1 Because We Love God… We Keep the Robbers of Our Peace Out Hebrews 12:14-16 Dr. Dave Hartson Bala Chitto Baptist Church 12/14/03 Introduction: Remember when you and I were growing up, the door to our house was never locked. Many a night, the door would be unlocked and no one would give it a second thought. Nowadays, we even lock our doors in the day time. And our general night time routine is to check to be sure that all our doors are locked before we go to bed. We would not feel safe in our bed knowing our doors are unlocked. What we are trying to do is to protect ourselves from someone who would enter our home and steal our possessions or worse yet hurt us. We will guard our home from robbers, but do we guard our heart from robbers? The Bible warns us that we must also guard our heart because we have robbers that are trying to steal our peace. 2 So this morning, we need to see what the Bible says about peace and its robbers. Body: 1. Peace does not just happen to us; we must work to get it and work to keep it. Hebrews 12:14 (NIV) Make every effort to live in peace with all men and to be holy; without holiness no one will see the Lord. A. Our solution for getting peace is to leave a situation well enough alone. You and I may have had a problem with a person and we have thought to ourselves that we are just going to leave him or her well enough alone and over time everything may go back being peaceful again. B. Another solution we might try to adopt is being nice to someone even though on the inside we can’t stand being even in the same room with them. On the surface everything looks fine but on the inside I am getting sick to my stomach just being around them. In these cases, we equate being nice as being at peace but it isn’t. 3 C. The writer of Hebrews tells us that peace does not work that way; we have got to pursue it and we must work to keep it. D. So we need to know what the robbers of our peace look like so that we can be watching out for them. 2. A peace robber will usually come as something very small and unexpecting. Hebrews 12:15 (NIV) See to it that no one misses the grace of God and that no bitter root grows up to cause trouble and defile many. A. The Hebrews writer tells us that the peace robber comes as a root and then grows up. It is a small thing but it has the potential to be a big thing. The root is never as big as the tree it produces. Peace robbers don’t come as trees they come at us as roots. B. Think about the problems we might have with some people. It didn’t start off as a big problem; it generally started off as a small problem or series of small problems but they just grew over time and now they are affecting our peace. 4 C. We must guard against the small things we have against each other because those are the things that have the potential to grow up and rob our peace. 3. A peace robber when he shows up will always draw a crowd. Hebrews 12:15 (NIV) See to it that no one misses the grace of God and that no bitter root grows up to cause trouble and defile many. A. Look what the writer says: “and defiles many.” The thing that began as a root inside of me has now grown up and has begun to drawn a crowd. B. How did that happen? When we are not at peace with one another, we draw people to our side. Yes, isn’t he or she the meanest person you have ever met? Or isn’t that preacher the most uncaring person you ever met. We want people to validate our feelings and so we don’t have a problem drawing others in to our mess. 4. A peace robber will always remind you of the terrible things that you once did. 5 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. A. This Scripture is a great example of something that you can go through your entire life never forgiving yourself for. B. I am sure that as Esau got older, he regretted some of the things that he done when he was younger. C. We all have those things in the dark recesses of our mind that even we know that God can forgive those things, we have never really forgiven ourselves and they just eat at us and they rob us of our peace. D. You know those things that are robbing us of our peace because they keep constantly coming to the surface and I have to think about them. 5. A peace robber is that thing that I want but I can’t have. Hebrews 12:17 (NIV) Afterward, as you know, when he wanted to inherit this blessing, he was 6 rejected. He could bring about no change of mind, though he sought the blessing with tears. A. Esau wanted Isaac’s blessing but he couldn’t get it because Isaac had already given it and you could give only one blessing. Esau therefore wanted something that he couldn’t have. B. There are things that we might want in our life today and can not have and they are robbing us of our peace. 6. A peace robber can not stay around the presence of God. Hebrews 12:14-15 (NIV) … without holiness no one will see the Lord.  See to it that no one misses the grace of God… A. Every peace robber we mentioned today has to flee in the presence of God. B. That’s the good news for you and I. If we bring that things or things to God which has been stealing our peace, it has to flee in the presence of God. Conclusion: 7 Today, our invitation will be a little bit different. Around the altar, there are pads and pencils, and I invite you today to come to the altar and write down the thing or things that is robbing your peace. Then I want you to bring it to Jesus over at our nativity scene and leave it there. It is just a symbol of what should be happening in your heart at the same time. No one will read your peace robbers. And immediately after church, I will ask Bro Greg to help me burn them up so you can be assured that no one reads them but Jesus. But remember in the presence of Jesus the peace robbers must flee. Will you come to the altar?