The Sun of Righteous

4Scripture: Malachi 4:1-6

1 The LORD of Heaven’s Armies says, “The day of judgment is coming, burning like a furnace. On that day the arrogant and the wicked will be burned up like straw. They will be consumed—roots, branches, and all.
2 “But for you who fear my name, the Sun of Righteousness will rise with healing in his wings. And you will go free, leaping with joy like calves let out to pasture.
3 On the day when I act, you will tread upon the wicked as if they were dust under your feet,” says the LORD of Heaven’s Armies.
4 “Remember to obey the Law of Moses, my servant—all the decrees and regulations that I gave him on Mount Sinai for all Israel.
5 “Look, I am sending you the prophet Elijah before the great and dreadful day of the LORD arrives.
6 His preaching will turn the hearts of fathers to their children, and the hearts of children to their fathers. Otherwise I will come and strike the land with a curse.”

INTRODUCTION

Would you be shocked if I told you this passage is about Jesus who is the Sun of Righteousness or Son of Righteousness if you prefer: doesn’t matter to me because He is both and all. Obviously, this passage is about JUDGMENT. Most of us do not see judgment as a good thing but where there is judgment, there is salvation and there is no salvation without judgment.


In the days of Noah, the world was so depraved that it was on a course of self-destruction: God intervened and sent the flood. Thousands perished but Noah and family were saved from a world that would have eventually destroyed them. Sometimes we forget that the CROSS was a judgment, a judgment on sin. Sin was destroying us and Jesus came to save us from our sin. He did so by becoming sin for us and suffering the penalty of death. God judged sin at Calvary. He executed it, gave it the death penalty. There would be no salvation for anyone had not that judgment taken place.

In light of this truth, I wish to share three points:

I. A JUDGMENT TO AWAITING

Malachi is dealing with a group of Jews who are disrespecting God and accusing Him of being unjust. These Jews said horrible things about God ….

  • It is vain to serve God
  • There is no profit in keeping God’s commandments
  • Does no good to mourn, prayer or fast
  • God blesses the arrogant and the wicked
  • They tempt God and get by with it

Malachi’s message is clear: Yes, they may tempt God but they will not get by with it. The fact that they have not been judged does not mean that they will not be judged. Their judgment is coming, it is still in the future. Judgement is both a process and a event. We believers are suffering some judgment now in the present but there is coming a future judgment day when all unbelievers will be judged.

Malachi’s point is that the wicked have gotten by with nothing; a judgment is awaiting them. “The day of judgment is coming, burning like a furnace. On that day the arrogant and the wicked will be burned up like straw. They will be consumed—roots, branches, and all.

Here Malachi tells us four things about this coming Judgment

  1. It is a coming DAY [v.1] It is on the calendar. I cannot tell you when it is but God knows, the DAY has been determined. You know that if God gave us enough sense to sit down and plan out our lives by using a calendar that He can do the same. We just do not have access to HIS calendar.
  2. It is a Judgment DAY [v.1,3] Malachi uses two metaphors to describe those who will be judged. They will be like straw and dust. Malachi said JUDGMENT will be like a furnace or oven [probably referring to the little clay ovens that the Jews used]. He said the wicked would be like straw. The Jews used straw for fuel in their little clay ovens. Straw makes a quick fire with an intense heat: it burns quickly and leaves no residue. You don’t have to worry about ashes when straw is the fuel because STRAW has no substance. Likewise, those who have lived for this world have no substance: they will be consumed quickly and nothing will be left. In other words, they will lose everything. People who lived for money and power will lose all. Money is straw in the spiritual realm, it has no substance. Yet we have folks building a kingdom of straw. You would be better served to do an act of kindness for your neighbors each day. At least that will not burn up on Judgment day. Prayer, praise and proclaiming the word has eternal significance but money has none. What a sad commentary. Jesus said, “What does it profit a man if he gains the whole world and loses his own soul.” In spite of His advice, people keep pushing shoving, grabbing and getting, hoarding and hiding and it is all for nothing. Everything in their life will go up in flames and be gone in a moment. The second metaphor Malachi used was dust. Dust and straw have something in common: neither have substance and neither will stand in the day of judgment. If you have the idea that Judgment is going to be a big fight, think again. Straw and dust have to little substance to resist.
  3. It is a Great DAY [v.5] It will be a great DAY just by sheer numbers. Billions will be there. Entire Nations will be there. Every kindred, every tribe. It will be unlike anything we have ever seen or imagined. I was impressed with the crowd at the Atlanta baseball game the other night and that crowd will be a drop in the bucket.
  4. It is a dreadful DAY [v.5]

II. A SALVATION TO ACCEPT

[v.2] “But for you who fear my name, the Sun of Righteousness will rise with healing in his wings. And you will go free, leaping with joy like calves let out to pasture.

For those who do not fear the LORD, judgment will be a horrible thing but for those that fear God, there is an escape. Just as Noah and family were spared by taking refuge in the ARK, those who repent of their sins and take refuge in Christ will be saved from the coming Judgment. The sun is the main source of life on planet earth. We cannot live without the sun. We are absolutely dependent on the sun. But the same sun that gives life can take it. Too much sun can cause death. The sun can both harm and heal. Jesus can Judge us or Save us.

There is a ceremony of purification found in Leviticus 14, it has to do with being healed of a skin disease. The priest takes two birds, one is killed and bleed into a bowl, then he takes the live bird and dips its wings into the blood of the first bird, he then releases the bird to fly heavenward, rising with healing in his wings. Many think this is a picture of the ascension of Christ.

If you repent and accept Christ as your savior, it will be the best decision you will ever make; if you reject Him, it will be the worse.

  • Accept Christ and your sins are paid for–reject Him and you will pay
  • Accept Christ and be blessed–reject Him and you will be cursed
  • Accept Christ and be saved–reject Him and you will be condemned
  • Accept Christ and you have a home in heaven–reject Him and you spend eternity in hell.

III. A CURSE TO AVOID

“Remember to obey the Law of Moses, my servant—all the decrees and regulations that I gave him on Mount Sinai for all Israel.
5 “Look, I am sending you the prophet Elijah before the great and dreadful day of the LORD arrives.
6 His preaching will turn the hearts of fathers to their children, and the hearts of children to their fathers. Otherwise I will come and strike the land with a curse.”
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