Let Us Hold Fast Our Profession

Posted by on Aug 12, 2007

By Mike Withem, Pastor

First Baptist Church of Ranson, WV

August 12, 2007

Sunday Morning

“Let Us Hold Fast Our Profession”

Scripture Reading: Hebrews 4:14-16

Scripture Text: Hebrews 4:14-16

Introduction:

 

A.   You may have noticed earlier that the passage we are considering this morning begins with an admonition.

1. Notice again Vrs. 14 of our text, “Seeing then that we have a great high priest, that is passed into the heavens, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold fast our profession.”

2. The writer of Hebrews admonishes us here to “hold fast our profession.” In other words, to “continue living a life that is consistent with our profession.”

3. The key word here is the word “continue.”

4. This is not the only passage in which we, as believers, are admonished to continue living a life that is consistent with our profession.

5. For example, in 1 Cor. 15:58, we are admonished to be “…stedfast, unmoveable, always abounding in the work of the Lord.”

6. In 1 Cor. 16:13, we are admonished to “…stand fast in the faith.”

7. In Col. 1:23, we are admonished to “…continue in the faith grounded and settled, and” to “be not moved away from the hope of the gospel.”

8. And so, throughout the New Testament, believers are admonished to “hold fast” their “profession.”

 

B.   But someone says, “Wait a minute, pastor, that’s a lot easier said than done! Because of the spiritual enemies that we face, it is difficult to ‘hold fast,’ it is difficult to be ‘stedfast, unmovable,’ it is difficult to ‘continue in the faith, grounded and settled.’ It is just difficult!!!”

1. I certainly won’t dispute that, because it is difficult!

2. But did you notice that we are not in this alone?

3. Notice again how Vrs. 14 begins, “Seeing then that we have a great high priest,….Jesus the Son of God, let us hold fast our profession.”

4. Living the Christian life is difficult, but we are not in this alone, we “have a great high priest,…Jesus the Son of God” to help us! (Vrs. 14)

5. Do you remember what Jesus told His church just before He ascended back to His Father in heaven?

6. He had just given them the great commission, when He said, “…and, lo, I am with you alway, even unto the end of the world.” (Mat. 28:20)

7. When Paul was in the city of Corinth, he faced some very stiff opposition as he attempted to preach the gospel.

8. We’re told in Acts 18:9-10 that the Lord appeared to Paul in a vision and gave him the following words of encouragement, “Be not afraid, but speak, and hold not thy peace:…For I am with thee.”

9. And so, yes, living the Christian life can be difficult, however, we have a “great high priest” in the person of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has promised to be with us.

 

C.   Now this morning, as we examine our text more closely, there are three things that I would like to call to your attention, concerning our “great high priest.” First of all, I would like to call to your attention…

 

I.       His Amazing Life.

 

A.   Of course, there are a lot of things about the life that Jesus lived here on this earth that were amazing, however, our text mentions two things in particular.

1. First of all, His life was amazing because during His short sojourn upon this earth, He experienced every trial, every difficulty, every hardship that we will ever experience in this life.

2. Notice again Vrs. 15 of our text, “For we have not an high priest which cannot be touched with the feeling of our infirmities; but was in all points tempted like as we are.”

3. Now let me point out here that when the Bible says that Jesus was “tempted like as we are,” it doesn’t mean that He was tempted to sin, in the sense that we are tempted to sin.

4. How do I know that?

5. I know that because of what the Bible says in Jam. 1:13-14, “Let no man say when he is tempted, I am tempted of God: for God cannot be tempted with evil, neither tempteth he any man:…But every man is tempted, when he is drawn away of his own lust, and enticed.”

6. And so, when the Bible says that Jesus was “tempted like as we are,” it doesn’t mean that He was tempted to sin.

7. What it means is that, as a man, He experienced the same trials, the same difficulties, the same hardships the same burdens, the same sorrows that we now face in this life.

8. Notice again the words “in all points.” (Vrs. 15)

9. That means “in all things,” or “in every respect.”

 

B.   Do you realize what this means?

1. It means that we have “a great high priest” who truly understands everything that we go through in this life, and the reason that He does is because He has “been there and one that.”

2. He has actually walked in our shoes.

3. For 33 years He walked in our shoes, experiencing everything that we will ever experience in this life.

4. (Illus.- There have been times in my ministry when I have tried to console believers who were experiencing some great difficulty in their lives. Several times I have heard words similar to these, “Pastor, I appreciate you for trying to comfort me, but the truth is because you have never experienced what I’m experiencing right now, you can’t possibly understand what it is like.” Those are true words indeed, however, while I may not understand something that you are going through, we have a “great high priest,…Jesus the Son of God” Who does understand, and the reason He does, is because He has gone through it as well!)

5. And so, the first amazing thing about our “great high priest’s” life is the fact that He experienced every trial, every difficulty, every hardship that we will ever experience in this life.

 

C.   The second amazing thing about His life is that fact that He was “without sin.”

1. Notice again Vrs. 15 of our text, “For we have not an high priest which cannot be touched with the feeling of our infirmities; but was in all points tempted like as we are, yet without sin.”

2. In spite of all the trials, and all the difficulties, and all the hardships that Jesus endured while He lived here on this earth, not once did He ever sin!

3. That’s amazing!

4. The Bible speaks elsewhere of the perfection of our Lord Jesus Christ.

5. For example, in 2 Cor. 5:21, we read, “For he hath made him to be sin for us, who knew no sin; that we might be made the righteousness of God in him.”

6. Also, in 1 Pet. 2:21-23, we read, “For even hereunto were ye called: because Christ also suffered for us, leaving us an example, that ye should follow his steps:…Who did no sin, neither was guile found in his mouth:…Who, when he was reviled, reviled not again; when he suffered, he threatened not; but committed himself to him that judgeth righteously:”

7. And then there is 1 John 3:4-5, which says, “Whosoever committeth sin transgresseth also the law: for sin is the transgression of the law….And ye know that he (Christ) was manifested to take away our sins; and in him is no sin.”

8. And so, in spite of all the trials, all the difficulties, all the hardships that Jesus experienced during His life here on this earth, not once did He ever sin.

 

D.   By the way, if Jesus had sinned, we would be in a whole heap of trouble, this morning.

1. Do you know why?

2. Because if Jesus had sinned, then He could not have been a suitable (perfect, spotless) sacrifice for our sins.

3. And if He was not a suitable sacrifice for our sins, then we are yet in our sins.

4. That’s a frightening thought, isn’t it?

 

E.   The second thing that I want to call your attention to, this morning, concerning our “great high priest,” is…

 

II.      His Astounding Departure.

 

A.   Look again at Vrs. 14 of our text, “Seeing then that we have a great high priest, that is passed into the heavens, Jesus the Son of God.”

1. Notice the words, “that is passed into the heavens.”

2. After Jesus died and rose again, we are told that He ascended back to His Father in heaven.

3. Listen as I read Acts 1:9-11, “And when he had spoken these things, while they beheld, he was taken up; and a cloud received him out of their sight….And while they looked stedfastly toward heaven as he went up, behold, two men stood by them in white apparel;…Which also said, Ye men of Galilee, why stand ye gazing up into heaven? this same Jesus, which is taken up from you into heaven, shall so come in like manner as ye have seen him go into heaven.”

4. One minute Jesus was standing there giving His disciples the great commission, and the next minute He was going up and disappearing in the clouds.

 

B.   Now this raises a question.

1. Why did Jesus pass “into the heavens”?

2. Why did He leave His church behind, and return to His Father in heaven?

3. One reason that Jesus returned to His Father in heaven was so that He could prepare a place for us.

4. Do you remember what Jesus told His disciples soon after He revealed to them the fact that He would soon be going away?

5. Of course, when they heard this news, they were troubled.

6. Listen to what Jesus told them in John 14:1-2, “Let not your heart be troubled: ye believe in God, believe also in me….In my Father’s house are many mansions: if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you.”

7. And so, one reason that Jesus returned to His Father in heaven was so that He could prepare a place for us.

 

C.   However, this was not the primary reason.

1. You see, before Jesus could prepare a place for us, there was something else that He had to do first, something far more important.

2. Do you know what it was?

3. Let me give you a hint.

4. What did the high priests of ancient Israel do, once a year, on what was called the day of atonement?

5. They took the blood of the sacrificial goat, entered into the Holy of Holies, and sprinkled it on the mercy seat of God, as a symbolic atonement for the sins of Israel.

6. With this in mind, why did Jesus, our “great high priest,” return to His Father in heaven?

7. He did so to present Himself (as well as His precious blood) before God’s mercy seat in heaven as an atonement (sacrifice) for our sin.

 

D.   Let’s jump ahead for just a moment to Heb. 9:11-12, it says, “But Christ being come an high priest of good things to come, by a greater and more perfect tabernacle, not made with hands, that is to say, not of this building;…Neither by the blood of goats and calves, but by his own blood he entered in once into the holy place, having obtained eternal redemption for us.”

1. Was Christ’s sacrifice sufficient to atone for our sins?

2. Did it satisfy the justice of a Holy God on our behalf?

3. Isa. 53:11 answers this question, it says, “He shall see of the travail of his soul, and shall be satisfied:”

 

E.   There is at least one more reason why Jesus ascended back to His Father in heaven, which brings us to my final point. The last thing that I want to call your attention to, this morning, concerning our “great high priest,” is…

 

III.    His Availing Position.

 

A.   Let me ask you a question.

1. What did Jesus do after He returned to heaven, entered “into the holy place,” and “obtained eternal redemption for us”?

2. What did He do then?

3. According to Heb. 1:3 and Heb. 10:12 and Heb. 12:2, He “sat down” at the “right hand of the throne of God.”

4. Now normally, when someone sits down, it is an indication that his work is finished.

5. While it is true that Christ’s work of atonement was finished when He sat down, His work of intercession was just beginning.

6. Listen to Heb. 7:25, it says, “Wherefore he (Christ) is able also to save them to the uttermost that come unto God by him, seeing he ever liveth to make intercession for them.”

 

B.   Now because of Christ’s position at the right hand of the throne of God, and His present work of intercession, there are at least three things that can now be said about God’s throne.

1. First of all, it can be said that God’s throne is a “throne of grace.”

2. Notice again the first part of Vrs. 16 of our text, it says, “Let us therefore come boldly unto the throne of grace.”

3. Why is God’s throne called a “throne of grace”?

4. Simply because God Himself is a God of grace.

5. In fact, the apostle Peter referred to God as “the God of ALL grace, who hath called us unto his eternal glory by Christ Jesus.” (1 Pet. 5:10)

 

C.   Not only can it be said that God’s throne is a “throne of grace,” but because it is, it is also a throne that is approachable, that is by those who know Christ as Savior.

1. In fact, not only can we, as believers, approach God’s throne, but in Vrs. 16 of our text, we are admonished to approach God’s throne “boldly.”

2. Notice again what it says, “Let us therefore come boldly unto the throne of grace.” (Vrs. 16)

3. (Illus.- Let me ask you a question. If you were to decide to drive to Washington DC tomorrow morning and get an audience with the president, do you think that would happen? Of course, it wouldn’t. Even if the president were home, you wouldn’t make past the front gate of the White House. If you tried to “boldly” approach the Oval Office, you would end up in handcuffs and being carted off to jail.)

4. (Illus.- Suppose you were to fly to England and go to Buckingham Palace and try to get an audience with the queen. Do you think you would be successful? Of course not. You would have to be someone special to get in to see the queen.)

5. Do you remember when queen Esther risked her life when she appeared before King Ahasuerus without being invited, and she was his wife!

6. The point is this: there are people in this world who, because of their exalted positions, are unapproachable by common ordinary people like us.

7. But bless God, we have a “great high priest…Jesus the Son of God” who is not unapproachable!

8. Because God’s throne is a throne of grace, it is also an approachable throne to those who know Christ as Savior.

 

D.   One more thing about God’s throne.

1. Not only is it a throne of grace.

2. Not only is it an approachable throne.

3. But it is also a throne that, when approached, offers “mercy” and “grace to help in time of need.”

4. Notice one more time Vrs. 16, “Let us therefore come boldly unto the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy, and find grace to help in time of need.”

5. Do you need “mercy” this morning? If so, then “come boldly unto” God’s “throne of grace.”

6. Do you need “grace” this morning? If so, then “come boldly unto” God’s “throne of grace.”

7. Do you need “help” this morning? If so, then “come boldly unto” God’s “throne of grace.”

8. But someone asks, “How can I be sure that if I approach God’s throne in prayer, that I will receive these things?”

9. Because of our “great high priest” and the availing position that He now occupies for us!

Conclusion:

 

A.   What have we learned about our great high priest, this morning?

1. First of all, we learned about His amazing life (he experienced everything that we experience in this life, yet without sin).

2. Secondly, we learned about His astounding departure (He is passed into the heavens, where He made atonement for our sins and then sat down at the right hand of the throne of God).

3. Finally, we learned about His availing position (from where He freely offers mercy and grace to help in our time of need).

 

B.   Let me remind you, this morning, that Jesus is our great high priest, and because of His amazing life, and because of His astounding departure, and because of His availing position, we can hold fast our profession. Do you know this Jesus?