Sunday, October 8, 2017

Paul's Epistles – Hebrews – Part 20: Be Holy

Paul's Epistles – Hebrews – Part 20:
Be Holy
Pastor Bruce A. Shields

The “official” writer of this epistle is unknown. However, I obviously believe it is Paul since I have included it in the “Paul’s Epistles” Sermon Series.

I believe there is enough evidence from early scholars to agree this was more than likely Paul’s work.

We have already seen in Hebrews so far;

·        Jesus is greater than angels
·        And that we are to pay the most careful attention to Jesus and His way so we do not stray
·        And how Jesus (New Covenant) is greater than Moses (Old Covenant)
·        Paul’s warning about unbelief
·        A Sabbath Rest for the People of God
·        Jesus the Great High Priest, Jesus the Perfect High Priest
·        Therefore, It is Time to Grow Up
·        The Certainty of God’s Promise
·        Melchizedek the Priest, Jesus like Melchizedek
·        The High Priest of the New Covenant
·        Worship in the Earthly Tabernacle
·        The Blood of Christ, Christ’s sacrifice, Once for All
·        A Call to Preserve Faith
·        Faith in Action
·        God Disciplines His Children

“Be Holy”
Hebrews 12:12-17
Therefore, strengthen your feeble arms and weak knees. 13 “Make level paths for your feet,” so that the lame may not be disabled, but rather healed.
14 Make every effort to live in peace with everyone and to be holy; without holiness no one will see the Lord. 15 See to it that no one falls short of the grace of God and that no bitter root grows up to cause trouble and defile many. 16 See that no one is sexually immoral, or is godless like Esau, who for a single meal sold his inheritance rights as the oldest son. 17 Afterward, as you know, when he wanted to inherit this blessing, he was rejected. Even though he sought the blessing with tears, he could not change what he had done.

The overall message of this epistle to the church is;
The Cure for Lacking Boldness or Courage in your Christian Faith and Backsliding is a Right beginning for the Glory and Work of Christ”

a. What is the therefore?
                                                                 i. Because God loves you, and disciplines you, showing you are His legitimate sons and daughters...

b. Strengthen your feeble arms and weak knees
                                                                 i. Arms representing the “works” you do (remember what Paul taught just a couple chapters ago, faith without works is dead)

1. Strengthen your FAITH so your works won’t be feeble (weak, delicate, shabby, pathetic)

                                                              ii. Knees referring to the direction you “go” spiritually
1. Strengthen yourself spiritually so you may stay on the narrow path

c. Make level the paths for your feet so the lame may not be disabled but rather healed
                                                                 i. Strengthening your faith producing works, and strengthening your spirit through scripture and prayer, you will “see” the narrow path and be able to keep your eyes on Christ.

                                                              ii. This will make your path “level” for your feet (direction you go spiritually)

1. Level and straight is the narrow path!

                                                           iii. So the LAME (those who do not have a spiritual direction) may not be disabled (lame, not moving) but rather HEALED (spiritually, becoming one who moves on the narrow path toward the Lord!)

a. To live in peace with everyone
                                                                 i. Key word here is “effort”

                                                              ii. We cannot control how others behave, but through the Spirit of God, we can control how “we” behave.
                                                           iii. We are to make every effort to live in PEACE

                                                            iv. With...everyone!

b. And to be HOLY
                                                                 i. without holiness, no one will see the Lord

                                                              ii. This IS the problem today...not enough of us (followers of Christ) are being holy, this is why not many are “seeing” the Lord today!

c. See to it that no one (the ones who are supposed to be HOLY) falls short (behaves unholy...sinful) of the grace of God

                                                                 i. and that no bitter root (false convert, unsaved, or evil person) grows up to cause trouble and defile many

1. grows up implies that a false convert, unsaved or evil person “continues” to be such in the congregation.

2. We will have sinners come to church, that is where they belong, but see that they do not “grow up” or continue to live as such in the congregation, thus being a “bitter root” that will cause trouble and defile others!

                                                              ii. and see that no one (those who are supposed to be HOLY) is sexually immoral

a. Who, for a single meal (to satisfy his flesh’s desire) sold his inheritance rights as the oldest son

                                                                 i. When we “choose” to live in sin, we are making the choice to satisfy our flesh over the promise of our inheritance.

                                                              ii. We sell off our rights to our eternal future to gratify the cravings of our flesh here and now.

                                                           iii. This life is but a moment, nothing in this world is worth the promise of our eternal inheritance that waits for us.

b. Afterword (Esau selling his inheritance), when he wanted to inherit this blessing, he was rejected
                                                                 i. Not keeping his eyes on the future promise, rather the “here and now”

                                                              ii. Paul warns we MUST keep our eyes on Jesus, the future eternal promise, and not sacrifice that for any sin of the world.

c. Even though he sought the blessing with tears
                                                                 i. He could not change what he had done

                                                              ii. Judgment Day is just that

1. It isn’t plea day
2. It isn’t “explain yourself” day
3. It isn’t a trial

4. Life is the trial...and we have a counselor who has a direct line to the Perfect Judge

5. This counselor will  lead and guide us, if we let Him

6. When we hear His words, and do them, we will win this trial, and on Judgment Day, the Perfect Judge will do what is done on Judgment Day

a. Pass Judgment
b. Some will be judged in favor
c. So will be judged harshly

7. One thing is CERTAIN, we will all be judged accordingly

Revelation 20:11-12a;12c; 13b;14-15
11 Then I saw a great white throne and him who was seated on it. The earth and the heavens fled from his presence, and there was no place for them. 12 And I saw the dead, great and small, standing before the throne, and books were opened... The dead were judged according to what they had done as recorded in the books.

...each person was judged according to what they had done.

14 Then death and Hades were thrown into the lake of fire. The lake of fire is the second death.15 Anyone whose name was not found written in the book of life was thrown into the lake of fire.

II Corinthians 5:10
 For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, so that each of us may receive what is due us for the things done while in the body, whether good or bad.

However, the children of God have a counselor...If we therefore hear His words and DO them, we will stand before the Judgment Seat of Christ to receive our rewards, rather than the Great White Throne of God to receive our punishment.

CONCLUSION – because you are children of god

Proven through His discipline, strengthen your faith so your works will not be feeble and meaningless
Continue to grow Spiritually so that your path will be level
Make every effort to live in peace with everyone, and BE HOLY so others will see the Lord!
Do not sacrifice your eternal inheritance for anything that gratifies the flesh but for a moment.

Esau traded everything that was promised to him to gratify his flesh for a moment. Later, when the time came he wanted to claim what was no longer his, and though he was met with tears, he was rejected.
Luke 13:22-29
22 Then Jesus went through the towns and villages, teaching as he made his way to Jerusalem. 23 Someone asked him, “Lord, are only a few people going to be saved?”
He said to them, 24 “Make every effort to enter through the narrow door, because many, I tell you, will try to enter and will not be able to. 25 Once the owner of the house gets up and closes the door, you will stand outside knocking and pleading, ‘Sir, open the door for us.’
“But he will answer, ‘I don’t know you or where you come from.’
26 “Then you will say, ‘We ate and drank with you, and you taught in our streets.’
27 “But he will reply, ‘I don’t know you or where you come from. Away from me, all you evildoers!’
28 “There will be weeping there, and gnashing of teeth, when you see Abraham, Isaac and Jacob and all the prophets in the kingdom of God, but you yourselves thrown out. 29 People will come from east and west and north and south, and will take their places at the feast in the kingdom of God.

Matthew 7:21-24
21 “Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but only the one who does the will of my Father who is in heaven. 22 Many will say to me on that day, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name and in your name drive out demons and in your name perform many miracles?’ 23 Then I will tell them plainly, ‘I never knew you. Away from me, you evildoers!’

24 “Therefore everyone who hears these words of mine and puts them into practice is like a wise man who built his house on the rock. 

Let us “hear” the Word of God, AND put it into practice!

Want to learn more about Salvation and Getting Saved?   

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