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Free to Succeed, Part 1

Delight in Grace / Grace Bible Church / Rich Powell
The Truth Network Radio
December 29, 2023 10:00 am

Free to Succeed, Part 1

Delight in Grace / Grace Bible Church / Rich Powell

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December 29, 2023 10:00 am

Hebrews 12:12 cheers us on, calling us to “Lift our drooping hands and strengthen our weak knees” in the middle of difficulty.  If we are in Christ, then we belong to our good Father God.

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Welcome to Delight in Grace, the teaching ministry of Rich Powell, pastor of Grace Bible Church in Winston-Salem. Hebrews 12 12 cheers us on, calling us to lift our drooping hands and strengthen our weak knees in the middle of difficulty.

If we are in Christ, then we belong to our good Father God. When we remember whose we are and the home we're heading to, we can endure with joy and patience. In today's message, pastor Rich unpacks the encouragement in Hebrews 12 12 through 24, reminding us to keep walking ahead with the end in view.

Let's listen in. The title of this miniseries through the end of the book of Hebrews is Living Out Faith, and the specific title for today's message is In Christ You Are Free to Succeed. To succeed means to live according to design.

What were you designed for? By your Creator and your Redeemer. You were designed to follow Him, to fellowship with Him, to enjoy Him, to reflect Him. In honor of the Lord and His word this morning, would you please stand with me as we seek to, as we seek His aid to hear and heed His word. Thank you Father for your word.

Thank you for the promise. Thank you for the encouragement of this text. Thank you for the contrast that it makes. That it helps us to see the finished, the completed work of Jesus Christ. It helps us to understand our status before you by faith.

It helps us to see how great and awesome and good you are Father. And so Father I pray that you would open our hearts and our minds this morning. That you would teach us by your truth. Teach us through your Spirit Father.

Find us coming to you with a sense of expectancy and humility. Knowing that your word is given to us not just for our information, but for our transformation. And so Father take these words, implant them in our hearts, germinate these words Father, that our lives in the day to day will be transformed. That our lives will be a reflection of who you are and who we are in Christ. Thank you for what you have done and for what you will do. We pray these things in Jesus name. Amen.

Please be seated. The people to whom the writer of Hebrews wrote this letter, they were Hebrews and they were experiencing some challenges. They were experiencing some adversities because of their faith. They were experiencing the frustrating characteristics of a fallen creation.

As we mentioned before the last time, the things that they experienced, it's recorded in chapter 10 as well, and all the things are experienced by those in chapter 11, Heaven's Hall of Faith. People living by faith experience a great deal of adversity. One, because we live in a fallen creation. Two, because by virtue of who we are in Christ, we are antagonists because we represent that which counters human self preeminence. We represent the sovereign goodness of God.

And so as the Hebrews were facing the challenges and the adversities of the frustrating characteristics of this fallen creation, the writer of Hebrews writes to them an encouraging note, and this is that encouraging note that we have before us today. A lot of imagery in here. Now as we appeal to imagery, I'm going to ask you to do it yet one more time.

I'm going to ask you to imagine something. Imagine you're an orphan living in a crowded institution. No one seems to care, really, and your days are characterized by neglect and loneliness. Rigid rules are enforced mercilessly, creating a blanket of oppression leading every resident to look out only for himself.

You maneuver and manipulate to make sure that others get blamed for innocent infractions instead of you. Each day of laborious busy work leaves you devoid of any sense of accomplishment other than making it through the day. Every day is like the last, survival and avoiding punishment.

Tomorrow will be like today and the day before. One day a young man visits the orphanage. His confidence and kindness are obvious though some have ignored him and others ridicule him as standard treatment of someone new.

After a while you glance his way and notice he's looking at you. He walks towards you with a look of compassion, introduces himself and then says, I have something to show you. He produces a big book that has words, the words my family and home written on the cover.

You sit together at supper inspecting its pages and you wonder if the contents of the book could be real. You are not prepared for what comes next. The young visitor asks, how would you like to come live with me? My dad wants me to have a brother. Would you come be my brother?

Stunned and half speechless you weakly utter, could I really? Suddenly he gets up to leave and you blurt out, where are you going? The visitor responds, I have to pay for your adoption and then I'm going home to get everything ready for your arrival. We're going to have a celebration for you.

He asks you to keep looking through the big book and then slips a cell phone into your hand. Call me every day, anytime you want. You will be here only a little while longer. It's still rough here, I know, but remember dad and I love you. You're in our family now and nobody here can change that. You manage a goodbye embrace before he walks into the shadows down the hall to complete the transaction. When you wake up the next morning you receive confirmation that the adoption is complete. You're suddenly overwhelmed with a sense that you don't belong here and will remain just a short time. Your day to day is no longer a feat of manipulation and survival.

You now own a purpose you never had before. Your constant reviews of the big book and your daily chats with your brother free you to be kind to the other orphans. You are compelled to show them the same compassion that was given to you because any day now your brother is coming to take you home.

Home to acceptance and delight. Do you know what the writer of Hebrews was writing to the Hebrews? These Christians, some of them who are sitting on the fence thinking I'm not sure if this following Jesus thing is all what it's cut out to be. He's writing to them and saying do you understand that though you've been in an orphanage you belong somewhere else now. And so seeing that some of them might be making it through the day as a drudgery still thinking that they belong in the orphanage and their hands are hanging down and their legs are getting weak and they just don't know if they can make it through the day. They don't know if they can keep going.

The writer of Hebrews essentially says this perk up. Be strong and press on. Keep walking ahead with the end in view. Remember where you belong. Remember to whom you belong.

Remember you're headed home. You don't belong here. You are here only for a short time and you belong to me God says. They were facing adversity but that's not what defines them.

Though there's rough waters they recognize that they're in a boat that is anchored at destination. And so he said don't allow yourself to be distracted by the rough waters. Don't allow yourself to be distracted or defined by the adversities that surround you. Remember who you are. Remember to whom you belong. And as in a sense he's saying to them in the first few verses of this text today, therefore strengthen the hands which hang down in the feeble knees. He says perk up. Be strong and press on.

You're headed home. I like what Stephen Curtis Chapman said in the song of a while ago, The Great Adventure. He says we're going to leave long-faced religion in a cloud of dust behind.

It's been a mantra of my life. Why the long- faced religion doesn't belong in the family of God. It doesn't mean that we don't have adversity. It doesn't mean that there is no sadness. That there's no disappointment and frustration.

But those things don't define us and those things don't keep us from being and succeeding in how God wants us to succeed. To walk with him. To follow him. To delight in him.

To keep moving onward towards home. Which is why he says then in verse 14 pursue peace with all people and holiness without which no one will see the Lord. Pursue peace and holiness. In other words live according to your design as new creations in Christ Jesus. The righteousness of Christ has been credited to your account. You belong to him.

Nobody, nothing changes that. And which is why he began chapter 12. You look at Colossians chapter 3. He says love God with all your heart. Love God with all your heart. Set your affections on things above.

Keep running the race with endurance that is set before us. Looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of your faith. So love God with all your heart and then live in the outflow.

Folks listen it has to come in that order. We're so glad you've joined us for Delight in Grace. The teaching ministry of Rich Powell, pastor of Grace Bible Church in Winston-Salem. You can hear this message and others anytime by visiting our website www.delightingrace.com. You can also check out Pastor Rich's book, Seven Words That Can Change Your Life, where he unpacks from God's Word the very purpose for which you were designed. Seven Words That Can Change Your Life is available wherever books are sold. As always tune in to Delight in Grace weekdays at 10 a.m.
Whisper: medium.en / 2023-12-29 10:13:19 / 2023-12-29 10:17:32 / 4

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