The "Let Us" Series From The Book Of Hebrews #3


Let Us Approach God's Throne With Confidence!


TEXT:         Heb. 4:14-5:10


INTRO:       Fear can be a devastating thing!  When we are not confident in something or someone we feel fearful, and this can keep us from moving forward in life. 


One really great example of this was after World War II:


ILLUS:     A Japanese soldier by the name of Shoichi Yokoi lived in a cave on the island of Guam to which he fled in 1944 when the tides of war began to change. Fearing for his life, he stayed hidden for twenty-eight years in the jungle cave, coming out only at night. During this self-imposed exile he lived on frogs, rats, snails, shrimp, nuts and mangoes. Even when he figured out the war was over he was afraid to come out for fear he would be executed. Two hunters found him one day and escorted him to freedom. He was living all this time under the indictment of sins that had all been dealt with--but he simply had not appropriated the atonement that was available. -- James S. Hewett, Illustrations Unlimited (Wheaton: Tyndale House Publishers, Inc, 1988) p. 36.


In the same way many people view God as a fearsome and frightening entity.  They either believe God doesn’t care, or doesn’t exist, or if He does He in unapproachable.  This is so far from the picture we have of Christ in the Bible, in fact, the opposite is true – Jesus Christ is not only approachable, He literally experienced our humanity, including temptations to sin in order to become a perfect high priest to help us, and to heal us from our sinful ways. 


No human being other than Jesus Christ can offer to mediate between God and man, if they are just another human being they are flawed and don’t even know what it means to stand in God’s presence – they therefore can’t qualify as our mediator.  And God the Father is so perfect that we could never stand in His direct presence as we are as sinners.  Christ therefore became a living breathing fully human being and experienced our humanity without sinning so He could offer Himself up as both our mediator and sacrifice.  In doing this He proved God’s love toward us; He would “die for us while we were yet sinners!”  He also understands our frailty and can be our perfect High Priest to enable us to come into God’s presence “BOLDLY!” (KJV) or with great “CONFIDENCE” (NIV).


PROP. SENT:     The Bible teaches us that we can enter into God’s presence boldly through Christ who has not only paid the price for our sins, but acts as our perfect High Priest.  It is possible to experience God’s love and forgiveness, mercy and grace, and new life through Christ.


I.   Come With Confidence!   Heb. 4:14-16


A.  Relationship!    Heb. 4:14-16a

1.   The conclusion of “Therefore…” here states categorically that we have a great high priest in Jesus Christ!

a.    Jesus never sinned, He was 100% human, and 100% God, this makes Him unique in history – and makes possible for us to have a relationship with God through Him. 

b.   Why did Jesus willingly die in our place?  Because “He so loved the world…”

c.    He wanted us to have fellowship with God, and the only way for that to happen was for the price of sin to be paid fully for man.

d.   Jesus bore that price though He Himself was sinless and perfect. 

2.   What does this mean?  It means that it is possible now through Christ to be in right relationship with God!

3.   It also means that we can come into God’s presence BOLDLY or with great CONFIDENCE!

4.   Christ bore our sins and our humanity, by becoming one of us He changed forever the way we see God, and the way God sees us!


ILLUS:     Joseph Damien was a nineteenth-century missionary who ministered to people with leprosy on the island of Molokai, Hawaii. Those suffering grew to love him and revered the sacrificial life he lived out before them.

   One morning before Damien was to lead daily worship, he was pouring some hot water into a cup when the water swirled out and fell onto his bare foot. It took him a moment to realize that he had not felt any sensation. Gripped by the sudden fear of what this could mean, he poured more hot water on the same spot. No feeling whatsoever.

   Damien immediately knew what had happened. As he walked tearfully to deliver his sermon, no one at first noticed the difference in his opening line. He normally began every sermon with, "My fellow believers." But this morning he began with, "My fellow lepers."

   In a greater measure Jesus came into this world knowing what it would cost him. He bore in his pure being the marks of evil, that we might be made pure. "For this I came into the world," he said (John 18:37). -- Ravi Zacharias in Deliver Us From Evil.  Fresh Illustrations for Preaching & Teaching (Baker), from the editors of Leadership.


5.   How can we resist this kind of love?


B.  Restoration!    Heb. 4:16b

1.   God’s plan wasn’t just forgiveness and freedom from penalty, it was intended to restore us to God’s favor through Christ!

a.    This is why we can come boldly or confidently into God’s presence, we are now “sons and daughters of the Most High God!”

b.   Imagine the change of heart this creates, especially when we know we are still flawed and sinful at times!


ILLUS:     Tears glistened in the eyes of the Salvation Army officer Shaw as he looked at the three men before him. Shaw was a medical missionary who had just arrived in India, and the Army was taking over this particular leper colony. These three men had manacles and fetters binding their hands and feet, cutting their diseased flesh. Captain Shaw turned to the guard and said, "Please unfasten the chains."

  "It isn't safe," the guard replied, "these men are dangerous criminals as well as lepers!"

   "I'll be responsible. They're suffering enough," Captain Shaw said, as he put out his hand and took the keys, then knelt and tenderly removed the shackles and treated their bleeding ankles and wrists.

   About two weeks later Captain Shaw had his first misgivings about freeing these criminals; he had to make an overnight trip and dreaded leaving his wife and child alone. His wife insisted that she wasn't afraid with God being there. The next morning when she went to the front door, she was startled to see the three criminals lying on her steps. One explained, "We know the doctor go. We stay here all night so no harm come to you." That's how these dangerous men responded to an act of love. Christ came to set fettered people free. -- James S. Hewett, Illustrations Unlimited (Wheaton: Tyndale House Publishers, Inc, 1988) pp. 118-119.


2.   Christ becoming our perfect high priest and dying for our sins and restoring us to favor with God creates a boldness and confidence that far exceeds our own knowledge of the flawed characters we know we really are!

a.    When we come to God we don’t do so based on how WE feel, but we come based on how GOD feels about us!

b.   This is an important distinction!

c.    Yes, we know we still mess up – and when we do we still need to repent; but we belong to God through Christ’s sacrificial work and God our Father sees us through the blood of Christ, not the weakness of our humanity.

3.   This kind of knowledge that Christ died for us, paid our way back to God’s favor should invigorate our value and our love in the eyes of God.        

a.    And by the way, this should not lead to being sloppy about sin, when one realizes what Christ has done and is so moved by this act of love it creates a desire to NOT SIN in our heart, but to live up to what Christ has made us, sons and daughters of God!

b.   If it leads to being casual about sin or not taking sin seriously in our lives then we have not truly appreciated what Christ has done for us, in fact, we are cheapening the sacrifice of Jesus for us!

4.   When we come boldly into His presence now we know we can find mercy and help – precisely what the Hebrew writer says in Heb. 4:16b

a.    We need not fear coming to God!

b.   We can even come boldly now!


II.  Christ With Cleansing     Heb. 5:1-10


A.  Representation!    Heb. 5:1-3

1.   If you were going to stand in the presence of the Supreme Court of the United States of America you would want to have the finest legal representation possible, after all – you will be standing in the presence of the greatest judges on Earth!

a.    Now take that even further, if you are going to stand before the Judge of the universe, God Himself – you will want the finest representation possible as well!

b.   Unfortunately, there are no human beings qualified enough to stand in as your representative from Earth!  And I wouldn’t recommend you representing yourself in the great court in eternity!  (Layers often refer to people who decide to represent themselves as “having fools for representation!)

c.    Jesus however becomes our representative before His Father, and this is the greatest representative you could ever hope to have!

d.   Jesus and Jesus alone is capable of allowing you to pass the test before God, and even find favor and approval from God the Father!

2.   Doesn’t it make sense to have the best source possible when facing the greatest test for eternity?


ILLUS:     Steve Winger from Lubbock, Texas, writes about his last college test a final in a logic class known for its difficult exams:  To help us on our test, the professor told us we could bring as much information to the exam as we could fit on a piece of notebook paper. Most students crammed as many facts as possible on their 8-1/2 x 11 inch sheet of paper.  But one student walked into class, put a piece of notebook paper on the floor, and had an advanced logic student stand on the paper.

   The advanced logic student told him everything he needed to know. He was the only student to receive an "A."  The ultimate final exam will come when we stand before God and he asks, "Why should I let you in?" On our own we cannot pass that exam. Our creative attempts to earn eternal life fall far short. But we have Someone who will stand in for us. -- Leadership, Vol. 15, no. 4.


3.   There is a way to stand confidently, and boldly in God’s presence!  His name is Jesus Christ – and He is the chosen representative for all humans to come to God with confidence, there are no others!


B.  Revelation!    Heb. 5:4-5

1.   There have always been people in history that have claimed they will save the world, they will build great empires, they will solve mankind’s problems. 

a.    Some of them disguised their ambitions in the early stages by appearing to unite and strengthen their countrymen, people like Hitler, Stalin, Mussolini, Alexander the Great, Napoleon, etc..

b.   However, all of these turned out to be despots, bent on usurping power over others, flawed and full of sin that drove them in the end to be exposed for who they really were.

c.    God never picked any of them – although some claimed that right in their early stages of power.

2.   There is only ONE who was chosen by God in all of history to bring restoration to mankind; and instead of amassing power for Himself, He willingly died for everyone else, including accepting the penalty of sin though He Himself never sinned!        

a.    Just as in the Old Covenant, one did not appoint himself as high priest; it was revealed by God who would serve in this role!

b.   Any attempts to usurp that role ended in death!

c.    The author of Hebrew states the same here for Christ, “No one takes the honor upon himself; he must be called by God, just as Aaron was.”  So Christ also did no take upon Himself the glory of becoming a high priest, God called Him, chose Him, and revealed Him!  There was no other name throughout time!

3.   This is why we must learn that it is ONLY in the name of Christ that we can come to God and find favor!

a.    God has set this up, it does not matter if it is logical, or politically correct – God said only through His son and this name shall mankind be saved!

b.   The early church and leaders clearly understood this, we read in Acts 4:12 “Salvation is found in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given to men by which we must be saved!”

c.    All roads DO NOT lead to God!  (People often say this, “all roads lead to God … but I’ll bet if they got in their car on one side of town and did not use a GPS device or maps and simply drove any road in any direction they would discover that all roads don’t lead them to their home!)

4.   But coming to God through Christ gives you great favor, favor you would not get otherwise in any other way, by any other means!


ILLUS:    There was a soldier in the Union army, a young man who had lost his older brother and his father in the war. He went to Washington, D.C., to see President Lincoln to ask for an exemption from military service so he could go back and help his sister and mother with the spring planting on the farm.  When he arrived in Washington, after having received a furlough from the military to go and plead his case, he went to the White House, approached the doors, and asked to see the president.  However, he was told, "You can't see the president! Don't you know there's a war on?  The president's a very busy man. Now go away, son! Get back out there and fight the Rebs like you're supposed to."  So he left, very disheartened, and was sitting on a little park bench not far from the White House when a little boy came up to him.  The lad said, "Soldier, you look unhappy.  What's wrong?" The soldier looked at this young boy and began to spill his heart out to this young lad about his situation, about his father and his brother having died in the war, and how he was the only male left in the family and was needed desperately back at the farm for the Spring planting.

   The little boy took the soldier by the hand and led him around to the back of the White House.  They went through the back door, past the guards, past all the generals and the high ranking government officials until they got to the president's office itself.  The little boy didn't even knock on the door but just opened it and walked in.  There was President Lincoln with his secretary of state, looking over battle plans on the desk.  President Lincoln looked up and said, "What can I do for you, Todd?"

   And Todd said, "Daddy, this soldier needs to talk to you." And right then and there the soldier had a chance to plead his case to President Lincoln, and he was exempted from military service due to the hardship he was under.

   Such is the case with our ascended Lord. We have access to the Father through the Son.  It is the Son who brings us to the Father's throne and says, "Daddy, here is someone who wants to talk to You." -- James S. Hewett, Illustrations Unlimited (Wheaton: Tyndale House Publishers, Inc, 1988) pp. 72-73.


C.  Reconciliation!    Heb. 5:6-10

1.   Jesus did not simply come and throw around His power as the Son of God, instead He laid down those powers willingly and prayed, submitted, and lived out a life of Holy living by the power of the Holy Spirit – the same power available to us as well.

2.   Jesus learned obedience through suffering; all of this He did not have do, He was already God – but He knew that without become fully man and dying for us there would be no reconciliation with God.  He also knew no one else could do this.

a.    So He willingly accepted this role out of love to redeem mankind from its own foolish ways.

b.   What the first Adam destroyed, Jesus who in the New Testament is called the second Adam restored!  Jesus succeeded where Adam and Eve failed.


a.    In other religions you have to try and find God, you have to follow certain rituals and paths.  In some religions those gods never died for man, their gods are elusive – you can only hope to find nirvana eventually, or if you worked hard enough maybe you’ll get paradise, etc.

b.   Only in Christianity does God take the penalty of sin, only in Christianity does God die for us, and only in Christianity does God in Christ actually defeat death and rise again from the dead.

c.    Only in Christianity does God take the bullet for us!


ILLUS:     In the 1993 hit film In the Line of Fire, Clint Eastwood played Secret Service agent Frank Horrigan. Horrigan had protected the life of the President for more than three decades, but he was haunted by the memory of what had happened thirty years before.

   Horrigan was a young agent assigned to President Kennedy on that fateful day in Dallas in 1963. When the assassin fired, Horrigan froze in shock.  For thirty years afterward, he wrestled with the ultimate question for a Secret Service agent: Can I take a bullet for the President?

   In the climax of the movie, Horrigan does what he had been unable to do earlier: he throws himself into the path of an assassin's bullet to save the chief executive.  Secret Service agents are willing to do such a thing because they believe the President is so valuable to our country and the world that he is worth dying for. Obviously they would not take a bullet for just anyone.  At Calvary the situation was reversed. The President of the Universe actually took a bullet for each of us. At the Cross we see how valuable we are to God. -- Douglas G. Pratt, Allison Park, Pennsylvania. Leadership, Vol. 16, no. 2.


4.   With all this in mind, how can you not feel confident to come into God’s very presence, and feel bold about doing so?

a.    There is great resource in finding compassion, mercy, forgiveness, help and love, joy, and peace in coming to God through Christ who is a high priest touched with our feelings of weakness!

b.   We don’t come to God in Christ with fear of being pushed away, or of God having little interest in us – we can come confidently because we know that with Christ as our sacrifice and high priest we can enter confidently, even boldly into God’s presence and we will not only be heard, but ministered to as well.

5.   God loves us, and desires our best, our cleansing from sin, our healing and hopes restored.

a.    In times of blessings we can come grateful before Him.

b.   In times of distress we can come confidently before Him knowing we will find mercy and help in our time of need.

6.   So – “Let us then approach the throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need!” Heb. 4:16


CONCLUSION:   We are not only invited into God’s presence freely through Christ, we are encouraged to come “boldly” (KJV) – “confidence” (NIV) into God’s presence.  In spite of who we are, when we come into God’s presence through Christ our high priest and sacrifice we actually enter into God’s presence with God desiring to grant us mercy and grace to help us!  It is not earned by our “goodness” – it is given by Christ’s work on our behalf.  Are you coming boldly to God, are you confident of your heavenly Father’s love for you?  “LET US GO WITH CONFIDENCE…”