“Therefore, since we have a great high priest who has ascended into heaven,[f] 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 empathize with our weaknesses, but we have one who has been tempted in every way, just as we are—yet he did not sin. 16 Let us then approach God’s throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need.” Hebrews 10:14-16
Intro: If you look up the word sinner and find the definition my picture could be right beside it. And your picture could be right beside mine. All us…, You are a sinner…, I am a sinner. I never forget that I am a sinner. I make it one day at a time.
Even though I walked down the aisle over 40 years ago…, Was baptized and joined the church. I can never forget that my life is broken. I have an illness, a craving, a compulsion, a hereditary nature.
Romans 5:12 “Therefore, just as sin entered the world through one man, and death through sin, and in this way death came to all people because all sinned”
That does not seem fair that God would declare us guilty for something Adam did thousands of years ago. Many feel that is not fair.
Yet, each of us has inherited both the sin and the death of our ancestor Adam. In truth, it is not just the sin of Adam that God judges us by we have the same sinful nature and same rebellious nature against God in us also.
So God does also judge us by our own sins. Because we are sinners, it is not fairness we need---it is Mercy and Grace that we need.
1 John 1:8 “If we claim to be without sin, we deceive ourselves and the truth is not in us.”
John counters the false prophets and false teachings who were saying they had no sin. These natural born Jews were claiming purity and sinlessness because they were physically born a Jew. Therefore they needed no baptism.
If you think you are not a sinner at best you are guilty of self-deception and at worst you are a bold-faced liar.
But there is a remedy for sin. That remedy is Grace and the Spirit of God that comes when you are completely born again. Your life becomes nothing like it used to be.
An old preacher once said, that before he became a Christian he had the urge to sin the urge to go out looking for more sin. After he became a Christian he realized he still had the sin but now he had the urge to trust in God to control the urge.
There is a remarkable difference between a sinner who has never been born again and a sinner who has been born again.
That being said, like a recovering drug addict or an alcoholic who falls off the wagon. Christians also find themselves crawling down that same old road of sinful attitudes. Have you ever failed at something and then sworn to God and others that you’d never do that again (whatever that is)? If you’re breathing and you’re human, then the answer is yes.
Sadly, if most of us are consistent at anything, it’s that we are consistent at failure. We think thoughts that we shouldn’t think. We do things that we shouldn’t do. We say things that we shouldn’t say.
Or we don’t think, don’t do, or don’t say the things we should! We all fail. Consistently.
We have good intentions. We truly want to be good. Only a truly evil person delights in evil, and it’s rare to find someone that twisted. Nonetheless, we are no different from them for we blow it on a regular basis.
Yet despite our sinful nature, it is the nature of God who gives us Grace. It is God’s divine nature to forgive us even when we don’t deserve it.
When you read the Old Testament…, the book of Leviticus and read the book of Judges, you know it’s a bit depressing. The Old Covenant Law was made up of some 613 laws, plus countless ordinances, plus numerous statues. You would try to do what was right…, but you would see the 613 laws and ordinances and statutes. You would try to do what was right…, but you would see the 613 laws, ordinances statutes. It was impossible.
God helped Moses to summarize the Law into Ten Commandments. 613 summarized down to ten… You would try to do what was right…, but you would see the Ten Commandments. You would try to do what was right…, but you would see the Ten Commandments. It is was still impossible.
Finally Jesus came…, Jesus summarized the Covenant into only Two Commandments. Love the Lord your God with all your heart, soul, mind, and strength and Love your neighbor as yourself. We finally think o.k. I can keep just two Commandments. But we can’t.
Maybe if there was just one Commandment we could obey. But we could not…, No more than Adam could keep just one... “Don’t eat the forbidden fruit.”
You see we are sinners…, but Jesus is Grace and truth.
John 1:14 “And the Word became flesh, and dwelt among us,
and we saw His glory, glory as of the only begotten from the Father, full of grace and truth.”
The Word became human. By doing so, Christ became the perfect teacher—in Jesus’ life we see how God thinks and how we should think. In Jesus’ life, we see the perfect example of how Jesus lived and how we are to live. In Jesus’ life, we see the perfect sacrifice for our sins and his death stratified God’s requirements for the removal of our sins.
And we see the message that we are to tell others…, if what God has done for me. God can do for you also. The only Son of the Father means Jesus is God’s only unique Son. Jesus is unique. Jesus is one of a kind.
His death upon the cross is so different from all the other sacrifices…
Under the old sacrifice, sinners came searching for the forgiveness of sin by offering a sacrifice. Under Grace, sinners come and discover that it is Jesus who is searching for them to offer salvation to all.
EVERYBODY IS BUILDING A LIFE. Whether we plan to or not, whether we want to or not, whether we feel good about it or not, from the cradle to the grave we are in the life construction business. We didn’t ask to be born we will not likely decide our death, piece by piece, plank by plank, brick by brick we are building lives—lives that shape us for time and eternity. Every thought is like a piece of timber. Every habit is like a beam. Every exchange is like another plank. Every dream is like a window. Day by day we add new bricks and mortar until the house takes shape and the rooms find their place. We are all building a house. It is a house called life.
When Jesus wanted to make a point he told stories. One day he told the story of two builders. You know who they are in fact you are very much like one of them. Both builders had the same dreams. They wanted a house, a shelter from the storm, a safe place to raise a family, a comfortable place to call home. Of the two builders, Jesus says one was wise and one was foolish—not good and bad, mean or helpful, intelligent or ignorant, just wise and foolish.
Jesus says in Matthew 7:24, “Whoever hears these words of mine and puts them into practice is like a wise man who built his house upon a rock.” In verse 26 Jesus says, “Whoever hears these words of mine and does not put them into practice is like a foolish man who built his house on the sand.”
To be wise is to be discerning, perceptive, prudent, astute, shrewd, farsighted. But most of all, to be wise is to be obedient, to be a doer as well as a hearer. To be foolish is to be careless, indiscreet, preposterous, flighty, nutty. But most of all, it is to hear and fail to do, to know and fail to implement. Some of the dumbest things we do are not because we don’t know better…, but out of our insensitivity to the importance of the task at hand.
Jesus said, when it comes to life there are two kinds of builders, wise and foolish. Which are you?
THE STORMS COME TO ALL. Verses 25 and 27 are exactly the same. The rain came down, the streams rose, and the winds blew and beat against the house. God never said you’d only have sunshine. He never said there’d be no rain. He only promised a heart full of singing, about the very things that once caused pain.
Lord, I don't want to let this trouble go to waste. Redeem it by your grace. Fill it with your mercy. Work it and weave it, mold it and make it for the good of others and the glory of God. Help me carry on. Jesus talked to sinners, he went to their house, ate meals with them, hung out with them at the marketplaces. Maybe there is some truth about a church being a place for sinners. Now listen to what God says, “I have molded you in the depths of the earth, and knitted you together in your mother’s womb. I have carved you in the palms of my hands and hidden you in the shadow of my embrace. You belong to me. We are one.” The hand of God is upon us.
You find in this Old Testament book a cycle of failure, desperation, repentance, God’s mercy, complacency—leading to more failure and so on. Yes, God rescues the Israelites from their troubles again and again, but they always end up back in a cesspool of their own making. More than once I’ve read the stories and thought, How stupid can these people be? Answer: Pretty stupid.
Then it dawns on me: Their story is my story. I’ve fallen into the same cycle of idiocy over and over again too. (And so have you.)
Granted, all of this sounds pretty negative and disheartening, but hang in there with me; it gets better. What if God understands us better than we do? Is it possible that God is never as surprised by our failures as we seem to be at times? Sin matters. Of course, it does. It’s never okay for you or me to just resign ourselves to being idiots. God calls us to holiness. He wants us to grow. Our sanctification is important to him.
But maybe, just maybe, what matters most to him is a broken and remorseful heart. Perhaps God desires our repentance more than he does our perfection. (Especially, since perfection is never going to happen on this side of eternity.)
Here’s what David wrote in Psalm 51:17: “The sacrifice you desire is a broken spirit. You will not reject a broken and repentant heart, O God.”
David understood the grace and mercy of God. He knew God would never detest or reject a heart that honestly regrets sin. Okay, you fail, but don’t let the story end there, and don’t give up or lose heart. Of course, don’t excuse your sin or wallow in it either, but confess it, learn from it, grow and then move on. I’ve decided not to focus on the failures of Israel in the book of Judges or Leviticus but rather to stay fixed on the mercies of God.
Why? Because I don’t want to fixate on my failures either. This room today is filled with people who failed at some point during the previous week. Everyone has sinned at some point and at some level (including me). But that’s not the whole story. We can walk in forgiveness. We can live free. We don’t have to live under condemnation or in fear.
Oh, to grace how great a debtor
Daily I'm constrained to be
Let that goodness like a fetter
Bind my wandering heart to Thee
Prone to wander, Lord, I feel it
Prone to leave the God I love
Here's my heart, oh, take and seal it
Seal it for Thy courts above
We are prone to wander; But thanks be God is prone to pursue … and he’s faster.
A guy named Barry (not his real name) recently said to me, “I feel like a hypocrite when I come to church. I can’t worship. I can’t lift my hands in praise. I’m not able or qualified to do so because my hands are dirty from all my sin.” I told Barry what I desperately want you to know, “Barry, a hypocrite is someone who pretends to have it all together when they don’t. And dirty hands are precisely the hands God wants us to raise in worship to Him because it’s ALL about him and his goodness, not yours or mine!”
My friend, please don’t let the enemy or your self-talk drive you away from God’s throne of mercy and grace. He specializes in accepting and embracing the contrite of heart. I know this from firsthand experience and from the Scriptures. So, run to him, not from him. He will never reject you. Never. God has given your life to you to enjoy. Don’t be comparing it to someone else’s. God has given you everything you need to be happy. Maybe it is time you notified your face to show the joy of the Lord that’s in your heart.
We should smile. And hope that smile rubs off on someone else.
1 Peter 2:24 “He himself bore our sins” in his body on the cross, so that we might die to sins and live for righteousness; “by his wounds, you have been healed.”
Because of his nail pierced hands, I now use my hands in service of others. Because of his nail pierced feet, I now am more careful about where my feet walk. Because his side was pierced, my heart is now broken for the least the last, the overlooked, and the lost.
When you think Grace is personal that advances our understanding of God– When you think our sins are forgiven that is amazing– But when you think it is in his body that takes sin up to a whole new level.
What does grace look like?
In his body, Jesus took my sin and your sin and the sin of the world on himself. Oh, we display Jesus’ death in fancy words and paintings– stained glass– statues that are similar to idols… but this passage says 1 Peter 2:24 “He himself bore our sins” in his body on the cross, so that we might die to sins and live for righteousness; “by his wounds, you have been healed.”
GRACE IS EVERYTHING FOR NOTHING
TO THOSE WHO DON'T DESERVE ANYTHING
Cheap grace is the preaching of forgiveness without requiring repentance, baptism without church discipline,
communion without confession. Cheap grace is grace without discipleship, grace without the cross, grace without admitting that we are a sinner and cannot save ourselves.
Costly grace...is the kingly rule of Christ in life every day.
No one can really understand the pain the suffering that Grace involves as the old hymn asks the question – Were you there when they crucified my Lord? Asks were you there when they laid him in the grave? The truth is we were all there!!!
The rain and storms and wind and time and tears have not washed away the blood from a rotting cross– and you and I erect the cross again and again every time we sin!
We crucify him again and again and again–Were you there when they crucified my Lord I was were you?
You can’t live for righteousness unless you have been born again. Jesus said, “Behold I stand at the door and knock.” Jesus makes it clear that you cannot enter the Kingdom of God without going through the door.
Jesus makes it clear that there is only one door into the Kingdom of God–Here he describes himself as the door.
Don’t go out of here today until you make that inward vow. Open up your heart allow the power of Calvary to flood in and change your life by his mighty grace and allow the Holy Spirit into your soul.