Christ, A Testing Time For All

Malachi 3:1,3
The coming of the Lord is an event which people are warned “Behold, I will send my messenger” (v.1) Why would God send a messenger?

Lest we should be unprepared. God gives warning after warning, messenger after messenger in preparing the way.

We know that the moral condition of people is not what God desire and requires.

In the minsters of the gospel, God urges men to repentance, he helps to remove hindrances and prepare us for the infilling of the Holy Spirit in our life. Let us note Luke 1:17 “And he shall go before him in the spirit and power of Elias, 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.”

Carnal Jews, mistaken and viewed Christ as a temporal king. They only desired him for the fish and bread.

To the spiritual. Jesus is desired and delight in by all people of God from the beginning of time. To seek and delight in Jesus always characterize the redeemed. To those of us who believe,” he is precious.” (I.Pt.2:7)

All that is desirable, all that is delightful, we find it in him. He is our sun in darkness, our shield in danger, our physician in sickness, our righteousness, our bread, the water of life, and our all in all. Let all of us rejoice, therefore, that seek thee Lord.

To Christ’s first manifestation to the world. His teaching was a process of sifting. According to Luke 2:30 Simeon foreseen this truth, “for mine eyes have seen thy salvation.”

When Jesus entered on his public ministry, his preaching and his very presence served as a testing-time to all. Note Matt. 3:12, “Whose fan is in his hand, and he will throughly purge his floor, and gather his wheat into the garner; but he will burn up the chaff with “unquenchable fire.”

Our Lord when about doing a very valuable service, he tested the hearts of men rather than their heads, their characters rather than their opinions.

Nicodemus was tested, convicted of his ignorance, but ultimately refined.

Many who are convicted are offended and repelled, notices (Matt. 15:13,) “But he answered and said, Every plant, which my heavenly hath not planted, shall be rooted up.” So severe was this testing process that Christ pronounced a special blessing on all who stood it, (Luke 7:23) states, “Blessed is he, whosoever shall not be offended in me.”

Jesus revealed to the world that in the midst of the dross of same of the foulest lives there were grains of gold, gens of Divinity, which his purifying power could disengage.

Sinful people, loved much, because through his words they learned that they had been much forgiven.

The purity of Jesus’s life made his very presence like the flame of a refiner fire.

People could not be much with him without being either attracted and purified or repelled and made worse. For example, the Gadarenes and the chief priest and Judas.

On the other hand we note Zacchaeus, the Samaritan woman and the elven apostles.

This testing process took effect especially among the religious people of that day. We must not for get that judgment began at the house of God.

Some priests believed in him, few, if any, confessed him, note what Jesus had to say in Matt 21:31, “Very I say unto you, That the publicans and the harlots go into the kingdom of God before you.”

Many naturally dread coming face to face with Jesus. It was not the mere fact of Christ having come to the world and being seen that made him like a refiners fire, it was when he came home to people’s hearts and was manifested to their consciences that the real testing began.

Many shun that manifestation. They put up shutters and close their blinds, “Lest…the light of the glorious gospel of Christ…should shine unto them”, (II.Cor. 4:4)

Let us imagine that we are living in the same house as Jesus, that he noticed every act and word, and that we knew he was acquainted with our thoughts as well. Would we say “Depart from me, for I am a sinful man, O Lord.”? As Peter stated.

How often do we fall to realize the real presence of the invisible Christ in our presence. When we do, our feelings will be those of guilty Adam or at the least of righteous Job.

We should desire Jesus coming. “Who will abide the day of his coming.”? Christ is more than a light, he is like a refiner’s fire.

He purged Zacchaeus from his old sins. Jesus not only came to his home, but appeared, manifested himself in his heart “And Zacchaeus stood, and said unto the Lord; Behold, Lord, the half of my goods I give to the poor; and if I have taken any thing from any man by false accusation, I restore him fourfold.” (Lk.19:8)

This refining process may be a very severe one to us. The refining fire is himself the refiner. Isaiah declared …” But now , O Lord, thou art our Father, we are the clay, and thou our potter, and we all are the work of thy hand.” (Isa.64:8)

Jesus knows the ore he has to deal with, and he will select every step in the process of making us whole.

Jesus is working towards an end which is, or ought to be, very dear to us. David stated in (Ps.79:9) “Help us, O God of our salvation, for the glory of thy name: and deliver us, and purge away our sins, for thy name sake.”

Let the purifying power of Christ show us how many secret sins there are ingrained in the very essence of our hearts.

We need to pray as David did in (Ps. 51:10) “Create in me a clean heart, God; and renew a right spirit within me.”

Jesus is no mere reformer or disciplinarian, he himself is the fire, his blood is the cleansing fountain, his spirit is the source of our sanctification “Being born again, not of corruptible seed, but of incorruptible, by the word of God, which liveth and abideth for ever.” (I.Pt.1:23)

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