Emmanuel Faith Community Church

Return to Me!

Small Group Starter Video (from 5/5/13) - Malachi Series, Message #1

See the sermon summary and starter questions below for your upcoming small group time. See below for the text and fill-ins of the sermon (or click the Notes link above for the sermon outline and application questions).


May 4/5, 2013
Return to Me!
Challenging the Complacency of a Religious Nation
Malachi 1:1
Pastor Dennis Keating

(For Scripture references and fill-in the blanks)

THEIR PROBLEM: They were “going through the motions” in their worship. (See 2 Tim. 3:5)

“. . . holding to a form of godliness, although they have denied its power;” 2 Timothy 3:5

1. The prophet: Malachi.

His name means My messenger.

2. The tone: Corrective. (See 2 Tim. 3:16)

“The task of the prophet is not to smooth things over but to make things right.” Eugene Peterson

“All Scripture is inspired by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, for training in righteousness;” 2 Timothy 3:5

3. The authority: From the Lord.

THE EMPHASIS: He is the faithful covenant keeping God throughout the ages. (See Mal. 3:6; Heb. 13:8)

“For I, the Lord, do not change;” Malachi 3:6

“Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever.” Hebrews 13:8

4. The recipients: Israel.


If obey --> Blessing

If disobey --> Cursing

(See Exodus 24:7)

“Then he took the book of the covenant and read it in the hearing of the people; and they said, ‘All that the LORD has spoken we will do, and we will be obedient!’” Exodus 24:7

THEIR CHALLENGE: How can you question us about keeping the covenant?

- Questioning God’s love (1:2-5)

- Despising God’s name (1:6-14)

- Departing from God’s Word (2:1-9)

- Rejecting God’s pattern (2:10-16)

- Misunderstanding God’s patience (2:17-3:6)

- Spending God’s money (3:7-12)

- Ridiculing God’s faithfulness (3:13-15)

5. The message: “Return to Me!” (3:7)

THE KEY INSIGHT: External obedience always starts with a renewed heart commitment to Him. (See Joel 2:12-13)

“Yet even now," declares the LORD, "Return to Me with all your heart, and with fasting, weeping and mourning; and rend your heart and not your garments." Now return to the LORD your God, for He is gracious and compassionate, slow to anger, abounding in lovingkindness and relenting of evil.” Joel 2:12-13

Read More