Summary: When God brings us into His kingdom through faith in Christ we become His son or daughter. As such, God calls us to make every effort to live in peace and to be holy. But how can we do this. Join Pastor Danny as he teaches on how to have peace
Good morning Odessa First! I am Pastor Danny – I am the Senior Pastor. I am thankful you have chosen to be with us this morning to worship our risen savior Jesus Christ.
Over the last few weeks we have been studying the Book of Hebrews chapter 12 and learning about an UNSHAKEABLE Kingdom.
• Vv. 1-4: An Unstoppable Momentum given to us when we put our faith in Christ. We are encouraged and cheered on to run the race and finish well when we enter into God’s rest.
• Vv. 5-13: An Unconditional Love of God the Father helps us to run the race set before us through His discipline. God the Father brings correction to those He loves so that we can be fit for the race. His discipline is proof of our being His son or daughter.
(TRANSITION) Today we are going to look at vv. 14-17 and hopefully discover that God has called us to an UNRESTRAINED PURSUIT.
All of us have something we pursue. I know at this time of year many people in this part of the USA are pursuing that TROPHY BUCK.
Others are pursuing a variety of things: fame, stardom, career, a wife, a husband, a date – these are first world issues.
This morning in other parts of the USA and the world there are those who are simply pursuing a meal or a drink of water.
But what does God ask us to pursue?
Paul tells us in 1 & 2 Timothy to pursue righteousness, godliness, faith, endurance, love, gentleness, and more.
Peter tells us to turn away from evil and pursue peace (1 Peter 3:11)
The writer of Hebrews reminds those reading these words for the first time and to us that we are to PURSUE PEACE and HOLINESS.
Let’s Read Hebrews 12:14-17 together (bulletin insert)
In Hebrews 12:5-13 we learned that God disciplines those who He loves. But why? Why does God bring things into our lives that cause us discomfort or pain or joy and victory?
In Hebrews 12:12-13 the writer tells us what the purpose of God’s discipline is…to strengthen weak knees – make level paths for your feet – so that the lame may not be disabled but healed.
In other words God brings correction into our lives to make us strong. But why must we be strong?
1st we need to be strong so we can fulfill Hebrews 12:1 – “run with perseverance the race marked out for us…”
2nd God makes us strong so that we can have an UNRESTRAINED PURSUIT of PEACE & HOLINESS.
Make every effort to live in peace with everyone and to be holy; without holiness no one will see the Lord. (Heb 12:14)
Some of you may have other versions of the Bible. Your Bible might start this verse with:
• Pursue (NKJV & NASB)
• Follow after (KJV)
• Strive (ESV)
These are interpretations of the Greek word diōkō. Basically this word, as it is used in Hebrews 12, means to go after something or someone intending to catch it/them…to reach after a goal.
The writer of Hebrews is telling us that God, through His correcting love, makes us fit for the purpose of pursuing after:
• PEACE with all men
• And to be HOLY (separated unto God for His purposes)
But why does God want us to have PEACE with all men?
1. God’s UNSHAKEABLE KINGDOM is first and foremost a kingdom of peace.
a. Jesus is the prince of peace (Isaiah 9:6)
b. Jesus died to make it possible for us to have peace with God (Rom 5:1; Eph 2:13-17) – WITH GOD
c. Christ taught us that peacemakers would be blessed (Mat 5:9)
On one hand we have peace with God because of Christ. But what about peace with man? Paul, a onetime persecutor of Christians who found peace with God through salvation in Christ, tells us that we have to pursue – go after – peace with men. In Romans 14 he tells us that God’s kingdom is one of peace, joy and righteousness. He goes on to tell us that if we serve God with peace, joy and righteousness we will be PLEASING to God AND RECEIVE THE APPROVAL OF HUMANS. So he tells us in Romans 14:19
Let us therefore make every effort to do what leads to peace and to mutual edification.
So if God wants us to PURSUE PEACE – how do we do it?
1. Find peace with God – Proverbs 16:7 says, When a man’s ways please the Lord, He makes even his enemies to be at peace with him.
a. Ultimately, as we have said, peace with God only comes through a relationship with Christ.
2. Let the PEACE OF GOD RULE YOUR HEARTS (Col 3:15)…