Let’s turn to Hebrews 12. Last time, my message was that the Christian life should maintain a steady and persistent exertion. In addition, we must do that together. In this part of Hebrews, the writer is telling us to do the Christian life together, never alone. It’s impossible to do it alone. The Christian life has been described as a race, and when you become a believer, you’re in it and you are to give all your effort to cross the finish line.
It is not a race to determine how fast you can run, nor is it a race to compete with others. Rather, it is a race to determine success or failure in reaching the goal. The point of the race is not the one who’s first, but the one who finishes. All with endurance will finish. All with faith in the Lord every day and consistently will finish.
We need to think of the Christian life as a foot race. It’s more like a cross country race. In a cross-country race, you have your ditches, rough feels, hills, steep declines, briars, protruding roots, and obstacles of all kinds. That is a picture of the Christian race.
Also, the race can be described as a marathon race. The Christian life is really a long-distance run, not a sprint. It takes endurance, grit, and toughness to finish well.
Think of it like this: you’re running, and you have been maintaining a good steady pace. All of a sudden, your legs start tightening up, your breathing becomes shallow and fast, your joints begin to ache, your feet begin to blister, cramps begin to pop up in various places, your throat begins to become dry, and you start feeling queasy and light headed. Your body starts telling your mind, “it’s time to drop out, quit, throw in the towel, and sit on the bench.”
Surprisingly, your brethren running with you and the great cloud of witnesses that have gone before you begin to prod you on to finish the race. Suddenly, the spirit of God gives you the strength to keep moving, looking forward to the goal, fixing your eyes on Jesus, and you begin to think, “I must finish no matter how hard it gets. No matter what happens, I must finish.”
Then, the purpose of the race is just to finish the course, but to finish the course well. It is to finish this long-distance race despite hardships, exhaustion, and pain. The Christian life is no easy thing. Part of running the race well is removing those things which will slow you down and hinder you from making good progress.
Along the way, you will learn some really important things, so you can finish well. Usually, you learn those things through the school of discipline when the Heavenly Father steps in and begins to teach you extremely important things. Those things don’t usually come when things are going alright and things are normal. It comes when there’s trouble.
You begin to realize, from Scripture, that God steps in and He disciplines you. He sends trouble to your life. He sends difficulties and hardships into your life that cause exhaustion and pain. However, it’s all for your good. It’s all for His glory. It’s all to mature you. It’s all to make you a stronger runner to finish the race.
On a special note, there are various things that we will need to consider and apply for finishing the race well. The race is also about helping others. It’s about helping others around us to finish. Together, we must overcome the curse of American individualism. We are far too individualistic in America, and we must to stop that.
It’s not about us, but it’s about the glory of God together as we finish the race. Thus, we must overcome together, so we will consider three responsibilities we should be actively engaged in. Before we go there, let’s have a word of prayer:
Father, we come before You in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, and we humble ourselves before You, Lord, for there is no God like You. There’s no other one to be worshipped. You are the only God, and the only way we can come to the Father is through Christ, Our Savior. We thank You for the truth that You’ve revealed to us in Scripture. Lord, make us listeners that want to understand Your word and put it into practice. Lord, cause us to run well and to finish. It’s only by Your strength and by the strength that You’ve given to the body of believers that we can finish. Lord, let us take our responsibilities serious and put them into practice so we can all be moving forward to the gold line knowing, Lord, that we have eternal benefits waiting for us. Those benefits are even available to us. We praise You, Lord, for so great a Salvation you have given to the saints. I pray, Lord, that we would honor You by adorning the Gospel with our life. I pray this in Christ’s name, Amen.
First, we are all responsible to take care of the weak members of the church body. Hebrews 12:12 says:
Therefore, strengthen the hands that are weak and the knees that are feeble.
To strengthen the weak, the exhausted, and the discouraged means that the race we are in may make us weak, it may bring us to the place where we are exhausted, and it may bring us to the place where we even get discouraged. However, when the body is working and taking on the responsibility, we’re not going to let that happen by the power of the Spirit.
Our passage gives us a picture of a runner who has drooping hands and weak wobbly knees. They are on their way to almost becoming paralyzed. Do you ever feel that way in the Christian walk? Do you ever feel like you can’t go another step?
You begin to feel that life’s too heavy, that the circumstances and the pressures are too great, and the responsibilities are too great. For the Christian runner, that could mean you have encountered hard times, maybe even persecutions for the Gospel or living the Holy life, or even the very discipline that comes from God. These can cause you to grow weary and dishearten. This is precisely the place where the body of believers comes into play. Now, how do you think you are to deal with those who have been weakened in the race?
Number one, you have to take notice that they are weakened. The Bible is really saying that there are strong ones and there are weak ones. Sometimes, the weak ones become the strong ones because they learned a lesson and vice versa. However, you always have the strong and the weak in the church. Thus, the strong are looking out for the weak. You’re taking notice of it.
In our text, we have a verbal exhortation that is given in Scripture. You don’t tell them to get out of the race. Actually, the strong runners are to tell the weak runners in the form of a literal command to straighten up. In Hebrews 12:12, the word
is the Greek word we get
from, which means to set up, to make erect drooping hands and relaxed knees, and make right or straight.
We are to help each other tough out the race by God’s good grace. We are to do so by verbal commands. When we’re running alongside somebody, you can’t tell them to stop and get out of the race. Rather, you are helping and encouraging them. When you watch the marathon, those on the sidelines are encouraging. You have a bunch of people cheering, “You can make it! You can keep going!”
In fact, this is an allusion to an Old Testament passage found in Isaiah 35:3-4, which is usually given when there is an indication of a spiritual slowdown amongst God’s people:
Encourage the exhausted and strengthen the feeble. 4Say to those with anxious heart, “Take courage, fear not. Behold, your God will come with vengeance; The recompense of God will come, But He will save you.”
In other words, we’re to remind them to keep going. We are to remind them that God’s discipline is for their good and strength. We’re to remind them by our words and also by our life. Also, the body of believers are to look at the weak and there to do something else. Hebrews 12:13 says:
and make straight paths for your feet, so that the limb which is lame may not be put out of joint, but rather be healed.
literally means wheels that make tract. Again, he’s quoting from and alluding to Isaiah 35:8:
A highway will be there, a roadway, And it will be called the Highway of Holiness. The unclean will not travel on it, But it will be for him who walks that way, And fools will not wander on it.
As believers, we are to walk in such a consistent manner in following the Lord that our path becomes firm and so well-trodden that it leaves groves in the path, so even a fool who is following you can’t stumble or go astray because the groove keeps them where they ought to go. See, that’s what we do, and we are to do that for those who are weaker. In other words, do everything you can to make the race easier, so that they will not turn from running the race and their limbs will not ultimately be put out a joint and disabled.
The goal is that they would be healed and get strong enough in the race to run on their own. Then, they will become the one who begins to encourage others in the race. With the goal to be healed, the body of believers will come alongside of them, help them get stronger, and finish the race. The strong must keep the weak on the straight path and on the right road. Again, he is alluding to the Old Testament passage of Proverbs 4:25-27:
Let your eyes look directly ahead And let your gaze be fixed straight in front of you. 26Watch the path of your feet And all your ways will be established. 27Do not turn to the right nor to the left; Turn your foot from evil.
In other words, make straight tracks for their feet with your feet so they know where they should be going, and don’t stray off to the right or to the left. Significantly, they’re not going to drop out of the race showing that they were never believers in the first place.
Thus, the strong must hold up the drooping hands and the wobbly knees of the weak by their verbal exhortations, their prayers, their acts of mercy, and by their daily example. John Owen suggested:
The lame is those who are retaining ceremonies and worship alongside the teaching of the Gospel.
This running posture is not far into the book of Hebrews. It has been telling us that when you’re running the race and when you’re living the Christian Life, you ought to do it together. Hebrews 3:13 says:
But encourage one another day after day, as long as it is still called “Today,” so that none of you will be hardened by the deceitfulness of sin.
Then Hebrews 6:11-12 says:
And we desire that each one of you show the same diligence so as to realize the full assurance of hope until the end, 12so that you will not be sluggish, but imitators of those who through faith and patience inherit the promises.
Hebrews 10:25 gives another type of exhortation to the believers in running this race:
not forsaking our own assembling together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another; and all the more as you see the day drawing near.
These are simple verbal encouragements that we give to those who are getting sluggish, getting weak, and slowing down in the race. Maybe they are getting sidetracked and their attention is going somewhere else. Maybe a trouble came in that was too heavy, so you come alongside of them.
Sometimes, it’s just verbal encouragement. Of course, it is more than that, but that’s where it starts. Sometimes, in my Christian walk someone comes up and says, “I’m praying for you and I want to encourage you that God is using you. Thank you for the gifts that God is giving you. You’re being faithful to live the Christian life,” and that encourages me.
That’s all we need. I need you and you need me. Sometimes, I’m going to be in the pits. Sometimes, I’m not. Sometimes, you’re going to be in the pits. We have to look at each other, notice our lives, and be involved with each other’s lives, so we can encourage one another.
Sometimes, it may be by way of admonition or even rebuke. Maybe someone gets caught in a sin, and you got to go tell them, “That’s not pleasing to the Lord, or that’s not what God wants you to do.” Most of the time, somebody, who’s a believer, will say, you’re right. That’s all I needed,” and you rescue them.
However, we must have our eyes out there. It’s the responsibility of all of us to look out for those who are weaker than us, who know less than us, and who have only been Christians for a short time and don’t know all the things that they are going to come in contact with. Maybe they never even heard a message on discipline or thought that the Christian Life was going to be a cakewalk.
We have to be careful that they know those things. See, the strong understand those things because they’ve learned them. The strong know by having been disciplined by the Lord several times. Thus, you’re watching out for the weak, for the younger, for those who have their arms starting to sag, their knees get wobbly, and they’re starting to look like they’re going to drop out. Go get them and come alongside of them. That’s our responsibility and we have to take it seriously.
Secondly, we all have a responsibility to pursue two community essentials. The first one is to pursue peace with all men. We are never going to have peace for the sake of giving up essential doctrines or laying aside truth.
Rather, it’s on the non-essential things, and it is always for the sake of the body. People are going to come to the church with different opinions, different ways of thinking, different backgrounds, and different baggage. Therefore, we have to learn how to pursue peace with all men.
Remember, peace is not simply freedom from trouble. First, peace is God-ward, which was already won through the sacrifice and death of Jesus Christ. Because we are at peace with God through Christ, we are to make every effort to maintain peace that has been given to us. Peace means everything which makes a man pursue a man’s highest good.
For the Hebrew, the highest good was that people would obey God. Obedience was the highest good, so I’m pursuing peace for the sake of people being obedient. Therefore, I am to have peace with men because I now have peace with God. I can actually have peace with men because I have peace with God, so there is peace in relationships, and this peace will not come automatically because we come with thoughts of the world in our mind, we come with remaining corruption, and the devil, of course, will always disrupt the life of any group of believers.
He’s always ready to cause dissension and trouble in the body. Therefore, that is why we ought to have peace with great effort in the body, not allowing things to fester where peace is hard to maintain. By the spirit of God, we have been given the peace of God to keep the bond of unity.
Thus, we are all to be contributing to that, so if a weak person comes into a body to get healed, the atmosphere of the strong and corporate unity brings healing and growth that strengthens people. We all have to be watching out for that.
Secondly, in Hebrews 12:14, we’re not only to pursue peace as a community essential, but we’re to pursue holiness:
Pursue peace with all men, and the sanctification without which no one will see the Lord.
We are to pursue holiness, and there are three things that is required for holiness. First, holiness is required for our well-being. Remember, God’s goal, when he disciplines us, is so that we may share in His holiness, which is the goal. He does correct us. He does drive out the sin that is still in us, but only in order that we may be more truly the children that God wants us to be.
Mark this down: God will have you to be holy. God has not called us to uncleanness or impurity. Apostle Paul told us in 1 Thessalonians 4:7:
For God has not called us for the purpose of impurity, but in sanctification.
It means to be set apart to God. In Hebrew, it’s a special word directly connected with the character of God. God is holy, and only holy people are going to want to be in the presence of a holy God. Wickedness cannot survive in the presence of purity and a holy God, so God’s nature demands holiness in the Christian Life.
We have been made holy before God, but now we are to live out that holiness, which means that believers are to be set apart from evil and separated to God by entirely giving up to His service.
Secondly, holiness is effective service. We are going to be disciplined by God, so we turn out to be what God wants us to be in holiness. To be effective in service, you must be living a holy life. In 2 Timothy 2:21, Paul told Timothy:
Therefore, if anyone cleanses himself from these things, he will be a vessel for honor, sanctified, useful to the Master, prepared for every good work.
Holiness is required and necessary for our well-being and for effective service. Specifically, in Hebrews 12:14, holiness is necessary for the assurance of our salvation. In fact, the only safe evidence that we are in Christ is a new life. If you know nothing of holiness, you shouldn’t flatter yourself that you’re a Christian.
Bottom line, it is not those who profess to know Christ who will enter into heaven, but those whose lives are holy. In Hebrews 12:14, it says very clearly:
…the sanctification without which no one will see the Lord.
You can’t see the Lord without holiness. You can’t come into the presence of God without holiness. Thus, strive for peace with everyone. Paul says in Ephesians 1:4:
Just as He chose us in Him before the foundation of the world, that we would be holy and blameless before Him.
When we became Christians, we were not only called to salvation, but we were called to holiness, which is the package. Therefore, we are to be set apart as Christians and are to reflect the attitudes and behaviors consistent with a new relationship with God, in Christ.
In other words, he was telling us to keep pursuing a life that is more and more set apart to God, which reflects more and more being like Christ. We are to be living in the Spirit, not living in the flesh. We are to be living according to the word of God, not the mindset of the world. We are to be living in a way that pleases God, not in a way that just pleases you and other people.
For the Christian Community, we should be a living example of harmony and holiness. That’s our responsibility. We’re to live that way before the world.
Thirdly, we have a responsibility to watch out for the spiritual well-being of the brethren. In this section of Scripture, we’re given three objective clauses that give us warning against various evils that could ruin our faith. Hebrews 12:15 gives the first warning:
See to it that no one comes short of the grace of God…
We begin this life of faith by God’s saving grace and only by His grace. Again, it could be legalism has come in to a certain extent and people are no longer walking in grace but walking by way of works or by way of establishing the righteousness before God. The author is also concerned that none who are running in the race are to fall behind. None are to turn away from the prize that is set before them.
Specifically, the danger is the threat of apostasy, or throwing in the towel from the Lord completely. The warning has been already given in Hebrews several times. In Hebrews 3:12 the writer says:
Take care, brethren, that there not be in any one of you an evil, unbelieving heart that falls away from the living God.
He’s calling the body to watch out for each other. That there would not exist among you someone who is an unbeliever or who remains in unbelief, but someone that we can admonish and challenge with the Gospel, and if possible, rescue them from their unbelief.
That’s a sad state of heart because the Bible says that unbelief is evil. It’s evil because it tends to make the heart evil, and the heart has a tendency, in that condition, to turn away from the Living God as if it’s not important.
They were in danger of turning away from the great, awesome, and the dreadful God, who’s able to punish and avenge their sin for all eternity. Hebrews 12:25 says:
See to it that you do not refuse Him who is speaking. For if those did not escape when they refused him who warned them on earth, much less will we escape who turn away from Him who warns from heaven.
When you have someone like Moses, like the apostles, and this writer of Hebrews warning us about not falling away and making sure that you’re in the faith, and if you refuse to listen to them, then how would you escape if someone tells you from heaven? Specifically, in Hebrews 1, Christ is the final revelation to us, who rescues us from the condemnation of God.
If you don’t listen to Jesus Christ, the Son, and you turn away, how will you escape? There will be no Escape. Our passage is speaking of the disastrous eventuality of cutting oneself off from the grace of God instead of being carried forward by the grace of God, which we should do in the race. Rather, they turn away from it and is being left behind and lost forever.
Of course, we have seen it happen and it does happen. It’s those who maybe receive the word of God, but when trouble and tribulation come in, they are gone. They didn’t think they signed up for that and they don’t fix their eyes on Jesus, His sacrifice, and what He’s done on their behalf.
Not believing Moses, God’s faithful apostle and mediator, is one thing. However, not believing the greater than Moses, the faithful Apostle and High Priest, Jesus Christ, is ruinous. In Hebrews 12, it is addressing the assembly of God’s people in which he cautions them about the sin of apostasy.
Apostasy is a sin where once you have the full knowledge of the Gospel of Jesus Christ, you cast that aside and walk away from it. There’s no return. The Jews, having the full knowledge of the Old Testament and now the full knowledge of the revelation of Jesus Christ, they turn away from that. There’s no salvation.
Thus, we are to watch out that no one falls short and that people understand the truth and the Gospel. As a result, they are able to run the race and finish with everyone else. As a body, we are to watch out for that. Also, we are to watch out and not allow any bitterroot to grow up. Again, Hebrews 12:15 says:
have no root of bitterness springing up causes trouble, and by it many be defiled.
He is quoting this second warning from Deuteronomy 29:18:
so that there will not be among you a man or woman, or family or tribe, whose heart turns away today from the LORD our God, to go and serve the gods of those nations; that there will not be among you a root bearing poisonous fruit and wormwood.
It’s clear from Moses that this root is a person who is inclined toward apostasy and departing from God. He’s warning against a person who really doesn’t care about the truth or the Gospel of Jesus Christ. This was a person in the congregation of Israel, but also in the congregation of the church. He’s saying:
Listen, watch out that no bitterroot grows up.
Usually, a root is something that’s underneath the ground, and you can’t see it yet. As soon as it sprouts up, you can see it, and that’s when you make sure you root it out. This bitterroot refers to people in the church whose heart are turning away from the Gospel, and they turn either to some form of a works-based religious system or idolatry. In this case, it could have been Judaism or some system that you have to work your way to Salvation.
Therefore, they are setting aside the full implications of the cross of Jesus Christ. They are moving away to a sensual life or a life just living for themselves, which of course is idolatry. If somebody lives a life of sensuality, it is a life of idolatry. Paul said in Ephesians 5:5:
For this you know with certainty, that no immoral or impure person or covetous man, who is an idolater, has an inheritance in the kingdom of Christ and God.
Clearly, we need to be aware and be watching out that this does not happen. In Hebrews 12:15, if this root and attitude of bitterness grows up and gets more exposure in the church, it will defile many. That’s how destructive it is, and the implication is that this one embittered, rebellious person, in the midst of the church, can have disastrous effects on the whole community of believers.
This person having left the grace of God develops a certain quality of thinking that poison, contaminates, and causes others to think less and less of Christ, and more of another religious system that is way easier to be involved with than being a Christian. Therefore, they have this attitude where Christ gets lowered and everything else gets higher, so the Bible says these people are defiled.
means those who are made unclean. Remember, a person who was unclean was debarred from approaching God. They can’t even approach God, so this person becomes an influential person. Therefore, causing other people to be unclean and unable to approach God. For this person, they sink back into guilt, sin, and bitterness that scorns Christ, His blood, His righteousness, and His plan of salvation. They even mock it. As a church, we are to watch out and listen, so no one falls short of the grace of God. If this happens, then it destroys everything.
This warning given is not just of the pastors and elders, but to the whole congregation. You’re going to have conversations and notice things that I may never get a chance to notice, and you must identify those things and take care of them for the sake of the whole body. You don’t want the body to get defiled by this person.
Believe me, somebody who’s always grumbling, complaining, and demeaning the Christian life, the things of God, and the word of God are already giving indication that there’s something wrong in their heart. They could be a weak believer, but in this case, it is not a weak believer. This is an unbeliever, who is in the congregation and who understands the difference between the systems of religion and has outright rejected Christ and the Gospel of saving grace through faith in Jesus Christ but is still amongst the believers.
For example, Esau, in the Old Testament, was an immoral and a religious and Godless man. Hebrews 12:16 warns against two appetites and entangling sins that are displayed Esau’s life:
that there be no immoral or godless person like Esau, who sold his own birthright for a single meal.
Some people will argue that the Old Testament didn’t say that Esau’s immoral. However, if you go back in your thinking and in the history of Esau’s life, then you will recall his act of taking too far in women as wives. As the Bible records, it made the life of Isaac and Rebekah, his mom and dad, miserable because he went with these Canaanite women, which were just idolaters and polytheistic.
The Bible does refer to him as immoral in the sense that he did not regard the advice of his parents. Actually, they must have regarded him as immoral. Synonymous with immorality is fornication amongst the people because they were to marry within their tribe, within their nation, not outside their nation, and he didn’t listen to that.
Hebrews is the place that mentions of his character, and immorality is a very entangling sin. When the emotions are engaged, and relationships are engaged, then other things happen from immorality such as children and family connections. It’s very difficult to rescue someone from that. Now, can you be? Yes; the word of God has to transform the heart.
However, he’s saying to watch out that these two appetites of the central passion and immorality doesn’t get into your life or into the life of others. You are to watch out for it and pray for the body. If it does, it’s going to hamstring you. When you hamstring a horse, they’re done.
Secondly, we are to watch out for physical appetites. Again, Hebrews 12:16 says:
that there be no immoral or godless person like Esau, who sold his own birthright for a single meal.
In Genesis 25, Esau comes in from the field after hunting, famished and starving. His brother, Jacob, is making red stew and he says, “Listen, I’m hungry man, so give me something to eat.” Jacob, which means the deceiver, said, “OK. I’ll give you some stew but give me your birthright.” Finally, Esau gives him his birthright.
Thus, his thoughts, aim, and pleasures were only earthbound in which he only had regard for the fleeting and unprofitable gratification of the flesh. That’s the idea of living for myself now, so I have as much pleasure as possible on this earth, which was Esau’s thinking.
Thus, the Bible is saying to stay away from the physical appetites that are only earthbound, that are not profitable for eternal things, and that only gratify your flesh for a short time. It will only give you little pleasure but will never give you eternal happiness. So, Esau gives all that over for the precious privilege of his birthright.
Esau’s birthright was really important. In fact, his birthright included the headship of his family, great property rights, the inheritance of the blessing of Abraham, and being connected to the bloodline of the Messiah. Man, why would you want to give that away? So, what’s on his mind?
On Esau’s mind is food, drink, sports, and sleep. It sounds a little bit like the macho-man of our day, and it even sounds like a commercial. Listen, don’t be like him. For a single meal, he threw away the ancestral ship of the Messiah, and everything that went with that such as great privileges. Esau treated the sacred birthright as a common thing to be used in a trade of another common thing such as one meal.
According to Scripture, once these rights are lost, they cannot be recovered. No matter what effort is put forth. In other words, the moment he showed contempt for his birthright, the consequences of his bad attitude could not be reversed. In fact, that’s exactly what it says in Genesis 25:34:
Thus Esau despised his birthright.
When Esau realized what he did years later, Jacob, his brother, had the blessing of Abraham. When he finally desired to inherit the blessing, he was examined, found wanting, and outright refused.
See, God refused to have him as his heir because his desire was for sensual passions and for physical appetites. That is it. He cared nothing about God, which is why he uses the word godless. He didn’t care about eternal things. Hebrews 12:17 says:
For you know that even afterwards, when he desired to inherit the blessing, he was rejected, for he found no place for repentance, though he sought for it with tears.
In other words, it was too late for Esau. Thus, Esau became the embittered man in Genesis 27 and onward. If some shrink back and return to some religious, works-based religious system, and leaves Christ, it would be impossible to undo the damage. Esau continues as a cautionary example of the impossibility of restoring again to repentance those who have rebelliously sinned against the light. They had revelation of what God was doing and sinned against it. Hebrews 6:6 says:
and then have fallen away, it is impossible to renew them again to repentance, since they again crucify to themselves the Son of God and put Him to open shame.
In other words, they will no longer hold to the essential aspects of the Christian faith. Dropping out of the race altogether places them from all hope of restoration in Salvation. So, the body of believers is called to listen and watch out, so that these kinds of appetites are not the things that you’re pursuing in this race that were in.
Rather, you are pursuing the Lord by a peaceful and a holy consistent walk. Your desires for God are growing greater and your desires for this Holy God is growing greater than any appetite that you can have in this physical body, in this world, or any other system that could be offered to you. You out right reject because you know the truth.
If you know the truth, the truth shall make you free. If you have been around for any time, you have come to see that people sometimes come to the Lord and they’re excited about the things of God, then quit in a short period of time. Their zeal evaporates, they go back, and live as they did. They may have been converted to a group. They may have been going to some kind of church thing and to the likeability of some cool Christians, but they were never converted to Christ.
This is not the attitude of those who are converted to Christ, so this passage of Scripture is giving ample responsibility to the body to seriously watch out for each other, especially since all of these things are real. Satan has a way of employing all his tools in his bag of tricks. So, we’re to be watching out, we’re to be praying, we’re to be diligent, we’re to be holding up the weak, we’re to be watching out, and weeding out the roots of bitterness.
We are to be watching out about our own appetites and desires, so that we would be guided and directed to that which is honoring to the Lord and pleasing to the Lord, which goes along with what a real believer is in Christ. We are transformed by the word of God in the renewing of our minds.
We know what the acceptable and perfect will of God. Together, let’s make sure that this does not happen among us as much as possible and let’s take corporate responsibility seriously. Let’s pray:
Lord, thank You for the word of God. I pray, Lord, in some of the serious things in this passage, that You would make us aware, and bring to our attention those things that we are to be responsible for, especially, Lord, as we mature Christ, as we run the race a little longer than other people, as we realize how You have disciplined us, and how You work suffering, trouble, and different things into our life. Not only to correct us concerning our sin, but to correct us in our wrong thinking and understanding of the things of the Lord. Even in this case of our wrong understanding of the church body, what the church body is to do, and how the church body is to respond to one another, watch out for one another, hold up each other, pray for one another, and encourage each other. I pray that You would help us to be the things that You want us to be mentioned in this passage. Lord, we can be diligent and faithful to You. Lord, enable us to be more aware of it and learned in what were to do in our responsibilities. Then, Lord, enable us, by Your power, to do them. We thank You, Lord, for Your graciousness to us, Your kindness to us, and Your faithfulness to keep us. Hold us up in this race. I pray, Lord, that all of us would learn to finish well and You would encourage others to finish. I pray this all in the precious and great name of our Lord Jesus Christ, Amen.