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Actively Anticipate

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Actively Anticipate

summarizes the torah and the prophets as a unified story that points to the future..
.. when God will send a new Moses & Elijah to restore Gods people and heal their hearts.
Deuteronomy 30:1–6 HCSB
“When all these things happen to you—the blessings and curses I have set before you—and you come to your senses while you are in all the nations where the Lord your God has driven you, and you and your children return to the Lord your God and obey Him with all your heart and all your soul by doing everything I am giving you today, then He will restore your fortunes, have compassion on you, and gather you again from all the peoples where the Lord your God has scattered you. Even if your exiles are at the ends of the earth, He will gather you and bring you back from there. The Lord your God will bring you into the land your fathers possessed, and you will take possession of it. He will cause you to prosper and multiply you more than He did your fathers. The Lord your God will circumcise your heart and the hearts of your descendants, and you will love Him with all your heart and all your soul so that you will live.
, jer 31, )
Jeremiah 31:31–34 HCSB
“Look, the days are coming”—this is the Lord’s declaration—“when I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel and with the house of Judah. This one will not be like the covenant I made with their ancestors when I took them by the hand to bring them out of the land of Egypt—a covenant they broke even though I had married them” —the Lord’s declaration. “Instead, this is the covenant I will make with the house of Israel after those days”—the Lord’s declaration. “I will put My teaching within them and write it on their hearts. I will be their God, and they will be My people. No longer will one teach his neighbor or his brother, saying, ‘Know the Lord,’ for they will all know Me, from the least to the greatest of them” —this is the Lord’s declaration. “For I will forgive their wrongdoing and never again remember their sin.”
jeremiah 31, )
Ezekiel 36:22–27 HCSB
“Therefore, say to the house of Israel: This is what the Lord God says: It is not for your sake that I will act, house of Israel, but for My holy name, which you profaned among the nations where you went. I will honor the holiness of My great name, which has been profaned among the nations—the name you have profaned among them. The nations will know that I am Yahweh”—the declaration of the Lord God—“when I demonstrate My holiness through you in their sight. “For I will take you from the nations and gather you from all the countries, and will bring you into your own land. I will also sprinkle clean water on you, and you will be clean. I will cleanse you from all your impurities and all your idols. I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit within you; I will remove your heart of stone and give you a heart of flesh. I will place My Spirit within you and cause you to follow My statutes and carefully observe My ordinances.
Elijah, looking forward to the Messiah who would judge and reward.
John the Baptist, great prophet like Elijah.
John came to prepare the way for Jesus first coming. . We are greater than John and part of preparing the way for His second coming.
Also
That's still us today. They missed Jesus because he was coming to do the first part, cleanse the people to make righteous sacrifices.
Our hope is in His second return, we have this hope confirmed because of His first appearance.
Because He came died and rose again and left we can have certainty He will return. Let’s dig in and talk about three Great takeaway’s we can apply to our lives.
Great Hope
Malachi 4:1–6 HCSB
“For indeed, the day is coming, burning like a furnace, when all the arrogant and everyone who commits wickedness will become stubble. The coming day will consume them,” says the Lord of Hosts, “not leaving them root or branches. But for you who fear My name, the sun of righteousness will rise with healing in its wings, and you will go out and playfully jump like calves from the stall. You will trample the wicked, for they will be ashes under the soles of your feet on the day I am preparing,” says the Lord of Hosts. “Remember the instruction of Moses My servant, the statutes and ordinances I commanded him at Horeb for all Israel. Look, I am going to send you Elijah the prophet before the great and awesome Day of the Lord comes. And he 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.”
Our great hope is that an end is coming to the brokenness of the world. God will restore all things and bring arrogance that results in pain and suffering and death to an end. There will be a time of rejoicing.
There is also a great warning in this hope. The day of the Lord will be both a day of judgement and day of victory. The wicked, those who rejected God and continue in their arrogance, both of rejecting God (Self Sufficiency) and believing they can earn their place (Entitlement), should fear this day, it will not go well for them but the call here from God is to repent, the desire is that they be saved from this! In the case of correct response this day will be a day of joy, and confidence. God’s heart here is that those who hear this message respond and relationships to be restored.
He ends with a call to remember. Remember what God has done for you, and remember it’s not over yet, don’t forget what he is going to do for you, in you, and through you. This call to remember is something we see all through the Bible. Back in Deuteronomy God commanded them to remember so that they would stay faithful.
Deuteronomy 6:1–9 HCSB
“This is the command—the statutes and ordinances—the Lord your God has instructed me to teach you, so that you may follow them in the land you are about to enter and possess. Do this so that you may fear the Lord your God all the days of your life by keeping all His statutes and commands I am giving you, your son, and your grandson, and so that you may have a long life. Listen, Israel, and be careful to follow them, so that you may prosper and multiply greatly, because Yahweh, the God of your fathers, has promised you a land flowing with milk and honey. “Listen, Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is One. Love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your strength. These words that I am giving you today are to be in your heart. Repeat them to your children. Talk about them when you sit in your house and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up. Bind them as a sign on your hand and let them be a symbol on your forehead. Write them on the doorposts of your house and on your gates.
Our greatest struggle is that of forgetting. We struggle with sin because we forget what God has done for us, and forget our identity, who He has called and empowered us to be. This is why we need to continually gospel ourselves daily. Like it said here in the Shema, in all we do with our hands we need to remember, and all that we do with our minds, we need to be constantly meditating on the truths of scripture. We need to be careful what we put in our minds because it can mess with our memory, or distract us from the truth of where true fulfillment comes from. This last chapter in Malachi paints the picture of war. There is a great struggle between the dominion of darkness and the kingdom of light, and much of the battlefield lays in our minds. We can’t passively abide in intimacy with our King, we need to actively fight against temptation by spending time with God in prayer and reading His word. It’s also not enough to just remember we need to act on our memory because we were saved for a purpose.
Great Purpose
Matthew 28:18–20 HCSB
Then Jesus came near and said to them, “All authority has been given to Me in heaven and on earth. Go, therefore, and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe everything I have commanded you. And remember, I am with you always, to the end of the age.”
Matthew 28:18-20
We have a purpose in preparation for His return. Jesus sent His Holy Spirit to continue the work He began but He intended to use His church, people as vessels of the Holy Spirit. He came to redeem us and work with us to accomplish His mission. What a privilege it is that the Lord of the universe would want to use us, He could have just done it on His own but working in and through us involves intimacy which was the plan from the beginning. This is the very task He created us for, and the only task on earth in which we will find true fulfillment. Also the active involvement in this task is a sign His Spirit is working in us, and a method through which He restores us to the image bearer He designed us to be. Jesus’ words also reveal to us the complacent inactivity in His mission reveals our identity as well.
Matthew 24:45–51 HCSB
“Who then is a faithful and sensible slave, whom his master has put in charge of his household, to give them food at the proper time? That slave whose master finds him working when he comes will be rewarded. I assure you: He will put him in charge of all his possessions. But if that wicked slave says in his heart, ‘My master is delayed,’ and starts to beat his fellow slaves, and eats and drinks with drunkards, that slave’s master will come on a day he does not expect and at an hour he does not know. He will cut him to pieces and assign him a place with the hypocrites. In that place there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.
Matthew 24:45-
These words like the words in Malachi were given to call us to action, to intimacy with our Father who empowers us to be faithful and productive. However Jesus did not just give us a command to obey He also gave a promise we would not fail.
Great Promise
Matthew 16:18
Matthew 16:18 HCSB
And I also say to you that you are Peter, and on this rock I will build My church, and the forces of Hades will not overpower it.
We have a promise of victory
The word the CSB uses here “forces” in Greek was gate, other translations use gate. I understand why they used forces because it’s hard to understand what is meant by the church being overcome by a gate. However consider this, we are thinking about this passage wrong, our visual image here of what’s going on comes from an apathetic North American Christian perspective.
Let me back up and explain who the church is that Jesus was referring to. The greek word used for the church here was Ekklesia, which was not a word for a building or place where Christians gathered but a called out people. Jesus was affirming Peter’s correct proclamation of who He was and saying on that profession I will establish my called out people. A called out people are not stationary, they are not sitting hoping the enemy won’t attack, Jesus wasn’t promising them they would be kept safe from attack.
Let’s go back to the word gate used in the Greek. A gate is not an offensive weapon or strategy. Gates are part of a defensive structure and tactic. The enemy is on the defensive! We as the called out people of God who have been empowered by the Holy Spirit are supposed to be on the offensive, and Jesus promised here that the gates meant to keep us out will not be able to restrain us! We will be victorious in our call to continue the mission of Christ! Just as he came not to condemn but to save, we have been called to do the same!
We are also doing our work, in fulfilling His mission in preparation for His return. Just as He told them to look back and remember He gave them something to look forward to and prepare for. The promise of Elijah was a hope looking forward to the arrival of the Messiah who would judge and reward. John the Baptist was the great prophet in the spirit of Elijah who cried out in the wilderness preparing the way for Jesus.
Elijah, looking forward to the Messiah who would judge and reward.
In John’s disciples came questioning Jesus whether He was the one they were waiting for, because John had been arrested and was suffering for speaking out about Herod’s illicit relationship with his brothers wife. Jesus response was that He was the Messiah and He affirmed John as the greatest man who ever lived. John was the greatest because he was able to point to the Messiah with the greatest specificity and proximity. Many before him had said the Messiah is coming and give details about his life and death but John pointed to him and touched him!
John the Baptist, great prophet like Elijah.
This news is great in terms of fulfilling the prophecy of Malachi and gives us great hope because we have evidence that God was faithful, He did come through on His promise to send the Messiah. But Jesus didn’t stop there He also declared that the least in the Kingdom of God would be greater than John. That’s us, we are greater than John and part of preparing the way for His second coming. We are greater because John didn’t live to see Jesus work complete, and His full power revealed. He fulfilled the work of cleansing His people and making us able to be faithful and offer worthy sacrifices, our very lives.
Also
That's still us today. They missed Jesus because he was coming to do the first part, cleanse the people to make righteous sacrifices.
Our greatest hope is in His second return, we have this hope confirmed because of His first appearance. Now lets continue to actively anticipate the arrival of the Messiah, doing the work of storming the gates of hell and rescuing others so they too can approach the day of the Lord with joy and confidence.
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