Damariscotta Baptist Church
Tuesday, September 18, 2018
Growing personal relationships with God and community

12/6/15 - Are You Ready?

Mini – Message #1: “Are You Ready?”

Malachi 3:1-4

Did you catch what Malachi was asking?

Like any prophet worth his weight in gold, Malachi proclaims a difficult concept for those of us who seek the arrival of God. Whether we are considering His previous arrival as a baby or  His second coming, when he comes to take us to a new heaven and a new earth, Malachi was being true to his calling as a prophet, because he described the day of the Lord as both a glorious event but also an event to be feared. Remember what the angels said to the shepherds? "Do not be afraid; for behold, I bring you good news of great joy which will be for all the people;…Because of the power of who God is, we should be in awe of what things will be like when we see Him, and that awe will bring both tremendous joy as well as tremendous trepidation.

We read in verse 2 of Malachi chapter 3, “But who can endure the day of his coming, and who can stand when he appears? For he is like a refiner’s fire and like a fullers’ soap.”

The day of God’s coming will be like one who burns away the dross in order to refine gold and bleaches the sin out of us. Although the processes of refining gold and taking out stains produce positive results, the processes are still quite painful.  Thus the idea of having some fear makes perfect sense. This Advent text doesn’t sound like, “Oh little town of Bethlehem” or bring thoughts of a babe in a manger.

Although, Malachi has been compared to the Messenger, from the New Testament, one who was sent to prepare the way, John the Baptist, whom we will read about later on today. Malachi claims the messenger will come, Jesus himself, who will be like the refiner’s fire and like the fullers’ soap. Jesus comes to reveal to us our need for refinement and cleansing, and then purifies us. Malachi reminds us that although Jesus is the one who washes us clean as snow, the process in which it is done, is not an easy one. Refining gold and bleaching stains requires work and pain. And although the process may be difficult, it is designed to produce purity and cleanliness. Malachi was warning us that in order for us to be refined, and cleansed, we will need to be forged through fire and our sins will need to be bleached clean, and these processes will be for our good, to restore us, and to prepare for Jesus’ second coming. Our sinful lives distort the good creation God created us to be.

God had to come down, into our midst, Emmanuel, God with us, to destroy evil, and bring us from death to life through the blood of his perfect sacrifice.

We will take time today to remember, Emmanuel, during communion.

And it is communion that helps us remember, that God, in His infinite wisdom, uses the difficult things that come our way, not to drag us down but to refine us, to cleanse us and to prepare us for His return.

Malachi knew this, and proclaimed it. Today I want to encourage you to take the thought, that all of the difficult things that are, that have been and that will be in your life, when they are handed over to God, can be used by Him to refine us, to burn away the dross and reveal the gold that God created in the womb of our mothers.

As we accept the perfect sacrifice of Jesus for all our sins, we will be bleached as white as snow. Malachi was correct in declaring the thought of our being brought from death to life is alarming, but with Christ as our Savior it should also fill us with joy.