Sermons

Summary: Is God refining you today?

Sermon

Malachi 3:1-4

Someone once said that if you take the text out of its context, you are left with a con.

So what is the context of our reading from the book of Malachi.

The book of Malachi is one of the Old Testament books known as a minor prophets.

He lived around the same time as prophets such as Ezra and Nehemiah and he was sent from God to encourage the Children of God, the Jews to turn back to God and to mend their ways.

The Jews of Malachi’s life time were very similar to people living today in Britain today.

In Malachi’s day, Jewish society as a whole had turned their back on the God of Abraham Isaac and Jacob and had gone and worshipped other gods.

And that is very similar to what is going on in the UK today. Many still call themselves Christians but do not live the life Christ wants. Their gods can be the making of money or idolising football or pop stars.

I would like to look at one verse from Malachi 3 and it is this

3 He will sit as a refiner and purifier of silver; he will purify the Levites and refine them like gold and silver.Then the LORD will have men who will bring offerings in righteousness,

Because I think it is very relevant today to us as Christians.

But let me explain what I mean by a story I came across:

Some time ago, a few ladies met in a certain city to study the scriptures.

While reading the third chapter of Malachi, they came upon a remarkable expression in the third verse:

"And He shall sit as a refiner and purifier of silver [Malachi 3:3]"

One lady proposed to visit a silversmith, and report to them on what he said about the subject.

She went accordingly, and without telling the object of her errand, begged the silversmith to tell her about the process of refining silver.

After he had fully described it to her, she asked, "But Sir, do you sit while the work of refining is going on?"

"Oh, yes madam," replied the silversmith; "I must sit with my eyes steadily fixed on the furnace, for if the time necessary for refining be exceeded in the slightest degree, the silver will be injured."

The lady at once saw the beauty, and comfort too, of the expression, "He shall sit as a refiner and purifier of silver."

God puts us, His children into a furnace to purify us.

His eye is steadily intent on the work of purifying, and His wisdom and love are both engaged in the best manner for us.

Our trials do not come at random, and He will not let us be tested beyond what we can endure.

Before she left, the lady asked one final question, "When do you know the process is complete?"

"Why, that is quite simple," replied the silversmith. "When I can see my own image in the silver, the refining process is finished."

And that for me is the KEY to the understanding of Malachi 3:3

3 He will sit as a refiner and purifier of silver; he will purify the Levites and refine them like gold and silver. Then the LORD will have men who will bring offerings in righteousness

The process of becoming a Christian is called the process of salvation. Christ has done it all.

But once we are Christians God will want us to change to become more like Christ a process we call sanctification.

Ephesians 2:8-10 sums these two processes up

8 For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God— 9 not by works, so that no one can boast.

THAT IS THE PROCESS OF SALVATION but Paul goes on to say

10 For we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.

THAT IS THE PROCESS OF SANCTIFICATION.

So with this in mind, let us look at Malachi 3:3 again

3 He will sit as a refiner and purifier of silver; he will purify the Levites and refine them like gold and silver. Then the LORD will have men who will bring offerings in righteousness

Jesus wants our lives to be purified from the dross that stops us being a pure human being.

God wants us to become more and more like Jesus was and indeed still is.

And so he will touch those areas of our lives that need reforming.

And it is up to us how we will respond.

And as you give up those things that displease God, they will become your offering in righteousness.

May I leave you with a story about the late Richard Wurmbrand (who is a great Christian hero of mine) He records this story in his book “In God’s Underground”

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