A New HopeBro. David Chancellor
11/26/2000 6:00 PM
Malachi was speaking of the coming of Christ. John the Baptist was to prepare the way, to let the people know that Christ was coming. The Jews didn't like Christ saying he was God. Here the prophet indicates that the Messiah was to be the Son of God. The Jews looked forward to his coming. They had more delight in the thought of his coming than in the reality of his presence. The Jews still have a delight in hoping for a Messiah. Do we find delight in the Lord himself, or in just thinking about him? Kids anticipate the holidays, but often the anticipation is greater than the event. People have similar thoughts about the end of time. Are we really looking for Jesus in the second coming? The challenge in Christ's presence was that he was going to change things. Christ was coming to make a change in them as people. Today there is being taught a hope and expectation of what's ahead rather than Jesus as a purifier.
The hypocrite is here described; one that claimed God but didn't know him. Now is the time when we can call upon God. Prayer is more than an intellectual exercise. It is getting to know God himself. There is a humility that must work. There must be a purifying to come before God and enjoy his presence. We can come to know God, here and now.
He wanted them to know the Savior they had been looking for had come. The rulers at Jerusalem took great delight in looking for the Messiah and then, they missed it. They had a false expectation. They were looking for one who would rule in a palace as a king. We want to look forward to what God has said, not what man can turn it into. Much of what the religious world today is hoping for is based upon false hopes dredged up from years ago. We can enjoy the presence of Christ today, yet man would place it out somewhere in the future. God did what he said he would do - raise up a Savior. While he was working to bring it to pass - he was pointing to the reality - a changed life, a pure and holy life.
The Lord has his way. The Lord is able to work however he chooses to work. In ourselves we can't stand before the presence of God. "The Lord is good, a strong hold in the day of trouble; and he knoweth them that trust in him..." God can help us in the world like it is. We can delight in him as a stronghold. It doesn't have to be a "someday" day, but NOW we can walk with him. He invites all mankind to come to him to find soul-help and be purified.
1 Peter 1:3-9
We have a new hope - not the hope of a coming Messiah. We enjoy the blessing of a present Messiah and an inheritance in heaven. We look forward to heaven because we enjoy God's holiness and presence now and will even more so then. We are enjoying now what we will enjoy then. We have his Spirit to dwell in our heart. We don't see him, but we can still rejoice with joy unspeakable and full of glory. We couldn't abide his presence until God did the purifying work and now we enjoy it, and hope for the fullness of his presence in heaven. His presence is much greater than the idea of his coming. We don't want to settle for less when we can enjoy the presence of Christ.