Sermons by Ken D. Trivette from The Living Word

The Book of Malachi
JESUS IS COMING BACK--ARE YOU READY?
Malachi 3:1-6

1. At 10:00 o'clock in the morning of May 19, 1780, people in the eastern seaboard noticed a strange haze spreading across the sky. Then a thick darkness settled over the eastern part of the United States. By noon, schools were dismissed, candles lit, and torches set in the streets. By one o'clock in the afternoon, fear had turned into panic as the premature nightfall continued. Thousands crowded into churches to hear ministers expound on the day of Judgment. In Hartford, Connecticut, both houses of the legislature were meeting. One dismissed since its members thought the world was about to end at any moment. The other body continued, although greatly distressed. Finally one man made a motion to disband, since the day of reckoning was thought to have come. A Mr. Davenport, a Christian objected, "Mr. Speaker, this is either the Day of Judgment or it is not. If it is not, there is no need of adjourning. If it is, I desire to be found doing my work. I move that candles be brought in that we proceed to business." The meeting went on.

2. One day Jesus will come and I will be called to stand before Him. It is my prayer, that I be found doing the work He gave me to do. Many years ago I made preparations to be accepted when He returns. But I also want to make preparations to be acceptable when He returns.

3. For some the second coming of Jesus is alarming. Reuters News June 6, 1996 produced a nationwide scare in Columbia and produced a wave of baptisms in the Roman Catholic Churches. June 6 was the sixth day of the sixth month of a year that also ends in six - a coincidence of the calendar producing 6-6-6, feared as the sign of Satan. The wave of baptisms took place before the date because of rumors that the anti-Christ would put the mark of the beast on any child who had not been baptized.  

4. Thoughts about future events and the second coming of Jesus can be terrifying to others. It is alarming because people, saved and lost, are not ready for His return. If one is unprepared, the thought of the future and that Jesus could come back today, should move them immediately to be prepared.  

5. For others the second coming of Jesus is assuring. There is no fear or dread. They have been saved and they have been living for Jesus. They have nothing to be ashamed of or fearful of when they meet Him. Instead of a dread for His return, they have a delight in His return.  

6. Malachi, answers the question of 2:17, "where is the God of judgment?" by declaring in our text, "He is coming!" His description of the Lord's coming is one that calls for being ready.

1. A THOUGHT THAT SHOULD CHALLENGE US!

1. [3:1]...The word "behold" is a means of emphasis that something startling and unusual is on the verge of taking place. That which Malachi says is going to happen is "Behold, He shall come." What a tremendous thought! Jesus will come again! Malachi specifically referred to Jesus coming to the earth with His saints, not His coming to the earth for His saints. - "Shall suddenly come to His temple." -- In any case, the thought of the second coming is a tremendous thought. It is a thought to challenge us.  

A. It Is A Thought That Challenges Us To Diligent Examination.

1. He speaks of sending His messenger to prepare for the coming of the Lord. The statement refers back to an ancient custom that related to a king's travels. If a king desired to travel to a certain area, he would send someone ahead to get things ready for the king's arrival. He was to see that roads were smoothed, leveled and ruts filled. In some cases to see that proper roads were built. Bridges were erected to cross streams. Any obstacle was removed. He also had the responsibility to get the people ready to give the king a proper welcome.  

2. This prophecy was partially fulfilled in John the Baptist the first time Jesus came: Matthew 3:3 "For this is he that spoken of by the prophet Esaias, saying, The voice of the one crying in the wilderness, Prepare ye the way of the Lord, make his paths straight." It will be completely fulfilled when He comes back the second time.

3. The ideal is of getting ready for Jesus to return. This challenges us to a diligent examination of our lives. Are we ready? For the lost it is a challenge to salvation. For the saved it is a challenge to sanctification.

4. John spoke of believers that were unprepared: I John 2:28 "And now, little children, abide in him; that, when He shall appear, we may have confidence, and not be ashamed at his coming."

5. On one occasion, President Dwight Eisenhower vacationed in Denver, Colorado. In Denver, was a six-year-old boy that had cancer. The boy had expressed his desire to see the president and Eisenhower had learned of the boys wish. One Sunday morning there was a knock at the door of the boy's home. The boy's father opened the door and to his surprise there was the president. Eisenhower spent some time with the little boy. Afterwards the father would tell the story and describe, "Just think, there I stood in my blue jeans, my old shirt, and unshaven. What a way to meet the president."

6. There are many that are accepted in the beloved but will not be acceptable to the beloved when He returns. He is coming. That is a challenge to a diligent examination of our lives.

B. It Is A Thought That Challenges Us To Daily Expectation.

1. Malachi says that He shall "suddenly" come. The word "suddenly' means "unexpected." The same thought is found in Matthew 24:44 "Therefore be ye also ready: for in such an hour as ye think not the Son of man cometh." 

2. We are both certain and uncertain about the Lord's return. We are certain He will come - but we are uncertain when he will come. Because we are both certain and uncertain, we should be ready. We should live in a daily expectation of His return.

3. There should be a wanting of His return. There should be a waiting for His return. There should be a watching for His return.

4. A fishing fleet neared the Scottish coastal village from which they had been absent for many weeks. The captain scanned the shoreline with his binoculars. "Willie," said the Captain, "there's you' Freda. And Jock, there's Mamie and the two bairns.' So on and so on he described the group of loved ones at the wharf. When he had finished, one man asked, "Do you see my wife there, Captain?" "I'm sorry Angus, I don't see her; she's not there." When the ship docked, Angus was first off the vessel. Hurrying through the crowd, he glanced this way and that. He thought, "She would be here unless . . ." He pushed the unhappy thoughts from his mind. He hurried toward his home. When he arrived, he rushed in and there was his wife. 'Oh, Angus, I've been waiting for you" she said. Angus looked at her and said, "The wives of the other men were watching for them."

5. Mark 13:35 "Watch ye therefore: for ye know not when the master of the house cometh, at even, or at midnight, or at the cockcrowing, or in the morning."

1. A Thought To Challenge Us!

2. A TIME THAT SHOULD CONCERN US!

1. [3:2A] . . . When we think of the Second Coming we usually think only in terms of it being a gala event. Malachi speaks of that aspect of the Lord's coming that should concern us. It is possible that instead of being happy we will be humbled.  

A. A Confrontation By The Lord.

1. Malachi says that He will come as a refiner's fire and a fuller's soap. In verse 2 we read that the Lord "is like a refiner's fire." In verse 3, "He shall sit as a refiner and purifier of silver ...  purge them as gold and silver."  Malachi is describing how the refiner puts the silver or gold into the fire to burn away any impurities in the metal.  

2. (Vs.2) "like fullers soap."   Malachi describes a laundryman washing and bleaching garments to get out all of the spots and stains.

3. The return of Jesus will involve a confrontation by our Lord concerning the impurities and stains that are in our life. How foolish to think that we can live anyway we please and when we stand before the Lord, everything we be glorious celebration. For some, His coming will be a grievous confrontation.

4. II Cor.5:9-1O "Wherefore we labour, that, whether present or absent, we may be accepted of Him - For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ; that every one may receive the things done in his body, according to that he hath done, whether it be good or bad."

5. We can deal with our sins on earth by confessing them or He will deal with our sins in heaven by confronting them. A faithful life He will commend. A sinful life He will condemn.

6. All through Malachi we have seen the sins of the people. Malachi says that when the Lord comes He will "purge them as gold and silver, that they may offer unto the Lord an offering in righteousness." They have been unacceptable before God. But when they stand before God He will confront their sin.

7. (Vs.5) ... Malachi lists some of the sins that God will judge.

8. The point is God will judge the sins that have not been judged. (Cp.Vs.4) The refiner would heat the metal until all the impurities were removed. How did he know the metal was pure? He could see His face in the metal. They had at one time been pleasing to the Lord. He will deal with their sin so that they will be pleasing to Him as before.  

B. A Condition Before The Lord.

1. Malachi asks, "But who may abide the day of His coming? and who shall stand when He appeareth?" Malachi suggests that there will be some that will not stand before God in an acceptable way. They will stand before Him in a condition is unacceptable. They will not be able to stand in honor but will have to fall in humility. Our condition when Jesus returns should concern us.  

2. There used to be a paper in Dahlonega, Georgia, called the Nugget. At the top of the editorial page, the editor wrote the words: "If you don't want it published in the Nugget, don't let it happen."

3. If we don't want to be confronted about sin, we should stop the committing of sin. If we don't want our sins to be dealt with in the future, we should deal with them in the present