121111 Malachi 4:1 - 2

Last Updated on Monday, 12 November 2012

Text: Malachi 4:1 – 2
Theme: Where is Jesus?
1. He will Come Again
2. He will Judge

Once again we are in that season of the Church Year known as "The End Times Season." During our worship services for the next three weeks, God's Word will focus our thoughts on the fact that the end of this world as we know it will come when Jesus, the King of kings and the Lord of lord, returns as the Judge of all mankind. Do you ever find yourself doubting whether Jesus will come again? After all, it has been 2,000 years since he walked on this earth! In a recent on-line poll that I saw, 2/3 of those who responded said they doubted The Day, known as Judgment Day, would ever take place.

This shouldn't come as a surprise to us. It is in his second letter, that Jesus' Disciple Peter, led by God the Holy Spirit, writes in chapter 3 of that letter, "First of all, you must understand that in the last days scoffers will come, scoffing and following their own evil desires. They will say, "Where is this 'coming' he promised? Ever since our fathers died, everything goes on as it has since the beginning of creation." But they deliberately forget that long ago by God's word the heavens existed and the earth was formed out of water and by water. By these waters also the world of that time was deluged and destroyed. By the same word the present heavens and earth are reserved for fire, being kept for the day of judgment and destruction of ungodly men. But do not forget this one thing, dear friends: With the Lord a day is like a thousand years, and a thousand years are like a day. The Lord is not slow in keeping his promise, as some understand slowness. He is patient with you, not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance. But the day of the Lord will come like a thief. The heavens will disappear with a roar; the elements will be destroyed by fire, and the earth and everything in it will be laid bare." The Bible makes it very clear that a "Day of Judgment" is coming. At a time when so many people are doubting our Lord's return, the question for all of us to consider this morning is: Where is Jesus? Based on the Word of God, together we will see that the Bible teaches us that He will Come Again and He will Judge. I invite you now to listen to the Word of our God as it is recorded for us in Malachi chapter 4, the first two verses of that chapter. From God's Word we read:

1 "Surely the day is coming; it will burn like a furnace. All the arrogant and every evildoer will be stubble, and that day that is coming will set them on fire," says the LORD Almighty. "Not a root or a branch will be left to them.
2 But for you who revere my name, the sun of righteousness will rise with healing in its wings."

As we begin our look at these verses before us, it is important that we remember who it is that is speaking in these verses. These are NOT simply the words of a man by the name of Malachi. But rather, the LORD Almighty is speaking to you and me through his prophet. We are listening to the very words of the one and only true God. In our world today, there are many who doubt the Word of the LORD Almighty. In their unbelief they will ask, "Where is Jesus?" As one day turns into the next, as weeks turn into months and months turn into years, all of us face the temptation of thinking that the LORD's return as Judge is either a long time in coming yet, or won't come at all. We, too, are tempted to ask the question, "Where is Jesus?" And, thinking that we will always have time to repent before Jesus comes again, we give into the temptations to let sin control our thoughts, words and actions. We give into the temptation to think that we have plenty of time to get our "spiritual house" in order, so for now we can simply, "Eat, drink and be merry!"

But, the Almighty LORD says that we are to be ready each moment of every day for him to come back. Because, the answer to the question, "Where is Jesus?" is that, in his own time and in his own way, he is coming back. Listen to the Savior himself answer the question about his coming again in Matthew's Gospel, chapters 24 and 25, "'Therefore keep watch, because you do not know on what day your Lord will come. But understand this: If the owner of the house had known at what time of night the thief was coming, he would have kept watch and would not have let his house be broken into. So you also must be ready, because the Son of Man will come at an hour when you do not expect him. . . When the Son of Man comes in his glory, and all the angels with him, he will sit on his throne in heavenly glory. All the nations will be gathered before him, and he will separate the people one from another as a shepherd separates the sheep from the goats. He will put the sheep on his right and the goats on his left." Where is Jesus? Trust his Word that he will come again.

It happened again this year. Many political races came down to close votes and recounts. There are some people who want to doubt and question some of the results. In fact, there may be some who will never believe that all the votes were counted in some of the very close races this past week. "Where is Jesus?" many will ask, questioning and doubting that he will ever come again. But, as we listen to the Word of God today, not only do we hear that Jesus will come again, but we hear that he will come again as the Judge of all mankind.
As you and I listen to the LORD Almighty speak to us in his Word, the first thing we know about the Judgment that Jesus will carry out is that it will be one that is fierce and final for those who have refused to listen to the LORD Almighty speak in his Word. Malachi was led to use these words to describe the fierceness of the verdict unbelievers face, "'Surely the day is coming; it will burn like a furnace. All the arrogant and every evildoer will be stubble, and that day that is coming will set them on fire,' says the LORD Almighty." One author has written this about these words from the LORD Almighty, "On that day, God's anger will burn hot, not like the dancing flames of an open campfire, but like the iron-melting heat of a blast furnace." On that Great Day, the LORD Almighty's verdict will be fierce and it will be final. As God the Holy Spirit tells us through the pen of Malachi, "'Not a root or a branch will be left to them.'"

We can be certain that Jesus as the Judge of all mankind will pass a judgment that is fierce and final against those who reject him as their one and only Savior. We can also be certain that that Judgment will be one great blessing for those who know him as their only Savior from sin. We read from God's Word in verse two of Malachi chapter 4, "But for you who revere my name, the sun of righteousness will rise with healing in its wings." The Bible makes it certain that the same Almighty LORD who will place all who refused to listen to him into the fires of hell, will also bring all believers into the perfect joys of heaven. Revelation chapter 7 describes it this way, "Therefore, 'they are before the throne of God and serve him day and night in his temple; and he who sits on the throne will spread his tent over them. Never again will they hunger; never again will they thirst. The sun will not beat upon them, nor any scorching heat. For the Lamb at the center of the throne will be their shepherd; he will lead them to springs of living water. And God will wipe away every tear from their eyes.'"

I need to ask you a very important question right now. In fact, it is so important that I want to make sure I have your attention. Do you truly realize how serious sin is? How offensive sin is to the holy and just God? Because of your sinfulness and mine, each and every one of us here deserves to suffer that fierce and final judgment of the fires of hell spoken of in these verses from God's Word before us. The Bible makes it clear that all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God; that the wages of sin is death: not just physical death, but eternal death, suffering forever in the blast furnace of hell, cut off forever from the grace of the LORD Almighty. There is absolutely nothing that you and I can say or do to change the verdict the LORD Almighty has spoken against sin. Because of the sin that we are born in, because of the sins that we commit, all you and I deserve is to hear the LORD Almighty say those words that he spoke to Moses: "I have seen these people, and they are a stiff-necked people. Now leave me alone so that my anger may burn against them and that I may destroy them."

If I were to finish my sermon this morning without saying another word, each of us would have to go home with only great fear in our hearts. But, I have the privilege to be able to share such Good News with you! You and I don't have to suffer in the blast furnace of hell, because on the cross Jesus Christ suffered that hell for you and me. Through Jesus Christ alone there is the promise of full and free forgiveness of all sins and the promise of a life that will never end in the perfect joys of heaven. So, you and I do leave here today with "fear" in our hearts. I do not mean "fear" in the sense of being afraid of the LORD Almighty, but rather we leave here today in "fear", in awe, in thankfulness for the gracious love of the LORD Almighty. We leave this morning rejoicing in the words of the LORD Almighty recorded for us in Exodus chapter 34, "The LORD, the LORD, the compassionate and gracious God, slow to anger, abounding in love and faithfulness, maintaining love to thousands and forgiving wickedness, rebellion and sin."

As you think about that great Last Day known as Judgment Day, what thoughts come into your mind? As you watch time pass, do you ever think to yourself, "Where is Jesus?" Because God the Holy Spirit used the powerful Word of our God to led you and me to trust in Jesus Christ as our only Savior from sin, you and I are able to face that Day with confidence, eager for our Savior to come again. Because of the forgiveness of sins that Jesus won, you and I can be certain that our Judge will say to you and me "Come, you who are blessed by my Father; take your inheritance, the kingdom prepared for you since the creation of the world." Rejoicing in the great love of Jesus and in the forgiveness of all sins that our Savior won for you and me, we pray: "Come Lord Jesus! Come!" Amen.

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Compelled by the love of Christ, St. Matthew’s Evangelical Lutheran Church and School seek to reach out to our families, community and world, using Law and Gospel to make disciples, growing and nurturing them in their Christian faith and life.


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