Summary: This sermon focuses on those who are connected to Jesus Christ as disciples as opposed to those who are connected with (asociated) Christ.
CONNECTING THE DISCONNECTED
Text: Hebrews 4:14 – 16, 5:7 – 9
Just recently I read a sermon in last Friday’s edition of the Times and Democrat by the Rev. Frank Hay. He made some interesting comparisons in his sermon. He mentioned how Judas’s kiss which was a sign of affection was used as a sign of betrayal. Another comparison that he made was between those who are connected with Christ as opposed to those who are connected to Christ. Following His arrest, all of Jesus’s disciples scattered. When Peter was approached by others who recalled seeing him with Jesus, he denied knowing Jesus. As it was then, so it is now. Jesus came to connect the disconnected.
The text for today’s message mentions how Jesus is our High Priest. What is a priest? Have you ever thought of what it is that a priest does? A priest is usually thought of as an ordained minister who administers Holy Communion, preaches, leads worship and looks after the needs of the flock. In the Old Testament, a priest was someone who helped sinners reconnect with God by sacrificing an animal to appease God’s wrath. Our High Priest, Jesus Christ paid the price for our sins once and for all. Consider Hebrews 10: 10 – 12: “Because Jesus Christ did what God wanted him to do, we are all purified from sin by the offering that he made of his own body once and for all. 11 Every Jewish priest performs his services every day and offers the same sacrifices many times; but these sacrifices can never take away sins. 12 Christ, however, offered one sacrifice for sins, an offering that is effective forever, and then he sat down at the right side of God” (GNB).
What was the origin of our broken communion with God? If you said Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden, then you are right. 1) Sin separates: It was their sin and rebellion that severed the perfect and unbroken communion that they had with God. Can you imagine what our world would have been like if Adam and Eve had never rebelled?. 2) Speculation: According to Billy Graham, if Adam and Eve had never rebelled, then it would have been game over for Satan. If they had never rebelled, then we would be living in a problem-free world. Utopia is a metaphor for a place where everything is perfect, harmonious and problem-free.
Heaven is the only place where everything is perfect! 1) Heaven is God’s goal for us: In Heaven, there is no pain or suffering. Since God has placed a hunger for eternity in our hearts (Ecclesiatses 3:11), earth is not our home. 2) Jesus intercedes: Jesus Christ, … offered one sacrifice for sins, an offering that is effective forever, and then he sat down at the right side of God” (Hebrews 10:12 GNB). God meant for Heaven to be our home. 3) The most dangerous weapon: What is the biggest obstacle that Satan uses destroy our communion with God? The answer is sin. What is Satan’s ultimate goal? Satan’s ultimate goal is to use sin to constantly destroy our communion with God.
Jesus came to fix the problem by taking care of sin, its wages and our fear of death! 1) Jesus sympathizes with us: “Since Jesus is our High Priest who has gone through the heavens … let us hold firmly to our faith” (Hebrews 4:14 GNB). Jesus sympathizes with us because He was tempted in every way that we are tempted, yet He is without sin. 2) Our access to God: It is because of His intervention that we can approach the throne of grace with confidence so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need (Hebrews 4:115 – 16).
Jesus came to reconcile us. Reconciliation means to bring an end to a conflict or dispute between people. Think about the lengths that God’s only begotten Son went to reconcile us back to God as he was obedient to the point of death on a cross (Philippians 2:8).
In January 2001, Seiko Sakamoto, a Japanese plasterer in a Tokyo subway station, fell into the path of an oncoming train. Lee Su Hyun, a Korean student in Japan, leaped down on the tracks to save Sakamoto. Both Hyun and Sakamoto were killed.
This selfless act by the Korean student on behalf of the Japanese laborer has caused many people in Japan to reconsider their long-held prejudices against Koreans. Strong feelings of distrust between the two countries go back to World War II atrocities that the Japanese inflicted on Koreans. Many Japanese people, including the prime minister of Japan, have openly expressed sorrow over their stereotypes of Koreans and have begun to talk about reconciliation.