Turning the Heart (Malachi #13)

Text: Malachi 4:4-6

Elijah will literally return to Israel prior to the Second Coming of the Lord Jesus Christ. If you recall he never died, but was taken up in a chariot of fire. But I’d like to establish a principle in verse 6 about the movement of the heart.

But this whole turning of the hearts, how is that done? How is a heart turned? Proverbs 21:1 The king’s heart is in the hand of the LORD, as the rivers of water: he turneth it whithersoever he will. The flow of water is like the movement of the heart. 

Prepare a way for the heart to move

  • Maybe you need to dig out some opportunity. Water flows in the path of least resistance, just like your child’s heart.
  • 1 Thessalonians 2:10-12 Ye are witnesses, and God also, how holily and justly and unblameably we behaved ourselves among you that believe: 11 As ye know how we exhorted and comforted and charged every one of you, as a father doth his children, 12 That ye would walk worthy of God, who hath called you unto his kingdom and glory.
    • We provided a path a to walk in.
    • Exhorted to walk worthy of God: to encourage, to embolden, to cheer, to advise. The primary sense seems to be to excite or to give strength, spirit or courage.
    • Comforted to walk worthy of God
      • Comfort has to do with giving someone a place of rest, security, emotional stability.
    • Charged to walk worthy of God

Prepare boundaries that help define direction

  • Boundaries define direction and purpose.
    • Irrigation system to define the movement and purpose of the water. 
    • And we already know what our purpose is, it is to bring glory to God.
    • Ever set up boundaries around a plot of ground in order to plant a garden?
  • Ephesians 6:4 And, ye fathers, provoke not your children to wrath: but bring them up in the nurture and admonition of the Lord.
    • …bring them up…
      • BRING means you walk the walk and bring them along.  
      • If I’m bringing someone up, then I’m taking them where I’m already going.
  • So that means I don’t ask them about serving God, I show them how to do it.
  • I don’t send them to church, I bring them.
  • I don’t pray for them to be godly, I show them what godliness looks like.
    • Remember, this is God’s command.
    • Proverbs 23:26 My son, give me thine heart, and let thine eyes observe my ways.
    • Bring them up. I think of the example of a little tender plant growing up. And if it’s a tomato plant, you may put a straight stick beside it or a wire frame around it. Because you want it to grow up straight, be supported. But in order to get it to grow up straight, you’ve got to have something straight to tie it to. That’s a father.
    • Putting a tomato cage around a tomato plant for an hour a week will not constrain the behavior of the plant.
  • In the nurture of the Lord
    • Nurture is that which nourishes; food; diet. That which promotes growth; education; instruction.
    • But not just general growth, particularly growth in the Lord.
  • In the admonition of the Lord
    • Admonition is gentle reproof; counseling against a fault; instruction in duties; caution; direction.
    • 1 Corinthians 10:11 written for our admonition
    • So the record God has kept is for admonishing future generations.

Get the debris out of the way so the water can flow

  • You’re finding that God’s influence on their lives has been stopped by
  • Too much alone time
  • Certain friends
  • Phones or ipads
  • What they’re watching
  • What they’re listening to
  • Maybe it’s sports