Messiah Lutheran Church :: Our Leader Promises a Great Day is Coming

Our Leader Promises a Great Day is Coming

Dear Friends in Christ,

            There are people who are happy about the election this week; there are people who are depressed.  My daughter said that a woman had traveled all the way toFort Morgan,ColoradofromDenver(a seventy mile drive) on Wednesday morning and was sobbing in front of a coffee shop.  When asked if there was something wrong, the woman replied through her tears, “I had to drive out here to be in a red county.”  She might have been a Mitt Romney follower, butColoradodid something that I find very disheartening. They approved of the recreational use of marijuana.  Now the Mexican government is thinking how they will change their drug enforcement at the border.  There won’t be one.

            There are disturbing and depressing items that came from this election that bother me as a Bible- believing Christian.  We are losing our moral compass.  Not only will “Rocky Mountain High” take on a different meaning in Colorado, but the states of Maine, Maryland and Washington now have legalized same sex marriage in their states; in Florida the referendum to stop the use of tax monies for funding abortion was defeated so Bible believing Christians taxes apparently will by law be forced to pay for abortions.  In Minnesotaa referendum to define marriage as a union between a man and a woman and include it in the state constitution was defeated.  Where are we going as a nation when more than half the people who voted have voted against Christian principles that have been in place for thousands of years and now are deemed irrelevant?  I hope that you are bothered by this all.  You should be.  Yet as God’s children we have a promise from the best of all leaders. “Our Leader Promises a Greater Day” – 1) An Awe-full Day; 2) A day his disciples can forward to.

            Someone told me about an experience they had when a crowd of co-workers were talking about creation/evolution.  Someone made the remark, “No one believes that God created the world in six days anymore, do they?”  The person to whom I was talking was the only one who raised her hand. Yes, I do too!  I say it rather proudly.  My God can do anything. That’s how he said he did it.  And Jesus, the Son of God who rose from the dead said that’s how it was done too. He should know.  He was there and participated. To deny it is to call Jesus a liar.  The same reasoning applies to the end of the world.  Peter wrote, “Above all, you must understand that in the last days scoffers will come, scoffing and following their own evil desires. They will say, “Where is this ‘coming’ he promised?”  Just like people scoff at the power of God to create the world, they scoff at the idea that he will destroy the world.  I suppose that’s logical that if you don’t believe he created the world, you won’t believe he will destroy it.  On the other hand if we believe he will destroy, he can and did create it too.  

            The Lord has made it clear the day is coming when he will return and for many it won’t be pretty.  That’s what Malachi says.  “Surely the day is coming; it will burn like a furnace. All the arrogant and every evildoer will be stubble, and the day that is coming will set them on fire,” says the Lord Almighty. “Not a root or a branch will be left to them. Take note of the phrase “says the LORD Almighty.”  This is a promise.  What does the Lord do with promises?  He keeps them.  Scripture says, “God is not human, that he should lie, not a human being, that he should change his mind.  Does he speak and then not act?  Does he promise and not fulfill?”

            The whole Bible is peppered with references to his coming to judge the heaven and earth.  The book of Isaiah, “See, the day of the Lord is coming —a cruel day, with wrath and fierce anger— to make the land desolate and destroy the sinners within it.  The stars of heaven and their constellations will not show their light.  The rising sun will be darkened and the moon will not give its light.  I will punish the world for its evil, the wicked for their sins.  I will put an end to the arrogance of the haughty and will humble the pride of the ruthless.”

The gravity and intensity of those words ought to make everyone sit up and take notice.  Another reference to Judgment Day in the Old Testament, “See, the Lord is coming with fire, and his chariots are like a whirlwind; he will bring down his anger with fury, and his rebuke with flames of fire.”  There are times to chill and smile and kid and laugh.  But when you are speaking about Judgment Day, this is serious business. 

            Jesus, who proved who he was by his resurrection from the dead said he is coming back.  He gives all kinds of details.  If you want some good Bible study, read Mathew 24 and 25 and Luke 21.  Frankly, who won the presidential election or who lost doesn’t even come close to the importance of making sure that we are ready for and anticipating the second coming of our Lord Jesus Christ.

            It will be an Awe-full day.   It will be a day where people will be awed by what is taking place, or it will be the most awful day anyone has ever faced.   It all depends on which side you are sitting – Jesus’ right or Jesus’ left.

Do you see the connection with fire. Malachi says, “It will burn like a furnace. All the arrogant and every evildoer will be stubble, and the day that is coming will set them on fire,” says the Lord Almighty. “Not a root or a branch will be left to them.”  Peter, who was with Jesus from the beginning and sat at his feet, wrote But the day of the Lord will come like a thief. The heavens will disappear with a roar; the elements will be destroyed by fire, and the earth and everything done in it will be laid bare.”

I grew up in the country.  There were farms all around us.  Once a summer someone would harvest hay that was not completely dry.  The moisture caused the bacteria in the hay to ferment. Fermentation gives off heat.  Sometimes there is so much heat that the hay starts on fire with an oxygen source.  It is called spontaneous combustion.  Barns would soon be engulfed in flames. A farm directly south of my home caught on fire.  It was impressive and scary at the same time.  Imagine on an infinitely larger scale. “The heavens will disappear with a roar; the elements will be destroyed by fire, and the earth and everything done in it will be laid bare.”

Remember there are no practice drills or rehearsals.  The world needs to get ready and get it right the first time.  You need to know!  I need to know!  All need to know!   

How can it be an awe-filled day instead of an awful day?  Listen to Malachi, “But for you who revere my name, the sun of righteousness will rise with healing in its rays.”  Revere his name.  Hold it in esteem.  Honor it!  The Old Testament people were to call God ‘Jaweh,’ the ‘I Am God.”  God told them what they were to think about when they heard his name and used his name,  “The Lord, the Lord, the compassionate and gracious God, slow to anger, abounding in love and faithfulness, maintaining love to thousands, and forgiving wickedness, rebellion and sin. Yet he does not leave the guilty unpunished; he punishes the children and their children for the sin of the parents to the third and fourth generation.”  Yet his name is not limited to just one.  Go through the Bible and you will literally see hundreds of names for God.  Each one tells us about himself.  He is the Rock, the Fortress, our Hope, the Prophet, the great high Priest and king and hundreds of others.  If you want to understand more about him then read his autobiography (lift up the Bible).

In Malachi he is called the “sun of righteousness.”  This is a reference to Jesus; he is the sun not as in father/son but as in moon/sun.  He is light. Scripture refers to him as the “Star out of Jacob.”  He said that he is the “Light of the world.”  He chases away darkness.  This is a dark world in which we live. The choices that were made by majorities of voters in some states in their referendum seems to prove that darkness is and will always be a problem until that Great Day comes.  But when we start talking about darkness, let’s not look past ourselves.  The darkness of sin is abundant in all of us, right to our very core. If facing the Great Day of his return depended upon our conduct, the Great Day of the Lord would be a terrifying prospect.

Yet “the sun of righteousness rises with healing in his wings.”  He is the sun of righteousness.  The ledger that would list our sins and darken the pages are replaced with the righteousness of Jesus.  The sins that weighted us down have been removed and placed on him to pay their penalty – death.  Our sins transferred to him; his righteousness transferred to us. That’s a sweetheart deal if I ever saw one.

This is the deal that God makes available to all.  He does the work and we get the benefits. No strings attached. No fine print!  The print is big and all over this book.  It’s all there out in the open. God brings us the cure; we don’t go to him and finagle a deal.  He makes us an offer we would be foolish to refuse.  The MASH hospitals were brought out to the battlefields to save lives; the hospital ships went to troops to be close. Jesus came to us. His healing of the souls living in darkness is like the sun shining and bringing fast and immediate light.  Light after all travels at 186,000 miles per second.  His healing for the soul is instantaneous.  He makes the Great Day a Great day

How do God’s people react?  They lived in an agrarian society.  I remember from my early days in grade school how the kids that came from farms knew all about the facts of life.  They saw it on the farm.  Here is a picture that people born and raised in suburbia probably can’t understand.  When the light of Christ shines on us Malachi says, “And you will go out and frolic like well-fed calves.”

When a calf (that’s a baby cow for all you city slickers) is born, it tries to adjust to the new world it is born into.  The calf tries to get to its feet.  It has sea legs at first.  They seem like Jell-O.  Once it figures out that those legs can get it from here to there, and everywhere, it just never quits.  It frolics.  They are like grandkids.  They never stop.  That’s the believer’s reaction to light too. We get stronger and stronger.  We realize that God’s love and forgiveness really does change our lives.  We don’t have to live with guilt and fear.  Christ took it away.  One way it changes our lives is that we don’t need to be afraid of the Great Day anymore.  God promises give us confidence.  Peter even said this, Since everything will be destroyed in this way, what kind of people ought you to be? You ought to live holy and godly lives as you look forward to the day of God and speed its coming.”  We have the Sun of Righteousness with healing in his wings.   

 

Amen

 

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