Covenant Words
Covenant Words

Episode 596 · 6 months ago

Hold Fast to Christ

ABOUT THIS EPISODE

Hebrews 4:4-16

* Note - durring the service, there was an electrical outage.

Together in prayer, are great and loving heavenly father, we are so very grateful that you have given us your holy word. You've given us our own copies of the originals, and we need that word daily and especially, father, we want to hear it preached, and I pray that the preaching would be clear from conviction and from the leading of Your Holy Spirit. May every word be edifying and encouraging. ME. We be exhorted to trust and rely and to look unto Jesus, and may we be in couraged, father, to go to the Throne Room of God, to the holy of holies. May We be encouraged to spend much time there every single day as a result of hearing the scriptures today. Bless us. We pray in Jesus name. Amen. And if you have your Bible there, I invite you to turn with me to Hebrews, Chapter Four. Hebrews for now the text is fourteen to sixteen. I'm going to back up all the way to eleven. Give us a little context here. So Hebrews for beginning at verse eleven. Let us therefore strive to enter that rest so that no one may fall by the same sort of disobedience for the word of God is living, an active sharper than any two edged sword, piercing to the division of soul and of spirit, of joints and of marrow, and discerning the thoughts and intentions of the heart. And no creature is hidden from his sight, but all are naked and exposed to the eyes of him, to whom we must give account. Since then, we have a great high priest who has passed through the heavens, Jesus, the son of God. Let us hold fast our confession, for we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but one who, in every respect, has been tempted as we are, yet without sin. Let us then, with confidence, drawn near to the throne of grace that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need. The grass withers in the flowers fade, but the word of our God endures forever. Nay, it endure within each one of us. Today, you may be seated. This pulpit has such a slant...

...to it I'm losing everything down the it's okay, well, we'll do this. Many years ago, when I was just a skinny little kid. Once in a while I would go with my dad to work. He was a contractor and he worked for a large company in Orange County building condominiums and apartments. This was back in the S and I've just got to follow them around the job. But the highlight of the day was when the coffee truck came. That's what we called it, the coffee truck, and he would come during the break and during lunch and then the afternoon break, and when he came he'd blow his horn in the men would make their way out there and I'd go with them and I would walk right by them, through them and everything, and I'd go up there and I would take what I wanted off that truck. Kind of bold for a little kid. And there's Pie, I love Pie, you know. And there's chocolate milk. Oh, we don't have a lot of that at home. I'll have that today. Why was I so bold and why did the guy who ran the ruck not say what are you doing? Well, it wasn't because of me, it was because of my dad. He was the boss and the coffee truck guy wanted to place him so he could have all in the business throughout the course of building those apartments. It wasn't me and it wasn't because of my boldness or my goodness that I could do that. And it's not because of your goodness or mine that we can enter into the very holy holies of God himself. And that's what our passage shows us. It's only through our high priest, it's only in Jesus name, through faith in him, that we can in fact boldly enter into the very holy of holies in glory, in heaven itself. What a privilege. The writer to the Hebrews Rights Marvelous Truth Doctrinal truths about the person and work of the Lord Jesus Christ. The whole first chapter is filled with incredible statement after statement. He wants those Christians back then and us today to keep our eyes on the Lord Jesus Christ. They were tempted to fall away from the faith, they were tempted to go back to Judaism, they were tempted to run because, yes, they were going through many...

...trials and many difficulties. And, like a good pastor that he was not only a writer or theologian, but he was a good pastor. He encouraged them through this marvelous text and I hope you leave here today greatly encourage desirous to see your prayer life grow and increase. When you stand before God, will it be in Christ Jesus, your high priest, or will it be in your own efforts and in your own righteousness? I hope it's in Jesus and in Jesus alone. Point number one speaks of this high priest, a great high priest in glory. Verse Fourteen, that's exactly what our writer is saying. He begins with an exhortation here. Well, at the end of verse fourteen he says, Let us hold fast our confession. He commands us to do that, because they're tempted to fall away. You'll see that through the opening chapters of Hebrews. Hold fast to your convictions, to your beliefs. Maybe you know somebody who as a good friend in the faith and you read together and you went to church together, and all of a sudden they begin to move away and not be around that much and they end up not going to church. And I have, of I had a friend like that and then in about the last seven years or so he began to just not go and he invited us out on Sunday mornings to let's go to Brunch, let's do this, let's do that, you can take time off, and he had no concept of what our Sundays and Lord's days were like, and so I prayed and prayed for him that he would come back. And then about a year ago we heard the news. His wife woke up and he was there in bed with her and he had passed on. And I have no, no hope, but only God knows. I hope he's then glory, but I have really no hope that he's there, because he didn't persevere, he didn't hold fast to his confession. Notice the reasons that our writer gives. Jesus is our great high priest. We see that in chapter three, verse one, and it's what he's done and continues to do. Is One reason why we ought to hold fast. Another is where he is and where he resides now in the third is who he is. Is Jesus, the son of God. You see that in verse fourteen. What is he done? The high priests? They offered up sacrifices again and again under ragular...

...basis, and the Day of Atonement that was the High Holy Day. Will look at that in just a moment. And they offered them up. Jesus, our high priest, is our sacrifice. And he offered himself up when they took him and tried him and lied about him, and pilot three different times says I find no fault, I find no guilt in this man. And then he proceeded to have him crucified and Jesus on the Cross, taking our sins upon himself, knowing the full displeasure and wrath of his father, cried out, my God, my God, why have you forsaken me? And it's because of me, it's because of you. Our sins were laid upon our savior. Will see that in greater detail this evening in is Zaiah. And he died for us. And yet on the third day he promised and he did. He rose again from the dead and he continually now we see it in different places, especially Hebrews. He continually intercedes for us. He speaks on your behalf to his father. He is at the right hand of God right now in glory, so far above those human priests in the Old Testament, in the old covenant, because they would die. But of Jesus, you see, lives on, and he lives on and makes intercession for us. And that's where he is. It's in the highest heavens, which implies something. It implies that he was raised from the dead and that after forty days, he ascended to glory, to the highest place of power and authority in the entire universe, at the right hand of God. As the PSAMA says. In a hundred and ten psalm, the Lord says to my Lord, sit at my right hand until I make your enemies your footstool. And he is there, and God is the father, is promising and answering his promise to Jesus. Even now he is dwelling in the holy of hopes. And who is this person again? Well, you see it in the verse. there. This is Jesus, the son of God. Now a lot is said about him in chapter one. He is seen there as our great prophet. He is the creator of the universe and sustainer of all things. He is, as the writer puts it, the radiance of the glory of God, which means he is God, Very God, of Very God. He is the second person of the Trinity, the Son of God.

He is seen in chapter one as Almighty King, Eternal Lord. And yet, as you go on in Hebrews, if you want to turn back to chapter two for a moment. In chapter two and verse Seventeen, we read therefore he had to be made like his brothers in every respect so that he might become a merciful and faithful high priest in the service of God to make propitiation or satisfaction for the sins of the people. He is the son of God and he is seen there as fully man, and that's vitally important for your salvation and for mine. He is called Apostle and high priest of our confession. He said to the apostles, I will build my church and his Apostle and high priest. He went forth, he went to glory, he sent forth his spirit and he is in the process of building his church right now now. The writer to the Hebrews contrasts. As you go through Hebrews first ten chapters, he contrasts the old with the new, the new with the old, the priesthood and Jesus, who is a part of a different priesthood than milk kizedekian priesthood. He contrast those two Old Testament priests were sinful men who would eventually die they couldn't continue on being a priest, but Jesus will never die. He had to first offer a sacrifice on that day of Atonement, for himself and his family, their sins, and then for the sins of the nation. Once a year, one priest would be selected for this high and holy honor. They would spend two or three weeks prior to that day walking through things, thinking about what they were going to do, because this was it was an awesome honor, but it was a fearful thing to go in and stand in the presence of the Holy God, and so they would put bells on the bottom of their robes and a rope on an ankle and they could hear him in the holy of holies. And if they didn't hear him and there was no sound and nothing was being said, they would pull him out of there because God had struck him down. He had done something wrong before God, a holy God. Year after year a new high priest would enter in and continue to offer the sacrifices, continue to...

...bring with him blood and to sprinkle it on the altar and on the ARC. One writer, Bishop Westcott, writes these words. The writer everywhere insists on the duty of the public confession of the faith the crisis claimed not simply private conviction but a clear declaration of belief openly in the face of men. And these Christians were being persecuted. As you read on and Hebrews, you see that some were cast into prison, some lost their homes and so on. And he says this is a public confession they had to make, just as we make a public confession here of our faith when we become members of the Church today, and this is so sad. As a pastor I've seen this over the years. People make confessions, they take vows and make oaths and promises and then, as time goes on, they treat them as meaningless. Please come and talk with the elders. We haven't seen you for quite some time. Or let me meet with you and let's talk. How can I help? How can I be an encouragement to you? And people are making their way out and making their way out and they don't want to hear and it's it's sad, but it's important when you know they're they've made their way way over here. You say remember your vows. You stood before the congregation and you took these vows. That's a serious promise to Almighty God and they act as if who cares? You can't tell me what to do. I'm going to do whatever I please. But the writer to the Hebrews is warning US and saying you make that value, you have that conviction, you lived by it no matter what comes. Raymond Brown rites of David's followers, interesting example of commitment. He writes their duty at that moment was to obey the king's instructions and to trust his wisdom. It meant that they were going into a life of hardship, in security, privation, suffering, possible death, but they would be with the king and that was enough. And if you read the life of David, coming to the latter part of Second Samuel, there's a whole chapter and David's mighty men. They were there with David through ups and downs, through good times and very, very difficult times. But they made that commitment and they state and they followed the Lord, as...

David followed the Lord. Secondly, he's not only a glorious high priest, but notice that he's a great high priest with a human nature. Remember that. That's vitally important. That's what he says to us in Verse Fifteen. We do not have a high priest is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but one who, in every respect, has been tempted as we are. Yet without sin, he can feel, he sympathizes, he knows what's going on in your life, good and bad, a hard, difficult, wonderful, joyful, he knows it all. The stoakes back during those days believe that the primary attribute of God was Apatheia, the inability to feel anything at all. They reasoned that if he could feel, he could be controlled by others and therefore would be less than God. On the other hand, in contrast, the epicureans believe that God dwelled in Intimodia, the space is between the world's in complete detachment. Oh, there's a god, but he's doesn't really care much about what's going on down on earth. There he's separate from all of creation. Yet, in contrast, according to the scriptures, with those philosophies, Jesus, as high priests, can fully sympathize with our feelings, are sufferings, our temptations. God has entered the world in Christ and taken on a complete human nature. Even now he is God and man, you see, and he always will be Jesus fully God and fully man, and we read that in the first couple chapters of Hebrews. He can really feel like the rest of us. You know why? Because he had to learn. He had to learn how to walk. When he started out he was like like Little Judah, just being held. Couldn't walk. Judah hasn't said a word to me yet, but I'm not going to take that personally because I know he doesn't know how yet. He's got to learn how to talk, doesn't he? and Jesus, it's hard to believe. We always think of Jesus being there growing up knowing at all. He's God. Therefore he doesn't. He doesn't understand anything that we humans go through. Well, he understands everything that we humans go through. He had to grow in knowledge,...

...which he had to learn the discipline of work. He knew what it was like to live in a fallen world and suffer. He knew what it was to be tempted. Satan tempted him at the very beginning of his ministry in the Wilderness. He was there forty days and forty nights and he was very hungry and Satan came and he tempted him and Jesus stood on the word of God. Peter was used by the devil once when Jesus said to his disciples, I'm going to be taken and I'm going to be beaten, I'm going to be crucified and on the third day I will be raised, and Peter Literally took him aside. The other apostles are here, they're watching this, and Peter took him aside and said no, Lord, this can't happen. And what did Jesus say to it? He said, get behind me, Satan. Don't you tempt me. Satan, you have the thoughts of man, in the considerations of what and wants, and not of God. In the garden of Aasemite, the great time of anguish, of temptation, of grief, of having the burden in the focus. Very shortly he's going to be on that cross. He's going to have to endure the wrath of God, endure our sins upon him, the holy one. and He fell in his face. And three times you prayed to God, if you can take this away, this Cup, Lord, take away, but if not, then thy will be done and not my will. And Luke says that he sweat profusely and he sweat great drops of blood. That's going through temptation and on that cross, during those three hours of darkness where he was made sin and the father poured forth his wrath, judging all of those sins in Jesus and not in us, and he cried out, my God, my God, why have you forsaken unbelievable. We can't even comprehend what he went through. C S Lewis is responding to people who say Jesus was perfect, so he didn't really know temptation. He writes this. A silly idea is current that good people do not know what temptation means. This is an obvious lie. Only those who try to resist temptation know how strong it is. After all, you find out the strength of the German army by fighting against it, not by giving in. You find out the strength of a wind by trying to walk against it, not by lying down. A man who gives into temptation after five minutes simply does not know what it would have been like after an hour. That is why bad people in one sense, no...

...very little about badness. They have lived a sheltered life by always giving in. We never find out the strength of the evil impulse inside US until we try to fight it. In Christ, because he was the only man who never yielded to temptation, is also the only man who knows to the full what temptation means, the only complete realist love the way. He ends that without sin. Hebrews Chapter Seven, if you look there and verse Twenty Six, for it was indeed fitting that we should have such a high priest, holy, innocent, unstained, separated from sinners and exalted above the heavens, the sinless son of God on and his epistle says. You know that he appeared in order to take away sins, and in him there is no sin. That's Jesus, holy and undefiled. Jesus is not a STOIC. He feels, he cares, he experiences our struggles with the devil, with sin, with death, and that's why Jesus, knowing our struggles, he bids us to come to him. And if you're a note taker, than take this down. Man a few eleven, twenty eight to thirty. Jesus says to us, come to me, all who labor in our heavy Laden and I will give you rest, take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls from my yoke is easy and my burden is light. He knows, he knows how to guide US and teach US and discipline US and encourage us. He understands and he wants us to come to him. He wants us to follow him because, you see, the yoke of sin, sin is an awful, awful taskmaster. Jesus is a wonderful Lord. The final thought this morning number three. A great high priest who receives sinners. It's an amazing statement. I'm so grateful for that and I hope that you will drink this in and take this with you and find it motivation and grace this week to seek his face, as God says, seek my face, and David said THY face. Oh Lord, I shall seek notice in Verse Sixteen. Let us then, with confidence, drawn near to the throne of...

...grace, with confidence, with a bold, frankness as an honest, humble seeker, not with an attitude that I have it together, because we know that we don't, but with the hope that Jesus does, and we come in Jesus righteousness and in his name and Jesus is there in the holy of Holys and we have the privilege of talking to our heavenly father, brothers and sisters. This is most amazing. It's such a contrast with the fear and trembling of the Old Testament believers, the high priest. It was an honor, but he did so in fear and in trembling. Nay Dab and by WHO A bay who? Errand's first two sons put strange fire together. They conducted something else that God had not commanded them in worship, and he struck them down because he is holy. Our brother Azer was too familiar with the arc and things that were going on, and the oxen almost stumbled and he grabbed hold of the arc as if he were going to save God himself. The Holy God struck him down. How scary is that? In Hebrews, Chapter Twelve and verse eighteen we see what it was like. For you've not come to what may be touched a blazing fire and darkness and gloom and tempest. That was the old covenant and the sound of a trumpet and a voice whose words made the hearers beg that no further message bespoken to them and it was so tears, so artem reading my notes here. Yeah, that was special effects. That Moses said, I tremble with fear. Thank you. This is a first and I've done this a few times. Moses knew God face to face and yet he said I tremble with fear for God. Jesus is our high priest. He's there in the whole of Holy's, the Throne Room of God. He has torn the court curtain into he's fulfilled or righteousness. He is our righteousness and our advocate. Our confidence is not in ourselves, it's in him. When you have sinned and you know it and you are grieved and you feel the guilt of that sin, are you tempted to...

...close your mouth and go the opposite direction instead of going to your heavenly father? Immediately you say, well, I'm not worthy, and that's what the Bible says. You and I are not worthy. The very place that we ought to run is away from our sin into the arms of our father. Do you do that, or do you hesitate because you think, well, I just haven't had a very good week. I've really stumbled a number of times and therefore I'm not going to go to the throne of grace. But the basis for you going there is not your performance at all, because God demands perfection and we cannot produce it. We can only come in Jesus and his righteousness, or we cannot come to God at all. And so the writer here is saying come to the Throne Room of God, the throne of what? What's it say in the text? The throne of grace. It's not a throne of judgment. Not to the judge of all the earth. You want to get this victor different phone. Not The judge of all the earth, surrounded by glorious, powerful angels in flaming fire. Now it's being led by Jesus to our heavenly father, to his throne in the throne is a throne of grace, not a fire, but of grace. Now listen carefully. I know it's hard to it's hard to keep your focus. I don't that's ever happened before, but that was something else. I'm glad I know Jesus and and he is my righteousness. Listen to what John Calvin says about this, inviting us to come to the throne. This is this is really good. Calvin was such a theologian, but he was a great pastor. The basis of this confidence, he writes, is that the throne of God is not marked by a Naked Majesty which overpowers us, but as adorned with a new name, that of grace, counts. UNMERITED FAVOR is there, it's poured forth. This is the name that we ought always to keep in mind when we avoid the sight of God. The glory of God cannot but fill us with despair, such as the awfulness of his throne. Therefore, in order to help our lack of confidence and to free our minds of all fears, the Apostle closed it with grace and gives it a name that...

...will encourage us by its sweetness. It is as if he were saying, since God has fixed on His throne a banner of grace and to fatherly love towards us, there is no reason why His Majesty should board us off from approaching him. He in fact, is our heavenly father. His arms are open wide, all because of what Jesus, his son, is done. Why should we go there? And he tells us, and that's the end of of the message. To receive, to obtain, to get mercy. First of all, mercy has to do with God's pity upon sitters, at sinners, as we wallow in our sins and struggle with it, the bitter fruits of sin. And he has mercy on us and he's ready to forgive and to remove our sins. As far as the East is from the West, come to me, I will have mercy on you. The first word that David used in Psalm fifty one when he confessed his sin to the Lord, was Lord, have mercy upon me. And the second word here is grace, God's unmerited favor, his love, his enabling grace. Work out your salvation with fear and trembling, says Paul, and Philippians too, but then he follows it up by saying, for God is at work in you, both to will and to do for his good pleasure. That's the ongoing grace of God. Final words the brothers and sisters. We must ask and seek and knock, and he promises that the door will be open unto us, not to a dead, unfruitful philosophy or I ideology, but to a living hope. For Sake of time, I'm not going to read the passage and Hebrews twelve. The first part of that passage had to do was signi. The second part has to do with the Saints in Heaven in the very presence of God, with all the holy angels. It is an amazing picture. That's where we go, you see, after we die, we go there immediately, and right now in prayer, we go there in Jesus. Is a little kid that I had nothing that I could bring. I don't have any money in my pocket that I could even buy something off the coffee truck, and as God's children, we have nothing to bring except to say, Lord, I'm trusting in your messed son, his shed blood and his righteousness, given to me as a gift when I believed. Praise God.

Please go to the Lord, seek his face. This week. Spend much time in prayer, and it isn't always sitting or kneeling or whatever. It's driving in the car, it's doing mundane task that we don't have to think much about. We can be talking with our heavenly father about every detail. As we read earlier, he knows everything about us. Bring it to him on, burden your hearts and leave it there in the Throne Room of God. Let's pray our father and our God. We are so very grateful for every word of scriptured. We ask that your spirit would attend this text, that he would drive at home, that we would be comforted and courages. We go back to this text this week. Just three verses are so encouraging. Bless us, father, as we seek you give us grace upon grace to love you more and to want to be not only in brief times but all day long, knowing that we walk and live in your very presence in Christ Jesus, Our Lord, we thank you. We pray your blessings on the means of grace that we will look at now in Christ. Name a Man.

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