Thursday, December 13, 2018

Sermon Dec. 8-9, 2018 Second Sunday in Advent

Title: In Christ you are purified!
Text: Mal. 3:1-7b

And the Lord whom you seek will suddenly come to his temple; and the messenger of the covenant in whom you delight, behold, he is coming, says the LORD of hosts. 2 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 fullers' soap. 3 He will sit as a refiner and purifier of silver, and he will purify the sons of Levi and refine them like gold and silver, and they will bring offerings in righteousness to the LORD.

To refine is to bring to a fine or a pure state; free from impurities: It is during Advent that we wait for the one who would come to purify and refine us by his blood, shed at the cross.
In Christ you are purified!

3 “Behold, I send my messenger, and he will prepare the way before me.
In Malachi we learn that God prepares the way. In our gospel for today we learn, it is through his messenger John the Baptist that God’s way is prepared.
The herald is the one who calls those who hear to repentance.
Just prior to our reading in Malachi God had said:
17 You have wearied the LORD with your words.


I don’t know about the Lord who is slow to anger, but I do know I have wearied people in my life. My boss of many years had a hard job. 

When I began working with him he was 23 and I was 25. We worked side by side for his dad. We were coworkers and piers and friends. This relationship lasted for over 20 years. Eventually he bought the company from his dad and became the boss. At one point he asked me to be a signer on the company checking account placing his trust in me. But now he was the boss and I the worker. We still had great respect for each other. 

But … he was the boss.

We had reviews each year and at one review, the boss was pointing out something I said or did that offended the customer. My perspective was different than his because he only had heard the customer’s side. It was minor and a misunderstanding but … here’s the point. 

I brought up a similar incident that had occurred where he was the offending party and the customer had come to me as the manager of the store to complain.

My boss said, “Russ, this is hard enough for me and you need to let me be the boss and listen.” I did, and I apologized, and was mindful of his position as owner of the store.

The children of Israel didn’t get it.

But you say, “How have we wearied him?” [And the Lord answers through the prophet] By saying, “Everyone who does evil is good in the sight of the LORD, and he delights in them.” Or by asking, “Where is the God of justice?”

The people wanted justice against those “others” who have offended and wearied the Lord. But for them … they tell God, “Leave my sin alone. It’s not that bad … in fact … let’s call it good.”

And these were God’s priests who were not honoring the Lord’s name as well as the people of Judah who had a broken faith, desecrating the sanctuary of the Lord by marrying the daughter of a foreign god. Mal.2:11

Our own blemishes and brokenness are made clear daily. With my own boss I wanted justice - just not against me. Don’t point out my fault. We all stumble … and from my perspective, his was a greater fault where mine was merely a misunderstanding. And true as that may be from my point of view … it didn’t matter. Because, he was the boss … not me, it was his business … not mine, and really it was a review and he had a right to point out my error. It wasn’t even grave it was just the one who is in a place to judge saying, “Be aware of this, and avoid this … for your own good and the good of the company.”

I learned a great lesson and our reviews from then on … even if I didn’t agree with him, I listened, paid attention, and obeyed what he wanted me to do.

But judgment will come swiftly,

... against the sorcerers [idol worship – having another god],against the adulterers [worship of self], against those who swear falsely [trusting self and using the Lord’s name in vein], against those who oppress the hired worker in his wages [coveting that which is theirs], the widow and the fatherless [those who need support], against those who thrust aside the sojourner [not loving neighbor as thy self] and do not fear me [they have no reverence and respect for the creator of heaven and earth],
says the LORD of hosts.

So who can stand, and who can endure this judgment and this Judge? Must we be consumed in the wrath to come?

Malachi speaks for the Lord when he says:

For he is like a refiner's fire and like fullers' soap. 3 He will sit as a refiner and purifier of silver, and he will purify the sons of Levi and refine them like gold and silver, and they will bring offerings in righteousness to the LORD.


Some ladies met in a certain city to read the scriptures and make God’s word the subject of their conversation. 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.”

One lady’s opinion was that it was intended to convey the view of the grace of Christ, working in them and she proposed to visit a silversmith and report to the study group what he said on the subject.

She went and without telling him the object of her visit, wanted to know the process of refining silver, which the silversmith fully described to her.

“But Sir,” she said, “do you sit while the work of refining is going on?” “Oh, yes madam,” replied the silversmith, “I must sit with my eye steadily fixed on the furnace, for if the time necessary for refining be too long 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.” Christ sees it needful to put His children into a furnace. His eye is steadily intent on the work of purifying, and His wisdom and love are both engaged in the best manner for them. Their trials do not come at random; “the very hairs of your head are all numbered.”

As the lady was leaving the shop, the silversmith called her back, and said he had one more thing to say … that he only knows when the process of purifying was complete, by seeing his own image reflected in the silver.

Author Unknown

In Christ you are purified!

God in Christ has redeemed you and marked you as his own he purifies you as he make you in his image sanctifying you, making you holy and set apart as God’s chosen child.

One redeemed by this Christ child that we wait for, will hear upon his return:

“Well done, good and faithful servant. You have been faithful over a little; I will set you over much. Enter into the joy of your master.” Matt. 25:23

In the name of the Father and of the Son + and of the Holy Spirit


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