Personal Purity 04-Fear the Lord

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Reading: Malachi 2:17-3:5
He will sit as a refiner and purifier of silver; he will purify the Levites and refine them like gold and silver. Then the Lord will have men who will bring offerings in righteousness. Malachi 3:3 (NIV)

I. The Refiner comes

A.He Came and still Comes (1-2a)

1. He came in John the baptizer–to prepare

a. This message too – a preparation

2. He came as a baby in a manger

a. Suddenly in the temple–Simeon/Anna

b. Suddenly–the temple: a house of prayer

c. Suddenly–with hope & condemnation

3. He comes as Jesus in our hearts

a. Suddenly–to love, accept, save us

b. Suddenly–to change, mold, rebirth us

c. Suddenly–to rescue and to judge

B. He Values us (2b-3a)

1. A refiner sees silver & gold in the ore

a. The ore doesn’t look like the metal

2. The image of God is still in here.

a. He sees the value He put in here

b. He created us for love & worship

C. He Sits by us (3a)

1. While the fires rage in our lives he sits by

a. At times we seem to be torn to pieces

b. It seems He’s doing nothing–sits there

2. He sits because the task requires vigilance

a. He doesn’t set fire to us & walk away

b. He sits and closely watches everything

3. Illus.: Refiner of Silver

II. He comes to Purify us (3b)

A. We are Unrefined (2:17, 3:5)

1. We say God doesn’t care about evil/sin

a. We are the ones showing faithlessness

b. God is tired of that kind of talk or living

2. We play with spells, commit adultery in our hearts, underpay people, take advantage of the vulnerable, deprive aliens of justice. (5)

3. We bring unacceptable offerings to God (4)

a. At times our prayers do fall back to earth

b. Our worship has form but no power

c. We give a little time & less of our hearts

B. He burns off our Dross

1. More than just what we call sin: all impurity

a. Nothing wrong with clay, oxides

b. Us: Unless it’s wrong I’m keeping it

c. God: If it’s not silver I’m removing it

2. Dross: worship form , w/o worshiping heart

a. Dross=tradition for it’s own sake

b. Dross=what makes me feel good on Sun

c. Worship=bring God our hearts; all of us

3. All that keeps us from loving God with our all

a. Even good things can get in the way

b. Mostly it’s our pride: arrogance & worry

C. He purifies us out of Love

1. Like a mother washes her protesting child

a. He sings over us while we scream

b. The soap must clean our wounds too

2. He cannot leave us as slaves to our sins

a. We’re better off clean & God knows it

b. His love cannot let wallow in filth

3. He will not leave us content with bad habits

a. He wants more for us than we imagine

b. Father wants to teach us a new song

III. So we may offer Acceptable worship

A. Impure worship Offends God

1. Cain’s offering was rejected (Gen 4:3-5)

a. Because he gave some of the fruit of the soil

b. Abel gave the best he had to offer

2. Saul’s offering rejected (1Sam 13:13, 15:22)

a. 1st bc he offered it out of fear of people

b. 2nd bc he offered it without obedience

But Samuel replied: “Does the Lord delight in burnt offerings and sacrifices as much as in obeying the voice of the Lord? 1Sam. 15:22a

3. Ananias & Sapphira’s offering rejected (Ac 5:4)

a. Because they claimed to be giving all to God

b. Because their worship was a lie to the H.S.

c. Because they wanted admiration of the people, instead of the pleasure of God

B. Only the Righteous may worship God

1. Who may ascend the hill of the Lord? (Ps 24:3)
He who has clean hands and a pure heart, who does not lift up his soul to an idol or swear by what is false. Ps. 24:4

Blessed are the pure in heart, for they will see God. Matt. 5:8

2. Righteous in heart (not in deed alone)

a. Not only forgiven, but transformed

b. Willingness to sin contempt of God

c. Not what we do, but the love in doing it

3. Righteousness is Love

a. God with our all

b. Our neighbor as our self

c. Our fellow believer, as Christ loves us

C. We need a healthy Fear of God (5)

1. Fear: God is powerful. Do not offend Him

a. Fear of God sees God’s holy majesty

b. Sees God’s right to punish & chastise us

c. Sees God’s love requiring our refining

2. God is loving, but also Holy and fearsome
It is a dreadful thing to fall into the hands of the living God. Heb. 10:31

Therefore, since we are receiving a kingdom that cannot be shaken, let us be thankful, and so worship God acceptably with reverence and awe, for our “God is a consuming fire.” Heb. 12:28-29

3. We fear God but aren't afraid of Him

the Lord delights in those who fear him, who put their hope in his unfailing love. Ps. 147:11

In this way, love is made complete among us so that we will have confidence on the day of judgment, because in this world we are like him. There is no fear in love. But perfect love drives out fear, because fear has to do with punishment. The one who fears is not made perfect in love. 1Jn 4:17-18

a. We arent afraid: we know He loves us

b. So we welcome our Refiner

The Bottom Line:

We Welcome the Refiner and offer Him all our Dross.


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