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April 29, 2021 4:00 am
Running the race. The Christian life requires study perseverance lasts for our entire lives.
It may be easy to start off strong but is there a way we can ensure a faithful finish today on Truth for Life. Megan packs six commands believers must follow not only to endure but also to continue in Hebrews 12 verse 12.
Now what we have here then in the second half.
12 is see to it list for the Christian life, and as we think about. We realize again that in this journey. The real emphasis the real need is not up on a few special performances but is rather upon steady persistence that lasts all the time. We may impress people. For a moment or two with that.
But the real challenge is to stay the course over the long haul and I think that is what impresses most of us when we look at the lives of other people. Not that they are a kind of flash in the pan person, but they are able to sustain it over the long haul and so it is that before. As we have a number on these points of emphasis and what I like to do is to confront you with the fact that they are here not as optional extras. They are here as obligations and where it doesn't say see to it. I'm going to add see to it to it so that you can have them all the same and I think I have six of but I'm not going to dwell long on any of them number one. Then in verses 12 and 13 see to it that you keep strong and keep straight the writer is quoting. First of all, here in verse 12 from Isaiah 35 in verse three. And when you turn to that in your leisure will you will discover that the prophet there is describing the way of holiness as he describes the highway of holiness. He describes also the characteristics of those who walk on that highway and the picture of listless hands are feeble arms and weak knees is simply a familiar description of discouragement and despair. And so it is imperative that we keep strong and also that we keep straight.
That's the reference here quoting from Proverbs chapter 4 made level paths for your feet. We need not only to be levelheaded, but we need to be level footed failure to follow the straight path of grace will have a harmful effect on others who are running around the people are begun to limit don't want to be in the company of a bunch of numbers they want to be in the company of people who are strong because they don't want to be limping and stumbling along the road you need a few strong jabs with you in order to hold one another, not the folks who are wondering from the path the last people they should hang with our people are also wondering from the path what they need. Our people are staying strong and staying straight and the great challenge you see is to allow ourselves to be vacillating and to be dislocated.
Not only is it where in the joints of our bodies.
But in our very commitment to the journey. So that's the first one. See to it that you stay strong and you stay straight. Secondly, see to it that you pursue harmony and holiness. That's the significance here in verse 14.
Make every effort to live in peace with all men and to be holy because without holiness no one will see the Lord of the phrase here make every effort is a graphic phrase.
The writer is not saying why don't you have a go at it, why don't you give it a try. Why don't you take a chance know he is saying.
I want you to pursue this with the same kind of passion that how wounds pursue a fox that is actually the very that is used. It was a very that was used for the screening all the muscles and sinews of a horse and running or are found in pursuit of its quarry. Now he says if you want to be the kind of people who don't shrink back and are destroyed but who continue under say that you need to see to it that you make sure that you are applying yourself to harmony and to holiness. Make every effort to live in peace with all men, others, and reassuring. And that is or not and I was is not straightforward to live in peace with all men.
It takes effort to live in peace with all men in the Bible is very realistic and the danger is that again we abandon the quest for harmony.
We are happy when we come to roadblocks on the way to happiness and holiness and harmonious living and we just chuck it says I don't want you to do that and incidentally he says the harmony that you seek with one another is not at the expense of holiness. Indeed, it is holiness, which provides the framework for the harmony that we enjoy. The Bible is clear about this. First Thessalonians 4 and verse three. It is God's will that you should be sanctified and that you should avoid sexual immorality is perfectly clear. You don't have a discussion about first Corinthians 620 Paul says you are not your own. You were bought at a price. Therefore honor God with your body. This is not an optional extra. This is not something that you can add to your life like electric windows on the car while I think I'll have the optional extra.
Someone says the writer says this is not an optional extra this very thing gives evidence that you really belong to Christ because it is as we make every effort to live in peace with all men and to pursue holiness that we declare the fact that were different. Otherwise, how does anyone know there were different, how do I know I'm different, all I'm doing. That is, I'm just talking if there is no change in my heart that there is no change in my expectations. If there is no pursuit. If people don't spend time with me and see this guys going for the gold standard resume that day that simply I have a strange interest in things religious.
That's why you see it is in our lives lived that we begin to declare the fact that the list is not simply something stuck on the refrigerator door, but it is something that is fastened into the very core of our being and it is beginning to change.
Thirdly, and in verse 15. See to it that you grow in grace, and not in bitterness what he says.
Don't miss the grace of God.
Don't miss the grace of God see to it that no one misses the grace of God is not an interesting phrase. How do you miss the grace of God. If it is the grace of God that sets our feet at the entryway to the path of faith and it is the grace of God that enables us to continue on the pathway to complete the journey. How do you miss the grace of God, I'll tell you how you do Paul when he writes in second Corinthians 61 he says.
We urge you not to receive God's grace in vain now is God's grace communicated to us what it is communicated there is in the Scriptures, and when the Scriptures are taught it is possible for as metaphorically or literally simply to sit around with our fingers in our ears, and God ministers his grace through his word in the revealing of his son and people attend upon the means of grace, part of which is the teaching of the Scriptures, part of which is the celebration of the Lord's supper, part of which is the enjoyment of fellowship with one another and what happens is that it all becomes external. He was a yes I was there and I listened, but I never heard a thing. Yes I was there and I participated, but it didn't mean a thing. Yes I was there and they were there and I spoke with them, but I don't care about them what's happening, there's the just the constant missing of the grace of God.
That's why when James writes, he says make sure that when you are receiving the word of God as it is.
Talk to you that you make sure that the soil of your souls is not acidic and is not full of alkaline because those are the very things envy and bitterness and anger and rage and despondency make our souls impervious to that which God has given us for our best if we miss the grace of God. It is not on account of it being inaccessible to arms, but because we are not availing ourselves of it. Don't miss the grace of God I don't mess around with bitter roots C2 in the know Bitterroot grows up to cause trouble and defile many now is using a picture here that emerges from the Old Testament actually from Deuteronomy and from chapter 29 and verse 16. You yourselves know how we lived in Egypt and I would pass through the countries on the way here you so among them there to testable images, and idols of wood and stone of silver and gold. Make sure there is no man or woman clan or tribe among you today whose heart turns away from the Lord our God, to go and worship the gods of those nations make sure there is no root among you, that produces such bitter poison centers is talked about roots because you can see roots.
The majority of the time to really say what we don't have any of that around us here. You know, we don't have any of those things apparently not. But what about the roots. No, I don't have that in my life. I mean you can check you can look at me is but what about the roots.
The bitter roots that defile that cause trouble. I will session this week with dandelions you how much I love dandelions and Sue got Mia and implement. I've now moved on from the screwdriver to have gone up market as their board. The appliance from the lady next door, but have now come up with with what is essentially like a screwdriver only. It has a thing like this at the end so you're able to go down and wiggle it which is a lot better than the screwdriver is often I was missing but now I can go at it and get it up and the intriguing thing is I never found a dandelion on it so I mean just like sitting somewhere by himself every dandelion. I went for was wrapped around the roots of something I wanted to keep and so you couldn't get out what needed to come out without harming stuff that you wanted to leave in. And that's why the writer says, make sure that you don't allow the root structures of bitterness to become embedded in your lives because when we have to go in and do surgery on them.
The stuff that comes out with it makes it very very painful.
So we have to apply and implement procedures within our fellowships to deal with sin and the time to deal with it is when the route is small, not when it is big that we do have some roots in our yard that come from the trees and they are impossibilities, at least for me because they've been there so long and they've gone so many places they've gone under pathways there embedded in concrete there wrapped around and in and through brickwork goodness you have to bring half your house down to take out these root of the fourth one in verse 16.
See to it that immorality and godlessness are rejected. There are two sides to holiness. The positive side, in which were told that we are set apart to God the negative side, we are set apart from sin and the society in which these readers lived was pagan and consequently immorality was given a place of exultation and so the writer says is very important if you're going to live in this world as you are. You make sure that you don't allow this root structure to get in and in the same time the you don't tolerate sexual immorality that you don't begin to worship the creature rather than the creator which will lead in turn to all kinds of chaos and that, incidentally, is the reference here to Esau C2 that no one is sexually immoral or is godless like Esau, who for a single meal sold as inheritance rights as the oldest son what is that all about women. He pop up from all of a sudden. How does that apply new simply in this way, physical appetite meant more to Esau in the heat of the moment. Then the birthright that was due him as a heritage in his home and see. So he sold out in a moment for something that he could have got anywhere any time and in abundance during our many people of sold out in a moment in the area of sexual immorality. You can build your life for 30 years and throw it away in five minutes because you won't see to it.
You don't need a prayer meeting about this and have a big discussion group is neither C2 raising your children all the time in the discussion about this. Just take the garbage cans out to see to it. Why do we have to have a discussion. There is no discussion there. In response to be out debt amount is the same thing. There is garbage can of immorality is right here. It stinks C2 that is out of here every inroad the sexual immorality would make into our hearts and minds is to be resisted not in order that God would accept us, but because we are aware of the fight in God and his grace has accepted us so were not doing the C2 Atlas and although we might get to heaven doing the C2 Atlas because God has said that he's going to take us to heaven. On the basis of his son and were seeing to it because that's what sons and daughters did I want to succumb to two more points but I want to give you a summary of what is in front of you here in verse 18 and following. You have not come to a mountain that can be touched and that is burning with fire to darkness, gloom and storm and so on. But verse 22. You have come to Mount Zion to the heavenly Jerusalem, the city of the living God.
What is this about what the writer does here is he paints a wonderful picture once again. And on one site. He pains Mount Sinai and Mount Sinai is representative of the giving of the law and on the other hand he he paints the picture of the Mount Zion which is representative of the coming of the gospel in the Lord Jesus and he reminds these folks that they have not come to this mountain of the law to legalism, but rather that they have come to the mountain of Zion which is full of light and joy and peace and reality you wear there. He says you live like that before you are afraid of God you are doing all these things because you thought that God would accept you for doing them you are trying to earn your own way to heaven. But you came to Mount Zion and you came to the new Jerusalem and you came to understand who Jesus is and in that moment you sudden it suddenly made sense to you (my way to heaven. Jesus died on the cross and on the basis of his shed blood. I may go to heaven. On the strength of what he is done. That was radical.
I says I don't want you to go back and live over there. The low back and live over there. This is where you live you live over here. They have arrived not in the food of an unapproachable earthly mountain but they arrived at the very threshold of the gates of a gloriously accessible and eternal city says you're right there you can see the finish line as you turn the corner into the final straight. Don't quit for sleep and ultimately verse 25. See to it that you don't refuse him who speaks.
If they did not escape when they refused him who warned them on error.
How much less will we, if we turn away from him who warns us from heaven. This is tremendous for these readers because they know what he say he's saying the prophets came walking across the stage of history to warn the people again and again and so often the people responded by putting their fingers in their ears and running for it all. We don't want to hear this. We don't like this word from the prophets. We want nice profits. We want cheery profits. We will improve as income and tell us lovely things. And here comes Amos and he is our right whaling profit and here comes Jeremiah and he is always crying in his beard, and here comes Isaiah and he's got some dreadful things to say.
And here comes Jonah pronouncing that the destruction of many vague cameras are few decent guys would you we want to go to church and have a nice time.
I says when they refused him who warned the monarch. Do you remember what happened to them to remember the Babylonian captivity. He says you remember the history don't you say. Well let me just put the argument to you as clear as I can. If God did that to people who refused his errantly profits what you think he's going to do to those who refuse the word of his son, which comes to you from heaven, and how does the word of God son come to us from heaven it comes to is by way of the book that he is left to us.
The Bible and how does it come by way of the Bible it comes by way of the spirit of God taking the Bible and saying to somebody as they listen to it, preached, or as they read it for themselves or as they discuss it with others. Some saying deep into the core of an individual. This book is true better do what it says. We heed the warning tonight. If you're here and you're an unbeliever, why does he warn us because he loves us. Don't go down that road road any longer.
He says I want to tell you.
Although the sign over the broad road says happiness in heaven fun and games, I want you to know is is down there is hell and our friends and our neighbors. They all don't listen to that stuff find a nice profit.
Find someone to encourage you in your life you listen to that step. C2 and finally in verse 28 C2 it that you worship God acceptably since we are receiving a kingdom that cannot be shaken, let us be thankful and so worship God acceptably. What is it mean to worship God acceptably. He tells us, with reverence and with all. In other words, not with superficiality, not with triviality. There ought to be about every experience of worship irrespective of the genre or the style of the event, there ought to be that about the experience of worship which is marked by all, and more than any style of worship. I long for a genuine sense of all when the people of God said about the business of declaring his glory, and indeed, it is only in the experience of genuine all which recognizes that worship that is God's begins with God and his glory rather than with man and his need. It's not about whether I'm satisfied is not about whether I'm enjoying it is not about whether it was long or short are fat or thin nor contemporary or ancient is about whether out of a thankful heart. I have come like Moses to take the shoes off my feet and recognition of the fact that God is a consuming fire.
See to it that you keep strong and keep straight, see to it that you pursue harmony and holiness. See to it that you grow in grace, and not in bitterness, see to it that immorality and godlessness are rejected. See to it that you don't refuse him who speaks C2. It that you worship God acceptably your learning what it takes to finish strong in our walk with Christ. We just heard a message from Alastair Begg on Truth for Life. Alister will be back in just a minute to close today's program with prayer so please keep listening what we been reminded today that endurance requires mature Christian living. We know that life. Even the Christian life can sometimes leave us feeling is up and running on empty.
That's the reason we've chosen a book by Nancy Guthrie called God does his best work with empty to supplement our study the book of Hebrews, Nancy Guthrie says that while we may see the emptiness of our lives as our greatest problem that is not how God sees when God looks into our empty places. He sees his greatest opportunity. The book God does his best work with empty takes us to the Scripture to remind us of God's provision and his promises, so that no matter what has caused the emptiness in your life. You can find grace and hope knowing that God wants to fill you in a way that nothing else can.
You're invited to request your copy of the book God does his best work with empty when you give today to support Truth for Life. Just click the book image you see in the mobile app or call 888-588-7884. Now here's Alastair to close with prayer. Father, we thank you that you haven't left us to our own devices but then you given as you word and it is that word which is all-powerful and life-changing, and we pray today that you will write your word in our heart we pray that you will send us out from here in the power of your spirit to declare the good news to sound the warnings to be us lamps. Is it where in darkness, to be as light houses on the raging seas of the lives of turmoil that are all around.
May your word find a resting place in our hearts tonight. May none of us miss the grace of God for the sake of your son, the Lord Jesus. We ask amen Bob Lapine joining us tomorrow as we learn how to live our lives in a way that is pleasing to God Bible teaching of Alastair Begg is furnished by Truth for Life Learning is for Living