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There is no more restless creature on earth than a preaching watching another preacher preaching (and wanting to preach).

The very first time I could preach at the Shepherds Conference, I came prepared to preach on 1 Corinthians 1 — and I was sitting with Eric Alexander and he asked me what I was preaching on 1 Corthians 1. He said, Marvelous, I’m not preaching on 1 Corinthians 1. John MacArthur came in. Eric asked John MacArthur what he was preaching on. He said, I’m preaching on 1 Corinthians 1. Eric said, I’m not preaching on 1 Corinthians 1. He turned to me and said, You’re not preaching on 1 Corinthians 1. I was recently with Steve Lawson and he asked me what I was preaching on at Shepherds Conference. I said, Malachi chapter 2. Steven said, I think you’re safe.
Malachi 2:

1 “And now, O priests, this command is for you.
2 If you will not listen, if you will not take it to heart to give honor to my name, says the LORD of hosts, then I will send the curse upon you and I will curse your blessings. Indeed, I have already cursed them, because you do not lay it to heart.

3 Behold, I will rebuke your offspring, and spread dung on your faces, the dung of your offerings, and you shall be taken away with it.

4 So shall you know that I have sent this command to you, that my covenant with Levi may stand, says the LORD of hosts.

5 My covenant with him was one of life and peace, and I gave them to him. It was a covenant of fear, and he feared me. He stood in awe of my name.

6 True instruction was in his mouth, and no wrong was found on his lips. He walked with me in peace and uprightness, and he turned many from iniquity.

7 For the lips of a priest should guard knowledge, and people should seek instruction from his mouth, for he is the messenger of the LORD of hosts.

8 But you have turned aside from the way. You have caused many to stumble by your instruction. You have corrupted the covenant of Levi, says the LORD of hosts,

9 and so I make you despised and abased before all the people, inasmuch as you do not keep my ways but show partiality in your instruction.” http://esv.to/Mal2.1-9
There is a job description of a preacher.
What is the covenant with Levi: Exodus 32: the curse against Levy in Genesis is turned to a blessing, where Levi is made the priest

10 And the LORD said to Moses,

11 “Phinehas the son of Eleazar, son of Aaron the priest, has turned back my wrath from the people of Israel, in that he was jealous with my jealousy among them, so that I did not consume the people of Israel in my jealousy.

12 Therefore say, ‘Behold, I give to him my covenant of peace,

13 and it shall be to him and to his descendants after him the covenant of a perpetual priesthood, because he was jealous for his God and made atonement for the people of Israel.'” http://esv.to/Num25.10-13
17 “For thus says the LORD: David shall never lack a man to sit on the throne of the house of Israel,

18 and the Levitical priests shall never lack a man in my presence to offer burnt offerings, to burn grain offerings, and to make sacrifices forever.”

19 The word of the LORD came to Jeremiah:

20 “Thus says the LORD: If you can break my covenant with the day and my covenant with the night, so that day and night will not come at their appointed time,

21 then also my covenant with David my servant may be broken, so that he shall not have a son to reign on his throne, and my covenant with the Levitical priests my ministers.

22 As the host of heaven cannot be numbered and the sands of the sea cannot be measured, so I will multiply the offspring of David my servant, and the Levitical priests who minister to me.” http://esv.to/Jer33.17-22
A perpetual priesthood.
We often forget the teaching role of the priests:
10 You are to distinguish between the holy and the common, and between the unclean and the clean,

11 and you are to teach the people of Israel all the statutes that the LORD has spoken to them by Moses.” http://esv.to/Lev10.10-11
Malachi 1:1

The oracle of the word of the LORD to Israel by Malachi. http://esv.to/Mal1.1

A job description in prepositions: From, to, by

We are to take what God has spoken and deliver it to the people. We are to deliver the Lord’s oracle. His job description was in his name: we are to deliver the oracle of the Word of the Lord to God’s people.  

In Malachi we see a judgment upon the people and upon the priesthood.
And it ends with the theme of the messenger


With the fear of God. 
Did any people ever hear the voice of a god speaking out of the midst of the fire, as you have heard, and still live? http://esv.to/Deut4.33

The language of “life and peace”  — because it is a dangerous place. To hear the voice and live. It is a miracle you lived through Sunday morning in the pulpit. I made a promise to Levi and made a covenant of life and peace — and I am gave them to him. God made and kept his promise.

But it was also a covenant of fear.

Saw a book in a Christian bookstore: God’s not mad at you

It’s really good news if God is not mad at you. But what if he is? Then it’s not good to be told that God’s not mad at you. The Gospel of Jesus Christ begins with God is mad at you.

How many Churches say they are looking for a preacher who fears God?
How often this is explained away: God is not mad at you. It’s not “fear”.
But the fear of the Lord is fear. It is more than that, but it is not less than that.
The fear of the Lord is the corrective for so many things. It is a corrective for taking things lightly — God kills people for taking his things lightly.
Martin Luther described two kinds of fear: servile and filial. Servile: being in the hands of one who is unrighteous and means you harm. Filial fear is the fear a son has for his father.
The fear of the Lord is clean, it is sanctifying. That is where the preacher has to begin. The fear of the Lord is the rightful response of the creature before the creator. Our culture seems to only understand servile fear. This comes from a culture with a breakdown of the family where children have no fear of their father (filial). Kierkegaard: most people don’t have fear, they merely have anxiety. Anxiety is (in part) and being too preoccupied with the self. 

Fear: “he stood in awe of my name”. This is the fear of the Lord defined

We are among a people who have no desire for awe — they merely want spectacle. How many living people today have experienced even a moment of awe.

What would that be? Isaiah 6. How do we know this is clean? Think of how Isaiah responds, I am a man of unclean lips.

How many of us have ever experienced (even) a moment of awe.

If we rightly understand what we are doing genuine Christian worship, that is what we should experience.

We have built up defenses against experiencing awe. We don’t let others expect and we don’t bring that.

Related: right now, we can’t handle much awe. 
2 Peter 

 16 For we did not follow cleverly devised myths when we made known to you the power and coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, but we were eyewitnesses of his majesty.
17 For when he received honor and glory from God the Father, and the voice was borne to him by the Majestic Glory, “This is my beloved Son, with whom I am well pleased,”

18 we ourselves heard this very voice borne from heaven, for we were with him on the holy mountain.

19 And we have the prophetic word more fully confirmed, to which you will do well to pay attention as to a lamp shining in a dark place, until the day dawns and the morning star rises in your hearts,

20 knowing this first of all, that no prophecy of Scripture comes from someone’s own interpretation.

21 For no prophecy was ever produced by the will of man, but men spoke from God as they were carried along by the Holy Spirit. http://esv.to/2Pet1.16-21
The Gospel is built upon what happened — we were eye witnesses. But we have something even better, the Word.Peter: we heard the majestic glory. We were with him. It couldn’t have been too long after that that Peter ate lunch, got tired and slept, he got irritated and was anger. We like to think that after we saw such things we wouldn’t sin again or even eat or sleep.

Right now we have a hard time handling awe. 
Preachers: we are right now preparing God’s people for an eternity which will be nothing less than awe. We’re not ready for that yet. If we’re not yearning that …

What did he stand in awe of? My name
Do not take God’s name in vain (lightly): that would be the end of a lot of so-called preaching. God will not hold him guiltless who will take God’s name in vain.
Phil. 2 — at the name of Jesus every knee shall bow. It doesn’t say in the presence of Jesus, it says at the name. 
He stood in awe of my name: How would ministry be different if we saw that as the first requirement of a true Gospel ministry.

Nike theology: No fear.

OT: start with the fear of the Lord

If our ministry does not begin with the fear of the Lord, it will end with the fear of the Lord.

There is no more moral calling. Above reproach. 
Holiness and true ministry always go together. The demand of the ministry is that we walk with the Lord.

Holiness is being conformed to the image of God.Ryle: suppose for a moment you could enter into heaven without holiness …how could you possibly be happy (Ryle, Holiness).

The one who is called to preach and teach must be defined in moral terms.
He must walk in peace and uprightness: 

Job description: Wanted, Messenger of the Lord of Hosts. He must fear the Lord and stand in awe of his name. He must walk with the Lord in peace and uprightness, and turn many from iniquity


6 True instruction was in his mouth, and no wrong was found on his lips. He walked with me in peace and uprightness, and he turned many from iniquity.

7 For the lips of a priest should guard knowledge, and people should seek instruction from his mouth, for he is the messenger of the LORD of hosts.

This is to be our aspiration: True instruction was in his mouth — not even one wrong word. We should be deadly afraid of saying even one wrong word.

You do another people in your study while you prepare your message. You need patriarchs and prophets in the room with you, so that their message is your message. Do you really mean to say it that way? We need evangelists and apostles and fathers.
With need Athanaius with us so that we know that we stand in the pulpit we are standing contra mundum.

We need Reformers and Puritans and Jonathan Edwards: there is only a thing membrane between the people to whom you are preaching and the wrath the God — don’t waste a word. We need Spurgeon in the room with us.

There is a congregational responsibility. People should seek instruction from his mouth. Who made you the doctrinal guardian of this congregation? God did.
For he is the messenger of the Lord of Hosts.
Why would God use human vessels as his instruments? I haven’t a clue — except the Lord of Hosts is right and do what will bring him glory. Evidentially it brings God great glory to bring to use such frail vessels.
Every opportunity we have to preach we are to deliver a message which did not come from us; it is a message which came from the Lord of Hosts. The Lord of the all the armies of the cosmos.
The Lord of Hosts is the Lord of All.

What would happen on Sunday morning if the people understood that what you were doing is bringing a message from the Lord of Hosts. Then don’t show up on Sunday morning with anything other than a message from the Lord of Hosts.