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Neglecting Salvation - Hebrews 2:1-4 - Jesus Is Better

Made for More / Mercy Hil Church
The Truth Network Radio
January 21, 2023 7:00 am

Neglecting Salvation - Hebrews 2:1-4 - Jesus Is Better

Made for More / Mercy Hil Church

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January 21, 2023 7:00 am

Christian, are you drifting? Are you in danger of drifting? What do you do? Go to the prescribed method for growth in your life…


Hey, at all of our campuses, can we just give the Lord some praise? Man, for a story just like that one, y'all, we want to see that exact story play out 180 times this year at Mercy Hill where someone comes, gives their life to Christ, follows in baptism, and this is just an incredible story of life change that we get to see. Hey guys, before we dive into the sermon, actually I'm going to go ahead and let you find the passage.

So we're in Hebrews chapter two, so you guys can take out your Bibles at all of our campuses and get to Hebrews chapter two. But man, before we dive into that part of the sermon, I just want to celebrate one more thing with you guys here this weekend, and that is that three years ago, and some of you may remember this, or some of you may be newer to Mercy Hill, you may not know everything about our church, but man, our church has a big vision for church planting, okay? We really have this big radical goal that one day we want to see more worshipers in the family of churches that we plant than just in the flock right here at Mercy Hill, okay?

So it's about multiplication. Well, we have been a church that has sponsored a lot of church plants and all that, but three years ago we moved from that partnering with church plants to parenting them. Actually raised up from within, sent out, some of you guys remember this, 50 people moved out to Tampa, Florida.

Eric and Kelly Hovis lead that team. Guys, that church, New City Church, turns three years old this weekend. Can we praise God for that? Man, can you just imagine?

I want you to think about this, okay? You move your life, you plant a church, and two months later the whole world shuts down. You think about how hard that was for a church like Mercy Hill.

It's been established for eight years before that happened, or seven years. These guys have been there for two months, and the whole world shuts down, and they're trying to figure out getting everything online and groups and social, I mean, all the stuff, right? Man, you know, God gave them courage, grit, backbone. Man, they just kept grinding. They kept at it. They stayed in the fight, and over the last three years, y'all, we have seen that church baptize 20, send over 20 on the mission field short term, and right now there are seven people with their applications in with the International Mission Board from that church to leave and go serve overseas.

So, I mean, it's just a testimony to what God is doing. Here's what I want you to do, all right? Here's what I want you to do. Let's flood the zone here, okay?

This is New City's address. Man, we need to send them birthday card. We're praying for you. We're excited for what God is doing in your life, and man, let's blow up their social media, okay? Let's give them some momentum by letting them have another couple hundred followers if you're not following one of our church plants already, and jump on that and give them some encouragement there.

All right, let's dive in. We're going to be in Hebrews chapter two, and here's what I want to talk to you guys about. If you're new to the series, you got to understand the book of Hebrews is a crash course in Christianity, all right? It is Christianity 101, and part of Christianity 101 is this concept. It is very much a concept of high stakes, okay? There are high stakes in the Christian life. Now, one of the things that we see in the Christian life for many is that it's very hard in the Christian life to step forward, to get saved, to move into your new life, and to stay there. Guys, this is one of the things that we're going to have to wrestle with here this weekend, and it's just hard, but it's a real thing. Guys, we're not all going to make it.

I want you to let that sit for just a minute. There's going to be a lot of people that start this journey, but they don't make it all the way to the end, and that's a scary thing, but it makes us see that the stakes are so high that we would continue to keep our eye on the message that is brought by the Son of God about the Gospel, that God loves us, and He's got His hands upon us, and that He wants us to make it, and that perseverance matters, because if we don't keep our eye on that, y'all, we will drift, and we will neglect salvation. Why? Why is it so hard for us to stay in a pathway, you know, of this new life that God has given us or that we have tried to embrace? Well, let me give you two reasons why it's very hard, okay? The first reason is because biologically everything in our life is wired to continue to do whatever we have always done, all right? So you guys have heard this, neuroscience. I was just talking to a Christian neuroscientist about this.

You know, things that fire together wire together, right? You guys have heard that before. You've seen that before.

It's just this concept that, you know, biologically speaking, we want to continue in the patterns that we have grooved into our life. The neuroscientist I was talking to, he said it's like this. He said, man, your brain is a little bit like, think of the state of New England just dumped by a foot of snow, or maybe 10 feet of snow, okay, if you're up there, right? And here's what happens. The first roads that get the plows are the ones that start to be open, and then what happens? People start driving on those roads, and the roads that got the plows and that got driven on all of a sudden open up, and now because they have been driven on, everybody else wants to drive on them. The roads that are driven on the most become the roads that everybody wants to drive on. Now, neuroscientists would say, man, that's biologically the way your mind kind of works.

What fires together wires together. The things that you've always thought, the patterns of behavior that you've always been in, they're grooved in your mind. It's the easiest path for you to go down. Biologically, it is very hard for us to make a decision for Christ and then to stick with it. To say, I want to pattern my life after something new, the Bible, and then to stick with it. But of course, we all understand, if you're in the church, the biology part is the easy part because there is a war that is waged against us. It is not only the biology of, it's hard for me to change, there's an actual enemy who says, hey, when you begin to immerse yourself in the word and you are attempting to conform your life to something that is new, I want to come in and throw you off the track of that. We are physically conditioned to go back to our old life.

We are in a war with an enemy that wants us to go back to our old life. And here's the deal. Sadly, man, we're not all going to make it. That's a hard thing, but it's the truth. Now, does that mean somebody loses their salvation? No, that's not what it means. What it means is that perseverance shows what the Spirit actually did in this world. The invisible church is made visible through persevering to the very end. And people one day go through something hard or whatever it is, and the world begins to come in and the trinkets begin to get into them and the world begins to get into them. And you guys know the parable of the sower in Matthew chapter 13, some it's through persecution, some it's because of the prosperity of the world, some it's just things get hard. Do you understand the parable of the sower?

Four seeds hit the ground, only one of them takes root. We're not all going to make it. And so that's why a message like this is so important because there is no escaping, you could say it like this, there is no escaping the consequences of neglecting salvation. Now, many of us, Christian, many of us want to say, well, that's something for the unbeliever.

No, no, no. We're going to see in this passage today in the book of Hebrews, there are people that come in and accept with joy, but they fall away. They prove themselves to have never been in the fold, but it looked sure, it sure enough looked like they were. Okay. And then they weren't, why?

They drifted away. They neglected salvation, even though they had already come into the church or whatever it is. Sure. To the unbeliever, to the non-Christian. And that's somebody at our campuses today.

I know that. I mean, every single service of every campus, there are people here that are just trying to check things out. We want to be a great church that invites you in. If that's where you are, what you need to hear is some people don't finish because they never started. Okay.

And that might be where you are. I'm going to call you to make a decision for the gospel today. All right. But others of us that have been believers for a while, you may want to try to sit back. Oh, this is for somebody else. No, it's for us.

This book was written to believers in a church. And you know what he says? Don't drift. Don't neglect. Keep your eye anchored on the gospel message because in it we will proactively begin to fight against drift.

Don't you understand? The book of Hebrews is a document to fight drifting away. That's what it is. It's a document to help you stay in the fight. And that's what I want to call us to do. Four verses.

All right. Let's read through them. And then we're going to go back and we're going to just kind of go line by line, verse by verse, and we're going to walk all the way through this passage. Let's dive in. Hebrews chapter two.

Here we go. Therefore, we must pay much closer attention to what we have heard, lest we drift away from it. For since the message declared by angels proved to be reliable in every transgression or disobedience received at just retribution, how shall we escape if we neglect such a great salvation?

It was declared at first by the Lord, and it was attested to by those who heard, while God also bore witness by signs and wonders and various miracles and by gifts of the Holy Spirit that were distributed according to his will. Now, we're going to see, I'm going to walk back through this, okay? We're about to see a lesser to greater argument. That's all it is. Hey, the message of angels was really reliable, and it showed us some things. What about the message of the Son? If we listen to the message of angels, giving us the law, I'm going to get into that, then what about the message from the Son? What about the message from Jesus? How much more should we listen to that? Here's what it says. Therefore, we must pay much closer attention to what we have heard, lest we drift away from it.

Now, this is what he's getting into here. Chapter one of Hebrews tells us a lot about Christ. Chapter two tells us a lot about how Christians should live in light of what they have heard about Christ, and that's what he's getting into here. Look at the first word in verse one of chapter two. He says, therefore. Now, every good Bible person, Sunday school person has heard this before, okay? In the Bible, when you see the word therefore, you're supposed to ask the question, what is it therefore?

Okay, right? All right, so if you see the word therefore, you got to say, well, what is it therefore? And what it's therefore is to say, guys, based off of what we have previously heard, pay much closer attention to this word from Jesus. Jesus is the final word. Jesus is the greatest word. Jesus ushers in a new era of salvation history.

The writer of Hebrews at this point is just making this argument, lesser to greater. Think about what we've heard. He's greater than the angels. Well, good, then we ought to listen to him in greater ways than we would listen to the angels. Look what it says. For since the message declared by angels proved to be reliable, and every transgression or disobedience received a just retribution, how shall we escape if we neglect a great salvation, such a great salvation?

It's less to mourn. Now, what was the message from angels? Now, we talked about angels last week. Pastor Brandt did an incredible job talking about angels. But when he says the message of angels, he's talking about something very specific, and it comes directly out of Acts chapter seven.

A guy named Stephen preaches a bang up sermon, ends up martyred. Okay, but here's what he says in his sermon. You who received the law as delivered by angels and did not keep it. That's why he gets into this in verse two, where he says every transgression or disobedience received a just retribution. Y'all, what is the law in the Old Testament? What is it if it is not summed up in Deuteronomy chapter 30 verse 19? I call heaven and earth to witness against you today that I have set before you life and death, blessing and curse. Therefore, choose life that you and your offspring may live. The message is reliable.

What was the message? It is the law. What is the law? Man, obey God and live. Disobey God and die. Disobey God, and you're going to need a savior to save you. If you can obey God, you're not going to need a savior.

But if you don't obey God, even one time in your life, you are going to need a savior to come because you're not going to be able to get there on your own. And this message was reliable. It was, you know, reliable from given from angels and even what we see in the Old Testament. There are notable examples that stand out of the reliability of what Deuteronomy 30 and angels delivered.

Let me give you a couple of examples. A guy named Korah rebels. The earth swallows him up. Aaron and his sons sinned.

They are consumed by fire. An entire generation died in the wilderness because they did not heed the old covenant. Here's what I think the writer of Hebrews is trying to get us to see, okay?

If the angels handed out the law and it was reliable and it is reliable, even today, obey and live, disobey, die, then what we need to realize is if the son has come and given us a word, we listen to the lesser word of angels. Man, we better listen to the lesser word. We better listen to the greater word, the final word of Jesus Christ, his son. Now, with that in mind, let's go back and read verse two, chapter verse one, just one more time.

With all that in mind, all that context, all right? Read this with me one more time. Therefore, we must pay much closer attention to what we have heard, lest we drift away.

And that's what I want to focus in on for just a minute, right? In light of how much greater the message by Christ, I think what he's saying is this, you need to pay attention to the gospel that is preached and lived out by Jesus Christ so that we will not drift away from God. Chapter one is the truth. Chapter two is the application.

One theologian said it like this. Chapter one is the situation of Christ. Chapter two is the situation of the Christians. Chapter one shows us who Christ is. Chapter two helps us frame our life around it.

And the way that we frame a life around Christ is to pay attention to his message so that we do not drift away from God. Now, what do some of these messages, what do some of these words mean? What's the imagery that's here in this passage? Y'all, the imagery is nautical. It's sailing. I don't know, somebody in here may be a sailor, okay? Maybe you have sailboats or whatever.

I don't. I don't have much experience in that world, but that's what he's getting at. Paying attention means to hold a course. It means to have the dial the right way, to see the lighthouse, to understand which way we're going. I have paid attention to the gospel message.

I'm seeing Jesus clearly, and therefore my life is being conformed to that image. If I don't hold a course, if I don't pay attention in that way, then I will, what does it say? I will drift away.

That is another nautical term. I do think I need to acknowledge here that every time I say that, I think of the Uncle Cracker song. Give me the beat boys, okay? I know that. I know you're thinking the same thing, okay? But you understand, I've got to hold, I've got to hold the course so that I don't drift. One time when I was in high school, all right, I had some knucklehead buddies. We're up on this, we're on the Suwannee River, and we're canoeing and tipping canoes over and just the whole thing, okay? And my buddy John and Patrick, they get way, way, way behind, and they're way behind, and they end up, we're goofing off too much and all that, and they end up saying, hey, we got to get up to where the rest of the group is, and so here they come. They're coming up to where the rest of the group is, and my buddy Patrick says, man, I'm going to put, he tells John, he says, man, I'm going to put my head down. I'm going to motor, and Patrick was an athlete, okay? And he's like, dude, I'm motoring. I'm putting my head down. I mean, I'm just going to go as hard as I can to get us to catch up. He says, John, I need you to kind of set the course, okay? I need you to kind of be watching, be paddling, but be watching for me, and as I get up there, you know, you need to, you need to just kind of make sure I don't, well, John thought this was hilarious, and I don't know if any of you guys have been on the Suwannee River.

It ain't like a bank, like a real gradual bank in places. It's like a wall. It's like a 20-foot wall, okay, of just like packed clay, and so John sees the wall coming because they've drifted off course from not holding the course, you know, and he just, of course, doesn't say anything, and he just braces himself for impact, and they just run right into the wall. Patrick goes flying, cracks his knees on the little crossbar.

They're going so fast that the oars come out of Patrick's hand, and it hits John right in the back, all right, and it was just, you know, we all laughed, and then he beat John up, and it was really funny, so, but this is the point. Without paying attention to the Gospel, we will drift off course. Now, what is the message? This is the, okay, so I keep saying, pay attention, pay attention, pay attention.

Well, pay attention to what? What do we see in chapter one? God sent His very Son to die for the sin of the world. Jesus Christ is the perfect sacrifice to pay for our sin.

He is the resurrection and a life. We have a new life in God. Church, are we paying attention to that message? And if not, what is stealing away our course? Why are we not holding course? Why are we drifting?

What is in our mind? I told you earlier, we're not all gonna make it. This passage is a warning to say, hey, come back and set your gaze on Christ and put yourself in a position to where the Holy Spirit can produce perseverance in your life.

Let me ask you that question very pointedly. Are we putting ourselves in a position for the Holy Spirit to produce perseverance in our lives? Do we remember the theme of this book together, church? Hold on to Jesus until the very end. That's what this book is about.

There are five major warnings in the book of Hebrews, and this is one of them. And what he's saying is this, man, hold a course and don't let go. If you let go, it's not that you lost something.

You let go and you prove that you never had something. And therefore, perseverance matters. Now, Christian, you gotta hear this because I don't want to inspire fear. Guys, every one of us go through desert seasons.

Every one of us go through things that are hard. And here's what a Christian does at the end of that time. They repent and they renew, but a non-Christian abandons. And they just keep walking away. And they don't go down the prescribed path that God has given them. We're going to talk about this later.

Gather groups give go. It's a pretty good summation of what the Bible tells us to do in our life in order to hold a course, in order to pay attention. We don't tell you these things to earn salvation. We don't tell you these things to get brownie points with God. We don't tell you these things because we need you to do it. We tell you these things because by and large, in churches like ours, things like ritual and tradition and rights have kind of lost their place and fallen out of favor.

But all they are is things that the church has done for millennia to help people remember to pay attention to the message. Gather groups, give, go. But many of us, man, we're drifting today. Why? Well, I don't, you know, I'm not grouping.

Why? Well, the kids schedule or I'm not, I'm not really gathering because why? Well, we can watch it online or I'm not really giving because, you know, I don't really know what, I don't, you know, I don't have a great, I've got some excuse.

I don't have a great picture of where it's going or I don't know exactly why. I don't know what, we've made an excuse to try to figure out a way out of the prescribed method and then we wonder why we're drifting. This is what God has called us to do. Many of us think rejection of Christ is one big decision.

No, it's a thousand little decisions. That's what drifting is. You know, there's another way that people have thought about this term drifting in the New Testament. Drifting can be like slipping away. Actually, you know, one person said it like this.

It's almost like, you know, I'll give you an illustration. When I was in seminary, I played in a flag football game. You remember this? I played a flag football game and I didn't realize that my wedding ring was gone for a couple of days after that game. And it just, because it had just kind of, it had just slipped away. It had just fallen off, you know?

And man, we ended up finding it, praise God, so I didn't get killed by my wife, but we did find it and all that. But my point is, it's not one big decision. It's a slipping. Not all of us are going to make it. You know how I know that? Because I've got the word that tells me that. Stuff like this, 2 Timothy 4, 10. Demas deserted Paul.

Why? Because he fell in love with the world. Matthew 7, 17. We are going to be known by our fruit.

2 Peter 1, 10. The Bible tells us to make our election sure. What does that mean?

It doesn't mean do a bunch of works. We are saved by the blood of Christ alone. And if we are saved, we can never fall away.

How do you make your election sure? You keep paying attention and you don't drift away. And you persevere all the way to the end. 2 Corinthians 13, 5 says this.

This is crazy. I feel like sometimes in churches like ours, the once saved always saved theology, which technically is right, but it becomes weaponized in a moment like this for us to begin to think that perseverance doesn't matter. What do you mean it doesn't matter? It's what reveals what the Spirit has done in our life. 2 Corinthians 13, 5 says this. To see whether or not you are in the faith. To see whether you are in the faith. There is a warning in Hebrews because there is danger in all of our lives of drifting away and of falling away.

You don't have a warning if there is not danger, right? I thought about this. I've told you guys this before. When I was a kid, I had these two rabbits. One was named Thunder, the other was named Lightning. Okay, I was very creative, all right? And one day I jumped this fence to go feed Thunder and Lightning, and there was a six-foot diamondback rattlesnake right under my feet, and he had just killed Thunder or Lightning.

I can't remember which one. I loved him a lot. Okay, I loved him. My dad gets home and I tell him there's a huge rattlesnake out there, so here's what he does. He walks out to the rattlesnake with me there 20 feet away, and he starts throwing pinecones at it. He's got his gun and everything, and he starts throwing pinecones at it in order to get the snake to strike and to rattle, and he says to me, do you hear that sound? And I will never forget it.

I mean, if you never heard it in the woods, it is a bone-chilling — there ain't but one sound like that in the world sound, if you've never heard a rattlesnake in the real world, okay? And he said, hey, bud, you run around these woods all the time, and you need to understand what that sound means because behind that sound is a bunch of danger. There's a warning there to not come any closer. Now, someone would call this good parenting. It may also be called child abuse. I don't know, okay?

It was pretty — and then he caught the snake and took it to a PETA-approved sanctuary because that's what — because that's what my dad would do, right? There is a warning for every single one of us, and the warning for us is to persevere in paying attention so that we do not drift away. Verse 3, how should we escape if we neglect such a great salvation? It was declared at first by the Lord, and it was attested to by those who heard, while God also bore witness by signs and wonders and various miracles — I want to talk about all this for just a minute — and by gifts of the Holy Spirit distributed according to His will.

Let me tell you this. One theologian, one preacher said it like this. I thought it was a great way to sum up the book of Hebrews. This book is one extended effort to not neglect salvation.

That's what it is. How will we escape the penalty of sin if we have neglected salvation? Either the wrath of God will fall upon every one of us because of our sin, or it will have fallen on Jesus, and by faith that we put in Him, God will apply His work to us.

There's only those two options. Now what this Bible is telling us here is, man, don't neglect that salvation. There are good reasons not to neglect. I'm not going to neglect. I'm going to get into that. Jesus spoke it.

There's been others that have attested to it, signs, miracles, wonders, and the spiritual gifting of the church. We're going to talk about that in just a second. But the first thing it says is this, don't neglect. Let me tell you everything I've already told you in a different way, okay? Because what is neglect? All it is is the opposite of pay attention.

That's it. I thought about this the other day. You know, new year, new things. I'm doing the whole three minutes cold shower in the morning.

It's supposed to try to flip your day where you go to bed at night or blah, blah, whatever, okay? And so I've been doing this thing in the morning, three-minute cold shower. Now, I didn't have my phone the other day, and so I tell Anna, I said, babe, it's only three minutes, okay? It's three minutes.

That's a long time, all right? I said, I don't have my phone. Can you get me in three minutes?

Can you set your phone? No problem. I'm like, babe, seriously, you got it? She's like, I got it, okay?

I got it. Well, she forgot me, okay? So I'm in the shower. I mean, she comes in, and she's like, hey, babe. And I'm like, man, this is the longest three minutes of my life. She's like, well, that's because it was five minutes, okay?

So, you know. But I think about that now, truthfully, you know, she's obviously paying attention to kids, running around, and all that kind of stuff, right? But that is kind of the idea of like, man, paying attention or neglect. All neglect means is I fail to pay attention.

That's it. And what the Bible is saying here is pay attention, don't neglect. How are we going to experience the benefits, the purpose in life, the heaven that awaits, the relationship with God if we have neglected this salvation? This salvation is something that we shouldn't neglect for a couple of reasons, and I just want to go through them quickly, what he says here. The first thing he says in verse three, if you look back, is this, that this salvation was spoken of and attested to by Jesus Christ.

All right, that's the first thing. It is given to, we pay attention because the Son has spoken it. Now, how do we have a record of the Son?

I talked about this two weeks ago. We have that in the Bible, hearing, faith comes by hearing, and hearing comes by the Word of God. Romans chapter 10 tells us that one theologian says it like this, when Scripture speaks, God speaks. And so we need to pay attention to that. Verse four says this, God also bore witnesses in signs and wonders and miracles.

Now, we use that term really lightly, okay? We say miracle. I mean, you know, I'm from Jacksonville, Florida, Jags fan, okay? Last week the game, if any of you guys saw it, miracle, okay? It was, you know, fifth greatest comeback in NFL history or whatever it was, third greatest comeback in the playoffs. People will say, wow, miracle, you know?

And it's like, well, I understand what you mean. But miracle means God has interrupted creation to bring about a different set of circumstances. What the Bible tells us is that we have seen that happen over and over and over multiple times. The Bible testifies to the greatest miracles, what Jesus has done in his life, what he's done in his life, death, and obviously in his resurrection, we have the record of the miracles, okay?

So why should we not neglect? Well, it's been spoken of, attested to, and confirmed with signs and wonders. But not only that, I want to say one more thing about this, but the spiritual gifts that have been given.

Don't you understand? A healthy church testifies to the truth of the gospel, that when we are using our giftings to edify the church, not for our own personal enjoyment, not to be puffed up, but when a church is healthy because its members are using its gifts and it's growing and people are drawn in, the changed church is a walking miracle that shows the truth of what God has done. Now let's apply all this, all right? So we've seen this, four verses. This is what I take from this passage.

I want to apply it to the non-believer, but first I want to talk in the household of faith and talk to the Christian first. Y'all, the first thing I would say is this, pay attention to God's great salvation. All right, pay attention. At its most basic level, what this is is a call for us to pay attention and to heed the warning. Five warnings in the book of Hebrews, this is one, and we are supposed to heed and understand there is danger on the other side.

I've used a bunch of illustrations of this already. Man, I'll give you another one right now. If you come to my house and get all the way to my house and get bit by a dog, it's your fault, not my fault. Do you know why? Because I got two massive beware of dog signs on the way up. Okay, now they're not gonna bite you, I don't think, all right? But I'm just saying, like, okay, there's two.

If you pass the first one, I've got another one so that you could see that one. Why? Because I'm trying to say, hey, warning, warning, warning. We don't warn unless there's something to warn about. And what there is to warn about in this passage is the drifting away, not the one big rejection, the thousand little decisions that go into drifting away.

You know, C.S. Lewis said it like this, I think this is spot on, exactly right, and I've seen it in my own ministry. Here's what he said, out of 100 people in mere Christianity, he said this, that walk away from the faith, how many of them are persuaded by argumentation versus how many of them simply drift away? How many of us have seen people in this church that were here and they're not here anymore? And I don't mean they went to another church, brothers and sisters, that happened, that's not what I mean.

I mean like they were here, they were with us, they were following Christ, they're not anymore. We're not all going to make it. This is a warning for us to circle the wagons and to pay attention to what he's calling us to pay attention to so that the drifting doesn't happen in our life. And that's what this is about.

So let me talk to the Christian. All right, let me just ask you this question. Are you in danger of drifting? Are you in danger of that today? What do you do if you're in danger of drifting? Can I give you one quick kind of illustration around this that may be just a thought project for you for just a minute? I want you to imagine that you're drifting at sea, you're languishing, your water is running out, the sun is beating down, you're wasting away day after day after day. You know, the water's gone, your situation is getting more and more and more dire and all that kind of stuff. And then you're just dying. Now I want you, this is a thought experiment, okay?

Now I want you to imagine that you're in that situation and right before you, clear as day, is a set of oars or even a boat motor that you could fire up and you just won't. Man, that makes absolutely no sense. Man, I see Christians all the time. In a church like Mercy Hill, that's where you are. Man, you're drifting, you're in pain, your relationship with God is dying on the vine, your physical health, your spiritual health, your mental health is deteriorating and yet you refuse to fire up the engine that God has given you that is there for spiritual growth. It's like, man, you want the benefit.

Are you paying attention so as not to drift away? This is why we say it all the time, gather groups, give go. Y'all, we get this from Acts chapter two, but all it is is what we believe in general terms.

This isn't all that goes into being a Christian. In general terms, this is the prescribed path that we would gather together and hear the preaching of the Word and learn how to read the Bible for ourselves, that we would group together in relationship and be known, that we would learn to give our time, talent and treasure and that we would ultimately live for a mission that is bigger than ourselves. Can we make a decision, Christian, to start that fight today, to fight the drifting and neglect in our life by taking back our mornings and getting to the Word, fight the neglect and drifting in our life by getting into the gathering and being here 50 times this year and don't miss. And we've got all these different services that you can come to. And if you do happen to be on vacation or whatever, to get back in and watch the service, fight neglect by being known this year, by being in community.

Guys, we already mentioned it in our services. There's 100 spots left in regroup. And I pray that if you're not in a group and not in relationships, that you would jump in and fill and fill one of those spots. Fight neglect by giving yourself away. Tithe, serve, be uncomfortable, live for something bigger than yourself. But the second group of people that I want to talk to here this weekend, lastly, is those of us who are here, you're interested, you're seeking, but man, you're not yet a believer.

You have never stepped over that line. And I said this earlier, we're not all going to make it. Some of us aren't going to make it because we simply have never started the race. So my question is, man, what's it going to be today? We have an opportunity today. I mean, pray to receive Christ, start the journey, party in heaven, new life. All that can happen today. The Gospel message is Jesus in my place.

That's what it is. We saw it in chapter one. Man, we talked about paying attention to it today, but let me tell you what it is one more time, that our sin deserves just retribution.

He mentioned that. Jesus took that just retribution for us. Man, it should have been us. We deserve it, but yet Jesus took it for us. The Bible tells us that sin brings death, period. Sin brings hell, period.

Sin brings separation from God, period. But Jesus took all of those things so that what is left for me, took them on the cross, dying for me, sacrificing himself for me so that what is left for me, man, is heaven, a purpose-filled life, a relationship with God. Man, to be reborn spiritually, this is what he offers me in you today.

And I pray that you'll take it. Man, if we neglect this salvation we will not escape. It's death and life. It's hell, it's heaven. It's pointlessness, it's purpose. It's nihilism, it's hope.

That's what we're talking about. Now that is some kind of message that has been put before you at our campuses. That is a message that has been put before you today.

What will you do with it? You know, I'm reminded of this story that came out of Hawaii in January 13th, 2018. Ballistic missile sirens are going off everywhere. Phones are saying this is not a test.

News stations, this is not a test. The sirens are going off, okay? And here's the deal. If you're in that situation, there's only two things that make sense. You either fully embrace the warning or you fully reject the warning.

Only two things that make sense. And people in Hawaii did both. Some run for cover, some are going to shelters, you know. Others are like, man, somebody made a big mistake. That can't be right.

And they just stood in their line at Starbucks. That's fine. Both of those make sense to me. Either I believe it and I run for shelter or I don't believe it and I don't lose my place in line.

What makes no sense is to hear that and decide to do a middle ground. Well, oh man, warning. Maybe I should close the shades. I'm going to lock the door, you know. I'm going to go get under the covers and kind of. That's the one that's silly because if the nuclear ballistic whatever is on the way, you don't need to cover yourself up in a blanket. You need a bunker.

Or if it's not on the way, then it doesn't matter and you just wasted time in your house, right? Full embrace or full rejection. That's the type of message that I'm bringing to you now. Embrace Christ heaven.

Reject him hell. Life, death, purpose, pointlessness, hope. Man, there's no, you know, nothing matters. It doesn't matter. Just a nihilistic view of the world.

What's it going to be? Would you bow your heads and close your eyes with me for just a few minutes here? And Christians can be praying.

We're going to go through just a quick moment here of invitation to all of our campuses. Guys, we have the opportunity right now, you know, to accept Christ and to pray to receive him. And I pray that the Spirit will be moving in our congregations here this weekend. Move upon the weakness of these words.

Move the mountains in people's heart. Spirit, I pray you will. Are you ready to accept Christ? Are you ready to step over that line? Man, you've been playing around. You've been trying to do the thing. You've been works, all that kind of stuff. You're hearing the message clearly this weekend that you need a full embrace.

And here's what that looks like. I admit in my sin, I deserve death in hell, but I believe that Jesus has done everything necessary to save me. And I confess him as the Lord of my life. Are you ready to pray that prayer? If you want to pray that prayer, then you pray it with me right now. All right, you just pray in your heart. You pray to the Lord at all of our campuses right here at Regional.

Man, you just pray this prayer in your heart with me. You say, Father, I know that I'm a sinner and God, I know that I deserve hell forever, but I pay attention to your message today and I don't want to drift from it. I believe that Jesus Christ did everything necessary to save me.

He substituted his life for mine. And God, I throw myself upon his grace and mercy. And Lord, I will follow you as the Lord of my life from this day forward.

Are you praying that prayer? Angels are beginning to rejoice in heaven. Man, God is doing so much right now here in this room and will across our church. Father, we come before you and we're so grateful. We thank you for what you're doing in our church this weekend. And Lord, I pray that we would see people take this next step here right now.

And they would do it. They would take this step with you. With heads bowed, eyes closed across all of our campuses, I'm going to ask you to take a step right now. And that's going to be to raise your hand and let us know that you accepted Christ today, right?

Now we're not coming forward and all that. And I'm going to talk to you about baptism here for another day, February 2nd and 5th. But right now at our campus event, you know, I'm going to be looking around, our campus pastors are going to be looking around, but everybody else head bowed, eyes closed. Hey, if you prayed to receive Christ this weekend, would you right now at all of our campuses and at Regional, if you prayed to receive Christ this weekend, would you shoot your hand up high and let me see that you prayed to receive Christ this weekend.

Just lift your hand up and leave it up for just a minute. I'm going to finish this prayer by praying for you. Father, we come before you right now. And Lord, we know that these that have raised their hands and will across our campuses, Father, I thank you for them. And I thank you for what you've done in their lives, that they have put their faith in you. And God, now we pray that they would take this next step and get into the baptismal waters and get into the discipleship pathways of this church.

God, keep them in Christ's name we pray. Amen. Guys, at all of our campuses, our baptisms are happening on February 2nd and 5th.

And you can sign up for that right now in your seat, okay? If you've become a believer here this weekend, the next step for you is baptism. If you know, hey, I need to be baptized. I've not been baptized biblically. I've not been baptized after salvation or you want to go through immersion baptism. I don't know.

Man, still same thing. You guys fill out that card. You can also fill it out online, but you can drop it in the buckets on the way out here of our services this weekend. Across all of our campuses, would you guys stand with me? Hey, we're going to go ahead and respond. And the way that we respond here at Mercy Heals is by praying, bringing and singing. You guys can come forward and pray at all of our campuses right up front at the altar. Man, we bring our tithes and offerings God gave His best. We bring our best. And let us sing at the top of our lungs and shout for joy this weekend.
Whisper: medium.en / 2023-01-21 10:17:09 / 2023-01-21 10:34:58 / 18

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