My Oct. 4 lesson ...
Sunday we continued our study of Hebrews, talking about being confident in our faith because through His sacrifice Jesus secured our salvation.
Our memory verse encapsulates that thought, Hebrews 4:16 says, "let us approach the throne of grace with boldness, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us at the proper time."
Have you seen "Stand By Me?" It’s a story of four 12-year-old boys who go off to find the dead body of a boy from town. Along the way they jump off a train bridge to avoid getting killed, end up in a lake full of leaches, and use a gun to drive off some older teens who are troublemakers.
There's not much more confident than a boy who thinks he can take on the world, whether it's jumping off a roof wearing a Superman cape or accepting a dare to lick a frozen pole. OK, so there are also examples of overconfidence.
So how confident are people today in believing that Jesus truly makes a difference? What can believers do to help raise the confidence level people can have in Christ? When do you feel most confident? Least confident?
Now let’s take a look at Hebrews 4:14–5:6. In our scripture this week we see how recognizing Jesus as our Great High Priest gives us confidence in our Christian walk.
God had assured the Jews that He would give them victory over every seemingly insurmountable obstacle, but the Israelites refused to believe. During the time of Hebrews the readers would be experiencing a lot of persecution for their believes, so they needed some reassurance that it was worth it and to keep the faith.
CONFIDENCE (HEB. 4:14-16)
14 Therefore, since we have a great high priest who has passed through the heavens—Jesus the Son of God—let us hold fast to the confession. 15 For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but One who has been tested in every way as we are, yet without sin. 16 Therefore let us approach the throne of grace with boldness, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us at the proper time.
***Anytime we step out with boldness to spread Christ, we are showing that we are on the winning team.
Have you had to endure trash-talk from someone who roots for a rival team, and their team is winning and yours stinks? You just kind of slink away, don't you? But if you know you have a winner you shout it loud and proud. Well, we are on the winning team. Satan is a loser.
*** Verse 14 says, “let us hold fast our confession.” Romans 10:9 says if you confess with your mouth Jesus as Lord and believe that God raised him from the dead, you’ll be saved. If you’ve made a confession, the writer here is telling us to keep it current. We can do so confidently, because we know that He, as our High Priest, is interceding for us. He advocates for us, standing in our defense before the throne of a Holy God.
Isn’t it nice to go to court and have a defender? Whom do you know who stands in your defense in some way? Jesus is the believer’s Perfect Advocate?
*** v. 15 - Jesus was tested.
--- He's walked a mile in our shoes, and more! Jesus experienced what it was like to be tired, hungry, thirsty, sorrowful, disappointed, taunted, beaten, and tempted. Unlike us, Jesus was without sin.
--- Not only that, but James writes in 1:2 that we should "consider it a great joy, my brothers, whenever you experience various trials!"
*** Knowing that Jesus sympathizes with your weaknesses, can it make your prayer life and daily walk more fulfilling?
*** Memory Verse: Hebrews 4:16 - Therefore let us approach the throne of grace with boldness, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us at the proper time.
BOLDNESS! Be confident!
--- The Holy Spirit empowers us to witness.
--- Think of the confidence you had as a new believer, wanting to share Jesus with everyone. Hopefully you still have that fire, but more often than not once we get some negative reaction, or we are pooh-poohed by friends, or don’t convert new believers right away to share our excitement, it fades, and God knows that.
--- Do you remember those guys who had enough swagger to hit on every girl at a party or in school? They had done it so much and with enough gusto that they brushed off rejection. If you were the wallflower or shy or low self-esteem, no doubt you wondered how they could do it. And scoffed at your dad when they said to just do it and don't be afraid of being turned down.
*** How can we have confidence as followers of Jesus to stand fast with our beliefs and to talk to others?
--- Study the Word. Know your scriptures. Be willing to be used. In Acts 8:26-40 Philip obeyed God, was presented with an opportunity to share the gospel with the Ethiopian, and helped to make a new believer who would spread the Word further.
--- Because our salvation is secured through the sacrifice of Jesus Christ, we can have confidence that God is never too busy, never distracted with other obligations, and never disconnected from what is happening in our lives.
FOUND IN CHRIST (HEB. 5:1-6)
1 For every high priest taken from men is appointed in service to God for the people, to offer both gifts and sacrifices for sins. 2 He is able to deal gently with those who are ignorant and are going astray, since he is also subject to weakness. 3 Because of this, he must make a sin offering for himself as well as for the people. 4 No one takes this honor on himself; instead, a person is called by God, just as Aaron was. 5 In the same way, the Messiah did not exalt Himself to become a high priest, but the One who said to Him, You are My Son; today I have become Your Father, 6 also said in another passage, You are a priest forever in the order of Melchizedek.
*** Last week we talked about warnings to watch out for trouble. This week we're focused on the positive. The writer of the book of Hebrews is saying in Christ you find everything you need. Don't go back. Don't let go. Don't be like those people described as rocky ground in Matthew chapter 13 who live the life for a little while but when trouble comes they wither and die because there was no real root. Don't be like those people described by the weedy soil who make a profession of some kind and then let the cares of this world choke out that original confession. (John MacArthur)
*** v. 1-3: Jesus is the Great High Priest.
--- What sets Jesus apart? He is a "great high priest" who has passed through the heavens"
--- Every priest in Israel had to pass through something, through curtains in the temple to arrive in the presence of God in the Holy of Holies. The high priest went into the Holy of Holies once a year to atone for the people's sins. He sprinkled blood and got out of there double-quick under penalty of death. There was no chair, no bench, nowhere to sit. It was a man-made structure.
--- If you had been a first-century Jew and were hearing this verse for the first time, you would have shuddered at the thought of just any individual daring to enter the Lord God’s presence. Every Jew knew that only the high priest could enter the most holy place in the temple
--- Jesus, as the great high priest, didn't have to go through any curtains or face punishment. He passed through the heavens to sit on the right hand of God. (John MacArthur)
*** Called by God.
--- Verse 4 makes it clear that the role of the high priest was not sought; he was called to the position as Aaron was as the first Israelite high priest.
--- v. 6 - Jesus was appointed to fulfill the ultimate work of a high priest, an eternal position.
*** Melchizedek was only in Genesis for three verses, but is referenced here and in Psalm 110:4 - The LORD has sworn and will not change his mind: “You are a priest forever, in the order of Melchizedek.”
In Genesis 14:18-20, Melchizedek appears as a priest of the Most High God and the king of Salem (perhaps a short form of the later name “Jerusalem”). Abram (Abraham) gave a thank-offering to God through Melchizedek following a great military victory.
It’s a mystery why Melchizedek is so important because of a short mention, but obviously he warranted great importance with God. We will learn more about Melchizedek in an upcoming study.
TAKE AWAY POINTS
*** We can have confidence as Christians because Jesus is the Truth. Keep Christ as the source of your power instead of relying on your own strength.
*** Understanding the Bible will make you bold in your witness.
*** Give it all to Him.
There's a tale that before the Crusades, knights being baptized would hold their swords out of the water. In essence they were saying, “My sword will not be joining the Kingdom of God. It will remain a part of the kingdoms of this world.” The taking of another human life being incompatible with the teachings of Jesus, the knights left their swords out. As I read about this, it made me wonder, what parts of my life am I unwilling to submit to Jesus? My wallet? My time? My beliefs? My ideology? It doesn’t work that way. Jesus says “whoever tries to keep their life will lose it.” With Jesus it is an all or nothing proposition. We don’t get to compartmentalize our faith. If we are to follow Jesus, then His commands and teachings influence every part of our lives. (Joey Clark)