man asked a question of God. “God long is a million year to you?” Well that
is just like a minute to you. “Will how much is a million dollars to you? That
would be like a penny. “Then God could I have a penny?” Of course, just give me
This passage is a bit like that above story to me. It is beyond me. I believe it but I can't comprhend it. There is just too much of the love of God displayed here for me to take it all in. I'm grasping for a million but can only touch a penny.
Broken Relationship - Malachi 3:13-15
Your words have been stout against me, saith the LORD. Yet
ye say, What have we spoken so much against thee? Ye have said, It is vain to
serve God: and what profit is it that we have kept his ordinance, and that we
have walked mournfully before the LORD of hosts? And now we call the proud
happy; yea, they that work wickedness are set up; yea, they that tempt God are
Israel Was Broken
Israel relationship with God was broken. They were a nation
that in spite of the history, the patriarchs, the time in Egypt, the Exodus,
the conquest of Canaan, the glories of David and Solomon’s kingdoms they had
put God on a shelf. Reaching for Him like a jar of ointment in times of trouble
but neglecting Him in times of prosperity and peace.
At this time in their history the nation had returned from an
exile that should have led to their extinction as a people. After being
deported in mass from their homeland and forced to live for decades in a pagan
land, they should have lost their identity, lost their heritage and lost their
faith. Yet God through leaders like Jeremiah, Daniel, Ezekiel, Mordecai and
Esther kept their identity and faith intact and then leaders like Ezra,
Nehemiah and Zerubbabel had brought them home, rebuilt the Temple and the wall
One of the most undeniable proofs about the existence of God
is the existence of God’s people the Jews. No other nationality has been so
persecuted, so dispersed, so hated and yet there they still are. God’s people
holding to their identity as Israel. This was happened because God would not
let them go and when they had drifted from Him and backslid from the law, He
would send prophets like Malachi to call them back and heal that broken
We see that broken relationship spelled out for us in the
series of questions that Malachi writes as God and Israel have open discussion
about what has happened between the nation and their God.
God deals with Israel’s broken relationship through questions
and answers in the first three chapter of the book. These questions, are given
in by Israel in response to God dialogue with andaccusations against His people.
1:2 I have loved you, saith the LORD. Yet ye say, Wherein hast thou loved
us?God states His love for them,
but they respond by asking, “How have you loved us?”
In 1:6-2:9. God accuses them of dishonoring His name and
polluting His sacrifices. In response they ask How have we defiled you?
In 2:17-3:6. God tells them they that weary him with their
words and the ask, “How have we done that?
In 3:7-12, God says “Return to me” and we see the broken
relationship so clearly when the people respond by ignorantly asking, “How
should we do that?”
Finally in 3:13-4:3 we come to the final accusation and
question. God says your words have been stout, hard against me and people
respond with “What exactly did we say against you?” Like a friend or a loved
one caught in a lie or gossip and instead of admitting it and asking for
forgiveness they look for a loophole, a technicality to somehow claim we are not
really to blame, maybe its all in your imagination. This dialogue is a symptom
sheet, a running diagnosis of what is broken between God and His nation,
Our Broken Relationships
In this book we see an application of our own broken
relationship with God. Our relationship as a nation, as churches, and as
God tells us He loves us and instead of responding to that
love we challenge Him to prove it. We ignore the greatest gift of love ever
given, the sacrifice of God’s own son, Jesus Christ and instead selfishly seek
money, health, or some other instant gratification and proof of God’s love. A
proof that shows we don’t know what love really is.
As Christians who should truly carry the name of Christ as
our identity, we dishonor God and defile His name by telling the world that sin
is no longer sin and that the God of the Old Testament was not the God of the
New. We, even more than Israel, weary God with our shameful words.
When God tells us to return to Him, we ask, How? As though
we really had never abounded His law, His Word and His House.
And just like Israel we speak hard words against our Creator,
we accuse him of the worst sins when a hurricane or an earthquake strikes. We
accuse Him of not being a loving God because there is death, violence, or
sickness in the world. We shake our fist at Him and say it is not fair, it is
not right, it is not good.
In spite of that brokenness, that willful separation or even
outright rebellion, God continues to reach out to us today as He did with
Israel, never giving up and proving His love over and over again.
Illustration: Robert Ingersoll and the five-minute challenge
When Robert Ingersoll, a famous atheist who lived in the mid
1800's, was lecturing, he once took out his watch and declared, “I will give
God five minutes to strike me dead for the things I have said.” The minutes
ticked off as he held the watch and waited. In about four-and-a-half minutes, some
women began fainting, but nothing happened. When the five minutes were up,
Ingersoll put the watch into his pocket.
When that incident reached the ears of a certain preacher,
Joseph Parker, he asked, “And did the gentleman think he could exhaust the patience
of the Eternal God in five minutes?”
Our relationship with our Creator, our heavenly Father is in
so many ways easily broken. And yet God tells us as he told Malachi, not all
are broken for there are some that are faithful, loving and obedient. A remnant
in the days of Malachi and I believe a remnant today, that he speaks of in vs.
Book of Remembrance – Malachi 3:16-18
Then they that feared the LORD spake often one to another:
and the LORD hearkened, and heard it, and a book of remembrance was written
before him for them that feared the LORD, and that thought upon his name. And
they shall be mine, saith the LORD of hosts, in that day when I make up my
jewels; and I will spare them, as a man spareth his own son that serveth him.
To me these verses are some of the most beautiful in all the
Old Testament. In them we hear the tenderness and care of God. God tells
questioning, challenging, disobedient Israel, there are some among you who
don’t walk in stubbornness against Me but they walk with and honor me.
In the midst of God’s dialogue with Israel and their
challenging God with their excuses and questions, there is a response from a
different group of people within Israel, a remnant
Look at the way God describes this faithful remnant.
They that feared the Lord. Fear is the way the Bible often
describes the proper worship of God. It means we hold God in awe and worship
Him as the Almighty, the Creator and sustainer of all things.: This “fear” is
based upon the knowledge of God, the experience of His love and our reverence
and honor toward Him. It is fear in that we also know He is the judge of sin
and will act against it, but it is dread but understanding and thankfulness.
They spake often to one another:This means the remnant shared a love for God
and because of this wanted to be with one another and talk about the God they
loved. They came together not to complain or challenge God but to encourage one
another in the love of their God.
Notice also the Reward God describes for this faithful
The Lord hearkened and heard: God himself noticed and
listened to this group of friends.
A book of remembrance was written before Him for them:God saw to it that a special book of memorial
was written in His presence to mark these precious ones and their love for Him.It was written, “for them” that is on their
behalf to give them not just a reward but also God’s help and power to remain
faithful even in the midst of opposition.
Then God says, “They shall be mine in that day when I make
up my jewels” The reward for the faithful is to be His jewels. The One they held
close to their hearts, will now hold them close to His own heart, like jewels
upon a necklace, God shows them off in a place of honor.
I have tried a couple of times to preach from this passage
but to be honest with you, I gave up. I gave up because of this passage. No
matter what I wrote, no matter what illustration or poems I selected nothing
could come close to saying as much as simple reading this verse.
The LORD hearkened, and heard it, and a book of remembrance
was written before him for them that feared the LORD, and that thought upon his
name. And they shall be mine, saith the LORD of hosts, in that day when I make
up my jewels.
I am overwhelmed by that verse. I truly am. I see in it the
tenderness and love that only a father could have for his own. I hear in it the
voice of hope saying, “Be faithful, I have not forgotten you.” I feel in it the
wonder of the God of eternity taking time to hear and then reward those who
stay loyal in their love. “They shall be mine, in the day when I make up my
Nor should you think this is a reward for just the Old Testament
saints. For we read of a very similar gift in other places in scripture.
To the church at Ephesus Paul writes in Ephesians 1:15-18 15
Wherefore I also, after I heard of your faith in the Lord Jesus, and love
unto all the saints, 16 Cease not to give thanks for you, making mention
of you in my prayers; 17 That the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the
Father of glory, may give unto you the spirit of wisdom and revelation in the
knowledge of him: 18 The eyes of your understanding being enlightened;
that ye may know what is the hope of his calling, and what the riches of the
glory of his inheritance in the saints,
Did you catch that? Paul says, “the glory of His inheritance
is in the saints.” In other words, just like God told Malachi, we are his
treasure. A missionary once remarked on this verse, “We are God’s trophies of
In the book of Revelation Jesus tells John to tell the
church of the reard he has for the overcomers. Revelation 2:17 He that hath an
ear, let him hear what the Spirit saith unto the churches; To him that
overcometh will I give to eat of the hidden manna, and will give him a white
stone, and in the stone a new name written, which no man knoweth saving he that
Another of God’s jewels our new name written in a white
stone. A reward for those who are faithful and overcome.
Can you imagine being part of that treasure, one of the
jewels of God, a trophy to grace on God’s mantel place in Heaven? Its not
imagination that will place us there, it is faithfulness in the face of
opposition. It is being an overcomer when faced with the obstacles and pitfalls
of this world. It does not require great deeds but it does require faith,
loyalty and trust. If we hold on to Jesus Christ and refuse to let this world
take away that relationship, then one day He will hold us out before this world
as His precious jewels.
Illustration: Taste and See
At the University
of Chicago Divinity School each year they have what is called "Baptist Day."
It is a day when all the Baptists in the area are invited to the school because
they want the Baptist dollars to keep coming in.
On this day each
one is to bring a lunch to be eaten outdoors in a grassy picnic area. Every
"Baptist Day" the school would invite one of the greatest minds to
lecture in the theological education center.
One year they invited
Dr. Paul Tillich. Dr. Tillich spoke for two and one-half hours proving that the
resurrection of Jesus was false.
He quoted scholar
after scholar and book after book. He concluded that since there was no such
thing as the historical resurrection the religious tradition of the church was
groundless, emotional mumbo-jumbo, because it was based on a relationship with
a risen Jesus, who, in fact, never rose from the dead in any literal sense. He
then asked if there were any questions.
After about 30
seconds, an old, dark skinned preacher with a head of short-cropped, woolly
white hair stood up in the back of the auditorium.
Tillich, I got one question", he said as all eyes turned toward him. He
reached into his sack lunch and pulled out an apple and began eating it.
Tillich ... CRUNCH, MUNCH My question is a simple question, CRUNCH,
MUNCH...Now, I ain't never read them books you read...CRUNCH, MUNCH...and I
can't recite the Scriptures in the original Greek CRUNCH,MUNCH ...I don't know
nothin' about Niebuhr and Heidegger" ...CRUNCH, MUNCH...He finished the
apple. "All I wanna know is: This apple I just ate, ------was it bitter or
paused for a moment and answered in exemplary scholarly fashion: "I cannot
possibly answer that question, for I haven't tasted your apple."
preacher dropped the core of his apple into his crumpled paper bag, looked up
at Dr. Tillich and said calmly, "Neither have you tasted my Jesus."
The 1,000 plus in
attendance could not contain themselves. The auditorium erupted with applause
and cheers. Dr. Tillich thanked his audience and promptly left the platform.
The old preacher in that story was someone who refused to
let the supposed scholarship of Paul Tillich take away his faith. He was on
overcomer who knew who he had believed and one day, he and the others of the
faithful remnants of every generation will be in God’s book of remembrance and
part of the jewels He will select to show the world what faith and love really
There is one final part of this message that God give to
Malachi in verse 18
Blessings Return – Malachi 3:18
Then shall ye return, and discern between the righteous and
the wicked, between him that serveth God and him that serveth him not.
God says then shall you return. The time of “then: is when
God spares and shows his jewels. At that point, whether it be during the time
of Israel’s return back to Jerusalem, or when He delivers his nation from the
anti-Christ during the tribulation. When he spares his faithful remnant, then
the those who denied Him, ignored Him, challenged Him will return to the truth,
the discernment of what really was right and wrong. Between the false and true
servants of God.
I think it is still true today, that one of the best proofs
of God’s existence and His love is the nation of Israel still being in
existence in spite of all the power of evil to destroy them, eradicate them
from the face of the earth. If the world would look, not at the goodness of
Israel, but simple at the existence of these impossible survivors, they would
see the hand of God and know He is real. Nothing else could explain their still
being here today.
I also think that one of the best proofs of those same
truths about God today, is God’s love through Jesus Christ spares us today. We
are sinners, guilty of not believing in God. Guilty of dishonoring God. Guilty
of breaking the law of God. And yet God spares us by the sacrifice of Jesus
Christ, when we put our faith in Him, repent and accept the gift of grace. It
shouldn’t be that way, but what a wonderful proof of God and His love.
I was once listening to a missionary who worked in the
prison system here in Texas. He said that Texas had thrown the doors open for
them to come in an work with the prisoners. It wasn’t because they were
Christians but because when the sat down and looked at the recidivism rate of
prisoners, the rate of prisoners that return to prison after being released,
when they looked at their overall recidivism rate was over 60%. 60 percent of
the prisoners released would be back. But the missionary said, that those who
had were in Bible studies and began attending worship service in the prison had
only a 30% recidivism rate.
I once had a man in my church, I baptized him and his
daughter on the same day, this man was a convicted drug dealer and murderer. He
had killed a man in a drug deal gone wrong and been sent to prison. When I knew
him as a member of my church he was one of the most faithful, loving men I ever
had as a pastor. Never missed a service and would do anything that was needed
at the church.
What changed him and what changed those others so they could
escape a return to prison? They were spared by the grace of God and all the
world should stand up in wonder and praise because only God can change a person
so completely and finally as that. Never underestimate what God can do through
grace. And never underestimate the power of others seeing what God can do
through you and your own experience of grace.
1 The Revelation of
Jesus Christ, which God gave unto him, to shew unto his servants things which
must shortly come to pass; and he sent and signified it by his angel unto his
servant John: 2Who bare record of the
word of God, and of the testimony of Jesus Christ, and of all things that he
(The Book of Revelation is the revelation, the revealing of
Jesus Christ. It is not about revealing the future but it is about revealing
the One who knows and directs the future. The Bible is His Story not just history
and Revelation is about the coming King the future is merely the setting. )
3 ¶Blessed is he that readeth, and they that
hear the words of this prophecy, and keep those things which are written
therein: for the time is at hand.
(We must ask ourselves how this statement was true in John's
day and still true in ours. How can the time be at hand? The answer is not in
the passing of years but in the passing of events. After the resurrection of
Jesus andHis return all events have
been fulfilled. The stop watch of God's prophecy, stopped at his death and
resurrection can be restarted at anytime. It is as if we were all poised
waiting only for God to say it is time, but all events foretold in Daniel 9
that preceded the final week are finished.)
Christ Gives Himself to Us
4John to the seven
churches which are in Asia: Grace be unto you, and peace, from him which is,
and which was, and which is to come; and from the seven Spirits which are
before his throne; 5 And from Jesus Christ, who is the faithful witness, and
the first begotten of the dead, and the prince of the kings of the earth.
Notice the Titles given to Jesus:
from him which is, and which was, and which is to come; (Eternity)
Jesus Christ, (Salvation of God, Messiah)
the faithful witness,
the first begotten of the dead, (the first of the
the prince of the kings of the earth (the foremost, the
ruler of all the kings of the earth)
John’s Prayer and Testimony of Christ 5b-7
5bUnto him that
loved us, and washed us from our sins in his own blood, 6And hath made us kings and priests unto God
and his Father; to him be glory and dominion for ever and ever. Amen. 7 Behold,
he cometh with clouds; and every eye shall see him, and they also which pierced
him: and all kindreds of the earth shall wail because of him. Even so, Amen.
Christ's Testimony of Himself
8I am Alpha and
Omega, the beginning and the ending, saith the Lord, which is, and which was,
and which is to come, the Almighty.
(Here Jesus in no uncertain terms lays claim to His true
nature as God the Son, eternal and omnipotent, very God of very God.)
Christ Commissions Us
9 I John, who also
am your brother, and companion in tribulation, and in the kingdom and patience
of Jesus Christ, was in the isle that is called Patmos, for the word of God,
and for the testimony of Jesus Christ. 10I was in the Spirit on the Lord’s day, and heard behind me a great
voice, as of a trumpet, 11Saying, I am
Alpha and Omega, the first and the last: and, What thou seest, write in a book,
and send it unto the seven churches which are in Asia; unto Ephesus, and unto
Smyrna, and unto Pergamos, and unto Thyatira, and unto Sardis, and unto
Philadelphia, and unto Laodicea.
John identifies himself, the location, the time and even the
fact that he was worshipping on the Lord's Day which was Sunday the day Jesus
was resurrected from the tomb. All of this shows that John wanted to establish
the veracity of his vision.
John’s commission, “write what you see and publish it”, can
be applied to us. What you see, what you know is true, remember and tell
Acts 1:8 But ye shall receive power, after that the Holy
Ghost is come upon you: and ye shall be witnesses unto me both in Jerusalem,
and in all Judaea, and in Samaria, and unto the uttermost part of the earth.
Christ Stands With Us
12And I turned to
see the voice that spake with me. And being turned, I saw seven golden
candlesticks; 13And in the midst of the
seven candlesticks one like unto the Son of man, clothed with a garment down to
the foot, and girt about the paps with a golden girdle. 14His head and his hairs were white like wool,
as white as snow; and his eyes were as a flame of fire; 15And his feet like unto fine brass, as if they
burned in a furnace; and his voice as the sound of many waters. 16And he had in his right hand seven stars: and
out of his mouth went a sharp twoedged sword: and his countenance was as the
sun shineth in his strength.
(Candles didn't exist in John's day we would better see them
as oil lamps.)
1) Why is Jesus in the midst of the lampstands?
Jesus stands in the midst of the lamp stands, symbolizing His
stand with us, His churches.
2) What does his appearance suggest to you?
His garment and hair are white which represents sinlessness
and purity in the Bible.
His eyes life flame, his feet like brass just taken from the
furnace, a sword coming from his mouth all suggest terrible, judgment and
His countenance like the sun shining in its strength
suggests glory, righteousness and power.
3)What are the seven stars and why are they in his hands?
The seven stars are the angels of the seven churches which
are represented by the seven lamp stands.
4) What is the significance of the number seven?)
Seven throughout scripture represents completeness,
maturity, perfection, examples 7 days in week, 70 weeks.
5) Who or what are the angels of the seven churches?
The word angel in the original Bible language of Greek
simply means "messenger" and so you must draw a conclusion about
their exact identity. Does each church have an heavenly messenger in its midst
or is Jesus talking about holding the pastors of those churches in his hands?
Personally, I believe it is pastors, but many others think heavenly angels and
the Bible certainly has references to angels being in churches.
Christ Consoles and Inspires Us 17-20
17And when I saw
him, I fell at his feet as dead. And he laid his right hand upon me, saying
unto me, Fear not; I am the first and the last: 18I am he that liveth, and was dead; and,
behold, I am alive for evermore, Amen; and have the keys of hell and of death.
19Write the things which thou hast
seen, and the things which are, and the things which shall be hereafter; 20 The
mystery of the seven stars which thou sawest in my right hand, and the seven
golden candlesticks. The seven stars are the angels of the seven churches: and
the seven candlesticks which thou sawest are the seven churches.
Applying John’s Vision Today
He still reveals Himself to us
He continues to give Himself to us
He daily bears witness of Himself to Us
He reminds us that He has commissioned us
He will always stand with us
He consoles and inspires us when we need Him most
Perhaps we as God’s people for this day and this age need
what John needed as he struggled, alone and deserted on the barren island. We
still need to see Jesus.
Jesus, risen and coming again.
Jesus, white in sinless perfection and purity.
Jesus, flaming in judgment against sin.
Jesus ,bright as the sun its strength, showing His glory and
overcoming the deepest darkness.
Don’t skip the first chapter of Revelation, it may be the
most needed chapter in the entire book for us right now, in our darkness and