Turning Up the Heat – Part 2

March 26, 2010 at 11:39 am | Posted in Bible Studies | 4 Comments
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And he shall sit as a refiner and purifier of silver: and he shall purify the sons of Levi, and purge them as gold and silver, that they may offer unto the LORD an offering in righteousness.

Malachi 3:3

The Refiner in this Verse is Jesus Christ. Previously, we examined:

1. The position of the Refiner

This time we will look at:

2. The purpose of the refining

And he shall sit as a refiner and purifier of silver: and he shall purify the sons of Levi, and purge them as gold and silver, that they may offer unto the LORD an offering in righteousness.

Malachi 3:3, emphasis added

The sons of Levi were the priests of Israel. They were dedicated especially to serving the Lord. From them the Book of Leviticus gets its name. Out of their ranks, the one high priest went into the place behind the veil, into the Holy of Holies. Those who serve the Lord in the most important ways, and who are closest to Him, must be especially pure. As a husband and a father, I am called in a special way to be especially obedient to God. I can’t be the husband God wants me to be or the father God wants me to be if I am not especially separated unto Him, and pure before Him.

Here are three pointers that I, as a royal priest, a servant of God – as someone who wants to be closer to God and to really get something out of the refining experience – will want to do. They have to do with obedience:

A. Obey immediately.

If ye love me, keep my commandments.

John 14:15

If I see one of my children standing in the road, in danger of being struck by a speeding truck, and I say, “Move now!” – I don’t want a debate about the reasons for moving now. I want immediate obedience. There are many good reasons for attending church services, but the best reason is that God has commanded it. When God commands it, I do not need an explanation. Delayed obedience is the same as disobedience.

B. Obey completely.

And it shall come to pass, if ye shall hearken diligently unto my commandments which I command you this day, to love the LORD your God, and to serve him with all your heart and with all your soul,

Deuteronomy 11:13

When I tell my child to sweep the floor, I do not mean simply sweep everything into a corner and leave it there. I mean sweep it into a dust pan, pick it up, and get rid of it. It is good to give out Gospel tracts, but it is not a substitute for verbally telling someone (preaching) the Gospel when God gives us that opportunity. Partial obedience is the same as disobedience.

C. Obey sweetly.

If ye be willing and obedient, ye shall eat the good of the land:

Isaiah 1:19

When I tell my children to pick up their toys, they often sulk while doing it grudgingly. Sometimes I am guilty of praying like it’s just a chore, or reading my Bible like it’s just a chore. Giving is a command – cheerful giving is truly pleasing to God. Grudging obedience is not really obedience. Obey immediately, obey completely, and obey sweetly.

One purpose of the refining is to make us more obedient, but the main purpose of the refining is the purifying. When the silver is heated, the impurities rise to the top. The refiner, who is sitting, who is patiently and attentively – even lovingly – watching, immediately scrapes off the impurities. This is called the dross. The dross is discarded – thrown away. This is similar to the symbol of the branches that bear no fruit.

And now also the axe is laid unto the root of the trees: therefore every tree which bringeth not forth good fruit is hewn down, and cast into the fire. I indeed baptize you with water unto repentance: but he that cometh after me is mightier than I, whose shoes I am not worthy to bear: he shall baptize you with the Holy Ghost, and with fire: 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.

Matthew 3:10-12

John the Baptist pointed to the ministry of the Lord Jesus, saying, “I baptize with water, but He will baptize with the Holy Ghost, and with fire.”

We look at that and we get all excited. We tell people, “When you get saved, He will baptize you with the Holy Ghost, and you will be ‘on fire,’” meaning “fired up” or excited. Then the person who has been saved can’t understand why he’s suffering. He thinks, “God must be mad at me.” Or he thinks, “The devil tricked God, and took away my joy… If I could just find somebody to give me an emotional experience to make me feel better – somebody to laugh or cry with me… I need to feel something positive.”

Friends, that “feeling” is going to last about as long as it takes you to get to your car in the parking lot after a church service. As I’ve heard attributed to Martin Luther:

Feelings come and feelings go
And feelings are deceiving
Our warrant should be the Word of God
Nothing else is worth believing

When we see where Matthew 3:10-12 is placed – in the middle of three examples of useless, nonproductive things – we can better understand its context.

The axe cuts down the trees which don’t bear fruit, and they are good for what? Burning. The winnowing fork picks up the wheat, and separates the chaff, and the chaff is good for what? Burning.

Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, which according to his abundant mercy hath begotten us again unto a lively hope by the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, To an inheritance incorruptible, and undefiled, and that fadeth not away, reserved in heaven for you, Who are kept by the power of God through faith unto salvation ready to be revealed in the last time. Wherein ye greatly rejoice, though now for a season, if need be, ye are in heaviness through manifold temptations: That the trial of your faith, being much more precious than of gold that perisheth, though it be tried with fire, might be found unto praise and honour and glory at the appearing of Jesus Christ:

I Peter 1:3-7

Many of us are scared to death to have our faith tried. “Oh Refiner,” we say, “I think you made a mistake! The fire’s too hot! Get me out of here now – I’m purged, purified, and refined! I’m proclaiming my faith!” But the truth is our faith is on trial every day. What kind of faith do you have at home? What kind of faith do you have when you don’t feel like serving the Lord? What kind of faith do you have when the Holy Ghost says, “Your body is My temple, and you are taking My temple places – and putting things in My temple – that make Me uncomfortable?” Does your faith go into action in the form of obedience?

I have never seen the bank where I send my monthly mortgage payments, but I write a check to them (almost) every month. Because I have a fear of being foreclosed on and evicted. I have faith in that bank. I believe it exists and that it can do what it says it can do. Do I fear God? Do I have faith in God? My mouth talks, and my actions talk – but when it comes to faith, my actions talk louder than my talk talks. The purpose of the refining is a stronger faith and a true obedience – purified, refined, purged of impurities.

1. The position of the Refiner: sitting
2. The purpose of the refining: purified faith and obedience

Next time, let’s look at:

3. The product of the refining

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4 Comments »

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  1. […] The Lord Jesus, the refiner, the refining process, trials, tribulation, uses for silver, vanity Previously we […]

  2. […] Delayed obedience is not really obedience at all. In this case, delayed obedience proved very costly for Jacob. Here are three good principles to remember about obeying the Lord: Obey immediately. Obey sweetly. Obey completely. […]

  3. […] is the position of the Refiner: sitting. Next time, we will delve a little more into the the purpose of the […]

  4. […] Produces “Clean” Living (Part 2) 10. Turning Up the Heat – Part 1 11. Turning Up the Heat – Part 2 12. Turning Up the Heat – Part 3 13. Careless Love – Part 1 14. Careless Love – […]


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