Title: Clearing the Road to Heaven
Purpose: To motivate Christians to edify one another

Intro:	1.  We Conquered Mount Wantasequit as a Family.  Had to encourage each other.
	2.  That is what goal of book of Hebrews is, encouragement to keep going to conquer
	3.  Context:
		a.  Difficulties set before us = “Lord’s discipline”
		b.  We are to set our eyes on Jesus who ran this race and marked out the course
		c.  v. 11- We grow through these difficulties
	4.  Text:  Heb 12:12-17
		a.  Quoted from Isaiah 35:3 - “Encourage the Exhausted, strengthen the feeble”
		b.  This passage begins with “therefore”
			-Text literally:  Strengthen the hands that are weak (not “your weak hands”)
			-This isn’t talking about just yourself, but what to do for others
		c.  One of the things we are to learn from discipline is how to support one another
		d.  This involves making the road passable that we run our race on
	5.  We have to clear away the things that hinder one another --

I.  We must clear away the boulders
	A.  Text says to make straight paths for our feet.
	B.  What does this mean?
		1.  The “your” is plural - talking about one another
		2.  A straight path is un -natural
		3.  We went up a “semi” natural path up mountain - Stacey twisted knee, William
		4.  Natural paths uneven, bumpy, crooked, rocky, slippery
	C.  Reminds me of a show on the History Channel:  Paving of America
		1.  First Highway was South of Detroit (before turn of century)
		2.  A big Major Construction
		3.  So nice, could go high speeds and pass each other
		4.  All that work for a one mile stretch of Highway
	D.  Took a lot of effort to make that straight road
		1.  This text is calling us to remove boulders and stumbling blocks
		2.  Text not say that it not your job to make smooth road for others
		3.  You can dislocate or heal.  Which will you do?
		4.  Removing boulders is a LOT OF HARD WORK
		5.  Practically, it means to care about where your brethren are treading
			a.  You see it is rough for someone, don’t let them stumble along alone
			b.  Strengthen them, encourage, help clear the path ahead of them
			c.  Means going to have to spend more time together

(Also related to clearing away boulders is clearing away trash)

II.  Clear away the trash
	A.  Text says to pursue peace with all men
		1.  It is usually a trashy attitude that prevents peace
		2.  Trash repels, peace binds together
	B.  The text puts peace and sanctification together
		1.  Sanctification = holiness, dedicated to-ness, set apart-ness, or different-ness
		2.  What does this have to do with peace?
			a.  Worldly Attitude - Peace not up to me, but up to you not to wrong me
						stems from PRIDE and ARROGANCE
			b.  Holy Attitude - Pursue peace
				- RSV - “Strive for”  NIV - “Make every effort”
				- Means smoothing the path over for others
				- Matthew 5:23-24
				- Pursue peace means YOU TAKE INITIATIVE
		3.  This was one of greatest witnesses to early Christianity
			a.  “See how they love one another”
			b.  You have an smell if you pursue peace (its a good smell)
			c.  We are to be Aroma of Christ (2 Cor 2:15)
	C.  Movie: Charolettes Web 
		1.  Templeton had an aroma problem
		2.  Egg that didn’t hatch - Goose said be careful, can be a veritable stink bomb
		3.  Got broken, and stench was horrible - repelled everyone away
		4.  You can be a rotten egg and repel, or a flower and attract
		5.  What aroma when step on rotten egg?  On a flower?
	D.  What aroma do you give off when stepped on?
		1.  If sanctified, you have been transformed from rotten egg to flower
		2.  Maybe there is still some rotten egg that needs to be cleared away
		3   God wants us to be holy, dedicated, different
			a.  That means to stop being a rotten egg
			b.  It means giving off a fragrance of love, grace, forgiveness
		4.  The path needs to not be just leveled, but cleared of rotten eggs and lined
 		    with flowers
		5.  Think of this -- DID GOD PURSUE PEACE WITH US?
			a.  What fragrance did he give off when Jesus was crucified?
			b.  It wasn’t the odor of Arrogance and Pride (though he had every right)
			c.  It was the fragrance of grace, humility and love

(If we don’t, it will become a weed problem)

III.  Clear Away the Weeds
	A.  See to it that no root of bitterness springs up causing trouble
		- This is part of how to pursue peace with all men
	B.  Explanation:
		1.  Bitter root and God’s grace are put together in this verse
			a.  What do they have to do with each other
			b.  A person with bitterness can lose graciousness, and fall short of God’s 
		2.  So if a person falls short, they need to shape up right?
		3.  God wants YOU to do something about it
		4.  How is this to be done?  Go to it with flame thrower and burn up weeds?  No!
			a.  “See to it”  -  episkopeo
			b.  The nound form of episkpeo is translated "elder"
			c.  There is a wise gentle connotation.
	C.  This is a gardening analogy here
		1.  I remember blowing dandelions
			a.  My neighbor with nice lawn yelled at me
			b.  I didn’t know it was a weed
			c.  Weeds going unchecked to take over a lawn or garden
		2.  See to it that it doesn’t spring up and cause trouble
			a.  Bitterness if unchecked will take over
			b.  You take the initiative
	D.  What this mean?
		1.  Don’t be blowing seed that will cause bitterness
		2.  Get to the root (cutting off top, will only come back, still there)
		3.  Here are some Herbicides:  (depending on the type of weed)
			a.  I love you
			b.  I respect you
			c.  I understand
			d.  I’m sorry

(but there is one other thing to clear away)

IV.  Clear away distractions
	A.  Esau was a distracted man
	B.  The story:
		1.  Esau a Godless man
		2.  He gave up birthright for a single meal
		3.  He wasn’t focused on what is truly of value
		4.  He even accused Jacob of stealing his birthright
			Jacob stole blessing, but not birthright
	C.  We need to run with singleness of purpose
		1.  We need to help our brothers stay focused
		2.  What does this mean?
			a.  Talk about the race, not the weather
			b.  Hold each other accountable (in gentleness)
				-Some get distracted by world
				-Bring them back to the race

1.  Bring them back to the race by supporting them lovingly -- 
	a.  Clearing away boulders
	b.  Clearing away Trash
	c.  Clearing away  Bitter Weeds
	d.  Clearing away distractions

2.  Maybe you are distracted, stumbling, dealing with bitter weeds getting out of control

3.  Maybe you know a brother who is, time to do something about it