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Jesus, Our Forerunner - 6

Beacon Baptist / Gregory N. Barkman
The Truth Network Radio
April 6, 2022 8:00 am

Jesus, Our Forerunner - 6

Beacon Baptist / Gregory N. Barkman

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April 6, 2022 8:00 am

Pastor Don Theobald concludes the six-message series Don't Quit-Persevere from Hebrews 6.

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Well, it's hard to believe that it's Wednesday night.

It seemed like it was just Sunday morning, this morning kind of thing. And here we are, a week, half a week that has just flown by and it has been a real privilege to worship with you and to fellowship with you and to share God's Word with you. I just want to thank on behalf of Marlene and our granddaughter Bethany, thank you so much for your, not so much Southern hospitality, but your Christian hospitality.

And people have been very, very kind to us and we greatly, greatly appreciate that. We want to thank the pastors and the elders and deacons for inviting us back. I don't know if they'll invite me again, but if they do, I have a feeling I'm going to have to bring Bethany. In fact, I think they really won't care if I come back as long as Bethany comes back.

So, but that would be great. And we just want to thank you for your prayers and for your friendship. We've been coming on and off since I think 27, like 2007, and it's been so good to be connected with the body of Christ. And these kind of days are just a little foretaste of the eternities to come when we not only will love God with all of our being perfectly, but we will love each other perfectly.

And we have all kinds of family members we've never met yet from all the nations of the world and all down through history. And it's going to take eternity just to get to know the family and to hear the wonderful things that God has done in them and God has done through them. Well, if you'll take your Bible one more time to Hebrews 6, I hope it won't be your last time, but in our time together, Hebrews 6.

And I'm just going to read again verses 19 and 20. We have this as a sure and steadfast anchor of the soul, a hope that enters into the inner place behind the curtain where Jesus has gone as a forerunner on our behalf, having become a high priest forever after the order of Melchizedek. Let's bow our heads and once again seek the favor of the Lord. Our gracious savior, we thank you that we can come boldly to a throne of grace, which is a throne of righteousness, a throne of justice, a throne of mercy, a throne of sovereignty, a throne of almighty power, of unspeakable wisdom. And we thank you that a man is on that throne tonight, that he befriended us when we did not want his friendship, and he pursued us, he sought us, and he wooed us and won us to himself. And we thank you that although we do not see you yet, Lord Jesus, we do love you.

And although we do not see you, we do believe in you. And we thank you for giving us your word and giving us your spirit so that we might know Jesus Christ, whom to know is life eternal. You have blessed us this week, but we would be bold because we are your children and ask for further blessing. We pray that you would open the scriptures to us and you would open us to the scriptures. We pray, Father, that the things that we hear we will heed. We pray the things we will hear we will mix with faith. And we pray that the things that we hear will not rise up in the judgment day and condemn us, but on the judgment day will be further evidence of the good work of God in our souls. We pray you'll bless us tonight. Many have had a busy day.

There's work, there's family, there's responsibilities. And we come tonight, we know that we have an enemy who prowls about seeking not only to devour us, but to distract us and to deceive us. And we pray that you would restrain him. We also have the weariness of the flesh and we pray for your spirit to give us victory there. And we pray that once again we would gird up the loins of our mind so that we might grapple with the word as the word grapples with us. So bless us so that we might be a blessing to you. Bless us so that we might be a blessing to the church. And bless us so that we might be a blessing to this lost and dying world. We ask for Jesus' sake.

Amen. Well for the very last time we've driven up to 6 Hebrews Lane. And before we go in to look at the last room in the house, I just want to remind us of a few things. First of all, this 6 Hebrews Lane is just one of 13 homes in this cul-de-sac. Each one of these homes is different. Some are larger than 6 Hebrews Lane. Some are smaller. But they've all been designed by the same architect, but they are not identical. They're not like these newer places where they just cookie cut and you know they all kind of look the same.

Everyone is different and unique. Not only because of the designer, but because of the builder. I need to remind you about 6 Hebrews Street, that the house is 2,000 years old. And in a sense, if we go into the house and begin to tour around, the tendency is to think that what we need to do is remodel this. We have to update it. You know, if you ever watch those programs flip it or flop it or love it or list it or whatever it might be, you know, especially it's the wife who goes through and says, oh, well, I want to change this and I want to change that.

And we're going to have to enlarge this. We'll have to take that wall out. And that's why you have to flip it or fix it, I guess. But not with this house. This house needs no alterations. This house cannot be altered. It cannot be remodeled. It cannot be refashioned.

It cannot, quote, be brought up to date. What's unique about this house is that it never changes. But do you know who changed it?

The people who come into it. The purpose of this house is not to get your ideas and my ideas and our ideas of what it should be. The purpose is that we might come into this house and see what the architect and the builder have designed this house to do. And what they designed this house to do is to change us. To change us from the inside out.

Now, we came up to the front porch. And remember, we came as not rich city folk trying to find a nice place in the country. We've come as sinners. We've come as immature, struggling spiritually believers. We've come with need.

We do not have a budget. We do not have our ideas of what should be and what shouldn't be. We're coming because we're desperately needy. And so we come to this house and we need to see something as we get into the house after we've knocked on the door and came into chapter six. We saw that right away we were cautioned. We were warned. Serious caution.

Serious warning. What we need to understand about this house is that each room leads naturally to the next room. And you can't skip and go to the third room or skip and go to the fifth room. It is crucial that you go through all the rooms in the order that they've been laid out by the architect. But what's interesting about this house is there's an open concept that, well, you must see one before you see two and two before you see three.

The other unique thing about this house on 6 Hebrews Lane is that from any room you can see the other four rooms. One more thing we need to mention before we come to room number five. We need to realize that in every home there are structures within that home that are weight bearing. That is that you cannot remove that structure or the whole thing will come tumbling down. The building is laid out in such a way that the stress points and the weight of all of this is going to be handled by these crucial beams and walls and in this case room five.

Everything about this house ultimately is built around room five. Now room one if you remember was a caution. The caution is this that we do not come to the home on Hebrews six and tell it what we think it should say. We are to make very sure that we do not in any way debom or defuse the power of this book and of this chapter by forcing it to answer questions that it isn't intended to answer.

And then we have some in room two it's a warning room that professing Christ is not a light thing. It's not like the Coke or Pepsi challenge. You know try it.

See if you like it and if you don't well at least you said you tried it. You don't try Jesus. You don't try the king of the universe.

You don't try the only savior for sinners. He is the Lord of glory. Holy angels shield themselves as they come into his presence. They immediately obey every word every command. They never sleep.

They're never weary. They're constantly serving the son of God. And you don't play fast and loose with the gospel. This gospel is not on your terms. It is in the savior's terms. In room three we saw encouragement that the people of God are truly loved.

Loved by God and loved by the people of God. And the people of God are truly people who have clear evidence that they're saved. This gospel works.

It isn't kind of a Jesus teddy bear that I cuddled in the night. This is a gospel that moves in and takes over and transforms a person so that they never again will be what they used to be. This gospel as I said works. We saw last night that this gospel is always pointing, whether it's in the cautions, whether it's in the warnings, whether it's in the encouragements is always pointing to the promises. Always pointing to the promises. And the room four tells us that I have no excuse for stop believing because the God who has made these promises has given us his promise and his sworn oath that he guarantees everything that he says in this book he will fulfill.

Down to the very last detail. So I have no reason to doubt him. I have no reason to despair. I have no reason to reject this.

I have no reason for looking for other places to believe in. This God keeps his word. In fact his word became flesh and dwelt amongst us, didn't he?

And we beheld his glory, the glory of the only begotten of the father. Well, room four brings us to room five. And you will notice in verse 18 and again verse 19, the title of this room is hope. A four letter word, not all four letter words are bad words.

This one certainly isn't a bad word. It is part of the very essence of being a Christian. We're to be people of faith. We're to be people of love and we're to be people of hope. And our hope is not the kind of hope that we have in terms of maybe cheering for our favorite sports team. Boy, I sure hope my team can win this year. It's not the kind of hope we have when boy, I sure hope I can pass calculus or I can sure hope I can pass chemistry or physics or I sure hope I can meet a pretty girl and get married one day.

Now there's odds on all those things and none of them are 100%. This hope is 100% sure. This hope is not the kind of thing you close your eyes and cross your fingers and hope and hope and hope it's true.

This hope is a kind of hope that you open your eyes and you look as objectively as you can and you say it's a done deal. I've not been sent on a fool's errand. I have not been kind of somehow convinced to believe in something that really isn't true. The gospel isn't like the tooth fairy or the Easter Bunny or Santa Claus or any of this other stuff.

The gospel is historically true and it is the only hope in the world. The divine comedy, the gate over hell says, abandon all hope you who enter here. We live in a culture that continually says they've abandoned hope. Teenagers committing suicide, people despairing, overdosing, shooting themselves, all kinds of things. And the reason is because in spite of all of our talk about hope, we really don't have hope because what we've done is put hope in ourselves.

You've got it in you to be in to do what you want to be and do. Well, if I've ever looked at me for more than 20 minutes, I'm pretty hopeless, especially about the real issues of life. And the real issue of life is, as we'll see in a couple of minutes, is how does a sinner like me go into the presence of the holy God of the universe and feel comfortable there and feel accepted there? And if I deal with that great dilemma, how in the world can a God who is absolutely just justify a sinner and maintain his justice? That's the great question of the age.

And the answer is found in the person who resides in room five. Because you see, promises are promises are promises until they're realized. And all of the promises of God are yes and amen in Jesus Christ. So that brings us to what this is all about. You see, Christianity is not kind of a self-help recovery thing. It's not a radical change of living patterns and things like that. It's not religion.

It's not doing the right things at the right time. Christianity is bringing a sinner into a personal intimate relationship with Jesus Christ. I've never seen him, but I have tons of love letters and I go over them and over them and over them and over them.

They never get old. In fact, the more I read him, the more I see, he really does love me. Now, what Hebrews six is intending to do is to keep me from falling away. And as I said last night, if you fall away, if you apostatize, if you pack it in before you cross the finish line, you have nobody to blame but you.

You can't blame the church, you can't blame hypocrites, you can't blame, certainly you can't blame God. And what Hebrews six is saying is for sure you can't blame God because he has done all that he can do to convince you that you keep believing, you keep pressing on, you keep persevering, you keep holding on tight. Now he says in verse 19, we have a word of possession. We have a sure and steadfast anchor for the soul. The Bible is filled with metaphors or illustrations that tried to describe to us the indescribable.

And Jesus is sometimes shown to be a lamb, other times to be the shepherd, other times to be a door, other times to be bread from heaven, living water, a temple, all of these wonderful illustrations that what it tries to do is bring Jesus down in our concepts so that we can at least get a little bit of grasp because we must remember that ultimately Jesus is unexplainable. He's out of this world. There is no one like him.

There never has been and there never will be. I like to collect hockey cards and a number of years ago I bought a box of hockey cards in my favorite teams, the Boston Bruins, don't boo or anything, and my favorite player is Bobby Orr and in this box of hockey cards I got a signed Bobby Orr card. I was thrilled until I read the fine print and there's at least 500 of these signed Bobby Orr cards in circulation just from this one package.

And Bobby Orr in my mind was the greatest defenseman there ever was, but you have to compare him to this guy and that guy and the other guy and then as he's retired now other people come, they're being compared to Bobby Orr. But you know there's no one you can compare Jesus to. No one.

No one. And yet we're asked to believe. And so God very kindly gives us illustrations and metaphors and pictures so that we can with faith grasp on to at least a little bit of what is true about Jesus. And here he is an anchor. Now I'm a land lover. I can hardly walk on land so I'm not overly thrilled about being out in a boat. But I do know that the seas get pretty rough and troubled and difficult and any boat that's worth its name of being called a boat has an anchor. And you need to throw this heavy object overboard when you at least want to kind of stop even in calm water.

But especially in troubled water you want a good anchor that will hold, that will dig into the sand or whatever's down there and keep that boat from being destroyed by the very element that it's in which is the water. And the Bible says that we have an anchor not for a boat but for what is invisible, my soul. I can't see it.

I've never seen it. But I've been to enough funerals. I've taken a number of funerals and how many times have people said, you know, the real Johnny Brown isn't here.

He's in heaven. And you look at the body and it's there. But they understand that we're more than a body, that God made the body out of the dust of the ground and then breathed into it a living soul. And death is the parting, the separating of the body which goes back into the ground and the soul which continues to live somewhere forever. And you see what the believer needs is an anchor for the soul because it's not that we're in troubled waters.

It's in, we're in a very troubled world. And with all of its troubles, the problem with this world, it's not a friend of grace. When the savior himself, the very son of God came into this world, the world attacked him and opposed him and sought to convince him, convict him of sin and trumped up charges against him, had a kangaroo court and falsely, falsely condemned him and then crucified him. In a sense, they would do it again today if they could, if they could get their hands on Jesus. And that's why, because they can't, when they can get their hands on Christians, they do some pretty terrible things. Now notice where this anchor is in verse 19.

It's not in the water. It's in the most holy place in the universe. When Moses went up to the mountain to build the tabernacle, he was to do everything according to the pattern. What the tabernacle and then the temple were like is when these, you know, big construction people are going to build a new subdivision or a big complex downtown, they build a model. And so everybody can see that, well, this store is going to be here and Bojangles will be there and Hockey Arena will be here. The library will be there.

And you can come and you can look at it and you say, wow, that looks pretty impressive. And Moses was to make a tabernacle that represented in the theological sense what heaven is like. And everything was to be made exactly according to the pattern. And we won't go through all the details, but in the actual tabernacle or tent or place of meeting, there was a holy place and there was a lampstand and a table for bread.

Think of incense. And the priests would go in and out day by day doing priestly work. But there was a curtain and it didn't technically have it, but it said, do not enter, danger high voltage. And only one person once a year could go into that holy place. And in that place was the Ark of the Covenant. The Ark was a box and in it were the 10 commandments, the royal covenant that God made with Israel. And on top of it was a mercy seat and then angels. And once a year, one man would go into that holy place with blood.

Ordinary people never ever saw that place. If I was just an ordinary Jewish person, I would always be in the outer court. I'd bring my lamb or bull or pigeon or whatever and give it to a priest and they would kill it. But the astounding thing is that I and you, if you're saved, have an anchor for your soul in the most holy place in the universe. Now why would you get rid of that?

Why would you throw that over? You see, my biggest problem in life is not having significance. My biggest problem in life is not that I was treated roughly as a kid. My biggest problem in life is that I'm a sinner who must deal with an absolutely perfectly holy God.

And how will I do that? And the problem is that everything I do is tainted with sin. Even my preaching and my praying and my acts of kindness, there is still some aspect to sin and I always must work through a broker. I must always have somebody else handle this and that person is Jesus Christ. And he is able to identify with me because he is perfectly human and he is able to go boldly into the presence of the father because he is the father's son, completely divine. And right in the most holy place in the universe, which isn't Washington DC or Ottawa or Moscow or Kiev or any other place on this planet, the most holy place in the universe, I have an anchor.

And notice what it says. It is a sure and steadfast anchor and it's for my soul. A hope that is entered into the inner holiest of holies behind the veil. And then he goes on to say that that anchor, that hope I have is really Jesus.

That's amazing. It's not that in heaven they got my number and my name on a massive computer system, my savior's there. He represents me. He is everything I should have been. He is everything that I want to be and he is everything that I one day will be.

One day my record and my track record will be perfect. Isn't that wonderful? It's hard to believe that one day your husband will never sin again if he knows Jesus. And Jesus is representing my case. Now in verse 20 it goes on to say where Jesus has gone as a forerunner. Now this word forerunner is only used here in the New Testament.

And if you just flip the words around a forerunner is someone who's run on before, run on ahead. Now I'm sure most of you know your American history and at one time you were in the ideal situation. You were colonies under the great British empire.

And then for various reasons you decided to be independent would probably be a little better. And so 13 colonies declared the independence from Britain and then they begin to have problems. And one of their problems was the country grew.

People were being born, in fact more people were being born than were dying, which isn't always a given is it? And so there were 13 colonies had a frontier, a front layer to this great nation. But the trouble is that there were native Indians there, there were wild animals and things like that. And so what they would do is they would send out forerunners, Davy Crockett, Daniel Boone, Lewis and Clark.

And these men would go out and if you know any basketball, the Portland Trailblazers. People have gone all the way from the Atlantic Ocean to the Pacific Ocean. And over a period of a hundred or so years this great land was built. And they'd go to Kentucky and Tennessee and then they'd go to Texas and then they'd, and you know what I'm saying, until eventually they went to California to Oregon to the great states on the west side of the country.

But there was more in the 19th and 20th centuries with wars and disease and other things in Europe. Many, many immigrants came to this country and usually what happened is dad would come first. He would be the forerunner and he would come over and he would settle in New York or one of the coastal cities in the east.

And then depending where he would wind up and work, he would get a job and then he would get a little place to live and then he'd send for his wife and his children. And when they came, it was sort of settled if you know what I mean. They had a place to live, they had a job, food was coming in. And those are wonderful stories. The interesting thing about America and Canada is that our countries were built on immigration, weren't they? Everyone here can ultimately say, wow, my grand ancestors were Irish or they were German or they were Polish or whatever the nationality. And if you know anything of your family, you know that your great, great, great grandpappy came over here and he settled, went to the coal mines of Pennsylvania or whatever it might be, settled there and then brought his family over. And those are wonderful stories.

But you know the most exciting story that has ever occurred? The greatest Davy Crockett, the greatest Daniel Boone that has ever been is Jesus. He came to this earth in his crud and its corruption and its sin and its misery and its heartache. And he went through this whole experience without once sinning. And after he had lived a perfect life and then laid down that perfect life, he rose again bodily.

He gave many infallible proofs that he was alive and then he was raised back to heaven. And he isn't twiddling his thumb. He isn't putting in time. He isn't looking at the watch and saying, boy, I wonder when I'm supposed to come back again. Oh, he's there as the forerunner.

And do you see what the text says? Where Jesus has gone in verse 20 as our forerunner on our behalf. Those immigrants were not here for themselves. They were there for their families.

They were there for their immediate family and their grandchildren hopefully and their great grandchildren. And the Lord Jesus Christ has gone back to heaven. He's gone into the holy of holies and he's gone there on my behalf.

Absolutely astounding. And you know the good thing about it? He's not a Levitical priest because remember only the priest can go into the holy place and only the high priest can go into the holy of holies. He's of an entirely different order, the order of Melchizedek. Now what's interesting is, and you don't have to do it, if you were reading chapter five, you would see that's what he was teaching them before he had this parenthesis and he says that we will go on to great teaching if the Lord permits.

And now he's bringing us back in chapter seven is about Melchizedek and the priestly order. I don't know what roads are like here in the United States or at least in North Carolina, but in Ontario we have major highways. We call them the 400 highways. They're 401 and 427 and 402 and 403. And if you look carefully, but keep your eye on the road, you will notice often there will be a road running alongside the 400 or whatever it might be.

They're called service roads and they'll go for several kilometers, miles, and then eventually they come back onto the main road. And he's coming back to the main topic. Do you remember the theme of this great sermon, not this great sermon, but this great sermon of the book of Hebrews is it doesn't get any better than Jesus. I was at my wife Marlene's wedding.

Think about that. And partway through the service we were married by Marlene's pastor. Now the pastor isn't going to say the things I'm going to say cause he said it in a different way, but if you were listening carefully and I was listening carefully, you would hear him say some pretty astounding things. When he came to Marlene, he says, now Marlene, before you answer the question, I want to remind you of a few things. Marlene, the only thing you're going to get out of this wedding is dawn. You came up the aisle with your father, but you're leaving with dawn. When the reception is over and you start out on your honeymoon, all you've got is dawn.

That's pretty sobering, isn't it? Marlene, I'm not going to ask you if you love dawn because who wouldn't? Because you see, Marlene, a marriage doesn't work because of love. Marlene, according to what I'm going to say, and I remind you again that when you walk away from this place, all you have is dawn. I don't know as your pastor who loves you very much what your future holds, but Marlene, you need to understand your life will never be the same again. You need to understand that everything will change if you say yes. Your name will change. Your life will change. From this day forward, you can no longer be looking out for you and your self-fulfillment and your independence and all of those things. Your life is going to be interchangeable and intertwined for the rest of your earthly existence with dawn. Your future will be in many ways his future.

According to what I'm going to read here in a minute, Marlene, I don't know what the Lord has in store for you, but providence isn't always what we think it will be. You have to remember that all you've got is dawn and there will be times of at least relative riches. There'll be times of poverty. Marlene, you need to understand that there will hopefully be times of health, but there will be times of sickness. You need to understand that there will be times of better.

That's our word in Hebrews, isn't it? There's going to be times of worser. I don't know if that's a word, but, and the question is, can you go through that only having dawn? There's no plan B. There's no out.

There's no option. There's only dawn. Now, Marlene, don't answer the question yet, but the big issue in your life will not be loving dawn. The big issue in your life will be trusting dawn. Marlene, people don't fall out of love.

They fall out of trust. And Marlene, if you say yes to what I'm going to ask you in a minute, you will need persevering, lifelong, ongoing faith and trust. Now, Marlene, you need to understand this isn't blind trust. This isn't a leap in the dark. You've been given all you need to know to see if you can objectively trust dawn.

You've been given three things. For five years, you've known dawn. You've seen his character. That is who he is. You've seen his conduct. That is how he acts. And you've seen his commitment to you. That's all you have to go on because Providence is going to work with all the other stuff. And Marlene, in this lifelong commitment of faith and trust, don't look to yourself and see how good you're doing. You keep your eye and your heart focused on dawn in light of his character, his conduct, and his commitment.

Well, you could cut the tension with a knife. What is she going to say? Everybody was in kind of shock suspense except me. I was cool.

I will tell you in a minute why. Because you see, it was June 23, 1973. In December 1972, Marlene made a promise to me. I still remember that night.

And back then, I could actually get down on my knees and get up again. And I gave her a ring. And she promised me by taking that ring, and she knew right away that it's going to be more poverty than riches.

It wasn't the biggest diamond. And she promised on New Year's Eve in 1972 that she would marry me. Six months later, she confirmed that promise with an oath. Now, as I said, the Bible uses all kinds of illustrations, especially illustrations from everyday ordinary life to help us understand our relationship with Jesus. And one of those relationships is as a husband and a wife. And you see, the gospel comes to you and it says, listen, this is a lifelong commitment.

This is a life of persevering faith. Your life is going to be very uncertain. There will be all kinds of vicissitudes and ups and downs and ins and outs and all of that. There's going to be richness and poorness. There's going to be sickness. There's going to be health. There's going to be better.

There's going to be worse. And you're not to be thrown off by the providences. You have one job and that is to trust Jesus.

You've been given three things. You've been told about his character. You've been told about his conduct and you've been told about his commitment. Now, can you trust him? Can you trust him?

Can you trust him? If I make it a few more months, we will get through 49 years. And Providence has a way of disappointing even some of our hopes. But Providence is always, always, always designed to strengthen our trust in Jesus. Because I have to remember like poor Marlene on June 23rd, 1973, the only thing I'm getting out of this is Jesus. That's all I'm getting. But you know the neat thing? That's all I need.

That's all I need. I'd rather have Jesus than riches I'm told. I'd rather be a servant of the kingdom than be the king of a vast domain.

And you see, what the gospel does, it comes to me and it says, listen, you're in a real mess. Frankly, nobody wanted to marry you, but Jesus did. Can you trust him?

And you've been given everything you need to trust him. It's not about your circumstances. It's not about your Providence. It's not about what's going on inside of you. It is about Jesus.

We're to keep our eye fixed on the author and the finish of our faith, aren't we? And you see, when I first started going out with Marlene, I was very preoccupied with me. I check under my arms. I check my breath.

And do you know what happened? As the relationship grew, now I still had a bath once in a while, but those things weren't that crucial because the object of my affection was Marlene, not me. And it's the same in the Christian life. At first, you begin to check your pulse. Do I pray enough? Do I pray the right way? Good godly men come up and pray and boy, all I can say is Jesus helped me. And then I read in the Bible that even Peter said that.

And I read my Bible to half the words I don't understand, but I know more words this month than I did last month. And I'm trusting Jesus. And the best parts about the Bible are when they tell me about his character, his conduct, and his commitment. The gospel is not a fairy tale. This gospel is not true because I believe it. This gospel is true, so I better believe it. All of the gospel has taken place in real time in history and space. Jesus right now, at whatever time this is, 830 on a Wednesday evening, is in the throne room of the universe representing me.

What more do I need? You say, well, boy, I'm tired. Well, don't give in to tiredness. Oh, you know, I haven't heard anything new this week.

The same old, same old. But Marlene never gets tired of hearing how wonderful Don is. And we at least should never get tired of hearing how wonderful Jesus is. You know, we love to tell the story of how we met in the early years. We love giving testimony.

And we love to hear the testimonies of other people, of how Jesus has brought them together, how he has kept them, how they've gone through difficult times. Do you know what happened to that poor girl after the pastor said, the only thing you're taking out of here is Don? A week later, Don was in a car accident on their honeymoon.

I wasn't drunk. It was a freak thing. Marlene had to go into surgery and have back surgery. We were to go to seminary in Massachusetts. We wound up for seven years working in a grocery store. And after seven years and three kids, I was making $10,000 a year.

But oh, those were wonderful years. Because you know what we learned? The character of Christ and the conduct of Christ and the commitment of Christ and our faith grew. And our faith one day will be like Abraham's faith where there'll be no record of our struggles, of our doubts, of our weariness, of our tiredness of pressing on and persevering, a tiredness of serving and serving and serving when it seems like very few other people are. My savior comes and he says, you know, Don, every glass of cold water, if you did it for Jesus, I sort of joke at our church, but every once in a while I would say, you know, the people in this church who are going to get the most rewards are the nursery workers. And the reason is because of their long winded pastor.

And you know, there's a real truth in that. Just doing things again and again and again because you love Jesus and you trust him. My dear friend, you may be here tonight and not saved. We have nothing to offer you but Jesus. If you come to him, if you come to him, that's all you will get is Jesus.

But you know what's happened over the last 49 years? Not only Marlene but Don has seen, that's all I needed. That's all I needed.

That's the woman I needed. My good friend, I told you about him the other day and with this I'll close. When he heard that Marlene and I were going out together, he was married for a number of years, had two children. He said, and I'll never forget this, he said, my wife and I are not perfect, but we are perfect for each other.

For me it's partly true. I'm far from perfect, but oh my Savior is perfect. He's exactly what I need to get me through this dark and dangerous and narrow road that's leading to a city, a celestial city, and my Savior is already there. And because faith puts you in Christ, if he's in heaven tonight, where are you? You're seated in heavenly places.

He's the forerunner on my behalf. So he says, just keep trusting. Just keep persevering. Just keep looking to Jesus. Don't look around you. Don't look at the waves. Don't look at the wind.

And Peter was fine as long as he was looking at Jesus, wasn't he? And that's where the real discipline comes, that I have to keep focused and say, okay, I know this is true of me, and I know that church is there, and I know this and that, but tell me about Jesus. Because you know, I'm not trusting in any of those things. I'm not trusting in me.

I'm trusting in Jesus, his character, his conduct, and his commitment. You're very dear people, very patient people. I hope you'll drive over to Hebrews Lane quite a bit and check out the house at number six again and again. And by the way, you know, there's open house for all 13 of the homes on Hebrews Lane. Thank you and God bless.
Whisper: medium.en / 2023-05-10 11:31:34 / 2023-05-10 11:47:47 / 16

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