GETTING TO KNOW GOD’S
Christians are children of God; they are God’s special people. “But ye are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, an holy nation, a peculiar people; that ye should shew forth the praises of him who hath called you out of darkness into his marvellous light.” (1 Peter 2:9) The Bible says Jesus was “chosen of God and precious.” Then we read, “Ye also, as lively stones, are built up a spiritual house, an holy priesthood, to offer up spiritual sacrifices, acceptable to God by Jesus Christ.” (1 Peter 2:5) If you are a child of God, then like Jesus, you are chosen and precious. A Christian is a child of the King and is therefore special! If you are a child of God you are special to God; you are chosen by God and you are precious in the sight of God. God’s chosen people are Christians; they are special people. These are people who have given their heart and life to God in humble and complete obedience. In the New Testament these people are called Christians. (Acts 11:26) These people made up the church. (Acts 2:47) If you are a Christian you are part of God's chosen race and that makes you special. Malachi 3:16 also described God’s special people. “Then they that feared the LORD spake often one to another: and the LORD hearkened, and heard it, and a book of remembrance was written before him for them that feared the LORD, and that thought upon his name.” Malachi lists three characteristics concerning the people of God.
God’s special people are those who fear the Lord. In Malachi 3:16 we read, "Then those who feared the LORD…” The fear of the Lord is that understanding of God's greatness and power and man's accountability toward Him. A scriptural and saving knowledge of God is the greatest need of every person. An unknown God can neither be trusted, served, nor worshipped. Belief in God is the foundation principle of the Christian faith. The writer of the book of Hebrews said, "Without faith it is impossible to please Him, for he who comes to God must believe that He is, and that He is a rewarder of those who diligently seek Him." (Hebrews 11:6) In Proverbs 1:7 the Bible says, "The fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge, but fools despise wisdom and instruction." The fear of the Lord is that reverence we feel as we live daily in the presence of God. The fear of the Lord is the root of right living and wise conduct. The fear of the Lord influences our every action and thought. The writer of the book of Hebrew said we are to "serve God acceptably with reverence and godly fear." (Hebrews 12:28) There is no way one can be a faithful child of God if he has no reverence and respect for God and His will.
God’s special people are those who spoke one to another. In Malachi 3:16 we read, “Then those who feared the LORD spoke to one another…” This implies they had fellowship one with another and that they cooperated with one another. We must treat other Christians as "family." Peter wrote, "Finally, be ye all of one mind, having compassion one of another, love as brethren, be pitiful, be courteous." (1 Peter 3:8) God wants us to love everybody, but before we can do that we must learn to show kindness and love to the brethren. The need for brotherly love and fellowship with one another is seen in that, (1) We have the same Father -- God, (2) We serve the same Master -- Jesus, (3) We are all in the same Family -- the family of God or church, (4) We are all traveling through the same strange land – we are strangers and pilgrims, and (5) We are all heirs of the same inheritance -- Heaven. Paul wrote, "Now therefore ye are no more strangers and foreigners, but fellow citizens with the saints, and of the household of God." (Ephesians 2:19) Without a close connection with our brethren it is impossible for us to become an active part of the church. The writer of Hebrews wrote, “And let us considers one another in order to stir up love and good works.” (Hebrews 10:24) Christians are to "Be kindly affectionate to one another with brotherly love, in honor giving preference to one another." (Romans 12:10) Jesus said, “A new commandment I give unto you, That ye love one another; as I have loved you, that ye also love one another. By this shall all men know that ye are my disciples, if ye have love one to another.” (John 13:34-35)
God’s special people are those who meditate on His name. Again in Malachi 3:16 we read, "Then those who feared the LORD spoke to one another, And the LORD listened and heard them; So a book of remembrance was written before Him For those who fear the LORD And who meditate on His name." This implies that these people of God thought about Him and His will, and they were devout worshipers of Jehovah. Let us think about God because we cannot rise above our thinking! God is the all-knowing, ever-present, all-powerful ruler of heaven and earth! God is Omnipresent (ever-present.) (Psalm 139) God is Omniscient (knows everything.) (Daniel 2:22) God is Omnipotent (all powerful.) “With men this is impossible; but with God all things are possible.” (Matthew 19:26) It just makes sense to think about God. "There is beyond the azure blue, a God, concealed from human sight, He tinted skies with heav'nly hue -- and framed the worlds with His great might. There was, a long, long time ago, a God whose voice the prophets heard, He is the God that we should know, who speaks from His inspired word. Secure, is life from mortal mind, God holds the germ within His hand, Tho' men may search, they cannot find, for God alone does understand. Our God, whose Son upon a tree, a life was willing there to give, That He from sin might set men free, and evermore with Him could live. There is a God, He is alive, in Him we live, and we survive; From dust our God created man, He is our God, the great I AM!" In Deuteronomy 6:4 we find one of the most important declarations in all the Scriptures. The text says, "Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God is one Lord." The road to salvation begins with the proposition, God is! The Hebrew writer said, "But without faith it is impossible to please him: for he that cometh to God must believe that he is, and that he is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him." (Hebrews 11:6) Life eternal is to know the only true God. "This is life eternal, that they might know thee the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom thou hast sent." (John 17:3) Isaiah recorded these words from God, "Ye are my witnesses, saith the LORD, and my servant whom I have chosen: that ye may know and believe me, and understand that I am he: before me there was no God formed, neither shall there be after me. I, even I, am the LORD; and beside me there is no saviour." (Isaiah 43:10-11)
Finally, notice the results of their action. “Then those who feared the LORD spoke to one another, And the LORD listened and heard them; So a book of remembrance was written before Him…” (Malachi 3:16) Are you one of God’s special people? To become a Christian you must hear the gospel (Romans 10:17), believe in Jesus as the Christ (Mark 16:16), repent of all sins (Acts 17:30), confess Christ as Lord (Romans 10:9-10) and be baptized for remission of sins. “Then Peter said unto them, Repent, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins, and ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Ghost.” (Acts 2:38) After baptism remain faithful to God. (Revelation 2:10) May we strive to have these three characteristics we have discussed in our lives, then heaven will someday be our eternal home
By Charles Box, Walnut Street Church of Christ, 306 Walnut Street,
Greenville, Alabama 36037