All right, church, across all of our locations, aren't we in prayer that one day there will be more people worshiping in the family of churches than in the flock. Can we just praise God for what we're seeing on that video?
Hey, let me tell you one more thing that's really cool. This weekend, Port City Church in Halifax, Nova Scotia is having their launch, so we're going to be able to report back for you guys on that. It's an incredible thing to see what God is doing. Pastor Jeremy and Julianne and their team, they've just done an incredible job building a launch team. I remember when Pastor Jeremy told me the first time that he was going, he said, man, I'm really believing that God is birthing something in us for Halifax, Nova Scotia. And I remember saying, Russia?
Wow, that's varsity, man. I had no idea where it was. So anyway, they're apparently in like the most beautiful place in all of the Northeast and all of that.
But man, we're just praying for them, and we're excited for their launch this weekend. So if you guys have a copy of Scripture, take it out and turn with me to Hebrews chapter 6 today. I'm going to mention this as you guys are turning to Hebrews 6. I walked into a 10 by 10, I'm sorry, six by six, 10 foot long, you know, post that was in the back of my truck right here. And I want to make sure you guys didn't think she finally got fed up with me and just smacked me or something. But yeah, the other night walked right into it. Bang.
I mean, a total depleter. Okay. I mean, I was almost I can't believe I didn't have like a concussion. I don't know.
Just bam. It was dark at night. I was putting one of the dogs up. And then as of this weekend, I wake up and one of my lovely children has given me their pink eye, both eyes. Okay.
Now the lumified drops make it look like it ain't that red, but that doesn't help that I can only see about four rows deep. Okay. So I'm just going to tell you right now, like, you know, if I get to where I can't read, this sermon is going to get interesting. Okay. So but we'll see what the Spirit does. All right. All right. Hebrews chapter 6 is where we're going to be today.
And what I want to do is I want to start this message by going super old school. All right. I've heard this from different preachers. Many of you maybe have heard this before, but an old school preacher would say of God's grace, God's grace is free, but it ain't cheap.
Right. And today what we're going to see is that God's grace is free. You can't earn it, but that doesn't mean it is not of infinite value. And one of the ways that we can see in people's life that they have mistaken that just because something is free, then all of a sudden it becomes cheap is when the point of their life, they don't think the gospel is worthy of their life, that what Christ has done on the cross doesn't become the defining mark on their life.
Instead it becomes fire insurance. It becomes a little bit of like, well, you know, I prayed that prayer, you know, when I was 13 or 14 or whatever, and now I'm good, man. I'm just living my life. You know, the grace of God is cheap to me.
It's something that doesn't define, something I wouldn't sell out for. Guys, we live in a culture where people dip in and out of Christianity like they're dipping in and out of their membership at the YMCA. Man, I go in, and then I go out. And then I re-sign up, and then I go back out.
You know? And this is kind of the way our culture is sometimes, and I want to guard our church because the last sermon that we have in this series of Hebrews, we're going to do it again, okay, we're going to finish the book, but in this series in Hebrews, the last sermon that we have is another one of these warnings. Guys, in the Bible there are many warnings and assurances. Now, when you preach warnings, Christians can get a little rattled, like, you know, but if you, if you never preach, you know, if all you ever preach is assurances, how do you call people out of the church that really aren't believers? They're not saved, but they're hanging around. And so we've got to be faithful to the text and preach both warnings and assurances. This is one of those warnings for those of us that may be thinking to ourselves the grace of God actually is cheap to me.
It's something that I'll take, you know, fire insurance, I'm glad I'm in, I said the prayer, but at the end of the day, it doesn't really change much about my life. Pastor JD used to tell this story. Pastor JD is from the Summit Church in Raleigh-Durham, total mentor, big brother, great friend of mine, and I've listened to him preach for years and years and years, and he used to tell this story I thought was really good because I know Pastor JD, and Pastor JD would go play basketball, but it wasn't because he was a basketball player, it's because he wanted to witness, okay? And one of the ways that you know that is because he tells the story about how all the guys on the field, you know, on the basketball court, and he was one of them, they all got to know each other, they all had nicknames. One guy's nickname is Jumpman, you know, another guy's nickname is like Deadeye, you know, he's just knocking it down. JD's nickname was No Don't Shoot. Okay, so that was his nickname. He wasn't there.
He wasn't there for the basketball, okay? I'm just trying to remember the story here, but basically when I was a kid, or when I was a teenager, I said the prayer at one of those camps. So yeah, I'm not living like as a believer, I'm not even sure I believe in God, but according to what you believe, once saved, always saved.
So I'm good. See, what we've got to engage is what happens when people view the grace of God cheaply enough in their life where they will try to use it as fire insurance. What we're going to see today is, yes, it's free, but it is valuable enough that it should define all of our life. Think about this with me. Guys, if you're a believer, God has radically saved you. He picked your feet up from the miry clay. He breathed life into you.
He set you on a destination for heaven, not hell. When we grasp that, a true believer doesn't gloat about once saved, always saved. A true believer stands in perseverance throughout the days of their life. I'm not saying they don't ever fall down. We all fall down. But a true believer never falls away because they never get over the magnitude of that gift.
That's just straight up, okay? The first 12 verses. Now, the first few are not that bad, but as we get into the middle part, it's hard for us to understand. We've really got to engage our minds today and really ask the Spirit to give us some clarity. And you guys can pray for me that I can see, okay, number one. And then number two, man, that I will make our way through this very well today, okay? So let's be in prayer for the Word and be in prayer for the way that we receive it with humility here. Therefore, let us leave the elementary doctrines of Christ and go on to maturity, not laying again the foundation of repentance from dead works and of faith toward God, and of instructions about washings, the laying on of hands, the resurrection of the dead, and the eternal judgment. Now, there's three couplets in here that are called the elementary doctrines.
And this we will do if God permits. Last week, guys, I talked to you guys a little bit about this concept that we were supposed to already be teachers. You know, that's what he was telling the people, and the writer was saying to the people here that he's writing to in Hebrews, hey, you should be teachers, but you're still learning. Well, what were the things that he was talking about? He gets into them right here in chapter six. They're called the elementary doctrines of Christ.
Now, here's what I want you to see. The elementary doctrines of Christ are something that we build on. We build on the elementary doctrines of Christ all the way to maturity.
Okay? We build on these things as we go into maturity. But what we don't do is move on from these things. We build on to them. We don't move on from them. Okay?
Guys, you can throw that up on the screen. We build on elementary doctrines of Christ as we mature. Now, okay, I want to give you an example of this or an illustration of this. I want you to think with me for just a minute here about first, second, third, fourth grader learning math. What are they learning? Addition, subtraction, division. Now, if they're ever going to get to algebra in their life, do they move on from addition, subtraction, and division?
No. They don't move on. They build on. Right? They can't move on and forget these things.
They build on these things. And here's what I think the Scripture is trying to get us to see in the first little chunk here, that there is a reasonable expectation for every believer to learn the elementary doctrines of Christ in a way that they can share them with others. Whether that be, I'm not talking about a teaching gift. I'm not talking about preaching on a stage or whatever. I'm talking about every single believer having the doctrines of Christ in their life, the elementary doctrines here, that they might be able to over lunch with a coworker, teach a child in the home, late at night in the dorm room with a fellow classmate or whatever that's asking questions.
We should all be able to move into some type of teaching when it comes to these things. He gives us six principles, but really they're formed in couplets here. Okay? The first verse says this. The doctrines of faith gives us these couplets. The first verse, he mentions salvation. He mentions repentance from dead works. He mentions repentance and faith.
All right? That's verse one. Now, here's the difference very quickly here between the Gospel and religion. You know, religion says I work for salvation. The Gospel says I work from salvation. The Gospel says the work is not that I do a bunch of dead works to make God love me. What the Gospel says is, no, no, no, my faith and repentance, that's what God's asking me, to put my faith in what he has done. This is an elementary doctrine.
It is the Gospel. We don't move on from it. We, listen, we build on it.
Okay? We build on top of it. He says this in verse two, that an elementary principle is about the washings and the laying on of hands. What's he talking about here?
Well, I'm going to tell you what he's talking about. This is all wrapped up in baptism. You know, ritual washing represented purification under the law. God's law, ritual washings, all of that. But in Christ, okay, after Christ, what do we see in baptism? Baptism represents the ultimate purification of the Gospel. This is another elementary principle that we get a chance to build on to. You could say move on from, as long as you don't forget, okay?
That's the point. You don't move on in a way that forgets it, all right? You might move on to more, you know, mature things or whatever, but you don't forget about this doctrine of baptism. Now, what is baptism? You know, baptism is a physical expression of a spiritual reality. We're pushing towards baptism this Easter.
If this is something that God has been working in your heart or in your family or your kids' lives, we want to talk to you about this. What is baptism? It's the going down in the water, identifying with the death of Christ, coming up out of the water, identifying with his resurrection.
This is what it is. Verse 6 tells us, oh, do you not know that all who are baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into his death? We go down, we come up. When someone gets saved, their first act of obedience is to share with the world what God has done in their life as someone lays hands on them and baptizes them. Nobody baptizes themselves, okay? You're baptized into the church of Jesus Christ. Someone lays hands on you. They're signifying entrance in.
You're coming in. Then he mentions the third thing here, again in verse 2, where he talks about resurrection and eternal judgment. Guys, Christians should have some working knowledge of what is coming in the end, and I am not talking about spreadsheets and charts and dispensations and all of this. People are going to have different views on those things. I'm not saying you shouldn't have a view. You probably should have a view if you want to study some of this stuff. But what I'm talking about here is, do we have an anchored hope in the resurrection from the dead? As we teach our children, will we walk in Aslan's country? Have we thought about what it means that we are spared from judgment because of the blood of Christ? These are elementary things, and we should all know them.
Let me just push you on this, all right? The way that we become teachers is to take in good teaching. And so the question is, are we taking in good teaching? You know, the way that a church does this primarily, the church is primarily a word form, a spiritual formation type of environment where you come in, we gather together, you hear the word preach.
There's your change, and then the organism of the church, the individuals go out and live changed lives. And then, man, just look at what he does in the community, right? It's just kind of crazy when you see these Christians out in the world just rubbing off on every nook and cranny of society.
Are you taking in good teaching? This starts here at home. This starts with hearing the word proclaimed in community, okay? This is one of those things where, listen, I love preaching. I love to hear preaching. Podcasting is awesome. We are blessed.
This is recent at Mercy Hill. Guys, we're blessed, 830 a.m., Truth Network, on the radio, a lot of great preachers. I get a chance to be on there with some other guys in the triad and around the nation in the mornings. I mean, this is great, driving down the road.
What else are you listening to, you know? It's like, man, this is good. I love that. No substitute for hearing the word in community where you get a chance to hear the response of other brothers and sisters in the faith. And if I can just tell you, listen, if you come from a tradition that is more responsive in the sermons, I need your help, okay? I need you, all right?
All right? And I know some of you do. Some of you come from traditions where it is very natural to call out to the pastor.
I grew up in a tradition exactly like that. And so, you know, our tradition here at Mercy Hill many times is I make a really good point, and all I see is the top of people's heads furiously writing notes for community group. That's fine, okay?
But you can do two things at once. We can walk and chew gum. We can say amen, okay? I would love to see more of a responsive culture, but my point is, are we taking in good teaching?
Are we reading the Word in the mornings? I teach. We teach. Our teaching team, we have 20 different preachers this year, praise God, that we're raising up that will preach in a pulpit at Mercy Hill.
One of the reasons we are multi-site, by the way. I mean, it's awesome to see these guys raised up. But at the same time, are we taking in the Word for ourselves? I love it when these leadership books catch up on something that Christians have been doing forever. There's one of these leadership books right now that's making the rounds, a great book, read it, it was fine, called Miracle Morning.
It's talking about, you know, all these things, you know, and the basic idea is, win the morning, win the day. I'm like, man, Jesus has been doing that for 2,000 years. I remember that in the New Testament, right? Like, get up early in the morning and read the Word and pray. Hey, if we want to be teachers, we've got to be taught. We've got to be students of the Word. We've got to be students of good preaching and good teaching. So I pray that you're doing it.
All right, let's get into it here. For it is impossible in the case of those who have once been enlightened, who have tasted the heavenly gift and have shared in the Holy Spirit and have tasted the goodness of the Word of God and the powers of the age to come and then have fallen away to restore them again to repentance. Since they are crucifying once again the Son of God to their own harm and holding Him up to contempt, for land that has drunk the rain that often falls on it and produces a crop useful to those for whose sake it is cultivated receives a blessing from God.
But, this is the point, if it bears thorns and thistles, it is worthless and near to being cursed and in the end it is burned. This is one of the hardest texts in the whole New Testament, for our tradition at least, okay? And I want to get into that, but I want you to hear this at Mercy Hill. Listen, I'm not always going to get everything right.
That's just a fact. If you go back and you listen to 10 years of preaching, there's going to be things I didn't get right, okay? But at Mercy Hill, here's my commitment to you.
We sing this song to Faith Ann, okay? And it's like going on a bear hunt. Can't go around it. Can't go over it.
Can't go under it. We got to go right through it. And there might be times where I get it wrong. There might be times it's not all the way, you know, I'm going to do the best I can. We do it in community, a bunch of elders, but we're committed to going right through it instead of dodging it, okay?
And so that's what we got to do here. Why is this such a tough passage? It's a tough passage because Christians kind of get a little bit like, wait a minute, is this saying that we can lose our salvation? Because that's sort of what it sounds like, right? It sounds like, man, I've been enlightened. I've tasted of the heavenly gift. I mean, it doesn't expressly say I'm regenerate.
I've got the Spirit in me or whatever. But it says some things that make you feel like that a little bit. And then all of a sudden it's like, well, if they fall away, they can't come back.
What are we supposed to do with this? Well, we know that it can't mean that because we have such clear teaching on this concept of an eternal salvation. I kind of poke fun at that phrase, once saved, always saved. It is true.
The reason I poke fun at it is because I think it can lead us down the path of the guy that was trying to get witness to on the basketball court. I like the phrase, if saved, always saved. Okay, it's true either way. Once saved, always saved. If saved, always saved.
But we know that's scriptural because of passages like this that are just so clear. John chapter 10 verse 27, my sheep hear my voice and I know them and they follow me. I give them eternal life and they will never perish.
And no one, not even themselves, okay, no one will snatch them out of my hand. When we are in his hand, we don't get back out of his hand. It's so clear, Romans 8 35, who shall separate us from the love of Christ? The concept is no one, so what is actually going on here?
Let me go ahead and show you my cards and then I'll build it out, okay? I think he's making the same point that he's made multiple times and will make multiple times in the book of Hebrews and it's a simple point. It's a hard point, but it's a simple point. There will be people in the church who are actually not Christians. And what I mean by in the church, I do not mean they are spiritually in the church. I mean physically they're among us.
I mean physically they're in churches and in organizations that are churches and maybe even somebody that's here today and I prayed that today would be a day of repentance for you. These are people that are confused on free and cheap. Like free but of immense value, grace, no, no, no, cheap doesn't define my whole life. For a while it changes me, but in the end it didn't really change me. In the end these are people who were charmed by the gospel, not eternally changed by the gospel. They liked it for a while, but in the end it wasn't a defining thing in their life. The Spirit wasn't there. They weren't a regenerate person. Now why do I say that they were in the church?
Because of the language that the text used. These are people who tasted the goodness of the heavenly gift and the goodness of the word. I think maybe there's an illusion of communion there. I think these are people who have come in maybe that have been baptized, that have been in community groups. They have taken communion. They have been enlightened. Okay, I don't know exactly what that means, but I think it's talking about people who have leaned in and maybe even felt the power of the Spirit and others around them. They've maybe been the beneficiary of spiritual gifting, been baptized, taken communion. Now what does it say? If that person falls away, they cannot again be restored.
Why? Here's the essence of what he's saying. Because if they were truly saved and they fell away, and they could actually fall away, then when they came back in, they would have proven that the blood of Christ wasn't sufficient to save them the first time. That's what it would be showing. They'd be putting Christ right back up there on that cross, a contemptible belief that the blood of Christ could not actually save.
These are people who had the rain fall upon them, but instead of producing fruit, they produced thorns and thistles. And this is, listen, this is hard, okay? This is tough. This is the normal expectation for believers that we would see this happen over the course of our life, and that is a hard thing to say. It is a hard thing to reconcile, but I'm going to tell you something. If believers don't know that that's true, that there will be people that come in that profess Christ, get baptized, sit in your community group, and then one day they turn away. If nobody's told you that on the front end when it happens to you, it will level you.
And I know that. I think this is why we have this. Now, I'm going to say this in a minute. I think the ultimate meaning here is that this is a warning to believers.
I think it's a motivational kind of speech here that he's giving. But we've got to understand, you know, there are people, there are naysayers out there that kind of want to look in and they want to say, well, okay, a church like Mercy Hill has grown and you've had salvations and you've baptized people, but are there many of them that have fallen away? Are there some of them that don't walk with Christ after three, four, five years? You know, almost like that's a gotcha question. I want to respond by saying, what Bible are you reading?
Of course that's the expectation. Have you read the book of Hebrews? Have you seen how many times Paul said, man, they were with us, but now they're not with us?
1 John 2, 19, they went out from us, but they were not of us. That is hard. I mean, I've wrestled with it for 10 years as the lead pastor of this church.
You've wrestled with it with people in your life that came in, leaned in, and then left. But Jesus prepared us for that. It's sad, it's heartbreaking, but it's the truth.
What am I talking about? Jesus prepared us for this, the parable of the sower. Matthew chapter 13, there are four soils, eight but one of them good. You've got the hard soil, you've got the shallow soil, you've got the divided soil, and you have the good soil. What is Hebrews 6 about?
Hebrews chapter 6 is about the shallow soil and the divided soil. People who spring up for a while, but in the end, either the love of the world or in the end, the persecution of the church, the heat of the sun, it takes them away and they prove themselves to be ones that were not with us. Now, here's the rub, and some of you guys are ahead of me, okay? Here's the rub. What did he say? Yeah, but he says, but if they fall, they're going to be restored, they can't be restored again. What can that possibly mean?
Let me tell you what I think that it means by way of illustration. Let me try to help this pop a little bit here, okay? Just to try to get us to see, I think, what he's talking about here. William Curry, 2022, fall of 22, accepted a scholarship to Stanford University to go run track, okay? Now, his parents were a little bit shocked by the whole news of it.
His friends were a little bit shocked by the news of it, but they were really excited that he was going to get a chance to go chase his dream and all that. I mean, he shows up on campus. He starts doing the college life, man. He's bumming around. He's going to campus. He's, you know, apparently on a scholarship, so he don't have to go work. He's playing poker and trading cryptocurrency, okay? This is what he's doing with his spare time and all that.
Of course, it came out later that it was all fake. He never had gotten accepted to Stanford. He's living on the college campus. He's going to class. He's playing poker in the dorm, but he doesn't actually attend there. And they have to come and physically remove him off the campus.
It was all a lie. Now, this is why I tell you this. You've got to hang with me for one more second, okay? One more minute here.
Now, let's extend the analogy. What happens if William Curry in his life decides he actually wants to go to Stanford and he gets the documents off of online or he goes to the office or whatever and he walks in and he says, I want to be readmitted to Stanford. Of course, they're going to do a little background and they're going to say, sir, you don't get readmitted. You were never here in the first place. It is impossible for you to be readmitted because you were never here.
You were never part of us. You actually need to go to that line over there that is the normal admittance. That's where you need to be.
You're not a readmittance because readmittance in this situation is not possible. Listen, Christian, you cannot lose what you don't have. Let me say it another way.
I'm hoping you're following this, okay? You cannot be restored to a position that you never had. And of course, that's what the writer of Hebrews tried to tell us in Hebrews chapter 3 verse 14.
This is my point. I think the writer here is trying to use a little bit of hyperbolic language to get us to see something. If somebody fell away, of course they couldn't be restored because if they fell away, they weren't a believer to begin with. That's what he says in Hebrews 3, 14. For we have come to share in Christ if indeed our original confidence we hold firm to the end. So if I fall away, I'm not saying fall down. We all fall down. I'm talking about fall away.
I'm talking about difference between Peter and Judas, okay? We all fall down. Got it. But what about those who fall away?
There are no readmissions. You're either in or you're out. And if you're in, you will stay in. Now what does he say in verse 9, all right, as we finish this text? Though we speak in this way, yet in your case, beloved, we feel sure of better things, things that belong to salvation. For God is not unjust so as to overlook your work and the love that you have shown for his name in serving the saints as you still do. And we desire each one of you to show the same earnestness to have the full assurance of hope until the end so that you may not be sluggish, we talked about that last week, but imitators of those who through faith and patience inherit the promises. Now, this is what I love about the Bible.
This is what I love about this book, okay? After what I think is one of the harshest, hardest-hitting, wake-up call, grab the face mask, shake the ground under your feet, rattle the cage moment in the book of Hebrews, he comes right back with an assurance, warnings and assurances. He comes right back and what does he say? He says, beloved. I love that, one of my favorite preachers, Juan Sanchez, Austin, Texas. He always refers to his congregation as beloved.
I want to do that maybe, beloved. I love what he says, beloved. Here's what he's saying, he shakes us up, now he's going to sure us up and he's going to say, but Christians, but for you, you are in Christ and there are works and love that you are showing and that is showing the fruit of your salvation.
Never get this backwards. You don't work for salvation, you work from salvation. We don't do things to get saved, but saved people do things, okay? And what we do, these works, man, they show over the course of our life a perseverance.
Starting is easy. It's the finishing. It's the duration, right? It's the perseverance that he's getting at in this book.
And what he says in verse 11 is, have the full assurance of hope to the end. Value the grace, it's not cheap. Okay, it's free. It's a free grace. Man, get that, don't have this cheap mentality that it doesn't move your whole life.
It's immensely valuable. And you get this full assurance, you grab on, you anchor yourself in the hope and goes all in this and you go all the way to the end. You persevere all the way to the end.
That's what he's getting at. What does your life look like? What do the fruits of your life look like? He's trying to say to the church, hey Christian, let the fruit of your life bear witness to what God has done in you. I see this all over our church. Man, works and love, works and love, not for but from.
I see it all over. A willingness maybe to pour into a kid, you have a child, they have friends, a willingness to pour into those friends. A willingness to say in this season of our life, man, this is our mission field. A willingness for a senior in college to move back into the dorm so that they can engage freshmen that are moving on campus.
We see this stuff in our church. Man, a willingness to jump in in a situation maybe that you have some experience in or were in. Listen to this story. We have a woman right now at Mercy Hill fired up for the mission. Listen, this last summer she was going through the mentorship program because she was facing an unplanned pregnancy. She goes through that program, she ends up at Mercy Hill. She's growing here, deeper thing, you know, deeper initiative, leaning all the way in, just doing, you know, God's got her fired up for mission, all that taken step after step after step. This spring, now she, after having the child and walking through that, gets connected through our mentorship program here.
And now she is mentoring others who are facing unplanned pregnancies. This is, and by the way, April 29th, Walk for Life, just a commercial, okay? You know, but here's what I think. Here's what I think. I look at that and I say, man, this is what he's talking about.
These are the marks. Now, look, you can go around and try to put the cart before the horse. You can go around and try to say, well, I'm going to do a bunch of works. Plenty of people have done that. That's what makes it so hard to understand how someone's a believer or not a believer. It's a real spiritual issue.
People can try to fake works all day long. But Christian, if you are in the faith, if God is moving in you, these things are going to be produced in your life because it's who you are. It's your identity. What did he say in verse 12? Guys, we're covering a lot of scripture today, I know that. What did he say in verse 12? So that you may not be sluggish, be imitators of those who through faith and patience inherit the promises. You don't inherit the promise through works and activity and busyness. But if you are anchored in faith and patience, what will pop out all over your life?
Fruit. It will pop out all over because this is your identity and this is who you are. Man, we have faith in the gospel. Jesus lived for us, he died for us, he was raised for us. It brings a new identity into our life.
It's something that we live into. Jesus united us with himself. Christian, let me sure you up.
He shook us up. Let me sure you up. Christian, you cannot fall away. If you are in Christ, you will always be in Christ from now until eternity.
This is what the scripture is calling us to see. Beloved, you can't fall away, we will fall down. We can't fall away. Shake us up, sure us up.
Man, I don't know exactly what you needed to hear today, but he gives us both. Let me kind of land the plane. Let me apply this, we'll be done. Hey, persevere and don't fall away. Every believer falls down. Christians fall down, but we don't fall away. All right, so I understand that in our life. Man, there's going to be things that we go through, but we will not lose our salvation. I think many times this passage has been in Christian circles. Here's what people do.
The discussion devolves into this kind of idea. Can you lose your salvation or can you not lose your salvation? I want you to hear today as loud as I can. That is not the point. The point is don't.
Can you or can't you? The point is don't. The point is press forward. The point is today is the day of repentance. The point is come forward today. Litter the altar on all of our campuses and pray not only for yourself and the direction that God is leading you, but also for others in our life. Man, every one of us knows somebody that is straying, somebody that is in danger here. Somebody that we can lift up and we can do that today.
2 Peter 1 says it this way. Therefore, brothers, be all the more diligent to confirm your calling and election. Press forward. Man, today is the day.
Let's go. It's not can you or can't you. Don't.
Make a decision today. You know, George Patton, General Patton used to say this in World War II. They said, why are you always attacking?
And he said, because I don't like paying for the same real estate twice. I want to keep going forward. Press on. All right, I'm going to give you two ways and we're done. We come to the end of the first half of this book. All right, it's the end of our study in Hebrews for right now. I don't know what God's been pressing on your heart.
All right, but here's two quick applications that I would say. Look at verse 12 again. So that you may not be sluggish, but be imitators of those who work through faith and patience. Those who through faith and patience inherit the promises.
Be imitators of them is what it said. Okay, now here's what I want to call you to. Our groups semester session is ending pretty much like right now. Okay, this week or whatever.
And a little break. And then there's going to be another group session. Here's what I want to call you to.
If you've been new to Mercy Hill, you've been coming around Mercy Hill, you need to be in a group. You know why? The Bible is calling you to imitate faith. To imitate those who persevere. What is the book of Hebrews doing? Well, he's getting us ready for a discussion on Abraham that we're not going to get into because this is our last one. Then he's getting us into the Hall of Fame of faith.
I mean, that's what he's setting up here, okay? I just want to make a quick word and say this. You can't imitate mature Christians if you don't know any. Man, if you don't know any, if you're not serving, if you're not in group, those are the two great ways to relationship.
Go teams. I mean, these are the ways we get in relationship with one another, all right? So I want to call you, man, to jump into a group.
And the second thing I would say is this. Guys, for some of us in here over the next couple weeks, we've got to wrestle with this question. Do you need to be baptized on Easter weekend?
Pressing forward, duration, perseverance, perseverance. Man, what if you are holding back your obedience from the first call of a believer? You're a believer. Man, you've accepted Christ. You got baptized long before you accepted Christ. Maybe your parents did infant baptism with you.
Maybe you've just gotten saved over the last few months. You know that it's time. Don't rob God of the glory that he deserves.
It is an elementary principle, a doctrine. Man, let's be ones who take on that washing and laying on of hands. Man, let us commit.
Let us repent. Man, we've done a body of teaching. We've done a lot of work, all right, over this whole semester.
You know, this whole group session, this whole kind of three months beginning of the year, we've done a lot. What is God pressing upon your heart? Let's pray.
Father, at all of our campuses, we come to you now, and Lord, I'm just praying, God, that you will start cultivating right now in our campuses and all of our people, God of heart that's willing to say yes to whatever it is that you're calling us to. We've been warned. We've been assured. We've talked about how Jesus is better. We've talked about how our heart needs to be rearranged. We've talked about things getting off the sideline. We've talked a lot about these things over the last couple of months. And God, I pray that you'll bring us into a spiritual moment here together across all of our church right now. In Christ's name we pray. Amen.
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