I visited Grace Community Church again on Sunday. (Grace Community Church is pastored by John MacArthur). And instead of going to the main service, I attended one of their side ministries that are smaller and thus make it easier to disciple Christians. The name of the ministry is Crossroads and is pastored by Rick Holland, one of the main speakers at Resolved conference (which I expect to attend next year).
I wanted to share the notes I took during this sermon to you, with some additions of my own. I had a completely wrong interpretation of what the main passage meant and it’s true meaning is clear and seared in my mind. The main passage was Hebrews 12:1-3, and I pray you be blessed and informed to live the Christian faith more and more according to Jesus Christ, the perfect measure.
I am very short of being humble or absolutely kind to people, but it should be our goal as 1 Peter 3:8 (ESV) says, “Finally, all of you, have unity of mind, sympathy, brotherly love, a tender heart, and a humble mind.” And it is my goal to show brotherly love to my readers by sharing this absolutely life-changing message. Be blessed.
Uneclipsing the Son: The Introduction – Hebrews 12:1-3
-Appreciating truth does not equal to application of truth in my life.
-Memorizing verses, reading Bible and books by godly people, and even being competent enough to explain to others does not mean that the truth of God is a reality in your life. Something is stopping or hindering you from the full glory of Christ.
-Christianity is worshipping Jesus Christ. The readers of Hebrews had failed to fulfill this.
-The writer of Hebrews knew that his readers were in a spiritual sleep. They were in danger of falling away from the faith. The primary target of this books is sleeping Christians (this does not mean he was advocating the farse of carnal christianity at all, but that is for another entry).
How to begin uneclipsing Christ?
Let’s define eclipse first: to cause an eclipse of; obscure, darken; to reduce in importance or repute; to surpass.
That’s the problem, now the solution.
1) Find the intended inspiration (v.1a).
-It is most essential at this point to look at the preceding context of chapter twelve. Chapter eleven of Hebrews is what is most widely known as “the Christian Hall of Faith.” More than twelve heroes of the faith are examined and exposed to the lethargic Hebrews in this chapter. These people lived by faith and moreover they “did not receive what was promised” (Hebrews 11:39, ESV).
-These Christians are our encouragement and set example for us to follow. This means that we are not to “blaze our own path because the path to live by faith is already paved” (Rick Holland). Turning back to chapter twelve, verse one, it would seem to some that these people are looking down from heaven to us mortals and cheering us on. Not likely. If you would have passed unto glory already and you are faced with the decision of looking at God and sharing the blessings of His glory or cheering mortals, you would choose to spend your eternity absorbing God. Anyway, the point is that this lowers the Bible to supersitition and could lead in a way back to Roman Catholicism’s belief of prayer to the saints for encouragement. So we are clear on this point that these witnesses of chapter eleven are “for us to see, not for them to see us” (Rick Holland).
2) Eliminate every sin and distraction (v.1b).
In order to introduce this point, allow me quote a very respected apologist of our times: “Justification is monergistic but sanctification is synergistic” (Dr. Robert Morey).
What he means by this is that justification is a one-way process. God and God alone saves the individual, for “it depends not on human will or exertion, but on God, who has mercy” (Romans 9:16, ESV). Sanctification, on the other hand, is what produces the evidence that the individual is saved in the first place. It is a two-way process in which God provides the individual with the strength and the faith to put off his old self and strive to holiness; and it is also the individual who is commanded to “consecrate [himself], therefore, and be holy, for I am the LORD your God” (Leviticus 20:7, ESV); and “as he who called you is holy, you also be holy in all your conduct, since it is written, “You shall be holy, for I am holy.”” (1 Peter 1:15-16, ESV). And it is Christ who “began a good work in you [and] will bring it to completion at the day of Jesus Christ” (Philippians 1:6, ESV). As long as we make clear that both justification and sanctification are two completely separate things, we will understand that we are not talking about a works-based salvation here at any point or level, but rather of true saving faith: the evidence that an individual is saved to begin with.
So, we are commanded, now that God has regenerated (revived) us and we have a nature that desires Him, contrary to the past, to dispose of our sin, “put off your old self, which belongs to your former manner of life and is corrupt through deceitful desires” (Ephesians 4:22, ESV). What is the result of putting off our sin and anything that entangles or hinders us? Effectiveness.
Continued in Part 2…