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The Close of Probation- Part 1

David Shin


David Shin

Dr. David Shin is the President of Ouachita Hills College.



  • May 17, 2014
    11:30 AM
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Today we begin a new series of messages a 3 part series in titled the close of probation and we'll be looking at 3 different passages of Scripture relating to this topic and when you think of the term probation it is not typically thought of in a positive context you think of a probation officer or being on probation but in a biblical sense the term probation refers to according to this World Book Dictionary it states that probation is the general doctrine of religion that our present life is a state of probation for a future a one it's a temporary status before a permanent status the word probation comes from the Latin word pro bear which means to test and it's a temporary time in which we have the opportunity to choose praise the Lord our eternal destiny. I want to have us think a little bit this morning before we go into our passage none of us in this room the best of my knowledge chose to be born and when you're chose to be born All right it's kind of philosophical in the sense that we just arrived we didn't choose to be born we didn't choose our parents right I didn't we didn't choose of the country we would be born in we didn't even choose the era we were born we just arrived on this scene. Because of someone else's choice is not a right our parents choice and we just arrive in we don't choose our ethnicity we don't choose our genes we just arrived on this scene because of someone else's choice and that someone else was there because of someone else's choice and you can go all the way back to Adam and we are in this fix in this mess because of someone else's decision all timidly Adam's decision we're just born and we are placed in a state of probation by the way probation is actually a positive thing because if it wasn't for Jesus Christ we would have no probation we would have no choice we wouldn't have no option and it's because of grace that we even have this time the bible calls probation or the Bible implies a time a probation a temporary status in which we can choose our eternal status him wriggles says everywhere the scriptures teach that in time and live man is on probation with the power to choose eternal life or eternal death this is the concept that the Bible presents this life is the time we get to choose our eternal destination I would argue here this morning that this is the most important decision that you could ever make in this life I've used the analogy before let's say that Bill Gates gives you a penny and he says depending on how or what you choose to do with this penny I will give you a $1000000000.00. God gives us a penny a probationary life and depending on pawn our choice we get to determine our eternal destination this is the concept. This is the concept that the Bible presents of a temporary status in which we get to determine our eternal destination it's important for us to recognize this because it helps us to recognize what we are to do and what we are to choose in this life and so we're going to be building throughout this series as we move for probation is grace given by the Lord Jesus if it wasn't for him we would have no probation at all and I want to invite you to go in our Bibles as we lay the foundation here this morning to Hebrews chapter 3 verse 7 and 8 Page 1347 in the Bible that has been provided for you there in the pew in front of you 134-074-1374 here Paul is writing to the Hebrews and he's quoting from Psalms 95 a matter of fact he quotes this several times here in scripture he was Shafter 3 verse 7 Therefore as the what is your bible say as the Holy Spirit said yes the Holy Spirit is an entity one of the Godhead therefore as the Holy Spirit says today if you hear his voice do not harden your hearts as in the rebellion in the day of trial in the wilderness. He quotes this song I want to make a few other observations here go to Hebrews chapter 3 verse 15 there in your Bible we've just read Hebrews 3 or 78 Hebrews 3 Verse 15 It says While it is said to day if you hear his voice Have you heard this before today if you hear his voice do you not harden your hearts as in the rebellion Let's go to our scripture reading he reached Chapter 4 verse 15 Hebrews Chapter 4 verse 7 I'm sorry that's a typo he rejected for over 7 again as he designates a certain day in David today after such a long time as it has been said today if you hear his voice What does it say do not harden your hearts I have this here on this screen for your convenience Paul repeats this phrase this quote from Psalms 95 not one time not 2 times but the read times he says to day if you hear his voice do not harden your hearts I like to make a few observations this morning before we get to our thesis this is to day if you hear he is in capitals in your Bible if you hear God's voice do not harden your heart. If you heard gone speaking to you not in an audible voice but your conscience Here's a passage that is quoted many times in reference to the Holy Spirit in John chapter 6 or is 18 it says and when he the Holy Spirit comes he will convict the world of sin and of God's righteousness and of the coming judgment. When your conscience is pricked when you feel I need to make this thing right I need to apologize I need to make a stand for truth you feel guilty that's the Holy Spirit speaking to your heart that's Grace That's when God is speaking to you this is what the Bible is referring to it says today if you hear its voice the Bible tells us the time that we are to respond to the Holy Spirit's leading is not tomorrow is not 3 days from now the bible a stablish is and repeats this concept of Today today today if you hear is voice do not harden your heart. The Bible also tells us why we are to respond to God's call today because it says that if you don't respond today we are in danger of hardening our heart Now what does this mean to harden our hearts is this talking about heart disease or alter your sclerosis you know the clogging of our arteries this is a figure of speech I used the illustration of cement and it's actually in our definition here the definition of hardened to become firm or solid to solidify to become set to calcify to make inflexible are unchangeable to become cemented this is the definition of hardened. If you look it up in the original language this is what Hardin means to become firm or solid to solidify to become set to calcify or to become cemented when you work with concrete I had a little bit of experience in this regard I am not physically gifted in with my hands I tend to get hurt a lot but when I was in Academy I did work with cement a little bit and I was fascinated when I went on this mission trip because I had to build a wall with cement and so forth they later found out that I built it crooked so they have to tear it all down but the thing about cement is that there is a certain stage in cement in which it goes through this process as the cement reacts with the air and start to dry and with carbon dioxide it starts to go through this process where it is very malleable you can shape it you can form it but after a period of time it passes that period in which it can be no longer shaped anymore it starts to harden it starts to solidify it is no longer moldable anymore this is the implication that the Bible gives in regards to the state of our human nature and our character so here is the interaction I have trying to come up with a shape that would help us to understand this so here we have God He is unchanging all ways calling him in all ways reaching out all ways trying to save he's in this unchanging state but the problem is what I'm changing. This is the reality that the Bible presents he says if you hear is voice harden not your heart the Bible did not say respond today when God calls because tomorrow God may not be calling that's not what the Bible is saying at all the reality of this passage is that God is all ways call. He's all ways trying to save us he will never try stop trying to save us but there's something that happens in our human character when we say no or if we push things off or we fail to respond or we do not respond the Bible says that we go through this process of hardening of calcifying of changing I would contend here this morning that every time you have to make a spiritual decision that every time you make that spiritual decision you change you are not the same before the decision as after the decision and what the Bible is implying here is that when God extends to you Grace and he says David I'm trying to reach you I'm trying to call out to you I'm trying to save you and I say no that tomorrow I'm less likely to respond tomorrow this is the reality of what this passage is saying you need to respond today because tomorrow you will have less capability of responding not that God has changed but that we have changed this is the reality of what happens in our human nature I like to look at another verse it says today if you would hear his voice do not harden your heart it's and I phrased it and summarized it in this way put him off today. Hear him less tomorrow put him off today hear him less tomorrow a couple weeks ago I talked about my habit of stealing and it was fascinating the progression that happened in the beginning I remember I stole a matchbox car from my friend went to bed that night I couldn't sleep my conscience was bother me as a matchbox car but then I just started to steal some more stole boxes of ice cream and then I went to bed that night and it started bother me a little bit but I didn't bother me as much and then I started going down the path to the point I started stealing very big things and I sleep I would sleep like a baby that night what happened was the Holy Spirit not calling oh you better believe he was calling the problem was I was hardening I was becoming desensitized to less respect receptive to the spirits voice put him off today hear him less tomorrow. You know this is the issue when someone is hard of hearing the issue is not there is no long it's not as if there was a sound vacuum there's no more sound anymore the issue is that the man's ability to hear has been affected and this is the issue when it comes to the Holy Spirit our hearing becomes less and less receptive to the Spirit's call as we move on this is from review and herald 1906 Listen to this. If the voice of Jesus is not heeded at once it becomes confused in the mind with a multitude of other voices the world scares and business engrossed the attention and the conviction what die away I can't tell you how many Bible studies I've been. And the person is convicted they know they need to take a stand and it's in that moment you see all the signs of conviction but they say you know what. I'm not going to act today then I have to study next week and you know what it's dramatic to change that happens just the action of saying look I'm not going to act today I'm going to put it on the next week you know what they are in a dead different framework they're in a different mindset they no longer have the ability to act as they did before and they said you know what I don't even see the validity of this anymore they've changed not that God is not calling but that the heart has become hardened It's not that it's impossible but it's more difficult it says the conviction Dani's away the heart becomes less impressive and lapses into a perilous on consciousness of the shortness of time and of the great eternity beyond we become D. sensitized to the Holy Spirit immune as it was God is always calling the issue is that I always change closer to God or further away from him and it's a progression I don't want anyone to misunderstand me here this morning this does not happen overnight it is a drawn out process and it goes kind of like this God calls we don't respond as a result we become hardened God calls again we don't respond as a result we become more hardened and it goes on and on until our characters become set our characters become cemented as it was. Not that we no longer have the ability to choose anymore it's that I just don't care anymore we get to the place where we actually don't care some people ask you know how do I know if I've committed the unpardonable sin I would say if you're worried in asking that question you likely haven't That's right because the person that hasn't committed the unpardonable sin has gotten to the place where their character has become so cemented that a lifestyle of saying no to God has calcified has hardened their condition that they just don't care anymore I would even contend here this morning that the devil has gone through a life style transgression against God a pattern characteristic of change and transformation that his character has become set that he just doesn't care anymore he is beyond the reach of God's voice because he has become desensitized to his voice I just don't care anymore 1st Timothy Chapter 4 verse 2 Paul writes about a certain group of people and notice the language that he uses here it says who is conscience's have been what seared with a hot iron This is a metaphor that Paul uses to describe individuals that have said NO and NO and NO to the Holy Spirit to the place that their consciences have become seared as a hot iron they just don't care any more and this is the reality of what I believe about the nature of the clothes of probation. Some people have this misconception that God's up there he just closes probation on people he sits up it's over for you it's over for you just shuts the door on individuals when if they would just been given a little bit more time they would have been say that is not the reality at all the reality of the nature of our humanity and the way that God has framed us is that God does not close probation on Ochs we close probation on ourselves this is the reality we say no to God We say no to God and with every no we become more entrenched in our position to the point that we become sat in our position that we just don't care any more this is the reality God does not close probation on us we all timidly close it on ourselves this is actually very hopeful in that regard and that within your free will your power of choice you can determine your eternal destiny praise God for that as other religions out there other denominations believe that God picks people to be saved and to be lost the Bible states that every person every person in this room has the ability to choose where you will spend eternity praise the Lord for that I'd like to extend our time into the future as we look at the Millennium this is an artist depiction of that time period after the millennium after the 1000 years the New Jerusalem comes down from heaven. It comes upon the earth the righteous are inside the city in the Bible states in Revelation chapter 20 that this is the 1st time and the only time in earth's history that every single person that ever existed will be present they'll be a great resurrection the people outside the city are the individuals that are lost the people inside the city are the individuals that are saved and there's going to be this big confrontation between the lost and the saved here at the New Jerusalem there are transparent walls you can see through them this is going to be a profound and powerful moment in human history now for those individuals that come up outside the city if I was outside the city I would think that in my mind it's hard for me to even magine this because I want to be inside the city but imagine that if I got up on the outside of the city and I'm sitting on the wrong side and I see Jesus inside the city you would think that what I would say would be Lord please a little bit more probation is that what you would ask a least that's what I would ask oh say Lord Jesus I'm on the wrong side but you cut it too short you know if I just had a little bit more time I would have made the right decision I'd be inside the city not outside the city lord you need to give me more time or probation you would think that that would be their reaction but notice the reaction of the individuals that are outside the city they know that they're lost they know that they're on the wrong side they're not asking for an extension of their probation notice what they do Revelation chapter 20 verse 9 they went up on the breadth of the earth and surrounded the camp of the saints and the beloved city the reality is that the individuals out side the city even in the face of being on the wrong side say you know what I'm going to take the city meanie. That their decision was that their final decision meaning that even if God were to extend probation for another 1000 years every person outside the city would still make the same choice their characters have become cemented their characters have become hardened and they are set in their way so how do we apply this to us today one application is when you hear that still small voice within you and we've heard this before I hear it every single day David. You need to make this stand you need to apologize you need to follow this biblical truth that when you hear his voice you say Lord help me to follow that your desire here today say Lord Jesus help me to follow I want to go in a sure ject area a path of being more like Jesus every single day I don't want my heart to be hardened steps across Page 31 if you see your sinfulness what is to say DO NOT WHAT DO NOT wait don't say tomorrow if you see your sinfulness do not wait to make yourself better how many there are who think they are not good enough to come to Christ do you expect to become better through your own efforts this is help for us there is help for us only in God we must not wait for stronger persuasions for better opportunities or for holier tempers we can do nothing of ourselves we must come to Christ just as we are there is something that God will never override and that is your personal choice. And the choice that God wants us to say today is Lord I am willing help me to be willing I desire to follow your will but I'm weak and Lord I need help to day one and by you to stand with me as we prepare to pray and close here this morning every head bowed and eyes closed on to make a simple appeal here this morning and this is a very specific appeal this is not a general appeal but if you've heard the Holy Spirit speaking to your heart for the past few weeks or the past few months and there's a decision that God is calling you to make I don't know what it is perhaps it's a decision to witness to your neighbor perhaps it's a decision to use your spiritual gifts for the building up of Gaunt's church parade perhaps is decision to make things right perhaps as a decision to surrender an area of your life to God and you've been struggling here this morning and you want to say Lord Jesus I don't want my heart to grow hard I know that you're always calling but today I want to surrender this area of my life to you I'm willing help me to be willing that's your design one invite you to come forward this morning for a special prayer the Lord knows what that area of your life is and he can give you the victory and you want to say Lord I want to respond to the spirits call here this morning I want to say Yes Lord I'm going to come to you I want to respond to your spirits voice I'm tired of saying tomorrow I want to respond today because tomorrow less ability to respond Lord Jesus soften my heart that's your desire but you to come forward here this morning for a special prayer the Lord knows your heart Lord knows your struggles. The Lord knows our incapability but he is able to deliver a man God bless you on Bush let's pray Father in heaven we thank you that we can come to Jesus just the way that we are we thank you that you are always calling but you are always trying to say we thank you also for this time of probation that you granted to us this limited time this temporary status in which we can choose our eternal status I pray that you bless every person that's come forward here this morning you know the area of their life that you have calling them to decide on you know the area of their life that they perhaps been struggling with and I just prayed today that you would help us to be willing to be made willing do for us what were incapable of doing for ourselves we've come to you surrendering this area of our life and we thank you that you turn no person away I thank you for the individuals that have responded to you to your voice today and I pray that you would work in us both to willing to do of your good pleasure and when you come in the clouds of glory may we be found faithful because of the righteousness of Jesus Christ we ask the sings in Jesus' name. This media was brought to you by audio force a website dedicated to spreading God's word through free sermon audio and much more if you would like to know more about audio verse or if you would like to listen to more service leader Visit W W W audio verse or.


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