Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Staying on Course

Heb. 2:1
Concepts of staying on course are simple! Doing it and acting on it can be more difficult!

Last week: Pay attention, hold on (sometimes life is out of control), move on (to maturity), spur on, gather together, draw near.


#1. See to it. Heb. 3:12 Heb. 12:15 Heb. 12:25 (a)
In other translations: take heed, care; look diligently; exercise foresight and be on watch
The phrase IMPLIES: A. ability - you are able to do this
B. responsibility - it is your responsibility to do this. It is NOT the church's, parents', spouse's responsibility to keep you on course!

#2. Remember (recall) - Heb. 10:32-34 - how used to stand when persecuted
Remember..... former decisions, commitment, experiences, His faithfulness, your victories
ALSO failures! Heb. 3:16-4:2 1 Cor. 10:11-13

#3. Be thankful Heb. 12:28-29 - focus brought back to giving thanks.
thankful leads to give thanks leads to "worship - acceptable with reverence and awe!"
Review: 1 Chron. 17:16-17
Add: Heb. 13:15-16 - why worship is so important

#4. Hold to truth. Heb. 13:9 (a) - (give heed, go on to maturity, stand firm) with Eph. 4:14-15
Contrast today's philosophy - "follow your heart"
On one hand, it is not always wrong to follow your heart..... However, Jer. 17:9 - heart is deceitful above all things and desperately wicked.
The answer is to judge the heart with the Word..... then if it's acceptable, follow it!!

#5. Imitate the faithful. Heb. 6:11-12 and Heb. 13:7
Many books have been written "Habits Of A Successful _____" Why???? Imitate someone who is successful to BE successful!!!
This is true of business, sports, health, diet, etc. But of the faith???? Christianity??? Why wouldn't it be true of the faith, of Christianity as well?

#6. Make every effort. Heb. 6:11-12 Heb. 4:11 (a) Heb. 12:14 (a) It is work, takes effort to get it done.
It requires hard work, self discipline, perseverance!!
It's easy to take the right step but how about the right journey??? It takes diligence and perseverance to continue. The Christian life is NOT easy!! 2 Pet. 1:3-7

#7. Bear with these words. Heb. 13:22
They are words of Paul to Hebrew Christians. They are pastoral: based on truth from the heart and for your good!!!
John 8:31-32

Monday, August 16, 2010

How To Prevent Drift?

Series: The Danger of Drifting - Heb. 2:1
Two main dangers: distraction and comfort. These are very common to mankind. That's why they are so dangerous.

So...... how to prevent drift???? Offset the tendency??? Correct the act???

#1. Pay attention. Heb. 2:1
NOTE: knowledge is essential BUT of little value if not heeded!!!

Illustration: in the Book of Deuteronomy, repeated over and over: be careful, pay attention, take heed, watch yourselves, remember, don't forget.

#2. Hold on - this is simple, basic, yet fundamental! Heb. 4:14 Heb. 10:23
Used in scripture as: hold on, hold to, hold fast, hold firmly, lay hold, take hold, keep hold

Compare: The Apostle Peter: 1 Pet. 5:8-9

With a verse on the flyer of a local saint's funeral service:

If the way is kinda gloomy, and the chances kinda slim,
And the situation puzzlin; and the prospects awful grim.
If perplexes keep on risin' 'til all hope is nearly gone.
Just bristle up and grit your teeth and keep on keepin' on!

Remember, you will be more tempted in the good times and in the little nitpicky things that happen.

#3. Move on. On one hand, "hold to what you know". However, you can't stay there!!! Heb. 6:1-3 A 40-year old should not STILL act like a 5 year old.

Illustration: With an alternate view to what this passage is saying, God is slipping away, moving on - while you are standing firmly (and perhaps stubbornly) right where you've ALWAYS been. God's work is a progressive kingdom, and a progressive work.

#4. Spur on. Heb. 10:24
It is an obvious benefit to others, but also an overlooked benefit to SELF!!
ie: when you are more involved in Ministry you are less apt to slip!!
Heb. 3:12-13 - Corporate interaction and responsibility leads to corporate benefits!!!!
NOTE: one early sign of slipping is SELF centered!!

#5. Come together. Heb. 10:25
for: fellowship, encouragement, worship, prayer, AND.... Challenge of the Word and Holy Spirit!!

Question 1: How much of this do you get at the Casino?
Question 2: How often do you seen a Christian slip from church and NOT slip from the truth? (not talking a church. We're talking about the church)
(another early sign of slipping is a withdrawal from fellowship)

#6. Draw near. Heb. 10:19-22 (a) Heb. 4:14-16
If you stay near, you won't drift far!!
If you drift far, you can still draw near!!
Rev. 2:1-5 (a)

These concepts are simple, yet hard to practice, but.......

A Christian never falls asleep in the fire, or in the water, but grows drowsy in the sunshine." Samuel Wilkes, 18th. century Christian.

You don't fall asleep in the fire, you don't fall asleep when the water is coming up over your head, but it is real easy to fall asleep in the sunshine.

Monday, August 9, 2010

Staying the Course

Last sermon - "The Danger of Drifting" - Heb. 2:1
This is the whole message of the book of Hebrews.

So, today - Staying the course. - prevent, correct drifting.

The definition of drifting (slipping): the process of quiet, gradual separating from truth.
The does NOT mean separation from GOD in the strictest sense - Heb. 13:5
Therefore: it is more than intelligent, philosophical, religious, etc. It is a lifestyle drift.
Example: a married couple - together but perhaps distant.

Descriptive observations: (of drifting, slipping)

1. Drifting is a process. It is NOT an event - it is a series of little events

2. It's a slow, subtle, quite, gradual process.

3. It's usually unintentional. (may be unaware until....?) Not done on purpose

4. It's a great danger (to Christians and the Christian walk) - perhaps the most serious danger facing us as Christians. Example: termites and tornadoes. If a tornado wipes out 15 or 20 homes in an area, it's all over the news and widely publicized. BUT, many more homes are lost each year to termites than tornadoes but you will never read about or hear that on the news.

5. It's never neutral. To drift from something means to drift toward something else.
A. you are drawn away (wooed, influenced)
B. fromChrist toward ___________? (ungodly)
You cannot drift neutrally. The something you are drawn to may not be wrong in and of itself, but if it's pulling you away from Christ, something anti-Christ is behind the drawing. Not the Holy Spirit.

6. It's usually reversible. 1 John 1:9

BUT..... DANGER....
7. Drifting away is the start of turning away. Heb. 3:12 - "turns away"
Compare: Rom. 1:21 - they knew the truth Rom.1:25 - they exchanged the truth for a lie, Rom. 1:28 - turning away always follows drifting away. Initially all have a "natural" belief in God. Rom. 1:32 - applaud that which is sin.

8. Drifting is more likely to occur in good times.
Heb. 10:32-26
Great persecution and hardship brings Christians closer to God.
2 Tim. 4:6-7

Think on these things!!