Monday, May 28, 2018

2018.05.28 Hopewell @Home ▫ Hebrews 12:12-13

Questions for Littles: What things that hang down are we to strengthen (v12)? What feeble things are we to strengthen? What kind of paths are we to make for our feet (v13)? What will God use this to do for whatever is lame? 
In the sermon this week, we learned how to respond to God’s determined work to make us holy. We do whatever the One who is doing this work says to do. In this case, our Fatherly God commands us to do the difficult and painful.

Strengthen those hands that hang down. Strengthen the feeble knees. Make straight paths for your feet. These are marching orders. Things for us to do. But let us not make the mistake of turning the Christian life into a life of toughing it out because our obedience will make everything better.

We don’t follow these commands because we have been left to train ourselves. We follow these commands because the Lord is training us. This passage isn’t talking about toughing it out. To be sure, there is determination here, but it is a determination that is based upon God’s strength, not ours.

It is not our obedience that makes everything better. Rather, it is God who is producing our obedience by making us better. This is why He chastens us, according to vv3-11. And this is why we obey what He says to do. As v10 tells us, He’s making us holy. As v13 tells us, He’s healing us.

So often, as we struggle, we feel the hanging down, and feebleness, and lameness. If we are looking unto ourselves and considering ourselves, then the command to strengthen and make straight will just plunge us into despair. Yet, so many try that, thinking that they are obeying the commands in vv12-13.

God deliver us from this deadly half-obedience to the instruction in this text! Looking unto Jesus, strengthen and make straight. Considering Him who endured the hostility, strengthen and make straight!

But let us not miss that this passage also cuts the other way. There are many who say, I’m not going to work at holiness, because… I’m looking unto Jesus. Or, I’m not going to make a straight path of obedience to follow, because… I’m considering Him who endured the hostility.

This passage just doesn’t allow us to think like that. Those who look unto Him, and consider Him, are looking unto and considering the One who both is working in us, and also commands us to work.
Which mistake do you find yourself more likely to make: looking unto yourself for strength, as you follow Scripture instruction for life? Or excusing a laziness about the Christian life by dressing that laziness up by telling yourself that you are looking to Jesus?
Suggested Songs: ARP130 “Lord, From the Depths to You I Cried” or HB275 “Amazing Grace”

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