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The Path to Christian Maturity - 21

Beacon Baptist / Gregory N. Barkman
The Truth Network Radio
February 18, 2024 6:00 pm

The Path to Christian Maturity - 21

Beacon Baptist / Gregory N. Barkman

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February 18, 2024 6:00 pm

In this message in the series from the book of Hebrews, Pastor Greg Barkman explains three elements on the pathway to Christian growth and maturity.

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Well, it's important to keep in mind that the book of Hebrews was written to first century Jewish Christians. A lot of what you find in the book needs to be understood with that background and our section for today in particular, as Paul, not Paul, he wasn't the author, as the writer of Hebrews, whoever he may have been, is writing to those Hebrew Christians who are being persecuted for their faith largely by fellow Jews, their neighbors, their friends, members of their own family who have rejected Jesus as the Messiah and are persecuting those who have received Jesus as the appointed and prophesied Messiah of God. And some of them, therefore, were finding this persecution difficult and apparently were tempted to turn back, just go back to the old covenant, leaving the new covenant behind, because it would certainly be a whole lot easier that way as far as life on this earth is concerned.

But they need to realize that this is no longer an option. Before Jesus came, the old covenant was God's way of dealing with people and the way that pointed to salvation. But now that Christ has come, he is the fulfillment of all that the old covenant spoke of and he has inaugurated the new covenant. And now, as Peter said to a group of Jews, there is salvation in no other name under heaven whereby you must be saved. You're either saved by following Jesus, you're either saved under the terms of the new covenant, or you cannot be saved at all.

You cannot go back. And so this book, in many ways, is written to urge these people not to turn back. And as we saw in chapter five, the writer of Hebrews introduced the Old Testament personage of Melchizedek as a way of showing them more about the high priestly work of the Lord and Savior Jesus Christ and doctrines which they needed to understand. And he intends to push further into that realm of exploration, that realm of doctrine, more about Melchizedek and how that pertains to Christ because better understanding Melchizedek will help us to better understand Christ and will take us into areas of the work of Christ that otherwise we might not understand. But there's a problem in taking his readers in that direction. Namely, many of them had demonstrated great spiritual sluggishness and therefore would have difficulty understanding truth about Melchizedek. We understand that. Not very many people today understand very much about Melchizedek.

Some have never even heard the name and those who have generally consider that to be a mystery beyond possible exploration. But it's not in the Bible to mystify us. It's in the Bible to teach us. But it does come under the category of solid food, not the milk of the word. And these Hebrew Christians were still swallowing milk and steering away from meat.

In fact, they had returned to milk because they found meat difficult to digest. And so for that reason, the writer of Hebrews is a little hesitant to move on into the truth about Melchizedek and other truths beyond that. But he stops primarily throughout chapter six to chide them. In fact, the last part of chapter five and chapter six, to chide them for their sluggishness, their spiritual dullness, their immaturity and inability to benefit from the meat of the word, he attributes not to their newness as Christians, but to their laziness as those who've been saved for quite a while and should have progressed much further in the Christian faith.

He ascribes the reason for their dullness to their own sluggishness. And therefore, in our text for today in verses one through three, he points them to a path of spiritual growth and maturity. And here we're going to see three elements on the pathway to Christian growth and maturity.

They are number one, be committed to growth. Number two, be established in the fundamentals. And number three, be submitted to divine authority.

First of all, be committed to growth. Therefore, Hebrews 6, 1, leaving the discussion of elementary principles of Christ, let us go on. Leaving the discussion of the elementary principles of Christ, let us go on. And the chapter opens with that connecting word, therefore, which always causes us to link it to something that's gone before. And that does take us back into chapter five and we'll make reference to a couple of verses there. But let's consider what this therefore is there for. And it is a therefore, first of all, based upon their condition. Therefore, because of the condition that he has just described for them in the last part of chapter five, therefore, based upon their condition, let us leave the elementary principles of Christ and let us go on. Here is a therefore based upon their condition, but it's not what we might have expected from what he said about their condition in chapter five.

We wouldn't have been as surprised if he would have said, therefore, we must review the basics again. Remember, he said they weren't ready for solid food. Chapter five, verse twelve of verse eleven, where he introduces Melchizedek, of whom we have much to say and hard to explain since you have become dull of hearing. For though by this time you ought to be teachers, you need someone to teach you again the first principles of the oracles of God. And you have come to need milk and not solid food, for everyone who partakes only of milk is unskilled in the word of righteousness, for he is a babe. But solid food belongs to those who are of full age, that is, those who by reason of use have their senses exercised to discern both good and evil. And he's made it clear they don't fit into that category, therefore, we might expect him to say chapter six, verse one. Therefore, we must return to the basics again because you haven't demonstrated an ability to benefit from solid food. We'll have to go back to the milk, but that's not what he says, surprisingly. Therefore, leaving the discussion of the elementary principles of Christ, let us go on to perfection. And so this therefore is not what we might have expected, but it is what evidently is needed. Therefore, leaving the discussion of the elementary principles of Christ, let us go on to perfection.

Why? Because their immaturity comes from their coasting, their sluggishness, their dullness, their unwillingness to work hard at understanding truth. Their sluggishness is not because they are new Christians, but because as older Christians, they have not been applying themselves to the word of God. It's not that they haven't had sufficient time to learn and grow. It's because they have been lazy. They have been unwilling to apply themselves. Their age in Christ, which is not brand new, and their exposure to spiritual truth, which is not missing, should have equipped them for progress in the Christian faith.

But it hasn't through their own fault. Babes in Christ are incapable of digesting solid food. You are careful not to give them too much. You're careful not to force steak into the mouth of a little baby. He'll choke on it. He'll strangle.

He'll die. You don't do that with a little baby because he's incapable of digesting solid food. But the writer of Hebrews is making it clear, the problem is not that you're incapable. The problem is you are unwilling. You are sluggish.

In other words, you can get this if you're willing to do the work. Now, if you keep being sluggish, keep being dull deliberately because you're more comfortable there than in doing the work, then you're not going to get this. But the only remedy to get you out of your state of sluggishness and into a state of benefiting from the meat of God's word, in your case, is to give you the meat of the word.

You don't need to go back over the milk again and again and again. And so he tells us that he intends to leave behind what he calls the elementary teaching about Christ, not the fuller, more advanced teaching about Christ. There's a lot of teaching about Christ in the Bible. We'll never get to the bottom of it.

We'll never get to the end of it. In fact, what he's going on to in more about Melchizedek and how Christ is illustrated by the life of Melchizedek, that's all about Christ. But it's not the elementary things of Christ. It's the deeper things of Christ. And so he's not leaving behind Christ and doctrine about Christ.

That's what he wants them to get more into. But he's leaving behind the elementary teaching about Christ. And so therefore, based upon their condition, therefore based upon their need, they need to get beyond elementary doctrines alone.

They need to be prodded into more serious Bible study. The need for Christian perfection, he says, let us go on to perfection. That is not perfection in the sense of moral sinlessness, but in the sense of completion, in the sense of maturity. That's another way of saying maturity.

Let us go on to maturity. They need to be challenged with strong doctrine. It is therefore based upon the only remedy that will actually help them. Going back over the elementary principles again is not what they need. That's what they've been hearing for years. They need to go on to something else. And the remedy for their condition is a willingness to work at a greater knowledge of Bible doctrine. So what is the first step in the path to Christian maturity?

A commitment to growth. I'm laughing because we had a visitor here last Sunday. I don't see him here today, so I can say this unless he's watching my live stream. Sorry. Somebody reported this to me. I said, there are some Christians who've been saved for decades and yet they're still babies in Christ. And he said, as reported to me, well, dang.

That was a shock to him. But that's the truth. There are Christians who have been saved for decades and still, by biblical definition and description, they are still babes in Christ.

How are they going to get over it? They must have a willingness to grow and they must have an opportunity to grow. The opportunity comes in giving them stronger meat.

But if they're not willing to find it, they're not willing to go where that can be found, if they're not willing to deal with sound doctrine, then we might as well stop right now. We can't go any further down the pathway to maturity unless, if you're in that category, unless you have a commitment to grow. You're willing to grow. You want to grow. You want to go on.

May God help you to do so. So step number one is a commitment to growth. Step number two is be established in foundational truth. And now, interestingly, the writer says we're going to leave behind the elementary principles of Christ and go on to maturity. But then he names six elementary principles that he's leaving behind, just to kind of review them quickly. We're not going to do this again. Do what again?

These six things. Now, the general guideline of what he's saying is very easy to understand. He's saying we're going to leave behind the elementary milk of the word and move on to meat. The only remedy for you is to make you chew. Put it in your mouth and make you chew.

That's the only remedy for you and your particular condition. But what I so that you understand what I'm talking about, what we're leaving behind is one, two, three, four, five, six. Now, as we look at these six things, we're a little bit puzzled because they don't all readily appear to us to be milk of the word.

Basic doctrines easily understood by all the children of God. Some of these things puzzle us rather much. And therefore, I'm going to offer to you my understanding of what he's saying with these things. Some of them are clear enough, but some of them were a little challenging. I'm going to offer to you what I think is my understanding of these things.

But I say ahead of time, I could be wrong. Some of this is a bit puzzling. But I do think that a background, keeping in mind the background that these are Jewish Christians and these six things need to be understood from a Jewish context, I think that will get us pretty close to what the writer is talking about here. So at any rate, step number two is be established in foundational truth like these six things.

What are they? One, two, three, four, five, six. Number one, repentance from sin. Number two, faith toward God. Number three, separation from useless ceremonies. Number four, identification with Christ. Number five, assurance of the resurrection from the dead.

And number six, fear of hell. Now, when you state them like that, you can understand them as basic elementary truths. If I have correctly characterized them, I've given you what I think they mean.

In some cases, that's not crystal clear, but that's the best I can do. So what are they? Number one, repentance from sin.

And that's what he says. In verse one, we go on to maturity, not laying again the foundation of repentance from dead works. Repentance from sin, repentance from those works, those things which characterize those who are spiritually dead, which when pursued and not forsaken, not repented of, will take people into eternal death. And repentance from sin is a foundational doctrine of God's word.

That's the milk of the word. Before there is a genuine saving faith, there must be a genuine repentance from sin. The two go together. I say before, I don't know, you know, it's like two sides of a coin. You can look at it one way, you look at it the other way.

I don't know if we can properly say what's first and what's second, but they go together. If there is no repentance from sin, there has been no true saving faith. If there is no saving faith, there will be no repentance from sin.

You can measure the quality of your professed faith by the evidence of your repentance from sin. And this turning from dead works, repenting of dead works, would not only be the things that we generally consider damning sins, like murder and a life characterized by immorality and so forth and so on. But in the Jewish context, I think it must also include all those external ceremonial aspects of Jewish religion, which too many Jews fastened on as the essence of their religion and of their way of earning saving merit with God. And instead of seeing them for what they really were, were just types and figures and shadows of the real salvation, which is in Christ to come, the promised Messiah. And we know that from the Bible. There are a number of references in the New Testament to Jews depending upon their works for salvation. They missed the way of salvation because they thought it was bound up in their Jewish religion that had been given to them from heaven by God and had come to them from the ministry of Moses, their great leader.

And this is the way of salvation. And they missed salvation by faith because they were trying to earn salvation by works. And something similar to that has got to take place in the lives of a lot of people for them to be able to come to Christ. Some people have been very religious, very committed to their religion, whether it be an un-Christian, a non-Christian religion or even a Christian religion. But they're depending upon the works, the ceremonies, the rituals.

Those are dead works. If you're depending upon them, they'll take you to hell. You've got to repent of those too. Doing those things in trying to earn merit with God is sin. Repent of it.

Acknowledge it as sin and let it go. Fundamental doctrine number one, repentance of sin. Number two, faith toward God. A lot of people see in these six categories, six statements, three pairs. They tend to go together in close relationship, number one with two and number three with four and number five with six.

And we see that here very clearly in number one. What's the second fundamental doctrine of the Christian faith? Well, faith toward God. Repentance and faith. Repentance from sin and faith toward God. Repentance and faith.

That's, as I said, two sides of the same coin. And so another fundamental doctrine is repentance or rather faith toward God. That properly understood is the basis of both Old Testament and New Testament salvation. Now, if those under the old covenant misunderstood what the terms of the covenant, what the rituals and activities of the covenant were pointing to and started depending upon doing those things, then they weren't really demonstrating faith in God because their salvation wasn't based upon their good performance of these things.

It was based upon trusting the God who had promised to send a Messiah. They were, therefore, saved the same way that new covenant believers are saved, trusting in Jesus Christ. But Christ hadn't come yet. They didn't know one one hundredth about Jesus Christ, what we know. But they knew the salvation was by blood. And yet surely they understood the blood of animals can't really take away sins. They knew that reconciliation with God required a mediator, and yet surely they understood that men like themselves, priests who were sinners like they were, could hardly bring them into a right relationship with the holy God. I mean, all of these things were pointing to something higher and better, which is fulfilled in Christ. And so what I'm saying is Old Testament saints who saw this and some of them did, you can tell they did read the Psalms of David.

You see it so clearly there. He understood. He understood his need for cleansing, his need for a savior, his need for a mediator, his need for something beyond what he could do with his hands. He understood that and others did as well.

Read Job carefully. You'll see that he understood. Jesus tells us that Abraham understood. Abraham saw his day and so forth. So Old Testament saints who understood these things understood that salvation is by faith in God as he had been revealed to them. In their case, faith in Yahweh, Jehovah God, the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. They didn't know very much about the Son of God. They didn't know very much about the promised Messiah. They just knew that promises had been made that God would save according to his ways and his purposes. He would save those who believed his word, who believed his promises, who believed him.

That's elementary. Repentance from sin, faith in God. What's number three? Now we come to one of the interesting ones, I think. Verse two of the doctrine of baptisms.

What is that? Well, it is not Christian baptism because this is plural. We never speak of Christian baptism as baptisms, plural. We refer to it as baptism, a singular word, a singular act. Baptisms in the plural, and if you could see it in the Greek, you would realize that this is a slightly different word than the one that is used for Christian baptism. Christian baptism is baptizo. This word is baptismos, similar, close, related, cognate, but it's not the same word.

And that's a clue. And so evidently it's talking about ceremonial washings, Jewish ceremonial washings, ritual purification rites, which were common. We read about it in the New Testament. The Pharisees came to Jesus and said, hey, how come your disciples don't wash their hands like we do?

What's wrong with them? Well, they had added ceremonial washings that actually weren't even found in the Old Testament scriptures and made them a requirement. You can't be righteous. You can't be right with God if you don't go through these ceremonial washings. Every Jewish family in that day had right inside their door a big water basin for people to wash their hands when they came in the house and to perform the proper ritual purifications that Jews by the first century all considered to be part of what was required in order to be made clean. And the writer of Hebrews is saying some of you consider that to be part of being a Christian.

It's not. Get rid of it. Understand one of the fundamentals of the faith is you have no confidence in useless ceremonies like these ritual washings.

So understand that. Number four, fundamental of the faith, what I've called identification with Christ. Now, this may be the most challenging one of all, because the next item on the list is of laying on of hands.

What does that refer to? We would never put that in the category of a fundamental doctrine. And as you look in the Old Testament, you don't find many examples of what we would call laying on of hands.

I searched for several. I thought, well, maybe appointing priest was done with a laying on of hands. Well, no, it was done by anointing with oil and likewise with prophets and kings and so forth. There weren't many examples of laying on of hands in the Old Testament, but by the first century among Jews, there had grown up several acts of laying on of hands. One was the way they appointed elders. They had elders in their synagogues. And the way elders were appointed was through the laying on of hands. So it was well known to these Hebrew Christians that are being written to in this book. But most likely, it seems to me that what is being referred to here is the one act of laying on hands that is very prominent throughout the Old Testament, particularly in the covenant of Moses, the old covenant of Moses.

And what is that? For every sin offering, the one who brought the animal sacrifice would lay his hands on the sacrifice, symbolizing, I am transferring my sins to this substitute, this animal who's going to give his life as the penalty for my sins so that I might be forgiven. I'm transferring my sins to him, to it.

And that would have been done hundreds of times a day in many cases when things were really cranked up and going. That would have come to the minds, I'm sure, of these first century Hebrews when they heard the phrase laying on of hands. And I think that's what's in view here. In other words, a fundamental of the faith is our identification with Christ and the transfer of our guilt to him and of his standing in our place as a substitute, taking the judgment which we deserve, shedding his blood for our sins, our identification with Christ. Now that's really a fundamental of the faith.

I don't think anybody would doubt that. I will add to that before moving on, however, that there are records of early churches in the first two or three centuries that practiced a laying on of hands on all those who were baptized immediately following their baptism. And this was to symbolize that they also received the Holy Spirit of God. And of course, we understand that the coming of the Holy Spirit, the indwelling of the Holy Spirit is part and parcel of the new birth. And it really doesn't come after water baptism. But nevertheless, that was a symbolism to remind them that the Holy Spirit indwells those who have embraced Christ.

And this is interesting. It was a way of identifying those who were now qualified to receive communion, the Lord's table. A qualification to partake of the Lord's table was a clear profession of faith, followed by obedience to water baptism.

And then this acknowledgement, this statement by the church through the laying on of hands, that this person is now a publicly identified Christian who has obeyed the Lord in his baptism that Christ has commanded and is therefore qualified to receive the Lord's table. They thought that was pretty important. But I don't see how that could have been in the minds of the Hebrew Christians. That really came after the writing of Hebrews. But one more interesting element that I will add is when I was studying all this, it kept coming back to my mind.

It didn't come up in any of the commentaries I was reading, but it kept coming back to my mind. I'm quite sure that that was one of the things that distinguished, and now some of you scholars will get this, hurt you, chew on it. I'm pretty sure that's one of the things that distinguish the Philadelphia Confession of Faith from the London Baptist Confession of Faith. The London Baptist Confession of Faith called generally known as the 1689 Baptist Confession, which we have adopted as an auxiliary confession of our church, came of course from London. In the early years of the development of Christianity in America, there was a strong Baptist movement, and the center of the northern part of that movement was the city of Philadelphia, and that association of churches adopted essentially the London Baptist Confession, but they added two articles to it. I had to go to my library and pull out the appropriate volume in order to remind myself to refresh these things in my mind.

They added two articles. One had to do with singing, singing psalms and hymns and spiritual songs. They thought this was so important that they incorporated that in their statement of faith. This is something that Christians do.

This is something that churches do. It was more of a, what should I say, more of a clarification in a day when there were still some people that were not employing congregational singing in their churches. Luther was strong on singing. I think it was Zwingli who didn't sing. Am I right about that?

Do you remember? I thought you probably would be able to help me there, Greg. Anyway, there were differences of opinion on that. Well, the early American Baptists wanted to make it so clear that they approved of, in fact required, the singing of psalms, hymns and spiritual songs in their worship service that they included it in their confession of faith along with a paragraph, a statement on the laying on of hands, which they did following the baptism of new converts and used it in the same way that I've already described, as a symbol that these people now possess, the indwelling Holy Spirit, and they are qualified to partake of the Lord's table. You can read about it if you don't have a, you can probably find these things online.

You can Google most anything, but if you'd like to read it, I can provide a volume in my library where you can read this. But again, that couldn't have been in the minds of the Hebrew Christians. That hadn't happened in their day yet. So it seems to me like the thing that would come to their mind with the statement laying on of hands is, oh yes, laying hands upon the sacrificial animal and symbolically transferring my guilt to him. And that of course speaks of Christ. We don't lay hands on Christ, but by faith we lay hold of Christ. By faith we transfer our guilt to him. By faith we accept his sacrifice upon the cross in payment of our guilt. By faith we believe that we are now cleansed and free from guilt because our sins have been transferred to Jesus. That's a fundamental of the faith.

Two more. Number five, assurance of resurrection from the dead. The doctrine of baptisms, verse two, of laying on of hands, number three in verse two, which is actually number five in the list, of resurrection of the dead. One of the fundamental doctrines of the Christian faith is bodily resurrection from the grave. To deny the bodily resurrection of Jesus Christ is to deny a fundamental of the faith.

That's critical. I don't see how a person can truly be born again denying that doctrine. And Paul tells us in 1 Corinthians 15, as well as other places but there in particular, that the bodily resurrection of Jesus Christ from the grave, the first fruits of resurrection, is the guarantee that all who trust in Christ will also be raised from the dead bodily when Christ returns. Now, it's easy for people to start getting their skeptical antennas up.

Well, how is that possible? Some of those bodies have been dead for hundreds of years. There's nothing left. What is Jesus going to resurrect when he comes back again? Well, he knows where every particle of that body is, but that's not really the point. I mean, if he has one particle from that body, he's able to reproduce a whole glorified body and raise it from the dead.

He doesn't even need a particle, but I assume he'll probably use one. But he who spoke the vast multiplied millions of stars into space, you don't think is able to do what he says when he says he will resurrect every believer from the dead? It requires faith, but it really doesn't require an incredible faith, a fantastic faith. It just requires, I believe that God is powerful. I believe that God is able. I believe that God is trustworthy. I believe that God does what he says.

I don't know how he's going to do it, but I believe that he does it. I believe in the resurrection of Jesus. I believe in the resurrection of all God's people. That's a fundamental of the faith.

And one more. Number six, fear of hell. The doctrine of baptisms of laying on of hands, verse two of resurrection of the dead and of eternal judgment. Eternal judgment. There will be a day of judgment. All those who are not in Christ are going to be demonstrated to be guilty of serious sin against their maker, their creator, the one who gave them life. They are going to be pronounced guilty and the sentence is going to be pronounced upon them.

They are going to be consigned to eternal punishment. It is an awful consideration, but it is true. It's understandable that people would rather not believe it, but you don't cancel it because you don't like it. In this cancel culture, somehow we seem to think we have the idea that if we don't like something, we cancel it and it goes away. Sorry, it's still there, whether you like it or not, whether you accept it or not, whether you're willing to hear it or not.

You can put your fingers in your ears and say, I will not listen to that, but it doesn't make it go away. It doesn't make it not true. And hell is a fundamental doctrine, or more exactly, the lake of fire, the eternal lake of fire is a fundamental doctrine of the Christian faith.

It needs to be proclaimed. Well, I ain't going to go and listen to any hellfire and brimstone preacher. Well, if you find a preacher that never mentions hellfire and brimstone, and you can probably find a lot of them, you have found a preacher who is not committed to teaching the whole counsel of God. You have found a preacher who's not willing to tell you the truth because it's unpleasant. You found a preacher who won't help you much because he's crafting his message with what he thinks you will like, not what God has said is true and what you need to hear because you need to hear about hell. You need to know about eternal judgment. You need to fear eternal judgment. You need to flee from the wrath to come.

And some who don't come to Christ because of his loving sacrifice for them, perhaps by the work of the Spirit of God will flee to Christ because of their acknowledgement of the end of their existence, which never stops, but the end, the conclusion of the rest of their eternity in hell because they are unwilling to come to Christ. It's sobering. It's solemn, but it's fundamental.

That's the milk of the word. But number three, now I have to hurry. What are the three steps to Christian maturity? Number one, be committed to growth. Number two, be established in foundational truth.

Have that settled so that you can go on. And number three, be submitted to divine authority. Verse number three, the writer says, and this we will do if God permits. We will go on to Melchizedek. We will go on to more things about Christ that are of a deeper nature, that are beyond the milk. We will go on if God lets us. That's my plan for me and what I'm going to do in writing the rest of this epistle. That's my plan for you.

That's what I want to bring you along in. But I know I can only do it if God permits. Be submitted to divine authority. This is telling us that it's perfectly God honoring to plan your activities.

You don't sit around and twiddle your thumbs and say, I believe in the sovereignty of God. Whatever will be, will be. I'll just sit and watch it happen around me. No, you decide what's a good thing to do and you make your plans. But always, always, always remembering that those plans are totally and completely dependent upon the approval of a sovereign God.

Otherwise, you won't be able to carry them out. This we will do. We will move to more advanced doctrines because more is needed to become mature Christians. But we'll only do this if God permits. We're dependent upon him to be able to do it. In fact, we'll only do this if God permits because in his sovereign purposes, he may stop us from doing this. We plan what we think is the right thing to do, but we know that God must permit. As someone said, man proposes, but God disposes. If the Lord wills, we will do this. James 4, 13. Come now, you who say today and tomorrow we will go to such and such a city, spend a year there, buy and sell and make a profit. Whereas you do not know what will happen tomorrow. For what is your life?

It is even a vapor that appears for a little time and then vanishes away. Instead, you ought to say, if the Lord wills, we will live and do this or that. That's got to be our constant attitude. If the Lord wills, we plan and this is what we will do if and only if God wills it. Like Jesus praying, nevertheless, not my will, Heavenly Father, but thine be done.

That should always be our prayer. And dear friends, it's one thing to profess that you believe in God's sovereign rule. It's another thing to live like it. How often I see those who have committed themselves to the doctrine of the sovereignty of God in all things, and then some difficulty comes in their life and they just act like, oh, I can't take this.

I can't stand this. Why did God let this happen? Instead of saying this is tough, this is one of the hard things that God promised will come into the lives of his people. But this is God's will. And if it's God's will, it's good.

I may not understand how or why it's good, but I know it is because I know that all things work together for good to those who love God. And who are the called according to his purpose. And it takes a regular surrender and resurrender to the will of God, a surrender and a resurrender to the sovereignty of God.

Don't say you believe it and act like you deny it. But ask God to help you to believe it and live like it in sweet surrender to this basic truth that God is sovereign. He's in charge. He has the right to rule my life. He has the right to put things in my life that may be unpleasant for me, but in his wisdom he knows are good for me. He has the right to take things away from me that I wanted and I thought were good, but he has wise purposes for which to take those away. He has the right to order my steps and to order my stops.

He has the right to order my life in everything. And that's a necessary ongoing truth if we're going to make much progress in spiritual maturity. As long as we keep balking at that, I don't like that. I don't accept that. I don't know why God allows that. I'm going to pout about that.

I'm going to question that. And you're going to be a baby Christian for a long time until you get over that. Christian maturity requires continual recommitment to the sovereignty of God. And with that, we will pray. Father, thank you for this portion of your word that does instruct us and does challenge us. Help it, O Lord, to be used to advance us in the knowledge of Christ and in being committed followers, humble followers, submitted followers of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ, in whose name we pray. Amen.
Whisper: medium.en / 2024-02-21 12:14:28 / 2024-02-21 12:29:32 / 15

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