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How Do You Love Me? (1 of 7)
The 7 Questions of the Backslider Series - Malachi
INTRO: There are many forms of eye disease; one very unusual one is called "Tunnel Vision." This eye disease causes you to lose your peripheral vision so that all you see is a very narrow field directly in front of you, as though looking through a narrow tunnel, hence the term for the affliction, "tunnel vision." The tragedy of this disease is that a person never quite has a complete picture of reality around them, and they can stumble, fall, or bump into things and cause injury because of their narrow perspective.
There is a spiritual "I" disease similar in nature to this physical "eye" disease. Israel developed "tunnel vision" many times, and it caused injury and lack of perspective that resulted in backsliding from God. In this series of sermons we will examine "the 7 questions the backslider asks God" … the book of Malachi is built around these 7 questions asked by a backslidden nation … and God's response to them.
Spiritual "I" disease is easy to diagnose. The person or nation that develops it only sees a narrow perspective, usually their own wants and needs. Their happiness only exists when everything is clearly going their way, when God's blessings are constant … and these blessings are understood only in a very narrow way, the way they want them to be. When REWARDS are more important than RESPONSIBLITIES "I" problems develop.
ILLUS: Backsliding is the easiest thing to do -- you do nothing. People seldom lose their religion by a blowout -- it is usually a slow leak. -- Croft M. Pentz, The Complete Book of Zingers (Wheaton: Tyndale House Publishers, Inc., 1990).
This is where we find Israel in Malachi's day, a nation that is backsliding.
1. It was experiencing peacetime, but with the Edomites that surrounded them they probably experienced occasional terrorist attacks from their ancient enemy, thus frustrating them … ...
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