Summary: How to follow Christ’s example of finding joy while we’re enduring life’s chaos.
HOW TO ENJOY LIFE & NOT JUST ENDURE IT, How Christ’s Suffering Changes My Perspective About Difficult Times (Hebrews chapter five)
Today’s message is our last (for now) in the series from the letter to the Hebrew Christians of the First Century but I hope we can revisit this letter at a later date.
So far in our series on "Finding Calm in the Chaos" we’ve seen that Jesus is to be the central heart of our faith-focus because He is "better than" all of the Old Testament prophets, angels, leaders and high priests.
Today in chapter five we see the concept of Christ being our great High Priest as continued from chapter four.
I’ve divided chapter five of Hebrews into two parts for the sake of today’s Scriptural journey:
Part #1: Verses 1-6, that communicate to us the wonderful depth and breadth of Christ’s high priesthood, and
Part #2: Verses 7-14, that tell us in what ways Christ’s high priesthood sets an example for us on HOW TO ENJOY LIFE AND NOT JUST ENDURE IT.
Before we begin our journey in God’s Word remember our theme for this series has been Hebrews 12:2a (NLT): "Keeping our eyes on Jesus, on whom our faith depends from start to finish."
The rest of that same verse says, "He was willing to die a shameful death on the cross because of the joy he knew would be his afterward. Now he is seated in the place of highest honor beside God’s throne in heaven."
In the midst of the most horrendous act of endurance in the universe, dying on the cross for the world’s sins, Jesus had joy! Jesus endured but he also had joy!
The author of the letter to the Hebrew Christ followers was imploring them to endure, to not turn back because of the chaos that persecution had been causing them.
We are in need of encouragement to endure because of the chaos that intersects our lives from time to time.
We are encouraged by the fact that Christ not only endured - He enjoyed. After he endured there was joy. In fact, this verse says that he was motivated to endure by the knowledge that his endurance would produce joy.
I haven’t mentioned this truth in this series yet because I’ve been saving it. Each week in this series I’ve shared with you the first part of our theme verse and intentionally haven’t emphasized the last part of that same verse. I want today’s message to be concentrated on one BIG THEME: ENDURANCE PRODUCES JOY!
I want to talk to you about HOW TO ENJOY LIFE AND NOT JUST ENDURE IT.
Sure, endurance is essential! But I think a lot of people become unnecessarily discouraged because they only think about the difficult part and not the enjoyable part of following Christ. I want you to see today how enjoyment is tied to your endurance.
As our theme verse says it begins with Jesus. So let’s look at Jesus as our perfect high priest.
PART 1: The Perfect High Priest - Hebrews 5:1-6
The Hebrew letter writer starts with...
A. An Elementary Lesson in Leadership
1 Every high priest is a man chosen to represent other people in their dealings with God. He presents their gifts to God and offers sacrifices for their sins. 2 And he is able to deal gently with ignorant and wayward people because he himself is subject to the same weaknesses. 3 That is why he must offer sacrifices for his own sins as well as theirs. Hebrews 5:1-3 (NLT)
When it came to men like Aaron, the first high priest of Israel, the writer says three things about human high priests:
(1) They were chosen to represent other people in dealings with God. The high priest of Israel would take other people’s gifts and sacrifices and offer them to God on their behalf. A high priest was a mediator, a go-between, a middleman to represent other men to God.
(2) They were able to empathize with those sinners for whom they offered sacrifices because they too were human. So...
(3) They had to offer sacrifices for their own sins as well as for the sins of others.
Jesus is like the high priests of the past in points 1 and 2. He was chosen to represent other people in their dealings with God and he was human.
But He is NOT like them in point 3. He did NOT have to offer sacrifices for His own sins since He never sinned.
The writer continues.
4 And no one can become a high priest simply because he wants such an honor. He must be called by God for this work, just as Aaron was. 5 That is why Christ did not honor himself by assuming he could become High Priest. No, he was chosen by God, who said to him,