Malachi Lesson 9

 

Reading   Malachi  4

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Perhaps at the outset it is worth emphasizing that Malachi declares the certainly of the day of the Lord, “Behold, the day cometh!”  That day must remain uppermost in our minds.

  1. It is the day of judgment. A dreadful day for the unrepentant wicked, when their hopelessness, guilt and doom will be made manifest and settled, ushering in their eternal destruction (perdition i.e. loss of everything, especially the soul). A day when God’s wrath will burn as fire. Psalm 50, Isaiah 13:9, 34:10, John 15:16, Heb.6:8. It is a day of indignation and vengeance and the end of the created universe as we know it. The judgment of the high and mighty proud on earth is also emphasized. However we recognise that those who do wickedly and never repent and obey the gospel are all the proud who do not believe God’s word in the gospel and ignore or despise the Son of God (Isaiah 2:12-21, Obadiah 15-17, Zech. 14). The unity of the scriptures is exhibited in the fact that the second coming is a theme running right through them. The fire will refine and purify the creation (II Peter 3:7-14) just as God in affliction purifies his people (Zechariah 13:9). We believe the only thing God actually consumes and annihilates is SIN! (Hebrews 12:29).
  2. Fire, we really do not know if it is literal or not, does not destroy the wicked (Rev.19:10, 20:10, 18. Isaiah 66:24 quoted in Mark 9:44, 45).
  3. For God’s people, who must all be brought in by then, this day brings rest, from labour and suffering, great joy in God (I Peter 4:13, I Thess.2:19), excitement, peace and the absence of fear because we are perfectly loved and go to meet our beloved Saviour if we are still on earth.

Elijah who is to come is John the Baptist who came in the bold spirit and power of Elijah. They were both prophets, dressed alike, lived in the wilderness, were “loners” and admonished kings. They preached repentance and God granted it to many through them (Matt.3:1-11).

We believe the ministry of John is carried on by all God’s people and true preachers who point people to Christ and call them to repentance before the great day comes.

In answering the difficult question of why Luke in 1:17 changes the quotation from Mal.4:6, we postulated that Malachi wrote with the Jews  (of Judea) in mind (fathers and children) and God’s curse did come on them in A.D.70 whereas Luke with Jew and Gentile in mind, speaks in more general terms of the conversion of all kinds of people, at a later date, as the end of the world approaches. In considering the hearts of fathers turned to the children and vice versa, we see this fulfilled in fathers loving, caring for, nurturing, teaching and admonishing (and not provoking) their covenant seed in line with God’s word. In like manner the children obey and reverence their parents. This comes about by:

  1. The conviction that this is a parental priority and giving their children time.
  2. The church teaching through preaching, catechism etc.
  3. Family devotions/prayer.

As we return to consider God’s people on this day we read of Christ coming as the great light, the source of our righteousness and the one who will heal us and all creation from the corrupting effects of the fall. This is pictured figuratively as the calves released from the stall who like us, will be freed from the miserable constraints of sin.

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Furthermore, we will judge the wicked angels and people (in Christ) and this will be a great encouragement because it means justice and retribution.

Malachi, seeing the day of the Lord as one, including his birth and his return teaches us how God, in eternity, views time. A thousand years are as a day!

We also remembered that Christ is always coming in the salvation of his people in the incarnation, his baptism, his transfiguration, his cross, Pentecost, the effectual call through the preaching, the saint’s death and ultimately on the last day.

As we wait we must be characterised by purity and obedience.

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A Scottish Classic on Sanctification: James Fraser of Alness’ “Explication” of Romans 6:1-8:4

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“Explication” of Romans 6:1-8:4 by Rev. Angus Stewart, a special lecture given at the 2014 British Reformed Fellowship Conference at Gartmore House in Scotland on “Be Ye Holy: The Reformed Doctrine of Sanctification”

James Fraser of Alness, Rosshire, Scotland 1700-1769. Son of a minister, he lived almost all of his life there and all his ministry (43 years) in the Church of Scotland.

This treatise of 500 pages is a running commentary on Romans 6-8:4 with paraphrases of the Scriptures.

One of its aims was to refute the “moderatism (like modernism) and Arminianism” of John Locke (a famous British philosopher) and others of his day.

Why must sin cease in the believer’s life?  Psalm 116:3-9, Romans 8:4. We are dead to sin in Christ!

No sanctification without justification. So we look to the cross for both justification and sanctification.

Unregenerate are slaves to and under the dominion of sin and the law. They cannot please God.

List of blessings of sanctification:

  1. Heavenly spiritual ones e.g. forgiveness, redemption, adoption.
  2. Comfort of the Spirit in living holy.
  3. Right to approach God.
  4. The Word works.
  5. Providence always positive (Rom.8:28).
  6. Comfort of the last day.
  7. Preservation. New Covenant promise of security. (Jer.32:40).                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  In his personal life two great helpful sanctifying influences were a women’s question time in his church,                                                                                                                                       and his wife who appeared to be an unbeliever who treated him terribly not even heating his room or feeding him properly.  Asked why he would heartily drink a toast to his wife he said he surely would because, “She has sent me seven times a day to my knees, which is more than any of your wives have done!”                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                         Indeed a classic!                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                     The book is available on AMAZON.

Assurance

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Lacking assurance? Here are two things you can do about it.

” For God is not unrighteous to forget your work and labour of love, which ye have shewed toward his name, in that ye have ministered to the saints, and do minister. And we desire that every one of you do shew the same diligence to the full assurance of hope unto the end: That ye be not slothful, but followers of them who through faith and patience inherit the promises.”(Hebrews 6:10-12). Look at Stephanas and his house in Corinth, ” I beseech you, brethren, (ye know the house of Stephanas, that it is the firstfruits of Achaia, and that they have addicted themselves to the ministry of the saints,” (I Cor.16:15).

Notice that ministry to fellow saints increases assurance. Why is this? Simply because ministry to the saints is ministry to Christ.” And the King shall answer and say unto them, Verily I say unto you, Inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these my brethren, ye have done it unto me.” (Matthew 25:40).

The other obvious factor is just being amongst God’s people on the Lord’s day worshipping and meeting them on other days of the week. We are all the proof of the resurrection and of God’s truth. We have been raised from spiritual death and slavery to sin as proof that we rose in Christ! The love which we show for one another is the love God puts in us by his Spirit. So don’t be slothful-be with and minister to the saints!

Only the Holy Shall Inherit the Kingdom. Prof.David J. Engelsma. BRF conf.2014

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Reading I Corinthians 6:9-11

Works salvation and perfectionism are excluded.

Engelsma outlines the various sins listed.

Notably idolatry includes Islam, Judaism, Roman Catholicism i.e. all worship not directed to the true Triune God of Scripture.

Reviling means using cruel words.

The impenitent are excluded from the kingdom.

We are washed from these pollutions.

Holiness is devotion to God.

It is absolutely necessary and also absolutely sure for all God’s children.

 

 

 

 

 

Christ’s controversisies. The Kingdom of God (2)

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The prominence of Christ’s teaching on this cannot be overestimated.

2. The Kingdom is heavenly!

Quotes from  Geerhardus Vos, The Kingdom of God and the Church: “… there is scarcely an important subject in the rich repertoire of our Lord’s teaching with which … the kingdom of God will not bring us into contact” (p. 13). “… the kingdom of God has an importance in our Lord’s teaching second to that of no other subject” (p. 11).

Review of first study.

The prominence of the Kingdom of God in Scripture and the ministry of Christ is seen in:

1. His preaching e.g. the first words of his ministry…He came preaching the Kingdom.

2. The centrality of the parables concerning the Kingdom.

3. The Lord’s Prayer (Matthew 6:10) “ Thy Kingdom come” and the doxology, “ for thine is the Kingdom, the power and the glory forever, amen.”

4. The Beatitudes (of the Kingdom).

5. The many miracles that subserve and are signs of the coming Kingdom.

Reading   John 18:33-40.  Jesus before Pilate.

We looked at four false view of the kingdom: the first two are religions and worldviews, the second two eschatological views.

  1. Roman Catholic (classic historical)− their church and the pope and worship of Mary is the kingdom.
  2. Liberal protestant−God is the father of all men who are brothers, they aim for a world of equality, peace, justice and love. Under auspices of World Council of Churches and United Nations. (also Liberation Theology)
  3. Premillenialism−a literal earthly Jewish kingdom. Dispensationalism-similar reincarnation of earthly kingdom under the Jews who initially rejected their Messiah.
  4. Postmillenialism-the world progressively will be “christianized”. Reconstructionism emphasises a political/judicial reign of Christ (on earth).                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                             This earthly kingdom was also the view of the first century Jews who rejected their Messiah.                                                                                                                                                                 Christ’s teaching is diametrically  opposed to all these!   Luke 17:20-21, John 6:15, John 3:3, 5 also I Cor.15:47, Rom.14:17.                                                                                                         N.B. The coming antichristian kingdom will be the epitome of this view and the ultimate realisation of it!                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                The common features of all these is that the kingdom is earthly, visible and political.

The origin of a thing determines its nature! The Kingdom of God or Kingdom of Heaven originates in heaven. It is within you (spiritual), does not come with observation (invisible), you cannot see it unless you are born from above (heavenly).

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Blessed people.

Devotions BRF conf. Gartmore 2014

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Reading Psalm 21:1-6

We are blessed people (God’s people, true believers)

1.Blessed for ever.

2. Blessed in everything-earthly and heavenly, even in persecution and death. So stop all sinful doubts and fears sown by Satan e.g. “Hath God said….”

“Fear not” is a command!

 

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3. Blessed especially in this regard.” Unto you first God, having raised up his Son Jesus, sent him to bless you, in turning away every one of you from his iniquities” (Acts 3:26).

Two experiential proofs: a) We are not the people we once were.

b) We love the brethren and enjoy the fellowship of the saints. These blessings are only experienced in the fellowship of a true constituted church.

 

Remarriage and adultery.

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Is remarriage permissible while one’s original spouse lives?

The answer of Christ and Scripture is NO!

If you are remarried while your original spouse still lives and you are living in a new sexual relationship you are guilty of continual adultery and should not be permitted to join a true church. Indeed until you repent and separate, making yourself a eunuch for Christ’s sake, you are outside the kingdom.

I Corinthians 6:9,10.

Westminster Confession is wrong on this matter.

Standard Bearer of PRCA article.

Message from my church CPRC by Rev.Angus Stewart on “Thou shalt not commit adultery.

Source of holiness

Acts 26:13-15 “At midday, O king, I saw in the way a light from heaven, above the brightness of the sun, shining round about me and them which journeyed with me. And when we were all fallen to the earth, I heard a voice speaking unto me, and saying in the Hebrew tongue, Saul, Saul, why persecutest thou me? it is hard for thee to kick against the pricks. And I said, Who art thou, Lord? And he said, I am Jesus whom thou persecutest.”

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Hebrews 1:3 “Who being the brightness of his glory, and the express image of his person, and upholding all things by the word of his power, when he had by himself purged our sins, sat down on the right hand of the Majesty on high:”

“As our only High Priest, Christ did or does especially three things: first, He offered Himself as the only and complete sacrifice for the sins of God’s people; second, He intercedes for God’s people; and third, He blesses God’s people. By each of these three tasks God, in Christ, shows Himself merciful to His people. He sees the depth of our misery and our inability to escape that misery of ourselves, and, moved with compassion, lifts us up from the depths of our misery to the heights of joy and blessedness. Because sin is the source and cause of our misery, Christ’s one sacrifice on the cross took away in principle the guilt and corruption of our sin, and His blessing which He continually bestows on us through His Spirit consists of the progressive realization in us of the forgiveness of our sins and the new life of Christ.” (Rev.D.Kuiper. Standard Bearer. Dec. 15th 1998)

 

Christ purged our sins, once and for all at Calvary. Only omnipotent divine power could do it. Only the one who is sinned against has the power, right and grace to purge them. How we underestimate the greatness of Christ! All creation must, and will praise him!

Psalm 148.

The calling to work out our own salvation. Prof. Herman Hanko BRF 2014

 

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Reading  Phil.2:12,13. “Wherefore, my beloved, as ye have always obeyed, not as in my presence only, but now much more in my absence, work out your own salvation with fear and trembling. For it is God which worketh in you both to will and to do of his good pleasure.”

In Psalm 40 Christ preached and he still preaches righteousness in the congregation. He preached the gospel to Adam, Cain and Abel and Abraham.

True holiness is worshipping God in spirit, rejoicing in Christ Jesus and having no confidence in the flesh (Phil.3:3). It is also that work whereby God is able to subdue all things unto himself including changing our vile bodies into glorious bodies (3:21). He is able to do this because of Christ’s humiliation and exaltation and ours in him.

He gives us treasure (his unsearchable riches) and they are not to be squandered (see previous post).

If you are not working out this salvation then you don’t have it!

Christ earned every part of our salvation. We all share it and have strength to fulfil our calling. His manifold grace is only seen in the whole church, the temple, the body completed and built. Your place is waiting for you when you enter glory.

The fear is awe, a trembling at the high calling of representing his cause. The will must be there. There is mystery in the fact God works and we do. We abide in the vine.

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The graft retains the character of the fruit it bears (we are grafted into Christ). The cross is where we find strength.

God rejoices in his own works-us!

Christ’s purpose our holiness. Rev.M McGeown. BRF 2014

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Text  Titus 2:14 “Who gave himself for us, that he might redeem us from all iniquity, and purify unto himself a peculiar people, zealous of good works.”

Christ’s purpose was and is our sanctification. His main purpose was to purify his people and make them zealous of good works, with a passion (zeal) for God’s glory and proper worship (Ps.69:9).

The phrase “good works” is repeated in 1:16, 2:7, 3:1 and 14.

Sound doctrine is what leads to godliness (1:3).

What are good works? A godly life and zeal against evil works and our own sin. They are acts of love that seek another’s good and fellowship. Holy means devoted to God as he is devoted to himself. Good work is serving our fellow saints in need (Matt.25).

Listen to whole sermon.