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Free to Succeed, Part 3

Delight in Grace / Grace Bible Church / Rich Powell
The Truth Network Radio
January 2, 2024 10:00 am

Free to Succeed, Part 3

Delight in Grace / Grace Bible Church / Rich Powell

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January 2, 2024 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. When we remember whose we are and the home we are heading to, we can endure with joy and patience. In today’s message, Pastor Rich unpacks the encouragement in Hebrews 12:12-24, reminding us to keep walking ahead with the end in view.


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 12-12-24, reminding us to keep walking ahead with the end in view.

Let's listen in. This is part three of a message titled Free to Succeed. It was first preached on January 20, 2013. Verse 16, Lest there be any fornicator or profane person like Esau, who for one morsel of food sold his birthright.

Be careful that you don't go looking in all the wrong places for your satisfaction because you've forgotten who you are. There's a good illustration of this. I read it a long time ago. This is in Max Lucado's book, When Christ Comes. But he provides another analogy.

This is good. Along the same lines, but it's a different analogy, and I want you to listen to this. The story of the prince and his peasant bride. A more intriguing romance never occurred. His attraction to her is baffling. He, the stately prince, she, the common peasant. He, peerless, she, plain. Not ugly, but she can be, and often is.

She tends to be sullen and sour, even cranky. Not even, not the kind of soul you'd want to live with. But according to the prince, she is the soul he can't live without. So he proposed to her on the dusty floor of her peasant cottage. He knelt, took her hand, and asked her to be his bride. Even the angels inclined to hear her whisper, yes. I'll return for you soon, he promised.

I will be waiting, she pledged. No one thought it odd that the prince would leave. He is, after all, the son of the king.

Surely, he has some kingdom work to do. What's odd is not his departure, but her behavior during his absence. She forgets she's engaged. You'd think the wedding would be ever on her mind, but it isn't. You'd think the day would be on the tip of her tongue, but it's not. Some of her friends have never heard her speak of the event.

Days pass, even weeks, and his return isn't mentioned. Why, there have been times, perish the thought, when she has been seen cavorting with village men, flirting, whispering in the bright day. Dare we wonder about her activities in the dark of night?

Is she rebellious? Maybe, but mostly, she is just forgetful. She keeps forgetting that she's engaged.

That's no excuse, you say. Why, his return should be her every thought. How could a peasant forget her prince?

How could a bride forget her groom? These are the warnings of the writer of Hebrews to his readers. Beware of these pitfalls, lest you forget who you are, and you start fuming against God, and then you start fooling around. You start looking for satisfaction in all the wrong places. And you sacrifice future blessing on the altar of immediate gratification.

That's what happens when you forget who you are. Now, he says, listen, let me talk to you about your position, all right? This is where he gets to in verses, beginning in verse 18. Verses 18 to 21. First of all, the main point of what he's saying in verses 18 to 24. He says, your status with God is no longer stay away, but belonging and delight. Remember that contrast that was made by the writer of Hebrews earlier on? God is a holy God, and it is an amazing thing about his grace that he, an infinite holy God, would allow us rebellious, sinful, imperfect, impure creatures to be reconciled to him. In the Old Testament, the theme was stay away, because God is absolutely holy. But in the New Testament, under the New Covenant, the theme is you belong and I delight in you.

What a wonderful truth that is. It's the orphan remembering that his dad and his brother say to him, you belong and I delight in you. We need to remember that, loved ones. Lest we forget, lest we fume, and lest we fool around. So what is he telling us?

Here's the contrast. First of all, in verses 18 to 21, he paints the picture at Mount Sinai, if you can go back there to Exodus. And what's happening at Mount Sinai? Where God is, for the first time, giving the law. And he tells the people to prepare themselves, and God is coming down, if you will, to the mountain where his presence is manifest and visible and felt. And the people are just trembling in their sandals. They're shaking and they say to Moses, Moses, we can't handle this, you go talk to God. What's the point there?

God is an absolutely holy God, and we are sinful and have to be separate from him. That was the message. What is the writer of Hebrews saying? You have not come to that mountain. That's not where you are anymore.

Where are you? This is what he gets to in verses 22 to 24. You are a place where you are welcomed into the family.

Look at this with me. You have come to Mount Zion. Where is that? That is the place where God is. That is the place where Jesus reigns, where Jesus rules. You have come to that place, to Mount Zion, to the city of the living God. You are invited into the very presence of God, to the heavenly Jerusalem, to an innumerable company of angels, to the General Assembly, the church of the firstborn who are registered in heaven. That's a good name for a church, isn't it? Maybe we should change the name of our church, the church of the firstborn who are registered in heaven.

That's us. What does the firstborn mean? We are in a position of privilege. We are God's people. We are His children, and every one of us has the equal privilege as the firstborn.

The grace of God. That's who we are, and the writer of Hebrews is telling them, Remember who you are. Remember where you belong and to whom you belong. Remember that in Christ you are new creations. You have been adopted.

You don't belong in the orphanage. And what he points out here, and I think some of the other translations put it in there really well, that God is prepared to throw a party like the father of the prodigal son did for his return son. That's how God thinks about you. When a sinner repents and comes back to the father, the father is waiting, and he runs to you to embrace you. How could we forget that? The danger of forgetting that is that we allow our adversity to distract us and define us.

Don't do that, the writer of Hebrews says. In fact, God's arms are open wide. His arms are open wide, registered in heaven to the God, the judge of all. Do you see what he's saying there? The God, the judge of all, the infinitely sovereign holy God, his arms are wide open.

He is the judge of all, and he welcomes me into his presence. What does that mean? It means I'm okay with God.

That's positional justification. Why? Because the righteousness of Jesus Christ has been credited to my account. And I can't forget that. It's done. I don't maintain that.

It's done. I am his child and nothing changes that. Nothing changes his love and acceptance for me. That is the message of the writer of Hebrews. We come to Jesus, the mediator of the new covenant, into the blood of sprinkling that speaks better than that of Abel. And so we go back to the beginning message of this text. Strengthen the hands which hang down in the feeble knees.

Perk up. I remember when I was playing basketball in high school, I was not a perfect player. I was by far, far from the best player on the team.

And I would make mistakes. And I remember one time I ran down, I had the ball, I broke free, and I went down to make a layup and I missed the layup. Do you know how embarrassing that is in front of all these families and friends? You know, and you're running back and you're like, oh, man.

And what does the coach say? Chin up, Rich. Let's go. The game's not over.

That's exactly what the writer of Hebrews is saying here. Chin up. We are going to leave long-faced religion in a cloud of dust behind. Remember who you belong to, that you are a new creation, that you are accepted and loved by the infinite sovereign creator, redeemer. And nothing changes that. Nothing. You are headed home. Remember that. You don't belong here. You don't belong here. So don't try to blend in with the other orphans.

Rather, show them the compassion that has been lavished upon you. The waters are rough. No denying that.

The waters are rough. But you are anchored at destination, and because of that, you are free to succeed. You are free to live according to your design, because you no longer have to be preoccupied with survival and security. You no longer have to manipulate, because you are secure in the arms of grace. So he says, be strong and press on, and keep walking ahead with the end in view. That is the message of God's word today. I ask you, loved ones, keep this in the very front of your minds. Remember who you are, and that in Christ you are free to live according to design.

So do it. Would you stand with me, please? Father, we are so thankful for the power of your word this morning. We are so thankful for the truth of it, the imagery of it. Father, I pray that you would grant us understanding of it. Plant these seeds of truth deep in our hearts and our minds, and rescue us, Father, from the things that would distract us away. From your absolute goodness, and grace, and delight. Thank you, Father, for what you have done, and for what you will do. I pray these things in Jesus' name. Amen. Seven Words That Can Change Your Life is available wherever books are sold. As always, tune in to Delight and Grace, weekdays at 10 a.m.
Whisper: medium.en / 2024-01-02 10:14:21 / 2024-01-02 10:19:11 / 5

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