God’s Big Justice Plan (Malachi 2:17 – 3:5)

Sermon Manuscript . . .

God’s Big Justice Plan

As many of you know, I am a father of daughters–three little girls that I cherish dearly. And in my house right now, I often hear loud and passionate cries for justice. Any parents with more than one child under the age of 13 in your home understand what I mean by that? I’m not talking about social justice–this is a self-defending scream for judgment upon the evil of a sibling.

I’ll give you a simple example–it goes like this. “Dad, she just grabbed my scooter and rode away with it, after I set it down 15 minutes ago. And I TOLD her I was planning to come ride it again!” (You want to laugh, but you don’t.) And she’s looking at you like, “Are you just gonna STAND there and let her get away with this?” I’m laughing now, but on the days when this happens eight to ten times, it can begin to wear you out–one ridiculous, dramatic plea after another. It’s exhausting.

And what breaks my heart even more than my daughter’s misconception of justice is her doubt in my ability to justly handle the situation. Now the amazing thing about being an earthly dad is that it often shows you so vividly what we look like in our relationship with our heavenly Father. How often do we find ourselves crying out for justice-according-to-us, to Him who loves us and cares for us and sees a much bigger picture? And there we are, whining, complaining, doubting–wearying His heart.

Well, that’s what’s happening today in Malachi. The people of Israel are speaking out about the justice of God with words that, in their minds, seem perfectly reasonable–but in reality, they are wearying the Lord. In their apathy and pride, they blabber away about the evil they see around them–and God Himself, in response to their words, lays out for not only Israel, but for all of us to see His bigger view on the whole thing, His wider lens, His plan to do away with all injustice, to make right every evil. This is His Big Justice Plan.

Read along with me as I read out loud Malachi 2:17 to 3:5. “You have wearied the Lord with your words. Yet you say, ‘How have we wearied Him?’ In that you say, ‘Everyone who does evil is good in the sight of the Lord, and He delights in them,’ or, ‘Where is the God of justice?’

‘1Behold, I am going to send My messenger, and he will clear the way before Me. 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. 2But 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. 3He will sit as a smelter and purifier of silver, and He will purify the sons of Levi and refine them like gold and silver, so that they may present to the Lord offerings in righteousness. 4Then the offering of Judah and Jerusalem will be pleasing to the Lord as in the days of old and as in former years. 5‘Then I will draw near to you for judgment; and I will be a swift witness against the sorcerers and against the adulterers and against those who swear falsely, and against those who oppress the wage earner in his wages, the widow and the orphan, and those who turn aside the alien and do not fear Me,’ says the Lord of hosts.”

God has a plan to bring justice on the earth, and that plan is Jesus. The question is–are you and I on-board with His plan? Are we living our lives trusting (and not doubting) His perfect, promised plan? The exhortation I’ve had for my own heart, as we study Malachi, is to embrace the conviction that’s here for me. What ways do we relate to Israel?

Maybe you’re in junior high or high school and discontent about your status among your peers. Maybe you’re in a season of life where every day is so routine, you’ve become blah in your outlook. Maybe you’ve been dealt some injustice and it’s caused you to question God’s goodness. Let Malachi wake you up today and stir a fresh passion for Christ. Two major sections in this passage will make up our two main points (with sub points under each and then applications. The first thing we see is . . .

1.  Israel’s Pompous Presumptions  Malachi 2:17

Verse 17 starts with Malachi making this statement to Israel. “You have wearied the Lord with your words.” Now come three pompous presumptions from Israel. I specifically chose the word presumptions–here’s the definition.”An idea that is taken to be true, and often used as the basis for other ideas, although it is not known for certain.” It’s assuming things about something you do not know to be true. In this case, Israel’s assumptions are, in fact, dead wrong. Here’s the first one (under point #1 in your outline).

First  Israel says, “God is not WEARIED by us”  (2:17a)

But they ask it as a question, “How have we wearied Him?” Now on the surface, you might think–that seems reasonable. They just want clarity on Malachi’s claim. But the spiritual condition of Israel right now is at a record low. Just in the first two chapters, they’re disregarding God’s electing love, offering lame sacrifices, their spiritual leaders are the worst, and the Jewish men are being carelessly unfaithful to their wives. And then they say, “How have we wearied Him?”

This question is not coming from innocence–it’s one of arrogance, and even attack. “How have we? Prove it!” They’re blind. That’s what happens when we give ourselves to sin–we get in-grown eyeballs and we see the world upside-down. Israel has just been brought back from exile, the Temple is rebuilt, worship is reestablished–but it wasn’t enough. The experience of life had not adequately increased (in their opinion), so they’re discontent.

Have you ever looked forward to some experience in the future with such great anticipation, that when it finally happens, it pales in comparison to how you imagined it–your whole world just turns gray? Like when I was a kid, I would always long for the weekend–to play with friends, eat candy, go to the movie theater. But if one little aspect of the experience wasn’t mind-blowing, I’d kind of, “Meh.” Then that whatever attitude begins to color everything. That’s not a good place to live–that mentality sets you up for unfaithfulness, for losing your first love, for offering worship to God that doesn’t please Him.

They’ve got stinking thinking right now. This is an extreme apathy and they don’t even realize how ridiculous they sound. It’s funny, the interchange between Malachi and Israel after hearing that their talking is wearying God–what’s their reaction? Talk more! It’s like that complaining child that gets worked up and Mom points out, “You are whining.” To which the child responds, “No I’m no-o-o-ot!” Israel is whining and God is worn out by their words.

Question–can God be fatigued, having divine strength? No–it’s an anthropomorphism. Malachi is applying a human characteristic to the Lord in order to convey just how tiresome it is to hear this apathetic, complacent people whine and complain, and even bring accusations to God. Which is what we hear in the second pompous presumption.

Second  Israel says, as if it’s a fact–“God likes EVIL” (2:17b)

Quote #2 from Israel, “In that you say, ‘Everyone who does evil is good in the sight of the Lord, and He delights in them.’” Whoa–that’s a serious claim. Where’s it coming from? Well, there’s certainly sin in the Gentile nations around them, but the irony here is that Israel’s the one doing evil. So commentators go back and forth as to who they’re referring to. Are they talking about outside nations or are they talking about fellow Jews? And I think it’s safe to say the answer is, “Yes.”

This is the voice of a person pointing at the problems of everyone but himself. “Doesn’t matter who it is, just not me.” And isn’t that our preoccupation when we become prideful? Our eyes go in to our needs and our fingers go out to the sins of others–blameshifting. But who is Israel shifting the focus to? Who are they pointing the finger at and accusing in their statement? God!

See, they’re not actually hung up on the evils of the world. They’re irritated with God for not giving them the material prosperity, the influence, the benefits that they think they deserve. They’re talking about justice for the evils of the world, but what they really care about is justice for what they have deemed as an unjust circumstance which God has placed them in. That’s the root issue behind these comments. Their fight is with Him–and sadly, this is Israel’s pattern.

God frees them from Egypt, they complain about the wilderness. God delivers them from captivity, they complain about the prosperity of the wicked. Now comes the final pompous presumption–they’ve assumed God is not wearied by them, they’ve accused Him of liking evil, and now . . .

Third  They say, “God is not JUST”  (2:17c)

Another accusation cloaked in a question, in the last part of verse 17 they say, “Where is the God of justice?” And you see how that’s accusatory and not a legitimate inquiry? It’s like if you say to someone, “Why are you so annoying?” That’s not a genuine question. That’s the tone here. They build on their previous assumption that God, having not dealt with evil must like it, and therefore He is not just. “If God is just and there’s evil all around us, where is He?” But it’s not a hopeful desire for Him to show up–it’s a scoffing attack at His character.

One commentator says, “How pathetic are these protestations! They reflect an artificial piety and gross misunderstanding of the program and message of God” (Kaiser). Isn’t that what we’ve been seeing in the rampant disobedience of Israel? At the heart of every sinful issue is some misunderstanding of the nature of God and His purposes. It’s one of the key things to look for in counseling someone through issues of sin. We need to be asking where they are getting their view of God mixed up? What are they believing about God that is not true?

The best remedy for that struggling brother or sister is for them to read passages that extol the majesty and beauty and greatness of God! Israel is mixed up right now. They think–we and God are good. I guess He’s ok with evil–I mean, where is He? Three pompous presumptions, with this last arrogant accusation that God is not just–and then comes the turn.

Have you ever been standing in a group of people, talking freely (and a little negatively) about someone–and you don’t know it, but that someone is standing five feet away? The worst thing that could happen in that moment is for that person to walk over, enter the conversation and speak for themselves. And that is exactly what happens here. So here comes point #2 in your outline.

2.  God’s Promised Plan  Malachi 3:1 to 5

Israel has had a chance now to make their arrogant claims, to express their pompous misconceptions of what’s right and wrong. And now, with perfectly settled intensity, God speaks in chapter 3, verse 1–“Behold…” (and the whole room goes quiet). I remember as a kid getting into tiffs with my parents at the dinner table about them not allowing me to do something–and sometimes those conversations go south. Everything’s fine until you say something like, “When have you ever let me do anything fun?!” Forks drop, the room goes silent, you look at your parents and think–“I’m gonna regret that.”

God is the parent here, and He looks at Israel–“You’re speaking about things you don’t understand–but now I will tell you what the plan is.” And in verses 1 to 5 God tells His plan, the real story about what He will do to deal with evil, to bring justice on the earth. And it’s the plan that He’s been promising all along.

Now we see four aspects to God’s promised plan of justice, and there’s lots of detail and even illustrations–this is where we see all sorts of fun end times stuff. But just so you don’t miss it, the answer for the evil in the world is Jesus–let’s close in prayer. Actually, you have to unpack this a little, because this is the reason for change when it comes to spiritual apathy. This is what we need to hear when we’ve grown complacent in our love for the Lord. So let’s walk through God’s promised plan. This, God says, is what will happen.

FIrst  God’s messenger will CLEAR the way  Verse 3:1a

The word messenger is used several times here, and it actually refers to two different people, so we need to distinguish. There are varying opinions about this, but the most helpful way to know who’s who is to look closely at the text. The first messenger in the beginning of verse 1 is connected with a very specific activity. God says, “He will clear the way before Me”–familiar?

It’s the same language Isaiah used to describe the preparation for Messiah in Isaiah 40:3, where he says, “A voice is calling, ‘Clear the way for the Lord in the wilderness, make smooth in the desert a highway for our God.’” And that’s the verse that all four gospels connect with John the Baptist (the “voice, calling in the wilderness…”). So that’s our first messenger and the first aspect of God’s promised plan–John was commissioned by God to clear the way for Messiah.

This clearing the way refers to the removing of obstacles from a path. The passage in Isaiah 40 also talks about “valleys lifted up” and “mountains brought low.” It’s the idea of ground being made straight, and in this context it’s a moral straightening. John the Baptist had the task of removing the obstacles of unbelief through his proclamation of repentance–preparing the hearts of the people for the One who would come and bring forgiveness of sins.

In Uganda last year, Jonathan Blackburn and I were tasked with marking off an area of land on the SOS property where future building was going to take place. It seemed like a simple job–we were to take these pick axes and score straight lines in the ground, so that when the tractors came later, they could just follow our footprint. But the ground was so hard and the grass was so thick, you had to start by ripping it out before you could even penetrate the dirt. It took us all day and we didn’t even finish–sorry, Shannon.

That was the task of John the Baptist–going before Jesus, carving that straight line in hard dirt, so that when Christ arrived to do that spiritual work, the way was clear, the soil of hearts was ready. Apathetic Israel certainly needed preparation to be ready for God’s plan to unfold. Just like it is with us–a complacent, prideful heart is no soft ground for Christ to come and do His work. And God shows His grace to Israel, in sending this messenger, who clears the way.

Second  God’s Messiah will COME to His temple  (3:1b-2a)

In the second part of verse 1, the text again helps us determine who the other messenger is. The sentence begins with, “And the Lord…” You have the messenger who “will clear the way” (John the Baptist), and then you have the messenger who is called “the Lord” (adon–definite article in front, which always refers to divinity). This is Jesus the Messiah, which is further proved in His description. God calls Him the “Messenger of the Covenant” who is coming to “His temple”–it’s literally “the ONE who carries the covenant to His temple.

A covenant is an unbroken promise–and in Scripture God makes these formal promises with key individuals that establish His eternal commitment to His chosen people. Jesus Christ is the ultimate fulfillment of every one of these covenants, and so He’s depicted here as the One who will carry out God’s covenant plan. And it says He’s coming to “His temple.” The rebuilt Temple has a lot of focus on it right now–it’s one of the things that Israel is discontent about (it didn’t have the splendor they wanted). But God reminds Israel now that it’s the Lord’s Temple and the Lord is coming to His Temple.

Jesus did go to the Temple and cleanse it (flipping tables, running off moneychangers). But probably in view here is the significance of His coming to the Temple as the Great High Priest, offering Himself as the perfect sacrifice, tearing the veil to allow access to God. And beyond that, you have the incredible return of Christ, when He comes to reign on the throne of the earth, which will be on that same Temple Mount.

Now we gotta keep our feet in the sandals of the people in Malachi’s day–this is before the first advent of Christ (He hasn’t come yet). Malachi’s description of His coming is similar to many of the Messianic prophecies–it has in sight both His first and second comings (all clumped into one, not making any distinction), because that is their vantage point.

Sometimes this is described like looking out over a range of mountain peaks–you see the peaks all together, but you can’t necessarily see all the distance that exists between them. Or how about our view right now of the church building project. Did you know that we have multiple phases to the building project? I remember the first meeting where I learned about these phases. Someone was showing a PowerPoint, and with each click of a button, more buildings were being added to the picture. “Oh, so we don’t get everything all at once?”

This is true of God’s Big Justice Plan. We live between two big phases (Christ’s first coming and His second)–which is awesome, because we get to look back at the accomplished work of Christ, His death on the cross, His resurrection from the grave. But we also know He’s coming again–a final justice is on its way. We’re just not in that phase yet.

We do know the main character–it is “the Messenger of the Covenant”, the One Israel seeks, the One they’ve been longing for since sin entered the world. God made that first covenant in the garden (Genesis 3:15), where He gives His promised plan to bring justice through the One who would come and crush the head of the serpent. And with each promise of God, it’s like the entire Old Testament is leaning forward with anticipation for that plan to unfold. And here we come to Malachi, the last book in the Old Testament–and God establishes once again “The plan is still in place. My Messenger, the One who carries the covenants, is coming!”

First  God’s Messenger will CLEAR the way (John the Baptist)

Second  God’s Messiah will COME to His temple (Christ), and now . . .

Third  God’s chosen will be CLEANSED  (3:2-4)

Verse 2, God says, “But who can endure the day of His coming? And who can stand when He appears?”  Well, those who repent and believe can spiritually stand. But take the question at face value for a moment, “Who can stand?” Even Isaiah, as he’s being prepared for hard ministry, when he comes before the Lord in that throne room–his legs give out! “Woe is me! I am undone!”

So we’re seeing here, the first of two categories of people described–and this is the one you want to be in. Those who are the chosen of God are cleansed to bring Him glory. But it’s good for us to notice that those who are going to come through God’s judgment cleansed are going to do so through fire and intense washing, especially when they’re dishonoring the Lord. God describes Christ using two illustrations.

First He says that “He is like a refiner’s fire.” You’ve heard it before–under extreme heat, the impurities within those metals rise to the surface and that dross can be scraped away, leaving a purer version. The second illustration is of “fuller’s soap”, or a launderer. Different than refinement, this refers to washing, cleansing. A true believer stands positionally clean before God–but while on this earth and in these broken bodies, we will experience the effects of remaining sin. There is dirt on our garments until the day we’re perfected in Heaven.

The text says that He will “sit as a smelter [ same as refiner ]… and He will purify the sons of Levi.” Now we’re gonna hear about grace. The “sons of Levi”–the messed up priests that have been deceitfully trying to appease God with lame sacrifices, totally dishonoring the Lord. But what’s going on here? God’s washing them, He’s purifying them, He’s showing grace. This is the unbelievable scandal of the Gospel. This is the justice plan that makes no sense.

Movies often capitalize on the power of justice. You got the bad guy (corrupt, murderous) who you long to see get it in the end. Then you have the underdog (kind, generous) who gets beaten down and cast aside and we cheer for him to win! That’s a desire for justice.

Well there’s a bigger narrative that we all live in (it’s called history). And God, who owns it, does have a plan–but as Isaiah 55 reminds us, His ways are not our ways. In God’s economy, every one of us is a bad guy–we have all sinned (Romans 3:23) and fallen short. And if justice was to be dealt simply based on our deservedness, we would all perish. But in God’s justice plan (in His movie), the bad guy gets what only the hero deserves, because the hero takes upon Himself the penalty for the bad guy’s wrongs.

Our God is a script-flipper–He can take an adulterous, apathetic people and at His own expense, refine and purify them into acceptable children. Anybody got a testimony like that? And it’s that grace of God that should be the motivator in our lives for change. Are you trusting?

Go with me to 2 Peter 3, verses 3 to 9 where it speaks of this “coming day of the Lord”, His judgment. Then Verses 10 to 18 describe the new Heaven and the new Earth, and it focuses on the earth being made new through fire. But look at the application Peter gives in 2 Peter 3:17 and 18. “You therefore, beloved, knowing this beforehand, be on your guard so that you are not carried away by the error of unprincipled men and fall from your own steadfastness, but grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. To Him be the glory, both now and to the day of eternity. Amen.”

While the Gospel frees us from the penalty of our sin, there is a strong exhortation Scripture gives that we be motivated by the fact that we’ve been spared to grow in the Lord to pursue Christ-likeness.

And that’s what the Refiner’s purification is leading to (back to Malachi). Verse 3 says He will “refine them like gold and silver, so that they may present to the Lord offerings in righteousness. Then the offering of Judah and Jerusalem will be pleasing to the Lord as in the days of old…” It’s God making their worship acceptable again through Christ.

Jeremiah 31 is where we find the new Covenant described, where God lays out a number of specific promises to Israel that are still to come. But the best part of the promise, the greatest reward, is that they will be with Him, praising Him in perfection. And He will say of His people, “I will remember their sins no more!” And that’s our future, for everyone who repents and believes in Christ–we will be His people, He will be our God, and He will remember our sins no more. Isn’t God’s plan the best?

First  God’s Messenger will CLEAR the way

Second  God’s Messiah will COME to His temple

Third  God’s chosen will be CLEANSED, and now . . .

Fourth  God’s enemies will be CONDEMNED  3:5

Verse 5, the Lord says, “I will draw near to you for judgment; and I will be a swift witness against”–and then He goes down a list of people who are characterized by sin . . . “sorcerers, adulterers,” oppressors of the poor and needy, all summarized as those (God says) who “do not fear Me.” They are enemies of God, and their end is very different than those in God’s family. Every person will stand before the Lord, but the believer’s judgment is not like the unbeliever’s.

First Corinthians 3:11 to 15 describes the only type of judgment that the believer will face–it’s a judgment of rewards based on the believer’s works. Those works done in the Spirit for God’s glory will be rewarded and those done in the flesh for self-glory will be burned up. This has no bearing on salvation–the believer in Jesus stands righteous in Christ. Not so for the unbeliever in the day of God’s final judgment. The unrepentant will not be cleansed, but condemned–and there’s this frightening picture God uses of drawing near in order to be opposed to them, to be against them.

It’s like in boxing–if you always stay five feet away from your opponent, your punches can only do so much. But when you draw in close, then your punch has power and you can defeat your foe. Jesus said in Matthew 12:30, “He who is not with Me, is against me.” James 4:4, “Whoever wishes to be a friend of the world, makes himself an enemy of God.” If you are not in Christ today, you need to know that there is a very real, eternal consequence that awaits those who reject Him. Malachi is warning you, judgment is coming, and it will be swift.

With their willful disobedience and lack of any reverence for God, they have set themselves at enmity with the Lord. And as Hebrews 10:31 says, “It is a terrifying thing to fall into the hands of the living God.” The truth of Psalm 30:5 is such good news for believers–“His anger is but for a moment, His favor is for a lifetime; weeping may last for the night, but a shout of joy comes in the morning.” Frighteningly, the opposite is true for the unbeliever. God’s favor while here on Earth lasts for just that short moment, and then His anger will burn for a lifetime, an eternal lifetime. Does that reality not stir you out of spiritual apathy and make you unbelievably thankful for your salvation? And does it not drive you to want to proclaim the Gospel to those who are enemies of God?

I want to read a fairly lengthy portion out of Revelation–it’s the snapshot of what this day will look like, the day when Christ returns to deal with evil on the earth (and then we’ll talk application).

Listen to Revelation 19:11 to 16 as the Apostle John describes his vision. “And I saw heaven opened, and behold, a white horse, and He who sat on it is called Faithful and True, and in righteousness He judges and wages war. His eyes are a flame of fire, and on His head are many diadems; and He has a name written on Him which no one knows except Himself. He is clothed with a robe dipped in blood, and His name is called The Word of God. And the armies which are in heaven, clothed in fine linen, white and clean, were following Him on white horses. From His mouth comes a sharp sword, so that with it He may strike down the nations, and He will rule them with a rod of iron; and He treads the wine press of the fierce wrath of God, the Almighty. And on His robe and on His thigh He has a name written, ‘KING OF KINGS, AND LORD OF LORDS.’”

He’s coming back. God’s Big Justice Plan has never been, and never will be, thwarted. Are you on board with His plan? Will you live your life questioning, doubting, making pompous presumptions about God like Israel, because of the circumstances of life in a fallen world? Or will you trust God’s promises, like Romans 8:28, and stand firm, knowing that whatever you face, God has a plan for your good and for His glory? So how do we bring these truths into our daily lives?

A  Trust your just God

Don’t weary the Lord with your cries for justice-according-to-you. Don’t complain, like my kids who can’t see the bigger picture. Trust the only One who can truly be trusted–the only One whose plans always come to pass. Paul says in 2 Corinthians 1:20, every one of His promises in Christ are yes and amen!

If you read Romans 8:28 and say, “Yes, but my circumstances . . . ”–God has a plan. And please hear this as a comforting truth–His plan is bigger than your circumstances. It’s bigger than you, it’s bigger than me, it’s bigger than FBC! And how wonderful it is that in His big plan, He intimately cares for each one of us.

If, like Israel, you have become apathetic to the things of the Lord, let the coming of Christ and the justice of God shake you from your spiritual slumber and drive you toward whole-life worship. Romans 12:1, “Present yourself a living and holy sacrifice, acceptable to God.”–that’s the goal of God’s purifying work, so that we present worship that is pleasing to Him! Don’t weary the Lord–worship Him! To do that requires . . .

B  Embrace the Refiner’s Fire

The work of our sanctification is a work of the Lord, but there is an embracing and receiving of God’s work in our lives that is necessary. Philippians 2:12 and 13, we’re called to work out our salvation, knowing it’s God at work in us. And this is not a pain-free experience.

My one-year-old daughter, Finley, hates to have her face wiped after meals (didn’t we all hate that as kids?). She screams, even cries to the point of tears–but our response as parents is not, “Oh dear, what’s wrong?!” We just continue washing, because we understand that their momentary discomfort is going to result in a restored, clean face. If God is refining you, don’t push that away–welcome it, knowing that He’s making you more into the likeness of His Son, preparing you for your eternal existence with Him.

C  Examine yourself

The soul-examination Paul calls the Corinthians to in 2 Corinthians 13:5 is a healthy one for all of us. “Test yourselves to see if you are in the faith; examine yourselves! Or do you not recognize this about yourselves, that Jesus Christ is in you–unless indeed you fail the test?” That’s a command to the Church–is Christ truly in you? The believer will find that He is, because there’ll be fruit coming out of your life consistent with a heart submitted to Christ. But if for some reason you find that Christ is not in you, the message from God is simple–repent.

You may have come today, having walked through life seeing the effects of sin (evil people, injustice, difficulty in your own life) and you think–“Where is God in this equation? If He’s sovereign and my life looks like this, how is that fair? Where is the God of justice?” If that’s you, hopefully you heard the message from Malachi–God is just, and He offers you the only way to be cleansed.

The evil we experience in this life is a result of the sin nature that we all share, and only God provides the answer for that problem. Recognize your sin as an offense before Him, repent and place your trust fully in Christ, who endured the wrath of God for you, died in your place, rose from the grave, and now offers you refuge from His just wrath. You want to be found in Him when He returns. And last . . .

D  Prepare the way for His Return

The Old Testament looked forward to Christ’s coming, and so does the New Testament. There are two ways that we should, as Christians, do as John the Baptist as we prepare for Christ’s return.

First  Proclaim the Gospel to the LOST

We know the end of the unrepentant–they will not stand when He comes, they will not be cleansed, they’ll be condemned. There is a famous Spurgeon quote that is used often, but my mind always goes to it when I think about my unbelieving friends and family. Spurgeon said, “If sinners be damned, at least let them leap to Hell over our dead bodies. And if they perish, let them perish with our arms wrapped about their knees. If Hell must be filled, let it be filled in the teeth of our exertions, and let not one go unwarned and unprayed for.”

Join John the Baptist (and Spurgeon) in proclaiming to the lost, “Repent! For the kingdom of God is at hand!” (Matthew 3:2).

Second  Be bold in calling other believers to live righteously

John the Baptist shot straight with those who came to the waters of the Jordan River. He even called the Pharisees and Sadducees a “brood of vipers,” because they were showing interest in the message of Christ, but their hearts were not truly repentant. Be a true brother or sister to your fellow Christians at FBC and call out sin when you see it. Do it in love, but do it. Even when it’s hard, even when it’s awkward–let’s help one another pursue repentance (purity).

First John 3:2 and 3 says, “We know that when He appears we will be like Him, because we will see Him just as He is. And every one who has this hope fixed on Him, purifies himself, just as He is pure!” God has a plan to bring final justice to the earth, and that plan is Jesus. Let us fix our hope on Him.

About Patrick Levis

Patrick is serving as Faith Bible Church's worship pastor.

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