Sermon Prepared by James McCullen
Email Preach Him with Dr. Jim

When the Lord Returns
Mal 4:1-6


 
 

1. It Will be a Time of . . Retribution. v 1

1 "For behold, the day is coming, Burning like an oven, And all the proud, yes, all who do wickedly will be stubble. And the day which is coming shall burn them up,"Says the LORD of hosts,"That will leave them neither root nor branch.

A. The . . Punishment of this Retribution. v 1a
        "For behold, the day is coming, Burning like an oven,. . . "

Matt 25:41 Then He will also say to those on the left hand, 'Depart from Me, you cursed, into the everlasting fire prepared for the devil and his angels: NKJV

Mark 9:43 If your hand causes you to sin, cut it off. It is better for you to enter into life maimed, rather than having two hands, to go to hell, into the fire that shall never be quenched­ NKJV

Jude 7 as Sodom and Gomorrah, and the cities around them in a similar manner to these, having given themselves over to sexual immorality and gone after strange flesh, are set forth as an example, suffering the vengeance of eternal fire. NKJV
 

B. The . . People of this Retribution. v 1b
        ". . . And all the proud, yes, all who do wickedly will be stubble.

C. The . . Pronouncement of this Retribution. v 1c
        ". . . And the day which is coming shall burn them up,"Says the LORD of hosts,. . . "

D. The . . Permanence of this Retribution. v 1d
        ". . . That will leave them neither root nor branch."

Illustration
On his birthday, a very wealthy man in London called his servants together to give them some presents. He had a Bible and some twenty-dollar notes. The servants were to make a choice between the Bible and the notes.

First came the gardener, who said, "I would like to have the Bible, but my wife is very sick and I need the money. I will take the note."

The cook said, "I can't read, so the Bible would not do me any good. Give me the money."

The coachman said, "I would appreciate having the Bible, but I have some pressing obligations. I believe the money will help me more."

Finally the errand boy came for his gift. The old gentleman asked, "Son, which will you take?" The boy replied, "I really need the money, but my mother, who has gone to heaven, used to read to me from the Bible. I will take that"

The old gentleman was very much pleased with this choice. As he handed the good Book to the boy, he said, "God bless you, my son, for your wise choice. I present this Book to you with all it contains." All the servants were still sitting in the presence of their master. The boy slowly opened the pages of the Book. A shining twenty dollar gold piece dropped out This the boy picked up and handed to the donor of the Book.

"No," said the old man, "did I not give you the Book with all that it contained?" The boy continued to turn the pages, and all along through the Book he found large bank notes. When these were counted, they proved to be quite a fortune. The other servants sat back, quite abashed in the presence of the boy whose' choice had meant more than he had known.

So it is when one chooses Christ. If we are true, it means salvation, peace and happiness in this world and a mansion in the better world through all eternity. By William Moses Tidwell, "Effective Illustrations."
 

Application

The pastor stood up to pray one morning, caught up in the reality of the Judgment Day.
"Oh Lord," he prayed, "one of these days we are going to wake up, and it's going to be DARK everywhere!" "Lord, have mercy!" cried one of the deacons loudly.

The pastor continued: "We are going to pick up the telephone and call Honolulu, and they are going to say, 'It's DARK over here!'" "Lord, help us!" cried another deacon.

"We're going to pick up the phone and call New Delhi, and they are going to say, 'It's DARK over here!'" "Be near us, Lord!" cried another deacon.

"We're going to pick up the phone and call Berlin, and they are going to say, 'It's DARK over here!'" "Lord, deliver us!" cried another deacon.

"Then we're going to pick up the phone and call Nairobi, and they are going to say, 'It's DARK over here!'" At this juncture, the church treasurer, who had also been caught up in the fervor of the pastor's prayer, cried out uncontrollably: "Lord, Lord! What a PHONE BILL!"

Our choices make the difference at Judgment Day.

Your choice make the difference in an eternity. You may chose the smoking or the non smoking section.

Fear is not the best motivation, but it is a good motivation.
 
 
 

2. It Will be a Time of . . Reward. vv 2-3
        2 But to you who fear My name The Sun of Righteousness shall arise With healing in His wings; And you shall go out And grow fat like stall-fed calves. 3 You shall trample the wicked, For they shall be ashes under the soles of your feet On the day that I do this,"Says the LORD of hosts.

A. The . . Recipients of the Reward. v 2 a
        2 But to you who fear My name The Sun of Righteousness shall arise
With healing in His wings; . . . "
 

B. The . . Richness of the Reward. v 2 b
        ". . . And you shall go out And grow fat like stall-fed calves.

Rev 21:3-5 3 And I heard a loud voice from heaven saying, "Behold, the tabernacle of God is with men, and He will dwell with them, and they shall be His people. God Himself will be with them and be their God. 4 And God will wipe away every tear from their eyes; there shall be no more death, nor sorrow,
nor crying. There shall be no more pain, for the former things have passed away." 5 Then He who sat on the throne said, "Behold, I make all things new." NKJV
 

C. The . . Ruling of the Reward. v 3
        3 You shall trample the wicked, For they shall be ashes under the soles of your feet On the day that I do this,"Says the LORD of hosts.

1 Cor 6:1-3 1 Dare any of you, having a matter against another, go to law before the unrighteous, and not before the saints? 2 Do you not know that the saints will judge the world? And if the world will be judged by you, are you unworthy to judge the smallest matters? 3 Do you not know that we shall judge angels? NKJV
 

Illustration
It is said that a certain king was troubled about the carelessness and thoughtlessness of his servants. To seek to arouse them he fell upon the following plan: He took a large stone and placed it in the middle of the road. Then he retired out of sight to watch. Soon a gentleman on his fine horse came along but turned aside with a rather critical feeling, wondering why the king did not have his roads better cared for. Several passed with the same actions and feelings. Finally a poor peasant with a heavy load came along. It was difficult to get his load back on his back when once put off, but he said to himself, "This rock may cause someone to fall and get hurt." So he put his burden aside and rolled the huge stone off the road, feeling happy. But after rolling the stone away he looked where it had been and saw a little package neatly tied up. It was under the stone. He opened it and found it contained many gold coins and a note from the king which read, "The contents of this package is for the one who was sufficiently interested to remove the stone."

Application

God promises his children rewards. The ones who will be most rewarded will be those who served without a contemplation of a reward.
 
 
 

3. It Will be a Time of . . Reality. vv 4-6
        4 "Remember the Law of Moses, My servant, Which I commanded him in Horeb for all Israel, With the statutes and judgments. 5 Behold, I will send you Elijah the prophet Before the coming of the great and dreadful day of the LORD. 6 And he will turn The hearts of the fathers to the children, And the hearts of the children to their fathers, Lest I come and strike the earth with a curse."
 

A. The Reality of God's . . Pronouncements . v 4
        4 "Remember the Law of Moses, My servant, Which I commanded him in Horeb for all Israel, With the statutes and judgments.

        1. Remember the God's Law.
            a. The Commands.
            b. The Statutes.
            c. The Judgments.

B. The Reality of God's . . Prophecies. v 5
        5 Behold, I will send you Elijah the prophet Before the coming of the great and dreadful
day of the LORD.

        1. God Promised Elijah.
            a. Most agree this referred to John the Baptist.

Luke 1:17 He will also go before Him in the spirit and power of Elijah, 'to turn the hearts of the fathers to the children,' and the disobedient to the wisdom of the just, to make ready a people prepared for the Lord." NKJV

        b. Does it refer to a Prophet in the last days?

Rev 11:3 And I will give power to my two witnesses, and they will prophesy one thousand two hundred and sixty days, clothed in sackcloth." NKJV

c. The word "day" refers to a time period.
 

C. The Reality of God's . . Preaching. v 6
        6 And he will turn The hearts of the fathers to the children, And the hearts of the children to their fathers, Lest I come and strike the earth with a curse."

        1. The Preaching that Changes Fathers. v 6 a
        2. The Preaching that Changes Children. v 6 b
        3. The Preaching that Cancels Curses. v 6 c

Illustration
When William Channing was a boy of ten years, he heard Dr. Hopkins preach a forceful sermon on the reasonableness of a future judgment. He was deeply impressed and expected his father, who was a deacon of the Congregational church, to speak to him about his soul's salvation. He did not utter a word in regard to the sermon or his danger but, on reaching home, sat down to read.

Dr. Channing says, "I made up my mind that my father did not believe one word that he had heard. He was not alarmed; why should I be? I dismissed the whole subject from my thoughts." His father's thoughtlessness drove him into the ranks of heterodoxy, and he became the champion of Unitarianism.
 

Conclusion
J. Wilbur Chapman, perhaps the finest evangelist the Presbyterian church has known, once told in a message that he had just heard of a father who came into the bedroom where his young son lay dying. The boy had been ill for so long that his body was badly wasted. It was painful for him even to lie on the bed. As the father entered, the boy said, "Daddy, lift me up for a moment." The father put his hands under the emaciated body and raised his son just a little off the bed. "Lift me higher," he said, "Daddy, lift me higher." The father lifted him up until he held him above his head. When he took him down, the boy was dead.

It would seem as if that father had actually lifted his son into the very arms of Christ. When Dr. Chapman concluded the service, a man came up to him with tears in his eyes and said, "Dr. Chapman, it happened just as you said. I went into his room. My minister was with me, I lifted him up, and his weak voice came back to me in whispers saying, "Higher, Daddy, higher." When I took him down, he had gone. But, sir, I had lifted him into the arms of Christ long before, for when he was a very small boy I taught him of a Savior's love, and told him what it means to be a Christian."