Summary: Sermon on prayer
PRAYING BEFORE THE THRONE
I want to read to you a quote from C.S. Lewis from his book “God in the Dock”. I have used this quote before but it is worth repeating. “Praying for particular things,” said I, “always seems to me like advising God how to run the world. Wouldn’t it be wiser to assume that He knows best?” “on the same principle,” said he, “I suppose you never ask a man next to you to pass the salt, because God knows best whether you ought to have salt or not. And I suppose you never take an umbrella, because God knows best whether you ought to be wet or dry.” “That’s quite different,” I protested. “I don’t see why,” said he. “The odd thing is that He should let us influence the course of events at all. But since He lets us do it in one way, I don’t see why He shouldn’t let us do it in the other.”
That certainly is something worth thinking about. Prayer is an amazing thing. As I stated last week,
“Prayer moves the arm of the one who moves the world”. Prayer for us should be just as important to us as food and drink. We must be a people of God who pray, we must be a church that prays. If not we will wither and be ineffective in our desire to see people won to Jesus Christ, ineffective in our desire to minister to people. We must pray.
We are continuing today in our series on prayer. As you have notice we have been looking at prayer for all kinds of different angles through different verses.
I like to think of the Bible as kind of like jewelry. Perhaps like a gold ring. Like a ring the whole of the Bible is valuable, every word, every letter, is of value. But within the gold ring we find the jewels, those gems that make the ring even more valuable. While the Bible is of great value there are throughout the Word of God, gems, jewels which touch our hearts. Passages which to us personally may hold more value then the surrounding passages. Today I want to talk about one of those gems. A gem surrounded by gold.
Please turn with me to our passage this morning. Heb. 4:16. That is going to be page 1037 in your pew Bibles. Heb. 4:16 happens to be one of my favorite jewels in the Bible. If fact we are going to be spending two weeks in this verse; “Let us therefore come boldly to the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy and find grace to help in time of need.”
This my friends is what true prayer is. Prayer is approaching the throne of God through the Holy Spirit of God. It is not the mere utterance of words, it is not the mere confession of our needs, but it is approaching the throne of God with purpose of communing with God, with the creator of all things.
We must understand that such prayer is the work of the Holy Spirit in us. Without the Spirit dwelling in us we cannot approach the throne in prayer. Without the Spirit of God our prayers are empty and hollow, they are meaningless, and vile before the Father. For true prayer to be present we must be filled with the Holy Spirit of God, if not our words are just that, words, nothing more.
Moreover if you look at the two verses prior to Heb. 4:16 you will find that not only can we not have true prayer without the Holy Spirit, but our prayers will not prevail without the Son of God, our Lord Jesus Christ.
Verse 14-15; “Seeing then that we have a great High Priest who has passed through the heavens, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold fast our confession. For we do not have a High Priest who cannot sympathize with our weaknesses, but was in all points tempted as we are, yet without sin.”
Through the great High priest the veil between us and the Father as been removed, so now we can “boldly” go stand before the throne of grace on mercy. Not on our own merit but through the merit of our Saviour, “who was in all points tempted as we are, yet without sin.”
The one who believes that he can come to God without the Holy Spirit, without the mediator Jesus Christ, insults God. Because God has deemed it must be done His way, and no other way will do. To go before the throne of grace and mercy without being sprinkled with the blood of the Lamb of God, is to go before God as an unacceptable sacrifice, and unclean sacrifice. To go to the throne of God without the cleansing blood of Christ is to bring a sacrifice to God which He cannot accept.