Like a Refiner’s Fire

Malachi 3:1-4 ESV

“Behold, I send my messenger, and he will prepare the way before me. And the Lord whom you seek will suddenly come to his temple; and the messenger of the covenant in whom you delight, behold, he is coming, says the Lord of hosts. But who can endure the day of his coming, and who can stand when he appears? For he is like a refiner’s fire and like fullers’ soap. He will sit as a refiner and purifier of silver, and he will purify the sons of Levi and refine them like gold and silver, and they will bring offerings in righteousness to the Lord. Then the offering of Judah and Jerusalem will be pleasing to the Lord as in the days of old and as in former years.”

John the Baptist was the messenger sent before Jesus Christ, before Jesus began his ministry on the earth. And, the way in which he prepared the way for Jesus was in preaching a message of repentance – of turning people away from their lifestyles of sin to now following our Lord in surrender to his will and in obedience to his commands. And, the reason for this message was that the kingdom of heaven was at hand (Matt. 3:1-3).

And, Jesus taught the same message (Matt. 4:17; Matt. 7:21; Matt. 18:3).

In fact, Jesus made it quite clear what it meant to follow him. He said if we would come after him, we must deny self, take up our cross daily and follow (obey) him. And, he added that if we didn’t do that, but we decided to hold on to our former sinful lifestyles, that we would lose our lives for eternity. But, if we gave up our old lives, for the sake of Jesus, then we had eternal life with God (Lu. 9:23-26; cf. Rom. 6:1-23; Rom. 8:1-17; Eph. 4:17-24).

So, Jesus didn’t come to die just so we could be forgiven our sins, escape hell, and go to heaven when we die. He came to cleanse us of all sin, to purify our hearts, and to make us holy – set apart (unlike, different) from the world. He died that we might die with him to sin and live with him to righteousness. “For our sake he made him to be sin who knew no sin, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God” (2 Co. 5:15, 21).

Malachi 3:5-9 ESV

“Then I will draw near to you for judgment. I will be a swift witness against the sorcerers, against the adulterers, against those who swear falsely, against those who oppress the hired worker in his wages, the widow and the fatherless, against those who thrust aside the sojourner, and do not fear me, says the Lord of hosts.

“For I the Lord do not change; therefore you, O children of Jacob, are not consumed. From the days of your fathers you have turned aside from my statutes and have not kept them. Return to me, and I will return to you, says the Lord of hosts. But you say, ‘How shall we return?’ Will man rob God? Yet you are robbing me. But you say, ‘How have we robbed you?’ In your tithes and contributions. You are cursed with a curse, for you are robbing me, the whole nation of you…”

So, this really fits with the section before this. For, one of the ways in which the Lord purifies us is through judgment or through divine discipline and chastisement (See: Heb. 12:1-13; Rom. 5:3-5; Jas. 1:2-4; 1 Pet. 1:6-7).

And, who is the book of Revelation written to? It is written to the church. And, how does the book begin? Chapters 2-3 are dedicated to the church, to confront 71% of the church (5 out of 7 churches) with their sins of adultery, idolatry, sexual immorality, complacency, forsaking their first love, and putting up with false prophets, etc.

And, then these 5 out of 7 are rebuked by Jesus Christ, who is the author of the book and of the letters to these churches. And, he calls them to repentance. But, then he warns them that if they do not repent that he is going to visit them in judgment of some kind or another. BUT… he promises restoration, revival, renewal and heavenly rewards for those who overcome.

And, then what follows in the book of Revelation after these letters to the churches? Judgment!

So, Jesus Christ isn’t some “mamby pamby” Savior, lacking in strength of character, who is weak and spineless. He will do what he said he will do. And, he promised to judge the church which is living in adultery against him, which is just playing games, playing church, and which is dabbling in all sorts of other things that are contrary to Christ and to his holiness.

But, what is the object of the judgment? It is that his wayward people would return to him, and it is that those who are just pretending to be his will be his in truth, and it is that many more people in the world will come to faith in Jesus Christ, which a revived church will help to facilitate.

For, our “tithes and contributions” should not be considered as just giving money to some organization called “church.” For, God isn’t looking for money. He doesn’t need our money. What he is looking for is human hearts sold out to him. He is looking for us to lay our all on the altar as living sacrifices, holy and pleasing to God, which is our reasonable and acceptable worship of God, and for us to be conformed to him and his ways, not to the ways of this sinful world in which we live.

Malachi 3:13-18 ESV

“Your words have been hard against me, says the Lord. But you say, ‘How have we spoken against you?’ You have said, ‘It is vain to serve God. What is the profit of our keeping his charge or of walking as in mourning before the Lord of hosts? And now we call the arrogant blessed. Evildoers not only prosper but they put God to the test and they escape.’”

Then those who feared the Lord spoke with one another. The Lord paid attention and heard them, and a book of remembrance was written before him of those who feared the Lord and esteemed his name. “They shall be mine, says the Lord of hosts, in the day when I make up my treasured possession, and I will spare them as a man spares his son who serves him. Then once more you shall see the distinction between the righteous and the wicked, between one who serves God and one who does not serve him.”

Doesn’t this speak to the vast majority of the church today, at least here in America? They have no use for walking in the fear of the Lord. They also have no use for repentance, submission to the Lordship of Christ, and for obedience to his commands. Holiness and righteous living are not in their playbook at all. Contrite hearts who are humble before God, they also see no need of. For, they think God’s grace to them is a free ride to heaven which frees them to continue in their sinful course, only without guilt.

And, so they are raising up on pedestals these fake shepherds of the people who are tickling their itching ears with jokes, comedy routines, entertainment, and feel-good messages that coddle them in their sins and which do not make them feel guilty about their sinful lifestyles. They are their heroes. And, people are flocking to these false shepherds – these wolves in sheep’s clothing – by the thousands, or the hundreds of thousands.

And, this is a tragedy of enormous proportions!! This is what should be breaking our hearts. This is what we should be passionate about!! And, we should be shouting from the rooftops in proclaiming the true gospel of salvation, and in dispelling the lies of Satan that are being passed off as the true gospel, but which is still leaving people bound in their sins.

So, who is going to make it to heaven? It isn’t going to be all the people who were just “nice” to everyone else in order to make them feel good about themselves while refusing to tell them the truth that could save their lives. And, it isn’t going to be everyone who said, “Lord, Lord,” but who would not bow the knee to God, and who would not honor him as Lord, and who felt like they didn’t have to obey him or submit to him, or repent of sin.

Those who walk in the fear of the Lord are those who serve the Lord. Those who turn away from their sinful lifestyles to walk in obedience to the ways of the Lord, in the power of God’s Spirit living within them, are those who serve the Lord and not wickedness. But, those who continue to walk in the ways of their flesh, especially thinking they are entitled to do so, do not serve God.

So, just know that we are all going to reap what we sow. If we sow to please the flesh, from the flesh we will reap destruction. But, if we sow to please the Spirit, from the Spirit we will reap eternal life. And, that’s the truth! (Gal. 6:7-8; Rom. 2:6-8; Gal. 5:16-21; Rom. 8:1-17; 1 Jn. 1:5-9).

So, walk in the ways of the Lord!

All The Way My Savior Leads Me

Lyrics by Frances J Crosby, pub. 1875
Music by Robert Lowry, pub. 1875

All the way my Savior leads me,
What have I to ask beside?
Can I doubt His tender mercy,
Who through life has been my Guide?
Heav’nly peace, divinest comfort,
Here by faith in Him to dwell!
For I know, whate’er befall me,
Jesus doeth all things well.

All the way my Savior leads me,
Cheers each winding path I tread,
Gives me grace for every trial,
Feeds me with the living Bread.
Though my weary steps may falter
And my soul athirst may be,
Gushing from the Rock before me,
Lo! A spring of joy I see.

All the way my Savior leads me,
Oh, the fullness of His love!
Perfect rest to me is promised
In my Father’s house above.
When my spirit, clothed immortal,
Wings its flight to realms of day
This my song through endless ages:
Jesus led me all the way.

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14 thoughts on “Like a Refiner’s Fire

    • Donna, thank you! Glory to God! Yes, we need to ring out the message to get ready for the Lord’s return. And, we need to share with them what the Scriptures teach with regard to getting ready, too. And, we need to warn them, as well, of the consequences of not being ready when the Lord returns, too. For, many will hear that day, “Depart from me, I never knew you.” They thought they were ready, probably, because they believed a lie, and so it is important that we tell them the truth, and most importantly that we live the truth.

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      • Isaiah 41:13 For I am the LORD your God who takes hold of your right hand and says to you, Do not fear, I will help you. I felt that I was to share that with you today. I just obey what the Lord says to me. So be blessed my dear. Yes let the bells ring out the truth. I am finding a lot of people do not want to hear the truth. That is so sad. It grieves me. Oh I so want to hear, Well done thou good and faithful servant. I want too be in the perfect center of His will at all times. Sending you an air hug today Sue. May His love rest on you today. 🙂

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      • Donna, this is perfect! Yes, the Lord did give that to you to share with me. It actually fits with what he is showing me through his Word this morning, which I am to share, but it is for me personally, as well, so thank you for listening and for obeying. I have it on a sticky note on my computer to remind me daily. Thank you for all that you shared with me today. God bless you! Hugs back to you!

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      • You just gave me goosebumps. I am so honored to be used by the Lord in such a mighty way. May He continue to pour out His love and blessings on you. As my sister always said,, keep the faith. Yay I will take the hugs, I am a hugger by nature and this whole Coronavirus is really bothering me. I so want to hug my best friend and the other ladies at church and at our prayer group which has to now meet on the phone. We still hear each others voices but there is something about human touch. I wrote about it in one of my blogs. I will go back and find then put the link here. ♡ One random act of kindness can change the world. Ron Hall said something like that. Anyways thanks for your act of kindness with those kind words. ♡♡♡

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      • Donna, thank you. Yes, I miss being in person with people, too. It just isn’t the same virtually or over the phone, I agree, but it is better than having no contact with the outside world at all.

        On the subject of love, and I did read your article at the link you sent me, is that we need to distinguish between human love and God-like (agape) love, for they are not one and the same. For, God called us to love with his love which prefers what he prefers, which is what is holy, righteous, godly, pure, moral and upright. The world’s idea of love does not necessarily include moral purity or faithfulness or honesty, etc.

        Ok, with that said, let me also say that to love as God loves means to walk like Jesus walked, and thus it means to love people as Jesus loves us. And, what did he do to prove his love? He gave up his life, not just on the cross, but he gave up his reputation and his time and his compassion and passion for us by telling us the truth. He didn’t lie to anyone to make them feel good about themselves. And, he didn’t make mushy-gushy displays of “love” while withholding from us the truth, either.

        There is a big global push for us, the people of the world, to all love each other, and to rid our lives of all that divides us as a people, but this love is not God-like love, for it will require us to forsake the gospel of Jesus Christ, too, for it divides people into saved and unsaved, and it judges sin, and it calls people to repentance and to obedience to Christ, and that doesn’t fit with their idea of “love” for that makes people uncomfortable, and they don’t want anyone to feel uncomfortable.

        So, just making you aware that when God says to love others he means to love as he loves and that means to tell people the truth that they don’t want to hear and so we will end up being hated and rejected like Jesus was. But, that is true love because it puts other people’s true welfare above ourselves and it willingly lays down our reputations in order to see others be free from their bondage to sin.

        So, just be careful that you don’t get on the “love” bandwagon that is leading to doing away with the gospel but that you, in what you share, continue to love as God loves us and as Jesus and the Holy Spirit love us, and they tell us the truth we need to hear because that is what we need. Love you! Sue

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      • Yes, I agree with you. It is why I have taken a bold stance on the issue of abortion and have had a couple people not really agree with me. But that is okay, as I am speaking the truth in love. I wrote this because I saw so many women in a Facebook group posting wanting prayers for things such as abortion and I wanted to help them, not just one but countless. I want to show them what God has to say about it. Here is the link for that.
        I used to want to try and get everyone to like me. But that will never happen because people love their sins more than they love the Light. Jesus said we would be rejected as He was rejected.
        I “love” what you have written here. You are very smart and I appreciate you taking the time to give me such an in detail response.
        May we all continue to speak the truth to one another and edify each other. God bless! Looking forward to more times we can discuss things. The only bandwagon I am on is the Jesus bandwagon. ❤ Your sister in Christ, Donna 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

  1. Jesus died for the glory of God. Amen, He helps us turn from sin so that we can glory God in an honorable way. We are to be blameless. We grow through trials often because it forces us and shows us why we can’t rely on the flesh, ourselves. We need Him so very much! Yes, He disciplines those He loves.

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