The Lost, The Found, The End: Malachi 3:13-4:3

The Lost, The Found, The End: Malachi 3:13-4:3
Pastor John Nicholas
Sunday November 28, 2021

Notes, Not a transcript

Do you know the Lord?

We are now quickly approaching the end of Malachi.  The last prophet before 400 plus years of silence.  

A time when Israel will no longer hear from the Lord.  A time which Malachi prophesied that there would be the one who would be the messenger who would make way for the messiah.

That this one would come into the temple suddenly.

Yet they have denied the word of the Lord.

They have said that they believe – but… is there really any evidence

Last week, John spoke of the challenge that is used to increase offering.  Of which it is not a passage about offering.

It is a passage about how they have left the ways of God and how they need to return.

They have have questioned how.  And the answer – the required tithes and offerings were not given.

This was a theocratic nation and they weren’t following the Lord’s commands

They were robbing God by not funding this theocratic government.

They had stolen from God what was rightly His.

And now we enter the final, sixth, disputation.

Part 1 – The Lost


13 “Your words have been arrogant against Me,” says the Lord. “Yet you say, ‘What have we spoken against You?’ 

The words in the Hebrew are literally your words are strong against me.  The words that priests are using are strong/harsh/arrogant against the Lord.  They have spoken out against Him.  Their actions are significant.  They are denying any wrongdoing.  So this prophetic word is significant.

Think about how far the book of Malachi has come to this point.  Consistently they are saying where, how, we have not.  The response of those who are to be leading the nation, pointing them to YHWH.  Yet here, they deny, deny, deny, that they have spoken wrongly against the Lord.


14 You have said, ‘It is vain to serve God; and what profit is it that we have kept His charge, and that we have walked in mourning before the Lord of hosts?

Here is the crux of the matter.  They are saying that it is useless to serve the Lord.  And there is some danger here for us too.  We could end up camping out here all day.  So perhaps not all day but we will take a while.  

The priests are saying, and this is the culmination of how far we have come to reach this 6th disputation, that to serve God and to keep His ordinances is not worth their time.  And in turn they are demonstrating this same thought to the nation.  

This certainly is the arrogant/strong words against the Lord.  A denial of who He is.  

Psalm 14:1 (NASB95)

Folly and Wickedness of Men.

For the choir director. A Psalm of David.

1 The fool has said in his heart, “There is no God.”

They are corrupt, they have committed abominable [a]deeds;

There is no one who does good.

By definition to be obedient is the best thing for the people (and the best thing for us).  To serve the Lord will always lead them in the right path and to give them the right view.  But to say that it is worthless is to be faithless and empty.  They are being blasphemous.  They are worshiping other gods in their lack of proper worship.  They are ungrateful.

This reminds me of Psalm 73 – look to verses 1-18,

Psalm 73:1–18 (NASB95) 

The End of the Wicked Contrasted with That of the Righteous.

A Psalm of Asaph.

1 Surely God is good to Israel, To those who are pure in heart!

2 But as for me, my feet came close to stumbling, My steps had almost slipped.

3 For I was envious of the arrogant As I saw the prosperity of the wicked.

4 For there are no pains in their death, And their body is fat.

5 They are not in trouble as other men, Nor are they plagued like mankind.

6 Therefore pride is their necklace; The garment of violence covers them.

7 Their eye bulges from fatness; The imaginations of their heart run riot.

8 They mock and wickedly speak of oppression; They speak from on high. 

9 They have set their mouth against the heavens, And their tongue parades through the earth. 

10Therefore his people return to this place, And waters of abundance are drunk by them. 

11 They say, “How does God know? And is there knowledge with the Most High?” 

12 Behold, these are the wicked; And always at ease, they have increased in wealth. 

13 Surely in vain I have kept my heart pure And washed my hands in innocence; 

14 For I have been stricken all day long And chastened every morning.

15 If I had said, “I will speak thus,” Behold, I would have betrayed the generation of Your children.

16 When I pondered to understand this, It was troublesome in my sight

17 Until I came into the sanctuary of God; Then I perceived their end.

18 Surely You set them in slippery places; You cast them down to destruction.

That is the story of a priest looking out upon Jerusalem and seeing the wicked prosper.  Without any judgment.  You could certainly see how this would affect a person.  Especially one who does not know the sovereignty of God.

If they are denying that serving the Lord does any good then they are denying the sovereignty of God.  Why would I say that?  Think about this for a moment.   As we go to verse 15


15 So now we call the arrogant blessed; not only are the doers of wickedness built up but they also test God and escape.’”

What they are saying is that there is nothing that will come about to the arrogant or the wicked.  Think about those words in Psalm 73 where the priest there struggled with the evil seemingly prospering.  It’s because there is a small view of God.  They have forgotten the promises.  They have forgotten what God has done in the past and what He has promised to do in the future.

Their view of God is tiny because they are not getting the results they want right now.  They have forgotten the Creator creature relationship.  They have become selfish and self centered.  They have looked at serving the Lord as a thing that does not benefit them even though it is ordained by God.

They are in a dangerous position.  Calling the arrogant blessed and that the wicked will escape justice.  These thoughts are in opposition to what is known about God.  

Their hearts are in danger of being hardened and that is why God has graciously sent the prophet Malachi to instruct them.  To warn them.

This is a danger for all of us too.  We can look at the world around us and see that the evil are prospering and think why not me?  Why do they win and I follow the Lord and loose?  Why Lord? Why?

These are serious questions that we too need to answer and it comes with a right relationship and knowing the sovereignty of the Lord.  We need to have the right perspective.  We need to put aside our pride.  We need to take the idea that ‘I’ have been wronged out of our vernacular.

Instead, we need to realize how blessed we are in knowing our savior.  That alone should be the single focus of our lives.  To live in a manner that honors our Lord and Savior.  To realize that everything that we receive – perceived good and perceived bad as all the best that could be happening to us at any given time.  That God is using those things to make us into the person we are to be.  

It is not about the evil prospering, it is the gracious God who has saved us from His wrath.  It is not about others winning but the fact that we already know our savior.  That our home is already known.  That the harbor we will enter at death is the home that we are already viewed as living in now – Ephesians 2.

Therefore to look at the world and complain about how God is running it is the height of arrogance.  It says that God could do better.  It says that we could do better.  

Their arrogance is on full display too.  Note, how it says that we walk mournfully from the face of the Lord.  

We too can land here.  Our actions will betray our beliefs.  Do we live in fear of man?  Disease?  Then we don’t fear the Lord.

Anything we fear that is not the Lord is idolatry

Anything we love more than the Lord is idolatry.

Part II – The Found 


The Book of Remembrance

16 Then those who feared the Lord spoke to one another, and the Lord gave attention and heard it, and a book of remembrance was written before Him for those who fear the Lord and who esteem His name.

But there is hope for the ones who love God.  There is always the remnant even when there seems like there are none.  Think about Elijah in 1 Kings 19.  Elijah had been on the run after God had defeated the prophets of Baal.  A man who should have trusted in God but had skipped town when he faced unexpected opposition.

Elijah played the woah is me card.  That he was only believer that was left.  And God would not have any of this talk and showed that in reality there were 7000 who had not bent the knee to Baal (v18).  

To be found here is the place to be.  The elect.  Those found since before the foundations of the earth.  The saved.

1 Kings 19:18 (NASB95)

18 Yet I will leave 7,000 in Israel, all the knees that have not bowed to Baal and every mouth that has not kissed him.”

Ephesians 1:3-5 (NASB95)

3 Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places in Christ, 

4 just as He chose us in Him before the foundation of the world, that we would be holy and blameless before Him. In love 

5 He predestined us to adoption as sons through Jesus Christ to Himself, according to the kind intention of His will, 


17 “They will be Mine,” says the Lord of hosts, “on the day that I prepare My own possession, and I will spare them as a man spares his own son who serves him.”

These are the ones who are the Lord’s possession.  The ones found in the light of His love.  They have always been His (even at the time they did not know it).

These ones are His special Treasure.  They will be the ones in whom a place has been prepared for them in heaven.  God’s compassion is shown upon them.

Look at Exodus 19:5,

Exodus 19:5 (NASB95) 

5‘Now then, if you will indeed obey My voice and keep My covenant, then you shall be My own possession among all the peoples, for all the earth is Mine; 

Think about the contrast, the priests previously mentioned have not kept the covenant.  They are not a possession of God due to their disobedience.

But those who are found.

Look at how those who are saved are spoken of Isaiah 4:2,

Isaiah 4:2 (NASB95) 

2In that day the Branch of the Lord will be beautiful and glorious, and the fruit of the earth will be the pride and the adornment of the survivors of Israel. 

Now a key to remember here is to think about the covenant with Abraham.  Remember it was God who passed through the pieces,  it was God who did all the assertions in the covenant.  The covenant being fulfilled was not because of the works of Abraham but because of the promises of God. 

Same goes here – God will keep his promises to those who are His possession.  Those who are found in Christ.  He will not lose one.  

John 6:39 (NASB95) 

39 This is the will of Him who sent Me, that of all that He has given Me I lose nothing, but raise it up on the last day


18 So you will again distinguish between the righteous and the wicked, between one who serves God and one who does not serve Him.

There will be a division.  Not all are saved.  don’t miss this.  Your salvation must be worked out with fear and trembling because the day of the Lord is coming.  It cannot be avoided.

Those who are righteous are not so because of their own effort.  But because they are found in the Lord.  Those who seek Him out.  The wicked are the ones who deny the Lord.  Who says that to be obedient is not worth it.  To say that the Lord will not judge.

Look at what it says in Amos 5:15,

Amos 5:15 (NASB95) 

15Hate evil, love good, And establish justice in the gate! Perhaps the Lord God of hosts May be gracious to the remnant of Joseph. 

Remember, we will always serve God imperfectly.  Because it is not our serving that saves us.  It is the Lord our God, Jesus who saves us through the gracious action of the Father and His provision.

Our works are only seen as God through the Spirits work in us.  And these works have been provided ahead of time for us to do after we have been saved.  It is through them that we glorify God.

Ephesians 2:10 (NASB95) 

10 For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand so that we would walk in them.

The sheep and the goats

Matthew 25:31-46 (NASB95)

The Judgment

31 But when the Son of Man comes in His glory, and all the angels with Him, then He will sit on His glorious throne

32 All the nations will be gathered before Him; and He will separate them from one another, as the shepherd separates the sheep from the goats

33 and He will put the sheep on His right, and the goats on the left.

34 Then the King will say to those on His right, ‘Come, you who are blessed of My Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world

35 For I was hungry, and you gave Me something to eat; I was thirsty, and you gave Me something to drink; I was a stranger, and you invited Me in

36 naked, and you clothed Me; I was sick, and you visited Me; I was in prison, and you came to Me.’ 

37 Then the righteous will answer Him, ‘Lord, when did we see You hungry, and feed You, or thirsty, and give You something to drink

38 And when did we see You a stranger, and invite You in, or naked, and clothe You

39 When did we see You sick, or in prison, and come to You?’ 

40 The King will answer and say to them, ‘Truly I say to you, to the extent that you did it to one of these brothers of Mine, even the least of them, you did it to Me.’

41 Then He will also say to those on His left, ‘Depart from Me, accursed ones, into the eternal fire which has been prepared for the devil and his angels

42 for I was hungry, and you gave Me nothing to eat; I was thirsty, and you gave Me nothing to drink

43 I was a stranger, and you did not invite Me in; naked, and you did not clothe Me; sick, and in prison, and you did not visit Me.’ 

44 Then they themselves also will answer, ‘Lord, when did we see You hungry, or thirsty, or a stranger, or naked, or sick, or in prison, and did not take care of You?’ 

45 Then He will answer them, ‘Truly I say to you, to the extent that you did not do it to one of the least of these, you did not do it to Me.’ 

46 These will go away into eternal punishment, but the righteous into eternal life.”

Part III – The End


Final Admonition

4:1 “For behold, the day is coming, burning like a furnace; and all the arrogant and every evildoer will be chaff; and the day that is coming will set them ablaze,” says the Lord of hosts, “so that it will leave them neither root nor branch.”

The furnace of the Lord will be a raging fire.  Those who denied that the Lord will judge will be surprised on that day. To their surprise.  To their demise.   Those priests who have denied the Lord and His word, His instruction, will find themselves in the furnace of His wrath.  An unending fire.

Listen to 2 Peter 3:7,

2 Peter 3:7 (NASB95) 

7 But by His word the present heavens and earth are being reserved for fire, kept for the day of judgment and destruction of ungodly men. 

Notice how Malachi tells us that the root will also be taken.  That which is hidden under the ground will be removed and consumed.  Nothing will remain of the unrighteous.  They will be continually consumed.  The eye of the Lord’s wrath will be continually upon them.

Isaiah 5:24 (NASB95) 

24Therefore, as a tongue of fire consumes stubble And dry grass collapses into the flame, So their root will become like rot and their blossom blow away as dust; For they have rejected the law of the Lord of hosts And despised the word of the Holy One of Israel. 

The goats will be separated out.  Do not be a goat.  Strive to be a sheep.


2 “But for you who fear My name, the sun of righteousness will rise with healing in its wings; and you will go forth and skip about like calves from the stall.

But those found in the Lamb’s book of life will be saved.  The names written from eternity.  Looking down and finding your name there is the greatest thing.

There will be no greater feeling than that.  To know beyond a doubt.  

And they will be like the calves released from the dark stall.  Skipping about in the sun.  the joy of salvation.  We, who are found in the Lord our God will be like them on that day.  Unbound joy in the knowledge of the righteous and true saviour Jesus.  

The one who saves completely.  To bask in His glory.  

Isaiah 35:6 (NASB95) 

6Then the lame will leap like a deer, And the tongue of the mute will shout for joy. For waters will break forth in the wilderness And streams in the Arabah. 


3 You will tread down the wicked, for they will be ashes under the soles of your feet on the day which I am preparing,” says the Lord of hosts.

The wicked will be tread down.  They will be in misery.  The warnings are clear here and in the New Testament.  

Jesus spoke more about hell than any other single thing. 

We must think of it too.  The warnings are clear

Look at Revelation 14:20,

Revelation 14:20 (NASB95) 

20And the wine press was trodden outside the city, and blood came out from the wine press, up to the horses’ bridles, for a distance of two hundred miles. 

This day is being prepared.  Unlike the priests who did not trust in the promises of God we should.  We should know that the wrath of the Lord is being kindled every day.

We should tell all about the joy found in our Lord and savior.  To snatch them from the fire

Jude 22–23 (NASB95) 

22 And have mercy on some, who are doubting; 

23 save others, snatching them out of the fire; and on some have mercy with fear, hating even the garment polluted by the flesh.

There is no hope for the wicked.  No hope for us without Jesus.  


This last disputation gives so much.  A basic synopsis of the admonishment that has happened before.

Along with the consequences of both the saved and the unsaved.

We must be found as one of those who fear the Lord

Who revere the Lord and His great name

That know Jesus as our Lord and savior

Ones upon which the light of the Lord’s salvation has shown.

We must listen to the warning passages like these

And see ourselves as the priests who live believing the Lord doesn’t care

We should listen carefully to them and hear what we can learn.

To discern the Good from the Bad

To strive to be sheep

To be found in the sheepfold

To anxiously listen for the voice of the Great Shepherd in the words of the Scripture

We should be like Ephesians 5:6-14

Obedience demonstrates our salvation

Ephesians 5:6-14 (NASB95)

6 Let no one deceive you with empty words, for because of these things the wrath of God comes upon the sons of disobedience. 

7 Therefore do not be partakers with them;

8 for you were formerly darkness, but now you are Light in the Lord; walk as children of Light 

9 (for the fruit of the Light consists in all goodness and righteousness and truth), 

10 trying to learn what is pleasing to the Lord. 

11 Do not participate in the unfruitful deeds of darkness, but instead even expose them; 

12 for it is disgraceful even to speak of the things which are done by them in secret. 

13 But all things become visible when they are exposed by the light, for everything that becomes visible is light. 

14 For this reason it says,

“Awake, sleeper,

And arise from the dead,

And Christ will shine on you.”

    and arise from the dead,

and Christ will shine on you.”

Pray, Observe, Apply.

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