Listen - I Am Coming To You

Bible Book: Malachi  3 : 1-6
Subject: Judgment; Hardships; Trials; Commitment
Series: Listen Up - God is Speaking - 8 Sermons

Listen - I Am Coming To You

Dr. J. Mike Minnix, Editor, www.pastorlife.com
Introduction

Malachi 3:1-6

Something often repeated is usually a message of importance. You know that I frequently refer to my wife as sweet Jayne. Let me share an experience that illustrates the point of something often repeated and epitomizes why I refer to my wife in such kind terms.

My wife is fond of moving furniture around in our home. I always look twice before I sit down to avoid the mistake of sitting where a chair used to be! The other day she moved the furniture in our den and I have to admit it looks a lot better. When moving everything around, she arranged things so that a light switch on the wall activates two lamps, a floor lamp by my recliner and a table lamp in a corner of the room. Well, I didn't know that the table lamp was plugged into a socket that caused it to work with the light switch. So, every night when I left the den to go to bed, I would turn off the table lamp manually and then flip off the switch that turned off the floor lamp. For several days my wife would go into the den, flip on the switch and notice that the table lamp would not come on. She would then turn it on manually. Finally, the other day, she came into the room when I was there, flipped on the light switch and the floor lamp came on but the table lamp did not. She went over to the table lamp, turned it on and gently said, "I wonder who is turning off this lamp by hand rather than using the switch to turn it off?" She said that just as if some little man was slipping into our home after we had gone to bed for the express purpose of turning off that lamp to make her life more difficult. Then she looked at me lovingly and asked, "It wouldn't be you, would it?"

I confessed that I didn't know that the switch turned off both lights and would refrain from the practice of turning off the table lamp manually so as not to make her life miserable. The point of the story is that a recurrence of the table lamp not coming on when the switch was flipped conveyed a message that something was definitely happening from day-to-day that created the situation.

Whenever we come to the Bible and find a repeated event or word from God, you can be sure that something very important is taking place and we ought to find out what it is. That is the case with our message today. Throughout the Bible there is a repetition, an echo if you please, of a promise from God. It is the promise of the coming of the Lord to this earth.

We need to understand that the Old Testament prophets did not foresee the birth of Christ, His ministry, His death, His resurrection, His ascension, His return in the rapture and His Second Coming in a neat, chronological order. They saw pieces of the puzzle and because of this their writing on the subject can sometimes be confusing to us. Nonetheless, they gave forth the word that the Messiah was coming.

We know that Christ came the first time, just as prophesied, to be born of a virgin in Bethlehem. We know that the forerunner, namely John the Baptist, came before Him as Jesus originated His earthly ministry. We know that He died on the cross; just as Isaiah the Prophet said that He would. He was the suffering servant and the Lord laid on Him the iniquity of us all. We know that He arose, as prophesied in the Bible. He ascended back to the Heavenly Father and one day is coming again.

One preacher has stated that one out of every thirty Bible verses speaks of the second coming of Jesus Christ. His Second Coming is mentioned eight times more often than his first coming. Angels, prophets, apostles and Christ mentioned his the promised Second Coming of Jesus. Whole chapters are given to this subject.

We may ask, "What delays His coming?" There are at least three reasons why the Lord has not come for His Church.

i. God's appointed hour has not yet arrived (Matthew 24:36).

ii. The church has not yet been completed (Acts 15:14-16).

iii. Lastly, the long-suffering of God has not yet been exhausted (2 Peter 3:8-11).

Our duty is not to look AT the return of the Savior, but to look FOR the return of the Savior. It is not the subject of the return of Christ, but the Savior who is returning that must capture our attention!

I. The Cruel Conclusion - Malachi 2:17

A. They Concluded That God Did Not Care

Because of the problems the people were facing, they decided that God did not care for them. Actually, the problems they were enduring were of their own making. Their sinful ways had brought trials into their lives. Sometimes we face hardships because we create them. Have you ever done that? Be honest! Have you ever said or done something that created a problem in your life and perhaps in the lives of others? Raise your hands! Yes, I thought so! So have I. Some of us can raise both hands at the same time! We have all done that at times.

Not all trials are created by us. Some trials come upon us because we are in a world that rejects the gospel of our Lord. Think of those Christians living in some of the Muslim countries today. Many of them are persecuted and some put to death. Yes, many problems can come upon Christians simply because of their faith and their stand for Jesus. Additionally, some problems are blessings in disguise. We consider a situation a problem or trial when it is simply God's way of getting us into the circle of blessing. Surely some of us have prayed for a situation to go the way we desired, only to see the issue turn out in the opposite way. Only weeks or perhaps years later, we see how God was working to bring about the best for us and others.

One thing we must not do in any situation is blame God for the problem and declare that God doesn't care about us. We are to endure hardness as a good soldier of Jesus Christ. We are to accept chastisement when it is given and stand strong for the Lord when the world attacks us or life seems to make no sense. We simply must not blame God!

B. They Concluded That God Was Not Fair

Remember that the Israelites came out of Egypt and then asked if God had brought them out into the desert just to let them die.

Remember Job, he questioned God and even asked for an umpire to arbitrate between himself and the Lord.

Remember Jonah, he argued that God had not been fair because He had allowed the Ninevites to live after they repented.

This, my friend, is a common sin among God's people, and it is a sad one.

On the other hand, remember Joseph. He was sold by his brothers and ended up serving the captain of the Pharaoh's army. He was accused falsely by a woman and was thrown into prison. Yet, you do not hear him accusing God of being unfair or of not caring. In the end, God raised Him up to great places of authority and leadership.

Remember Paul, he was treated so unfairly by people, yet he never accused God of being unfair or of not caring about him. Look at how God used him.

Listen carefully, a people who will accuse God of failing to care and not being fair will never be truly used of God!

II. The Coming Christ - Malachi 3:1

A. A Comfort In His Coming

To the faithful, the promise of the coming of the Lord is wonderful. If you fear His coming, you need to get saved! His appearance is something God's true people long for and would love to see at any time. And you will feel positive about His coming, if you are saved and ready for His return. The Spirit says come Lord Jesus, and the Bride (that is the church) says come! We look for, not just at, His appearing. This is not about a subject to be studied, but a Savior to be welcomed!

B. A Caution In His Coming

To the Lost, the promise of His coming is a warning! You are put on notice that the Lord of glory will appear and you will appear before Him. It is highly probably that the text before us refers to the Great White Throne Judgment as described in Revelation 20:11-15. That particular judgment will involve the final judgment of the lost of all the ages. Note in that passage that the Lord looks for your name in the Lamb's Book of Life. If your names is not there, no second chance is given. Dear friend, when you come to Jesus, God places your name in the book! No one can erase it. God will never remove it. You are in His hand and no one can snatch you out of His hand (John 10:27-28).

You see, God sends a caution to everyone, a caution that we must be ready for His coming at any time. Now (today) is the day of salvation (2 Corinthians 6:2).

III. The Cleansed Congregation - Malachi 3:2-4

A. Only The Cleansed Can Stand

Who can stand before God as holy and pure as He is? Only those who have been cleansed. There is a two-fold cleansing that the Lord provides those who come to Him.

1. First, He cleanses us as a silversmith cleans metal of its impurities.

When metal is heated, the impurities float to the top. They can be skimmed away, leaving only the pure, precious metal behind. God speaks of cleansing sin from the soul in the same way. He alone is able to remove the impurities from our lives. This passage speaks specifically of innate sin, that which is born in us. It is so much a part of us that we cannot distinguish where it ends and where we ourselves end. Only a work of grace can separate the impurities and make us holy before our Holy God. Jesus gave His pure life on the cross for you impure life. He took your impurities and gave you His purity - righteousness. When you turn to Him by faith, repenting of  your sins, He applies His righteousness to your account. He writes, "Paid in full" on your record. Every impurity is removed from you and totally righteousness is given to you. How wonderful! Who on earth would reject such an offer? Sadly, many do reject Him. Which will you be? One who receives Him or one who refuses Him? It will really matter when He returns - and He will!

2. Second, He cleanses us as a person cleanses a piece of clothing.

Clothing picks up dirt in the world. The dirt in clothing is not part of the cloth, but it has become part of it as time has passed and the material has come in contact with something unclean. We are like that also. We pick up the grime and dirt of this world as we live.

Modern detergent ads claim to removed almost 100% of the impurities in clothing. Notice that they don't claim to remove EVERYTHING. Jesus cleanses you TOTALLY.

3. The Lord Himself provides for our cleansing in His precious blood.

He took our sins at Calvary and bore the heat of God's wrath in order to take away our innate impurities. He washes us in His precious blood to take away our sin (1 Peter 1:18-19).

  • Through His blood we receive Pardon (Ephesians 1:7)!
  • Through His blood we receive Peace (Colossians 1:20)!
  • Through His blood we receive Power (Revelation 12:10-12)!
  • Through His blood we receive Purity (1 John 1:7)!
  • Through His blood we receive Paradise (Revelation 7:14)!

"O, precious is the flow, That makes me white as snow,

No other fount I know, Nothing but the blood of Jesus!"

B. Only The Cleansed Can Serve

We are not accepted unless we are cleansed, and once we are cleansed we are accepted fully and freely into His presence to worship and serve. The people in Malachi's day did not understand this principle. We need to understand it today! To truly serve, we must be a cleansed people!

IV. The Condemned Crowd - Malachi 3:5-6

A. A Lack Of Forgiveness

Why will some people perish and go to a devil's hell? Why will they die? Not because it is God's will! It is not God's will that any should perish but that all might come to repentance (2 Peter 3:9). Look at Ezekiel 33:11, "Say unto them, As I live, saith the Lord GOD, I have no pleasure in the death of the wicked; but that the wicked turn from his way and live: turn ye, turn ye from your evil ways; for why will ye die, O house of Israel?" What an impressive verse this is. God calls out asking, "Why will you die? Turn, turn and be saved."

The reason people perish is because they are unforgiven. Sin cannot be accepted in Heaven. You must repent or perish.

B. A Lack Of Fear

Why will you not come to Christ? You lack fear! That is interesting, but that is the way God puts it! Look at Luke 23:40. The believing thief on the cross spoke to the unbelieving thief and said these words, "But the other answering rebuked him, saying, Dost not thou fear God, seeing thou art in the same condemnation?" The believing thief on the cross came to Christ because He had a fear of God! Fear and love may seem at odds but they are not. To fear something is to respect it and that respect shows a kind of love or reverence. God brings conviction to show us that we are perishing. Love for God is not truly possible until we see the danger of judgment and turn to Him. Love is the result of fear. Fear is the beginning of wisdom!

Conclusion

Jesus is coming, are you ready? Turn to Him now. Those of you who have never trusted Him, today is your day to turn to Him in faith.

For the believers, we are to be faithful till He comes to take us home.

"During his 1960 presidential campaign, John F. Kennedy often closed his speeches with the story of Colonel Davenport, the Speaker of the Connecticut House of Representatives: 'On May 19th, 1780 the sky of Hartford darkened ominously, and some of the representatives, glancing out the windows, feared the end was at hand. Quelling a clamor for immediate adjournment, Davenport rose and said, "The Day of Judgment is either approaching or it is not. If it is not, there is no cause for adjournment. If it is, I choose to be found doing my duty. Therefore, I wish that candles be brought.' Rather than fearing what is to come, we are to be faithful till Christ returns. Instead of fearing the dark, we're to be lights as we watch and wait."1

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1 Accessed at: http://www.sermonillustrations.com/a-z/s/second_coming.htm