I believe we’re living at the close of an age. Without question, our world is growing darker. When the Lord returns, the Bible says it will be “like the days of Noah” in corruption and evil. It may be growing darker, but it’s growing “gloriously dark” as we get closer to His return. I’ve stopped looking for the signs—now I’m listening for the shout! “The “voice of the archangel and the trump of God.”
What’s happening today is remarkably similar to Malachi’s day. At the close of the Old Testament, before God fell silent for four hundred years until the coming of Messiah, His people had a form of religion, but were “denying the power thereof.” Superficially, they asked God some silly, impudent, even sarcastic questions, completely unaware of what they really needed. Is that not like today? What we need most—beginning at the house of God—is to see our need and turn religion into reality.
Shed those superficial robes of religiosity and get real. Be honest and transparent.
First, to be acceptable to God, to be a supernatural Christian, you must receive the grace of God. You must be born again. And you can know you’re saved. You can have a know-so salvation. If you delight in the law of God and want to serve Him with all your heart, walking and talking with Him daily, you will have an intimate knowledge of God and relationship with Him that only the redeemed have.
Second, you must recognize the goal of God. He’s not going to allow your old nature to remain. When Jesus saves you, He also comes to purify you. God isn’t primarily interested in making you happy; His one goal is to make you holy—conformed to the image of His Son. Reflecting the Lord Jesus Christ.
When God saved me, He took away my basic desire to sin. But there remained a lot to be purged out. Probably there is in you as well. Are you free from selfishness, impatience, pride, lust, jealousy, gossip, anger, criticism, unbelief? Any of those still bother you?
Third, you must rest in the goodness of God. When He puts you in His refining pot letting that gold begin to bubble, scum rises to the top. You’re in the fire, and you wonder if He loves you at all.
Have you been through this process yet? As the song goes,
“When through fiery trials your pathway shall lie,
My grace, all-sufficient, shall be your supply
The flames shall not hurt you I only design
Your dross to consume and your gold to refine.”
The Four Steps of Refinement aren’t pleasant, but they are necessary:
1. Gold is extracted from the mine. At salvation, God takes us from the mine—separates us from this world. But He’s only begun. When silver and gold are mined, what comes out with them? The world’s dirt and dross. Just because you’ve come out of the world doesn’t mean the world has come out of you.
2. Gold is crushed. We throw broken things away, but God never really uses anything until He breaks it. When Gideon’s pitcher was broken, the light shone through! When the lad brought his 5 loaves and two fish, Jesus broke them and fed multitudes. Mary’s alabaster box was broken to anoint Jesus. At the Last Supper, Jesus broke the bread: “This is my body, broken for you.” David wrote: “A broken and a contrite heart, Thou will not despise.” There’s no blessedness without brokenness.
3. Gold melts as heat—persecution, trials, affliction—rises. You can’t be refined without it. It doesn’t mean God doesn’t love you or He’s forsaken you.
Three categories of people are reading this right now: those in trouble, those getting out of trouble, and those about to enter trouble. A faith that can’t be tested can’t be trusted. God puts you in the furnace to test you, so when Jesus comes you’ll be pure before Him.
4. Ore is purified. God “shall sit as a refiner” (Malachi 3:3).
He’s sovereign. He knows exactly what He’s doing. He’s sympathetic. He has His eye on you, watching, caring. The refiner sits right there because the gold and silver are precious to him. He continues until we’ve been purified. How does He know when we’re pure? When He can see His reflection in the silver. He’s reproducing in you the image of Jesus Christ.
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 honor and glory at the appearing of Jesus Christ: (1 Peter 1:6-7).
Lastly you will reflect the glory of God. When you’re purified, you’re no longer tarnished but bright, reflecting His glory.
Then what becomes of you? “And they shall be mine, saith the LORD of hosts, in that day when I make up my jewels….” (Malachi 3:17)
You’re part of His trophy, His diadem, His praise when He returns. We’ve only a few more days left on this earth, even if Jesus doesn’t come again in our lifetime. Turn in the superficial you. Exchange it as God refines you to become the supernatural you. Let the Lord refine you, making you what He wants you to be.
Are you doubting that you’re really saved? You can know for certain. Adrian Rogers has written a booklet to help—“Blessed Assurance—A Know-So Salvation, available here at a nominal cost.
To hear the entire message—including more content than we can share here—it will be available 24/7 on our website www.lwf.org beginning Thursday, June 26, and on radio nationwide. You can also hear it at www.oneplace.com starting June 26.
If you’d like a CD copy for your own study and review or to share with a loved one or friend, call us at 1-800-LOVE-GOD and request Message # 1398, “Superficial or Supernatural?”
When you appreciate the virtues of the Word of God, assimilate the vitality of the Word of God, and appropriate the values of the Word of God, then the Bible will burst aflame in your life! Also included in the Spiritual Growth Package.