Weekly Word from Bro. David
February 2, 2017
From The Pastor's Heart:
Today, we start the conclusion of our series through the OT book of Malachi. Here, we have seen the people of God, going through the motions. But we've also seen that we, the church of today, have a tendency to do the very same thing. I pray that this series has challenged us to lay aside apathy, complacency, and hypocrisy for genuine and faithful service to Jesus Christ.
In the last chapter of Malachi we are reminded of a prominent OT theme: The Day of the Lord. Throughout the OT, God has promised that there is coming a day of judgment that will make all things right. He will reward the righteous, judge the wicked, and straighten everything out. Malachi reminds us that this is a soon and coming day.
1 "For behold, the day is coming, Burning like an oven, And all the proud, yes, all who do wickedly will be stubble. And the day which is coming shall burn them up," Says the Lord of hosts, "That will leave them neither root nor branch.
2 But to you who fear My name the Sun of Righteousness shall arise With healing in His wings; And you shall go out And grow fat like stall-fed calves.
3 You shall trample the wicked, For they shall be ashes under the soles of your feet On the day that I do this," Says the Lord of hosts.
4 "Remember the Law of Moses, My servant, Which I commanded him in Horeb for all Israel, With the statutes and judgments.
5 Behold, I will send you Elijah the prophet Before the coming of the great and dreadful day of the Lord.
6 And he will turn The hearts of the fathers to the children, And the hearts of the children to their fathers, Lest I come and strike the earth with a curse."
In 1988, an awesome event happened. Olympic sprinter Ben Johnson of Canada broke out of the starting gates like no other man in history. I remember sitting and listening to the commentator say, “Did you see that start? Ladies and gentlemen, it's Ben Johnson! It's Ben Johnson! It's Ben Johnson!” As we watched, the time on the TV said that the man had broken the world record. Ben Johnson had turned that sprint for the fastest human alive upside down as it had never been demonstrated before! The crowd went wild! The other runners congratulated him. What a run by Ben Johnson!
Until it all hit the fan. When it went before the judges, they tested his blood and found steroids. When they found steroids, they sent word back for Ben Johnson to give up his gold medal and they awarded it to another. The gold medal that Ben Johnson had won was snatched and turned over to someone else. He went back to Canada a disgrace. The crowd didn't know it when he was running it. The crowd didn't know it when he was sprinting. When he was darting out of the blocks, the people went wild. When he did his victory lap, he looked like he was a winner. He felt like he was a winner.
The only problem was the judges went inside of his body and extracted what was on the inside and brought it to the light. On that day, many of us who think we have won will find out that we have to turn in our medal because we didn't run according to the rules. The question is, will He call your name or will He take your crown? Sin will receive its just reward.
Sometimes it's hard for us to believe that judgment is coming. Because it hasn't happened yet, we tend to think it really won't happen. But throughout the Bible, OT and NT, God's judgment is promised. And it is clear that this coming Day of the Lord will be a day of punishment for the wicked and a day of reward for the righteous. Malachi reveals several facts about this soon and coming day.
The first fact of his coming we see is the truth of His coming! Do you believe in the truth of His coming? We've heard it all of our lives. “One day, Jesus will return; it could be today!” If we're not careful, we tend to treat this like the boy who cried wolf. “Yeah, I've heard it a hundred times already. He hasn't come yet and it doesn't look like it's going to happen.” Be so very careful, that's a lie from the enemy. The Bible says His coming, and judgment coming with Him, will be when you least expect it, “Like a thief in the night.” The Bible professes the truth of His coming and we must be ready!
The judgment of God may be postponed. For the most part it has been postponed for the long years of human history -- postponed but not forgotten. Delay is not elimination. Judgment will come!
The Bible declares His coming: “For behold the day is coming”
Malachi begins with a powerful and simple phrase in verse 1 when he says, “Behold, the day is coming”. This is stated as simple fact by the prophet. And, it is believed throughout the ages by the faithful people of God. No matter what comes our way in this life, there is a day coming. And on this day God will right all wrongs, straighten all crooked paths, judge all of His enemies, and reward His people.
The Bible describes His coming as: “Burning like an oven.” What will that day be like? What will it achieve? It will be a day that burns like an oven, in which the arrogant and evildoers will be burnt up. vs. 1 "For behold, the day is coming, Burning like an oven, And all the proud, yes, all who do wickedly will be stubble. And the day which is coming shall burn them up," Says the Lord of hosts, "That will leave them neither root nor branch.
Those arrogant people previously envied in Malachi 3:15: 15 So now we call the proud blessed, For those who do wickedness are raised up; They even tempt God and go free.' " will now be judged. God had previously refined His people, now He will finally judge them.
The day is initially described as “burning like a furnace,” and the effect it will have on the wicked is figuratively but emphatically stated in two stages. First, God will make “stubble” of them, chaff that is easily burned. In Isaiah 40:24 the prophet says: 24 Scarcely shall they be planted, Scarcely shall they be sown, Scarcely shall their stock take root in the earth, When He will also blow on them, And they will wither, And the whirlwind will take them away like stubble. It is what blows away after young immature plants are hit by a lethal hot wind that withers them. The term is often used of something worthless. Then, as if that were not enough, God will “set them ablaze,” the final result of which will be that “it will leave them neither root or branch.”
The day announced here in Malachi is very similar to the picture God paints in Joel 2:1-3. 1 Blow the trumpet in Zion, And sound an alarm in My holy mountain! Let all the inhabitants of the land tremble; For the day of the Lord is coming, For it is at hand:
2 A day of darkness and gloominess, A day of clouds and thick darkness, Like the morning clouds spread over the mountains. A people come, great and strong, The like of whom has never been; Nor will there ever be any such after them, Even for many successive generations.
3 A fire devours before them, And behind them a flame burns; The land is like the Garden of Eden before them, And behind them a desolate wilderness; Surely nothing shall escape them.
Both the Old and New Testaments are filled with promises of the second coming of Christ. There are 1,845 references to it in the Old Testament, and a total of seventeen Old Testament books give it prominence. Of the 260 chapters in the entire New Testament, there are 318 references to the second coming, or one out of 30 verses. Twenty-three of the 27 New Testament books refer to this great event. The four missing books include three which are single-chapter letters written to individual persons on a particular subject, and the fourth is Galatians which does imply Christ's coming again. For every prophecy on the first coming of Christ, there are 8 on Christ's second coming.
A brand-new science called “exobiology” came into being in the 1960s. This science is dedicated specifically to the study of extraterrestrial life. In laboratories, at giant radio observatories and at esoteric symposiums, some of the world's keenest intellects are focusing on this new discipline. Someone, however has mockingly called exobiology a science “that has yet to demonstrate that its subject matter exists.” It will be demonstrated at the coming of Christ.
It's easy to look at the world around us and to think that we've lost the battle. Even some Christians doubt the coming of the Lord. They've grown discouraged over the problems and pain that they see in society. But remember, God said it would get much, much worse before it got better. Everything you see is nothing that God hasn't already promised would happen. The promise of His coming is true!
Next week we will see the second fact of his coming which is: The triumph of His coming found in Malachi 4:2-3.