The 6th sermon in our journey through the book of Malachi, under the overall heading of – “From the ashes of failure to the anticipated future.” The practical application of the teaching will be worked out in the house groups.
We often find those who perpetually moan and complain extremely tiresome. God too was “wearied” by the words of the people of Malachi’s day who complained about his perceived inactivity and ambivalence in two areas:-
A – Judgement.
They witnessed the wicked sinning with impunity and seemingly getting away with it, while God failed miserably to exercise judgement to the point that it was thought that he approved of the actions of the wicked.
B – Justice.
The people pointed the finger at God and accused him of being a God who did nothing about injustice, a reoccurring theme amongst the OT prophets (Jeremiah 12 v 1 & Habakkuk 1 v 2 – 4.) Life was just not fair!
Pause 4 Thought – How do we cope with living in what seems like an unjust world, where things happen to us as well as to others that are just downright unfair?
In response to the peoples cry for justice and judgement God decided to act by sending two messengers. The first was John the Baptist whose job description was to prepare the way (Isaiah 40 v 3 – 5) for the second messenger, who was the Christ, the bringer of the new covenant (Jeremiah 31 v 31 – 33 & Isaiah 54 Ezekiel 36) who would come to his temple.
But how would Jesus transform unfairness into fairness, injustice into justice? There is a short term (partial) answer, as well as a long term (ultimate) answer to this question, revolving around his first and second comings, where he would accomplish two things:-
1 – Cleansing.
His “refining fire” would purge all impurity; while his “launderer’s soap” would wash away all stains. Jesus in his first coming, through his death and resurrection came to restore the image of God that had been so marred by Adam’s sin. Such a process of sanctification begins when a person becomes a Christian (2 Corinthians 3 v 18), but will only be brought to completion when they stand before Jesus Christ on the day of his second coming, see him face to face, and experience complete transformation.
2 – Condemnation.
A sordid list of sins are mentioned, covering the spiritual, the moral and the social, practised by those who in their unbelief did not “fear the Lord.” Jesus in his first coming came in the flesh to offer by his death forgiveness of sin and the removal of condemnation (Romans 8 v 1). But on the day of his second coming, he will judge and condemn all unbelievers for their sin (Acts 17 v 31) and there will be no reprieve as fairness and justice are restored.
To us it may well seem that life would be much fairer if God were to judge sin immediately. But he has chosen not to do so; therefore we need to patiently wait for that day when he says “enough is enough” and acts to give evil doers their just deserts, while vindicating the righteous.
But have you ever wondered why God at least for the time being has postponed such a day? It is because he is patient and his anger burns on a long, slow fuse (Exodus 34 v 6.) It is because he wants to give people time to repent and to trust in him that such condemnation might be avoided (2 Peter 3 v 9.)
Pause 4 Thought – Have you been cleansed from your sin; or will you be condemned for your sin?
Theme: “Life just doesn’t seem fair!”
Reading: Malachi 2 v 17 – Chapter 3 v 5
Preacher: Chris Hughes
Led by: Bev Sills
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