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The Loser’s Limp: Refusing to Run (An Alien Attitude)

Notes & Transcripts

The Loser’s Limp:  Refusing to Run

(An Alien Attitude)

Heb. 12:14-29                                     July 13, 1997

Scripture:  Unison Reading, Exodus 19:10-25, page #117-118, Pew Bible

Introduction:

          Have you ever had loser’s limp?  That’s when you come dragging in looking like you have been hurt as an excuse for not finishing well.  It might satisfy some of the spectators in this race of faith we have been talking about.  But we know the truth about ourselves and this loser’s limp rarely satisfies us.  We know we could have done better.  And so does God.

          Have you ever noticed the loser’s limps by those begging money downtown?  Some may be legitimate, but some aren’t.  There is the bogus wheelchair, the crutch, the dragging foot, the disjointed hand, the sunglasses for the blind.  It takes less effort than work, is an excuse not to work, makes a living of sorts, but it will never win the race.  How would you like to stand before God and explain how you stole money from those who did work because you didn’t want to.  Sure they gave it, but under false pretenses on your part.  Where is the ethics and integrity?

          This race of faith takes ethics and integrity too, and we will also answer to God for that.  Faith takes effort.  Sure it comes from God.  He gives the gift of faith.  But we have to stay on track and run with it.  God’s spiritual warfare army is not for wimps.  It tells us in vv. 12-13 that we must run to win.  We must bolster up our strength, get rid of the stuff that weakens us, and run towards the faith healing of Jesus.  We are all lame.  But woe to us if we have a lame excuse.  I don’t think there are any excuses before God.  These verses tell us we can either compound our sin-sick lameness or have it healed.  We must make haste to the healer rather than hinder ourselves.  Run in faith.  And if you have to crawl, crawl in faith until you can run.  Eccl. 9:11a tells us the race is not to the swift anyway, it is to those who stay on track and persevere.  And it also tells us in the preceding verse that we must do whatever we do with all our might because in the grave where we are going there ain’t nothing to do.

          What hinders us from winning.  The human condition is basically lazy.  We would have someone spoon feed us, clothe us, and pamper our every whim if we could get by with it.  But the problem is everybody else wants the same thing and so there gets to be a balance somewhere because we have to live with each other.  This race of faith is really a cake walk but you’d never know it.  God supplies the cake and all we have to do is walk with it.  There is some effort required.  It starts with an attitude of willingness.  Isn’t that where most battles of faith are fought?  In the mind?  A bad attitude has spoiled many a race.  It is an alien attitude; an attitude that alienates us from God and from each other.  Its an attitude that says, “You can’t make me run if I don’t want to.”  We nurse our loser’s limp and reject spiritual healing.  This is where we start today’s passage in verse 14.

I.       A bad attitude about circumstances.  (vv. 14-17)

Holiness and peace level out the obstructions on this racetrack of faith for        which we are being trained.

Peace and holiness are related.

Holiness is the basis of our peace with God.

Unholiness hinders our ability to experience God’s peace.

Our peace with God is the basis of our peace with men.

We can focus on the race of faith once we have a clear vision of the goal.

A lack of holiness leading to peace hinders our goal.

The goal is to see (be with) God.

Peace and holiness take a faith effort - they are obtained by faith.

It takes vigilance to keep the peace.

It takes vigilance to keep the faith.

Without the effort of faith, we miss the grace of God.

Why?  Because if we don’t live by the grace we received we start missing out on the grace we received.

Holiness with God begins with the holiness of Jesus.

The holiness of Jesus is God’s grace to us by faith.     

Faith is my acceptance of God’s acceptance of me in Jesus (Adrian Rogers).

(Rom. 5:1)

A bad attitude separates us from God’s grace.

A bad attitude is like a bitter root - it is hard to swallow.

It defiles not only the carrier but is carried on to others.

A root lies just below the surface of the ground.

It can spring up at any time and cause trouble.

A bitter root is a bad crop.

Like a patch of Canadian thistles, it defiles much.

The things just below the surface of our lives, if not dealt with fully by the        effort of faith according to God’s grace to us in Jesus, can multiply and     come out eventually to cause trouble in our lives and others.

Our problems take others with us.

We have an example of this in Esau.

Should I refuse to run God’s direction?

Would I discredit my birthright for a single meal?

Would I allow my flesh to take precedence over my spirit?

This is equated with sexual immorality (1Cor. 6:12-17; Deut. 29:18).

Would I discredit my birthright for a single throw in bed?

Would I discredit my birthright (inheritance) in Jesus by harboring bitterness   against God and pursuing sin because of a bad attitude about my   circumstances - my loser’s limp?

Sin tests us.

Esau had a bitter root - like Cain.

Both were rejected.

It didn’t need to be this way. 

He could have remained in God’s grace even if he wasn’t God’s choice.

His bitter root (the Edomite thistles) kept springing up to cause problems for   the Israelites.

Ps 137:7¶  Remember, O LORD, what the Edomites did on the day Jerusalem fell. "Tear it down," they cried, "tear it down to its foundations!"

We must run the race while we have the opportunity.

If we miss the starting lineup can we be sure we will make it to another?

Or will our bitterness increase and our hearts grow harder.

Crocodile tears don’t work with God.

If you are in a bad fix, then offer what is broken before God.

That’s what he wants from you.

Let him mend it according to his ways without becoming angry at God for        having allowed it to break in the first place.

A broken and contrite heart he will not despise (Ps. 51:17).

What in your past hinders your race?

Don’t cherish your well of bitterness but allow God to turn it into a spring of   living water (Jer. 2:13).

Esau cherished his bitterness before God.

Jacob made the best of his situation before God.

He trusted God.

This is how the sons of God are revealed.

II.      A bad attitude about God.  (vv. 18-21)

These next two sections contrast the OT God with the NT God.

The difference is not that God changed, but that Jesus came.

Recall the passage we read in unison from Ex. 19:10-25?

That was the holiness of God that was unapproachable by the common sinner           in the context of God giving the Law at Mt. Sinai.

It was this Law of God that identified man’s sin in contrast with God’s   holiness.

The Law basically condemned man’s sinfulness.

There was nothing that made God intimately approachable by man.

The holiness of God is greatly to be feared by unholy man.

God is still utterly holy and man utterly sinful.

God is still to be feared.

But the difference now is that Jesus has come to be our intercessor,         intermediary, Savior.

Through Jesus, God is approachable (Heb. 10:19-22).

We have not come to a God who is dangerously unapproachable anymore.

But those who harbor a bad attitude about God will think so.

They will use his awesome nature as a loser’s limp to avoid him altogether.

They will grow more and more bitter towards God because of the bitter root    that defiles and the grace of God that they miss.

Recall the parable of the talents?  (Mt. 25:14-30)

Refusing to run puts us under the gun.

They have missed Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith.

They thought God too hard a task master to please, so why try?

Mistake.  They forgot the grace of God in Jesus.

III.    The right attitude about God.  (vv. 22-24)

And this is where the right attitude about God comes in.

We have come to a God, who in his infinite mercy, has made himself       approachable in the name and person of his Son, Jesus.

Look at the contrast from the OT times.

We have come not to Mt. Sinai but to Mt. Zion.

Not to a mountain threatening death but a mountain offering life.

Not to fire, darkness, gloom, storm, and words we cannot bear.

But to thousands of angels in joyful assembly.

We have come to the church of the firstborn, a place of privilege as heirs of      all the riches of God in Jesus whose names have been written down for         eternity.

God is still the judge but see that it says here our spirits have been made          perfect in righteousness, the righteousness of Jesus by his shed blood upon the cross.

We will become glorified as Jesus is.

He will see to it as our mediator.

This is a position that he earned upon the cross.

His blood was not the blood of a sinful man like Abel, even though Abel was   more righteous than Cain (Mt. 23:35).

Abel’s blood was the first blood of man spilled upon the ground.

But Jesus’ blood was the blood of a holy God become a righteous man to         show sinful man the way to a holy God.

The cross was no accident, it was the plan of God (Lk. 9:23).

It was the plan of God to pay for the sins of men upon the cross.

1Cor 1:18  For the message of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing,    but to us who are being saved it is the power of God.

 

Col 1:19  For God was pleased to have all his fullness dwell in him,

20  and through him to reconcile to himself all things, whether things on earth or things in heaven, by making peace through his blood, shed on the cross.

21  Once you were alienated from God and were enemies in your minds because of your evil behavior.

22  But now he has reconciled you by Christ's physical body through death to present you holy in his sight, without blemish and free from accusation--

23  if you continue in your faith, established and firm, not moved from the hope        held out in the gospel.

 

Col 2:13  God made you alive with Christ. He forgave us all our sins,

14  having canceled the written code, with its regulations, that was against us and that stood opposed to us; he took it away, nailing it to the cross.

15  And having disarmed the powers and authorities, he made a public spectacle of them, triumphing over them by the cross.

God’s new covenant with us is ratified with the blood of Jesus.

The idea here is that we should not mess up the plan of God’s grace to us in    Jesus with a bad attitude.

Our attitude should be one of brokenness because of sin and what it cost God to deal with it effectively.

Our attitude should be one of renewed energy to run the race of faith because   of what awaits us in the winners’ circle - the riches of heaven.

If God disciplines us to get us there, it is for our good (Heb. 12:10), and should not make us bitter. 

He wants us to share in his holiness.

Here is some incentive to run the race.

IV.    Attitude adjustment.  (vv. 25-27)

If we refuse all this that God has done, what else is left?

Is God speaking to you?

In these times he may not speak to you in a frightening way from wind, fire      and quake, but from the still small voice of his Holy Spirit.

1Kings 19:11  (Elijah) And he said, Go forth, and stand upon the mount before the LORD. And, behold, the LORD passed by, and a great and strong wind rent the mountains, and brake in pieces the rocks before the LORD; but the LORD was not in the wind: and after the wind an earthquake; but the LORD was not in the earthquake:

12  And after the earthquake a fire; but the LORD was not in the fire: and after the fire a still small voice.

This is all the more reason to listen up.

This is the grace of God for now.

We are in the Age of Grace as God builds his kingdom, the Church, as the        Bride of Christ for his return.

But it is the lull before the storm as the storm of God prepares to hit once        more.

And once (the Tribulation period) will be all it takes.

The “shake-n-bake” test of faith is coming.

Nothing will be left unshaken as God sorts out the false from the true.

What shakes out will fall into hell.

What remains viable will ascend into heaven.

This reminds me of a seed cleaning machine.

If they died when they refused Moses, how much more dangerous to refuse      God who directly appeared to us in Jesus.

Choose this day whom you will serve.

Josh 24:15 ¶ But if serving the LORD seems undesirable to you, then choose for yourselves this day whom you will serve, whether the gods your forefathers served beyond the River, or the gods of the Amorites, in whose land you are living. But as for me and my household, we will serve the LORD."

It is the kingdom of God that cannot be shaken.

Are you a part of the kingdom or will you be removed?

Will you have another chance tomorrow, or the next day, to decide?

Do you need the Tribulation to wake you up?

This attitude adjustment shakedown will harden the hard in their bitterness      against God.

Rev 16:8 ¶ The fourth angel poured out his bowl on the sun, and the sun was given power to scorch people with fire.

9  They were seared by the intense heat and they cursed the name of God, who had control over these plagues, but they refused to repent and glorify him.

10  The fifth angel poured out his bowl on the throne of the beast, and his kingdom was plunged into darkness. Men gnawed their tongues in agony

11  and cursed the God of heaven because of their pains and their sores, but they refused to repent of what they had done.

Repent before it is too late.

A glorified body is not a created thing that can be shaken.

Soften your heart toward God and live.

He is appealing to you now by his grace to you in Jesus to adjust your    attitude from one of bitterness to one of humility.

Deut. 8:1 ¶ Be careful to follow every command I am giving you today, so that you may live and increase and may enter and possess the land that the LORD promised on oath to your forefathers.

2  Remember how the LORD your God led you all the way in the desert these forty years, to humble you and to test you in order to know what was in your heart, whether or not you would keep his commands.

3  He humbled you, causing you to hunger and then feeding you with manna, which neither you nor your fathers had known, to teach you that man does not live on bread alone but on every word that comes from the mouth of the LORD.

4  Your clothes did not wear out and your feet did not swell during these forty years.

5  Know then in your heart that as a man disciplines his son, so the LORD your God disciplines you.

6  Observe the commands of the LORD your God, walking in his ways and revering him.

7  For the LORD your God is bringing you into a good land-- a land with streams and pools of water, with springs flowing in the valleys and hills;

8  a land with wheat and barley, vines and fig trees, pomegranates, olive oil and honey;

9  a land where bread will not be scarce and you will lack nothing; a land where the rocks are iron and you can dig copper out of the hills.

10 ¶ When you have eaten and are satisfied, praise the LORD your God for the good land he has given you.

11  Be careful that you do not forget the LORD your God, failing to observe his commands, his laws and his decrees that I am giving you this day.

12  Otherwise, when you eat and are satisfied, when you build fine houses and settle down,

13  and when your herds and flocks grow large and your silver and gold increase and all you have is multiplied,

14  then your heart will become proud and you will forget the LORD your God, who brought you out of Egypt, out of the land of slavery.

15  He led you through the vast and dreadful desert, that thirsty and waterless land, with its venomous snakes and scorpions. He brought you water out of hard rock.

16  He gave you manna to eat in the desert, something your fathers had never known, to humble and to test you so that in the end it might go well with you.

17  You may say to yourself, "My power and the strength of my hands have produced this wealth for me."

18  But remember the LORD your God, for it is he who gives you the ability to produce wealth, and so confirms his covenant, which he swore to your forefathers, as it is today.

19  If you ever forget the LORD your God and follow other gods and worship and bow down to them, I testify against you today that you will surely be destroyed.

20  Like the nations the LORD destroyed before you, so you will be destroyed for not obeying the LORD your God.

V.      A redeemed attitude.  (vv. 28-29)

The redeemed attitude remains thankful.

The redeemed attitude remains worshipful.

The redeemed attitude remains in awe of God because we have not forgotten    what God is capable of even though we are in the Age of Grace.

God is still a consuming fire.

2Pet 2:4  For if God did not spare angels when they sinned, but sent them to hell, putting them into gloomy dungeons to be held for judgment;

5  if he did not spare the ancient world when he brought the flood on its ungodly people, but protected Noah, a preacher of righteousness, and seven others;

6  if he condemned the cities of Sodom and Gomorrah by burning them to ashes, and made them an example of what is going to happen to the ungodly;

7 ¶ and if he rescued Lot, a righteous man, who was distressed by the filthy lives of lawless men

8  (for that righteous man, living among them day after day, was tormented in his righteous soul by the lawless deeds he saw and heard)--

9  if this is so, then the Lord knows how to rescue godly men from trials and to hold the unrighteous for the day of judgment, while continuing their punishment.

10 ¶ This is especially true of those who follow the corrupt desire of the sinful nature and despise authority.

But for now we have grace.

Let us use it to advantage and fearlessly, since we are receiving a kingdom        that cannot be shaken.

Let us submit fearlessly to God.

Let us trash our loser’s limp and not refuse to run this race of faith.

Let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin (attitude) that so easily      entangles and let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us         (Heb. 12:1).

Let us get rid of any alien attitude we may have and fix our eyes on Jesus.

Timeless Truth:   A redeemed attitude is one of gratitude.  The cross cuts both ways.  Pick it up and run with it.  To refuse God is to refuse grace.


The Loser’s Limp:  Refusing to Run

An Alien Attitude

Heb. 12:14-29                                  July 13, 1997

I.       A bad attitude about circumstances.  (vv. 14-17)

II.      A bad attitude about God.  (vv. 18-21)

III.    The right attitude about God.  (vv. 22-24)

IV.    Attitude adjustment.  (vv. 25-27)

 

 

 

 

 

V.      A redeemed attitude.  (vv. 28-29)

 

 

 

 

Timeless Truth:   A redeemed attitude is one of gratitude.  The cross cuts both ways.  Pick it up and run with it.  To refuse God is to refuse grace.


 

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