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July 23, 2020 7:00 pm
Rev. Steve Brower preaches a message entitled “The Opportunity Before You.” Today’s scripture passage is Hebrews 4.
Welcome to The Daily Platform from Bob Jones University in Greenville, South Carolina. The school was founded in 1927. The evangelist Dr. Bob Jones Senior's intent was to make a school where Christ would be the center of everything, so he established daily chapel services today.
That tradition continues with fervent preaching from the University Chapel platform today on The Daily Platform will hear a sermon from Rev. Steve Brower, senior pastor at First Baptist Church in St. Francis, Minnesota.
Here's Pres. Steve Pettit to introduce him this morning. I'm so happy to introduce our speaker pastor Steve Brower Steve pastors the first Baptist Church in St. Francis Minnesota has been there since 2008 is a graduate of Mirren at the Baptist University both undergrad and a master's degree went on to Central Baptist theological seminary and to get his M.Div. and he is pursuing his doctorate of Ministry and expositional preaching. I first met Steve when he was a student in the work at Northland camp and conference center where was my privilege to serve there almost 30 years. Both he and his wife Heather were working there in camp and wonderful couple couple. Love the Lord. Therefore children and I love Steve is a great guy's a really a wonderful church were so thankful to have you here today and please open your heart, as he comes and preaches God's word.
Let's give him a warm welcome this morning.
Thank you, Dr. Pettit is a real honor to be here at the blessing to be able to open up God's word with you all. If you take your Bibles turn with me to Hebrews chapter number four probably got glad I didn't say Hebrews 12 but Hebrews chapter number four is the passage you want us to focus on this morning and let me speak to you this morning as someone who has been where you are yo to some degree. I walked in your shoes. I'm sure there are many things that are different between you and between me, but I think the similarities are probably actually more significant.
I remember those days of attending Bible college and you got all that excitement and learning and growth and friends and you have this daily and constant dose of the word of God and I want to speak to you about the opportunity that is before you during your time in college here at Bob Jones yachts an important opportunity. Nothing is possible for you to take full advantage of that and it's possible for you to squander it as well. I've appreciated Dr. Pettit's choice of the theme running the race not been listening to the messages online and they have been a blessing to my soul. They challenged me yell. The choice of Hebrews is also very appropriate on the level that there are in the book of Hebrews. Many Jewish people to whom it is written that were following Christ. But then you have this contingent on that was listening to all that was being sad that was being their eyes lifted up and pointed towards Jesus, but they are considering abandoning Jesus and going back to Judaism which we might look at his scratch our heads and say why in the world would somebody do that but I think it's appropriate them for you here for us now at a Bible college to recognize that some of the same temptations exist for you. I know when I was in Bible College. I had a lot of friends that both were in pastoral studies major, but then many that were not and I can give you names of various friends who sat in the same preaching you had that same constant and daily dose of the word of God on who ultimately turned away from the Lord and they are not living for the Lord now and we look at that we say what what happened on. I think that same expectation that we find in the book of Hebrews is appropriate for us to allow to sink into our lives. This morning, so I want to turn our eyes towards one of the warning passages in Hebrews. And I think your position where you are where I am. We all need this now you've almost arrived at our Thanksgiving break. Are you looking for to that so close right.
It's so close and then after you get back from Thanksgiving that break will be a short time till the end of semester till Christmas that will be a joy as well. But not only have you been studying hard in your classes. You've also been in this kind of greenhouse spirituality your daily chapel. God's word interwoven into your classes, your daily life is surrounded by people who talk about God as a regular habit and for some of you. Perhaps many of you are there is been significant growth yet. I think there's going to be another contingent of student I am for those whether you're doing it intentionally, or maybe even subconsciously. You have the walls up and you seek to prevent yourself from surrendering completely to God and his will in your life. Perhaps you have some fears of surrendering to him. Perhaps you have some sins that you don't wish to give up and you know that following Christ means that you're supposed to abandon those things. Perhaps there's some life situations that you think you cannot escape you.
My prayer is that we all might pay attention to the warning that we find in Hebrews chapter 4 I have ever gotten familiar with something that is so powerful that you forgotten just a bit. How powerful it truly was. Vehicle is like this, or perhaps an animal, a gun can fit into that.
It's hunting season in Minnesota you have any hunters here got some Arrigo right so that a lot of people in my church that went out this last weekend and shot dear and I grew up on a farm and were familiar with firearms and try to treat them with respect how we were often careless with them but I remember when I was in high school I was in the kitchen and I had my gun my 22 and I was playing around with it and it was a common thing for us to have a gun in the house and my mom was not happy that I had the gun in the kitchen and she said I you need to put that gun away and I said mom you have anything to worry about. It's not loaded and to prove the point. I pulled the trigger and I shot a hole in our kitchen floor and I couldn't believe it. I really really really thought that it was not loaded and I sat there thinking I could very well have pointed out at one of my brothers and said mom it's not loaded I might've done something like that. I mean, it really struck me hard because it was I got might've been something I would do it. Mom is not loaded yet sometimes we get around things that are powerful and we forget about how powerful it is.
We grow careless, casual, your Lord God is like that. And when you think about the amount of influence.
The word of God has in your life.
The amount of saturation that the word of God has in your life right now at this point in your life.
Sometimes you can forget about its power, but it's important for us to remember that in Hebrews chapter 4 the warning that the author of Hebrews gives us is centered upon that concept intact. Look at Hebrews chapter 4 verse number one it says there let us therefore fear, lest a promise being left of us of entering into his rest, any of you should seem to come short of it.
So what is he saying he's giving them a warning to fear to fear what look at verse two.
For unto us was the gospel preached, as it was unto them, but the word preached did not profit them, not being mixed with faith in them that heard it know that's the essence of the message.
I like to get you this morning is that we have to be willing to submit my faith to the word of God that something that you have to make a choice to do it in Hebrews chapter 4 verse number 11 through 13 we see four reasons to submit my faith to the word of God and I want to just quickly go through them but draw them out in our mind.
Verse number 11.
He says let us labor therefore to enter into the rest, lest any man fall after the same example of unbelief. The same example of unbelief in any gives us the first reason to submit my faith to the word of God. Verse number 12 says for the word of God is quick and powerful the word of God is living on that word click. It's an old English word that means living now is that a metaphor is he talking figuratively or is the author actually mean that the word of God has life in and of itself.
It's fascinating to think about that isn't that the word of God has life inside of itself. The Bible is claiming that God's word is actually alive and the rest of Scripture is consistent with that concept and with enough time to go through all those passages but let me just give you one. First Peter chapter 1 verse 23 being born again, not of corruptible seed, but of incorruptible, by the word of God which will live with, and abide it forever might seem strange that the word of God is alive and that's exactly what Scripture is saying that it is and that's an emphasis of both this word quick and the next word in verse number 12 the word of God is quick, and powerful, and powerful, because the idea that the word of God is alive, means that it is alive in order to do something. What is it alive to do that word powerful is the idea of being effective or operational. You'll think of me in regards to what the author is doing contractually in this passage he's bringing out the nature or character of God's work and the character of God's word is such that it lends support to his argument that the audience needs to pay attention to strive to enter the last with wit that God provides. His word is alive and able to act to produce that. How many of you out there this morning. How many of you have pets will be ashamed while we have a lot lot that have pets. One of the things we appreciate so much about our pets yelled you think about your favorite pet and you think about what you what it is that you appreciate about a moment to suggest this to you you you try this and see if this is right.
One of the things you appreciate about the Pat is that it's alive that there if you had a stuffed animal. If your pet died in you stuffed it in you kept it. That's weird, you shouldn't do that right as you say, that's my right here and it's a start and be like, that's very odd right, people would worry about you. If you did that but I would suggest one thing that you appreciate about the fact that your animal that your favorite pet is alive is that it does unusual thing that's in the light of something that's a lot. If you think about if I asked you to share your favorite story about your Pat.
I can almost guarantee you that what is going to do it something that surprised and delighted you you didn't expect it to do it and he delighted in it because it was out of the ordinary. When I think back to the pets. I had growing up, and most of my stories are centered on the concept. I remember one particular dog that we had growing up and we lived in Minnesota as a doctor, but that it mentioned and we would have opportunities to go sledding like nine months out of the year you can go sledding now. Not quite that much, but you could go sledding a lot and we had one particular dog that when my brothers and I got on her sled and we went down the hill and we stacked up on three on a sled and went down the hill and that dog would run behind us and he grabbed the last person with his teeth and then he would put the brakes on pull us off and any wooden line and he would grab the next person and pull them off. Our goal is to get down the hill before he got all three of us office said how do you train a dog to do that. I've no idea. We entrained he just chose to do and it was delightful because of surprising right. It wasn't delightful. If he did. If you grab something other than your coat. You only think about the word of God and you say where is the delight in it being alive. I would suggest that it does unusual thing. It's able to get into your life in a surprising way I is not true in your life you think about it for a moment if you're a believer that you had time or you been studying God's word and you been pouring into God's word and suddenly God through his spirit opens up your mind to what the word of God is saying and you go wow and it stretch you right to the core is like that's that's the word of God coming alive a part of what I want you to understand is that this is a unique time in your life for the word of God is being poured into you and it might feel like a fire hydrant but I would encourage you to drink deep to be willing to allow that word of God to be active in your life choice as verse 12 for the word of God is quick and powerful the word of God is living we should submit to it by faith because it's a living.
But secondly, the word of God is penetrated. It's penetrating he continues, he says, sharper than any two edged sword. The expression two-edged sword turns up a few times in the Old Testament.
On each occasion the adjectives means that it sharpened on both sides with a view to emphasize it's penetrating nature.
So when you think of this without talking about hacking right were talking about the penetration that occurs in the focus that house there is on this division.
Notice verse number 12 the word of God is quick, and powerful, sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing even to the dividing asunder of soul and spirit, and of the joints and marrow, so the word of God is so sharp that it penetrates in such a way that it takes things that were not meant to be divided and it divides it so I don't think what it's trying to do is emphasize how these are two different things that are put together soul, spirit, joints and marrow, is rather emphasizing its unity. There United but the word of God is so sharp and penetrating that it can take that which is not meant to be separated and it can some lice into it and cause it to separate out your think about how the word of God can do that in someone's life that has the ability to penetrate the hardest parts and it could be again that you're sitting here this morning and you have some walls up in your life regarding God's word and maybe maybe those are very intentional and you are pushing back hard at what God is trying to do through his word and maybe those are not as intentional but yet they're still there, as I'm drawing attention to it that you're feeling the spirit of God begin to to poke and to prod at your life and what I'm what I'm suggesting to you dear student I get is that it is God's will and it's for your good to be willing to submit to the word of God to allow for the word of God to just enter into your life. In that regard that we ought to be in that position were were willing to happily embrace it to say, rather than being afraid of it. I need to be willing to allow it to pierce into my life. Examples of this abound. We certainly can think of the apostle Paul on the road to Damascus in the process of persecuting Christians and what happened word of God penetrated his unbelief through Jesus himself, or how about the story about a Buddhist priest residing many many years ago in one of the temples of type that no Christian missionary. He had knew nothing about the cross of Christ.
He had never seen a copy of the word of God and one day he came across a transcription of Matthew's gospel and he read in their this phrase. Blessed are the pure in heart for they shall see God. And that soap into his soul and he wrestled with that and he thought, day after day, month after month. I shall never see God Fryman pure in heart, and after continuing from Oregon more than a year in that miserable condition.
He heard about a foreign devil that was visiting his town, and selling books which spoke about God and he went and it was the Bible and his life was changed as he surrendered to God's word because it already pierced the hardness of his heart.
Your why why should we resist what God's word is doing when the things that are telling us to resist are nothing more than lies you, we ought to submit by faith to the word of God because it's a living. It's penetrating but also because it's discerning it's discerning. Look at verse number 12 again the word of God is quick, and powerful, sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing even to the dividing asunder of soul and spirit of the joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart are not only does Laura gotta have that ability to penetrate the inner core of a person. It also has the power to reveal the thoughts and intents of the heart. The word translated discerner is word that's often translated judge or judges. It's pronounced credit costs. What is that sound like critical mass was that sound like critic critic. The word of God ought to be the biggest critic in your life know the warning passage here is that we ought to submit my faith. Why not because God desires to change her life so that we are able to enter into the rest of God.
How do I know what I need to change.
That's where the word of God comes into play. It ought to be the biggest critic of our life you James, the book of James tells us the word of God functions like a mere that reveals who and what we are and that is a gift thought helps us see who we are and your friends.
I would encourage you to embrace that this is the gospel right the gospel reminds us it tells us that we are sinners that are saved by grace. We are really good people on the are just trying to live rightly for God that's not who we are. We are sinners who have a deep and desperate need in the word of God is important for them. We have some white carpet in our home. Perhaps I should say we have some whitish carpet in our home and one of our rules when our children were small, I was that when they played outside without shoes on.
Or maybe with sandals on when they came inside they needed to check their feet to see if there were dirty so they didn't get that dirt on the white carpet and if it was dirty. They had to wash their feet and the rule itself seemed to be a burden because I don't check my feet and I can pretend like they're not dirty and I don't have to wash them and if I check my feet. It almost always seems like it's dirty is the problem. Checking is a problem. The dirt sometimes you can get so used to the word of God, that you get tired of it, revealing who you really are a different set of so crucial.
Don't grow weary of you need the word of God to open up your life and to show you what it is that God desires to change that's crucial it's important. It's everything, don't run away from the word of God run towards God's word is living it's penetrating it's discerning. We should also submit by faith to the word of God because it's revealing he goes on verse number 13.
Neither is there any creature that is not manifest in his sight, but all things are naked and opened unto the eyes of him with whom we have to do yet. This juncture in the passage. The authors point should be abundantly clear, neither is there any creature that is not manifest in his sight.
God's word will do. It's discerning it's penetrating is a living work on everyone. The question is not, will God do it.
Will God's word do its work on me. The question is rather when will it do its work on you look at me at verse 13 and you see that it has both a negative and a positive, neither is there any creature that is not manifest in his sight, but all things are naked and opened unto the eyes of him. The second the first clause is negative. God's word is going to show everything.
The second clause is positive that all things are naked and opened unto the eyes of him naked indicates that it is completely exposed to the all seeing eye of the living God, but opened unto the eyes of an actor uses a verb that used in wrestling for bringing opponent to the ground.
I am putting a hold upon their neck, actually. So here's the idea it's talking about a is talking about God putting a submission hold upon somebody to render themselves to render them helpless so it's revealing in that sense it showing everything about their life, but it's also putting them into a submission hold to their helpless before God utterly helpless to say when will that happen as is opened unto the eyes of him with whom we have to do. The idea there is God as judge giving account is okay.
What does this mean for me know what would happen if your thoughts and innermost feelings. If you're kidding desires are revealed. If the real you comes out. If God sees them.
I if it's all there who can withstand that scrutiny your dancers know absolutely no different.
We are all guilty, but I want you want your notice. The next phrase verse number 14 seeing then that we have a great high priest. What he does in this warning passage is, he tells us this is what the word of God. Not only is capable of doing, but will do to everyone and then he says the answer to this is to turn than not to laboring hard so that we don't be as simple but rather turning that over to Jesus. He is the one who is able to solve all of that for us. Seeing then that we have a great high priest know we are all guilty. That's why we need Jesus to let me on this sermon. Very simply, God gave us his word so that we might use it to turn our hearts towards him through Jesus, their culture and if you have been resisting God in this matter either actively or passively, can I suggest you that you are squandering this great opportunity this spot that God has put you in his put you in a position where you are surrounded in saturated by the word of God and what does he want to do with it. He wants you to see who you really are and then he wants you to turn to Jesus what you do that today.
Let's talk together with a prayer father were so thankful for your word and follow me know that what it does is it reveals who we really are and noting some ways that causes us to dismay, but in the midst of that dismay, we see Jesus. Father, we thank you for books like Hebrews and passages like Hebrews 4 that warned us that if we rely upon ourselves, and we have no hope. But that our genuine hope can be found in your son. Father I pray for any students here that have fought hard to keep you from being the Lord of their life that through your word you would bring them to that point that they would see themselves for who they really are father that they would then see you for who you would you cause them to turn to yourself Jesus and that we pray you been listening to a sermon from Rev. Steve Brower, senior pastor at First Baptist Church in St. Francis, Minnesota. Thanks for listing and join us again tomorrow for another sermon preached from chapel services at Bob Jones University here on The Daily Platform