Questions for Littles: What are we to pursue with all people (v14)? What will we not see the Lord without? In what manner are we to be looking (v15)? What are we watching that people would fall short of? What might spring up and cause trouble? Who would become defiled? What kind of person was Esau (v16)? How did he show that he was profane? What did he want afterward (v17)? How did he seek this and with what?In this week’s sermon text, we learned that we respond to the Lord’s work in our lives by putting forth effort of our own. Work out your own salvation with fear and trembling, for it is God who works in you, both to will and to work, according to His good pleasure (Phil 2:12-13). Here, in the second half of our sermon passage, we discover what that work looks like.
First, it looks like pursuing peace with all. This is accomplished by loving our neighbor as ourselves and loving one another as Christ has loved us. Of course, love does no wrong to its neighbor, so what does love do? It fulfills the law.
We obey this instruction to pursue peace with all when we honor those in authority over us; and, refuse to murder even in our hearts; and, refuse to indulge fleshly appetites outside their God-given proper place in our lives; and, refuse to steal; and, refuse to bend words to our advantage; and, refuse to covet. It is by this discipline of heart and mouth and hand that we pursue peace with all.
Of course, it’s not just with men that we need peace. So, we must pursue that holiness without which no one will see the Lord. We must treat Him as holy, as we live always before His face. We must treat His worship as holy, worshiping only in the way that He has commanded. We must treat His name as holy, neither speaking it nor bearing it lightly. We must treat His day as holy, taking up the whole of the day in worship, and those duties of necessity and mercy that enable us to worship.
How intensely should we be following God’s law? “Looking carefully”—overseeing ourselves. It’s a verb form of the word for “overseer” or “bishop” or “ruler.” Rule yourself in godliness, dear Christian!
If we don’t live this way, then it isn’t the root of holiness and happiness that we are putting down, but rather the root of bitterness. And God save us from putting that root down! Esau didn’t think ahead; he lived in the moment; he just satisfied his desire. But oh the bitterness that he reaped! When it came time to lose that blessing that he wanted to inherit, he wept bitterly trying to get his father to change his mind!
How very many sins there are that look enticing in the moment, but great is the bitterness that is suffered by the one who commits them! But we are not moving toward bitterness. Rather, we are moving toward blessedness, and the Lord is producing in us the peaceful fruit of righteousness!
What place does God’s law have in your life? When do you read it? How do you follow it?Suggested Songs: ARP73C “Yet Constantly I Am with You” or HB303 “Be Thou My Vision”