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1753. Final Warnings to Race Runners

The Daily Platform / Bob Jones University
The Truth Network Radio
April 17, 2024 5:00 pm

1753. Final Warnings to Race Runners

The Daily Platform / Bob Jones University

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April 17, 2024 5:00 pm

Dr. Steve Pettit continues the series entitled “Run the Race,” with a message from Hebrews 12:15-17.

The post 1753. Final Warnings to Race Runners appeared first on THE DAILY PLATFORM.

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 God gives a final charge to the church to watch over the spiritual state of other believers. This section will still have a few more challenges from Hebrews 12, but this charge has been given to all of us as believers to finish strong and run the race. And last week, we were exhorted to follow the way of spiritual revival in our life. What are we to do to stay strong? And so we had some commands last week to resolve, to remove, and to pursue the Lord.

And so as we come to the end of this section, he actually ends up the section with some more serious warnings. It's the idea of finishing well and guarding ourselves. And the idea is that nobody runs this race alone. This is not a solo race.

This is a race that is being run with a great company of people. I don't know if you're a fan of English soccer, English football, but one of the teams is Liverpool Football Club. They are ranked number one right now in the EPL. And before every game, they fill up their stadium at Anfield and they sing a song. It's called You'll Never Walk Alone.

It was a popular song back in the day and it's their theme song and they sing and the whole stadium sings it. And it brings a great sense of unity. And for us as believers, we never walk alone. And so as we read this morning in Hebrews chapter 12 verse 15, he tells us as believers to come beside one another and exhort one another and encourage one another. One of the things I appreciate about Bob Jones is that we are a community of believers.

That you should never walk alone and that we should constantly encourage one another. And let's look this morning in verse 15 where he says these words, Looking diligently lest any man fail of the grace of God, lest any root of bitterness springing up trouble you and thereby many be defiled. Lest there be any fornicator or profane person as Esau, who for one morsel of meat sold his birthright. For you know how that afterward he would have inherited the blessing he was rejected.

For he found no place of repentance, though he sought it carefully with tears. The opening charge to all of us is the phrase looking diligently. And the root noun of that word, that verb looking diligently is the same word for an overseer or a bishop or a pastor. And what he's saying is this, that a pastor watches over the spiritual condition of his flock. And in this case what he is saying is that you and I do not live individualistic, independent lives of other people.

That independent attitude is more of an American cultural aspect. But you and I are members of a body, the church. And so therefore we should love each other enough to guard one another.

That's the point he's trying to make. And the book of Hebrews is filled with this kind of charge to us as believers. He says in Hebrews 3.13, but exhort one another daily lest you be hardened through the deceitfulness of sin. Or Hebrews 4.1, he said, let us therefore fear lest a promise being left of us of entering into the rest any of you should seem to come short of it. And in Hebrews 10.25, he says, don't forsake the assembling of ourselves together as the manner of some is, but exhorting one another. So as believers we should have an open door to exhort each other.

As we have relationships with one another we should charge each other and we should look after each other. And in verses 15 through 17 here he tells us what we are to guard against. What we are to watch out for. And there are actually three warnings he gives.

And that's my message this morning. He gives final warnings to the race runners. And each warning begins with the word, lest. And the idea here is, he says, guard yourselves, look diligently lest these things come upon you.

And so these are negative things. And so this morning the message has that negative bent because that's the way he wrote this text. And I want us to look at the things that he is warning all of us who are trying to run this race, he is warning us about.

What is the first warning? Notice what he says, looking diligently lest any man fail of the grace of God. The warning here is to see to it that no man misses getting God's grace in his life. That is, there is grace for the race. So what is grace? Well, grace is God's favor, God's blessing to us. And specifically, grace is God's divine enablement. God gives you power. It is the supernatural ability to do that which you cannot naturally do by yourself. Do you feel weak?

Do you feel like you can't do what you're supposed to do? Well, that's why you need grace. Grace says, I say I can't, grace says I can't. And God gives grace. Grace is the image of a water pitcher that is filled to the brim.

It's tilted and ready to be poured out. And God gives grace to those who are thirsty. We read in Hebrews that we can come boldly to a throne of grace to receive mercy and grace and time of need. There's no reason why we should resist or not get God's grace. One writer said it this way, for daily need, there's daily grace. For sudden need, there's sudden grace. For overwhelming need, there is overwhelming grace. And the warning here is that those who are running can fall short or come short of God's grace.

So why, why would we come short of it? One writer, B.F. Westcott, says it this way. He says, see to it that you do not fall behind in not keeping pace with the movement of grace. And what he means by that is this.

God gives grace all the way. But we can lag behind. We can begin to fall behind. It's kind of like when you started your classes this semester, you got your syllabus. And your syllabus sort of told you all the things that you were required to do. And maybe you got really afraid that you couldn't keep up with it, but you sort of threw yourself into it. And you started working through that syllabus. But as time went along and choices were made, and perhaps you didn't manage your time wisely, you found yourself getting behind. How many of you feel, how many of you felt like you were getting behind this semester in some of your studies?

Yeah, sure, of course. The idea here is that you can lag behind in getting grace. You say, well how does that happen? How can I spiritually lag behind?

Well there are a number of ways. Number one, when you live with unconfessed sin. The Bible says where sin abounds, grace abounds more. And so for every sin we commit, there is grace, there is forgiveness.

God is faithful and just to forgive those who confess their sins. But if we live day after day, without availing ourselves to God's forgiveness, then we are missing out on that grace. There is fresh cleansing and fresh empowerment. It's kind of like going three or four or five days without taking a bath.

It's not that the bath is not available or the shower is not available. When you don't take a shower, everybody around you knows it. And when you and I are not operating in grace, everybody around us knows it.

They can see it in your spirit, in your attitude. We live with unconfessed sin. Secondly, we lag behind when we neglect God's word. God says, I commend you to God and the word of his grace which is able to build you up. Grace is communicated through the Bible.

The Bible is a supernatural book. The Holy Spirit gives us the strength, the power to live the Christian life. But believers lag behind because they suffer from spiritual anorexia of the word.

They're not feeding on the word. And then number three, we begin to lag behind when we are absent from the fellowship of the church. Grace is experienced in the community of grace. That's why going to church is so important. Going to church is not a duty. Going to church is something that I depend upon. I need church.

I need the people of God. You and I both know that when we come out of church, there is a fresh empowerment from the Spirit of the Lord. And so here's the warning. The warning is not to keep up with the pace of grace.

Are you living on God's grace today? You know what, you can get in the flow here at Bob Jones University and just sort of do Bob Jones University and miss out on grace and you've got grace available but you're not availing yourself to the grace of God. And so there's a warning here that don't go through the motions and don't lag behind in getting God's grace. Then there's a second warning. And that warning here is found in verse 15 when he says, Lest any man fail the grace of God, lest any root of bitterness spring up and trouble you and thereby many be defiled. What is the second warning? The second warning is see to it that no one becomes negatively influenced by apostasy.

Now let me explain that. The writer here is warning about a potential contaminant within the church. We understand contamination and when things are contaminated then we want to get rid of it. And he's describing a contaminant thing that is within the framework of the church.

And what is that? It is a person who is described as a root of bitterness. Lest any root of bitterness springing up trouble you and thereby many be defiled. Now this phrase root of bitterness is actually taken out of the Old Testament. It comes from a text in Deuteronomy 29 18.

Let me read it to you. It says, Lest there should be among you man or woman or family of tribe or tribe whose heart turns away this day from the Lord our God to go and serve the gods of these nations. Lest there be among you a root that bears gall and wormwood. Now what is Moses saying? He's warning about the noxious influence of those Jews who had turned away from following the Lord in the wilderness and they began to worship idols.

And the root of bitterness then is an individual because of various reasons have become bitter and rebellious against God and they have turned away from the faith and they're called a root. That is something that is hidden that comes out. It could be a man. It could be a woman. It could be a family.

It could be a group or tribe. And historically we have called these people apostates. An apostate is one who is a defector from the faith and one who is a distractor to the faithful. And the question concerning these individuals is always were they saved? Are they real Christians? And of course some view the fact that they were once Christians but they've lost their faith therefore they've lost their salvation.

Others have said they never were really saved from the beginning. But in either case, the point is that they have a damaging influence on the church. He says, lest any man fail of the grace of God, lest any root of bitterness springing up and trouble you and thereby many be defiled. The word trouble means to control. They have a powerful influence on the atmosphere. The word contaminate has the idea of defiling people. Their influence is troubling to the body of Christ. They affect and they hurt the church. Have you ever heard of a man in history called Julian the apostate?

Very interesting character. Julian was a Roman ruler who followed Constantine in 361 AD as the Roman emperor. When Constantine started his reign as an emperor, he ended persecution against believers and he made Christianity the official religion or the state religion in the world in that day. In AD 37, Constantine died and his kingdom fell to his three sons and immediately his sons decided to eliminate all the rivals and so they put to death their uncles and their cousins.

However, two young boys survived. One of them was a young boy named Julian and Julian grew up in exile in Turkey under house arrest. He was later freed by his brother and he went to study in Constantinople and during his imprisonment or house arrest, he had been abused by men who professed Christianity and so he rejected Christianity and he became a student of heathen philosophy and antagonistic to the teachings of Jesus. And so in his early life, he revealed an intense hatred for Christianity. But for political reasons, he basically hid what he really believed for over a decade and he acted like a professing Christian. And when he became the emperor at the age of 30 years old, he declared himself the public enemy of Christianity. And as the ruler, Julian had two goals.

One, to completely abolish Christianity and two, to restore paganism. And unlike the persecutors of the past that persecuted the church, Julian decided to do something the opposite. He basically feigned a demeanor of benevolence and he claimed that his philosophy mandated toleration of all faiths. And so suddenly, he sought to destroy the Christian faith through a number of moves. Number one, he encouraged strife among those who professed allegiance to Christ. There were some former bishops or pastors that were in prison and he let them out.

And when they came out, he understood the maximum to divide is the way that you conquer. And he allowed these Christians to have conflicts with one another and so he encouraged this strife. Secondly, he prohibited Christian schools. One historian said the Christian schools were broken up and the children of Christians were denied all education except in the school of the idolaters.

Julian knew that the church's future was with its youth. He thought that if he could deprive Christian families of educating their children, then he would hinder the spread of the Gospel among the more educated, those that became leaders, and Christianity would be relegated to the ignorant masses. And so, in a controlled environment, he decided that he would corrupt the tender faith of those young Christians by putting them in schools of idolatry.

And he was aware, he knew, understood that a cultured mind and the religion of Jesus were not exclusive, but one can be a devotee to Christ and still be intellectually a respectable person. And so he prohibited Christian schools. And then thirdly, he attempted to have Christians removed from the place of public position and influence.

He wanted their voice to be stifled and silenced. He knew that biblical Christianity shaped laws and influenced the enforcement of high moral standards because the foundation of the law was grounded in the moral standard defined by God himself. And then fourth, he sought to silence preachers by withdrawing from them certain immunities that were under, basically, Constantine's influence.

Julian was very astute, and he knew enough about finances that they were a powerful factor in muffling the pulpits. For example, when moral issues became politicized, preachers who addressed these issues were accused of drawing the church into politics. And soon, veiled threats of the loss of financial immunities would become increasingly commonplace and so he silenced the preachers. And then finally, by the subversion of the law, he encouraged violence against the devotees of the faith. It was said that Julian would punish his heathen subjects. He would rarely punish his heathen subjects in their acts of violence, but he took great pains to punish a Christian for the slightest offense. And what happened is he sought to destroy the faith. And what's interesting, it's an odd thing that those who were at one time a part of the faith become persecutors of the faith. And so the point that Hebrews is saying is that we should watch out for those who are falling away from God and their negative influence on us.

And then third and final, final warning. He said, this warning is to see to it that no one loses his soul over lust and godlessness, lest there be any fornicator or profane person as Esau. Who is Esau? He is what we could call a graceless person. One who missed the grace of God and became a negative influence. Esau was the firstborn son of Isaac. And his brother was Jacob. And the Bible condemns him as a fornicator and a profane man. Fornicator means he was immoral sexually. And he was considered a pornographic man. Someone said Esau was a man subject to the whims of his tomcat nature.

The archetype of the 20th century testosterone man. His essential sensuality made God unreal to him as lust always does. And then he was called a profane man. That simply means that he just lived life without God.

He had no concern for spiritual desires. He only wanted to feed his own appetites. Someone said it this way, Esau was a living beer commercial. His whole focus was fun, food, and females.

That's Esau. And because he was enslaved to lust, he had virtually no concern about his spiritual privileges. You know, it is a great blessing to grow up in a spiritual atmosphere. And on the other hand, it is an incredible danger. That's why everybody in this room is in a very dangerous position.

You are in a very, very, very dangerous position. Because you are surrounded by spiritual values and spiritual truth. My oldest son, when he came to Bob Jones, he said, Dad, truth is everywhere here at Bob Jones if you want it. But if you are unregenerate, or you are a professing Christian, and you are worldly, and you are living to fulfill your central appetites, you are in a very dangerous position. Because of his enslavement to his own desires, he virtually had no real passion for his spiritual blessings. He was the first born son. He was in the line of the blessing of the Abrahamic Covenant. And though this included some material prosperity, it was primarily spiritual. He would be in the line of the coming Messiah and the ultimate Gospel message.

However, these privileges were to be realized in the future. Most of the time he just had to be faithful. He had to persevere in his faith. But that was not Esau. And the time came when Esau's faith was put to the test. You know the story, he was out hunting all day and he comes in famish.

He wants some food and he asks, fix me some food. And basically his brother was smart enough to say, I'll do it if you give me your birthright, your blessing. And so he traded this tremendous spiritual blessing to satisfy his own appetites.

He traded off it for a bowl of beans. Our founder used to say it this way, never sacrifice the permanent on the altar of the immediate. Every one of you, every one of us, every one of us in this room are daily faced with temptations where we can sacrifice the blessings of God for some temporary pleasure.

Something that will satisfy my lust. Because here's the problem with the lust. It promises you satisfaction and it always gives you emptiness in return. And so Esau was viewed as a man who had no value in the permanent. And what is the conclusion? He afterwards realized he had made a mistake, but it was too late. He was rejected even though he sought to receive his blessings back through repentance and tears.

He had crossed a line and he had gone too far. The spiritual heritage that you have received, the privileges that you have can be squandered. And you can become a shipwreck. You can give up and sell your blessings on the altar of the immediate, on immorality and worldliness. And in the end you sell your own soul.

And so Hebrews is one of those books that, as I said in the beginning, it's got a wow factor because it's unbelievable who Christ is. And then it has a very serious woe factor. Woe. And woe be unto every one of you sitting here in this building and I'm including myself in this.

Woe to any of us who would turn away from God to live a life that satisfies your own lust. Woe be to any of us. And I pray for you. I'm very concerned for some of you. I'm concerned that some of you are lost. Some of you that really have no spiritual desires at all.

And I'm very concerned that some of you are flirting with the world. You're trying to swim in waters that God never intended for you to swim in. And I pray that you will come back and you will run with patience the race that is set before us. Father, we thank you for your word. God, I pray for the power of the Lord and grace to reign upon all of us. Help us to be faithful as we follow you in Jesus' name. Amen.

You've been listening to a sermon preached by Dr. Steve Pettit. If you would like more information about how the biblical principles of creation, fall, and redemption are applied in Christian education, we would like to make you aware of the textbook division of Bob Jones University called BJU Press. BJU Press produces textbooks and educational materials for preschool through 12th grade and the textbooks are filled with biblical worldview integration, not just in the Bible course textbooks, but in all academic subjects. As stated on their website, we shape each subject according to the lens of Scripture. Each discipline takes on a new meaning when we apply the themes of creation, fall, and redemption. If you would like more information about BJU Press for both Christian schools and home schools, go to slash about where you can find out more about how biblical worldview, academic rigor, and critical thinking is integrated into all of their textbooks and classroom material. Once again, that's slash about. Join us again tomorrow at this same time as we study God's Word together on The Daily Platform.
Whisper: medium.en / 2024-04-17 19:17:39 / 2024-04-17 19:26:58 / 9

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