The Gospel in Malachi

Where is the Gospel in Malachi?

We’ve come to a place by looking at the Minor Prophets that we’ve seen the ultimate remedy for our sin and human condition is not our external repentance and obedience, but the Lord’s coming to his temple, as Malachi says.

Our own righteousness, our own efforts, our own remedies cannot stand the day of the Lord.

We need the righteousness of another, if we are going to stand on that day— which is precisely what God gives us in the gospel. The Good News comes into the midst of our bad news, and says look, don’t worry, take the burden off yourself (Duguid).

God’s people in the Old Testament we’ve read of through this series, God’s people today, you and me, us, humans, there is no

realisation of the depth of God’s love for us, 

reponse, 

honour, 

faithfulness, 

hope, 

obedience, 

fear.


What is the remedy for this?


What is the remedy for the human condition that we all have?

All throughout the Minor Prophets we have been looking at how they point to the character, the qualities, the truth of Jesus, and they all build towards Him being the remedy for the human condition.

IMG_1817

It all crescendos to Jesus being the remedy that we need.

It might seem too simple…it is, believe and receive.

We need to acknowledge that we need a Saviour, we need to acknowledge that we have a problem before we jump into the finer points of our faith. 

It’s no use dealing with the superstructure if the foundation is not right, I read this week, and our foundation has to be that we are sinners in need of remedy that we cannot provide for ourselves.

D.Martin Lloyd-Jones said

“We go astray because we are not truly convicted of our sin.”

Many not yet believers are not yet believers because they don’t see the need for it, they don’t think they need a remedy, they think they can achieve all of this by themselves, many of the Old Testament persuasion and other works-related worldviews would say that righteousness is attained by keeping laws and doing things, but that twists the very purpose of the law – to show us that we need more, we need more than law, the law highlights that we are sinful and we need a remedy to this.

Let us use the law, the Old Testament, the Prophets, the Minor Prophets to see that we are all together in our human condition, that all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, and that all are in need of a Divine, Sovereign, Redemptive, Restorative Remedy.

Jesus is that remedy.

He addresses everything that makes us human, and do you know what, He takes that just as it is, He loves you and accepts you just as you are, right now, but then works in and with you to remedy everything that is broken, everything that is lacking, everything that is missing, and slowly, day by day, from the inside out, turns you into the person you were made to be, made in the image of God, being transformed into His likeness until the day you see Him face to face and live in His presence for eternity. 

What a remedy.

Malachi.009

The Gospel in Zechariah – pt.2

Where is the Gospel in Zechariah 9-14?

Well, simply, we see that

  • Jesus comes
  • Jesus dies and is resurrected
  • Jesus sends the Holy Spirit
  • The Spirit turns all nations to Him

What is common in all of that – Jesus.

What is missing in all of that – us.

Where are we, and where is He?

Zechariah helps us to see that we are not all that much needed in the process, helps us to see our position relative to Jesus. 

He had the 9 visions of chapters 1-8 and all of them, we said last week, can be traced back to the purification on offer through the shed blood of Jesus and the faith therein. 

This week, His first coming, His second coming, His rule, His reign, His peace, His Spirit, His salvation, His vindication…not ours. 

If we were looking at the Minor Prophets and looking for good moral lessons, then Zechariah would have us coming up short. You know, things like, you put your sin in a basket and have it flown away. You ride on your donkey and bring your peace.

That’s not what it’s about, is it. 

Since we have such a hope, (in the glory of the ministry of the Holy Spirit and how much better this will be than law written on tablets), we are very bold, 13 not like Moses, who would put a veil over his face so that the Israelites might not gaze at the outcome of what was being brought to an end. 14 But their minds were hardened. For to this day, when they read the old covenant, that same veil remains unlifted, because only through Christ is it taken away. 15 Yes, to this day whenever Moses is read a veil lies over their hearts. 16 But when one turns to the Lord, the veil is removed. 17 Now the Lord is the Spirit, and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom. 18 And we all, with unveiled face, beholding the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from one degree of glory to another. For this comes from the Lord who is the Spirit.

2 Corinthians 3.12-18   

Zechariah, then, helps us to behold, helps us to see all that Jesus has done, and all that Jesus will do.

Not us, Him. 

Where are we, and where is He?

That’s the message of Zechariah, and as we read it and hear it, the reaction will be as one commentator put it, that our hearts will again stand in awe of what God has done for us in Jesus Christ, the Crowned Priest, the Slaughtered, and Resurrected King.

The Gospel in Zechariah – pt.1

Where is the Gospel in Zechariah?

The book is filled with visions and imagery that can get us lost in the details, but the explaining angel keeps pointing us to the coming of “the Branch” (3.8; 6.12)

This Branch will purify his people and remove their sin in one day.

Zechariah 3.9

I will remove the iniquity of this land in a single day


Jesus, the Branch, came to remove the consequence of your sin.


Maybe you don’t feel very pure right now, maybe you’re discouraged too, maybe you don’t see much purification happening in your life right now.

Zechariah was, at the time, writing to people who were discouraged by living, after the exile, in a “day of small things” (4.10), when there seemed to be little progress toward the glorious future promised in the earlier prophets, and maybe that is you, but God says

10 For whoever has despised the day of small things shall rejoice, and shall see the plumb line in the hand of Zerubbabel.

So, if you are discouraged and feeling impure, stick with it, God always finishes the work He starts, He who started a good work in you will bring it to completion, and if it feels slow, don’t worry, we will rejoice, we will see the presence of God in the person of the Word of God, this great King and High Priest, the greater and ultimate Zerubbabel. God promises that this is a whole life change for people from all nations. 

That is you and me, that is us, I will bring them to dwell in the midst of Jerusalem. And they shall be my people, and I will be their God, in faithfulness and in righteousness (8.7-8), that is us.


But, how are we able to live with God despite our sinful selves?

The purification on offer to us through the shed blood of Jesus.


Alone, we will never attain that level of righteousness, try as we might, we can never work our way to God’s level of holiness, we can never be as pure as we need to be to be in the presence of God.

But, thanks be to God who sent Jesus, the Word become flesh, God in the flesh, to be the Branch, to stand in the gap, to live that perfectly pure life and to die that perfectly pure sacrificial death and to be the first fruits of the resurrection, so that those of us who believe in and on Him, who believe that God raised Him from the dead, can be viewed as pure and right and good enough by God, and we can be in right relationship with God, through what He did. 

Zechariah points forward to a time when this would be available to the people, they looked forward in expectant hope.

For us, the time is now.

The Gospel in Haggai

Where is the Gospel in Haggai?

We see it in two places – Zerubbabel and the temple.

Zerubbabel, mentioned in the final passage of chapter two (2.20-23), was the faithful descendant of David who lead the people in restoring the temple was one of the ancestors of Christ (Matthew. 1.12, Luke 3.27) and foreshadowed Jesus’ faithful zeal to build God’s house (Duguid).

John 2:17 says of Jesus,

“Zeal for your house will consume me.”

God’s kingdom will be established through a great servant who has a great zeal for the work of God.

Haggai closes with a special word to Zerubbabel (2.23).

23 On that day, declares the LORD of hosts, I will take you, O Zerubbabel my servant, the son of Shealtiel, declares the LORD, and make you like a signet ring, for I have chosen you, declares the LORD of hosts.”

Let’s read that again and think Jesus…

23 On that day, declares the LORD of hosts, I will take you, Jesus my servant, my son, declares the LORD, and make you like a signet ring, for I have chosen you, declares the LORD of hosts.”

So even in this small obscure work hidden amid the minor prophets, we see that Haggai points us to the coming of Jesus Christ. He is the greater Zerubbabel, God’s chosen servant and signet ring. 

The other key to applying the book in a gospel-centered way is to see that the temple, like the tabernacle before it, was the visible symbol of God‘s presence. It was the road where God and man met. It was a mini-Eden. The tabernacle, we see in Exodus, was built to the exact specifications that God supplied. With the temples His involvement is not so prominent, sadly, and we start to see that temples are but a preview of a time when God and man would dwell together again, minus all the layers of separation; outer courtyards, holy places, the most holy place (Challies).

The tabernacle looked back to Eden, God and man dwelling together in each other’s presence, and the temple too looked back to Eden, the place where heaven and earth meet, the place where the presence of God lived with His people.

They both also look ahead to God’s Messiah, the Christ, the annointed One, the One in whom the Word became flesh and “tabernacled”. John 1.14 says,

14 καὶ ὁ λόγος σὰρξ ἐγένετο, καὶ ἐσκήνωσεν ἐν ἡμῖν

And the Word became flesh and pitched a tent among us. 

And the Word became flesh and tabernacled among us. 


Jesus is the true tabernacle.


The message of this book for us is not REALLY about restoring a building in Jerusalem, or about constructing a contemporary building. Haggai is all about the ongoing work of building up the people of God, the church, the body of Christ, through the presence of God available to us in Jesus.

And I saw no temple in the city, for its temple is the Lord God the Almighty and the Lamb. 

Revelation 21.22

His presence is our temple, we can commune and communicate with Him directly and personally and this was always the plan. Right back from Genesis we see that this was always the plan, but the whole narrative of the Bible shows us that we as people didn’t realise what a massive privilege that was, and how good we had it, so we had to experience rejection to appreciate the welcome, we had to experience trials and tribulation to experience the peace, we had to experience life without the presence to appreciate life with the presence.

It was always God’s plan to dwell with His people, the tabernacle, the moveable temple tent, the temple in Jerusalem, these are previews, types, shadows of the real substance that is God’s presence dwelling with us.

Jesus came to demonstrate this, Jesus brought it to earth as God in human form, and when He comes again, physically, bodily, He will establish His reign on earth and He will take His rightful place as the desire of all nations…is He your desire today?

The Gospel in Nahum

Where is the Gospel in Nahum?

In chapter 1 we see redemption, we see a time when there is – 

An end to God’s discipline in 1.12

Though I have afflicted you,

I will afflict you no more.

No more oppression in 1.13

And now I will break his yoke from off you

and will burst your bonds apart.”

and promises of Good News and peace in 1.15

Behold, upon the mountains, the feet of him

who brings good news,

who publishes peace!

Michael J. Glodo, Theology Professor said this,

“as God’s excellencies are proclaimed in judgment (Nah. 1:2–7), the repentant hear and receive grace.”

Part of that grace is the redemption that comes too. The coming Good News and peace will redeem us from every bond, yoke, chain, and oppression that the world, the flesh, and the devil will try to get us with.

In His death and resurrection, Jesus brings an end to empires and puts to shame the powers who oppress. 

He who sits in the heavens laughs;

the Lord holds them in derision.

5 Then he will speak to them in his wrath,

and terrify them in his fury, saying,

6 “As for me, I have set my King

on Zion, my holy hill.”

Psalm 2.4  

He disarmed the rulers and authorities and put them to open shame, by triumphing over them in him.

Colossians 2.15

Ultimately, the message of Nahum shows the cup of God’s wrath that those who oppose Him will eventually have to drink, and, we’ve said this before, that as believers in Jesus, our future judgement has already been taken care of in the past. He drunk it for us.

If Jesus had not taken our place, the message of Nineveh here would be the message for you and for me. 

Without faith in Jesus, the message of Nineveh would be the message for you and for me. 

Without faith in Jesus, God is not for us, and if God is not for us, we see what happens, but, He is a God of steadfast mercy and love, slow to anger, desiring that none may perish, so we have examples to look back on, to adjust our lives now in light of, and with faith in Jesus God is for us.

Reading Nahum, we see the judgment that comes upon the wicked, and undeserved grace and redemption that is on offer to believers.

God has redeemed us from the consequences of our sins, and in the person and work of Jesus God struck that balance between wrath and love. 

If we wait until the final judgement, if we go it alone, if we think we don’t need a Saviour, we will face it alone. 

If we are in Christ, He faced the judgement for us. 

He redeemed us, redemption is on offer.

Take the burden off yourselves, now and ultimately, 

Jesus said  

Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.”

Matthew 11.28-30

The only way to escape God’s judgment is to repent of your sins and believe in your heart and confess with your mouth that Jesus Christ is Lord and Savior, believe in what He did, believe in what He does, believe in what He will do again, believe in what He says, believe in who He is, simply, believe in and on Him.

Come to Him, redemption is in Him. That is the Gospel in Nahum.

The Gospel in Micah

In Micah’s day, both Israel and Judah, deserved God’s judgment for their oppression, idolatry, and corruption. 

They lived out this wickedness right alongside the motions of offering sacrifice, and they expected that they could cancel out the bad by doing more good.

“God deals with sinners in one of two ways: deserved justice, or undeserved grace.”

God is a righteous Judge who carries out deserved judgment, he is also a merciful Savior who gives undeserved grace and full forgiveness and restoration and a sure and steadfast hope for the future to those who believe Him and turn to him in repentance.

 The hope Micah presented was the promise of a Shepherd-King, a sacrificial Saviour who would gather his faithful remnant back in the land, tenderly care for them, and give His life for them to defeat their great enemy. 

The result would be that people from all nations and tribes and tongues would come to worship God. 

To God’s people who had suffered under a line of failed kings and oppressive foreign regimes, Micah announced coming restoration and peace.

Jesus Himself is the long-anticipated Shepherd-King who has made peace with God through “the blood of his cross” (Colossians 1.20). 

He did not come to destroy but to be destroyed, laying down his life for his sheep (John 10.15). 

He now rules over his people in perfect justice and abundant mercy, empowering his people, by his Spirit, to walk humbly in his just and merciful ways (1 John 2.6)— the very life Israel in Micah’s day had abandoned.

“God deals with sinners in one of two ways: deserved justice, or undeserved grace.”

All those who look to Christ in trusting faith experience the undeserved grace rather than deserved justice.

As believers in Jesus we can expect that God will “pass over transgression for the remnant of his inheritance” 

Micah 7:18-20    

Who is a God like you, pardoning iniquity

and passing over transgression

for the remnant of his inheritance?

He does not retain his anger forever,

because he delights in steadfast love.

19 He will again have compassion on us;

he will tread our iniquities underfoot.

You will cast all our sins

into the depths of the sea.

20 You will show faithfulness to Jacob

and steadfast love to Abraham,

as you have sworn to our fathers

from the days of old.

Our transgressions have been put upon God’s Son, His imprint in a human body, God in the flesh, Jesus Christ (Romans 3.21–26). Christ will “bear the indignation of the Lord” on our behalf (Micah 7.9). 

Though we may suffer and fall in our life’s battle with evil, we shall rise, as the prophet believed he himself would, due to the Lord’s vindication (Micah 7.8–9)—and, as indeed will all those who are united to Christ by faith (Romans 6.5). 

This is the wonder of the gospel in Micah.

 

Adapted from an excellent article written by Nancy Guthrie.

The Gospel in Hosea

Despite Gomer, Hosea’s wife, being unfaithful, Hosea is encouraged and told to go and be faithful.

In this story, we are not Hosea, the benevolent, humble, obedient servant of the Lord. We are Gomer. We have sold ourselves to the passions of the flesh. We read in  Hosea 2.5,

For their mother has played the whore;

she who conceived them has acted shamefully.

For she said, ‘I will go after my lovers,

who give me my bread and my water, my wool and my flax, my oil and my drink.’

She needed to be ransomed and redeemed out of that life, out of that way of thinking.

We needed to be ransomed and redeemed too. She was bought for for fifteen shekels of silver and a homer and a lethech of barley in 3.2.

Hosea didn’t really need to “buy” His own wife, to hire her as a prostitute. She was his wife! But as a display of love and commitment, he went the “extra mile,” beyond what was reasonable or expected from him (EnduringWord).

In doing this for his own wife, Hosea also showed her, “I can give you what the others can, I can give you what you are looking for, all those different men, you can find it all in me, everything you are looking for in your life, all the satisfactions, all the fulfillment, all the desires, you can find them all in me. You don’t need them. You need me, your faithful husband. Let me show you how I can provide for your needs.”

Are you with me here? There is more going on than a great marriage lesson, isn’t there…

Buying her out of her sinful life…buying back something that meant a lot to him.

Do you know what price was paid for us? 

1 Corinthians 6.20  tells us that we were bought with a price, and Acts 20.28  that Jesus bought back His people with His own blood.

Despite our fallen, sinful, unfaithful nature, Jesus came and He was, and He is, faithful. He purchased us. Not with silver and some food, but with His own life. 

What do we do with this?

We realize that in our own power, our repentance and our worship and our efforts at righteousness and faithfulness will never be good enough.

However, God knows this. God knows this and God did something to rectify this. 

So this week, and any day, when we find ourselves slipping inevitably into unfaithfulness, when our weekly worship doesn’t match our worshipful week, when our actions don’t match our words, we turn to the Faithful One. God knows that alone we will never do this, and God did something to address our fallen condition.

He sent the most faithful person of all time. He sent the only truly faithful person of all time; faithful in every thought, word, and deed, He sent Jesus, the faithful witness.

James Montgomery Boice said this, our prayer for today,

Remember His faithfulness and determine that hereafter you will always be faithful to Him. Ask Him to seal that love, keeping you and perfecting you until the day when you will stand before both Him and His Father at the great marriage supper of the Lamb.