When I was a teenager, one of my best friends had a really nice car.
I would ride with him almost anywhere and everywhere.
He literally had neon lights under his car that lit up the ground as he drove.
He had subs in his trunk, and would buy these baas CD’s where the songs literally just said, “Baas, Baas, Baas”
I never wanted to ride in the back because I felt like I couldn’t breathe when the songs were on.
But this friend, as cool as his car was to a 17-year-old, had the most curious habit when it rained.
He would almost never use his windshield wipers.
Some of you, as soon as it sprinkles, you put your wipers on hyper-speed.
Not this guy.
He would wait as long as humanly possible before he would use them.
I mean, he’d wait until you seriously couldn’t see in front of you…and then, he push the lever up one time, so it would just go once….
…and then he’d wait another 2 minutes and do it again.
He must have thought it would make his car look uncool to have the wipers on…I’m not sure.
I was thinking a lot of his use of his windshield wipers as I was studying our passage in the Bible this week…
…let me explain why after we read it
(Bible – Weekly Verses)
We are in week 3 of our Endurance Series where we are spending 4 weeks looking at Hebrews chapter 12
(Hebrews 12:14-17) – NIV
14 Make every effort to live in peace with everyone and to be holy; without holiness no one will see the Lord. 15 See to it that no one falls short of the grace of God and that no bitter root grows up to cause trouble and defile many. 16 See that no one is sexually immoral, or is godless like Esau, who for a single meal sold his inheritance rights as the oldest son. 17 Afterward, as you know, when he wanted to inherit this blessing, he was rejected. Even though he sought the blessing with tears, he could not change what he had done.
The writer starts by saying, make every effort to live in peace with everyone.
That sounds like a good verse for October of 2020.
The Bible never ceases to be perfectly relevant to society J
But, read correctly, there are actually two things we are supposed to make “every effort” to do, and the second of these is to be holy.
Now, holy is an important word in the Bible.
God is holy.
That is…He is sacred, set apart, pure, unpolluted by sin.
That’s the sense of the word
And Christians are to aim to be the same.
Peter explains this really well in 1 Peter:
(1 Peter 1:14-16) – NIV
14 As obedient children, do not conform to the evil desires you had when you lived in ignorance. 15 But just as he who called you is holy, so be holy in all you do; 16 for it is written: “Be holy, because I am holy.”
Our goal is to look like God, to be holy like Him.
Of course we will fall lightyears short…but that doesn’t change our aim.
And this is not some random part of your faith.
It’s a major part of what it means to actually live as a Christian.
Despite what some may try and tell you, Christianity is not something you just consume privately for yourself, and then live out in your own mind and space.
No, you walk it out with God and others, and in front of a watching world.
And as Charles Spurgeon once said,
“Unholy Christians are the plague of the church.” – Charles Spurgeon
The world is watching us
And if we claim Christ, but look nothing like Him…we are a plague to what God is trying to accomplish through His church.
No, we’re told to make every effort to be holy
In fact, “make every effort” is just 1 word in the original language, Greek.
And the idea behind the word is that you are to pursue something.
You’re making every effort to the point that you’re chasing after it.
I don’t know if I’ve ever quoted Spurgeon twice in one minute before, but I’m going to right now J
“You will never gain holiness by standing still. Nobody ever grew holy without agonizing to be holy. Sin will grow without sowing, but holiness needs cultivation. Follow it; it will not run after you. You must pursue it with determination, with eagerness, with perseverance, as a hunter pursues its prey.” - Charles Spurgeon
I heard pastor and author, J.D. Greear say once, “Growing in holiness is an uphill climb. It’s like riding a bike. If you quit peddling, you go backwards”
We have to work to pursue looking like God
But don’t work so hard that you push God out of the process.
We have to be careful that we pursue this Biblically
Many, many Christians miss this.
They try and strive with all their might to rid sin out of their life
They try and white knuckle their way out of addiction
Or try harder than before to “be good”
That’s not the teaching of the New Testament.
The Bible teaches that holiness is a joint venture between us and God.
Let me go back to my friend and his odd windshield wiper habit
Let’s turn it into a metaphor
Let’s say the rain represents sin.
It’s a good example because sin is everywhere in our lives, and it’s hard to get rid of…it just keeps coming.
Like the raindrops on your windshield on a rainy day
But your windshield wipers allow you to be more holy
…they are removing sin from your life.
Now, notice a couple of things.
You are not your windshield wipers
Just as you don’t really have power on your own to remove sin.
I encourage you to read Romans chapter 8 on this today.
It is the Holy Spirit (God) in your life that gives you the strength to both remove sin AND to desire it less.
You cannot do that on your own.
BUT, holiness is a joint-venture between you and God.
But the Bible still calls you to pursue it, to run after it.
You must seek it.
You must desire to turn the wipers on, but the wipers do the actual work of wiping the rain away.
Look at the second part of verse 14.
(Hebrews 12:14b) – NIV
without holiness no one will see the Lord.
This is the most important part of our passage today.
It’s the cornerstone thought of our 4 verses.
If you continually let sin in your life and do nothing about it…you will not see the Lord.
Unfortunately, this is SO popular in our culture right now.
I see this with celebrities who claim the name of Christ
They love when Paul says we are saved by grace, but skip the part 2 chapters later where he tells us to be holy and rid ourselves of sexual immorality.
If you continue to let yourself watch shows that cause you to lust, or view pornography… (and do nothing about it)
If you continue to let anger rule your life and spill out all over your family…but you’re doing nothing to change it…
And, I’m not talking about messing up, we all mess up.
I’m not talking about people who turn the wipers on but then it rains again…
No, this passage is talking about Christians who just continue to let it rain and do nothing about it.
They’re “okay” with sin
They continue to abuse prescription drugs even though it’s ruining their family and friends…
They’re continuing to cheat or lie at work to try and get ahead
This passage is telling you that without holiness, you will not see the Lord.
It’s telling you that if you’re just like the rest of the world, then the world is all you will see.
It’s telling you that you oughta to hate sin. Hate it.
It’s telling you that if you don’t turn on the wipers and start jointly working with God to wipe sin out of your life, you will NEVER clearly see or experience God in your life.
Some of you feel like your faith has been in “blah” mode for the last few years, a decade even…
And honestly, for many of you in that situation, this is exactly why.
Your vision of God is clouded by the raindrops on your windshield.
You’ve given sin a key to your apartment, and let it move right in to your daily life.
And because you are not pursuing holiness, you can not see the Lord…
You don’t feel Him, you don’t experience Him, you feel like you don’t even know Him anymore.
And many people live like this…right up until they crash
And their lives fall apart…because there were so many raindrops on their windshield….that they couldn’t see anymore.
Or others, are like my friend, and they wait until the last possible moment, call on God, turn the wipers on once..
…but then go right back to being okay with “sin” again
This is also a reason why the American church is so lukewarm
I’ve read a couple of books on some famous revivals from history this year, and let me tell you, one hallmark of every single revival is: Repentance and Holiness.
God isn’t going to bring revival to the American Church if all we preaching is 7 ways to balance your life and 8 ways to keep right on sinning.
A TERRIBLE TEMPORARY TRADE
This is not the way that God wants you to live, and it’s not the way you’ll experience real life.
If you would let God begin to help you wipe away the mess in your life, you would see Him…and you would see Him more clearly.
That’s a promise from the Bible!
And you would realize that seeing clearly, and seeing His beauty, is way better than any thrill of letting the rain pile on.
You’ll see Him
His love for you.
His grace and forgiveness of you.
His guiding hand and movement in your life.
Did you know that Jesus promises you this exact same thing?
(Matthew 5:8) – NIV
Blessed are the pure in heart,
for they will see God.
My friend, pursuing the temporary pleasures and advances of the world might seem like a better move than pursuing holiness, but I assure you, it is not.
Listen to me, it is a terrible trade.
Look again at verse 16 in our passage
(Hebrews 12:16) – NIV
See that no one is sexually immoral, or is godless like Esau, who for a single meal sold his inheritance rights as the oldest son.
We’re told, don’t be godless like Esau was…(that’s Esau from the book of Genesis in the OT)
Well how was Esau godless?
Esau could have been the patriarch (the head) of the people of Israel,
So much so that his future bloodline would have in included Jesus himself.
But one day, after a day of hunting, Esau was so hungry that he traded his inheritance to his younger brother Jacob for a bowl of soup.
His belly was filled for a moment, but now for thousands of years we worship the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob instead of the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Esau.
What a tragedy for Esau.
If only he could have waited for supper, if only he could had endured discomfort for a little longer.
The blessings that he would have inherited would have been uncountable, perpetual, and completely satisfying.
Instead of only temporary
And Hebrews is warning you to not make the same awful trade as Esau
The blessing of walking in God’s ways is infinitely better than whatever “bowl of soup” the world is promising right now will fulfill your current cravings.
It’s a bowl of soup! God has better for you!
THE INHERITANCE OF HERE AND NOW
And the blessing of an inheritance that God has for you, it’s not just for your life after death…it’s for right now…in the present!
Too many Christians are missing out on seeing God’s face right here and now.
We’ve traded in the rush of seeing God’s face…for the dull numbing of scrolling through social media for 90 minutes a day…and getting angry at everyone status we read
We’ve traded in the excitement of having God Almighty speak to our hearts in worship, for another night sinning through our eyes, while we watch TV, and let into our living room, people who say and do things you would never be caught watching say and do in real life.
It’s not holiness!
And it certainly won’t fill you up!
It’s a bowl of soup.
Do you ever stop and say to one another, “Ahhh, the way Netflix fills my soul is so glorious! It just brings me this peace and calm and deep joy, in a way NOTHING can!” – Said no one ever
There has to be more to life than just entertaining ourselves to death.
There has to be more to life than just feeling something good in your body.
Surely you are more than just a body.
Don’t sell away your inheritance with God for something that will leave you feeling hungry again the next day.
Jesus tells you that He brings you living water, so that you will never have to thirst again!
What sin do you need to get out of your life?
Where do you need to cry out to God today and say, “Lord, help me get this out! Help me turn on the wipers again! I want to see you again!”
Without holiness, no one will see God
YOUR FUTURE INHERITANCE
And the same promise is true for your eternal future
Look at verse 17
(Hebrews 12:17) – NIV
17 Afterward, as you know, when he wanted to inherit this blessing, he was rejected. Even though he sought the blessing with tears, he could not change what he had done.
Esau made his terrible decision to sell his birthright for a pot of stew earlier in his life.
We don’t know exactly how long it was until his father made the decision final.
But eventually, Esau had to experience the consequence of his choice.
And he could not change what he had done.
It was too late.
And the same is true for every person here.
Eventually, we will all die, and we will meet God face to face.
And the Bible says you will have to “give an account” of your sins.
Can you imagine that?
Giving an account of your sins to a perfect and Holy God?
And the only way, you will be forgiven will be to believe (here on earth!!) that Jesus died for you on the cross.
For if you believe Jesus died for you, the Bible tells us that Jesus will have taken the punishment for those sins, and God will declare you not guilty.
God will look at you, but instead of seeing you, will see His Holy Son Jesus covering you.
Without Holiness, no one will see the Lord.
And we can’t enter the perfect Kingdom of heaven unless we are covered by the Son’s Holiness.
And if you’re not covered, if you don’t become a follower of Jesus, and you choose the rain of sin over holiness, then one day it will be too late.
There are no second chances when you die.
You will be like Esau, soaked with tears, wishing you had made a different choice.
But God will have no choice but to punish your sin, by sending you to hell.
Someone has to pay for our sins…either it’s us, or Jesus.
And as serious as that sounds, know that God’s desire is for you to be saved.
He loves you so much that He sent his own SON to die for you.
Will you let Him save you?
Will you choose Jesus over your own desires?
Don’t say, “But if I surrender my life to Jesus, then I’ll have to give up….this belief, or this lifestyle, or this practice”
No, you will gain infinitely more than you will lose.
Choose Jesus today.
In fact, if you’re ready to choose Jesus for the first time today, I want to give you an opportunity to do that right now.
If you’ve never told Jesus before that you believe He died for you, and you want to become one of His followers, you can do that right now.
Let’s just have everybody bow their heads and close their eyes…for just a minute.
If you want to make that decision to believe that Jesus died for you, and let Him into your life…to be forgiven … in a minute…I’m actually going to ask you to respond by quietly standing up right where you are.
It’s a symbolic way to say to God, “God, I’m choosing you. Turning my life over to you.”
This is how you can be forgiven, go to heaven, and have a relationship with God…it’s by making this decision.
NO ONE will be looking at you…no one (don’t even think about that!). This is about you and God.
But I will tell you, you’re NOT making a decision, to just accept forgiveness and then go on with your life as normal.
This is an act of surrender.
So wherever you are, if I’m talking to you and you’ve never done this before.. and you’d like to become a follower of Jesus Christ, to enter into a relationship with Him for the first time, and accept his gift of forgiveness, I want you to stand up wherever you are. (you can stay standing for a minute as others join you)
You can stand in the cafeteria to. God sees you.
If God is nudging your heart in this…that means He’s talking to you. That means…it’s TIME.
If God himself is prompting you to do something right now, don’t disobey that.
Stand up. God is talking to you!
Copyright: David Sorn
Renovation Church in Blaine, MN
You may use this material all you like! We only ask that you do not charge a fee and that you quote the source and not say it is your own.