Summary: God’s extreme grace is available to each of us, but can only be received by a heart that is exposed and open before Him.
Hebrews 4:12-16 12 For the word of God is living and active. Sharper than any double-edged sword, it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow; it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart. 13 Nothing in all creation is hidden from God's sight. Everything is uncovered and laid bare before the eyes of him to whom we must give account. 14 Therefore, since we have a great high priest who has gone through the heavens, 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 sympathize with our weaknesses, but we have one who has been tempted in every way, just as we are-- yet was without sin. 16 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.
Intro: Maybe you’ve heard of extreme sports, where people do crazy things, just for the adrenaline rush they get from it. There is also a show on TV called Extreme Makeover, where they find a family in need and really go over the top, helping them start fresh with a beautiful new home, mortgage paid, college fund for the kids, etc. The word extreme speaks of the greatest possible degree or extent or intensity of something. It indicates that something is way out on the edge. I’ve called this message extreme grace because God is willing to go to great lengths to get to the core of our being. Some even accuse Him of being extremely cruel because of some of the extremely difficult things they’ve had to go through.
-The fact is, we are all going through a humbling process as God works in our lives. I’m not quite ready to say that everything that happens is from God, but I do know that He promised to be with you through it all. And as we deal with the less pleasant side of life, God invites us to come to Him in our brokenness and find healing and help from Him.
-How far will God go to give you the grace you need? The answer is the main thought of the message today.
Prop: God’s extreme grace is available to each of us, but can only be received by a heart that is exposed and open before Him.
I. God’s grace sees us just the way we are (12-13)
-When God shows His grace to us, He does not sidestep the truth about us. He doesn’t pretend that we have not sinned, nor does He ignore the fact that we have often been selfish and filled with pride. He does not overlook the truth about us, nor does He bend the rules of justice simply because He likes us. God is totally fair, honest, and just. It would go against His nature to pretend that our sin is okay or that we don’t have any.
-So, what is the truth about us? I am a sinner. If you were to stand before God today, what would you be sorry for? Lord, I’ve had hatred in my heart. I have been selfish and defensive. Lord, I’ve had unclean thoughts in my mind. I’ve allowed my thought life to go places it should not have gone. I’ve not been completely honest. I’ve taken what did not belong to me. I’ve judged others harshly. I’m haunted by sins from my past.
-The truth about us is that we do fail, we do sin, and our lives can get very messy. By ourselves we cannot be good enough or act good enough to make things okay. That is where God comes in. Even though He knows how much we have failed, He still offers His grace to us.
-The truth about God is that He sees everything.
-The writer of Hebrews shows that God’s word (His truth) penetrates every area of our hearts and lives. Nothing is hidden from His eyes. After Adam and Eve sinned, they tried to hide from God because they were ashamed of being uncovered before Him. They were ashamed of the fact that God could see right through them. Certainly, the whole dynamic of shame and being physically exposed was central to their situation. However, I’m not certain that they were as ashamed of their lack of clothing as they were of their lack of trust and lack of obedience to God.
-I’ve been pondering over this feeling of being exposed, open, bare before the One who made us. Sometimes life has a way of stripping us down to the bare essence of who we are. Some people do not like what they see inside and ask God for his help. Others try to find ways to insulate themselves from the bare facts of who they are.