I’ll read a few verses and then we’ll pray. Psalm 95:7-11, 7 “For He is our God, and we are the people of His pasture and the sheep of His hand. Today, if you hear His voice, 8 do not harden your hearts as at Meribah, as on the day at Massa in the wilderness, 9 when yOur Fathers put Me to the test and put Me to the proof, though they had seen My work. 10 For 40 years I loathed that generation and said, ‘They are a people who go astray in their heart, and they have not known My ways.’ 11 Therefore I swore in My wrath, ‘They shall not enter My rest.'” (Psalm 95:7-11)
Father, we surrender before You. We’re all sheep. And Jesus, we are asking that You would speak to us personally and as a church family. We pray, Holy Spirit, that You would bring to remembrance all that Jesus said from the Old TestAment and to the New. We pray that we can have ears to hear, eyes to see, hearts to perceive and understand. We want to meet You, we want to understand and learn Your ways and Your thoughts. Thank You, Lord. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.
I have two messages, and I’m just fighting with which one to bring. Let’s just start with Revelation 17:14, 14 “These will make war with the Lamb, and the Lamb will overcome them, for He is Lord of lords and King of kings; and those who are with Him are called, chosen, and faithful.” (Revelation 17:14)
Those three words, I think, characterize the body of Christ, the soldiers of Christ, children of God. We are chosen, called chosen, and faithful. And because Jesus was fully God, but He became a man, eventually to die and cross a spotless Lamb, a man without sin, He paid for the sins of this world, and through Him we now have access to call God the Father our Abba Father. We have a spirit of adoption, and Jesus has given us a way to access heaven directly.
And so now, through Jesus and what He did for us on the cross by dying, by being buried, by raising from the dead, we are now called, chosen, and faithful. And to be called is just the first summoning of the Lord, a summoning to salvation. That is the first step. And I can guarantee that anybody who is here today, anybody who hears my voice, you are called by the Lord to be saved, without a doubt. It is no accident you are here and you are hearing the direct call from heaven to be saved. You are called.
And there’s a parable of the wedding feast in Matthew 22, and the invitation goes out, the call goes out, the summoning goes out. And God the Father is telling the world, why don’t you come to My wedding feast? And Jesus is the bridegroom, and why don’t you put on proper attire and show up to the wedding feast as the bride of the bridegroom? Why don’t you get to know Him? Why don’t you love Him? Why don’t you celebrate who He is and what He’s done for you for all eternity? And the invitation goes out, and that is the first step.
But many, it says, are called. Many in this world are called in every generation. But it says, few are chosen. And so out of the many that are called to be saved, which is the vast majority of this world, only a few are chosen. And the word for chosen is the elect. There are many excuses given in Matthew 22, the parable of the wedding feast, when the invitation goes out. People are too busy. People give excuses for why they don’t show up to this wedding feast. It’s a great invitation. Many are called. Many are invited. But only a few actually go through the trouble of putting on a proper dress, a suit and tie, and travel the distance and set aside all of this, clear out their schedule to show up to the wedding feast. And Jesus says, only a few are chosen. Only a few are the elect. So anytime you see the word elect in the Bible, it is a subset of the people who are called. Many are called, but only a few are elected. Only a few are chosen. Because you chose to respond to that call of God. And you chose to put your life in Jesus’s hands. And you chose to follow Him. And you say, I want to follow and be married to Jesus Christ. He is a lover of my soul. And I want to spend all of eternity with Him. Only out of the many who are called, only the few who respond and say, I too want to respond to this call. I choose to be saved by putting my full faith in Jesus Christ. And those are considered God’s elect.
And it doesn’t even stop there. Because maybe you heard the word of God at one point. And then from that point until now, we are preparing ourselves to meet the Lord Jesus. Every time we gather on a Sunday, we are one week closer to the return of Christ. And we are preparing ourselves to meet Jesus. But it doesn’t stop there. From there, Jesus says, the ones who are with me are not only called, not only chosen, not only the elect, but they are also faithful. And a faithful is like described in Matthew 24:45, “Who then is a faithful and a wise servant, whom His master made ruler over his household to give them food in due season?”
It is not up to us to decide what we are going to do with our lives. If you understand what Christian life is and the baptism that all of us who profess Christ went through, we died with Christ. And so whatever plans, whatever hopes, whatever dreams you had in this life, it died in that moment when you went underwater. And the ray that I used to, that used to be alive, and I used to have my plans, my dreams, I used to be somebody, want to be something in this world, all of that died on November 1993 when I got baptized. And I came out in the newness of life. And now I am saying to the Lord, I will live for Jesus. I will live for Jesus.
Not only am I preparing myself to one day be with Jesus and to be a proper spotless bride, to belong to Jesus, to become like Jesus, I’m also saying to the Lord, I will live for you. Whatever you ask of me, I will be faithful. It’s not up to me. It’s not up to anybody else. Whatever you say, Lord, I will do it. Let me be faithful. And all of the things that we do in life, as it says in Matthew 24, Matthew 25, like the parable of the talents, it’s a few things, it’s a little thing. But if you’re faithful in a few things, in a little thing, then in the future there is a reward. There is a promotion. There is something waiting for us that God says, Now I entrust you with much more in heaven.
So those are the people who are called to be with the Lamb, the King of Kings, the Lord of Lords. It is those who are called. And that is the vast majority of people who are living in this world, who have ever lived in this world. They’ve been called and only a few are chosen who become God’s elect because you choose to put your hands in Jesus’ life and you say, I want to follow you, I want to live for you. And for the rest of your life, you’re preparing yourself to meet Him and you are saying, I will be faithful to you, Lord. Whatever you say, I will do.
So that is just at a high level what a Christian is. And so now today I want to talk a little bit about the most important day in your life. What is the most important day in your life? Does anybody have an answer? What is the most important day in your life? John? When you meet Jesus, that is a great answer. That is a really great answer. I would want to add a little bit to that. Today. Today is the greatest and most important day of your life. Because today is a day of salvation. So when you are called, and that might have happened for you decades ago, when you were first called and then you responded to that calling, you showed up to the wedding feast and you became God’s elect because you repented of your sins, you put your full faith in Jesus and you proclaimed to the world, the old me is dead. All the plans I had died as I went underwater, as I got baptized and I proclaimed to the world, I now want to live for Jesus. I am a follower of Christ. And that is just the beginning.
And some people say that is all that matters. I cried in 1993 and I was very sincere and it was very public and it was so emotional. I have that experience, that event in my back pocket. And from that point on, it is like nothing changed. Whatever plans they had, it just continued. Whatever dreams they had, it didn’t change. Whatever ambitions they had, desires they had, it is like you just followed them because that is all you know. But when you were called and you became God’s elect by responding to that invitation, that was just the beginning. And so I want to ask, how are you doing today with the Lord Jesus? Because today is what counts. Today is what counts.
It has been very cloudy in Southern California. I don’t know how it is in Northern California, Is it cloudy up there too? Your areas. Yeah, it is very strange. And so I have been Googling it every few days. What is happening to our weather? I have lived in California for many, many years and I have never experienced a summer like this. And then I am starting to see articles like May Gray and June Gloom. And it is almost like somebody is playing with my mind. Like I have never heard that phrase until this year when people are saying, why is it so cloudy? And why is my mood a little affected by this?
I am hearing this in public places. People are saying it is really cloudy. And they are talking as if, oh, it is always like this in May. It is always like this in June. No, I have lived here for many years. It has never been like this. There is something strange happening in the Southern California weather. And the sun, I see it. And every day I am looking at the temperature and I am seeing the sun. Is it going to be sunny tomorrow? Is it going to be sunny even today? Is it okay if it is sunny? Which hours of the day is it sunny? I have to plan my day to make sure I am close to the beach or I am outside. I am going to maximize the sun during the one or two hours that the sun peaks through the clouds. That is how I have been living for the last couple of months. Because the weather here is really strange. And the sun has been blocked and I love the sun. And I wonder, even spiritually, do you feel like the Sun of God is blocked? Do you feel like there is a cloud that is just kind of rolled in? And we know the truth. We know that we should rejoice that our names are written in heaven (Luke 10:20). We know that we should be joyful. We know the truth. We know that we should be happy. We know that we should be happy. We know that we should be joyful. We know the truth. We know the great salvation, the Great Savior and what He did for me by dying 2,000 years ago.
We know that now we have been set free and our eternity is secure and the fruit should just be pouring forth and so much praise and joy. And yet the clouds just kind of roll in. And it just seems like maybe it is just me or maybe a lot of us are feeling it. Like every day we wake up and it is just a little bit harder to wake up. It is a little bit harder to be motivated to pray. A little bit harder to open up our Bible. It is like we are not as excited to show up on a Sunday and to be encouraged and to exhort one another. There is just a cloud I feel and a blockage and Jesus is there. I know He is right there looking down on us from the right hand of God (Colossians 3:1). And yet the clouds seem to be blocking not just the weather but just a spiritual atmosphere.
And I just see it on faces. I see it, the discouragement that is setting in. And the word of God warns us that in the last days as difficult days are upon us that the hearts of many will grow cold (Matthew 24:12). And my exhortation today is we have got to fight, fight that coldness of heart. We have to fight the hardening of our hearts.
As I approach my 50s the thing I realize is so critical is mobility. Like in my 20s I just wanted big muscles. It is like I was mobile and in my teens I did taekwondo and so I was doing a near split. And when you are flexible and young you feel invincible. But as I get older the one thing that is changing in my body is I am becoming stiffer. And it is like the joints that should be moving are not moving. Like my lower back should be flexible in all directions. It is flexible in one way but it is not flexible in the reverse way. It is okay going to one side but not to the other side. And I realize that once my body becomes stiffened and hardened everything just comes to a crawl I feel like in life. It is like we should be active. We should be, you know I want my 50s and 60s to be better than my 30s and 40s. I want my body to be responding with full mobility and full life. And like Moses at 120 years his body is full of vigor and his eyes are undimmed. Like I want that testimony that even on my last day I want to be mobile and strong and active. But there is just this stiffening, this aging process that happens.
And I think it happens even to the most critical spiritual organ of all believers which is the human heart. And Psalm 95 is quoted in Hebrews 3. So I want to get there but first let’s read Hebrews 1. Hebrews 1:1-3, “1 God, who at various times and in various ways spoke in time past to the fathers by the prophets, 2 has in these last days spoken to us by His Son, whom He has appointed heir of all things, through whom also He made the worlds; 3 who being the brightness of His glory and the express image of His person, and upholding all things by the word of His power.” In years past, in centuries past, God spoke through Moses, God spoke through kings, God spoke through David, Solomon, God spoke through prophets, Ezekiel, Malachi, Isaiah, Jonah. God spoke through many men and women throughout history. But in these last days which we entered in as soon as Jesus ascended, it’s been 2,000 years that we’ve been in this final last days era. And that’s why for the Apostles in the first century, they really believed the end was upon them. And if we are in the last days literally and Jesus is right about to return, we’re also going to feel the same urgency that the first century Apostles did. That the end is upon us. And it says that in these last days, which is the last 2,000 years, what is the primary way that God speaks? It says it’s through His Son. It’s not through Jackie Hibbs, not through John Piper, not through any pastor, any prophet, any priest. In these last days, God speaks primarily through Jesus, His Son. And we as sheep must keep hearing His voice.
It says that He upholds all things, Hebrews 1:3, by the Word, the spoken word, the remma of Jesus’ power. There is a special power in the word of Jesus, the spoken word of Jesus. I encourage you, listen to the Word of God. Because in Romans 10:17, pay attention to the translation, the original word, because even the King James and the new King James, for some reason, does not accurately translate Romans 10:17. It says faith comes from hearing, and hearing, not by the word of God only, which could confuse us and think it’s all of the Word of God, but faith comes from hearing and the hearing from the word of Christ. There’s something different when Jesus speaks. There’s something authoritative. And so I encourage you, listen to the Gospels.
Not just read it, not just study it, but listen. There’s something about the spoken words of Jesus. Because you grew up in church, perhaps, and you heard many sermons. And this book was the same as the Koran, or same as other religious texts, or your science textbook. It’s just nice principles. But on one particular day, which was a day of your salvation, the beginning point of your journey with Jesus, on that day, Jesus spoke in a way that was different than all the prior times you attended church. And you heard Jesus’ voice call you by name. That was how it began. And as sheep, we must hear His voice.
In these last days, Jesus is still speaking. It’s a shame when preachers preach and they make it seem like all we have is the Lagas, the Bible, as if it’s just rules to keep. Of course, if you abide in Christ, you keep His commandments. Of course, that’s part of it. But if that’s all there is, then quickly you and I will become religious. Quickly our heart will get hardened. Quickly we’ll get stiff. And we will not be able to move.
Remember how it was when you first heard the Shepherd’s voice. When I was a sophomore in college, I first heard it. I could not stop speaking about Him. I had such confidence. And I would tell everybody, I met Jesus. He’s the greatest person I ever met. Before that, I grew up in church and it was so boring. I was falling asleep and I was looking forward to the donuts and running in the gym afterwards. But for whatever reason, leading up to November 1993, something was happening in my heart. There was a kindling, a spark that was starting to get fanned into flame. And then one day, it’s like if this room was dark and we just put on the spotlight. It’s that kind of an experience where you feel like you’re the only person in the room. And at the end of the message, the pastor says, whoever wants to respond and receive Christ, why don’t you come forward? And it’s like, that’s me. It’s like, I’m coming forward. And there’s that moment when you heard Jesus’ voice. Faith comes from hearing the remma, the remma of Christ. And there’s power in Jesus’ words. And Jesus, for the last 2000 years, He’s been speaking to us. And whatever He’s spoken, we must hold onto it with confidence.
Hebrews 2:2-4, 2 “For if the word spoken through angels proved steadfast and every transgression and disobedience received a just reward, 3 how shall we escape if we neglect so great a salvation, which at the first began to be spoken by the Lord and was confirmed to us by those who heard Him, 4 God also bearing witness both with signs and wonders, with various miracles, and gifts of the Holy Spirit, according to His own will?” (Hebrews 2:2-4)
And you remember the first time you heard Jesus and how it was different than all the previous times that you heard the Bible preached. It was different because it came alive. It was as if Jesus is right in front of you and He’s calling you by name. And He’s calling a sheep, come home. It’s with that kind of authority. It’s like something in you was birthed. Something in you came alive. It is different than all the times you heard it before.
And you remember the excitement. You remember how alive you were. You remember how confident you were to say, I’m living for Jesus. Let the world call me a fool. I’m going to live for Jesus. If I’m poor, I don’t care. Let me live for Jesus. If everybody else says I’m wasting my life, let me just follow Jesus. There’s nothing else. Like no other voice matters but that voice that called you and saved you.
And we are confident. And this great salvation was confirmed through various messengers. It proved to be steadfast, to be true. And you put your faith in what was being spoken about Jesus Christ. It was a great salvation. And it was confirmed through signs and wonders and miracles and how many prayers have been answered.
And let’s not take that for granted that God hears prayers and we pray for healings. And there’s healings. We pray for provision and there’s provision. We pray for small things, health. And we have health. And we have a roof over our head. And we have brothers and sisters to gather with. And these are not small things.
And on top of it, the Holy Spirit comes and He gives gifts. Someone like me who was the shyest person you have ever met if you met me growing up. Public speaking was my greatest fear. And I really don’t want to preach. If it were my choice, again I say I will be back there with Ezra in the back row. I would be happy to just be quiet on a Sunday. But God called me. And so I have to do what He asks. Because there’s a gifting that happens. And so I couldn’t preach before. I couldn’t teach before. I’m tongue tied. I’m fumbling with my words just in day to day life. And yet when I come up here with a spiritual gift, the preaching comes forth. And it’s just I give glory to God. It is not me. I give God all the glory. He is doing it. He is doing it. It is a gift that’s just being exercised for the building up of His people. And all of this confirmation, signs, wonders, messengers, gifts of the Holy Spirit that we see active on any time we gather. All of this is so that we realize what a great Savior we have. What a great salvation we have.
Unfortunately, despite all that God has given, we start neglecting this great salvation. And by neglecting it, our heart starts to stiffen, starts to harden. Hebrews 2, verse 14, 14 “Inasmuch then as the children have partaken of flesh and blood, He Himself likewise shared in the same, that through death He might destroy him who had the power of death, that is, the devil,” 15 “and release those who through fear of death were all their lifetime subject to bondage.” (Hebrews 2:14-15) How does Satan keep you and I bound? And the fear of death is the fear of death.
And you might say, I’m not afraid to die. There’s different manifestations of this fear. We have one life. And we don’t know, are we going to live for 50 years, for 20 years, for 100 years. We don’t know how long. And as I approach my 50s, I feel like there is a ticking time. And if I’m not a Christian and I’m approaching 50, there is this assessment that happens, or a midlife crisis.
Maybe I’m past the midlife crisis. Maybe people in their 40s who don’t know Christ. There is this kind of, okay, what have I been doing up until this age? What do I have to show? And what do I hope to achieve in this second, latter half of my life? And it’s the fear of death. Because I only have one life. And I don’t want to waste it.
Because maybe that’s all I have. Maybe there is no eternity. Maybe God is not real. Deep down, Satan keeps us in bondage with this fear. That your life on this earth, you’ve got to make the most of it. You’ve got to make the most of it. You have to have something to show for it. Don’t wait for God to tell you what to do. You just do you. And you just follow your desires and follow your dreams and live for yourself because time is running out.
This is how Satan keeps the body of Christ in bondage. Imagine if we really believed what our baptism signifies that we died. And then from age 19 until whenever I go home, I’m living for Jesus. And it’s not up to me how I live. Think of how free I will be. Think of how nothing will bother me. I won’t complain because I’m just being faithful. I’ve been called. Now I’m chosen. I’m His elect. I’m preparing myself to meet Jesus. This is the bulk of my life. And whatever the Lord gives to me, I’m being faithful. There’s no assessment of my life. There’s no like by this decade I should be somebody. I should have done something. This is man’s thinking. This is slavery. This is what’s keeping us in bondage. We don’t do life this way. We say I live for Jesus. And whatever He asks me, I’ll do it.
And then the main text, which is Hebrews 3, verse 1. 1 Therefore, holy brethren, partakers of the heavenly calling, consider the apostle and high priest of our confession, Christ Jesus, 2 who was faithful to Him, appointed Him, as Moses also was faithful in all his house. 3 For this one has been counted worthy of more glory than Moses inasmuch as He who built the house has more honor than the house. 4 For every house is built by someone, but He who built all things is God. 5 And Moses indeed was faithful in all his house as a servant for a testimony of those things which would be spoken afterward, 6 but Christ as a son over His own house, whose house we are if we hold fast the confidence and the rejoicing of the hope firm to the end. (Hebrews 3:1-6)
Verse 1, it says, we have a heavenly calling. So when someone asks you, what is your calling? What is your purpose? What are you driven to do? What is the purpose of your life? I say, my calling is to go to heaven. That is my calling. There really is no greater calling than to go to heaven. Man likes to look at, what house have I produced?
If I was man-centered, I would say, wouldn’t it be nice if Hill Community Church was like Calvary Chapel, Chino Hills, since that church was mentioned? Wouldn’t it be nice if we have that kind of influence in this world? It would be nice. But it’s not up to us. We just need to be faithful. And here the accent is on Jesus. It says Jesus is faithful to His house. His house is Calvary Chapel. His house is Hill Community. Every church that bears His name is His house. Jesus is faithful.
And then we, out of His faithfulness, we are responding and say, I want to be faithful and do whatever You ask. It is not my house, Lord. It is Your house. Whatever You ask me to do, I’ll do it. I’ll be faithful like Moses.
Think of how arrogant it would be if Moses said, the Israelites, this is my nation. Look at how big my house is. It’s one million, two million Israelites. Look at what I’ve done. Think of if he called it the Moses Church. Think of how grotesque it would be if Moses had that kind of a mentality to say, look at my influence. I want to put my name and everybody should know me. Think of, okay, he’s faithful, but he’s not man-centered. He’s not doing it for anybody else. He’s just being faithful to the Lord. Jesus is faithful to His house, which includes all houses that bear His name. And we are called not to accomplish much. We are called to go to heaven. And all we have to do according to this is to hold fast. Don’t neglect the great salvation. Instead, hold fast. Hold fast to, let’s see. Hold fast the confidence and the rejoicing of the hope firm to the end.
This is how we prevent our hearts from stiffening, from hardening. You hold fast to Jesus Christ. You strain your ear to hear His voice. This is how our heart stays soft and malleable and pumps life in and out. You don’t want your heart and my heart to harden with age. As our body hardens, it reminds us of our aging. And that’s something even in our body, we are so quick to try to do every exercise and take every supplement under the sun to keep our bodies limber and healthy. But what about the most critical spiritual organ, our hearts?
We need to hold fast to what we’ve heard, to Jesus’ words, to what He did for us, our great salvation. That is the only way to prevent hearts from hardening. Hebrews 3:7-9, 7 Therefore, as the Holy Spirit says, “Today, if you will hear His voice, 8 do not harden your hearts as in the rebellion, in the day of trial in the wilderness, 9 where yOur Fathers tested Me, tried Me, and saw My works forty years.” (Hebrews 3:7-9)
Forty years. The Israelites. Like when we look back at Exodus, we think this is so strange. They’re seeing miracles daily. Manna falling from heaven. They’re seeing water gushing from the ground. These are miracles of God on a daily basis. They saw the works, yet they tested the Lord. And we think, well, if we were among them, we wouldn’t be like that. We wouldn’t be rebellious like them. We wouldn’t test the Lord.
But just look back on even this past year. How has the Lord been good to you? How has He spoken to you? What has He blessed you with? How many times has He met you? Yet, have you allowed your heart to grow hardened? Have you neglected this great salvation? Are you testing the Lord? Like, manna from heaven is not good enough. I want quail. Okay, God gives you quail. I’m thirsty. I want water. Okay, God gives you water. Moses, you’re not good enough of a leader. Okay, well, we’re going to punish you. They just do not listen.
So when I see this rebellion, I think of a teenager who says, “Mom, where’s the food? Mom, this food’s salty.” Mom, where’s my laundry? I’m going out later.
It’s like this ingratitude of a teenager. I wonder if we have grown to be teenagers as we get older, just rebellious. Just not grateful, not keeping hearts that are soft, not remembering our great salvation, neglecting it, allowing hearts to stiffen.
What causes our hearts to stiffen? It says in Hebrews 3:12, 12 “Beware, brethren, lest there be in any of you an evil heart of unbelief and departing from the living God, but exhort one another daily, while it is called today, lest any of you be hardened through the deceitfulness of sin.” (Hebrews 3:12-13)
So if you are getting hardened in your heart, it is the Holy Spirit’s main ministry to tell you every single day, how are you with Jesus? Are you okay with Jesus? Are you allowing your heart to grow hardened? You need to return to Jesus. You need to repent of your sins. This is Holy Spirit’s main ministry to us. Every day, this is what He’s saying, if you have ears to hear.
It’s hard to hear Jesus’ voice, I know. But there’s also the Holy Spirit. And He says on a daily basis, do not harden your heart today. Hear His voice. Do not harden your heart. When you ask for the Spirit, the first thing He’s going to say is, look at your heart. Is it hard? Do not harden it. Do not allow it to get hardened.
And why do we gather at church? We are also God’s mouthpiece to one another. We speak, exhorting one another. Let’s not get hardened, brothers and sisters. Let’s keep our hearts soft. Holy Spirit says it. We say it.
And in these last days, Jesus is always speaking. It is the deceitfulness of sin that causes hearts to grow hardened. So with the help of the Holy Spirit, maybe we can locate what sin, what lie do we believe that has caused my heart to grow hard?
Hebrews, and then core of sin, Hebrews 3:18, “And to whom did He swear that they would not enter His rest, but to those who did not obey?” 19 See, we see that they could not enter in because of unbelief. The core of sin is unbelief. And unbelief is zero faith, counterfeit faith. Where does faith come from? Faith comes from hearing. And who are we listening to? Faith comes from hearing the spoken word, the remma of Christ.
Jesus is speaking to you, brother and sister. And we need to hear His voice. That’s where faith is birthed. Without it, we fall into sin.
Hebrews 3:10, “Therefore I was angry with that generation, and said, ‘They always go astray in their heart, and they have not known My way, so I swore in My wrath they shall not enter My rest.” (Hebrews 3:10) They shall not enter My rest.
So the first sign of a hardened heart is we test God. It’s like, God, what have You done for me lately? I know You’ve answered a lot of prayers, but I have this one thing in front of me, and You’re not answering it. And like a stubborn teenager, a rebellious person, you keep saying, well, this thing, Lord, You haven’t done it for me. It’s self-centered. Like, if you just took a step back from that one thing you’re demanding God for, what about the dozens, hundreds, thousands of things He’s done for you over your lifetime, even many things you don’t even recognize, instead of fixating on the one thing in front of you?
Instead of fixating on the one thing in front of you, what if He just took a step back, and all of us took a step back and said, Lord, You’ve done so much for me. You don’t owe me anything. You’ve done everything for me. I have salvation. I have Jesus, my Savior. I have a great salvation, even if my life doesn’t amount to anything, and the world says I’m a fool, so be it, Lord. I’m okay as long as I hold on to this great salvation.
So sign of a hearted heart, you test the Lord. What have You done for me lately? We keep going astray in our hearts. Another thing is just from day to day, one day you’re good, one day you’re like lost. One day you feel close, the next day… It’s like the sentiment here of going astray is you’re floating toward the destination. We’re inching toward it. You’re going the right way. But then because of carelessness, you missed the exit. You drifted past it. You weren’t paying attention.
And so you’re supposed to turn with Jesus this direction, but you missed it. You started drifting. That’s the sentiment here. We fall away, we get hardened just one inch at a time, one degree at a time. It’s like you’re going well, but you just drifted past the destination. You missed the exit ramp. It happened so gradually. You didn’t realize this one thing is becoming an idol, is becoming so important to you that you’re fixating on it.
It’s like the Israelites in the Exodus. The Exodus, like God does everything, just miraculous, and they’re always grumbling. It’s never enough. They always go astray. Hebrews 3:17, 17 Not only do we test God as we get hardened in our hearts, we go astray and we keep sinning. (Hebrews 3:17)
The Holy Spirit’s invitation today, in my exhortation as a fellow brother, is let’s not allow our hearts to go hardened. Let’s not neglect our great salvation. Let’s strain our ears. Let’s pay attention earnestly. That’s what it says in Hebrews 12:1, 1 Let’s give more earnest heed. (Hebrews 12:1) Let’s hold on to Jesus more closely than we did yesterday, because today is a new day.
Maybe you just barely stumbled into this worship service. It doesn’t matter. Today is a new day. That’s my last encouragement. If you fail in the beginning of tomorrow, in the moment that you realize you’ve fallen, and you see your heart is growing hardened, in that moment, repent. Turn to the Lord Jesus. Surrender. Go back to Him. Heed the Spirit’s voice. And tomorrow would be the greatest day of your life again. And if you have this pattern, that the greatest day of my life is the day I’m living in, the moment that you’re in, and you live like this, then we will be people who are not only invited to the wedding feast, and not only called, you’re also chosen. And likely you’re not just chosen, but God chooses you for certain assignments. And you’ve proven, and you will prove, that you’ll be faithful to whatever He asks. And these are the people who are by the Lamb of God when He comes back in glory and power. It is people who are chosen, called chosen, and faithful.
Okay, let’s pray.
Father, thank You for sending Jesus, who came as fully God, but also He humbled Himself, took on a human tent, human flesh, the only person who ever lived, who had no sin, who became sin for us on the cross, that the judgment that we deserved was poured out on Him. He died the death that we deserved. He went to hell, which we deserved. The wrath of God was poured out. And Jesus rose from the dead as the first fruits of our resurrection. Thank You, Lord, that instead of wrath, which we deserve, You show us grace, mercy, which we do not deserve.
That for those of us who’ve been invited to the wedding feast, those of us who’ve responded in repentance and faith and surrender, we’ve been chosen, we’ve been called, God’s elect. And we will be faithful to live for Jesus all of our days. Thank You that today is the greatest day, the most important day for every believer. It is a day of salvation.
Salvation is not an event, it’s not a moment. It is an ongoing following, walking with Jesus. Thank You, Holy Spirit, that You locate where we are, You see the condition of our heart, and You encourage us. Don’t let it harden. Don’t let that heart harden. Thank You, Holy Spirit, for Your gentle whisper. We respond, repenting of selfishness, self-centeredness, falling into the deceitfulness of whatever sin we looked upon and held onto, we repent of it, Lord. We hold fast to Jesus, the Author and Perfecter of our faith, and we exhort one another to not allow hearts to harden, to not neglect this great salvation, to keep holding onto Jesus today and every single day.
Holy Spirit, if there’s any sin in us, any waywardness, any idolatry, we pray that as we close this service, You would meet us, convict us of whatever sin, whatever idolatry. Thank You, Jesus, for allowing Your Body to be broken and Your Blood that was shed. It is by Your Blood that we’re forgiven, we’re cleansed, we’re sanctified in our spirits during the partaking of the Lord’s Supper. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.
In a moment, we’re going to, if the Lord allows you, the Lord’s Supper will be here. We partake in remembrance of what Jesus did for us, and so if that is you, and if you are a believer who’ve been baptized, I encourage you, if the Lord allows you to come forward and partake in the Lord’s Supper, Jesus’ body and blood. If this is the day of your salvation, the first day, and you’ve heard Jesus’ voice for the first time, and you want to respond to Him and say, I want to follow Jesus. I heard you calling My name during this service. If that’s you, I invite you to come forward. I’d love to pray for you. Or just tap on the shoulder of someone next to you. I’m sure they’d be loved to pray for you. The invitation is open. It is up to you to respond to the invitation to be included among God’s elect. Okay, let’s pray.