A Great & Wonderful Purging
A Great & Wonderful Purging
Responsive Reading: Malachi 3.1-6
Hymn: #464 – I Will Praise Him
Text: Zechariah 5
Introduction: In His remembrance of His people, Jehovah gives Zechariah these 8 visions to encourage and comfort a small remnant of 50,000 who have found themselves in the midst of great trials and among great enemies to the mission of rebuilding the Temple. The next two visions (Visions 6 & 7) are closely related in purpose, so we will take them together.
Do you remember the Word of the Lord to Zerubbabel? “‘Not by Might, nor by Power, but by My Spirit,’ says the Lord of Hosts.” This is the life, the way of the believer’s life. It is not by your strength. It is only by the Spirit of the Lord. This thing is going to be a faith victory. The whole life of faith is not of the flesh but by His Spirit. This is an absolute – if it is of God it will not be by human strength or force, political clout or intellectual ability – it is always of the Spirit! It is always supernatural. The great mountain shall become a plain. He shall bring forth the capstone with shouts of “Grace, grace to it!” Everything for the believer is grace!
“The Lord answered with Good and Comforting Words.” However, what has once been Words of Comfort and Grace sharply turns to Curses. What is this about Curses? What is the relationship between Chapter 4 & 5? Or, more specifically, what is the relationship between grace and curse? What do they have to do with God’s children? What do they have to do with us? I want to show you the relationship and hopefully answer these questions. I want to attempt to do so under the topic, A Great and Wonderful Purging.
I. The Two Visions: The Scroll and the Woman in the Basket
A. The Scroll –
1. 30 feet by 15 feet - Largeness
2. It is described as a “flying” scroll – Open and not sealed
3. There is writing on both sides – Clear and known
4. The contents reveal the curse is Inescapable – Every thief and Every perjurer – Issue of Privacy enables many to hide their perversions and wickedness, but nothing is hidden from God.
5. The work is to expel the sinners by entering the house and consuming everything.
B. The Woman in the Basket
1. Why a woman? And What is the woman? Attractive and seductive Verse 8, this is Wickedness – Revelation 17.1-6
2. What happens to her? She is taken in the basket sealed with a lead cover to the land of Shinar
3. Where is the Land of Shinar? Babylon
4. What is done with here then? She is placed on its own base or pedestal.
II. A Fundamental Truth about Grace
A. Titus 2.11-14
1. Grace teaches to deny ungodliness and worldly lusts.
2. Grace teaches we should live soberly, righteously and godly.
3. Grace teaches that such living indicates a true devotion to God.
4. Grace teaches that Christ’s work is redeem not simply from hell but from sin and unto purity.
5. Grace teaches that the believer’s zeal is toward the end of good works.
B. Why is this important to this small remnant and to us? Grace that does not instruct to deny ungodliness and pursue sober, righteous godly living in whole-hearted and zealous devotion to God is a lie!
C. Although the Curse appears to be an awful and terrible thing, actually reveals a remarkable relationship between the Good and Comforting Words of Grace and the Curse. The Curse is a Great and Wonderful Purging!
III. The Great and Wonderful Purge
A. In Chapter 4 The Lord reveals that their life, their existence and their very survival is by Grace. “For by Grace are ye saved…” In Chapter 5 He reveals that He will purge sin from among them. As much as Grace is a fundamental truth of the New Covenant, so is the Purging of Sin. The Temple was symbolic of the Church of Christ. The Lord encourages Zerubbabel in Chapter 4.9 – “The hands of Zerubbabel have laid the foundation of this temple; his hands shall also finish it.” Remember Zerubbabel and Joshua are symbolized in the Two Olive Trees, the Two Anointed Ones representing the Regal and Priestly orders. Both, which were separate, are represented together after the order of Melchizedek, the order of which Christ was. John the Baptist preached, “I indeed baptize you with water unto repentance, but He who is coming after me is mightier than I…He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and Fire. His winnowing fan is in His hand, and He will thoroughly clean out His threshing floor, and gather His wheat into the barn; but He will burn up the chaff with unquenchable fire.” The promise of the New Covenant is a thorough purging of sin from the midst of the remnant. Malachi 3.1-6
B. This is what the Lord reveals to Zechariah. Also, it is what you find in the Church of Christ. Acts 5.1-6; 1 Corinthians 11.26-32 The Lord warns the Church of Ephesus, “Repent and do the first works, or else I will come to you quickly and remove your lampstand from its place – unless you repent.”
C. This is what we have in Zechariah. “Every thief shall be expelled. Every perjurer shall be expelled.” “It shall remain in the midst of his house and Consume it, with its timber and stones.” “It is a fearful thing to fall into the hands of the Living God.” The Lord God is holy and righteous who punishes sin and blesses righteousness. It is the Great Purging in that it expels all sin effectually. There is no sin left. God removes “Wickedness” and sets it up on a pedestal for the world who loves it. Whatever is set on a pedestal in Babylon has not place in your life. “What is highly esteemed among men is an abomination in the sight of God.” Do not have a part of it!
D. This may be a terrifying thing, but it is not a terrible thing. It is Wonderful! God promises to remove sin and wickedness from among us. He Purges out iniquity. Wickedness will sit on a pedestal in Babylon, but not in the Church. The Lamb is all the Glory! The Lord does this for every Believer. John 15.2-8 – “Every branch in Me that does not bear fruit He takes away; and every branch that bears fruit He prunes, that it may bear more fruit…By this My Father is glorified that you bear much fruit…”
E. Zephaniah 3.8-17 – The Great and Wonderful Purging is a promise to remove from your midst sin and wickedness. This is the mark of the presence of God when He draws near.
Hymn: #298 – God Leads Us Along