Sermon on Malachi 3:1-7b, for the 2nd Sunday in Advent, about Jesus as the Messenger of the Covenant, and God's response to the Israelites that He was leaving the wicked unpunished.
Sermon Talking Points
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1. Malachi 3:1-7 (and following) is God’s response to the question posed by the people in 2:17, accusing God of favoring the evil, or allowing them to escape punishment, and asking “Where is the God of justice (judgment)”? How does the “messenger of the covenant” whom God sends, deal with this apparent injustice?
2. Verse 1 speaks of “my messenger who will prepare the way before me”, then also of the “messenger of the covenant.” Who is this first messenger? Luke 3:2-6; Isaiah 40:3-5. Who is the “messenger of the covenant”? John 1:23-27. When did “the Lord whom you seek…suddenly come to his temple?” Luke 2:22-38; John 2:13-22; cf. Haggai 2:6-9 (compare Bible translations on verse 7).
3. What would make His arrival (and also His messenger’s) hard to bear? Luke 3:7-9; Matthew 23. How are we “refined and purified” by fire? Why does God purge away our “dross”? What is His goal? Psalm 119:118-120; Isaiah 1:21-26; Titus 2:11-14. How does God Himself make us the very “precious metal” that is of worth to him? Revelation 3:17-19; contrast to Jeremiah 6:27-30. Why is it worth it to us to stand the test of the fire, trials, and afflictions? Revelation 3:18-22
4. Why does a proper knowledge and fear of God’s judgment help to turn us away from sinning? Read Malachi 3:5; Prov. 1:15-16; Isaiah 59:7-8.
5. Why does God’s unchanging nature (immutability) provide us the grace that spares us from being consumed because of our sins? Malachi 3:6; Lamentations 3:22-27; Psalm 102:27-28; Numbers 23:19; Isaiah 54:10. How is it also a warning to the wicked? John 3:34.