The Present that's Worth Waiting for

Speaker: M.Noorhoff

In our last sermon we talked about the great and sacred romance, the love God has for us is so beyond anything we can imagine and the lengths he went to show His love. The length He we to bring his beloved bride into the circle of His love.

The Lord over all the universe gave up everything for the love of His creation He is the king who clothed himself as a beggar to win the love of a plain village girl. He lowered himself to love her. He bridged the gap. He can done so that one day we may go up.

Yes this is the Christmas message.

For God so loved the world that he sent his one and only son. He gave his one and only son so that those who believed may be saved.

His plan starts in Genesis, His romance and the great reconciliation starts from the fall.

Today as we approach Christmas, we are going to look at Malachi, The last book of the old testament. The last word to hold on to as the Hebrews wait 400+ years for the Messiah to come.

Malachi is the latest Old Testament prophet. Haggai and Zechariah preached during the rebuilding of the temple in Jerusalem after the Babylonian exile. In Malachi the temple is finished and the worship there has already become wearisome to the people (1:13). The situation of divorce and intermarriage with unbelievers (2:10,11), the withholding of tithes (3:8) and the oppression of the poor (3:5) -- all these are like the situation in Nehemiah's time (13:1-3; 23f; 10:32-39; 5:1-5). So the probable date for Malachi is around 450 B.C.

There are some significant similarities between Malachi's day and our own. It was a day of waiting for God to fulfill his promises. Haggai had said that the latter splendor of the temple would be greater than the former, and that treasures from all the nations would fill it. Take courage, you build more than you see! (Hab. 2:4-9). Zechariah had said that their king would come to them (9:9), a new fountain of forgiveness would be opened (13:1), a spirit of prayer would descend on the people for repentance (12:10-14), many nations would join the Lord, and God would be in their midst (2:11). Now the temple is finished, time has passed. Some of the great men and women of faith who gave their all to rebuild the temple are dead and gone, and the Lord has not come to his temple. The hope that fires a people to be pure and take risks and venture great things with God is fading. Just like today, it was not easy to press on with lively expectant faith when the Lord's coming delays year after year.

The great temptation for Israel in the Old Testament and for the church of Christ today is to forget that we are pilgrims not natives in this world. The temptation is to let the Lord's delay make us settle into the world and become passive as we wait; to forget that we are aliens and exiles, sojourners, strangers on the earth, seeking another homeland, desiring and yearning for a better country (Heb. 11:13-16). The great threat to the church in Japan, America or most countries today is not that we are persecuted and homeless and driven about like refugees(though there are still many such countries that we must pray for) ; but that we are so much at home here. We have let the Lord's delay put us to sleep: no sense of urgency, no earnest expectation, no heart-wrenching cry: "Come, Lord Jesus!," no passionate mission strategy to penetrate the unevangelized peoples who must be reached before he comes. And inevitably, when the urgent zeal for the name of God fades, so does the moral power to be pure. And where there was once Master-God there returns master-mammon and master-sex. So it was in Malachi's day and so it is today.

But we don't want it to be that way. God has touched so many of us recently to make us long for freedom and power in the Spirit. Many of us need to praying in the secret of your closet:

"God forgive us for our complacency toward the lost, forgive us for the smallness of our vision, forgive us for the weakness of our spiritual lives. Move, O God, touch us with light and fire! Tune our hearts to sing your praise! Let us know the thrill of dying to ourselves and living unto righteousness. Let us know the soaring of soul that comes with decreasing that Christ might increase. Give us such an encounter with the living Lord that every doubt is banished and joyful confidence and unabashed boldness drive us into mission at work and around the world."

 I believe that more and more of us need to cry out to God like that. And we need help as we move toward this breakthrough at Bethlehem.


"But you, Bethlehem Ephrathah, though you are small among the clans of Judah, out of you will come for me one who will be ruler over Israel, whose origins are from of old, from ancient times."

3  Therefore Israel will be abandoned until the time when she who is in labor gives birth and the rest of his brothers return to join the Israelites.

4  He will stand and shepherd his flock in the strength of the LORD, in the majesty of the name of the LORD his God. And they will live securely, for then his greatness will reach to the ends of the earth.

5  And he will be their peace.

Bethlehem the birthplace of Jesus

But what is Bethlehem to us as Christians today. What else is Malachi speaking of today. For us who taken up the cross for we the faithful we are to prepare ourselves for the return of the Savior. We are the priesthood that Malachi speaks of.

1Peter 2:9

We are the ones who have become lazy in our faith We are the ones who no longer give our best for God. We sacrifice with empty hearts. We have said harsh things against him, cursed him. We are the ones who have robbed him.

We are the ones to be purified and this is the time of purification. The purification of water and fire

As John says in Matthew 3:11 - 12

"I baptize you with water for repentance. But after me will come one who is more powerful than I, whose sandals I am not fit to carry. He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and with fire.

His winnowing fork is in his hand, and he will clear his threshing floor, gathering his wheat into the barn and burning up the chaff with unquenchable fire."

Malachi 4:1

 "Surely the day is coming; it will burn like a furnace. All the arrogant and every evildoer will be stubble, and that day that is coming will set them on fire," says the LORD Almighty. "Not a root or a branch will be left to them.

Christmas is a time which we should not just celebrate the past but also the future, We are thankful for his incarnation and we hope for his return we hope just as the Hebrews did in the time of Malachi

But we must return to His will and His ways. We must follow the laws of Moses but more than this we must follow the words of Christ

Love the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength. And we must love are neighbor as ourselves.

Matthew 24 and 25

36  "No one knows about that day or hour, not even the angels in heaven, nor the Son, but only the Father.

37  As it was in the days of Noah, so it will be at the coming of the Son of Man.

38  For in the days before the flood, people were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage, up to the day Noah entered the ark;

39  and they knew nothing about what would happen until the flood came and took them all away. That is how it will be at the coming of the Son of Man.

40  Two men will be in the field; one will be taken and the other left.

41  Two women will be grinding with a hand mill; one will be taken and the other left.

42  "Therefore keep watch, because you do not know on what day your Lord will come.

43  But understand this: If the owner of the house had known at what time of night the thief was coming, he would have kept watch and would not have let his house be broken into.

44  So you also must be ready, because the Son of Man will come at an hour when you do not expect him.

45  "Who then is the faithful and wise servant, whom the master has put in charge of the servants in his household to give them their food at the proper time?

46  It will be good for that servant whose master finds him doing so when he returns.

47  I tell you the truth, he will put him in charge of all his possessions.

48  But suppose that servant is wicked and says to himself, 'My master is staying away a long time,'

49  and he then begins to beat his fellow servants and to eat and drink with drunkards.

50  The master of that servant will come on a day when he does not expect him and at an hour he is not aware of.

51  He will cut him to pieces and assign him a place with the hypocrites, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.

Notice how a lot of this passage seems to reflect the words of Malachi

The wait is long but so is the wait for many young children as they wait for the sun to rise on Christmas morning and rush to their stocking and the Christmas tree. My brothers and I practically slept at the top of the stair in anticipation And this is the same feeling we are to have as we wait for His return.

25:1  "At that time the kingdom of heaven will be like ten virgins who took their lamps and went out to meet the bridegroom.

2  Five of them were foolish and five were wise.

3  The foolish ones took their lamps but did not take any oil with them.

4  The wise, however, took oil in jars along with their lamps.

5  The bridegroom was a long time in coming, and they all became drowsy and fell asleep.

6  "At midnight the cry rang out: 'Here's the bridegroom! Come out to meet him!'

7  "Then all the virgins woke up and trimmed their lamps.

8  The foolish ones said to the wise, 'Give us some of your oil; our lamps are going out.'

9  "'No,' they replied, 'there may not be enough for both us and you. Instead, go to those who sell oil and buy some for yourselves.'

10  "But while they were on their way to buy the oil, the bridegroom arrived. The virgins who were ready went in with him to the wedding banquet. And the door was shut.

11  "Later the others also came. 'Sir! Sir!' they said. 'Open the door for us!'

12  "But he replied, 'I tell you the truth, I don't know you.'

13  "Therefore keep watch, because you do not know the day or the hour.

The Romance continues

12  Before a girl's turn came to go in to King Xerxes, she had to complete twelve months of beauty treatments prescribed for the women, six months with oil of myrrh and six with perfumes and cosmetics.

13  And this is how she would go to the king: Anything she wanted was given her to take with her from the harem to the king's palace.

14  In the evening she would go there and in the morning return to another part of the harem to the care of Shaashgaz, the king's eunuch who was in charge of the concubines. She would not return to the king unless he was pleased with her and summoned her by name.

Just like Esther we are being prepared for our kings. Keep watch For the sun of Righteousnes, the Son of God, the son of Man is coming to gather us and rule over the world