Summary: The final message from the series on Malachi
I have heard it said over and over again that hindsight is 20/20. How many things can you remember in your life that if you would have known they were going to turn out the way they did, you would have made an entirely different decision? How would you live your life differently today if you knew what would happen tomorrow? Imagine what it would be like to never be caught off guard by the unexpected. We have often sang these words in worship, “Many things about tomorrow, I don’t seem to understand; but I know who holds tomorrow, And I know who holds my hand.” We can live with confidence in the face of uncertainty because God knows exactly what lies ahead in the future. He is never caught off guard and He never says I wish I would have seen this coming. Today we make our final stop in our eight week journey through the book of Malachi. We have seen a nation living with the fruits of their disobedience. Now in the final section of the book Malachi presents some motivation to spurn the people on toward faithfulness. Malachi leaves no doubt that God is in control, nothing happens without His knowledge or approval. Malachi raises the curtain on the future to provide the people with a glimpse that will encourage the faithful to remain steadfast and the unfaithful to repent and turn back to God. The motivation for faithfulness is the approaching Day of the Lord. Today I would like for us to see what insight and encouragement we can gain from the prophet Malachi.
I. The day is coming when faithfulness should override our skepticism.
A. In the midst of the skeptics were a handful of faithful followers, like the seven thousand in Elijah’s day who had not bowed their knee to Baal.
1. Despite all the unbelief and skepticism among their people at the time, they found ways to encourage each other to be faithful.
2. What they were saying, we do not know; but we can assume it was an expression of love and worship.
3. Perhaps they argued with the impious skeptics; perhaps they warned others against them.
4. If they questioned the circumstances of life it was in full faith that God does only that which is good.
B. The Lord never once failed to remember those that remained faithful to Him.
1. “A book of remembrance was written before him.” The Lord had heard their words and those words were written before him.
2. The book represents God’s providence and omniscience, his ever-wakeful care, his unfailing knowledge.
3. In this book of remembrance God would take notice of all those who were faithful and feared His name.
4. The Lord assured believers, those who truly reverenced God and possessed God-consciousness, that they would not be forgotten.
II. The day is coming when once again the distinction between the faithful and unfaithful will once again be obvious.
A. God promises that a day would come when He would acknowledge those who have remained faithful.
1. On that day the Lord would acknowledge His faithful as a treasured possession.
2. Centuries before at Sinai this term was used to describe all of Israel now it refers to a faithful few.
3. The people of Malachi’s time understood “the day” to refer to what we know as Christ’s first coming; the day we celebrate as Christmas, yet Malachi sees Jesus’ birth and beyond seeing Christ’s second coming.
4. The Lord shows clearly that while the others are being punished the faithful would be spared this tragedy.
5. The faithful will see the justice that they have cried out for.
B. In that day the faithful would “again discern between the righteous and the wicked, between him that serves God, and him that serves him not.”
1. In times past again and again they had abundant opportunity to observe, both in their national and individual lives, the different treatment of the saint and sinner.
2. Unfortunately the spiritual blindness of the majority kept the people from having a true perspective.
3. On that day, when all wrongs are rectified and all wickedness punished, it will be apparent that God does judge justly and that he does make a distinction between those who serve him and those who do not.
III. The day is coming when wrong will be punished and right will be rewarded.
A. To the unfaithful the day of the Lord would be a terrible experience.
1. Fire is often associated with the Day of Judgment in both testaments.
2. Fire is the symbol for God’s holiness which consumes all impurities.
3. Like in Malachi’s day many today believe that God simply ignores the wicked.
4. Those that the skeptics regarded as happy and blessed in this world would become “stubble,” the worthless stubs that remain after the wheat has been cut and gathered into the garners.