Terry began by speaking about his own book, Spirit-Filled Church, having first made the point that there are also many books in the bookstore here that he recommends that are written by writers outside our movement. Bob Roberts, Ed Stetzer, and many other names familiar to readers of the blog are represented here.
Terry preached on Hebrews 12 once more. You can download the audio, or read my notes here:
We saw yesterday what it means to get started in the race, and how to get rid of things that tie us down. But in the race we can get weary. Now we are told to consider him. It is a pondering. Keep your eyes on him. Christ genuinely is the answer. Paul said we don’t preach ourselves, but Jesus preached himself all the time “come to me!” He presented himself as the answer. He inspires robust faith. Terry spoke about an old Chinese believer he once met who had suffered prison, but said, “nothing compares to the cross.”
Don’t forget the word that addresses you as sons. God sent Jesus to demonstrate what sonship looks like to us, and to bring many sons to glory. He is looking for many people like Jesus. He will shape them, mould them, grow them. We are not just sinners who found our way to heaven, we are sons of God!
He is working for our holiness. God is looking to bring us through. When we feel pressure it is not because he has lost us from his gaze, it is proof that we belong. The true believer knows that God has his hand on him, that he is taking him through trials. It is evidence of God’s love for us.
When the eagle stirs the nest she is very focused and has a goal. She wants her young to fly. It is proof she has ambition for her young. She wants them to catch the breeze. God disciplines his sons, that’s the evidence of his love.
God says Jacob I loved, Esau I hated. But look at his life, does he look like one specially loved? He has to run away from home, sleeps in the open air, falls in love, is given seven years later the wrong one. Esau was rich without the hassles Jacob had. But Jacob knows how to bless Pharaoh. Jacob is put through all sorts of trials. You are to know that God who begun a work in you will complete it. He uses things that happen to us. The Bible teaches us, but experiences also get under our skin and into our inner person.
People might steal stuff. They might steal your reputation, perhaps blog stuff about you things that are not true. People suffer the loss. Disappointment, delay, things we don’t understand. There is something in us that wants to know (see Adam and Eve’s temptation). God lets things happen to you that make no sense at all.
He is doing these things because he loves us like a father. God does it that we might share his holiness. God has set an incredible goal for us. What kind of privilege is that? We can get smug and think we have our doctrine straight. But God keeps on disciplining us so that we continue to grow us. We need shake up experiences that wake us up. He does it to save us from pride. The Bible says of the people of God that he led them through the wilderness to humble them.
King David was anointed, became the darling of Israel through his defeating the enemy, then finds himself hiding in a cave. God cares about us. He wants us on course. It is so that we don’t trust in ourselves but in him who raises from the dead.
Sometimes God breaks us to make us. Brokenness is not everything. But the Bible does say that God will look at the one who is humble and contrite and trembles at his word. Sometimes we have to be softened so we can more sensitively serve those you serve. The psalmist says, “it was good for me that I was afflicted.”
People who suffer don’t automatically become holy. Some of them do, but some of them become bitter. It is only those who are trained by the experience who benefit from it. It is very possible to go through a tough time and not discern. Some people shake off suffering, and didn’t learn a thing. Don’t despise it. Don’t miss the point. Don’t faint. Don’t regard it lightly. Don’t say, “Oh, you don’t love me!” Don’t go down the tube when God starts dealing with you. Don’t allow a root of bitterness to grow up, spoiling many.
God sometimes uses people to humble us. We need to obtain grace. God uses agents in our lives, we mustn’t focus on them. We must ask God what are you teaching me? Don’t let bitterness shape your character. Instead obtain grace. It is the only alternative. There will be waves of difficulty. You either let them pile up and become bitter or obtain grace and let them go.
Jesus learned obedience. How does the perfect one learn? It was through the things he suffered. He learned to be a man, to stand where we stand. He learned from people treating him shamefully. He was perfected through the things that he suffered.
When bad things happen, sometimes even family members mistreat us badly. We must get free of it. I don’t want to keep going over that letter. I want to let it go. We need churches to be free from people who are carrying bitterness. Don’t carry the hurt. Maybe a leader bullied them before, now they respond to the new pastor badly. You can mess up Gods great plan in your church. Let God deal with you as a son so I can share your holiness. Right to the end, Jesus said forgive them. He wants many sons in glory. He wants us all to be like that. Obtain grace. Refuse bitterness. Let God purge it out of your soul.
The word dialogues with you, addresses you, reasons with you. It is saying “come on enter into understanding my son, my daughter, I love you, I am for you!” “God is not getting even, he got even at the cross!” RT Kendall. He never turns against you. God is not trying to loose you. God hasn’t forgotten you. God is in control. He is handling this. God doesn’t want you to be lame. Not godly to just dismiss people. He wants to set you free from the way you are. So that you can be healed. If you are trained by it. Gods goal was to fix it, but if we misinterpret then we will be weaker still. You are the apple of his eye, his workmanship. Learn, humble yourself.
Is there anything in your life where you are touchy? Maybe theres something in you that hurts. You think people are getting at me again, they don’t understand me. Loosen it up. Let God deal with you. Face the pain, don’t have no-go areas.
Pursue peace with all men. It is an active word. Strive for. Make every effort. Afterwards you will understand. What is happening now you may not grasp. But sorrow endures for the night and joy comes in the morning. God is on your case. If you don’t know the discipline of the Lord, it is then that you should be worried! Those whom the Lord loves he disciplines. He is looking after you. Don’t be a grumbler. Walk in freedom. Don’t carry bitterness for another day, leave it here. Obtain grace. Pursue peace. Make straight paths. God wants to engage with you right now.