Sermon: Keep Your Heart With All Diligence!
If we have felt lethargic or indifferent about our calling, we have a desperate need to keep our heart with all diligence, to be strong in the Lord by donning the full armor of God, following the example of the Captain of our salvation. Christ is our archegos, that is, the Trailblazer showing us the way to advance. Jesus Christ has thoroughly qualified to be the Trailblazer by experiencing the same trials as His siblings. Christ does not remove His people's trials, but He provides help for those going through them, using the cleansing power of the trial to heal their minds, preparing them for the resurrection and their role in the Kingdom. Sometimes God allows a thorn in the flesh to deflect the corrosiveness of pride (II Corinthians 12:7-9). The apostle Paul warns against the extremes of cheap grace (expressed in the Protestant saw, "God does it all for us") or the mistaken assumption that one earns salvation. God's called-out ones have a responsibility to yield to God and diligently keep His Commandments (works). As the apostle Paul drew strength from Christ's revelations, God's people draw strength from the written word daily, realizing with Nehemiah and Ezra that the joy of the Lord is their ultimate strength, filling them with courage to will and do—to accomplish God's purposes. If God's chosen convert their preference into a rock-solid commitment, God will enable them to succeed spiritually.
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