Summary: God expects His followers to live confidently for Him. This has nothing to do with self-confidence, but it has everything to do with God-confidence. Christians should not be wimps because it takes real courage to follow Jesus Christ.
Purpose: To show the importance of following the Lord wholeheartedly.
Aim: I want the listener to determine to follow Christ regardless of the cost.
INTRODUCTION: God expects His followers to live confidently for Him. This has nothing to do with self-confidence, but it has everything to do with God-confidence. Christians should not be wimps because it takes real courage to follow Jesus Christ.
Confidence in Christ is a major theme of the book of Hebrews. (Hebrews 3:6 NAU) "but Christ was faithful as a Son over His house--whose house we are, if we hold fast our confidence and the boast of our hope firm until the end. " (Hebrews 3:14 NAU) "For we have become partakers of Christ, if we hold fast the beginning of our assurance firm until the end". (Hebrews 4:16 NAU) "Therefore let us draw near with confidence to the throne of grace, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need." (Hebrews 6:11 NAU) "And we desire that each one of you show the same diligence so as to realize the full assurance of hope until the end." (Hebrews 11:1 NAU) "Now faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen." (Hebrews 13:6 NAU) "so that we confidently say, "THE LORD IS MY HELPER, I WILL NOT BE AFRAID. WHAT WILL MAN DO TO ME?"
This confidence is needed because God is holy and the world system hates Jesus Christ, our natural inclination (our old nature) is to hate Jesus Christ, Satan hates Jesus Christ.
How can we have a deep and abiding confidence in a God we have never seen?
The first step in having this confidence is in Hebrews chapter 10 verses 1- 18. Here we see that Christ's sacrifice on the Cross is the only way we can have our sins forgiven. For example verse 10 says: "By this will we have been sanctified through the offering of the body of Jesus Christ once for all."
Then in verses 19-23 we learn that Christ's death on the Cross also allows us to confidently claim an intimate relationship with the God of the universe. "Therefore, brethren, since we have confidence to enter the holy place by the blood of Jesus, by a new and living way which He inaugurated for us through the veil, that is, His flesh, and since we have a great priest over the house of God, let us draw near with a sincere heart in full assurance of faith, having our hearts sprinkled clean from an evil conscience and our bodies washed with pure water. " (Hebrews 10:19--22 NAU). This passage is referring to the Holy of Holiness where the presence of God dwelt over the Ark of the Covenant. It was a frightening place because casual contact with this place could cause instant death. Once, when the Ark was being moved, a group of men decided to look inside the ark. Listen to what happened: (1 Samuel 6:19, NAS) "He struck down some of the men of Beth-shemesh because they had looked into the ark of the LORD. He struck down of all the people, 50,070 men, and the people mourned because the LORD had struck the people with a great slaughter. " At another time the Ark was being moved on a cart. When the cart tilted a man names Uzza put out his hand to steady the Ark and God struck him dead. So, approaching the presence of a holy God is dangerous, but because of the work of Christ on the Cross we can (Hebrews 10:22--23, NAS) "...draw near with a sincere heart in full assurance of faith, ...Let us hold fast the confession of our hope without wavering, for He who promised is faithful; "
In the next two verses (24-25) Christians are told to confidently pursue a relationship with other believers. "let us consider how to stimulate one another to love and good deeds, not forsaking our own assembling together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another; and all the more as you see the day drawing near" (Hebrews 10:24--25 NAU).
Then we encounter some frightening truth in verses 26-31. If we say that we have God's forgiveness, but we continue to pursue sin we will experience God's judgment. (Hebrews 10:26--27 NAU) "For if we go on sinning willfully after receiving the knowledge of the truth, there no longer remains a sacrifice for sins, but a terrifying expectation of judgment and THE FURY OF A FIRE WHICH WILL CONSUME THE ADVERSARIES". "[SINNING WILLFULLY is directed to those who deliberately keep on sinning after they fully understand the way of escape in Jesus." (Ray Stedman)
If denying or ignoring the Law that God gave to Moses brought God's judgment we can only imagine how much more God will judge those who disrespect Christ's work of grace on the Cross. (Hebrews 10:28--29, NAS) "Anyone who has set aside the Law of Moses dies without mercy on the testimony of two or three witnesses. How much severer punishment do you think he will deserve who has trampled under foot the Son of God, and has regarded as unclean the blood of the covenant by which he was sanctified, and has insulted the Spirit of grace? "