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Summary: Jesus Christ is our Great High Priest who knows what we go through and is interceding for us at the throne of Grace having broken down all the barriers between us and God.

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“THEREFORE, SINCE WE HAVE A GREAT HIGH PRIEST …”

Heb 4:12-16

Introduction

You telephone someone, what is the first thing you say when they answer? “How are you” And they answer “I’m good, thanks”.

Two things wrong here, firstly, that’s an American response and shows that you have been watching too many American programmes on TV (you need to stop and find something more productive to do). Secondly, you are not ‘good’; it’s why you are here today! (Rom 3:23) “for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God”; we just have to thank God that we (Rom 3:24) “are justified freely by his grace through the redemption that came by Christ Jesus.”

1. “for all have sinned”

How do we know that we have sinned? (12) “For the word of God is living and active. Sharper than any double-edged sword, it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow; it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart.”

Yes, we do have the Word of God. It speaks to us as we read it, helping us to discern what is right and what is wrong. Psalm 1

1Blessed is the man

who does not walk in the counsel of the wicked

or stand in the way of sinners

or sit in the seat of mockers.

2But his delight is in the law of the LORD,

and on his law he meditates day and night.

3He is like a tree planted by streams of water,

which yields its fruit in season

and whose leaf does not wither.

Whatever he does prospers.

Note Ps 1:2 – not about actions and words (v1) it’s about what we really are, our whole being, the Bible often refers to it as our heart. (v1) is about actions (walking, standing, sitting), (v2) is about what we are, and how we take on the characteristics of the life that Jesus wants us to live.

What does Jesus say in Mark 7 14Again Jesus called the crowd to him and said, "Listen to me, everyone, and understand this. 15Nothing outside a man can make him `unclean’ by going into him. Rather, it is what comes out of a man that makes him `unclean.’"

17After he had left the crowd and entered the house, his disciples asked him about this parable. 18"Are you so dull?" he asked. "Don’t you see that nothing that enters a man from the outside can make him `unclean’? 19For it doesn’t go into his heart but into his stomach, and then out of his body." (In saying this, Jesus declared all foods "clean.")

20He went on: "What comes out of a man is what makes him `unclean.’ 21For from within, out of men’s hearts, come evil thoughts, sexual immorality, theft, murder, adultery, 22greed, malice, deceit, lewdness, envy, slander, arrogance and folly. 23All these evils come from inside and make a man `unclean.’ "

So the Psalmist is saying that it is not what we are doing that counts, it is what we are, and the only way that we can change what we are is by what we meditate upon. Before it can change us, it has to explain to us where we have gone wrong in our relationship with God (v12) “it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart.”

God isn’t interested in what we say or do, He is interested in what we are, and we can change what we are. This is what the Cross is all about.

Repentance leads to forgiveness and the remission (the taking away) of our sins. It only leads to the forgiveness of our our sins because of what Jesus did for us on the Cross, He loved us so much He was willing to die for us. And God so loved us that He sent His only Son to die upon that Cross for us (John 3:16).

Again, repentance is not about what we do or say. We could say that repentance is saying we are sorry. How often have we heard someone say that they are sorry, when we know very well that they are not (politicians, seem to do it all the time, but is it only they?). Repentance is not saying sorry for what we have said or done, it is saying sorry for what we have become and wanting to be someone different. Someone who, instead of having an antagonistic attitude towards God, has an ‘all embracing’ attitude towards God, accepting Him as Sovereign Lord of all aspects of life and being. Sovereign Lord of our heart.

Being a Christian is not having a negative life. The Bible does not just tell us that we have gone wrong (Heb 4:12; Rom 3:23), it also tells us how we can get our lives sorted out with God, how we can grow closer to God, how we can change our attitudes to God and life, how we can change our hearts (Ps 1:2).

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