Perhaps you have heard the saying, ‘It’s not what you know, it’s who you know that matters…’
I couldn’t agree more when it comes to living the life of faith as a Christian.
Hebrews 4:14-16 (NIV)
14 Therefore, since we have a great high priest who has ascended into heaven, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold firmly to the faith we profess. 15 For we do not have a high priest who is unable to empathize with our weaknesses, but we have one who has been tempted in every way, just as we are—yet he did not sin. 16 Let us then approach God’s throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need.
1. Great High Priest… who ascended to Heaven!
It is times like this when we need to truly believe in the greatness of our God.
It doesn’t say we have a:
- Limited high priest
- Average high priest
- Subject to global sickness high priest
- Ruled by economic pressures high priest.
It can be easy at times like this to limit God to what we see going on around us, but it is exactly times like this when we need our focus to be on God’s greatness!
I was speaking with a friend of mine this week and his comment was:
- “I can’t believe how small people think God is… as if this has caught Him by surprise or He is not sure what He will do…”
Our God is great!
- He stretched out the heavens
- Put in place the boundaries of the roaring Ocean
- I love looking at snow covered mountains and the vastness of it and thinking God made this!
- Our God speaks and His words supersede this earth and its physical laws
- He can speak to a storm and it will be still
- He rose from the dead and conquered death, sin, sickness and brokenness.
The first reminder we find in this passage is a statement on God’s Greatness.
Not only is He great, but it’s also where He lives.
Hebrews 4:14 (NIV)
14 Therefore, since we have a great high priest who has ascended into heaven, Jesus the Son of God.
He lives way above us!
We live in this dust filled, broken world, but His kingdom is eternal, all powerful, ruled through empires, ages, centuries.
- Wars haven’t stopped it
- Plagues haven’t halted it
- Global crises never ended it
- Times of prosperity and famine.
God’s kingdom never stopped!
- His rule never ended
- He sits above all of this and His eternal plan continues to roll out.
I think if anything, the constant need to remind ourselves of Eternity and what really matters, is at hand.
- God’s Word, His Kingdom, His plans and purposes, His promises, His power – He is great and lives far above!
Refuse to let what we see and hear, the uncertainty, the fear of the world, define our God!
We must choose to dwell with Him Above.
- Yes, we need our feet in the dust, but our prayer time, worship, holding onto God’s word and promise is about getting our spirit up where God lives and seeing His eternal perspective.
2. Hold firmly our faith!
Hebrews 4 doesn’t say hold on to:
- Your fear
- The media doomsday predictions
- Your prepping skills
- Your masks and gloves
- Your toilet paper – that could be gross
- Don’t hold onto some YouTube prophecy or random self-proclaimed prophet
- Don’t hold onto your news articles.
Hold on to your faith!
Hebrews 11:1 (NIV)
11 Now faith is confidence in what we hope for and assurance about what we do not see.
- Faith is the substance of things hoped for the evidence of things not seen!
- Isn’t that important right now!
Can I also just give you a tip to holding onto your faith… be careful what you look for.
I know two camps right now living in the same time and facing the same situation.
- One looks at doom, gloom, fear, bad news, bad reports, panic
- The other looks at the opportunity for kindness, God’s goodness and provision, that God will use this to build His kingdom, God’s promises.
Pick the right camp Church!
Hold onto God!
- Keep a firm grip on faith in times like this and refuse to let fear grip your life…
- we talked on his last week so if you missed it, go back and listen to fear vs faith – it will encourage our spirit!
But I love this next bit… v15
3. He has been tempted in every way…He understands!
In life it is easy for us to feel like:
- No-one understands
- Our case is different
- No one really knows.
While we live in what is shaping up to be some really challenging days, Jesus has felt all the things we will feel in the midst of it!
Jesus has felt the things we have felt in our past or current no matter what caused it.
Yet, in the middle of it all, He chose not to sin – allowing these to overcome Him… turn Him away from God or obeying Him!
Even if we just look at the Garden of Gethsemane where Jesus was about to face the crucifixion, He felt it – so much so that the stress caused his body to sweat drops of blood!
- Yet He chose to obey God
- Chose to trust God
- Didn’t abandon His faith in God
- Didn’t abandon the call of God.
Whatever we feel today and for whatever reason, Jesus understands… more than that – He has been there!
- Jesus has faced it all
- He understands.
His peace isn’t token or shallow, but from a place of having walked through the valley of the shadow of all these things.
His promises of peace are sure, certain and incredible.
- He has faced what we are facing. He has brought help, strength, comfort, even joy in all those things we face – even today.
That is what I love about Jesus!
- He isn’t some distant deity
- He isn’t the cosmic clock maker who made this world and is now watching on passively, disconnected to our suffering.
He instead personally came, walked in our shoes!
- He suffered all we have.
Every emotion, feeling, struggle, battle – He has faced them as a human being like us.
- He knows, understands, can empathise.
That is the God we pray to!
4. Let us approach God’s throne of grace!
One of the things with our current situation is that Christians/believers who may have slipped into:
- Just doing Church without engaging with God personally
- Perhaps that were just ticking boxes of Christianity
- Caught in crowd following
Now EVERY believer must be taking personal responsibility to connect with God.
In our own homes we need to take responsibility for reading the word, leading our kids in God’s ways, worship, prayer.
- Let us approach God’s throne.
Not let the pastor.
Not let your husband or wife.
Not let a podcast.
Not let your friend–but let us!
Can I encourage you at this time to personally reach out to God and engage with Him? You lead your family and kids in prayer, scripture, faith.
It says, let us approach God’s Throne!
It’s easy to approach:
- The headlines
- Social media
- ‘Self-proclaimed’ prophets or doomsday naysayers
- Just plain ignoring reality
- Or escapism with the many forms of our entertainment.
I have had a couple of these try to force their way into my life this week, but I choose to go to God!
- Go to His throne room
- Pray to the Way Maker, Miracle Worker, Promise Keeper.
Take some time to get alone with God and hear His voice, through prayer, the word, His presence.
- Put on some worship and sit, allow the Holy Spirit and God’s presence to bring peace and courage to your heart and spirit!
- Pray as a family, read God’s word, let worship fill your home!
This is the time, and while we can’t gather in the physical, let’s gather as we can online, but then personally seek God at this time.
- It uses the word confidence to describe how we should approach God’s throne and His presence.
Be confident God wants to engage with you, your family, your home, bless you, bless your finances, bless your relationships, reveal His promises.
5. Receive God’s Grace and Mercy in time of need!
We have some very real challenges right now in front of us and I know people personally that have already been hugely affected by it in the many ways this is impacting our nation.
Whether however it was this current situation or another thing in the future, we all need the grace and mercy of God.
It’s not about our own strength, discipline, focus and ability to just keep going.
We all need the grace of God:
- To get through a challenge
- To face tough times
- To stand strong and lead our families and others
- To keep believing when I can’t see it
- To trust God in the midst of the storm
- To put us together when life seems to break us
- To make us strong when we are weak
- To forgive us when we fail
- To pick us up when we fall.
I am so glad the Scripture says come to His throne where we will receive grace and mercy in time of need.
Because, if not today it will be another day.
- We all have times of need.
- God is right there with us in whatever time of need we find ourselves.
I would say today we are surrounded by need, by people experiencing all kinds of challenges, fears, loss’s, realities of their life being impacted in a way we didn’t expect.
- Can I encourage you? Jesus understands and if you will go to Him you will find the grace and mercy you need at this time.
It’s not what you know, it’s who you know that matters.
Be a person who knows Jesus and His eternal life!
Suggestions for discussion
- Discuss the statement – it is exactly times like this when we need our focus to be on God’s greatness!
- How hard is it to refuse to let what we see and hear, the uncertainty, the fear of the world in these challenging times, define our God?
- We all need the Grace and Mercy of God in these times. How hard is it for you to completely rely on Him when the world is in such turmoil?