"OUR GREAT CONFIDENCE"
(A Series on Hebrews)
Westgate Chapel 11/3/96a.m. Hebrews 10:19-39
PROPOSITION: Because of the perfect and complete sacrifice of Jesus for sin, we have a confidence that changes the way we live, we have a power that defeats the stronghold of sin, and a reward that spurs us on to persevere in the faith.
- THE Gospel of Jesus Christ fills every need in the human life.
- NOW, that is a statement that we make a lot as Christians, but the people outside of the Church do not understand.
- IT doesn't make sense to them. They cannot conceive how the story of Jesus can meet all of their human needs.
- BUT I am not sure that we completely understand how the Gospel of Jesus meets all of our human needs.
- BUT it does. And the last few passages from the book of Hebrews that we have been studying have been getting at the heart of this reality.
- TWO Sundays ago, from Hebrews 9, we looked at the human desire for "new" and how it is met by the power of the Gospel that makes us "new creatures in Christ Jesus."
- LAST Sunday, from the first half of Hebrews 10, we looked at the human desire to "be accepted, to measure up" and how it is fulfilled by the power of the Gospel that makes us perfect and holy in God's eyes.
- THIS morning's message is no exception. I love the way that God's Word applies so practically to the heart needs of mankind.
- THIS morning I want to talk about that need within our hearts to have confidence, to be confident in all situations.
- NOW, you could go to a weekend seminar, in some fancy hotel, and pay $1500 to learn some tricks to gain confidence.....where they don't allow you to go to the bathroom for three days and you start out with an instructor screaming and swearing at you.
- OR you could spend $25 and buy a book that promises to improve your self esteem, and help build your inner confidence. I am told that 85% of all titles in publication now have to do with self and improving self.
- BUT I want you to know that any method of self improvement that does not begin at the cross of Jesus is just putting whitewash on a wall that is about to crumble and fall and really needs a new foundation and reconstruction from the bottom up.
- THE 21 verses in Hebrews 10 that we are going to study this morning do not contain just a theory about confidence, they contain far more, they have within them a power for confidence that is not of human origination. That is what makes this "confidence" different from all the rest.
- AND the key is that the passage, in verse 19, starts with a "therefore." And "therefore's" always point back to what has just been said.
- AND in this case, the "therefore" in 10:19, points back to the new covenant that we have available to us through the power of the blood sacrifice of Jesus Christ.
- IN fact, verse 18 tells us that when we have been forgiven for our sin by faith in Jesus, that there is no other sacrifice necessary.
- AND then, the very next verse says "THEREFORE."
- NOW let's see what comes after this "therefore."
ii. a confidence that changes how I live
- WHAT follows this therefore is a confidence that changes the way I live. Let's read it together, starting at verse 19.
"Therefore, brothers, since we have confidence to enter the Most Holy Place by the blood of Jesus, by a new and living way opened for us through the curtain, that is, his body, and since we have a great priest over the house of God, let us draw near to God with a sincere heart in full assurance of faith, having our hearts sprinkled to cleanse us from a guilty conscience and having our bodies washed with pure water. Let us hold unswervingly to the hope we profess, for he who promised is faithful. And let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds. Let us not give up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but let us encourage one another--and all the more as you see the Day approaching."
- NOW what we have here is a confidence that does not begin with me or you, and that is the good news.
- I DON'T care how good you or I are, in any area of life, and the good front that we project, there is always something in the inner recesses of our lives, that shakes that confidence......and leaves us feeling insecure.
- I HAVE a friend in San Diego who is a neurosurgeon, and lives in a beautiful house on Coronado Island, drive a beautiful car, is very successful, very confident in surgery, but will not ride a bicycle, will not let his kids roller skate, and is paranoid driving in traffic.......his confidence in this area of life shaken by all the accident victims he has had to operate on.
- RITA'S mom, when she was alive, was a tremendous business woman. She exuded confidence at work. She was in charge of shipping and traffic for a large grocery conglomerate in central Ohio, and she could move more freight than any of her predecessors in that company. She could make truckers back down and deliver on schedule.
- BUT let a little harmless mouse run across the floor of her office, and she was on the chair calling for the maintenance department on the intercom.
- NONE of us are quite what we present ourselves to be. We all have areas where our human confidence runs out and we are left with sheer grit to face certain situations in life.
- WE need a confidence, that is not of our own manufacture, that will change the way we live.
- THE writer of Hebrews presents us with this confidence, and he identifies its foundation with two "since's."
- HE says, in verses 19&20,
* Since we have confidence to enter God's presence by the blood of Jesus.
* And since we have a great high priest over the house of God.
- NOW, up to this point, there is still no human effort in the picture.
- IT is all Jesus. And that, friend, is our only hope of ever having a confidence that will not let us down.
- IT is based on the One who never sinned, who never failed, who fulfilled His mission of love on earth, and is presently seated at the right hand of God, in the power position, next to the throne of the Most High.
- WE have a confidence that is based on a power that is higher than anything this world knows.
- AND the power of this confidence is such that it changes the way we live. The writer knows this, because he follows verses 19&20 with 5 "let us's."
- SINCE we have this great, life-transforming confidence that comes from Jesus, our high priest, then let us......
1. Draw near to God with a sincere heart, and our guilty consciences cleansed and our lives purified from the stain of sin.
* Let's get close to God.
2. Hold unswervingly to the hope we profess, because He who promised is faithful.
* Let's hold on to what we say about the power of God in us to complete His will in us.
3. Spur one another on towards love and good deeds.
* Let's not get weary in the work of God's kingdom, but in word and deed, encourage one another to even greater kingdom achievements.
4. Meet together frequently, and not get slack in this like some have done.
* Let's not allow the world to rob us of the excitement and the dynamic of coming together in God's presence and receiving the instruction of the Word.....and ministering one to another. It is a higher priority than most of the things that keep us apart, week to week.
5. Encourage one another, especially as we see the Day of the Lord getting closer.
* Let's be agents for building one another up. Any yahoo can tear down. The world does that with great skill. Let's develop the skills for building each other up in the ministry of encouragement......especially since we see the Day of the Lord getting nearer.
- NOW, these five things that the writer lists here, will transform your life, if you did nothing else the rest of your life.
- THEY flow from the confidence that will change your life......the confidence of Christ's sacrifice, and the confidence that He is our great High Priest.
iii. a confidence that defeats the power of sin
- NOW, the next 6 verses, are very controversial.
- THEY are also very severe.
- THEY have to do with the judgment of God on those who have received the truth (verse 26), and are sanctified by the blood of Jesus Christ (verse 29), but who deliberately keep on sinning.
- NOW, it is important to know that this passage is not talking about the believer who is determined to be like Jesus, but falls into sin from time to time.......and is broken in repentance when he/she does fall into sin.
- THIS passage is talking about the believer who deliberately, willfully, plans and executes sin without fearing the Lord......and without grieving over what their sin does to the Lord.
- THEY excuse their action, they rationalize their sin, they blow off the Word of God, they treat lightly the blood sacrifice that sanctified them (verse 29).
- VERSE 26 says of these people, that "no sacrifice for sins is left, only the fearful expectation of judgment and of raging fire."
- NOW, these are God's words, not mine.
- I AM not a vengeful preacher this morning. I cannot afford to be vengeful, I am too conscious of my own need of forgiveness, daily.
- BUT I also cannot afford to soft pedal the truth of God's Word, even when it is severe.
- AND this is a severe passage of warning against an unrepentant hardened heart.
- AND you might say, "Pastor, where is the confidence in ths passage."
- WELL, I see it as two fold.
* The first is that the words of God's judgment, for me, add credibility to the message of the cross.
* God, who alone knows the severity of the judgment ahead for those who reject Him, went to the farthest extent of His love, to provide an escape for us.
* If there was no judgment at all for sin, or if God took sin lightly, then why go to the extent of the cross for His only Son.
* So the seriousness of the cross tells me that there is a serious judgment against sin.
* Secondly, the words of God's judgment, send me to the cross to learn about its power over sin that is available to me in my life today.
* Verse 22 says that there is a "full assurance of faith" that our hearts can be cleansed from a guilty conscience, and our whole lives purified by the power of the Word.
* I John 3:9 says that "No one who is born of God will continue to sin, because God's seed remains in him...."
* Paul says, in Romans 7:25, that through the power of Jesus Christ within us, we have power over sin. We are not bound by the power of sin.
* In Romans 8, he continues, saying that ".....through Jesus Christ, the Spirit of Life set me free from the law of sin and death."
- SIN has no hold over me, because my confidence is in the power of the cross, that has given me a new nature in Christ Jesus.
- THIS does not mean that I will never stumble and sin, it means that I am not subject to its power and whim. I am not tossed about by the temptations and sin of this evil world.
- MY confidence, when it comes to the subject of judgment, is in the cross of Jesus Christ.
- MY will power is not enough. My ability to resist temptation is not enough. I need a power that is greater than I am.
- IT is there. It is the power of the indwelling Spirit of God.
- What a confidence!
iv. a confidence that spurs me to persevere
- HERE is the last part of this message on confidence.
- IT is found in the last 8 verses.
- LET'S read from verse 32:
"Remember those earlier days after you had received the light, when you stood your ground in a great contest in the face of suffering. Sometimes you were publicly exposed to insult and persecution; at other times you stood side by side with those who were so treated. You sympathized with those in prison and joyfully accepted the confiscation of your property, because you knew that you yourselves had better and lasting possessions. So do not throw away your confidence; it will be richly rewarded. You need to persevere so that when you have done the will of God, you will receive what he has promised. For in just a very little while, 'He who is coming will come and will not delay. But my righteous one will live by faith. And if he shrinks back, I will not be pleased with him.' But we are not of those who shrink back and are destroyed, but of those who believe and are saved."
- IT is fascinating to me how, in the last two chapters, the writer has constantly kept the soon return of Jesus in view.
- THIS chapter is no exception.
- THE focus here is the confidence that we have, in the face of the worst of circumstances, that our perseverance will be rewarded.....when Jesus returns and He will return and will not delay.
- YOUR confidence will be rewarded.
- THAT confidence spurs me on to persevere.
- THIS is a time for holding on. Don't give up.
- WHEN temptation comes....hold on.
- WHEN grief overwhelms you....hold on.
- WHEN fear grips your heart......hold on.
- WHEN your friends desert you....hold on.
- WHEN there seems to be no hope.....hold on.
- WHEN the healing is not there....hold on.
- WHEN your children reject the Lord you love...hold on.
- YOUR confidence will be rewarded when He who comes will return.
- WE are not of those who shrink back and are destroyed, but of those who believe and are saved.
- IT starts at the cross, and with the great high priest who is sitting at the right hand of God.
- IT changes your life, in very practical ways.
- IT gives you power over the stronghold of sin.
- IT is rewarded when Jesus comes back to take us to be with Him forever.
COME INTO THE HOLY OF HOLIES