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UNSHAKEABLE: UNRESTRAINED PURSUIT Danny Davis November 17, 2013 (ME) Good morning Odessa First!

I am Pastor Danny I am the Senior Pastor. I am thankful you have chosen to be with us this morning to worship our risen savior Jesus Christ. Over the last few weeks we have been studying the Book of Hebrews chapter 12 and learning about an UNSHAKEABLE Kingdom. Vv. 1-4: An Unstoppable Momentum given to us when we put our faith in Christ. We are encouraged and cheered on to run the race and finish well when we enter into Gods rest. Vv. 5-13: An Unconditional Love of God the Father helps us to run the race set before us through His discipline. God the Father brings correction to those He loves so that we can be fit for the race. His discipline is proof of our being His son or daughter. (TRANSITION) Today we are going to look at vv. 14-17 and hopefully discover that God has called us to an UNRESTRAINED PURSUIT. (YOU) All of us have something we pursue. I know at this time of year many people in this part of the USA are pursuing that TROPHY BUCK. Others are pursuing a variety of things: fame, stardom, career, a wife, a husband, a date these are first world issues. This morning in other parts of the USA and the world there are those who are simply pursuing a meal or a drink of water. But what does God ask us to pursue? Paul tells us in 1 & 2 Timothy to pursue righteousness, godliness, faith, endurance, love, gentleness, and more. Peter tells us to turn away from evil and pursue peace (1 Peter 3:11) The writer of Hebrews reminds those reading these words for the first time and to us that we are to PURSUE PEACE and HOLINESS.

Lets Read Hebrews 12:14-17 together (bulletin insert) (GOD) In Hebrews 12:5-13 we learned that God disciplines those who He loves. But why? Why does God bring things into our lives that cause us discomfort or pain or joy and victory? In Hebrews 12:12-13 the writer tells us what the purpose of Gods discipline isto strengthen weak knees make level paths for your feet so that the lame may not be disabled but healed. In other words God brings correction into our lives to make us strong. But why must we be strong? 1st we need to be strong so we can fulfill Hebrews 12:1 run with perseverance the race marked out for us 2nd God makes us strong so that we can have an UNRESTRAINED PURSUIT of PEACE & HOLINESS. Make every effort to live in peace with everyone and to be holy; without holiness no one will see the Lord. (Heb 12:14) Some of you may have other versions of the Bible. Your Bible might start this verse with: Pursue (NKJV & NASB) Follow after (KJV) Strive (ESV) These are interpretations of the Greek word dik. Basically this word, as it is used in Hebrews 12, means to go after something or someone intending to catch it/themto reach after a goal. The writer of Hebrews is telling us that God, through His correcting love, makes us fit for the purpose of pursuing after: PEACE with all men And to be HOLY (separated unto God for His purposes) But why does God want us to have PEACE with all men? 1. Gods UNSHAKEABLE KINGDOM is first and foremost a kingdom of peace. a. Jesus is the prince of peace (Isaiah 9:6) b. Jesus died to make it possible for us to have peace with God (Rom 5:1; Eph 2:1317) WITH GOD c. Christ taught us that peacemakers would be blessed (Mat 5:9)

On one hand we have peace with God because of Christ. But what about peace with man? Paul, a onetime persecutor of Christians who found peace with God through salvation in Christ, tells us that we have to pursue go after peace with men. In Romans 14 he tells us that Gods kingdom is one of peace, joy and righteousness. He goes on to tell us that if we serve God with peace, joy and righteousness we will be PLEASING to God AND RECEIVE THE APPROVAL OF HUMANS. So he tells us in Romans 14:19 Let us therefore make every effort to do what leads to peace and to mutual edification. So if God wants us to PURSUE PEACE how do we do it? 1. Find peace with God Proverbs 16:7 says, When a mans ways please the Lord, He makes even his enemies to be at peace with him. a. Ultimately, as we have said, peace with God only comes through a relationship with Christ. 2. Let the PEACE OF GOD RULE YOUR HEARTS (Col 3:15) a. Paul told the Church at Thessalonica, Now may the Lord of peace himself give you peace at all times and in every way. (2 Thess 3:16) b. How does God do this how does He give you peace? Lets assume first that you have peace with God through faith in Christ. That said, God imparts peace in several wayslets mention 2 Through His Word Great peace have those who love your law, and nothing can make them stumble (Ps 119:165) Through Prayer - Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. 7 And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. (Philippians 4:6-7)

Through these means God puts peace in our hearts. Why? So that we can then have PEACE WITH ALL MEN. If you are not at peace with God and with yourself it will be difficult to have peace with others. BUT if you are letting God RULE IN YOUR HEART then we are EMPOWERED TO BE AT PEACE WITH ALL MENwhich means we have to do those things that make for peace Let us therefore make every effort to do what leads to peace and to mutual edification. (Romans 14:19)

Do those words sound familiar? Yes! Hebrews 12:14 But this brings up an even bigger question. What are the things that make peaceI am glad you asked Lets read 1 Peter 3:8-11 (LET me warn this is going to hurt!) 8 Finally, all of you, be like-minded, be sympathetic, love one another, be compassionate and humble. 9 Do not repay evil with evil or insult with insult. On the contrary, repay evil with blessing, because to this you were called so that you may inherit a blessing. 10 For, Whoever would love life and see good days must keep their tongue from evil and their lips from deceitful speech. 11 They must turn from evil and do good; they must seek peace and pursue it. Here is the good news! When we have peace with God IT IS POSSIBLE TO HAVE PEACE WITH ALL MEN (AND WOMEN) (TRANSITION) But not only do we pursue PEACE we also go after HOLINESS. Make every effort to live in peace with all men and to be holy; without holiness no one will see the Lord. The Scriptures teach us that when we put our faith in Christ we become HOLY. That is, God, through our faith in His Son, declares us righteous and ready for His work. Though we are declared holy we have to learn to live out that holiness. In other words, we pursue a life that becomes more and more like the life of Christ. GOOD NEWS! We are empowered by the Holy Spirit to accomplish this it is not impossible it just takes a long time. But the Scriptures also teach us there are some things we should do in our pursuit of holiness 1. Holiness comes through our faith in Christ 2. Holiness is possible as we allow the Holy Spirit to work in us convicting us of sin and drawing us to change (cf. 1 Cor 6:11; 2 Thessalonians 2:13; Titus 3:5) 3. The Gospel of John tells us that Gods Word helps us to be and become holy (sanctified cf. John 17:17, 19) (TRANSITION) In the end, we pursue holiness by putting to death those things that RESTRAIN us from moving forward. We have to learn to recognize the ENTANGLEMENTS that keep us back from an UNRESTRAINED PURSUIT OF PEACE AND HOLINESS. (YOU) Lets read Hebrews 12:15-17

15 See to it that no one falls short of the grace of God and that no bitter root grows up to cause trouble and defile many. 16 See that no one is sexually immoral, or is godless like Esau, who for a single meal sold his inheritance rights as the oldest son. 17 Afterward, as you know, when he wanted to inherit this blessing, he was rejected. Even though he sought the blessing with tears, he could not change what he had done. These passages contain 3 PROGRESSIVE RESTRAINTS that hinder our ability to run the race God has marked out for us.. 1. Missing Gods grace 2. Bitterness 3. Becoming sexually immoral or godless. I call these progressive because I think each one leads to the other. When the writer tells us not to miss the grace of God I dont think it is necessarily about us missing it personally (though that may be the case). Instead there is a sense in this context (peace with all men and holiness) that it is about being SELFISH with Gods grace. IOW: we believe Gods grace covers our sin but not those of others. Because of this we do not extend to them the same grace we trust God gives to us.

I know this sounds strange but I have seen these kinds of people in the church. God is good but only to me and those like me! God forbid they dont look like me, act like me, VOTE LIKE ME, LISTEN TO THE SAME MUSIC I DOOR ARE MUSLIM, OR GAY or DIVORCED So, what happens is this. When these people see God extending grace to those NOT LIKE ME they move toward a path of bitterness. OR someone in the church hurts us emotionally (whether intentional or not) we let that thing fester. We dont follow the graceful path of going to our brother and sister and working it out. Instead, we just let the enemy have control of that hurt that offense and it wraps itself around our heart. Then we become convinced that person DOES NOT DESERVE GODS GRACE. Bitterness takes root in their hearts and CHOKES OUT THE GRACE OF GOD (for themselves and others). Then the REAL PROBLEM STARTS. That seed of bitterness begins to germinate. Gossip Slander Shunning

Cliques LEGALISM When the seed of bitterness takes root among Gods church then Hell has an open door to walk through and bring Confusion Strife Anger And more Then these kinds of people become like ESAU. Somehow they convince themselves that God IS NOT ALL THAT GOOD. After all, I am keeping the rules and the regulations ALL BY MYSELF. Because God is not all that good then He probably wont be able to provide for me So, I will take the grace of God and sell it for the first shiny thing that comes around offering me relief from my bitterness. But the very thing they thought would bring them freedom actually leads to bondage and the loss of relationship with God. Until these kinds of people find a place of repentance then no matter how many tears they cry over their situation it will not change. GOD, HELP US TO NEVER GET TO THIS PLACE! (WE) I hope you and I are on the same page this morning when I say, I WANT TO LIVE IN FREEDOM. Freedom comes as we break off the restraints of: Bitterness Anger Revenge Gossip/slander/lies through repentance and asking the Holy Spirit to TRANSFORM MY MIND. I want to RUN the RACE MARKED OUT FOR ME. But you and I cannot run this race when we are restrained by the weight and sin that hinders (v. 1). Living in PEACE and HOLINESS (FREEDOM) begins with a relationship with Jesus Christ. Either you need to RENEW your relationship or you need to come to Him for the first time.

Either way, we need to ask Jesus Christ to come into our lives and set us free. - - - SALVATION PRAYER