Summary: The world needs to know that the Question is not, "What can God do for us?" it is "What can we do for God. It’s not about us. It’s all about Jesus.
Text: Malachi 2:17-3:7
Subject: The Coming King
Title: It’s All About Jesus
As we have gone through the book of Malachi in the past couple of weeks we have seen that although the prophecy is meant for the nation of Israel, every part of it has a practical application for Christians as well. We’ve seen how much God loves us and even cares for His enemies, even though He hates the fact that they are His enemies. He will reveal Himself to all peoples. We have seen how He wants us to give our best to Him. He is not happy with being second in your life. Last week we saw that as a “Royal Priesthood” God expects His people to be people of integrity. And we saw how special the institution of marriage is to God.
Today we begin Malachi 3:1-7 by setting it up with what the prophet says in the last verse of chapter 2. God is tired of playing games with His people. “You have wearied the Lord with your words…” The things that God’s people say and do out of religious habit have become a point of contention with Him. Playing religious games – showing up for church for no apparent reason; quoting scripture like it is some magic spell to be cast; praying for blessing without obedience – all these things weary God. Add to that the fact that His people have become so dense that they don’t even understand why He is wearied, and I don’t know what keeps the Lord from throwing up His hands and saying, “I give up.” The children of God have begun to call evil good and to say that God delights in them. And if that is not so, then “Where is the God of justice?”
The same question is being asked today. If the world is so bad and it seems that things are going to hell in a hand - basket, then where is the God of justice? Knowing Malachi’s burden for his nation, I have to believe that he couldn’t wait for them to finally ask that question. And his answer? I want you to know something. You who are called God’s children have come to the mistaken conclusion that the relationship is all about you. Malachi tells us today, “It is not about us, but it is all about Jesus.” The Messiah is coming. Are you ready?
I. JESUS, THE MESSENGER (verse 1)
A. Preparing the Way. “Behold, I send My messenger and he will prepare the way for Me.” We can easily associate this messenger with John the Baptist. All four gospels clearly recognized John as the fulfillment of “The voice of one crying in the wilderness, ‘prepare the way of the Lord; make straight in the desert a highway for our God.” (Isaiah 40:3) The children of Israel were being given one last chance turn to God. Malachi was the last of God’s messengers (his name means “My messenger”) until John the Baptist shows up on the scene some 450 years later. God had sent His messengers, the prophets, to them for the past 1000 years and they have continued to ignore them. It is no wonder that the voice of God was silent for those 450 years between the testaments. They weren’t listening anyhow. But just when you least expect it, God will send His messenger to prepare the way and “the Lord, whom you seek, will come to His temple.” Jesus was taken to the temple for his dedication 40 days after His birth. He was in the temple amazing the teachers when He was 12. During His ministry, He was often found in the temple teaching. “The Lord, Whom you seek will suddenly come to the temple…” He was there and nobody understood. Jesus shows up in His temple every time we gather together. How often is it that we walk away though, saying, “I just didn’t get anything today?” Remember? It’s not about you. It’s about Jesus. He is here today. He said that the church is the temple of the Holy Spirit. When we come together, Jesus is magnified. Just because we don’t see visible manifestations of His presence does not mean that He is not here. We can expect those things every time we come together, but they should never be the barometer of God’s divine presence.
B. Preserving the Covenant. Who is coming to the temple? “Even the Messenger of the covenant in whom you delight.” John the Baptist prepared the way for the Messenger of the covenant. Jesus is the Messenger of the covenant in that He fulfills the Old Covenant and brings the New. Not only is He the messenger of the covenant, He Himself is the covenant. And HE will come suddenly. The word literally means instantly. The arrival of God’s messenger is imminent. God’s people delight in the prospect of Christ’s return. Some will be surprised. It was true in Malachi’s day and is true today. We know Jesus is coming back and we think we know what must transpire before He does. The fact is that God is sovereign and Jesus will return when the Father decides to send Him. But one thing we know for sure; it is imminent and will be sudden. As in His first advent, Jesus is not coming the second time to destroy the Old Covenant but as a complete fulfillment of all that has been prophesied about Him. God made a covenant and is faithful to keep it.