.” Adultery is as common as a headache today. There’s more work being done by so-called preachers covering up sin than fighting sin. The Devil says, “Be more loving. If you preach like that, people will run. They don’t want a church like that.” Look around. Homosexuals, adulterers, child molesters—in pulpits and being defended—in pulpits. It makes me want to crawl into a hole.
Those that are pure are more busy defending the sinners than the cause of Christ. I get to the place sometimes where I don’t want to see preachers because I know I have to defend myself. But if you believe the Bible, you’ll hate sin and you’ll war against it. You will fight against it in your own life, you’ll fight against in your whole family. An evangelist told a story of the first time he saw a man smoking a cigar on an ad. Some of you young people wouldn’t remember that. This so-called sexpot was on there smoking cigars. He said the first time he literally spit on the television; he wanted to kick it in. The second time didn’t seem as bad. Pretty soon, he could just ignore it. Now, the point I would make is, what about you and sin. I know when we first see or hear things, we’re abhorred by it—we hate it. But pretty soon, we get numb. Men, was there a time when you’d rather have your own earthly father cursed than Jesus Christ, your Heavenly Father? But now, you don’t even hear it. There are people in this room who once had power from God, but it’s been sapped by television. Years of watching that thing—let me tell you something, you watch television as a regular exercise and you will not hate sin like you ought to, I guarantee you. I’ve never seen a television viewer or owner that read their Bible more than they watched television. All you see is murder and rape and lust and sodomy and divorce and lies. You grow numb to sin. You’ll be worthless for Christ. You’ll be just going through the motions. If you’re a regular TV watcher, I’ll guarantee that you won’t have God’s view of sin because it will be distorted. We’ve got to see sin as God sees it. A lady came to D. L. Moody and said, “I’ve got a bad habit; can you help me with it?” He said, “What is it?” She said, “I exaggerate.” He said, “Yes, I can help you. The next time you exaggerate, announce yourself and say, ‘I have just told a lie.’” She protested and said, “No, it’s not that bad.” He said, “Until you see it as bad, you will never stop.” You see, we’ve got to see our sin as a sin against a holy God. If you get a glimpse of his holiness, you’ll hate sin, but also it will give you a right evaluation of self.
No man in the Bible ever God’s holiness and went away bragging. Nobody. They all went away sick of themselves. Most Christians wear their feelings on their sleeves. Then you want to lose a church member, just preach on their sin, and they’re gone.
Turn to Galatians. You look at the Bible, we’ll look at the Apostle Paul quickly. Saul meant big, Paul meant little. In Ephesians he said, “I’m less than the least of all the saints.” In Galatians 2:20, he said, “I am crucified with Christ, nevertheless I live; yet not I but Christ liveth in me. And the life which I now live in the flesh, I live by the faith of the son of God who loved me and gave himself for me.” Look at Galatians 6:14. But God forbid that I should glory save in the cross of the Lord Jesus Christ by whom the world is crucified unto me and I unto the world. In I Corinthians 15:9 he said “I am the least of the apostles.” You see, if you see God as holy, you’ll stop defending yourself. You see God as holy, you’re not going to try to make yourself look good. That’s our problem—pride. We want to look good. We all know the account of Job. God allowed Satan to attack Job, but said he just couldn’t touch Job. We know how that his children were all killed, he lost all of his wealth. In Job 22:21-22 he says, “Naked came I out of my mother’s womb and naked shall I return thither. The Lord gave and the Lord taketh away. Blessed be the name of the Lord. In all this Job sinned not nor charge God foolishly.” The Devil came again and in Job 2:4 it says, “Skin for skin, yea all that a man hath will he give for his life. But put forth thine hand now and touch his bone and his flesh, and he will curse thee to thy face. And the Lord said unto Satan, ‘Behold, he is in thine hand but save his life.’” God said it’s okay to touch him, but save his life. Most people are familiar with this passage. He woke up one day with boils from his head to his feet, and he sat there in the dump scarping the boils. Even his wife turned on him and said, “Why don’t you just curse God and die?” Job felt like he had taken all that he could. He had no wicked sin, no willful sin, no hidden sin; and he said, I wish I hadn’t lived at birth. A holy God steps on the scene in Job 38 starting with verse 4. And God said, Where wast thou when I laid the foundations of the earth? Declare if thou hast understanding. Who hath laid the measures thereof? If thou knowest or who hath stretched the line upon it? Whereupon are the foundations thereof fastened? Or who laid the cornerstone thereof? When the morning stars sang together and all the sons of God shouted for joy, or who shut up the sea with the door when it breaketh forth? What God said is, “You’re so picked on; you’re so big. Where were you when I created the earth? Where were you when I separated the sea and drew the seashores? Where were you when I created the moon and the stars?” When God was through with Job, he was like a whipped puppy dog. In Job 42:5-6 he says, “I have heard of thee by the hearing of the ear, but now mine eye seeth thee. Whereof I abhor myself and repent in dust and ashes.” When he saw the holiness of God, all his self-pity was gone. You know what’s wrong with us—we’ll serve God if everything is going fine. If our family is fine, our health is fine, we’ve got a good job, we serve God. We take care of God’s needs when all of our earthly responsibilities are fulfilled. We don’t recognize God. People stop giving when they get tight. One thing I find with some people is the first thing they stop taking care of is God.
Look at John the Baptist. Do you think John the Baptist wanted to be introduced as Israel’s most outstanding evangelist? Do you think he wanted a book cover? Sometimes I get so tired of these so-called preachers and their books. You know, The Nation’s Greatest Soulwinner and things like this. I don’t find that in the Bible. I don’t find that at all. What a little carrot the Devil needs to get us to stray off. What did John the Baptist say? He said, “I’m a voice crying in the wilderness. I’m here to introduce Jesus Christ. He must increase, I must decrease.” Come on, Christians. Always worried because this person said this or that person said that. So what! Always trying to look good. In John 3:30, “I’m not worthy to latch his sandals.” Let’s see the holiness of God. I’ll tell you what, if you see the holiness of God, it won’t matter if there’s another man at work party, you’ll be there. It won’t matter if anyone else goes soul winning, you’re going to go soul winning. Do you understand what I’m saying? It’s not comparing yourself with other people or trying to wiggle yourself around. If you believe and see the holiness of God you will live like it. It will be seen in your life. That’s what bothers me about some of you. You’re just like a zombie, just going through life. You have no love for God. You don’t really care about his holiness. If you see the vision of a holy God, you’ll say and you’ll live out ‘He must increase, I must decrease.’ Not ‘I’m going to get my own.’ We’ll die to self.
Years ago, a visitor was flying of Teto, Ecuador, where the five missionaries were murdered. As the plane flew around a bend, the man asked the pilot, ‘Is that where Nate Saint died?’ The pilot said, ‘No.’ The man insisted, ‘You know I’ve read about this in detail. I’ve not seen anything else that would be familiar at all.’ The pilot said, ‘No.’ They landed the plane and the pilot said, ‘Let me show you where Nate Saint died. One Sunday night Nate and I were in revival meetings in a country church. The preacher spoke about dying to self. At the invitation, he went forward and gave himself to God, and die to self. I don’t care about what I have, or what I eat, or where I go, I die to you just so souls will be saved. That’s where Nate Saint died—in a country church, not at a bend in the river.’ God is calling everyone here to die to self. If we would, we would have so much of a better life. We’re to die to our income. We’re to die to honor so we can live for a holy God. Die to yourself to soul winning. A girl was telling how she was saved. She explained how her younger sister had accepted Christ as her Savior. Her parents and this girl just ridiculed her. She kept witnessing to her. One night she heard her sister praying that if it took her death for them to be saved, she wanted to die. This girl went on and said that she was saved at her sister’s funeral. Have you ever lost sleep over a soul? Have you ever really been burdened because you loved others? No, there’s no revival today because there’s no holiness. The first time I ever went out, I preached in North Hampton, Massachusetts, it’s the place where Jonathan Edwards pastored and now is buried. I thought about the time in bible college when I memorized part of his famous sermon, Sinners In the Hands of an Angry God. Now we hear much of the revival. But if you read, you know that he just prayed and prayed for months and years. As it came to the revival time, he didn’t eat or sleep. He just prayed for four days and four nights. “God, give me New England.” That was his life; that was his burden. When he got in the pulpit, fire fell from Heaven. You probably know he was not a dynamic preacher. He was an intellect; in fact, I’ve heard him called ‘The Most Intellectual Man ever produced in America.’ He was an intellect. He was near-sighted, monotone, and he read the sermon. He preached on the love of God and the grace of God in the past. God laid it on his heart to preach on the holiness of God to bring revival. Again he read the sermon. ‘Every man deserves Hell. Every man right now is the same object of the same wrath as those in Hell. You’re condemned already. God is not under obligation to keep any sinner out of Hell.’ It was as though he hung them over Hellfire on a little string and the flames of Hell lapped at the little string. He pointed out how the fiends were laughing at him. There was a Great Awakening—even secular people will say that there was a great revival that swept the land. The people actually hung to the pillars thinking they were going to fall into Hell. Now compare it to today. America is about as wicked a place as there could ever be. You say, “What are you getting at?” Things have changed. Because Americans and Christians don’t believe in the holiness of God. Oh, I remember Kris Kristofferson with a cigarette in one hand and a can of beer in the other leading cheers. “Give me a ‘J’ give me an ‘E’ give me an ‘S’ give me an ‘U’ give me an ‘S’. . . Let me say something—God doesn’t want to be cheered. He wants to be feared as holy. The Bible says that God is so holy that the heavens themselves are unclean before him. I’m through, but if you would turn to Philippians chapter 2. In closing, God is so holy that the angels must shield their faces when they look upon him. The Jewish scribes whenever they wrote Jehovah would take a bath before they wrote it. In other words, if they were going to use the word three times, they would take a bath three times. In Philippians 2 starting in verse 9 we read, “Wherefore God also hath highly exalted him and given him a name which is above every name. That at the name of Jesus every knee should bow of things in heaven and things in earth, and things under the earth. And that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord to the glory of God the Father.” Our problem is that we want to look good. Isn’t that true? We get mad if we’re not treated right. God is not in His proper place in our lives. ‘Well, I wasn’t treated right, so I’m just going to sit here.’ You don’t know the God I know. I tell you, I’m not serving people; I’m serving God. We protect our time, we play church, we hide our pet sins, and want to think of ourselves as pretty good. I’ll tell you what, you see a holy God, and you’ll hate sin. You won’t just say that you hate it and go back to it. You’ll hate it enough to defeat it. If we see ourselves right, we’ll be humble, I guarantee you. You see yourself right and you’ll live for Him. You won’t be fighting Him, you won’t be fighting your husband. No, you’ll be humble. Let’s bow in prayer.