Summary: Obedience to the will of God following in the example of Christ Jesus should be the focus of every faithful Christian’s life.
Hebrews 5: 1 – 10 Reverent Submission
Intro: Houdini, the great magician and escape artist was a master at escaping from handcuffs, strait jackets and even jail. The story is told of a small jail in the British Isles from which Houdini could not escape. He worked at the cell door for more than 2 hours but the lock wouldn’t spring. Finally, exhausted, he fell against the door and it swung open. It had never been locked. --- We claim to have given our lives to God; yet, we continue to ignore the reality of what a true relationship to God should be. We make belief in God a difficult thing when in reality the way to God is open and unlocked for us.
I. People expect a pastor or priest to be closer to God, to be holy and blameless or, be a spiritual Houdini, who knows how to pick the lock to the pearly gates and shows them how to do it.
A. We assume there is some “trick,” some secret knowledge that will get us to heaven. Some people even assume that a relationship with God is something God owes us. We come to worship as though it is an infringement on our time and God has no right to want more than an hour of our time. Instead of approaching God saying, “I have no right to be here,” we say, “God I’m here. Now, give me what I want and make sure it’s the way I want it.”
B. As a young pastor in my twenties, I went to a church in Indiana thinking I was going to teach the people how to be good Presbyterians. I would show them how to live under the Book of Order and the Book of Confessions of the Presbyterian Church. I would teach them to be a faithful people. But, I was the one who was taught.
C. It was the custom in that church, when entering the worship space, to first stand in the pew with head bowed and offer a prayer of gratitude for the privilege of being there to worship before taking a seat. I learned from them an attitude of gratitude and obedience.
II. In the first 6 verses of Hebrews 5, the writer sets Jesus before us as an example of the attitude with which we must approach God. Verse 7 plainly states why God listened to Jesus. “DURING THE DAYS OF JESUS’ LIFE ON EARTH, HE OFFERED UP PRAYERS AND PETITIONS WITH LOUD CRIES AND TEARS TO THE ONE WHO COULD SAVE HIM FROM DEATH, AND HE WAS HEARD BECAUSE OF HIS REVERENT SUBMISSION. God listen to Jesus because of his attitude.
A. Reverent submission. --- Obedience. But it seems that is a lost art today. Employees don’t listen to their bosses, patients won’t listen to their doctors, wives don’t want the word obey in the wedding vows. Even children say, “You can’t tell me what to do!” Obey is a four-letter word but it is not a profanity. It does not mean weakness or inferiority. It is the attitude we need when we approach God if we want God to listen and take us seriously.
B. In Gethsemane Jesus approached God in prayer with LOUD CRIES and TEARS to the point that his sweat came like drops of blood. Jesus’ last words from the cross, “Father, into your hands I commit my spirit.” These are words of absolute obedience! Christ Jesus learned obedience from suffering. Hebrews 5:8 says, “ALTHOUGH HE WAS A SON, HE LEARNED OBEDIENCE FROM WHAT HE SUFFERED.”
C. We often have to learn obedience by suffering. Our parent says, “Don’t touch that stove. It’s hot. You’ll get burned.” What do we do? We touch the stove and get burned. Parents say, “Don’t get drunk.” But we do, and end up with a headache and an embarrassing story. We learn obedience by suffering.
III. Hebrews 5:9 “AND, ONCE MADE PERFECT, HE (Jesus ) BECAME THE SOURCE OF ETERNAL SALVATION FOR ALL WHO OBEY HIM.”
A. The word perfect in this verse (teleios) had little to do with the character or nature of Jesus. To the Greek, a thing was perfect if it carried out the purpose for which it was made and designed. In this sense, the experiences, the sufferings, through which Jesus passed perfectly fitted Him to become the redeemer and the savior of humanity.
B. The source of our eternal salvation is OBEDIENCE --- REVERENT SUBMISSION to Christ Jesus. Plan and simple. Obey God in all things, in all times. Seek and do God’s will; not our own.
C. When World War II broke out, the Australian Commonwealth at once offered to do what they could to help Great Britain. They asked what was the most useful thing they could do. The reply, “Build us ships: we want ships.” They Australians did not build ships. Instead, they tilled the fields, sowed seed and reaped harvests to send food to the motherland. Grain was gathered, put into sacks, and brought to the water’s edge to wait for the ships. But the ships never came. The mice got in, then found their way into towns, villages and cities carrying with them disease. All the time Great Britain said, “Ships! Ships! Ships! --- All they had to do was OBEY!