Growing up as a boy in New Orleans, I wanted to be like Mike. Michael Jordan, that is. I did everything I could to imitate his moves. After school every afternoon, I would go into the living room. I would press Play on our VCR of Michael Jordan’s Playground which was a movie with a collection of his moves and I would watch Michael Jordan perform one of these moves. I would press “pause” on the VCR. I would run outside. And as best as I could as a 6’6 uncoordinated white boy, I would attempt to perform the moves. Now they worked great in the driveway, not so good in game, if you can imagine. Thankfully, I did not imitate Michael Jordan’s moves off the court.
As a Christian, I have often thought about the men who have invested in me, though. I have thought about how they have displayed love to other people. I thought about how they ministered to people. I thought about how they preached the Word of God, their quiet time with God, their prayer life with God.
And I want to show you today that if we are not careful as Christians, we could follow and mimic the false teachings of our society unknowingly. I want to ask you today, who are your role models? Who are you looking up to? Who are you following? Who are you mimicking unconsciously or consciously in the Christian life?
Today I want to show you that I believe the reason we don’t have unending praise and proclamation of what God has done for us is because I think we have a misunderstanding of the significance of the cross of Christ in our lives. And I want to show you today that through Scripture, what Jesus did on the cross of Calvary so that you and I will not be ashamed to tell people about it, nor be unceasing in our worship of Him.
If you have your Bibles and I hope you do, turn with me to Hebrews Chapter 13. Hebrews Chapter 13 and when you get there, say ìWord.î We will consider verses 7 and following. The Word of the Lord.
ìRemember your leaders who have spoken God’s word to you. As you carefully observe the outcome of their lives, imitate their faith. Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today, and forever.
Father, we thank You for the Word as we are about to mine the depths of doctrine today. We pray that you would simplify it in such a way that we leave here, not only understanding it, but being impacted by it. We thank You that You haven’t left us to our own devices. You have given us a road map. You have given us a love story. It is called The Bible. We are grateful for that. Make us more like Jesus than the way we came in when we leave. We ask it in His name. And everyone said, Amen.
I want to show you what the writer of Hebrews begins by saying in this section and that is, he wants us to see the importance of disciplining relationships. He wants us to see the importance of discipline relationships. We would say at Brainerd, the importance of being in a D Group here would be something of importance to you.
Look at how it begins. ìRemember your leaders,î your disciple makers who have spoken God’s word to you. As you carefully observe the outcome of their lives, imitate their faith.î That word remember is more than just to think about it, it means to carefully ponder. It means to meditate upon. It means to look carefully at something or someone.
Remember the ones who invested in your life through the preaching of the Word and the teaching of the Word of God. It could be what Paul was talking about in Ephesians Chapter 4, the pastor-shepherd-teachers in our lives.
But it doesn’t stop there. He says, ìRemember your leaders, but observe (look at the text) their lives. ìCarefully consider the outcome of their lives.î That word can mean consider or observe. It means to look intently at. Think about how they spoke to people. Look at the example of their lives. Notice their prayer lives. Notice how they spend time in the Word in the morning. Notice how they memorize scripture. Notice how they led a life devoted to God.
You can never say as a Christian, I don’t care what people think about what I am doing. You can never say as a Christian, I am only sinning. It doesn’t hurt anybody but me.
Friends, as a Christian, (don’t miss this) when you sin, it hurts everybody around you as we see in the text. Why? Because it hurts the people who know you best and it hurts the people who are watching you from a distance. It hurts everybody. For someone to claim allegiance to Christ and live a life in sin. Why? Because we have people watching us.
So what he says is, don’t just remember, but observe. But don’t stop at observation. Notice this, I want you to imitate their faith. I want you to follow in their footsteps. I want you to look at what they did and I want you to imitate their faith.
Now that word “faith” is interesting. It is not just to believe in something in the mind, it is to put trust in something that results in action. Now if you and I had any question about what faith looks like, the only thing we have to do is go back two chapters to Hebrews Chapter 11 and look at an entire chapter entitled The Heroes of the Faith or the Hall of Faith. And consistently we see in this chapter men and women who by faith followed God. It was faith in action.
Able offered, Enoch walked, Noah built, Abraham left, Moses chose. Do you see it? They put feet to their faith. These men and women were unapologetic in the preaching of the Word of God. They were obedient in following God’s ways and they were willing to die for the cause of God.
As you see this text and you think about discipleship, it reminds me that every believer should have three relationships that they should be fostering in their Christian life. You can write them down. Every one of you should have one of these three relationships. When I say them, you should be able to put a name in each category.
First, you should have a Paul in your life. You should have someone older, mature wise, seasoned, who is investing in your life. Secondly, you should have a Timothy because your investment is not for you. The gospel came to you because it was what? Heading to someone else, right? So you are always learning to give away. And so you should have a Timothy you are investing in. But you should also have a Barnabas, someone who is sharpening you, a peer in your life. As iron sharpens iron, so one man what? Sharpens another.
Now at Brainerd Baptist Church, maybe at other churches but not at Brainerd, you cannot say this. You cannot say I want to be discipled, but I don’t know what to do or how to do it. You cannot say that here at Brainerd Baptist. What we have done for you is, we have created what we are calling The Discipleship Journey. In the weeks ahead, you are going to see many posters up around the church. And the question we are going to start asking everyone of our members and everyone who joins our church, where are you in the discipleship journey.
It starts with the congregation, the gathering of the saints. Where do I begin? I am a new believer in Christ. Well, come worship with us on Saturday or Sunday with the saints as we are equipped for the work of ministry. But it doesn’t stop there because the next step is what we call the Life Groups, or the community. So we have the congregation, we have the community which is a small intimate Life Group. We used to call it Sunday Bible Study, we call it Life Group now, where you meet together for fellowship, for love, for evangelism, for teaching. But it doesn’t stop there because out of that Life Group time, we encourage you to get in a smaller group that we are calling Core Groups or D Groups, right?
When somebody comes to Brainerd and they say, Pastor, I want to be in a discipleship group, but I don’t know anybody in the church. You have heard this before. Guess what your response to them should be immediately. Get in a Life Group because that is where you are going to meet people. You see, at Brainerd Baptist, we don’t have eHarmony for Christians. We don’t even call it Christian Mingle around here as far as connecting people in D Groups. Because we are not here as a matchmaking service, trying to get you involved with people you don’t know at all. But what we are doing is, we are encouraging you in this Life Group time to build relationships organically with people that you can outside of that, live life together with them. Does it make sense? Pretty easy, right?
So here is the question for you, church. What step are you on? I come to the large gathering. Praise God. It is a great start. Life Group will be next. Well, I am in a Life Group, but I am not in a D Group. The D Group would be the next step for you. I am in a D Group, what do I do? Reproduce the process. Start over. It is a reciprocal process.
Now I know what you are saying here. You are saying, well, Pastor Robby, I don’t have a mentor. I have never had the privilege of someone mentoring me, investing in me intentionally. Well, you can’t say that either because you have Jesus.
Friends, Jesus Christ, for us as Christians is the ultimate example, right? Which is why, don’t miss this, the writer of Hebrews goes through Hebrews 11 and then launches into Hebrews 12 after that Hall of Faith with the pinnacle of faithfulness. ìSince we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off the sin that easily besets us and the weight that entangles us and let us run the race marked before us with endurance, looking to Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith,î the ultimate disciple maker, the greatest example, who for the joy set before Him endured the cross, scorning the shame, sitting down at the right hand of the throne of God.
And so what he is saying here is this, Jesus is our ultimate example, right? How do we follow Jesus? Friends, don’t miss this, open the New Testament, particularly to the pages of the gospel and drink richly from the life of Christ. You will be glad you did because you will have the greatest picture of an example to follow.
Now at this point, you are probably saying, I get this section. Why in the world is he saying Jesus is the same yesterday, today and forever which is probably the most quoted verse in all of Hebrews, sometimes misquoting the original context and the meaning of the verse. In that context, the reason he says Jesus is the same yesterday, today and forever, I believe is in the context of an example. Jesus doesn’t change. He is the ultimate example for us.
And now, what he does is, he is about to contrast Verse 8 and Verse 7 with Verse 9 where he begins to talk about false teachers and heresy in the church. Now at first glance, you and I may say, well this looks disconnected, disjointed. But it is not. Because you and I would agree that when the people of God do not know the Word of God, they are easily led astray by what? False teaching. Look at it. The importance of understanding the scriptures. Not just the importance of discipling relationships, but the importance of understanding the Word of God.
Verse 9, Do not be led astray by various kinds of strange teachings; for it is good for the heart to be established by grace and not by foods, since those involved in them have not benefited. We have an altar from which those who serve the tabernacle do not have a right to eat. For the bodies of those animals whose blood is brought into the most holy place by the high priest as a sin offering are burned (here is the key word) outside the camp.
The imperative in this text, you can circle it or underline it, is the words do not be led astray.î It is the idea of being carried away. It is another word for misled. The word picture here is an interesting picture. It is a picture of a stream that is moving that carries something in it downstream. And you and I both know that an undiscipled person can be confused by every stream of false doctrine, right? If you don’t have a foundation upon the Word of God, you are easily tossed to and fro by every wave of false doctrine.
So many Christians in this world, do not know the Word of God. That is probably the greatest plague that cripples many churches today. I think is that we have so-called believers who do not know God’s Word. And I think that is why they are tossed by every new liberal doctrine that is pressed in the media or pushed forth in the media and on the internet. And you know, if it is on the internet, it has to be true. You know that guy. He is in your family. Hey, did you hear about the Divinci Code. Do you read that book? Wow! It makes us question the Bible. You have heard that guy. Did you know Jesus was married to Mary Magdalene, that is what they are saying? What about the gospel of Judas or the gospel of Thomas? We don’t have that in our Bible. Did you hear Jesus had kids? You know this kind of guy. You know this woman. They are not seeking answers in order to solidify their faith, they are seeking answers to try to disprove the Bible to continue to live their life in sin. That is basically what is happening.
And the sad thing in America is that we have literate people who have an illiterate understanding of the Word of God. Does that bother you like it bothers me? So many Christian have at their fingertips the Word of God for direction and guidance in their life. They are what Paul labeled to Timothy, they are constantly learning, but they are never able to arrive at the knowledge of the Truth. They just fill their mind with information but they have no understanding.
And so here is the million dollar question? What is the doctrine in question in Hebrews, because there are a lot of doctrines I can talk about that people have misconstrued and distorted. But what is the doctrine in question that the writer of Hebrews is trying to explain? It is the doctrine of the cross of Christ as being the once and for all sacrifice for all of mankind.
Notice what he says, Verse 10. ìWe have an altar from which those who serve the tabernacle do not have a right to eat.î Now what is he talking about here? That word altar is a term that symbolically represents the cross of Christ. Six times in the book of Hebrews, it talks about Jesus Christ’s sacrifice being the once and for all sacrifice. So what he is saying here is, we have an alter that symbolizes that Christ, the once and for all sacrifice, provided the redemption for believers with His death.
And then he goes into this idea of how the priests were not able to eat the food. So let me take you back for a moment. The priest would sacrifice animals, but they were not allowed to eat the sacrifice that the people offered to them. Well, what happened is this, people would bring their sacrifices to the Temple. They would slay the animals, get this, outside the camp. They would dispose of the bodies, okay. Then they would bring the blood as an offering and they would splat that on the altar.
Now what would happen on the Day of Atonement is, the priest would wake up, the High Priest. He would cleanse himself completely. Then after cleansing himself completely in preparation six days prior to that, he would cleanse himself completely and then he would make a sacrificial offering for himself and his household. Then he would go into the Temple. He would take the sacrificial offering unto the Lord and he would offer two goats. One goat would be the offering, the sin offering that he would take the blood and splat it on the altar. The other goat would be brought to him, the Azael or the Scapegoat. You have heard of this before. So one goat provides the blood, the other is the substitution for the people.
So what he would do is, he would take this goat, poor goat, he would lay his hands upon the goat’s head and he would in essence, transpose, he would take the sins of the people and he would place them upon the head of the lamb, the goat, and then after doing that, he would send the goat, the scapegoat into the wilderness that someone would lead him out. In essence, he would send the goat outside the what? The camp. The man who leads the goat outside the camp, before he comes back into the camp, he has to cleanse himself completely because he has been defiled. This is what God is saying. This is what the writer of Hebrews is saying in this text. That system is broken. And what was happening is, the Hebrews were saying, we still believe in Jesus, but we want to sacrifice things to God. And what he is saying is this, if you still live under the old levitical system, you have to play by the rules of the system and you and I both know, that doesn’t provide a once and for all sacrifice. The only reason you sacrifice to begin with is because it was a foreshadowing of the once and for all sacrifice to come of Jesus Christ. And because you are unclean, because you are still living under that sacrifice, you are forced outside the camp.
However, there was one who went outside the camp so that you and I could be able to live inside the camp! Which is the crux of the message, the redemption we receive from Christ.
There is an importance in the Christian life to have discipling relationships. There is an importance to understanding the Scripture. But more importantly, we must understand the redemption we have received from Christ.
Look at Verse 12. ìTherefore Jesus also suffered (where? Audience participation part) outside the gate, outside the camp, so that He might sanctify the people by His own blood.î
Now I want you to pay very close attention to the question I am about to pose to you and answer. Why did Jesus have to go outside the camp? Why did Jesus have to go outside the gate?
Go to Numbers 5. Let me give you the instructions God gave to His people, concerning those who were outside the camp or unclean. Outside the camp is another term to describe those who are unclean. Numbers Chapter 5 Verse 1. When you are there, say word.
ìThe Lord instructed Moses: Command the Israelites to send away anyone from the camp who is (notice this) afflicted with a skin disease.î Write 1 in the margin. That could be leprosy. ìAnyone who has a bodily discharge,î write 2 in the margin. ìOr anyone who is defiled because of a corpse. Write 3 in the margin. That is a dead person. You must send away both male or female; send them outside the camp so that they will not defile their camps where I dwell among them.î The Israelites did this, sending them outside the camp. The Israelites did as the Lord instructed Moses.
Now, imagine with me for a moment, friend, family member comes down with leprosy, a skin disease. What happens to them immediately according to Numbers Chapter 5? Expelled from the camp immediately. They didn’t do anything to earn this disease. It doesn’t matter. Fell on hard times, outside the camp. You are alone. God forbid you come down with a bodily discharge of any kind. Immediately what happens to you? After someone finds it, you find it out. What happens to you? Banished from the camp immediately. You are alone. You are isolated. You are by yourself, separated from the people of God in the camp. You are outside the camp.
Let’s say you accidentally come in contact with a dead animal or a dead person. Immediately what happens to you? Expelled from the camp. You are ejected from the camp. You are sinful, in a sense. You are unclean, in a sense, which is a picture of sinfulness. But you are unclean at that moment.
Now you are probably saying, why in the world did God do this? You have to understand. This is a day and age where they had no antibiotics. So God’s system, for preserving the whole, was to quarantine the individual. You have to understand, God is given the role and responsibility by Himself to care for tens and hundreds of thousands of people. Two million people. If a disease comes through the tribe, the results are catastrophic. You have to understand. And so God cares for the group by isolating the individuals.
Now, it may seem at times like the commands of God are harsh to the people of God, but don’t miss this, Church, God’s commands are always right and God’s commands are always kind for His people. God is protecting His people. And He is not only protecting His people, He is protecting Himself from defilement.
Look at the text again. Chapter 5. Look at Verse 3. ìYou must send away both male or female; send them outside the camp, (why?) so that they will not defile their camps where I dwell among them.î Since God is in the camp, you can’t be in the camp if you are defiled. It is what happened to Adam and Eve. Adam and Eve were sinless, in a sense, when God created them. They had perfect harmony with God. They ate of the Fruit of the Tree. Sin entered into the world through them and in them and at that point, what did God do to them? He banished them from the Garden. He separated them from His presence. This was serious business to God! Whatever you do, don’t ever, don’t ever touch someone who has leprosy. Don’t ever come in contact with someone who has a bodily discharge. And don’t ever touch a dead body, period, end of story. Any questions?
God goes so far as to give instructions in Leviticus Chapter 13. Turn to Leviticus quickly. Go back. Leviticus 13 Verse 45. Here are the instructions. It is a book of instructions on what to do in certain situations. Let me give you a few of them. Leviticus 13, 14 and 15 are the instructions for these particular contaminations. Verse 45, Chapter 13. If you are there, say Word.
The leprous person who has the disease shall wear torn clothes and let his hair, or let the hair of his head hang loose, and he shall cover his upper lip and cry out, Unclean, unclean!’ He shall remain unclean as long as he has the disease; he is unclean. He shall live alone, his dwelling shall be where? Outside the camp.
Chapter 15 Verse 1, the Lord spoke to Moses and Aaron saying, ëSpeak to the people of Israel and say to them, When any man or a woman has a discharge from his body, his discharge is unclean. And this is the law of his uncleanness for a discharge, whether his body runs with his discharge or his body is blocked up by his discharge, it is his uncleanness. Every bed on which the one with the discharge lies shall be unclean. And everything on which he sits shall be unclean. And anyone who touches his bed shall wash his clothes and bathe himself in water and be unclean until the evening. And anyone who sits on anything on which the one with the discharge has sat shall wash his clothes and bathe himself in water and be unclean until the evening. And whoever touches the body of the one with the discharge shall watch his clothes and bathe himself in water and be unclean until the evening. And if the one with the discharge spits on someone who is clean, then he shall wash his clothes and bathe himself in water and be unclean until the evening.
What he is saying is this: You are defiled. Every part of your body is defiled. Every person you come in contact with and everything you touch at that moment becomes defiled.
Now, why in the world does God spend so many chapters in the Old Testament giving laws about instructions on what to do, particularly the book of Leviticus, which sadly, you and I when we get to the book of Leviticus in our reading plan, this is the one we gloss over with glossy eyes as we just check boxes to get through it. Amen?
But friends, I want to show you something in the book of Leviticus and in the Old Testament that every one of these laws is a picture of physical defilement which is a deeper picture on the inside of our spiritual defilement of our souls. So the physical defilement of one’s body is what God sees in the soul of our spiritual nature, in a sense. And it shows us that every human being is born unclean and we need someone to clean us up.
Now, thankfully, the New Testament tells us that very thing. In Luke Chapter 24, two people are walking on the road to Emmaus. I preached this sermon a while back and I told you it could have been a man and a woman. It could be two men, but I believe it could be a man and a woman. They are walking on the road to Emmaus. Jesus walks up behind them, goes to their house, opens the Word of God through reciting of Scripture and shows them in Luke 24 how all the Old Testament, starting with Moses and the Prophets point to (who?) point to Him. Can you imagine having a seat at that table, right, for that Bible study, the greatest Bible study ever given by any man to walk the face of the earth.
And Jesus shows how the Old Testament continuously and consistently points to Him. Now luckily for us, earlier in the Gospel of Luke, we see this in three ways.
If you have your Bibles, turn with me to Luke Chapter 5. Luke, the physician, remember, he is a doctor, identifies for us three cases of physical disease with perfect clarity of an individual who has leprosy, of an individual who has a bodily discharge and a little girl who died.
Luke Chapter 5 Verse 12. When you are there, say Word. While Jesus was in one of the towns, a man was there who had a serious skin disease all over him. What did he have? He had leprosy. He saw Jesus, fell facedown, and begged Him: Lord, if You are willing, You can make me clean.’î He knows he is unclean. Reaching out His hand, Jesus touched him, saying, ëI am willing: be made clean.’ and immediately the disease left him.î Every person in the crowd that day is yelling, Don’t you know who this man is? Don’t even come near him. Don’t even touch him. Pull your hand back, Jesus. If you touch him, then you will get expelled. You will get ejected. And what does Jesus do? Jesus touches him. And miraculously, for those in the audience, the man becomes clean and Jesus does not become unclean! It is a miracle! Who is this man, they are saying.
Go down to Luke Chapter 8. ìWhile Jesus was going, the crowds were nearly crushing Him. A woman suffering from bleeding for twelve years who had spent all she had on doctors, yet could not be healed of any or by any, approached Jesus from behind and touched the tassel of His robe. Instantly her bleeding stopped.î Everyone again in the crowd is thinking or saying, Don’t let her touch you! That woman is unclean! She is defiled! Don’t come near her! And Jesus stops in the crowd. ìWho touched Me?î ìWhen they all denied it, Peter said, Master, the crowds are hemming You in and pressing against You.’î It is black Friday! If you can imagine. Jesus, they are everywhere, what are You talking about? ìAnd Jesus said, No, someone touched Me. I know that power has gone out from Me.’ When the woman saw that she was discovered, she came trembling and fell down before Him. In the presence of all the people, she declared the reason she had touched Him and how she was instantly cured.î I love this. ìDaughter.î You know what Jesus is saying there? This is a woman who has been outside the camp as a foreigner and Jesus, of all the terms, gives her an inclusive term of being in the family. She has been outside the camp for twelve years, the same amount of time as the girl we are about to see has been born. The entire life of the little girl twelve years, is how long this woman has been isolated and alone. And Jesus, the first words He says to her, He says, Daughter. Look at the text, your faith has made you well. Go in peace.î
Who is this man? You know what Jesus is showing us here, He is showing us that He can do what the Levitical system could never do. He can do what the Old Testament law couldn’t do. You have to understand. The Old Testament Law, the priest did not know how to heal someone. They only knew what to do if someone was healed. They had no formula for healing people. They were baffled as to how to heal people. They knew what to do when people were healed. They would check them out. They would go outside the camp. But they couldn’t heal people because only one person can heal and that is God.
And then in the midst of this, Jesus is interrupted. From the Centurion’s house one man comes back and says, ìJesus, it is no use, the daughter is dead. Don’t bother the Teacher anymore. When Jesus heard this, He answered the man, ëDon’t be afraid. Only believe, and she will be made well.’ After He came to the house, He let no one enter with Him except Peter, John and James and the child’s father and mother. Everyone was crying and mourning for her. But Jesus said, ëStop crying, for she is not dead but asleep.’ They started laughing at Him because they knew she was dead. So Jesus took her by the hand.î Those watching: Don’t touch this girl. She is dead. She is defiled. She is unclean. You are going to be outside the camp for a season of time. Jesus, do you know what You are doing? Jesus says, that is exactly what I want to do.
Verse 54. He called out, Child, get up!’ Her spirit returned and she got up at once. Then He gave orders that she be given something to eat. Her parents were astounded.
He touches people who are unclean and He remains clean! Who is this man? The priest couldn’t do it. Moses couldn’t do it. The Prophets could never do it. The High Priest couldn’t do it. Who is this man, they are asking. And the answer is, He is God!
Now what gives Jesus the right to be able to do that? How in the world can Jesus do that? Look back at Hebrews Chapter 13. He tells us how He is able to do that. How can He make us whole? How can He make us clean? How can He sanctify us? Look at Hebrews 13:11. For the bodies of those animals whose blood is brought into the most holy place by the high priest as a sin offering are burned outside the camp.î That is where that which is defiled is. ìTherefore Jesus also suffered outside the gate so that He might sanctify the people by His own blood. Let us then go to Him outside the camp, bearing His disgrace.
Jesus knew that the only way that those outside the camp would be able to live inside the camp is if someone bore their reproach. When it says He was cut off or went outside, that is another way to say He was severed completely. It is another way to say, all ties were severed or cut off. You have to understand, Church, there was never a time when Jesus was not one with the Father, ever, except on the cross of Calvary when He cries out in a loud voice, ìMy God, My God, why have You forsaken Me?î
I imagine He went to the Father and said something like this: I know the only way that they will not be cut off forever is if I am cut off for them. So I will do it. I will bear their reproach. I will take their sin. I will go outside the camp.
Friends, you have to understand what Jesus did for you and for me. The sinless, perfect Son willingly severs Himself from the Father so that you and I are not. Jesus Christ did not experience the joy of perfect harmony with the Father. In fact, He experienced humiliation and suffering. You do not hear these words from His Father, My Son, bless you and keep You. May my face shine upon You. No, He heard judgment and cursing. May My wrath be upon You. The Son did not experience perfect peace with His Father. He absorbed the horror of hell for us.
Have you ever wondered why Jesus was crucified outside the city? Like, why didn’t they just beat Him in the palace by Pontius Pilate and the guards and why didn’t they just plant that tree right in the ground outside the palace. Why did they have to do that long walk outside the Via Delarosa, outside the city? And crucify Him outside the city? He went outside the city because that is where we were! He goes outside the camp so that you and I could live in the camp for all of eternity! And aren’t you glad He did? He was cut off so that you and I can never be cut off!
Do you know what this shows us? That He can touch any defilement in your life and make it clean! He can touch any sin in your life and make you whole. He can take any hurt from your past and make it right! Which I think, Church, is the motivation for what I am about to share with you. The reason people don’t praise God unceaselessly, the reason people don’t proclaim God’s Word to the world, to the lost world unapologetically is because they have a misunderstanding of the magnitude of what I just said. And this is how the writer of Hebrews ends. Look at what he says. We need to have this necessity in our life to praise Him. We need to praise Him unendingly, unceaselessly and proclaim His word unapologetically.
Look at Verse 13. Let us then go to Him outside the camp.î That is an imperative. Let us go to Him, bearing His disgrace. For we do not have an enduring city here; instead, we seek the One to come. Therefore, through Him let us continually, repeatedly, offer up to God a sacrifice of praise, that is, the fruit of our lips that confess His name.
Therefore, because of what I just said, you and I, the author says, should continuously without ceasing, repeatedly, praise the Lord. The fruit of our lips and the confession of His name, that is just saying that we need to remember who God is, what God did and what God will do. And I don’t know about you, but that is enough for me to praise Him always. It is not just praising once a month. It is not just praising once a day. It is not even just praising once an hour. It is praising moment by moment, right, because of what God did for you and for me.
But it is not just about praising, it is about going. We must also go to be with Him. Friends, if you want to be where Jesus is, you have to go to where Jesus went. Do you know where Jesus is? He is among the poor and the abandoned. Do you know where Jesus is? He is among the sick and the weak. Jesus is among the hurting and the diseased. He is among the sinners and the addicts. He is among those who live in constant terror from enemies. Why wouldn’t we go to where Jesus went? Are we any better that we shouldn’t go to the places Jesus went to? Outside the camp, outside our comfort zones, outside of our conveniences for the glory of God?
Two months after Katrina, two months after losing everything to Katrina, I had scheduled a trip to go with David Platt and Rob Wilton to Indonesia. And I went to Kandi, we had just lost everything and I said, ìI probably shouldn’t go on the trip. I probably should stay at home with you.î She said, ìNo, God has led you to go on this trip. You need to go.î And my wife was so loving and supporting of that. And so I went and I am glad I did. It was a spiritual marker in my life.
We flew to Indonesia, 237,000,000 people, 88% Muslim, 20% of those Muslims are militant Muslims, Jihad training Muslims. We got to the country and we were to teach at this Christian seminary for the week. And we noticed early on that people gave up a lot to come to the training. We were going to teach them, two Americans, David was going to teach a night session, two Americans, Rob and myself, were going to teach them how to preach and teach the Word of God. And they came by motorcycles, some of them days traveling by motorcycle, two and three deep on a motorcycle to get there to hear some Americans teach them about how to teach and study the Word of God.
At the end of the training, we decided to do something different. I told Rob, I said, ìWe have taught them all week. I want to hear their stories. I want to hear from them.î And so we gave them the mic and we heard testimonies about them converting to Christianity. It would make the hair on the back of your neck stand up.
We heard stories of how their homes were decimated after professing faith in Christ. We heard how their churches were burned down and destroyed, repeatedly. We heard about death threats. We heard about threats on their lives. We heard one woman give testimony about how she left Islam and her father beat her repeatedly on the back with a chair to the point of death. And we heard about family members losing their lives.
We culminated the event with David Platt being given the honor to speak at the graduation ceremony. David was the speaker. And to graduate from this seminary, it is very different from our American seminaries because not only do you have to go through all the schooling, but in order to receive your degree, you have to go in a Muslim community and plant a church with 30 baptized believers in order to get your diploma. They are not giving away sheepskins here. They are not printing diplomas. These mean something, if you can imagine.
And so, we knew that and here are the three of us sitting on the front row with a handful of men and women behind us who have just done that! Talk about feeling inadequate! Talk about humbling you, right? And we heard stories of men and women who had labored for the gospel and we realized that two of the students, two of their fellow students died in the process of planting the church before graduation.
And I realized there in Indonesia that Jesus Christ goes outside the camp and He wants us to go outside the camp to the hard places. He wants us to go outside of our comfort zone. He wants us to go outside of our conveniences. Do you really want to be with Jesus? You know, that is why we go to the hard places at Brainerd Baptist. That is why we go to the inner city projects with the gospel, because Jesus would go. That is why we go to the prisons and detention centers with the gospel because Jesus would go. That is why we go to the jungles of Ecuador, the Ivory Coast of Africa, to the hardest places in the Middle East with the gospel of Jesus Christ because that is where Jesus would go. That is where Jesus went with the gospel. And that is why we go across the street to our neighbors who are lost with the gospel because Jesus would go.
We go because we believe that every person who dies unclean will spend eternity in a Christless place with no hope of escaping. Do you believe that? We go because we believe that Jesus can cleanse anyone of everything that makes them unrighteous. We go because Jesus Christ is worthy of all of their worship and He alone is worthy to be worshiped. That is why we go. And we go because, don’t miss this, Jesus is our example.
It is no accident we began this section with these words, remember Jesus Christ, remember your leaders, observe their actions, imitate their faith. Friends, we go because Jesus came for us. And aren’t you glad He did?