Refined or Refused
! Text: Malachi 2:17-3:5
He has not learned the nature of piety who thinks it too much to be pious in all his actions.
-- William Law in A Serious Call to a Devout and Holy Life. Christianity Today, Vol. 39, no. 12.
1) The Fools of Hypocrisy wish to Redefine Sin (2:17)
a) Calling Evil Good
We've lost sight of the fact that some things are always right and some things are always wrong. We've lost our reference point. We don't have any moral philosophy to undergird our way of life in this country, and our way of life is in serious jeopardy and serious danger unless something happens. And that something must be a spiritual revival.
-- Billy Graham in a speech at Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary's Founder's Day (April 4, 1989). Christianity Today, Vol. 33, no. 9.
*Some like to redefine sin like my boys redefine clean; Pushing all their clothes and toys under their bed, or in their closet. “See, its clean Dad.”
Some do not go so far as calling it good, but they think: “it ain’t so bad”
Sin is Very bad. Don’t try to excuse or minimize the seriousness of sin.
b) Calling Evil Pleasing to God
Dad isn’t pleased by the “clean” room. In fact Dad is very much not pleased by such a “clean” room.
2) The Fires of Holiness Want to Remove Sin (3:1-2)
a) A Powerful Cleansing
God has the power to do it.
New American Standard Bible
1 Thessalonians 5:23 through 1 Thessalonians 5:24
23Now may the God of peace Himself sanctify you entirely; and may your spirit and soul and body be preserved complete, without blame at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ. 24Faithful is He who calls you, and He also will bring it to pass.
Remember the vacum cleaner Salesman.
b) A Purposeful Cleansing
An offering in righteousness.
New American Standard Bible
Titus 2:11 through Titus 2:14
11For the grace of God has appeared, bringing salvation to all men, 12instructing us to deny ungodliness and worldly desires and to live sensibly, righteously and godly in the present age, 13looking for the blessed hope and the appearing of the glory of our great God and Savior, Christ Jesus, 14who gave Himself for us to redeem us from every lawless deed, and to purify for Himself a people for His own possession, zealous for good deeds.
3) The Fury of Hell Waits to Reward Sin (3:4-5)
Executive- Choice between heaven and hell – Hell’s recruitment day.
We won’t have a choice after the judgement
a) A Certain Judgement
God says “I WILL come near you for Judgement”
b) A Swift Judgement
*It could be any moment.
To sensible men, every day is a day of reckoning.
-- John W. Gardner. Leadership, Vol. 16, no. 1.
Christ came to us that we could be with Him.
His will is an offering in righteousness
Don’t try to redefine your sin, but let Him cleanse it.
Don’t consider only what Christ has done for you, but think of what Christ wants to do in you.
*You see the state of those who are encouraged by the seventh chapter of Romans, supposing that to be a Christian's experience. If they have gone no further than that, they are still under the law. I have been amazed how pertinaciously professors of religion will cling to a legal experience, and justify themselves in it by a reference to this chapter.
I am fully convinced that interpreting [verses 14 to 24] as a Christian experience, has done incalculable evil and has led thousands of souls there to rest and go no further, imagining that they are already as deeply versed in Christian experience as Paul was when he wrote that epistle. And there they have stayed, and hugged their delusion till they have found themselves in the depths of hell.
-- "Charles Grandison Finney--19th Century Giant of American Revivalism," Christian History, Issue 20.