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Pilgrims & Strangers, Part 2

Sound of Faith / Sharon Hardy Knotts and R. G. Hardy
The Truth Network Radio
January 24, 2022 7:00 am

Pilgrims & Strangers, Part 2

Sound of Faith / Sharon Hardy Knotts and R. G. Hardy

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January 24, 2022 7:00 am

Pilgrims Strangers, Part 3

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Summit Life
J.D. Greear
What's Right What's Left
Pastor Ernie Sanders
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Lee Habeeb
What's Right What's Left
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Alistair Begg
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Greetings, friends and new listeners and welcome to The Sound of Faith. This is Sharon Otz thanking you for tuning in today because we know faith comes by hearing and hearing by the Word of God. I preach today's message, Pilgrims and Strangers, Heaven on the Horizon, the Sunday after my precious daddy, R.G.

Hardy, went to glory to be with our Lord on August 28th, just shy of his 91st birthday. Like the elders of Hebrews 11 Faith's Hall of Fame, by faith he obtained a good report in Pilgrims and Strangers, Heaven on the Horizon. Let's go back to Hebrews, verse 14. For they that say such things declare plainly that they seek a country.

They that say what things? What we read previously in verse 13. They confessed we are strangers and pilgrims. Notice it doesn't say we are strangers and pilgrims in the land of Canaan.

It says on the earth. Amen. And because they said that, then we're told in verse 14 that plainly explains to us that they're not talking about an earthly country. They're not talking about an earthly city.

Amen. Because they said we are strangers and pilgrims on the earth and they're looking for another country. Now, the word country in Greek is Patres, P-A-T-R-E-S, and we bring it into the English as patriotic. And that means to be devoted to your country. You're a patriot.

It means in Greek one's fatherland, and that means it's the place of your birth. How many in the natural here today were born in the United States? Okay. I probably should have asked it the other way. Anybody here not born in the United States?

Okay. Everybody is born in the United States. So this is your native land and the land of your birth. But now we're going to go take it where Abraham and Sarah are.

Amen. See, it says those who say I'm a pilgrim and a stranger on the earth, they're plainly saying that I'm looking for a certain country. What do you mean they're looking for a country and the place of their birth? Because remember the word country there means fatherland place of your birth.

What? They left the place of their birth. They left their land of Chaldee. They left Ur the place of their birth in their native land. Did they not leave it? So they left it. So why would they be looking to go back to it?

Let's look at verse 15. And truly, if they had been mindful of that country from whence they came out, they might've had opportunity to have returned. So they weren't looking to go back. They weren't looking to go back to Ur of Chaldees. They weren't looking to go back to the place of their birth because if they were, had they gotten homesick, had they wanted to turn around and go back, they could have just turned around and went back. But no, they said we're looking for a particular country.

We're looking for a particular city whose builder and maker is God. They were not looking to go back. In fact, later on, remember when it was time for Isaac to have a wife and we know that Abraham told his servant Eliezer, he said, I want you to go back home to where I am from and where Sarah is from and from our family and find a wife for Isaac and bring her. He didn't want Isaac to marry any of the heathen and the pagan around them. He wanted him to go back to their own people. And he told him, he said, go back and find a wife for Isaac.

He really trusted that guy, didn't he? He said, however, if you are not able to convince or persuade a young maiden to come with you, to marry my son, Isaac, do not ever, ever let him go back to the land where God called me out of. And he told him it twice in Genesis, twice he said, you have to swear to me now. You have to promise me that if you don't bring a wife home for Isaac later on after I'm gone, do not allow Isaac to go back to my home. Maybe he thought if Isaac went back there possibly to visit relatives or find himself a wife that he might have settled down and stayed there. He said, God called me out of that land and I don't want my son to ever go back there.

Amen. So if the country Abraham and Sarah sought was not the land of their birth, was it the land of Canaan where God sent them? Remember, this is the land that God swore to them. He said, I give you this land. I give it to your seed after you from the Euphrates River, all the way to the Mesopotamia, all the way to the Nile River in Egypt.

This land will I give you and I will make of you a great nation. And after Abraham and Lot decided to split up because what had happened was Lot had so many cattle and Abraham had so many cattle because Lot inherited his father's cattle because his father was deceased. But then the servants of Abraham, the herdsmen of Abraham and the herdsmen of Lot were fighting over the pasture land. And it became very strifeful until finally Abraham said, you know, it's time for us to split.

You take your family and your possessions and you move on. And Abraham allowed his nephew to choose where he wanted to go. I would think as Abraham being the elder and the patriarch of the family that he would have chosen, but he didn't. He let Lot choose. And we know that Lot cast his eyes eastward and he saw the lush green plains around the cities of Sodom and Gomorrah and he thought, oh, that looks lush and beautiful.

I'm going there. And so that's the direction he took. And he was living outside of the city of Sodom in the green beautiful fertile valley. The problem is is he didn't stay in the valley. The problem was that the people of Sodom began to draw him in. And the next time we read about Lot, he's living inside the city walls.

And next thing we know, he and his family have been kidnapped. But when this occurred, when they split up and Lot looked towards Sodom and said, I'm going this way. After he gathered all of his people and all of his belongings and cattle, he left. And once Lot had left, God spoke to Abraham and said, now Abraham, I want you to look north and south and west because as far as you can see, I swear I give this land to you and to your seed. You see, God had to remove Terah first because he may have still had those inclinations towards idol worship. And then he had to remove Lot because God knew Lot's heart and knew that he was going to go after what he thought was prosperity and the rich green place.

Amen. And he knew that when he got there, he would become unfaithful and he would not stay faithful to his God, but he would compromise and move his family into that wicked evil city because the scripture says right there where it says Lot chose to go that way, right there we're already told and the men of Sodom were exceedingly wicked. So God had to get them out of the way. And now he had Abraham and only Abraham, the scripture says he chose one man because he said, I know Abraham's heart and I know what he will do. He will be faithful to teach his children and his grandchildren after him. And God is looking for those kinds of folks today.

He's looking for saints that will be faithful, not compromised like Lot and will teach their children and grandchildren the word of God. Amen. And so God said to Abraham, look north, look south, look west and I want you to walk through the land, walk through the length of it, walk through the breadth of it for I will give it unto you. So this was the land flowing with milk and honey. This was a land that was beautiful. This was a land that we learned much later that they had grapes that were so beautiful and huge.

It took two men to carry one cluster of grapes on a pole. What a beautiful land that God was going to give to Abraham and his seed. Amen. So was this the country they were seeking? Now where it says, we read it says that they that seek a country and that particular phrase, seek a country, it means to see your home city on the horizon. Now I'm sure all of us have taken trips, been away from home, been away from Baltimore for extended periods of time, go on a vacation, you go for a visit and you're going for a while and now you're on your way home and you're driving those long hours on the interstates and making your connections, going through different areas and states and cities and finally you see a sign. It says 100 miles to Baltimore. You start perking up a little bit. Amen. Next thing you know, you see a sign says 50 miles to Baltimore.

Now you really start perking up. Now it's 20 miles to Baltimore, 10 miles to Baltimore and there's a certain place you can get over that little hill and look and there on the horizon you see the skyline of downtown Baltimore and you know you're almost home. Amen.

That's what the phrase means. They seek a country. They're looking on the horizon for the country and the city that they seek.

Hallelujah. And Abraham and Sarah were looking for a country and a city, but they had heaven on their horizon. That was the city they were looking for.

Amen. They were looking for Canaan land. They were obeying God. They were going where he told them to go.

He said, now go this way and now go that way and now travel here and now travel there. God says, I'm going to give you this land as you walk through it claim because it's yours. But you see the focus of what they were looking for was not the earthly land because we know that God gave Abraham a revelation of the gospel. Scriptures tell us that he had that revelation. He understood the gospel and he understood the city of God.

Amen. And Abraham and Sarah, they had their eyes on heaven. Look at verse 16, but now they desire a better country that is a heavenly wherefore God is not ashamed to be called their God for he has prepared for them a city.

They desire a better country that is a heavenly. I want you to notice, first of all, the present tense of the verbs. It says, but now they desire.

It's in the present tense and that means continual habitual ongoing action. They kept desiring. They kept desiring to see that city. They kept desiring to see that country.

My God, Abraham and Sarah, they were stretching out, seeing that on the horizon, their heavenly home. And that's how I feel sometimes. Amen. That's how my dad felt.

Amen. Oh, he was stretching out for the last couple of years. He kept saying, I want to go home. I want to go home to be with the Lord. And especially this last year.

And if I can say, and especially the last few months, because when COVID started, everything really shut down. You know, my dad, it used to at least come out on Sunday morning and he couldn't wait to come out here with this walker and walk around here and say hi to everybody. He looked forward to that, but that also meant that he was getting out of the house, walking to the car, getting in and out of the car, walking around here.

Amen. And then a couple of times a week, my mom would take him to the restaurant to eat. So again, he's getting out of the house.

He's got to walk down the driveway, get in the car, walk in and out of the restaurant. He was moving. He was moving around.

But when COVID came and at their advanced age, they definitely did not go anywhere. And they were home all the time. And my father pretty much just sat in the recliner. And in the beginning, you know, he would get up from the recliner and then he would go into the bedroom and then he would come back out in the living room in the recliner.

He would go into the kitchen and eat. But then he got so that it was getting harder and harder for him just to walk, you know, from here to there. And my mom would try to get him to walk around the house, but it was difficult. And the problem was is the more he sat, the less mobile he became. And so it really, to me, sped up his time because he got to the point that his legs, the muscles in his legs could no longer bear his weight. He could no longer even stand, even stand with the walker so that, you know, you could help him get dressed and things. And so he really got chair bound, I guess you could say, and he wanted to go home to heaven.

That's what he wanted. Amen. Oh, he had heaven in his view.

Amen. And, you know, when I would go over there before he was really in the chair all the time, he would sit at the kitchen table and there was a picture of him on the kitchen table. And I'm going to say he was probably around late 30s, 40, a picture of him with a suit and tie and, you know, he had all his really thick, beautiful hair. And I used to point to that picture and I'd say, daddy, that's what you're going to look like pretty soon. That's who you're going to look like. Cause he would say, who's that handsome guy?

I'd say, that's what you're getting ready to look like. And you know, he liked that. He liked it when I would tell him that. Amen. Oh yes. He had heaven on the horizon. Amen. He had heaven in his view.

He was looking for a better city. Amen. Let's very quickly turn with me to Philippians chapter three. You know these verses, but we'll look at them.

Philippians chapter three and let's look at verse 13. Brethren, I count myself not to have apprehended, but this one thing I do. Forgetting those things which are behind and reaching forth unto the things which are before, I press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus. Now he is talking here about the rapture resurrection and he is at the end of his life and he is in a prison.

Amen. And he's writing these words, but he's saying, I'm forgetting everything that lies behind. I'm going to forget about all the troubles and trials and all of the places on my journey that were tough, that were hard.

When I was in prison, when I was shipwrecked, when I was beaten, when I was stoned, I'm forgetting all those things that lie behind. And he says, I am reaching out. I'm reaching forward to the things which are before talking about the rapture resurrection. And in the Greek, the Greek word for that reaching forth for the things that are before in the Greek, the meaning is stretching out, stretching out. I'm stretching out.

That is the literal translation. I am stretching out. Hallelujah. Oh, wherever you are on your journey, I want you to know you got to keep stretching out. When troubles come and storms begin to rise, you got to hold on and learn to, learn to stretch out. I'm stretching out. And you know what the picture is. You know the picture is of a runner in a race, a foot runner in a race and know how many laps he's already run.

I don't know. You know, some of those races are very long, but whatever, how many laps he has run, you know, he has kept running. His back was killing him. His feet were hurting.

The knees were hurting. Oh, he felt like he was hardly going to make it, but he just kept stretching out and stretching out. And now on the horizon, hallelujah, he sees the finishing tape. He sees right before him the finishing line and he stretches out with the last bit of energy that's still in his body.

The last little bit of his stamina that he has left, he stretches out and break that tape. Hallelujah. And he's on the other side. Glory to God. That's how we are on our way to heaven. We're stretching out.

Glory to God. We see the finish line is not that far away and we stretch out. I have seen runners bless their hearts that have fallen a couple feet because their legs would not hold them up anymore, but they stretched out. They stretched out until they made it over that finish line. Hallelujah. And my dad, brother Hardy, he's been stretching out for a long time.

Glory to God. He went around many laps, many laps, amen, since he got saved in 1952. Many laps around, but the last few laps he just kept stretching out, stretching out. The last three days he was really, really going down and he was having a hard time really communicating the way he wanted to. His body was so weak and his voice was very low. I thought in a way it was kind of funny that I would pray for him.

I would pray for him and then I would say amen and he would say amen. And then a couple of days before he passed, he was saying, amen, amen, amen. So we started singing, amen, amen, amen, amen. You know what he did right there? He said, everybody say. He got that part in.

Me and mom and Benny, we sang amen a couple of times and a couple of verses of it. He was just loving it. He was just eating it up. And when we stopped, he kept saying, amen, amen, amen, amen. He was stretching out, stretching out because he had that heavenly city on the horizon, that heavenly city on the horizon.

Amen. Oh, we're stretching out. And here we just read, it said that now they desire this better country, a heavenly country. Now we have to like figure it out and read between the lines. Now he just flat out tells you it's a heavenly country.

Up until this point, he hasn't said it clearly, but now he's no longer ambiguous. He says it's a heavenly country. Wherefore God's not ashamed to be called their God because he's prepared for them a city. Hallelujah. God has prepared for us a city and he allowed Paul to go up and see it and John to go up and see it. Now he didn't let Paul tell us about it. Paul said, I was caught up in the paradise into the third heaven. I saw things that it's not lawful for me to tell you because God was saving it for John to tell us. But this much he could tell us for I reckon that the sufferings of this present world are not worthy to be compared to the glory that shall be revealed in us. Hallelujah. The sufferings are not worthy to be compared to the glory. Amen. That was Romans eight 18 and then I believe in second Corinthians.

I believe it's in the fourth chapter. He talked about that we have our light affliction. Somebody say ha ha.

Easy for you to say. Our light affliction works for us a far more eternal and heavy weight of glory. So see what he's doing here? See what Paul's doing? Light affliction, heavy glory, light affliction, heavy glory. When you consider the glory that is to come, the affliction by comparison is light. Amen.

Amen. I hope you're inspired by this heartwarming herald pilgrims and strangers. Heaven on the horizon. On August 28th, my dad, R. G. Hardy went to be with the Lord six days before his 91st birthday.

The following Sunday, I was in the pulpit preaching this soulful sermon, missing my dad, but rejoicing in his long awaited home going. He loved to preach on Abraham and Sarah. He wrote a book, Abraham's Kind of Faith, that chronicled their journey from Ur of Chaldees in modern Iraq to Canaan in modern Israel. Hebrews 11 Faith's Hall of Fame reveals that they were looking for a city with foundations whose architect and builder was God. This does not describe any city on earth. It certainly was not the city of their birth or they could have returned.

Nor was it Canaan. While a beautiful place flowing with milk and honey and lush resources, it was not built by God. We are plainly told that they look for a better country, a heavenly country. Thus, their confession was, we are pilgrims and strangers on the earth. Likewise, Apostle Paul said, for our citizenship is in heaven. The past few years, my dad was longing for heaven.

And if you are a citizen of heaven, you are too. Pilgrims and strangers, heaven on the horizon can be ordered on CD for a love gift of $10 or more for our radio ministry. Request SK215, mail to Sound of Faith, P.O. Box 1744, Baltimore, Maryland 21203. If you order by mail, we will include Brother Hardy's book, Abraham's Kind of Faith. This offer is only good for mail-in orders. Send your minimum love gift of $10 to P.O. Box 1744, Baltimore, Maryland 21203. You can also view Brother Hardy's beautiful home-going service, including my eulogy on YouTube, Sound of Faith Ministries. That's Sound of Faith Ministries. Till next time, this is Sharon Otse, Maranatha.
Whisper: medium.en / 2023-05-05 08:03:07 / 2023-05-05 08:12:02 / 9

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