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1752. The Way of Renewal

The Daily Platform / Bob Jones University
The Truth Network Radio
April 16, 2024 5:00 pm

1752. The Way of Renewal

The Daily Platform / Bob Jones University

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April 16, 2024 5:00 pm

Dr. Steve Pettit continues the series entitled “Run the Race,” with a message from Hebrews 12:12-14.

The post 1752. The Way of Renewal appeared first on THE DAILY PLATFORM.

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The Daily Platform
Bob Jones University

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 on The Daily Platform, Dr. Steve Pettit is continuing a study series entitled, Run the Race, which is a study of the book of Hebrews Chapter 12. Let's now listen to today's message, where Steve will show how God commands us to get back in the contest, even if we've been discouraged.

I want to ask you if you'll take your Bibles this morning and turn with me, please, to the book of Hebrews, Hebrews Chapter 12. Well, we have been working through our theme this semester, Run the Race, and our runner is making his way to the end and started out over there. And I think as we move through this semester, as we began, I told you we have about 100 days in the semester. And now we're down to probably 34, 35 days left somewhere.

It's maybe a little bit more than that, closer to 40 days left. And it shows you the progress you can make if you persevere, if you stick it out, if you stay with it, if you quit, you don't get the blessing or the fruit of that endurance. And that's really one of the things that we're learning this semester about the Christian life, that it is a life of persevering faith, that you run a race. The race is the Christian life of faith. It begins with salvation.

It ends with glorification and the process in between. We have the issue of sanctification, our spiritual growth, our maturity. It's not something that's instantaneous. I wish it was. I wish we could make a decision and we're spiritual like that, but it doesn't work that way.

It takes a lot of growth. This morning, as we look in Hebrews chapter 12, the writer has been explaining the purpose of chastening. The idea of chastening is not that God is mad at us and he beats us. That's not the idea of it.

It's the idea of training. It's getting us in spiritual shape and spiritual condition. Should a Christian be discouraged and feel rejected because he's going through difficulties?

The answer is absolutely not. It's not because God is against us. It's because God's for us. That God loves us and he's taking us through this process. So based on the truths that we have learned thus far, the author now brings us back in verses 12 through 14 to the original idea of running the race. It's like he took a little sideline, an exit, and went off and talked about chastening.

Now he's coming back to what he originally said in the beginning. Let us run with patience the race that is set before us. So now we come to verse 12 and notice what he says beginning here. He says, Wherefore lift up the hands which hang down.

Now those of you that understand chastening, you understand what's going on. Lift up the hands which hang down and the feeble or the weak knees and make straight paths for your feet. Lest that which is lame be turned out of the way.

But let it rather be healed. Follow peace with all men and holiness without which no man shall see the Lord. So what is he doing here? He is giving us three very clear and direct commands to those who have been discouraged, who are struggling. They're in the race. They're not out of the race.

They're in the race. But you're not sure you're going to make it. So what do you do? He lays out these exhortations as a way of personal revival. My message this morning is entitled The Way of Renewal, The Way of Spiritual Revival. For whatever reason it seems like the word revival has almost like passed off the topic of conversation among Christians. I remember when I was a student here between 1978 and 80 it seemed like revival was always a part of our conversation. We read books on revival. We talked about the reality of revival. We prayed for revival. We went to revival meetings. For almost 30 years I traveled as an evangelist and we would have week long crusades and we called them revival meetings. But it's almost as if people don't even know what revival is all about today. And I think this is very important because revival historically has been a major means through which God has advanced the gospel and he's advanced the church.

The church has grown in a state of revival. Probably the greatest writer on revival is an American. He lived in the early 1700s. He was primarily the main figure with one other exception. He's the main figure in the great awakening in the United States of America.

His name was Jonathan Edwards. Probably the greatest American theologian in history. And he was a theologian of revival. And he said this statement, he said, The way in which the greatest things have been done in the church have always been by remarkable effusions or remarkable outpourings of the Holy Spirit at special seasons of mercy. In other words, God has worked in a unique, in a special, in an unusual way that he has poured out his blessing on the church.

Something is happening. God is on the move. And when we talk about revival, we talk about the idea of the church declining.

The church drooping. Perhaps even at a point of death because that's what revival is. It means to live again. And when we talk about revival, we talk about God doing something within the church to stimulate and to stir up life, bringing it back. And I think in my lifetime of ministry now at 40 years, if there's ever been a time in my life where there seems to be a need of real revival, it's today. And Jonathan Edwards said that there are five distinguishing marks of revival.

What are those marks? Number one, when there is revival, the true Christ is highly esteemed. People are coming to love and to honor and to esteem the Lord Jesus more than ever. He is preeminent in our life.

He is the most important person. Secondly, when there's real revival, the kingdom of Satan is attacked. The church is on the move. The gates of hell will not prevail against it. Satan's kingdom encourages sin and encourages men to cherish our worldly lust, but the Holy Spirit does not do that. When the Spirit of God is working, men see the ugliness of sin and the emptiness of this world. And when God is on the move, idols are forsaken, bars are closed down, churches thrive, and good works abound. Then number three, when there's real revival, the Scriptures are loved more by God's people. It's very easy for Christians to become dull when it comes to spiritual things. But when there's real revival, there's a hunger to know the Scripture because we know God through His Word.

There's a confidence in its authority. I believe in the inspiration of the Bible. There's a willingness to trust the promises of God, to believe in and to depend upon God and what He says in the Word. When there's real revival, the Scriptures are loved more than anything else. And then number four, when there's real revival, people are led away from falsehood into the truth. Jonathan Edwards said, for example, if people become more aware that there is a God, or that God is a great God who hates sin, or that their lives are short and they end at any moment, or that there is another life and they have immortal souls, we can be sure this is the work of the Holy Spirit. He awakens and arouses people's thinking. When men realize that they will have to give an account of God, of themselves to God, that they are very sinful in nature and practice, when they understand they are helpless in themselves, when in short they are brought to sound doctrine, then we can be sure that the Holy Spirit is at work in their hearts. And then number five, when there's a real work of the Spirit of God, there is an increase in love to God and man. When people begin to love God, they begin to love one another, and we can be sure that the Holy Spirit is at work. This is called revival. Now I want to ask you a question this morning. Do you believe we need revival today, yes or no?

Great, I got one enthusiast. I want to ask you, do you believe, do you believe sitting right where you are right now, do you believe that there is a need for revival today within your generation, yes or no? Then if there is going to be a revival, where is it going to come?

It always begins in the church and then it goes out into the world. You cannot revive that which is dead. Revival is always a work of the Holy Spirit within the heart and the life of the church, and then there's a movement of grace among the unconverted. God works in here before He works out there. And so my heart's desire this morning is to lay out this way of revival, because it is a work of God, but it doesn't mean that believers are passive, that there are things that they are actually actively doing.

And what are those things? This is what the writer of Hebrews lays out for us, and he gives us three direct commands of what it is that we're to do to experience revival. And let's go back and notice the first command in verse 12 when he says, Wherefore, that is, in light of these things lift up the hands which hang down and the feeble knees.

The first thing or the first command is a resolve. He says lift up the hands that are fallen. The word lift up means to set something straight. The primary word here is used for the word orthopedics.

It means to set straight or correct deformed bones or muscles. The idea here is you're running a race. And as you run the race and you understand this when you start running a race, at some point in the race you get really tired. There's real pain.

Your hands begin to, arms begin to droop, you feel like your legs are weak, you're worn out, you're discouraged, you're ready to quit the race. What is your need? Is your need to quit?

No. Your need is to be restored. You need new, fresh strength. You need to be reinvigorated.

You need a second wind. And so the writer gets this image of lifting up the hands and the knees that are weak and he uses that to show us that we need to make a resolution to get back in the race and run. It's very interesting that this verse he uses here in verse 12 is actually a direct quote from the book of Isaiah. He reaches back into the Old Testament. And in the Old Testament the Jewish people had been in bondage.

They had been in slavery because of their sin. But instead of leaving them in bondage, the writer Isaiah comes back and he encourages people with the promise of God. He says in Isaiah 35 and verse 3, Strengthen ye the weak hands and confirm the feeble knees. Say to them that are of a fearful heart, be strong, fear not, behold your God will come. He is encouraging us that God will bring fresh strength. And that strength is found in the promises of God and it's experienced through our obedience. I think one of my favorite stories in the New Testament is in Acts chapter 3.

Well not read it. Peter and John are going into the temple in Jerusalem to pray. As they enter into the beautiful gate, the front gate, there's a lame man sitting there and he's begging for money and Peter stops. And he looks at him and he makes this statement, silver and gold have I none. I don't have any money.

But what I do have, I will give you. And he looks at the lame man and he offers him something better than money. He offers him healing and listen to what Peter says. He says in the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, rise up and walk. Now think with me a moment. If you're the lame guy sitting there and a guy says to you rise up and walk, what would you do? Would you go, yeah right.

Who are you dude? What have you been smoking? I mean really? I mean you're sitting there and he tells you to rise up and walk. How can you get up and walk?

You haven't been able to do this. How can you stand up? And in essence what the man had to do was to believe his word, his promise, and respond.

And listen to what Acts 3 and verse 7 says. And the lame man took Peter by the right hand and lifted him up and immediately his feet and ankle bones received strength. The lame man was given the strength to stand and the ability to walk when he made the choice to stand and walk.

Let me say it this way. Spiritual strength is not imparted until you are willing to take a step of faith. It's almost like we want the zap first and the obedience later. God give me power now so that I can obey. But what God is really wanting you to do is to believe his promise and act on faith. And when you act on faith, the promise is that the strength will come.

Here's where many of you are. It's not that you don't know the promises of God. It means you're not acting on the promises of God.

You've not stepped out by faith. You've not trusted the Lord. And without faith it is impossible to please God.

Dr. Les Olulis said it once, I've heard him say it hundreds of times. He would say, revival is obedience. God empowers the obedient with divine power. You're going to have to trust God and step out and believe God.

God I'm trusting you now. So what is the way of revival? It begins with you willing to trust God, to seek God, to believe his word and to obey his word. And then he gives a second command.

That command is found in verse 13, notice what it says. And he says, make the straight paths for your feet, lest that which is lame be turned out of the way, but let it rather be healed. The second command you could say here is not only to resolve, to obey, but to remove anything in your life that would hinder you from running the race. If you've ever been injured, you know this, that when you get hurt, you can't just get back out on the court or the field and play because you've been hurt.

So what do you have to do? You have to go through a period of rehabilitation, rehab. You have to go through a therapy. You break your leg, you tear your ligaments, you dislocate a joint.

You're going to have to go through the process of rehab and the therapy is precautionary because the one thing you don't want to do is re-injure yourself again. And as you go through rehab, you would also be very careful to not let anything get in your way. For example, if you're going to go out on a course to run and you've got all kinds of things laying on the course like rocks and stuff, you want to clear it out. When the Bible says make straight paths, it means to remove obstacles, remove things that are in your way, get them out of the way so that you can run the race.

It means to make the running surface as smooth and as straight as possible. So the author calls us to clean up, to straighten out the racetrack. And what is the issue he's dealing with here? He's talking about things in our life that are stumbling blocks. Things in our life that calls you or could cause you to stumble back into sin. And I think he's referring back to what he says in verses one and two when he says, when he tells us to lay aside every weight and the sin that does so easily beset us. He said, look, he said if you want to really live for God and run the race, you've got to get these things out of your life that are making you stumble. So let me ask you a question this morning. What are the stumbling blocks in your life right now, right where you are?

Whether you're a freshman or senior, one of the things that you probably know what they are. When I came to the Lord at 19 years old, my first year of my Christian life, man, the Lord had to do major house cleaning. The first and the most important decision I made after I got saved was I had to change my friendships and I'm dealing here with stumbling blocks. I had to change my peer group. And folks, I wasn't in a Christian college.

I was in a college of 2,000 males and a handful of them were Christians and the rest were not. And I had to go through a major transformation in my whole way of thinking about my identity as a person, what I found identity in. I grew up playing sports, that was my identity and so I hung out with athletes. There's nothing wrong, the fact is my best friends were athletes, but they were athletes that were committed to the Lord.

And I had to change my peer group. And let me say for many of you right now, the number one stumbling block in your life are the wrong kind of friends that are negative influence. How can two walk together except they be agreed?

He that walketh with wise men shall be wise. And if the kinds of friends that you are with are encouraging you in a negative direction, you need to remove stumbling blocks. What are your stumbling blocks?

Are they entertainment? Is it an undisciplined? Is it an area of your life that's like, for example, laziness? And these are the things in your life that are really hindering you from spiritual maturity.

It's not that you can't grow, it's not that you can't thrive, it's that you've got these things, these obstacles that need to be removed. And so renewal comes as the people of God clear the track, focus on the goal and run the race. And then there's a third and a final thing. And that's found here in verse 14 when he gives the last command. He says, follow peace with all men and holiness without which no man shall see the Lord. The third command here is the command to pursue or to follow. So what do we do? We have to remove obstacles. We have to make a resolution. I want to seek God. I want to live for God.

Make the decision. But now he says to pursue some things, and the word pursue is a very interesting word. The word follow is a very interesting word. It means to persecute. I said it earlier, persecute people with kindness. When the apostle Paul, before he was converted, was a persecutor of Christians, he was very zealous and passionate.

And he went out after Christians and he tried to find them and throw them in jail. That's the idea of the word follow. You ever heard of somebody say he's a stalker?

He stalks you on Instagram? Same kind of idea. It means to follow. It means to be intense.

And in this case he says something interesting. He says follow peace. What is peace? It's relational harmony. It is a wellness, a wholeness, a soundness in relationships with people. It's the way that you treat people. It means to resolve conflicts and not cause conflicts, but even go beyond that and learn how to be kind and gracious and generous in your spirit towards people. If I've seen it once, I've seen it scores of time, whenever there's a real revival among the people of God, you always see a brokenness over bad relationships.

If God ever brings revival to the campus of Bob Jones University, I can tell you right now, one of the things that's going to happen, many of you will start pursuing relationships that have been broken by going to people and making things right. That would include your parents. That would include the people that you are associated with and the way that you've reacted to them. For example, some of you, just a simple thing, for some of you like let's say in a society game out on the field, you know when you play sports, you don't get a pass to be carnal. And some of you on a field act like you're not even a Christian. When I played intercollegiate soccer, everybody I played against were unbelievers and they cursed all the time. And I decided if you're going to curse, I'm going to praise.

And I'd have guys go blankety blank out on the field, I'd say praise God. I'm talking about unbelievers and all the team members, all my team were unbelievers. A guy said Jesus Christ one time, I said he's Lord, do you know him? Whenever there's real revival, there is always a brokenness. When I got right with God, I went back to my dad and got right with my dad. I went back to individuals where I had done things wrong and I'd asked forgiveness. If revival ever comes to the campus of Bob Jones University, there's going to be a deep level of brokenness over the way you have reacted and responded when you reacted in carnality and you really did not act like the Lord. You pursue, you persecute, you go after peace, and secondly you go after holiness. What is holiness? It's a life devoted to God. It's a life that is given over to the Lord, it is set apart to serve the Lord, and it is set apart from sin. Holiness is not something I can create, it's something that God does for me through the blood of Jesus and the death of Christ on the cross when he sanctified us by cleansing our conscience from sin and giving us access into his presence. We pursue holiness, we seek after service to God, we seek after cleanness.

And as we pursue these two things, what is the result? It says without these things, no man shall see the Lord. Some people interpret that means you won't go to heaven. I think there's another way to look at it and it's the idea is you will see the Lord in your life. When you walk with God, when you run the race, what's going to be set before you?

The very vision of God himself. Revival is the quickening of the spiritual life of the believer. It is a new fresh beginning of obedience to God.

It brings the believer back to running the race like a second wind in the same manner as when he began the race. So I want to challenge our student body, all of you, I want to challenge you to pray for revival. And the best way to pray for revival, as the old preacher said, is take a piece of chalk, draw a circle on the floor, stand in the middle, and pray that God would revive everybody in the middle of the circle. Start with you and pray for us that God will give revival to Bob Jones University. Father, thank you for your word. Bless your people with your presence and power in Jesus' name, amen.

You've been listening to a sermon preached by Dr. Steve Pettit. My name is Wyatt Smith. I'm a senior here at Bob Jones University studying multimedia journalism. And I want to tell you a little about my experience here at BJU. I've been here a little over three years and I truly cannot say enough about the community here at BJU. Whether it has been in the halls of the dorms, in my incredible society, or even in the classroom, I have always felt a very strong sense of community around me that has aided in my growth as a person and as a Christian. BJU's commitment to academic excellence has also pushed me to discover and refine the skills and talents needed to succeed in life after school, such as communication, critical thinking, and problem solving. My time in the classroom has allowed me to gain hands-on experience in my field of study, all while giving me the freedom to think creatively and build my skills. One aspect of BJU that I've really appreciated is that I've been continuously challenged to develop and grow my faith in Christ through the preaching of God's word and chapel and the daily discipleship of those in community around me. If you or someone you know is interested in an experience such as mine, I would encourage you to check us out online at our website bju.edu and follow us on Facebook and Instagram at bju.edu. For any further information, please feel free to give us a call at 800-252-6363. Thank you for listening. Join us again tomorrow at this same time as we study God's word together on The Daily Platform.
Whisper: medium.en / 2024-04-16 19:46:03 / 2024-04-16 19:56:06 / 10

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