This is Hans Schile from the Finishing Well Podcast. On Finishing Well, we help you make godly choices about Medicare, long-term care, and your money. Your chosen Truth Network Podcast is starting in just seconds. Enjoy it, share it, but most of all, thank you for listening and choosing the Truth Podcast Network.
This is the Truth Network. Do you feel like you're on a religious treadmill? Do you feel like Christianity is just a system of rules and regulations?
I can do this, but I can't do that. Do you feel like your efforts to reach God, find God, and please God are futile? Do you feel like your faith is dead or alive? Today, Pastor Russ Andrews will walk us through Scripture to answer these questions. Join us on Finding Purpose, a local triangle ministry glorifying God by helping men find their purpose for living.
For more information and to connect with Russ Andrews and Finding Purpose, you can visit us online at findingpurpose.net or connect with us on Facebook. Now, let's listen to Russ Andrews as he teaches us how to be a Christian without being religious. Let's go to the Lord in prayer. Heavenly Father, thank you for this night, and thank you, Lord, for the men who've come tonight, and I pray, Lord, that you would just bless them for being here.
Bless us all for being here. Lord, I know that you are here with us. Lord, without you, we would be wasting our time, and Lord, I need you as much as anybody in this room tonight. I just ask you, Lord, to cause me to decrease. I pray, Lord, that the words you've given me, that you would empower them, because, Lord, if it's just my words, again, they'll fall on deaf ears, but if you empower these words, Lord, they will not only fall on ears that are listening, but they'll penetrate down into the deepest recesses of their hearts and minds and souls, and I pray, Lord, that you would draw men to yourself tonight, that you would open our eyes and help us to see you for who you really are. It's in your name that I pray. Amen. All right, tonight we're, it's hard to believe, but we're at the end of Hebrews.
Hebrews chapter 13, the study of Hebrews. I've entitled tonight's message, Run to Win. So I want to pick up on the theme from last week when I talked about how the Christian life is the greatest race of all time. This race, as you probably know, is not a sprint.
It's what? A marathon. And if I had to pick one word to characterize what it takes to win this race, it would be the word endurance. And so meant to endure the Christian life, a man, we must be willing to undergo hardship without giving in. This is why Jesus said, anyone who does not take up his cross and follow me cannot be one of my disciples. What do you do on a cross? You have to die to self and it can be very painful. Following Jesus is not easy, but guess what?
It was never meant to be. And that brings us to Hebrews chapter 13. So take your Bibles and turn with me to Hebrews 13 if you're not already there. Listen, in these closing verses of this incredible book, I want to give you six exhortations or encouragements on how to run this race with endurance men so that, listen, when you and I cross the finish line, we will have run the race to win the prize and we'll hear those words from Jesus that say what?
Well done. So first, we must endure within our hearts. In other words, we must keep the affections of our hearts in tune with God's heart.
It's like stoking the fire. We want our hearts to be continuously burning for the objects of God's passion. So look at verses one through six. Now the NIV reads like this, keep on loving one another as brothers. Do not forget to entertain strangers for by so doing some people have entertained angels without knowing it.
Continue to remember those in prison as if you were together with them in prison and those who are mistreated as if you yourselves were suffering. Marriage should be honored by all and the marriage bed kept pure. For God will judge the adulterer and all the sexually immoral.
Keep your lives free from the love of money and be content with what you have because God has said, never will I leave you. Never will I forsake you. So we say with confidence, the Lord is my helper. I will not be afraid.
What can mere mortals do to me? Now look in verse one, the writer says keep on. Other translations say it like this, let it remain. The idea is that this bond of love in the very early church was in danger of being severed. Thus the writer of Hebrews is exhorting us followers of Jesus to continue, that is to press on, to endure in this brotherly love.
The Greek word that you there is Philadelphia. That's the city of brotherly love. We are brothers in Christ and we're going to live forever in heaven and therefore we need to love each other because we're part of one big spiritual family. In Hebrews chapter 11, we've read all this stuff about faith.
The theme of Hebrews chapters 12 was hope. The theme of this chapter is love, especially brotherly love. Paul writes in 1 Corinthians chapter 13 verse 13, and now these three remain, faith, hope, and love, but the greatest of these is what? Love. The greatest trait the world should see in believers is their love for one another.
In fact, this is what the early church was known for. Unbelievers marveled at their love for one another, but that word also needs to see that we love them. We need to have a love for those who don't know Christ so that they will be drawn to Christ because they see the love that we have for them. John 13 verses 34 and 35, here Jesus says, a new command I give you, love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. By this all men will know that you are my disciples.
If you do what? Love one another. How do we show our love towards others?
Well, first one way is to be kind to strangers and apparently sometimes you might just be showing kindness to a real angel. Listen, not only should we be kind of strangers, but we should visit those in prison. We need to love what God loves. God loves strangers.
He loves prisoners, and He loves the family. He loves the institution of marriage, and He considers it holy, and so if you're a true follower of Jesus, then you must honor the institution of marriage. This means the single men should not have sex before they get married, and married men must remain pure in both their actions and in their thoughts. We as followers of Christ must remain pure with our bodies, our minds, and our eyes, and guys, if I've blown it in one place, I've never physically committed adultery against my wife, but in my mind we all have. Men struggle with this thing called lust, do we not? I've got a book that every man should read.
It's entitled Every Man's Battle, and it's about our struggle with our eyes. I understand male hormones and the desire for sexual intimacy. Our sex drive was given to us by God as a gift, but He wants us to use it the way He wants us to use it, the way He's told us how to use it in His Word, and the reason He wants us to use it, the sex drive, the way that He intended for us to use it, is so that we'll have joy and peace, and we'll do it in a healthy manner. That's one of the ways that God wants to protect us. That's why He gives us His Word so that we will obey His laws and His commands, not because it's a task, but they're there so that we will enjoy life. We live in a world right now where there's an all-out assault on the institution of marriage.
Have you noticed this? Divorce among believers is no different than divorce among unbelievers, and that's a tragedy. Listen, if you're sitting here tonight divorced, it's not the unpardonable sin. We're all sinners, but that's not what God intended when He created the institution of marriage. In Genesis 2, verse 24, by the way, marriage was the first institution that God created. This is what He says in Genesis. For this reason, a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his, what, one wife, and they will become one flesh. Notice it says one man and one woman, and that is how God defines marriage.
Do you get the point? Who created it? Who gets to say what it is?
And so I got news for you. If it's any other combination of whatever, it's not marriage. It's not. You can say they're married, but it's not marriage if it's not done according to God's plan. In Matthew chapter 19, verses 4 through 6, when Jesus was being questioned about divorce, He said, Haven't you read that at the beginning the Creator made them male and female and said, For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and the two will become one flesh? So they're no longer two, but what, one?
Therefore what God has joined together, let man not separate. We live in a country that has completely lost its spiritual morning. I get this thing, I get this article every day called the Daily Article. It's written by Dr. Jim Dennison. Google it, the Daily Article. You can subscribe to it. It just comes in your email.
It doesn't cost you anything. This morning I read this by Dr. Dennison. He shared this story. Ian Jenkins and his partners, Alan and Jeremy, how many is that? Three, were recently named the legal parents of two children. The babies were conceived through an egg donor and two surrogate mothers.
The CNN article that tells their story calls them one extraordinary household and could not be more upbeat and affirming. It clearly advocates for a culture in which, how can you hardly pronounce it, polyamory, polyamory. You ever heard that word? That's a hard word. How do you pronounce it? Polyamory.
Good. Whatever they said. Here's what it is. It's the practice of engaging in multiple romantic and typically sexual relationships and it's considered normal and that any kind of family that they create and that they should be free to create any kind of family they want and raise children as they wish. So this is what is happening in our country where you've got three men who marry each other, live together, and they adopt two children. In Romans 1, Paul says three times that God gives us over to our sinful desires. In verse 24, Paul says, therefore God gave them over in the sinful desires of their hearts to sexual impurity for the degrading of their bodies with one another.
So here's what I want you to understand. God has given our nation over three times and the first time He gives us over, it's to what we would call natural sin. This is what God did, I believe, in America during the 1950s and 60s. Free Love, Playboy Magazine, He gave us over to natural sin, but it was at least natural.
However, we've continued down that downward spiral. In verses 26 and 27, again in Romans 1, Paul says, because of this God gave them over to shameful lust. Even their women exchanged natural relations for unnatural ones. In the same way the men also abandoned natural relations with women and were inflamed with lust for one another.
Men committed indecent acts with other men and received in themselves the due penalty for their perversion. In the 1990s, I believe that saw the time frame when God gave our nation over to unnatural, shameful, indecent, and perverted sin. Unfortunately, America continued down this downward spiral.
When you get to verse 28 in Romans 1, Paul says, furthermore, since they did not think it worthwhile to retain the knowledge of God, He gave them a depraved mind to do what ought not to be done. Welcome to America in 2021. What happened to our country? Well, it began back in the early 1900s when reason replaced revelation as our source of truth.
Did y'all hear that? When reason replaced the scientific method. If you can't prove it, then it must not be true. Reason. Well, you want reason or you want God's revelation. You see, without the revelation of God's word, we began to drift. And then in the 1950s and 60s, our churches began to actually question God's word and stop preaching the entire counsel of God of the Bible. We began to skip over those verses that make us uncomfortable. The culture began to invade the church rather than the church invading the culture. Thus, in the 1980s and 90s, we began to sacrifice truth on the altar of tolerance. And then in the 2000s, we began to sacrifice tolerance on the altar of full acceptance. And now, if you don't accept what the culture says is the truth, what the media says is the truth, and what many churches are putting forth as the truth, then you will get cancelled and you will be called bigots. And soon, many of us who preach the truth of God's word will be arrested. How many lawyers we got in here?
One. Anybody else? Okay, so if I get arrested, Wayne and Bob, y'all gonna come get me out? You're not?
I got claustrophobia. Y'all come get me out quick. This is sad. This is the world we live in. So what are we to do?
All right, number two. We must endure by the truth of God's word. Look at Hebrews 13 and 9. Do not be carried away by all kinds of strange teachings.
Most mainline churches have abandoned the truth of Scripture and are teaching strange doctrines. Recently, sometime last year, I listened to the sermon of a young, hip minister of a very popular church here in Raleigh. In essence, he implied, listen, I'm not making this stuff up. He implied that Jesus never really said, you must be born again. To a church full of young people who just took it, hook, line, and sinker.
And you know how he did this? I listened to the sermon carefully. I had Jim Briggs listen to it. I had other people listen to it. I had other people listen to it.
He did it by twisting and redefining the words of John 3 so that it kind of, what he said seemed to make sense. I'll tell you what he said. The Greek word for again is anothon. That's how you pronounce it.
Anothon. A-n-o-u-t-h-n. And he said it means from the top of the veil above. Technically, he's right. But it also means again. Who knew it meant again?
Nicodemus. That's why he said, how can a man enter his mother's womb how many times? Twice.
You must be what? Born twice. Again.
From above. The Greek word another means both again and another. So he told a half-truth and his whole congregation bought into it. Paul warns in 2 Timothy 4 verses 3 through 5, for the time will come when men will not put up with sound doctrine. Instead to suit their own desires they will gather around them a great number of teachers to say what their itching ears want to hear. They will turn their ears away from the truth and turn aside to myths.
What he said was a myth. But you, man I'm telling you okay, keep your head in all situations. Endure hardship. Do the work of an evangelist. Discharge all the duties of your ministry.
He's talking to Timothy and he's talking to me because that's what I do. I preach the word of God and I got news for you. I'm going to keep preaching the truth until somebody comes in here to arrest me and I preach it to the jail if that's where they take me. We live in such a time when the truth has been exchanged for a lie. Romans 1 21 and 22 says, for although they knew God they neither glorified him as God nor gave thanks to him but their thinking became futile and their foolish hearts darkened. Although they claimed to be wise they became fools and exchanged the glory of the immortal God for images made to look like mortal man and birds and animals and reptiles. Therefore that's when God began to give us over. We began to exchange the truth of God for a lie. Our nation has done this. We have sowed to the wind. Now we should expect what? The whirlwind. And I can tell you our nation, I'm not some prophet but it's so obvious we're under God's judgment.
Can you not see it? And the only hope, listen, I look at the glass half full. I'm a very optimistic positive person. I always have been and I still am but the only hope for our country is and it begins with us is we have to repent as believers and return to God and ask for his forgiveness. So how are we as men to live in this fallen world? How are we going to run this race to win it? Well first we must endure within our hearts. We must keep our hearts pure and on fire for the things of God.
And second we must endure by the truth. In John 8 31 and 32 Jesus said to the Jews who believed him, if you hold to my teachings you're really my disciples. Are you holding to his teachings? If you are then you're one of his disciples. Then he said then you will know the truth and the truth will what?
Set you free. In John 14 6 Jesus said to his disciples I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me. Do you believe this? Are you willing to take up your cross and follow Jesus with every ounce of your being? Are you willing to even die for these truths? We're living in a world where men and women are dying for these truths.
Did you know that? Right now. Persecution is ramping up everywhere and it's coming here. Are you ready for this? It's coming. And listen the more and more that persecution comes here the more you're going to see who the real Christians are.
Are you ready? All right third we must endure by loving not the things of this world but the things that will last forever. The things of God and his kingdom. Look at verse 5. Keep your lives free from the love of money and be content with what you have because God has said never will I leave you.
Never will I forsake you. When we as believers come to really understand that this world is not our home and that when we die we take nothing with us then that alone should lead us men to fix our eyes on heavenly things on the finish line. Not so focused on the things of this world. I believe God blesses men financially. I'm not this is not the prosperity gospel but I believe he blesses men financially when he sees that they are blessing others with what he's given them. When they're good stewards.
Are you a good steward? Number four. We must endure the disgrace of Christ. Look at verse 11 and 13. The high priest carries the blood of animals into the most holy place as a sin offering but the bodies are burned outside the camp and so Jesus also suffered where? Outside the city gate to make the people holy through his own blood.
Let us then go where? To him outside the camp bearing the disgrace he bore. What does it mean when it says the disgrace of Christ? Why was Jesus carried outside the city of Jerusalem to be executed? Well Jews associate holiness and purity with places. So it was outside the city where the unclean was dealt with. The holiest place of course was the temple but the city of Jerusalem was also considered holy. That meant that certain things shouldn't take place within the city walls. Everything impure should be done outside or taken there. At the time of Jesus some Jews known as the Essenes even forbade they they it was against the law for them or against their practices to defecate within the city.
So they had to hike 3,000 cubic outside the city which is about a mile just to use the bathroom. Jews also considered as you know anyone who was hung on a tree to be under God's judgment and so the cross was despicable to them. Someone dying on a cross was repulsive. When Jesus went outside the city to be nailed to a tree he bore a disgrace.
In other words it meant he took our shame, our disgrace upon himself. So here's the question we have to ask ourselves. Are we willing to go outside the city away from everything that we hold dear to bear his shame upon ourselves? Are you willing to do that? Are you willing to be despised for the sake of Christ? Are you willing to leave the safety of your comfortable life?
I have to ask, listen I'm looking in the mirror guys. I've lived a very comfortable life. It's ridiculous how comfortable my life has been. Am I really willing to leave it to follow Jesus?
I've never really left it. See the more closely you walk with Jesus and identify yourself with him the more you should expect to feel the disgrace of the world towards you. Are you willing to be known as one of Jesus' followers? Are you really?
It's easy in here, not easy out there. In Matthew 10 Jesus says, who have acknowledged me before men, I will also acknowledge him before my father in heaven. But whoever disowns me before men, I will disown him before my father in heaven. There's a price to following Jesus.
Are you willing to pay it? Number five, almost done. We must endure by prayer. Look at verses 18 and 19. Pray for us.
We're sure that we have a clear conscience and desire to live honorably in every way. I particularly urge you to pray so that I may be treated, restored to you soon. There are two, the two most important disciplines in a Christian man's life are prayer and reading the Bible. And I don't know about you but every time I try to do both of those, either one of those, don't you find your mind getting distracted? See Satan doesn't want you doing it. He's going to throw every kind of distraction at you that he can. And the reason he doesn't want you to do it is because he knows that when you read God's Word you'll understand His will. And when you pray it's powerful, it's effective. James 5 says the prayer of a righteous man is powerful and effective. When you get down on your knees like this and pray, you think you have God's attention.
He's listening to everything that comes out of your mouth. And listen, you want to have your prayers answered, then you need to pray according to God's will. How do you know God's will? Read the Bible.
You read it. And then here's what it says, 1 John 5, 14 and 15. This is the confidence we have in approaching God, that if we ask anything according to His will, He hears us. And if we know that He hears us, whatever we ask, we know that we have what we asked of Him. And so listen, if you spend time in God's Word, see it begins to change the way you think. You begin to understand what God's will is.
It's not about your life being like a bed of roses. It's about His glory and the advancement of His kingdom and it changes the way you pray. And so I can tell you this, if you're praying according to God's will, then you can ask for anything and He'll give you exactly what you ask for. Finally, we must endure by keeping our eyes on the finish line. Look at verse 14, for here we do not have an endurance city.
Talking about here on this earth. But we're looking for the city that is to come. When the writer says that we do not have an endurance city, he means that we are, he's just going back to this truth that we are aliens and strangers here. Thus we have no continuing city. That is, there's no permanent association with any earthly thing. So we have to be like Abraham and have our gaze fixed on the one city that's coming. The city with foundations whose architect and builder is God.
Guys, this is what I want you to get a picture of right here as I'm closing. Did you know that one day, right now Christians are dying, Christians are disgraced all throughout the world. Did you know that it's coming today when it's going to be flipped around and Christians will become the envy of the world and God will take away all of the disgrace that Christians have borne and He will wipe every tear from the eyes of those who've suffered.
How do I know this? Because I've read the Bible. Isaiah chapter 25 talks about this coming day.
Listen to what he says. Verse 69, Isaiah 25. On this mountain, it's talking about the wedding supper of the Lamb. On this mountain, that's the mountain there in Jerusalem where we will all gather one day. On this mountain the Lord Almighty will prepare a feast of rich food for all peoples. It's all believers. A banquet of aged wine. The best of meats and the finest of wines. On this mountain He will destroy the shroud that enfolds all nations. The sheet that covers all nations. He will swallow up death forever.
How good does that sound? The sovereign Lord will wipe away the tears from all faces. He will remove the disgrace of His people from all the earth. How do we know this? Because it says the Lord has spoken. And if He says it, you can believe it. In that day they will say, surely this is our God. We trust it in Him.
Who are we going to be looking at when we say that? Jesus. Surely Jesus, you are our God.
Jesus we trust it in you. Let us rejoice and be glad in our salvation. I'm looking forward to that day. The second to last verse in the Bible says, yes I'm coming soon. Amen. Come Lord Jesus.
I mean He's coming soon. We want to endure. We're a band of brothers. We need each other. Pray for each other. Study God's Word together. We've been doing it.
This is our 18th year. I'm going to plan on doing this until I die. Hope you guys will stick with me. Heavenly Father thank you for your Word.
Thank you for your truth. Lord give us the strength to endure. Help us to love you more and more every day. And Lord I pray that our hearts would burn with the things that burn in your heart. And now may the God of peace who through the blood of the eternal covenant brought back from the dead our Lord Jesus, that great Shepherd of the sheep, equip you men with everything good for doing His will. And may He work in us what is pleasing to Him through Jesus Christ to make glory forever and ever. Amen. Pastor Russ would also like to extend a special invitation for you to join him and over 300 other local Triangle men to study God's Word together every Tuesday night at 7 p.m. in downtown Raleigh. Find out more at findingpurpose.net. This is the Truth Network.
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