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          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.
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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.
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    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.
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    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.
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    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
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    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. [15] 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:
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    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?

				
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