Summary: The target for life for every Christian is to be holy like God the Creator!
Please open your Bibles to Hebrews 12…… As Christians, we have been instructed to fix our eyes on Jesus Christ; We are to consider Jesus Christ in everything, not just for forgiveness of our sins but also for encouragement, for instructions, for worship, for being made holy, and for the future! Let us remind ourselves to always consider Jesus Christ in everything!
God also tells us in Hebrews 12 that we will be disciplined because God loves us and calls us to be changed to be more and more like Jesus Christ. (show diagram)… We are to believe in Jesus Christ as our only Lord and Savior and with that belief we become true children of God; that is Salvation. As we live our lives as Christians, we are disciplined by God because of love; that is Sanctification. Someday, all Christians will be completely saved by God and be taken to heaven; that will be Glorification!
A Christian, just because they are saved by God’s Grace, does not mean they are just to sit around waiting for Glorification to happen! Christians are called to work with God through the living phase of Sanctification! God calls every living Christian (Children of God) to yield to God to be sanctified, to be changed to be more and more like Jesus Christ the Son of God till glorification happens!
Our passage today tells us more of what Christians are to be doing as they live their lives being sanctified; read along with me Hebrews 12:12-17….
v12a: “Therefore” is a hinge word for truth and actions!
Christians are being changed with discipline (sanctified) to be more and more like Jesus Christ!
v12…………. How would you strengthen your physical arms and hands?? – you move them regularly – exercise them!!
And in general, what do we use our arms and hands for?? – for reaching and holding
If God is talking about the Christian’s Spiritual life, and we are to fix our eyes on Jesus Christ, Christians are to build up (strengthen) by reaching out and holding on to Jesus Christ!
How do we reach out and hold on to Jesus Christ?? – praying and grasping God’s Words!
Like physical exercise, Christians are to regularly pray and grasp God’s Word!
Look at v13 again ……..
How do we make “level” physical paths for our feet?? – you plan and clear obstacles that can get in the way of where you are going!
v13a: Christians are to plan for the spiritual destination and clear any obstacles in the way!!
Let’s explore this more in our applications later, but note what happens when the right spiritual destination and the path is clear…..
v13b: When Christians plan their spiritual destination and clear the obstacles in the way, others will follow!
Look again at v14…..
What’s the opposite of peace?? – war or discomfort
v14a: Christians are not to create situations of discomfort or conflicts to others!
v14b: Christians are to always pursue holiness in the sight of God and people!
v15a……… What does this mean?
Along with actions and attitudes, Christians are to share about Jesus Christ!
God knows Christians can be bitter about someone but this bitterness should always be in check; bitterness must not be allowed to grow that it causes trouble or cause one to sin.
Now v16-17 can have many translations, as some of your Bibles other than the NIV indicate. How should we understand it? First of all,
v16a: The church is responsible for keeping Christians away from sins, of course the individual Christian is accountable!
v16: In context, the sins are associated with Esau! There are 2 main sins that Esau committed; what were they??
1. gave his birthright away just for something to eat
2. married a Canaanite (a pagan foreigner which God objected to!)
And so, no matter how we interpret this passage, the bottom line is this:
Christians are not to be like Esau who gave in to his lusts and disobeyed God’s instructions!
Now, since every person sins like Esau, isn’t v17 awesome news!
v17: Giving in to selfish lusts and disobeying God’s Word will have consequences but repentance brings back blessings!
Let’s highlight applications for our lives today:
1. Consider Jesus in everything, pray, and grasp God’s Word daily!
2. Our target in life is God who is Holy and all obstacles in the way must be cleared away!
How committed are we to this? Is the target in our personal life our Holy Creator God or something else? What are we truly living for?
3. Watch out for being bitter with someone! Pray and give it to God!
4. Watch out for selfish lusts and we are to teach one another God’s instructions!
Let’s take a moment to quietly pray about these things; what are we truly living for? what obstacles to holiness do we need to get rid of?? We need to think and pray about these things everyday!