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The Refiner’s Fire - Part 1 of 2

Baptist Bible Hour / Lasserre Bradley, Jr.
The Truth Network Radio
August 6, 2022 8:00 pm

The Refiner’s Fire - Part 1 of 2

Baptist Bible Hour / Lasserre Bradley, Jr.

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August 6, 2022 8:00 pm

For he is like a refiner's fire...

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The Baptist Bible Hour now comes to you under the direction of Elder Lissaire Bradley, Jr. O for a thousand tongues to sing my great Redeemer's praise! The glories of my God and King, the triumphs of his grace!

This is Lissaire Bradley, Jr. inviting you to stay tuned for another message of God's sovereign grace. Awake, my soul, to joyful age, and sing my great Redeemer's praise! He just reclaims a song from me, his loving kindness, O thou free! Loving kindness, loving kindness, his loving kindness, O thou free!

He saw me ruin my love for death of me not, withstanding hope. He saved me from my lost estate, his loving kindness, O thou great! When trouble like a blooming cloud has gathered thick and thunder cloud, He dear, my soul, has always stood, his loving kindness, O thou good! Loving kindness, loving kindness, his loving kindness, O thou good! O thou great, my soul, has always stood, his loving kindness, his loving kindness, O thou great!

Join us this week at the Baptist Bible Hour, Box 17037, Cincinnati, Ohio 45217. There is a tendency when people are going through difficult times to complain. Sometimes saying, life is just not fair. Don't see why it is that other people seem to prosper and get by without much difficulty.

But no matter how I apply myself, how I try to do everything that I'm required to do, things just don't seem to turn out right. And those complaints are sometimes voiced not just by unbelievers but by Christians who have lost sight of the fact that their Heavenly Father cares for them no matter what their immediate circumstances might be. In the days of Malachi, the people were very much disappointed in their circumstances.

They had come back from captivity, they were expecting a time of prosperity, they felt that their nation would become strong, but rather than that they were suffering great difficulties. And so not only did they complain, they complained against God. And they reached the conclusion that God was ignoring their needs and actually approving of the wicked. Because it seemed that the wicked were prospering while they were suffering. So in our ongoing studies in the book of Malachi, we last look at chapter 2 and verse 17.

We will read that again. He have wearied the Lord with your words, yet he say, wherein have we wearied him? When you say, everyone that doeth evil is good in the sight of the Lord, and he delighteth in them, or where is the God of judgment? So the people concluded, since God was not judging the wicked and not particularly blessing them, that he must approve of their wicked deeds.

Raising the question then, where is the God of judgment? So we thought about three significant points as we looked at that verse. First of all, that God was wearied with their words, their words of constant complaint, their words of accusation as they challenged the very character of God. And then we saw that in fact they were questioning not just their situation, not just the fact that God was delayed according to their understanding and bringing judgment, but questioning his character, his holiness. And then we noted that judgment will come after all according to God's timetable. Now we go to chapter 3.

I began reading in the first verse. Behold, I will send my messenger, and he shall prepare the way before me, and the Lord whom ye seek shall suddenly come to his temple, even the messenger of the covenant whom ye delight in. Behold, he shall come, saith the Lord of hosts. But who may abide the day of his coming? And who shall stand when he appearth?

For he is like a refiner's fire and like a fuller soap, and he shall set as a refiner and a purifier of silver. And he shall purge the sons of Levi and purge them as gold and silver, that they may offer unto the Lord an offering in righteousness. Then shall the offering of Judah and Jerusalem be pleasant unto the Lord, as in the days of old, as in the former years. First we observe here the coming of the Lord. Behold, I will send my messenger, and he shall prepare the way. In the book of Isaiah chapter 40, we find a specific prophecy concerning this messenger, which obviously is John the Baptist. Isaiah chapter 40, reading in the third verse. The voice of him that crieth in the wilderness, prepare ye the way of the Lord.

Make straight in the desert a highway for our God. Every valley shall be exalted, and every mountain and hill shall be made low, and the crooked shall be made straight, and the rough places plain, and the glory of the Lord shall be revealed, and all flesh shall see it together, for the mouth of the Lord hath spoken it. The prophet, both Isaiah and Manichae, speaking of the fact that God would send a messenger. At his appointed time, he would send the messenger, preparing the way of the Lord. Now we see the fulfillment of it as we go to the book of Matthew chapter 3, reading the first verse. In those days came John the Baptist, preaching in the wilderness of Judea, and saying, Repent ye, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand. For this is he that was spoken of by the prophet Isaiah, saying, The voice of one crying in the wilderness, Prepare ye the way of the Lord, make straight his paths. So there can be no question about what the prophecy we read in the book of Isaiah concerned John the Baptist, because Matthew, now writing under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, tells us specifically that this was the messenger that was anticipated.

There is confirmation of it because all four of the gospels make reference to the fulfillment of this prophecy. Not only is it found in Matthew chapter 3, which we've just read, it's found in Mark chapter 1 and the third verse. It's found in Luke chapter 3, verses 4 to 6.

It's found in the Gospel of John chapter 1, verse 23. So the messenger was sent. But then it further says that the Lord himself is coming. Not only this messenger that was sent to prepare the way, but he says, The Lord whom ye seek shall suddenly come to his temple, even the messenger of the covenant. Jesus Christ was the messenger of the covenant.

Concerning the salvation of a people, ordered in all things and sure, coming in the fullness of time to accomplish that which was agreed upon in the council chambers of eternity before time began. Now, God had sent many messengers along the way. He'd sent Isaiah, Jeremiah, Ezekiel, Hosea, Joel, Micah, Obadiah, Zephaniah, Zachariah. All of these messengers were sent declaring the word of the Lord.

And yet, for the most part, the people were hard hearted, stiff necked and rejected the message. Went on their own way, worshiped their idols and ultimately had to suffer the consequences of their actions as their nation was carried into captivity. But now, God is sending John the Baptist to prepare the way of the Lord. A highway for our God, Isaiah says, and now God is coming himself. Jesus Christ, God in the flesh is coming.

He's going to come suddenly. He's going to come at a time that the people have in some measure maybe given up hope for 400 years elapsed after the prophecy of Malachi until the time that Jesus came. And of course, a great many of them were so enamored with their religious rights and ceremonies that it was just a formality. And obviously, they did not have the correct understanding of the prophecies concerning the Messiah. They anticipated that he would come and set up a visible kingdom upon this earth and make them a great nation.

They never thought about him coming in humility. They never thought about him coming to look to the cross, to die, to save the people. Although all of that was contained in the prophecies of the Old Testament, they had missed the point. And so they rejected his message and they hated him and ultimately cried, crucify him, crucify him. But what an amazing thing that after sending all of the prophets of the Old Testament, sending John the Baptist at this time to prepare the way of the Lord, then the Lord himself would come, would come suddenly to his temple. And Jesus did visit the temple while he was here on this earth. He came according to the covenant. He shall come, saith the Lord of hosts. Now really, what we find here is a testimony to the deity of Christ.

It talks about him being the messenger of the covenant, talking about the Lord coming. John the Baptist, as a part of his ministry, certainly emphasized that Jesus Christ was indeed the Son of God. It's interesting how many groups who will attest that they believe the Bible, yet when it comes to this point of the deity of Jesus Christ, they reject it.

They will say he was a good man, a great example, an outstanding teacher, but blatantly deny that he was God. But that's exactly the message of the New Testament, that Jesus Christ came as the Son of God. John the Baptist said in John chapter 1 verse 34, And I saw and bear record that this is the Son of God. So we have a testimony by this messenger that was sent of the Lord at the appointed time, who declares when he saw Jesus, he looked upon him and said, this is the Son of God. Then at the baptism of Jesus, we have further confirmation. Matthew chapter 3, reading the 16th verse. And Jesus, when he was baptized, went up straightway out of the water, and lo, the heavens were opened unto him, and he saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove and lighting upon him, and lo, a voice from heaven saying, This is my beloved Son in whom I am well pleased. So as John the Baptist first declares, he's the Son of God, then God the Father speaks from heaven. The voice is heard, This is my beloved Son in whom I am well pleased. And then there was a further confirmation when Jesus went up on the mountain with three of his disciples and was transfigured so that his glory became a spectacular thing.

They could not even bear the sight. We read Matthew chapter 17 verse 5, While he yet spake, behold, a bright cloud overshadowed them, and behold, a voice out of the cloud which said, This is my beloved Son in whom I am well pleased. Hear ye him.

I want to ask you that question today. Do you hear him? Also, many might say, Well, I've never heard the audible voice of God. God has never spoken to me. And we understand that. But God has spoken to us all through his Word.

Do you hear him? Some people read the Bible just to defend their position on a particular point. They're argumentative.

They want to win the next discussion they have. Some people read and study the Bible with some degree of pride as they announce how often they have read it and how much they have memorized. Do you hear what he says? It's not just a matter of knowing the historical facts connected with Scripture. It's not just being able to quote a few verses. Do you hear what he says?

Do you hear him today when he calls on you to deny yourself, take up your cross and follow him? By nature, we are selfish human beings. We are self-centered. We think about ourself. Little babies demonstrate that early on. They begin to cry.

What are they saying? Notice me. I want your attention. I want to be cared for. I want to be fed. I feel like I'm to be the focus of all of your interests. Well, we understand little babies need that attention and that help.

But they get a little older and maybe they have learned at least they can't perpetually cry for everything, but they still become very demanding. I want what I want. I want it when I want it.

I want it like I want it. And get a little older and they have learned through some discipline that there are some things they just can't say, but the old self-human nature is still there. I want to be my own person. I want to be independent. I don't want anybody to tell me what to do. I don't think my parents have a full scope of knowledge that they ought to have. They don't know things nearly so well as I do, and so I want to be independent and not be restrained. I think my life is not what it ought to be because I have to abide by these rules that are set up at home, and I don't care for that. Now, what does Jesus say? Let a man deny himself, not focus on himself, not demand I want my way.

I want everything to be done on my timetable. I want to think about what pleases me. Deny self. Take up your cross, and that's not just a burden to carry.

That's a place to die. You die out to selfishness. You die out to those fleshly lusts that war against the soul. You become humble as Jesus humbled himself even to the death of the cross. You become submissive. You read his word. He says, take up your cross, and then you pray, Lord, help me to be able to do exactly that. I know there's a resistance in my flesh.

I'm so determined to want my own way. Help me to bow in humility. Help me to put thee first. Seek thee first the kingdom of God and his righteousness. Do you hear him when he speaks to you? These are the words of Jesus. God the Father says, hear ye him.

Do you hear him? Oh, somebody says, I'm under a lot of pressure right now. I just can't give full attention to these things.

That's all the more reason to give attention to it. When you're under pressure, you have troubles, you have trials, you're enduring afflictions. Hear ye him. Hear what he says. Hear him as he declares that you are weak and unable to make it on your own.

The apostle Paul had to learn that through the experience of the thorn in the flesh, to learn that I am weak, but he is strong. I need him. I need his grace.

I need him in every detail of life. Say, I'm under a lot of pressure at work right now. I just can't give attention to this. All the more reason to give attention to what God says. To learn what kind of an attitude you ought to have when you go to work.

It makes a big difference. A person is having a struggle. A person is having difficulty at work. You're not a boss that is a challenge. But you remember, when I go to work, I'm going there because I want to serve Jesus Christ.

That will change your whole attitude. That's exactly what the scriptures teach us. To understand he is the one we're serving. We want to honor him. We want to do the best job possible. Even if we're never appreciated, there's no compliment. Boss is overbearing and unreasonable, but I'm going to serve Jesus Christ.

And therefore, it will give me a different attitude in the workplace. Not only on the list could go, but I just ask you today, when you hear these words, hear ye him, do you hear him. Not only then were the words of John the Baptist to testify to his deity.

Not only the voice from heaven at his baptism, and the voice from heaven once again on the Mount of Transfiguration, but the words of Jesus. John chapter 10 verse 30, he says, I and my Father are one. How then can you read that expression and deny that Jesus Christ was God? Somebody said, well, I think he was a good teacher. No, if he wasn't God, then what he taught was not good and he wasn't a good teacher. He makes this bold assertion, I and my Father are one, and that's one of the reasons he was so hated.

They accused him of blasphemy. And then in John 14 verse 9, Jesus saith unto him, Have I been so long with you, and yet thou hast not known me, Philip? He that hath seen me, hath seen the Father. And how sayest thou then, show us the Father? Philip had asked him, Lord, show us the Father.

He said, have I been with you all this time and you haven't come to recognize who I am? If you have seen me, you have seen the Father. Because he says, I and my Father are one.

And so we read that while the people had made the assumption God was unmindful of their circumstances, God had forgotten all about them. The Lord says, I'm going to send my messenger, he'll prepare the way of the Lord, and then I'm coming myself. I'm coming as the messenger of the covenant. I'm going to come suddenly to the temple. And so the promise is made, the Lord is on his way.

He didn't give a specific timetable, but he says, I'm coming. And then the question is raised in verse 2, Who may abide the day of his coming and who shall stand when he appearth? Anytime you get a little impatient, because you think God is not sending judgment on all of the wicked people around you. Just remember, if you say, Lord, send judgment.

He sends it on you too, what kind of shape are you going to be in? These people had overlooked the fact that if God was going to deal with them according to their sin, and the fact that they had the boldness to challenge the very character of God, they'd be wiped out. So the Lord says, when I come, who shall be able to abide the day of his coming?

Who can stand? And then he says, he shall sit as a refiner and a purifier of silver. Many times in the prophecy of the Old Testament, there can be something immediately in view, something prophesied in the long term, something looking forward to the very end. There may be pieces of all of that in this section of Scripture. It may be that when he talks about the sons of Levi then being able to offer an acceptable sacrifice, that there could be a blessing falling upon the Jews before the Lord comes back. But our purpose here is to see how the passage will apply to us today.

So we see the work of the refiner. The people's complaint, where is the judgment of God? They felt that God was withholding his blessings from them.

They were not prospering and they charged him with favoring the wicked. But the work of the messenger of the covenant is described by saying, I will be a swift witness against, and then he enumerates that list of great sinners, which we will look at at a future time. But he was to be a witness against the wicked. So while they say that God must approve of wickedness because he's not presently judging it, God says, no, when I send my messenger, of course John the Baptist came preaching, repent, repent for the kingdom of God is at hand, turn from your sin. And then Jesus would be a witness against the workers of iniquity.

And indeed he was. We look at Matthew chapter 23, verse 27. Woe unto you scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites, for ye are like whited sepulchers, indeed appear beautiful outward, but are within full of dead man's bones and of all uncleanness. You who are active in your religious endeavors are like a tomb, a whited tomb. It looks attractive on the outside.

People may come there to pay their respects to departed loved ones, to dress with the beauty of the tomb. But inside, what is it? Dead man's bones. He says, you appear to be righteous because you go through your formalities, you go through your ceremonies, you offer your prayers, but it's all vain. It's mere words inside, you're corrupt, you're empty, you have nothing. So Jesus was indeed a witness against the wicked. But the purpose of his coming at this juncture was to save. Blessed Jesus be we sing, thou of life eternal scream, thou art worthy, thou alone, thou of rock and corner stone. Our text in Malachi chapter 3 declares that when Jesus came into the world, he would be a swift witness against workers of evil.

But his primary purpose in coming was to save. Matthew chapter 1 of the 21st verse says, Thy shall call his name Jesus, for he shall save his people from their sins. He will come back the second time and bring judgment upon the ungodly, but we bring you today the good news of the gospel that Jesus Christ is the savior of sinners. I hope you will write us and until next week at the same time may the Lord richly bless you all. The address all mailed to the Baptist Bible Hour, Cincinnati, Ohio 45217. That's the Baptist Bible Hour, Cincinnati, Ohio 45217. Tis from thee salvation closed, is the ransom sinner knows, thou of Christ art all his plea, when he sees his poverty. Nuns shall glory in thy sight, of their labor's air so bright, all who talk by thee shall know, living praise from God must flow. Grace shall be our lovely theme, free redemption's glorious scheme, this will be the song above, praise to Jesus' bleeding love.
Whisper: medium.en / 2023-03-15 00:41:40 / 2023-03-15 00:51:04 / 9

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