Welcome to The Daily Platform. Our program features sermons from chapel services at Bob Jones University in Greenville, South Carolina. Every day, students are blessed by the preaching and teaching of the Bible from the University Chapel Platform.
Today's speaker is Dr. Steve Pettit, who served as an evangelist for over 29 years before becoming president of Bob Jones University. I ask you to take your Bibles and turn with me please to the book of Hebrews, Hebrews chapter 13 this morning. I'd like to read the text of scripture and then jump right into the message immediately. The writer of Hebrews here is concluding the book and he is giving us some exhortations about the way that we live. And in verse 5 he says these words, let your conversation be without covetousness. Or other translations will say let your life be without the love of money. And be content with such things as you have for he hath said I will never leave thee nor forsake thee. So that we may boldly say the Lord is my helper and I will not fear what man shall do unto me. The writer of Hebrews here is commanding us as the people of God not to be enslaved to the love of money. He is simply telling us that we're not to be materialistic. Money is important but money is a means to an end, it's not an end in itself.
And spiritual people have learned how to be satisfied and they've learned how to be content with what God has given them. Now let me ask you a question, how important is that for all of us today? I mean think about it, is money a big deal in our lives? Is it a big deal to you?
Are you not paying a school bill or praying about paying a school bill? Does money not sometimes touch you emotionally? For example, fear, anxiety, worry, depression, jealousy that others have more than you have, anger? Is it not a part, an important part of the decisions that we make? Are we not tempted in our emotions because of money?
Does it not cause us to worry about our future? What's going to happen when I graduate? Am I going to have enough money?
Will I get a job? So why is it so important that you and I not love money? Well because life is more than food and clothing. Life is more than salaries, apartments, houses, cars, investments, and really nice vacations. Our lives are much more than these things.
So what is our life all about? Well it begins in the first three words when he says the statement, let your conversation. I'm reading that out of the King James Version because other versions will say let your life, but actually the word life doesn't really give you the full idea. Because the idea of the word conversation is that your life says something.
Somebody said it this way, your life speaks so loud that people can't hear what you're saying. We communicate a message by the way in which we live. Is that not true of Jesus? What does John tell us the name of Jesus was? In the beginning was the what?
Word. That is Jesus is the communication of God. The God that we do not know and the God that we do not understand we came to know and understand through Jesus.
Why? Because he came to communicate to us who God is. So what is the point of our life?
The point of our life is that we're not to love money and we're to be content with what we have because we are communicating something about our God through our life. And specifically what is it that we are to communicate? We are to communicate that God cares for his own. That he will never leave us. That he will never forsake us. That we can live confidently and we can live without fear. And by the way fear is the foundation for mental health. When people have mental health issues, anxiety, depression, worry that's all rooted in some kind of a fear.
He is telling us that we can live with confidence and without fear because we have come to understand that the Lord is our helper. I was a student here at Bob Jones from 1978 to 1980 in graduate school. I lived off campus and I drove into campus every day a really old car.
It's what we used to call a Baptist beater. It was a Buick Electra 225. It was a humongous car.
And I had a little problem with it and a fella here on campus actually fixed it for me and he didn't charge me any labor calls. But the cost to repair the car at that time cost me $56. Oh for the days of $56 car bills.
But this was like 1978 okay. But for me $56 may have been $5,600 because I didn't have any money. I was broke. And I remember the frustration that I felt as I was walking back to my car that was parked right off campus. And I was walking on the backside of campus between Johnson and Broken Shire dormitories and I was complaining to God. Have you ever complained to God? And my complaint was something like this. God you sent me here. I didn't want to come here in the first place. And God you called me to preach. And God you gave me this car like it's all God's fault. And I was upset. I was mad. And then I began to realize that in the Bible people who complained against God got bit by snakes and died.
And there are a lot of poisonous snakes in South Carolina believe me. And I really stopped and just asked God number one to forgive me for my sins. And I said Lord I pray that you will meet that need of $56. As I was walking continued walking I was about to cross the street to go off campus. And as I was walking across the street a car came by and stopped and a fella rolled down his window and he said pet it.
I have been looking all over for you. He was a friend of mine who was going that summer to the mission field. And he said Steve you remember you've been giving me money all semester. I had been slipping dollars underneath his door in an envelope. Because I knew he's trying to raise money to go to the mission field. He says God has changed my mind and I'm not going to go here's your money back. Well I thought first of all that's really weird because if somebody gives you money you should figure out how you can spend it for the Lord.
You know what I mean? And he had kept a record of how much I gave him. I didn't keep a record. I had no memory of how much money I gave him. And he handed me the envelope and he drives off and I'm standing in the middle of the street. And I open up this envelope and I pull out cash and it was $56.
I have been milking that illustration for 44 years. Because God is, I need that, I'm in that kind of a need today as much as I was back then. And I could boldly say the Lord is my helper. That I can trust God. I can be content in God. Because I know my God will never leave me and my God will never forsake me.
For a few moments I want us to zoom in on that promise that we find in the word when he says I will never leave you and I will never forsake you. How can we live this way? How is it that we don't have to be enslaved to money? How is it that we can live without fear? How is it that we can be content with what we have? How can we live confidently because God has made us a promise that he will never leave us and he will never forsake us? Now just a few things I want us to note. First of all, I want us to look more carefully at what this verse is saying.
Let's zoom in on it. He says I will never leave you and I will never forsake you. The subject here is God. God says I will never leave you. There are two verbs here. There's the word leave and there's the word forsake. So God is saying something.
He's making a promise. I will not leave you and I will not forsake you. And when you read it in the English there are two negative words. I will never leave you nor that's the second word forsake you. That's in the English.
But when you read it in the Greek it's very different and it's really cool. And that is in the Greek there are actually five negatives. There are two negatives before the first verb. So the first verb is I will leave. The second verb is I will forsake. There are two negatives before the first and the second verb.
So it reads like this. Never never I will leave you and never never I will forsake you. Now the first never in both in front of both verbs. I'm being a little bit technical. The first verb never or the first word never is different than the second word never.
The first is the word ou. It's a negative. It means not. It means never. But in reality it is a statement of fact.
It's very objective. And what he's saying is God is saying this is who I am. I'm not going to leave you because of who I am. My character, my promise, if I say I'm going to do it I'm going to do it.
This is who I am. This is a fact. The second negative is the word me. The word may.
Ouu and may. And the word may is more subjective. It's speaking about what God does. It's a reality. So God is saying I'm not going to leave you.
That's a fact and it is a reality. I have never left my own. At no time can you ever find anybody being forsaken by God who are his own. So he's saying it this way. Never never I will leave you. Never never I will forsake you. And then there is a what we say a connecting conjunction in the middle. And the writer of Hebrews takes the word ouu and may and combines them together to emphatically state the word never.
So you could say it this way. Never never I will leave you. Never never I will forsake you.
Never! God could not be any stronger and more emphatic in what he is saying. And that's why Charles Haddon Spurgeon the great Baptist preacher preached from this text.
And here was the title of his sermon. Never never never never never. God will never ever leave his own. He will never forsake you.
How do I live with confidence? It's not based on the emotions that rises in my heart. But it is based on the faith that I place in the promise of God. That leads me to the second thing and that is what is this verse promising? Let's look a little more carefully at the two verbs. He says I will never leave you and then number two I will never forsake you.
The word leave there is the idea of letting something go. Like somebody's holding your hand and they let it go. Years ago I took my children to the Grand Canyon. I'd never been to the Grand Canyon.
And if you've ever been there it's about a two and a half hour drive north of Flagstaff, Arizona. And when you're driving up you're looking for this great big hole in the ground. And you don't realize that you actually you really can't see it until you're right up on it. So we drive into the Grand Canyon National Park and we're driving towards the sites and we're all kind of looking around. Everybody's pretty excited and we pull into one of the parking lots and we know it's there.
But you really can't see it real clearly because you got to get to the edge so you can look down. And my little girls Rebecca and Rachel were with us and when we got out of our truck we started walking to the edge. And the closer we got to the edge I grabbed both hands.
Because when we got really really close suddenly we began to realize the size, the massive size of the Grand Canyon. And we squeezed their hands and we are not going to let them go. If you are God's child, God is not going to let you go.
You might even try to pull out of his hand but he's not going to let you go. The second verb is the word forsake which means to leave behind. Years ago in evangelism our evangelistic team was traveling across Canada coming into Michigan from Toronto. We came to the border in Port Huron, Michigan and this was back in the days before cell phones. And so we had our truck and our trailer that we were living in and behind us was our team with a van and a utility trailer. And we got stuck in traffic and I was trying to see where they were because I had to take a quick exit. We were in a hurry because we had to get to a church on a Sunday night and we had only so much time. And as I looked back I couldn't see the team and we didn't know where they were. They didn't know exactly where to get off. And so I said to my wife, I said, sweetheart, why don't you jump out when the team comes by, jump in the van with them and then here's where we're going to turn off and I'll just wait for you.
So she jumped out and I got through the border and then turned off and got on the interstate and just sat on the side of the interstate waiting for the team. And I waited and I waited and I waited and I realized they weren't coming. I didn't know where they were. Maybe they had passed.
Maybe they went a different direction. I didn't know where they were. We had to get to the church. So I drove all the way down to Detroit and got to the church and when I got to the church the team was already there. And I walked in and I said, where's my wife?
And they looked at me like, what are you talking about? And little did I know that my wife missed them and she was still sitting up in Port Huron. I had left her behind. My wife was not a happy camper after we drove up and picked her up and brought her back down. So she's been telling that story for about 20 plus years.
How I forsook her. God is saying, not only will I not leave you, but I will never, never forsake you. And this promise that we read in Hebrews is actually an Old Testament promise.
How do we know that? Because he uses the phrase, for he has said. The writer of Hebrews is reaching back into the Old Testament, but he's not just quoting one specific verse. He's actually summarizing many different verses that says, in essence, the same thing.
I will never leave you and I will never forsake you. It's a testimony of the whole Testament that God doesn't leave his people. Let me quickly give you five quick examples from the Old Testament.
The first is found in Genesis 28, 15 when Jacob is fleeing in fear from his brother Esau. And God meets him in a place called Bethel in a vision and gives him a promise that will carry him throughout his life. And listen to what Genesis 28, 15 says. And behold, I am with thee and I will keep thee in all places whither thou goest and will bring thee again into this land. For I will not leave thee until I have done that which I have spoken, literally what I have promised to you.
Did God forsake Jacob in his trials? This was a promise that God gave to him earlier on in his life that stayed with him throughout the whole of his life. When God says, I'm not going to leave you or forsake you, it's not just about today.
It's about the whole of your life. The second is found in Deuteronomy 31, 6 where Moses encourages the entire nation not to be afraid of their future or the enemies that they'll face in battle. Notice he says, be strong and of a good courage, fear not nor be afraid of them.
For the Lord thy God, he it is that doth go with thee, he will not fail thee and he will not forsake thee. Everybody here understands fear. Fear is paralyzing. Fear is very controlling. And God says we don't have to live in fear.
Why? Because he will never leave us or forsake us. And then notice Joshua 1 5, Moses has died and now the mantle of leadership has fallen on Joshua. It is a scary thing to be put in a place of leadership. Everybody that's put in a place of leadership, if they're a good leader, always wonder, why do they choose me? If a person says, well I know why they choose me because, you know, look at me. That person shouldn't be a leader.
But you can't serve as a leader in fear. Notice what he says in verse 5, there shall not any man be able to stand before thee all the days of thy life, as I was with Moses, so I will be with thee, I will not fail thee nor forsake thee. And then in 1 Chronicles 28 20, David charges his son Solomon, who's about to become the king. At the end of David's life he gives this charge.
And David speaks of what he himself had proved to be true by his own experience. He says, be strong and of a good courage and do it. Fear not nor be dismayed for the Lord God, even my God, will be with thee. He will not fail thee, he will not forsake thee until thou has finished all the work for the service of the house of the Lord. And then finally in Isaiah 41 17, he speaks to those who are crushed under life's burden, who are without resources, even things like water. And listen to what he says, when the poor and needy seek water, and there is none, and their tongue faileth for thirst, I the Lord will hear them.
I the God of Israel will not forsake them. So what does the writer of Hebrews do? What does he do?
He takes this idea and he puts it in a summary statement. And he says, I will never leave you and I will never forsake you. Can I say to you this morning that when you're lonely, he will never leave you and he will never forsake you. When you are helpless, he will never leave you and he will never forsake you.
When you are friendless, he will never leave you and he will never forsake you. When you are hopeless, he will never leave you and he will never forsake you. He will not forsake you because he is your father. He will not forsake you because you are his bride. He will not forsake you because you are part of his body. He will not forsake you because he has started building a building in your life and he will finish that which he has begun.
This is a fact and this is a reality. Have you experienced in your own life at times where you have felt forsaken? If you've gone through deep waters, did you drown?
If you have gone through the fire, were you burned? If you have faced six troubles, will he forsake you in the seventh trouble? Nothing can separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus. Nothing in your past, nothing in your present, and nothing in your future.
No man can separate you, no angel can separate you, and no devil can separate you. This is the promise of God that we are to bring into our heart and believe when he says, I will never leave thee and I will never forsake thee. Embrace it, believe it, pray it, hold on to it, rest on it, say it, testify of it, believe the word of God.
And that leads me to the last point very quickly. And that is how can we be confident that this is true and worth our believing? How can we be confident?
How can I be bold and not live in paralyzing fear? How can we be sure that he will never leave us and that he will never forsake us? Well, first of all because there was one who actually was forsaken. In Matthew 27, 46, and Mark 15, 34, the two Gospel writers spoke of Jesus on the cross. When he cried out from the cross, my God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me? When you read it in the Greek language, it's the exact same word that you find in Hebrews 13 when he says, I will never forsake you. Psalm 22, 1 is what Jesus is quoting on the cross. When you read it in the Septuagint, that is the Greek translation of the Old Testament.
What's the word? It's the exact same word Matthew and Mark uses. Jesus Christ was forsaken by God on a cross.
Why? To pay for your sins. Why do I know that God will never forsake you? Because Jesus was forsaken for you on the cross so that you cannot be forsaken because of your sins. But not only did Jesus die on the cross, but God made a promise to his son in Psalm 16 in verse 10 when it says these words, for thou wilt not leave my soul in hell, neither wilt thou suffer thine holy one to see corruption.
What happened? Jesus was buried in a tomb, forsaken on the cross, but not forsaken in the tomb. Because God made a promise that he would not leave the Lord in the grave. He made a promise, and Peter says in Acts 2, 27, because thou wilt not leave my soul in hell, nor wilt thou suffer thine holy one to see corruption.
What is he speaking about? He's speaking about the resurrection. Jesus went to the cross, forsaken. But when he was placed into the tomb, God had promised that I will not forsake my own son, my own holy one. And what did God do? He raised him from the dead.
How can I be confident? How can I be so sure that God will never forsake his own because Jesus was forsaken by the Father in his crucifixion and Jesus was not forsaken by the Father in his resurrection? If Jesus died and rose from the dead and you are a believer, it means that you are in him, in his crucifixion, dead to sin, and in his resurrection, alive unto God. And therefore, because of the crucifixion and of the resurrection of Jesus Christ, we can boldly say that he will never, never, never, never, never leave you or forsake you. Father, we thank you for your promises. Thank you that they are exceedingly great and precious.
They are special to all of us because of the nature of our own hearts that are full of fear and are absent of faith. Lord, help us to believe your promise and thank you for it. God, may we boldly say that the Lord is my helper in Jesus' name.
Amen. These daily programs are made possible by the many friends of Bob Jones University and this radio ministry. If you appreciate this program and benefit from the faithful preaching and teaching of God's word, would you consider sending us a special financial gift?
You can easily do that through the website, thedailyplatform.com. I'm Steve Pettit, president of Bob Jones University. At BJU, we're committed to providing an outstanding Christian liberal arts education, which is designed to inspire a lifelong pursuit of learning, loving, and leading. If you're looking for a quality education from a biblical worldview in a Christian community that will challenge you, BJU is the place for you. For more information, visit bju.edu or call 800-252-6363. We hope you'll join us again tomorrow at this same time as we study God's word together on The Daily Platform.
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