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Summary: A sermon about finishing well

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WHAT DOES IT TAKE TO WIN

Hebrews chapter 12 AND VERSE 15 SAYS - SEE TO IT THAT NO ONE MISSES THE GRACE OF GOD AND THAT NO BITTER ROOT GROWS UP TO CAUSE TROUBLE AND DEFILE MANY.

The last few Sundays we have looked at a number of themes in Hebrews.

1FAith - courage - endurance. checking our foundations

This morning I would like to talk about validating God’s Grace.

Now validating is a pretty big word - in relation to purchasing stuff I take my bankcard along to the service station - I punch in some numbers and the eft-pos machine validates my purchase - the word Accepted is displayed in capital letters on the device.

If there isn’t enough money the sign simply says transaction declined. Also without any electronics my face turns red.

Another way of saying this is WHAT DOES IT TAKE TO WIN

Hebrews chapter 12 AND VERSE 15 SAYS - SEE TO IT THAT NO ONE MISSES THE GRACE OF GOD AND THAT NO BITTER ROOT GROWS UP TO CAUSE TROUBLE AND DEFILE MANY.

The first three words "See to it" suggest to me that this is something that we as a church should attend to..

Lindsay Rogers was a surgeon with the Yugoslav Partisans during world war 2.

They very quickly learned that it was not enough to save their wounded soldiers. Because the enemy was all around they had to conceal their cottage hospitals up in the forests in half burried cottages down deep tree lined gullies.

The Yugoslavs saw to it that every soldier who had been saved - stayed saved and they were alert to the dangers that were there for the wounded.

As Christians we too have this incredible responsibility to see to it that people do not lose their grace as individuals we are responsible for our own walk with God and our behaviour towards others. Christianity is not a game - our enemy the devil does not use paintballs he uses live amunition and seeks our destruction.

In the passages that follow these words in Hebrews we are warned about some real dangers to our salvation and provided with some wonderful hiding places where we are provided with safe places from all that would rob us of our salvation.

We start off by doing some serious thinking about Grace:- Many many Christians have a very vague and slippery understanding of Grace. Because grace is so foundational to our whole christian life this is a problem.

In Hebrews chapter 12 we are told that we have not come to a mountain that can be touched and that is burning with fire to darkness, gloom and storm - Here the author is referring to the time when Israel came to the mountain in the Desert of Sinai and encountered God in a n awesome experience. in that environment amid a cloud - with thunder and lightening the people of Israel encountered God and in that environment he handed them the law. But here we are told we have not come to that mountain - amazing though that is and just as well too because when you read the subsequent history of israel they continually fail to obey the law in fact they stray far from it. in the end they are almost completely destroyed as God punishes them for their abject failures.

As it says at the end of chapter 12 - "For our God is a consuming fire."

it is only as we understand the terrifying natural results of our failures that we come to appreciate the earnestness contained in the words that say - See to it that no one misses the grace of God -

But says Hebrews we haven’t come to that mountain - we have come to a far more blessed place - we have come to Mount Zion, to the heavenly Jerusalem, the city of the living God. you have come to thousands upon thousands of angels in joyful assembly, to the church of the firstborn, whose names are written in heaven. You have come to Fod, the judge of all men, to the spirits of righteous men made perfect, to Jesus the mediator of a new covenant, and to the sprinkled blod that speaks a better word than the blood of Abel.

Abel was a man who made a sacrifice to God - But Jesus was God who made a sacrifice on our behalf.

Jesus is the mediator - he died for our sins. I am continually amazed to see how many people go back to the mountain that can be touched - although they know about grace they say that in some way they still have to earn their salvation - many times I have people say - I am not good enough for God - but the truth is that is why God sent Jesus because it is by Grace you have been saved by faith. God was in Christ says Paul reconciling the world to himself. When we read in Hebrews "See to it that no-one misses the Grace of God " we are not reading about an encouragement not to miss some optional extra like sugar in your coffee or mushrooms on your stake - this is the steak itself! Without Grace we are completely lost - Mention the word "grace" and what immediately comes to mind for most of us is a bagpipe wailing the solemn notes of "Amazing Grace." But it is much more than that - We need to discover and rediscover what Phillip Yancey says in his book - What’s so amazing about grace and hold on to it with all that we are for it is our life preserver in the torrid secular sea through which we will survive if we but cling to Christ and his cross. it is the starting and finishing point in our relationship with God.

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