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970. A Final Flyover

The Daily Platform / Bob Jones University
The Truth Network Radio
April 16, 2021 7:00 pm

970. A Final Flyover

The Daily Platform / Bob Jones University

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April 16, 2021 7:00 pm

Dr. Steve Pettit concludes the series entitled “Run the Race,” with a message titled “A Final Flyover” from Hebrews 12.

The post 970. A Final Flyover appeared first on THE DAILY PLATFORM.

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Welcome to The Daily Platform from Bob Jones University in Greenville, South Carolina. Today is the last sermon from Steve Pettit's study series from Hebrews 12 called Run the Race. We hope it's been a blessing to you as you've listened to these messages. We thought that you'd like to hear how students at Bob Jones were impacted by this series, so we went out on campus with our recorder, and here's what they had to say.

In Chapel, I've really enjoyed the series of Run the Race. It's given me a lot of encouragement in context to what we're going through as college students and as believers in Christ, how we can stand strong in our faith and push on forward till the very end. The thing that has stuck out the most to me in Chapel is what Steve Pettit said in one of his Run the Race messages, is that success in the Christian life is measured in obedience. I think the Lord's really been teaching me how important it is to prioritize your walk with Him. When you get to college, it gets really busy, and you have a lot of things that are keeping your mind focused on them, but you need to really make sure that you're keeping your eyes on the Lord, spending time in your personal devotions, making that priority, not rushing through it, or making a checklist item is really an important thing to be doing. Just keep going. It does get hard. School does get hard, but you've just got to keep going. The Lord will help you if you keep striving.

We've got to thrive. God has been teaching me about trust, because even when I'm discouraged, I can still trust Him. A lot of messages have been centered on discouragement and running the race, especially today in Chapel. He's talking about chastisement and how even through chastisement we can see God's love. It's just been neat knowing that even when you're going through difficult times, it's reflecting God's love, and you can still trust Him, and He's still good. God's been teaching me that He's always in control and that His control is always better than my control.

I absolutely loved His sermon on discouragement and just the way that He validated that it is something that we all experience and just key ways that we can recognize it in ourselves and hopefully come out of it in a biblical way. Chapel has impacted me in the fact that the Christian life is a race, and it's a hard race. God has been teaching me to be dependent on Him and not to worry and to just kind of rely on Him. God has been teaching me that it's alright to go through struggles and trials. In fact, we should expect it. We should expect to go through pain because it's what God uses to grow us closer to Him.

Like it says in Hebrews, if God doesn't punish you, if you don't go through hard times and trials, then are you really a child of God? And it's kind of given me hope in some of the struggles that I'm going through and that my friends are going through, and it just reminds me that we're not doing this for nothing. God has a plan, and all of this is part of His plan. We just got to see it through the end and endure the race. We hope this series has been a blessing to you as well. And now let's listen to the final sermon, which Steve has entitled, A Final Flyover, summarizing Hebrews chapter 12. Well, I'd like this morning to really finish up our series. Our runner is almost finished about to cross the finish line. And today is the last message that we will have in our series of Run the Race, as we've been working through Hebrews chapter 12. Next week we're doing a whole series in the week on mental health, and so that'll be a completely different approach.

But because you're having life groups tomorrow, I'd like to do one final, what I would like to do, a flyover of the things that we have learned over the course of this semester, just as kind reminders in some of the big ideas that we learned. So I'd like to ask you to take your Bibles and turn to Hebrews 12. Hebrews 12 this morning, as we began the semester, we started out with an introduction to the book of Hebrews, and in that we learn that the author of the book was someone we don't know.

Some think it was the apostle Paul, others think it may have been Apollos, others. But really the reality is that the author is unknown. But we do know that he was writing to a particular audience, and that is he was writing to Jewish Christians, people who had come out of their Judaismic faith into receiving Jesus Christ as their savior, who was the ultimate fulfillment of their faith, who was the Messiah and the promise of the Abrahamic covenant. And so he's writing to Jewish Christians, and this is based upon the book of Hebrews. Many people think that these were Jewish Christians living in the city of Rome.

And he is writing them at a particular time in history, and that is he's writing them after they had gone through a persecution under a former emperor, and now the current emperor is Nero. And it's right before the great persecution that breaks out where so many believers are put to death. And during this time, these believers, these Jewish Christians were struggling in their faith. And I'm reminded, I'm reminded of the reality that all of us struggle with our faith. Because faith means you believe in something that you cannot see. If we could see heaven every day, it would be a different story.

But we have hope, we have confidence that there are going to be things that will happen in the future. We believe that, we live by faith. And so they were struggling with their faith and they were being tempted to go back to Judaism because the temple had not been destroyed in Israel. And their faith prior to coming to Christ was very physical. They could see the temple, they could see and smell the sacrifices, they could see the priests. Their lives were ordered by their laws and their lifestyle. And now they entered into a faith of a belief in someone who's greater than all the temple, and greater than all the sacrifices, and greater than all the priests, but they see him who is invisible.

So there was the struggle and the temptation to go back to Judaism. So the author writes this tremendous book and he uses a particular form of logic. You know, God can speak to us in commands and we are required to obey, but God also appeals to our logic, to our mind, to think it through and to make a right decision. So he uses logic. And the logic is a form of, the form of logic is called a fortiori, where he argues from the lesser to the greater, if you like this, you'll really like this.

Or if you think this is good, this is so much better. And what he did is he took Judaism and he argued showing that Christ is better. Because Jesus is the fulfillment of everything they had in their Judistic faith. And so Christ is greater than the angels, and he's greater than the temple, and he's greater than the high priests, and he's greater than the sacrifices.

He's the fulfillment of all those things. And the end result of reading about Jesus in the book of Hebrews brings about what we call the wow factor. That's the result of it.

Wow. And so we look to Jesus and we keep our eyes focused on Christ. But also in that he brings a warning. And that warning is, well, what happens if you leave the faith?

What happens if you walk away from the faith? And so five times he brings about what we call these warning passages. And the end result of that is not a wow factor, it's a whoa factor. It's like whoa.

This is serious. It's the strongest passage in the New Testament that deals with walking away from your faith. So we come to the end of the book, and what is Hebrews 12 all about?

It's an exhortation. And that is, in chapter 11, he gives a whole history of Old Testament saints who were faithful. And now he appeals to the New Testament saints to be faithful. And these were all Jews in the Old Testament who were looking forward to the coming Messiah. Now they're living after that time that the Messiah came. And so in Hebrews chapter 12, he begins with a positive inspiration. Here is this great, we could say, cloud of witnesses.

The grand stand of the faithful. These people have run the race, and they have been faithful, so you need to run the race with them. But then he gives a negative exhortation. And he says, look, if these Old Testament saints did it, but they were a bit handicapped. They didn't have the indwelling spirit like you have. They don't have the understanding of the power of Jesus Christ. And yet, they remain faithful if they did it handicapped. What about you?

And the negative point is that if you don't run the race and be faithful, you're the biggest loser. Because you are living in a better day. You're living after the cross and the empty tomb.

Not like those that lived before. So he begins this book, he brings us through, we come to Hebrews 12. So what are the big ideas? And this is just simply a reminder, a remembrance of what we've learned this semester.

So five big ideas I'd like to share this morning. Number one, the first thing is this, that the Christian life is a race. He says, let us run with patience the race that is set before us. It is a race. And just like a race has a start, so the Christian life has a beginning.

When does it begin? It begins with our profession of faith. Hebrews 10 23, let us hold unswervingly to the hope we profess, for he who promised is faithful. That is, at a point in time in your life, you professed faith. I was flying back from Salt Lake City on Saturday night.

I sat next to a gentleman who lives here in Greenville. And on our flight from Atlanta coming back, I asked him, when did you make a profession of faith? And he shared with me when specifically he had accepted Jesus Christ as his personal savior. It is right for us to ask that, because you don't grow up as a Christian. You are born into the Christian family.

You become an adopted son of God. But just like a race has an end, the finish is when we enter into complete salvation in glory. Peter says, receiving the end of your faith, the salvation of your souls. So the beginning is when we put our faith in Christ. The end is when we enter into glory. And that's really what we saw at the end of chapter 12.

And I'll come to that in a moment when he says, you have come to Mount Zion, the city of the living God. And I think one of the major points that we have to keep in mind is that the struggle that we go through as a Christian, and by the way, the word race, as a reminder, is the Greek word agon. That's where we get the word agonize and agony. But it's not so much a pain as it is a heroic struggle. It's like the athlete who has to get their body in shape.

They have to go through conditioning processes. But it is worth the struggle to get to that point. And what he is saying is this, that the Christian life of faith as we run the race is worth it all. Eye has not seen, neither has entered into the heart of man, what God has prepared for those that love him.

Whatever we have to endure in this life will be worth it all. So first of all, the Christian life is a race. The second big idea is this, that the one character quality that we need to run this race is endurance. Let us run with patience. Let us run with endurance.

The race that is set before us. It's not about how fast we run. It's how long we have to run.

It's not a hundred yard dash. It's a lifelong marathon. And that endurance is oftentimes, we use the word perseverance.

We call it the perseverance of the saints. There is a gentleman out in the blog world who sharply criticizes me. And he's criticized me on this theme of running the race. And he's criticized me for teaching you the perseverance of the saints. And his focal point is on the preservation of the saints. Once we are saved, we are eternally saved.

And I said, Amen. But when you read the Bible, you always have a balance. Because those who are in the faith are faithful. Those who are preserved, persevere. Because oftentimes in the New Testament, the word for belief is not in the past tense, it's in the present tense. So we are believers today. And one of the reasons why this is important is because the whole idea of salvation has to do with a big picture. It's like the race.

The start, the finish, and the running. You have justification. That's getting saved. You have glorification. That's ultimately being saved. And then you have the sanctification process.

That's the proof that I'm saved. As I'm living out my faith. And so when we look at this passage of scripture, it teaches that those who are true believers, persevere. They stick it out. They stay with it. They are faithful. They are challenged to believe. And that challenge never goes away.

And it's not easy, but we stay faithful. So the second thing that we learn is that the quality that we need to run the race is endurance. Which leads to the third big idea. And that is God trains his own children through chastening.

So we talked about that. And when we think of chastening, we usually think of something that is painful. And that doesn't mean that that's a wrong way to look at it, but it's a limited way to look at it. Because the idea of chastening in the New Testament is used often to learn. It is the idea of going through training like exercises. Sometimes it is going through a discipline process. And the best way to look at chastening is in education. It's going to school. You don't go to school all of your life.

But going to school has a purpose behind it. And it's more than the head. It has to be the heart.

It has to be the hands. It has to be the life. I think one of the great things you get here at Bob Jones University as a student is not only do you get a tremendous academic education, and I think we all know that. But even beyond that, it is the training of the life. It's learning not just how to make a living, it's learning how to live. It's learning the importance of character development. And so the whole process of going through this endurance, we go through endurance and God is using that to train us.

God's schoolhouse of Christian maturity involves oftentimes difficulties and hardships. But we're to persevere. What does it mean to persevere? When things get severe, you just purr on through. You just stay with it.

You do the next best thing, the next right thing right now. And you stay with it. But in the midst of this chastening, it's easy for us to forget something. And so the writer of Hebrews says, look, don't forget these fundamental truths. Because you have to constantly remind yourself, one of the things we do in Christian counseling is we learn to counsel ourselves. And we know that our heart is deceitful, but God's truth can straighten out our heart.

And what is it that we have to remember? Number one, we have to remember that I'm God's child. You have forgotten the exhortation who speaks unto you as unto his own children. You are God's child. He is your father.

He has adopted you. You have become an heir with Jesus Christ. You are God's child. Secondly, you have to remember that God loves you. That God is on your side. And that whatever takes place in my life, even as difficult as it is, it never changes God's love for me. Because nothing can separate me from the love of God. And then I have to remember that God is in the process of changing me.

That's the whole point. As you stick out your faith, as you endure, God brings about a change process in your life. So remind yourself, talk to yourself, counsel yourself. And then number four, the fourth big idea, is that through all of this, we have to keep our eyes on Christ. We have to stay focused. And so what does he tell us in verse three, verse two? He says, looking unto Jesus, just like Peter looked unto Jesus when he got out of the boat and he began to walk on the water by faith. So we have to look to Jesus. If we look at the storm around us, if we look at the swelling tide, we're going to sink.

And we all understand that. When we look at circumstances, we often get depressed. If we look at other people, we often get discouraged. If we look at ourselves, we get depressed. But if we look at the Lord, we find our delight in him. Because he is the source of our strength.

And so we are to look to Jesus. He warns us. He says, avoid people like Esau who have fallen away and they have become bitter. Avoid them because they have a powerful and negative influence in your life.

Can I warn you this morning? Make sure that those friends of yours who are in the faith are growing, pursuing, persevering in their faithfulness. Be careful about those who are critics and who are negative. And you get around them and it seems like they pull you down instead of build you up.

You need to have the friends who are running with you in that race so that you encourage one another. Look and focus on Christ. But let me just say this, that as we look to Jesus Christ, we're not looking to him to be our inspiration. Let me say that. When the Bible says in verse 3, consider him that endured such contradiction of sinners against himself, the word consider is a careful examination.

I like doing an Excel spreadsheet and you look at things very carefully. What he is saying here is we do not look to Jesus to be our inspiration because if he's your inspiration, it means that your source of running the race is within yourself. You just need to be inspired. But we look to Jesus actually as the source of our empowerment. Because something special happens to the believer that looks to Jesus. Because when you look to Christ, he always brings redemption. He always brings salvation. Whether it's salvation from sin when we look to him to be saved or when we look to him in the midst of our struggles and he brings to us empowerment. It is an act of faith in looking to Christ. The Christian life is not based on how strong I am, it's based on how weak I am and whether or not I'm willing to look to him for strength. It's not the independent person that runs the race, it's the dependent person. So this looking to Jesus is simply saying, God I can't do this if you don't help me. You are my power source. And that's how we are enabled to faithfully run the race.

People often ask, how do you do this? And the answer is not about me, it's about him. And that leads to the fifth and final big idea. And what is the end of the race?

Well we've already said it. But I want to conclude by looking at verse 22 of Hebrews chapter 12. When he makes this statement, he says, But you are come unto Mount Zion. That phrase, you are come, in the Greek is in the perfect tense. The word perfect, the idea of perfect tense is it's a completed action that has occurred in the past, something that's already happened. But it produces what's happening in the present.

It produces the current state of affairs that exists right now. And the idea is this, when he says you have come to Mount Zion, he's talking about what happens when you get saved. The moment you accept Jesus Christ as your personal savior, you are instantaneously and eternally saved. So that if you died five minutes after you trusted Jesus Christ as your savior, you would enter into glory. So you have come, in other words, if somebody asked you if you died today, would you go to heaven? And you said yes. It means in a sense you're already there, but you're not there yet.

So when he says, but you have come to Mount Zion, he's saying is this, that you and I are already citizens of that kingdom. But we're not there yet, but we're going there. How many of you bought a plane ticket to go home this past Thanksgiving? How many of you bought a plane ticket to go home?

Okay. You had the ticket in hand, you knew you were going there, but you weren't there yet until you got on the plane and went home. We know our names are written in the Lamb's Book of Life, but we're not there yet. But he says you've come there. And so what does he say? He says the end of the race is our eternal reward.

And what is that? He says you have not come to Mount Sinai, that's Mount Doom, but you have come to Mount Zion. And he concludes with seven amazing points about that city. Number one, you've come to the city of the living God, the heavenly Jerusalem, as described in Revelation 21 and 22. You've come to an innumerable host of angels in a festal gathering. It is a great feast, and there are going to be at least a hundred million angels there. By the way, have you ever thought about angels, what they look like? You'll find out.

You'll find out who guarded you. I had a friend of mine who's an evangelist who said, my guardian angel is going to go on vacation when I die because he's had a lot of work in my life. We're going to meet those angels. We're going to the assembly of the first born who are enrolled in heaven. These are the New Testament saints. To God, the judge of all. To the spirits of righteous men made perfect.

These are the Old Testament saints who've been justified. And so we're going to see Abraham and David and Isaiah and Ezekiel and Jeremiah. To Jesus, the mediator of the new covenant. And we will see Jesus as he is. We will see him as a human being who is divine. We will see the God man. And finally, to the sprinkled blood that speaks a better word than the blood of Abel, because Abel's blood cried out for judgment. But Jesus's blood cries out for mercy. And there we will spend eternity in his presence forever.

So let's run the race. My prayer is that you'll be faithful. You'll stay true to Christ.

You'll walk with him. Father, thank you for your wonderful word. And Lord, help us to run with patience the race that is set before us. Thank you for your goodness and grace. Thank you for bringing us back here safely. And I pray for your blessing on these last few weeks together.

In Jesus' name, amen. You've been listening to a sermon from Hebrews 12 by Dr. Steve Pettit, president of Bob Jones University. For more information on Dr. Pettit's series, visit our website, thedailyplatform.com, where you can get a copy of Steve's study booklet entitled Run the Race.

The Kindle version is also available. I'm Steve Pettit, president of Bob Jones University, and I invite you to join us at our beautiful campus in Greenville, South Carolina, to see how you can be prepared academically and spiritually to serve the Lord through one of our more than 100 undergraduate and graduate programs. For more information about Bob Jones University, visit www.bju.edu or call 800-252-6363. These daily programs are made possible by the many friends of Bob Jones University and this radio ministry. If you appreciate these programs and benefit from the faithful preaching and teaching of God's word, would you consider sending us a special financial gift today? You can easily do that through the website, thedailyplatform.com, and then click on the Give button on the home page. Thanks again for listening. Join us again next week as we study God's word together on The Daily Platform.
Whisper: medium.en / 2023-11-30 23:43:56 / 2023-11-30 23:54:06 / 10

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