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Summary: God’s Holiness will demand our purification and service!

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THE GOD FOLLOWERS

MALACHI 2:17-3:18

SUNDAY PM SERVICE SEPTEMBER 29, 2002

INTRODUCTION: A small-town prosecuting attorney called his first witness

to the stand in a trial -- a grand-motherly, elderly woman.

He approached her and asked, "Mrs. Jones, do you know me?"

She responded, "Why, yes, I do know you, Mr. Williams. I’ve

known you since you were a young boy. And frankly, you’ve been a

big disappointment to me. You lie, you cheat on your wife, you

manipulate people and talk about them behind their backs.

You think you’re a rising big shot when you haven’t the brains

to realize you will never amount to anything more than a

two-bit paper pusher. Yes, I know you."

The lawyer was stunned. Not knowing what else to do, he

pointed across the room and asked, "Mrs. Williams, do you know the

defense attorney?"

She replied, "Why, yes I do. I’ve known Mr. Bradley since he

was a youngster, too. I used to baby-sit him for his parents. And

he, too, has been a real disappointment to me. He’s lazy,

bigoted, and he has a drinking problem. The man can’t build a normal

relationship with anyone, and his law practice is one of the

shoddiest in the entire state. Yes, I know him."

At this point, the judge rapped the courtroom to silence

and called both counselors to the bench.

In a very quiet voice, he said with menace, "If either of

you asks her if she knows me, you’ll be jailed for contempt!"

TRANSITION THOUGTH: Our text for tonight speaks of being in line or out of line with God. This text speaks of the Day of Judgment in which God will once more meet with His people. It also speaks of the reality of the work of God within the context of His people and His desire to refine and to transform. The prophet Malachi (Hebrew for “My Messenger”) speaks of a coming messenger of Yahweh who will accomplish the purification of Yahweh’s people by means of judgment. As the fire of the Metallurgist separates the precious metal from the dross, as the launderer’s soap purges the grime, so the messenger of Yahweh will banish sin from the life of the people. “BUT who can endure the day of his coming?”

THESIS SENTENCE: God’s Holiness will demand our purification and service!

I. GOD FOLLOWERS HEAR THE MESSAGE (VV. 2:17-3:1)

A. FIRST IS HEARING

1. The problem is not will God come, or where is God, but when God comes, will we be prepared. This will be much more evident in the text that follows

2. We must know who we are and where we are in relationship to our God. 3. We are the ones who have wearied the Lord with our words/attitudes/actions.

4. We have believed “all who do evil are good in the eyes of the Lord,” and have wondered, “Where is the God of Justice?” In essence we have not believed God to be God!

5. The revealing truth of this text is that it makes it apparent as to how we see God.

B. SECOND IS UNDERSTANDING

1. What is to be understood is that God is sending a messanger

2. The language is that of immediacy. It is about to happen and I mean now. 3. He, the messenger, will prepare the way before the Lord.

4. He will come to the temple: the message is not for the gentiles or for those who do not know God, it is for the very people of God as is seen in all of the Old Testament.

5. He will bring the message of the New Covenant.

The New Covenant:

a. God will punish each person for their won sins, and their children will not be condemned by the acts of the parents. This is found in Jeremiah 31:31-34. b. John preaches a baptism of repentance for the forgiveness of sins. The prophet states that all mankind will see God’s salvation. Salvation will come from God and God alone.

6. God is the one you are seeking the one whom you desire states the prophet. a. This is the response to the question, “Where is the God of Justice?”

b. It also indicates that the people of God were longing for God to act and He is going to act.

Now that we have heard and understood the message…

II. GOD FOLLOWERS ARE PURIFIED (VV. 2-3B/5A)

A. PURIFICATION IMPLIES IMPURITY

1. We have spots and blemishes.

2. God is Holy and in and of ourselves, we are not.

3. We must be purified and refined!

4. God’s desire is to have a right relationship with us. This is what is implied by verse 5. The same God who was questioned, “where is the God of justice?” is now the God who states that he will draw near his people, he will condemn the wicked!

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Kevin Beales

commented on Dec 6, 2006

A very personally challenging approach to the text. The sermon is clear and demands a response. Very good.

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