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Are You Running? - Part 2 of 2

Baptist Bible Hour / Lasserre Bradley, Jr.
The Truth Network Radio
July 11, 2022 12:00 am

Are You Running? - Part 2 of 2

Baptist Bible Hour / Lasserre Bradley, Jr.

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July 11, 2022 12:00 am

“I have stuck unto thy testimonies: O Lord, put me not to shame. I will run the way of thy commandments, when thou shalt enlarge my heart” (Psalm 119:31-32).


Oh, for a thousand tongues to sing, my great Redeemer's praise, Thou the grace of my God and King, Thou triumphs of His grace.

This is Lisei Bradley, Jr., welcoming you to another broadcast of the Baptist Bible Hour. Faith is the brightest evidence of things beyond our sight. It pierces through the veil of sense and dwells in memory light.

It sets times past in present view, brings distant prospects home of things a thousand years ago or thousand years to come. He sought a city fair and high, built by eternal hands. And faith assures us, though we die, that every building stands. You probably get tired of me saying this, but if we're going to stay on the air, I have to remind people that we need help meeting our expenses during these summer months, which have traditionally proved to be particularly challenging. So if you can help us at this time, we will be very thankful for it. Our address is Baptist Bible Hour, Box 17037, Cincinnati, Ohio 45217. We continue with the study in Psalm 119. This section is entitled, Are You Running?

Hebrews chapter 12, verse 1. Wherefore, seeing we're all so compassed about with so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight and the sin which doth so easily beset us, and let us run with patience the race that is set before us. The word patience literally means with perseverance, continue running. You say, I'm tired, then you run anyway. You say, I just don't know if I'm going to make it, you keep running. Run with patience, persevering, holding on your way.

How are you going to do that successfully? Looking unto Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith, who for the joy that was set before Him, He endured the cross, despising the shame, and is set down at the right hand of the throne of God, for consider Him that endured such contradiction of sinners against Himself, lest ye be wearied and faint in your minds. You may become weary, you may become faint, but you consider Jesus Christ.

Look what He endured, look at how He was maligned and falsely accused. Look at how He was betrayed by one of His own, how He was forsaken by the rest. He was spit upon, He was nailed to a cross, and He bore it all patiently, because He said, I delight to do Thy will, O God. Looking unto Jesus, the apostle says, I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me. He says we have a great high priest who can be touched with the feeling of our infirmities, because he was tempted in all points, like as we are yet without sin. So we can come to Him and say, Lord, the race is challenging, I sometimes am weary, I sometimes seem to be barely moving when I ought to be running, and I ask for grace to help me. And He's promised that there's grace to help in the time of need when we come and ask for it. Looking unto Jesus, now He says to lay aside every weight and the sin that does so easily beset us.

If you're trying to run this race with a heavy overcoat on, you're not going to make much progress. There's some things that need to be laid aside. The influences and interests of this world, the burdens that often so beset us, the sins that so distract us, lay these things aside that you may run that race with patience. And then we find the apostle in the third chapter of the book of Philippians, this very familiar passage talking about his determination in this race. Philippians chapter 3 verse 13, brethren, I count not myself to have apprehended, but this one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind and reaching forth of those things that are before. I press toward the mark for the pride of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus.

Are you pressing toward the mark? Now if a person reaches the place that they make the assumption because I have gained the knowledge of certain fundamental doctrines, I once didn't understand that salvation is by grace and I see that now. So I've reached this plateau. It's no need for me to be concerned about going farther.

This is the ultimate. I've come to the final high ground of doctrine. And so I don't need to go any farther.

Listen, I'm confident that the apostle Paul had greater insight and understanding as to the doctrines that he wrote about as the Holy Spirit of God inspired him, the doctrines that he preached about, the doctrines that we adhere to and embrace here today. And yet this man said, I'm pressing toward the mark of the high calling. He didn't say, I've been running up to this point, but I finally reached the finish line. No, the finish line wasn't going to come until he died. That's the finish line. Till that point, you're still running.

This is not a casual stroll. That probably would define more Christians than to talk about those that really are running. Well, yeah, I'm kind of moving along in this Christian path. I read my Bible periodically if there's not something that distracts me.

I go to church if there's not something I would rather be doing. I'm kind of, you know, I'm keeping moved in the right direction, but they're not running. They're just casually going along the way, rather complacent about it all. Let me tell you something, if you're running a race, you can't be complacent. You've got to be intense. You've got to be focused on what's going on. You're putting yourself into it.

This is a wholehearted effort. I'm running. I intend to get to the finish line. How would you describe yourself in your Christian experience today? This is just between you and the Lord.

You probably know a lot more about your status than you'd want to share with everybody else, and I guarantee you the Lord knows more about it than even you do. So could you really say honestly before the Lord today, Lord, I'm running. I'm running this race. Or would you have to admit, if I've ever run, I've slowed down a lot.

I had a lot of things get in my way, a lot of things I don't understand, a lot of things trouble me. Oh, he's talking about running. I'm going to run in my statutes. We must do the running. I will run.

See, when we talk about the grace of God, some people get a terrible misconception and think, well, if God has saved my soul by grace, then everything that goes on here, He's going to do it for me, and I just sit back and watch it. No, He says, I will run. In fact, look at the things in this section that He talks about doing. In verse 20, He says, I long for the law. I desire it. I seek after it.

I'm interested in it. In verse 23, He says, I meditate upon it. That's something you do. In verse 24, He says, I delight in it. In verse 30, He says, I choose it. In verse 31, He says, I hold it fast. I'm stuck to it, stuck unto thy testimonies.

In verse 32, He says, I run the race. He's involved. He's doing something.

How is it with you? Obviously, we need His blessing. We need His blessing to enlarge our heart. I will run in thy way and thy commandments when thou shalt enlarge my heart. I don't think He's saying, Lord, I sit here idly and will do nothing until thou has enlarged my heart. But He is acknowledging that as He runs, He must be dependent upon the grace of God and ask that God will enlarge His heart for that purpose. The heart is the inner man.

That's the real you. Oh, Lord, expand it. Enlarge my heart. Enlarge my heart to love.

I want to be able to love more. A person that might be described as having a narrow heart, a cold heart, an indifferent heart, would not be full of love. But, oh, Lord, enlarge my heart.

And as my heart is enlarged, I want it to be a big heart. You'll hear that expression used to talk about somebody who said, well, they have a big heart. Well, when we're talking about this heart by divine grace, we want it to be a big heart, a heart that's full of love. First of all, love for God. Jesus said in Matthew 22, verse 37, that you're to love for God. Matthew 22, verse 37, that you're to love the Lord thy God with all thy mind, heart, soul, and strength, with all your heart. It takes a big heart to truly love God, to love God with all your heart.

And that should be our prayer and desire. But not only should we love Him, we should love others. 1 Peter 1, verse 22, seeing ye have purified your souls in obeying the truth through the Spirit unto unfeigned love of the brethren, see that ye love one another with a pure heart fervently.

See that you love one another with a pure heart. This is a godly love. This is the kind of love Paul's talking about in 1 Corinthians, chapter 13.

It's a necessary part of the Christian's life. You find it difficult to love some people. Indeed, there are some easier to love than others.

Some people have a way, it seems, of constantly putting up barriers and making it difficult to love them. But we're told in Scripture we're even to love our enemies. It takes a big heart, doesn't it, to love your enemies and to pray for those that despitefully use you? It takes a big heart. Lord, enlarge my heart. Enlarge my heart that I can love you as I ought and love others as I should. Lord, enlarge my heart so I can understand your word. That's its desire.

Verse 27 of our passage says, make me to understand the way of thy precepts. So shall I talk of thy wondrous works. Lord, enlarge my heart so that I'm not just mechanical about this thing.

I don't want to just have technical information. I want it to be a heart experience. I want my heart to be full. I want to love your word with all my heart.

Increase my understanding. One of the blessings that God bestowed upon Solomon is described in the book of 1 Kings, chapter 4, which says, and God gave Solomon wisdom and understanding exceeding much and largeness of heart, even as the sand that is on the seashore. With regard then to the special wisdom that God gave Solomon. He gave him wisdom and understanding exceeding much and he couples that with largeness of heart.

So God gave him great insight, great understanding. His heart was large. I believe that this largeness of heart will enable us to have great joy, a heart full of joy. How much joy do you experience in your fellowship with Jesus Christ? So easy to focus on the difficulties, the disappointments, the challenges, but what about rejoicing in the Lord? As he tells us in Philippians, chapter 4, the fourth verse, to rejoice in the Lord always and again I say rejoice, rejoice in him. Psalm 16 verse 9, therefore my heart is glad and my glory rejoiceth, my flesh also shall rest in hope.

My heart rejoices. Our heart's going to rejoice when our heart is enlarged. When it's enlarged, loving God and loving others and loving his word and having understanding of his word, then there's going to be joy. Many times we lack that joy because our minds become cluttered by the thinking that's prevalent in our day.

We've listened repeatedly to the counsel of others that are not giving us godly counsel but only humanistic thinking. A heart that is enlarged will be a heart that will find great joy. A heart that's been enlarged will be a giving heart, a generous heart. Some people have a real challenge when it comes to giving anybody anything.

They're covetous, they're greedy, they're self-focused and giving is just not a part of the way that they think about life. But in the book of 2 Corinthians chapter 9 verse 7 Paul writes, every man according as he purposeth in his heart so let him give not grudgingly or of necessity for God loveth a cheerful giver. If your heart has been enlarged you're not thinking what's the least I can get by with? Can I give just this little bit to the service of God and it'll be all right?

Can I just help this one person in need and that'll take care of it for the next six months or the next year? No, the person whose heart is enlarged is looking for opportunities to give. And if a man gives a purpose within his heart some might say well I don't purpose to give much then you got heart trouble. We're talking about a heart that needs to be enlarged full of God's love and grace delighting to give. God loveth a cheerful giver not one that gives grudgingly, not one that's trying to hold back, not one that's just trying to say well maybe I'll give enough to keep the Lord from putting the rod on me but I hope this is enough to accomplish that. No, it's a heart that delights to give. Do you find joy in giving? Have you found a blessing in it?

Is it a delight to you? Are you able to say even as David did when he was thanking God for the materials that have been brought together for the ultimate use to construct the temple and he said oh Lord we thank thee that we're able to bring a portion of that which you have given us and return it for your service. It wasn't like they were enriching God as though this is something that they had produced themselves. God has given us everything we have and all we're doing is returning a portion of it and I delight Lord that I've been blessed to have something I can give. But so many times covetousness has taken over and it's been an interest of how much we can accumulate, how many things we can possess and often when a person accumulates more the spirit becomes more narrow and it's more of a greediness and a possessiveness. I've gotten all of this and I've gotten it by my own ingenuity and I'm going to hold on to it but how marvelous to see a heart that's enlarged and delights to give. The apostle commended the church at Philippi because they had been generous in giving to him, not because he was concerned about the amount that they had given because he wanted to see them bearing fruit. What a difference it makes in a church when there is a spirit of giving, hearts that are enlarged. Now you see a person may go along for a while running this race and seemingly doing very well and then suddenly there's a distraction.

It's always so perplexing when you see somebody who has been in the race. They've talked about the things of God. It wasn't difficult to have a conversation with them about spiritual things. They didn't like to talk about God and his word.

They're always present in his house. They're a part of the service and then you see them grow cold and drift away. As Paul wrote to the church of Galatia, he said in chapter 5 and verse 7, "'Ye did run well, who did hinder you that ye should not obey the truth? This persuasion cometh not of him that calleth you.'" Now Paul was talking particularly about a people who were distracted doctrinally. The Judaizers had come into these churches claiming that they had to keep the law of Moses for their salvation.

And Paul is pointing out that Jesus Christ is the end of the law. He fulfilled it. And as far as the salvation of our soul is concerned, he is our righteousness. And it's as we stand clothed in that imputed righteousness that we have acceptance before God.

He said, "'Ye did run well, you went along the journey very well for a time. Who did hinder you? How is it that you've been pulled aside? How is it that you've turned to another teaching, another doctrine that you should not obey the truth?' I said, I'll tell you this, this persuasion, although you've been persuaded to turn aside, this persuasion is not of him that calleth you, it's not of God." And sometimes when people make the wrong turn, move in the wrong direction, they feel very confident that whatever they're doing at the moment is perfectly justified.

They try to defend it. And sometimes they'll even say, God is leading me to go this route. Oh, may we pray, Lord, help me to stay on course that I may have a heart of love, a heart to understand, a heart of joy, a heart to give. And another reference that's made to that service that comes from the heart is our singing. Ephesians chapter five, verse 19, speaking to yourselves and psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody in your heart to the Lord. How wonderful when a heart has been enlarged and a person is rejoicing in the Lord. And now I want to sing his praise. It's not just a matter of saying, okay, the song service is ready to start, let's get a book and sing. It's as we turn to those hymns and those hymns express the truth about our great God. And we worship him by praising him. It should come from a heart of love, making melody in our heart of love, making melody in our heart unto the Lord.

I was talking to the gentleman on the phone the other day who was going to be one of the speakers at this history conference I'll be speaking at the first of August. He was intrigued by the fact that in his research, he had looked at all of the hymns that were in use among Baptists prior to the Civil War. And he had selected 23 hymns that most every Baptist group, regardless of their particular affiliation, were singing those hymns. And then he took the hymnals that are in use today and he said out of all of those hymns that primitive Baptists have more of them still in use than any other body of people.

He said that must say something about your tenacity in holding on to what you believe. And I appreciated that observation that the hymns that speak of the greatness and glory of God and the marvels of his grace, while there are some hymns of experience and some hymns of other themes, that those basic hymns containing doctrinal truth are the ones that have endured the test of time and the ones that we love to sing today. Sing making melody in your heart to the Lord. A heart that's enlarged is a heart that is ready to serve. Paul said in Philippians 1 21, for to me to live is Christ and to die is gain.

This is what my life is all about. My heart is full of love for Jesus Christ and therefore that's what my whole life is, living to the glory of Jesus Christ. Psalm 9 verse 1, the psalmist speaks of serving with his whole heart.

So it's not a half-hearted service, it's a wholehearted thing. We pray, O Lord, enlarge our heart. I will run in the way of thy commandments when thou shalt enlarge at large my heart.

Do you desire to have your heart enlarged? Do you pray, Lord, help me to grow, help me to have an expanded heart of love and understanding something not just in my mind but with my heart, to have a heart full of joy, a heart that delights to give, a heart that delights to sing, a praise, a heart that delights to serve, Lord, enlarge my heart. Are you running in the way of his commandments? Have you allowed yourself to become weary by the difficulties of the way and you're doing more resting than you are running? Oh, there's a sense in which we always rest ourselves by faith in Jesus Christ as our hope and savior, but we're to be running the race.

I will be running the race, I will be running the race, I will be running the race. Well, I'm glad you've been with us today. Hope you'll come back at this same time tomorrow. We'd certainly love to hear from you. Our mailing address is Baptist Bible Hour, Mach 17, 037, Cincinnati, Ohio 45217. Till we come back at this same time tomorrow, this is LeSaire Bradley, Jr. bidding you goodbye, and may God bless you. It is my story, this is my song, Praising my Savior all the day long. This is my story, this is my song, Praising my Savior, praising my Savior, all the day long.
Whisper: medium.en / 2022-11-27 17:46:12 / 2022-11-27 17:55:14 / 9

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