When the Lord Comes – Part 2
Last time we were in the book of Malachi we started a series on the coming of the Lord. The Lord had made an announcement that he was going to send a messenger and we saw last time that that messenger was John the Baptist. But in making this statement, the Lord points to the Messiah. In it, he said that he was once in a messenger before Himself. This was in response to the children of Israel complaining about God. They tacitly implied that he did know what he was doing as God because injustice was running rampant. What kind of God would let injustice run all over the place? The Israelites became like the heathens surrounding them, scoffing at the God that they were supposed to be serving. They stood in the place of Judge instead of servant.
We took a look at what would happen when the Lord came. Two questions were asked.
The first was, “who may abide the day of his coming?” Who was going to be able to endure or comprehend in the day of His coming? The answer to the prophet’s question was those who would receive Him. They would be able to comprehend/abide/endure His coming. To see that it was Him. They would have eyes to see and ears to hear given to them. They would recognize who He truly was.
The Israelites of Malachi’s day believed that they knew God and God was saying that they were unfaithful and did not know Him. They were religious but not saved. They kept up religious rituals and outward appearances but had no true fidelity towards God in the heart.
There are a lot of people in the church like that today. They keep up appearances and they attend a church gathering. They know all of the songs and the hymn books. They’ve been attending the church gathering of this same church for 20 years. They may be able to quote copious amounts of Bible verses but there is no heart to put them into practice. When it comes to fidelity to God in their lives outside of the church gathering, they are failures. They can’t come up with the goods to validate their self-proclamation of their position with God.
This is why obedience to the Lord should infect everything we do in our lives. We can do a lot of religious things but not have true religion, true faith, true hope. Our life should be to become more and more obsessed with the things of God. This obsession manifests itself in obedience. We obey not to be saved but because we are saved.
The next question that the prophet asked is who was going to be able to stand when He appeared? This is referring to righteousness in His presence. Blameless and pure to meet the divine standard. This part of the question is rhetorical because it is implied that no one would be able to stand. The coming of Jesus the Christ was the coming of the Son of Man and the Son of God all in one package. This meant that He was to be the pinnacle and standard of what men should be and part of that is sinlessness.
The standard of humanity is not the collective agreement of society. It is not some amorphous, unknowable force called the universe, fate, Mother Nature, karma, or luck. The standard is Lord Jesus Christ. The standard is God. When looked at in that light, there is no one who meets the standard. Wise men know this inherently that they do not meet this standard.
As He came the first time, the Lord will come again. He will bring the same thing in both advents: purification and judgment. Christ wants a pure heart. He wants a pure church. It talks about the Lord being like a refiner’s fire and fuller’s soap. The refiner’s fire burns away all the impurities while of Fuller’s soap scrubs and scours for deep cleansing.
The Lord said that a pure heart is one that sees God (Matthew 5:8)
Blessed are the pure in heart: for they shall see God. (Matthew 5:8)
The pure in heart won’t see God later. They see Him now. They see Him working all around. They see His hand in the lives of people. They see God because they know God. We see God by faith now and we’ll see Him face to face later.
This morning we’re going to take a look at some more details of what this refining and purifying does and also look at the results that God desires through that process in part two of our series When the Lord Comes.
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