May 5, 2024. Hebrews 12:12-17

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WHAT IS LOST CAN’T BE REGAINED. Hebrews 12:12-17. 5/5/2024. #45.

12 Therefore strengthen the hands which hang down, and the feeble knees, 13 and make straight paths for your feet, so that what is lame may not be dislocated, but rather be healed. 14 Pursue peace with all people, and holiness, without which no one will see the Lord: 15 looking carefully lest anyone fall short of the grace of God; lest any root of bitterness springing up cause trouble, and by this many become defiled; 16 lest there be any fornicator or profane person like Esau, who for one morsel of food sold his birthright. 17 For you know that afterward, when he wanted to inherit the blessing, he was rejected, for he found no place for repentance, though he sought it diligently with tears.

1. A choice to respond

                a. After Hebrews speaks of the chastening (training) of the Lord, he speaks of our response to it

                                a1. Like Israel, God can chasten, but we must respond (Genesis 4:1-7)

                                a2. Training is only effectual with cooperation of the one being trained

                b. Must strengthen what is spiritually weak

                                a1. Strengthen (make straight) limp hand and feeble knees

                                a2. Just as the body can become flabby via lack of exercise, so our spiritual lives can

                                       become feeble through lack of commitment to the Lord (Word, prayer, service)

                c. There are areas where we are spiritually lame

                                a1. May be worldliness, inattention to Lord, laziness, carnality, prayerlessness…

                                a2. If we do not strengthen the weak areas,

                                       we will dislocate them, causing permanent disability

                d. We can change before it is too late

2. The fruit of a spiritual life

                a. Hebrews lists several qualities of a spiritual walk

                                a1. Pursuit of peace with all men

                                                b1. Not agreeing with all men

                                                b2. A gentle non-confrontational spirit

                                a2. Pursuit of holiness (being separate)

                                                b1. Purposeful separation from carnal and worldly pursuits

                                                b2. Separated to the devotion to God and spiritual pursuits (not just a side plate as a part time pursuit)

                                a3. Unless one is separated to God, he is unable to see God

                b. Do not want to fall short of the grace of God

                                a1. God has so many blessings for us, but they come through discipline and obedience

                                a2. Those who ignore spiritual life for worldly life lose forever the blessings of grace

3. No redoes

                a. Heb. warns against a root of bitterness

                                a1. A poisonous root leads to poisonous fruit

                                a2. By taking in the world, the entire tree (you) becomes toxic (bitter fruit)

                b. Rejecting the chastening and way of the Lord ruins us

                                a1. Defiles (pollutes, corrupts, contaminates) us by tainting the holy with the unholy

                                a2. Fornicators = those who are sexually defiled and morally stained

                c. Esau is a prime example

                                a1. Esau was profane (outside the temple) = not meaning “blasphemous”, but not concerned about the things of God

                                a2. Esau’s focus was on hunting, marrying local women, manly prowess…

                                a3. He thought so little of his inheritance that he sold it for a pot of soup and morsel of bread

                d. Esau bitterly tried to regain what he had lost = gone

                                a1. Once we spend our lives in useless pursuit it can’t be regained = lost forever

                                a2. Ecclesiastes 12 bitter regret won’t change choices

                                a3. Wood, hay, and stubble are burned up

                e. Only change that can be made in the present

Key passage: Genesis 4:1-7

1 Now Adam knew Eve his wife, and she conceived and bore Cain, and said, “I have acquired a man from the Lord.” 2 Then she bore again, this time his brother Abel. Now Abel was a keeper of sheep, but Cain was a tiller of the ground. 3 And in the process of time it came to pass that Cain brought an offering of the fruit of the ground to the Lord. 4 Abel also brought of the firstborn of his flock and of their fat. And the Lord respected Abel and his offering, 5 but He did not respect Cain and his offering. And Cain was very angry, and his countenance fell. 6 So the Lord said to Cain, “Why are you angry? And why has your countenance fallen? 7 If you do well, will you not be accepted? And if you do not do well, sin lies at the door. And its desire is for you, but you should rule over it.”