As you can see, it’s been a while since I’ve posted. Frankly, I’ve just kind of ran out of things to rant about. Granted, I could say a thing or too about how I feel about the Donald Sterling situation, but I feel like the worlds heard enough about that guy, so I’ll give it a rest. Instead, I thought I’d mix it up, and try posting an old sermon I preached a few years ago on the topic of prayer. It’s nothing too spectacular, but it was one of the first sermons I preached as a youth pastor on a Wednesday Night, so I thought you might enjoy it. (Warning: There are some references to members of the church that your might not be familiar with, but I’m sure you’ll figure out the idea)
Boldly Before the Throne
If you have your Bible with you tonight, I’d like to jump straight into our study and open up to Hebrews Chapter 4, and we’re just going to read 3 verses from 14-16.
Hebrews 4:14 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. 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. Let us therefore come boldly unto the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy, and find grace to help in time of need.
I get our title for tonight from verse 16, where the apostle tells us, “Let us therefore come boldly before the throne of grace”. Tonight, I’d like to preach a message I’ve simply entitled, “Boldly Before the Throne”.
Often times, when I think about the way we should pray, I am reminded of kids from junior worship. I think about myself when I was that age, around 5, 6, or 7. I think about JJ, little Gabriel, baby Luke. Whenever I ask one of these kids what they want for their birthday, or for Christmas, you know, it’s almost funny how fast these kids can answer.
Without hesitation, when a child is asked by an adult what they want, they’ll let you know about the newest, coolest, biggest, flashiest toy at the store, and not think twice about it. Now of course, as a parent, I’m sure it’s never easy seeing your kids do this either. Obviously you never taught your 5 year old child to ask all the uncles and aunties at church for fancy expensive things. Kids just naturally figure that out by themselves, but I see how it can be embarrassing.
However, we also know that as we get older, things start to change. The toys become clothes we don’t want to wear, then clothes become money (which is always our favorite part), but then we get older, get married, get kids, and the money becomes toys again! The nature of it is that the older we get, the less we want to ask from others. Eventually, it starts to feel pointless and even embarrassing sometimes to ask others for presents and gifts when you’re an adult.
While I do agree, it might be a little inappropriate for someone my age to stand here and ask other working adults to give me nice things, can I say tonight, that it doesn’t mean that we should still have the same attitude when comes to God? Obviously, I’m not only talking about toys and material gifts, but in everything we come to the Lord with, there’s nothing wrong with having the same, “bold”, childlike approach in requesting things from God.
Unfortunately, often times, we let the way we approach birthday presents, and Christmas gifts as adults, affect the way we approach God. Often times, we become embarrassed, even too prideful to ask God for things whether it be spiritual, or even material, and choose to try to earn everything by ourselves. We feel like it’s not worth the trouble in asking. We feel like it might be too unrealistic of a request to ask God for. We feel like it might be a stupid or unworthy request to bring to the Lord. We forget that God’s word tells us in:
Philippians 4:6 Be careful for nothing; but in every thing by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God.
Let me just say, it’s time we as Christians learned to start truly coming boldly before the throne of grace with the heart of a Child in the area of prayer. It’s time we remember that our God is a mighty God, and that no request is still too big or too small for our God to take care of!
We need to learn that the only way were ever going to see a miracle in our lives, the only way we’re going to see revival in our cities, in our nation, and all around the world, is if we learn to boldly come to God and ask Him face to face!
Tonight, for the rest of the time we have together, I want to share 3 reasons Christ gives us to boldly approach the throne of God. First I notice in our passage that:
- We have an Intercessory Savior through Him
The first reason we have to boldly approach the throne of God is simply because we can. It’s because through the gift of God, the death, the burial, and the resurrection of Jesus Christ, He has paved a way for us to directly approach the throne.
Hebrews 4:14 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.
So what does the Bible mean when it calls Jesus Christ, “The High Priest”? To understand this, allow me to give a brief look into Old Testament history. As many of us already know, before the church age, before Jesus Christ, God was worshiped through priest at the temple.
Basically, the average God worshiping man was unworthy to directly approach the inner room of the temple, so if the average person wanted to ask God for something, or ask forgiveness from God for something, they would have to go through a priest, who would then sacrifice a lamb at the temple. We see an example in:
Leviticus 16:11 And Aaron shall bring the bullock of the sin offering, which is for himself, and shall make an atonement for himself, and for his house, and shall kill the bullock of the sin offering which is for himself:
For hundreds of years, this was the tradition in order to approach God with a request, but just like everything else, this all changed when Jesus Christ came to earth.
Hebrews 10:10 By the which will we are sanctified through the offering of the body of Jesus Christ once for all.
When Jesus Christ died on the cross, the Bible even tells us that Christ became the intercessor, and that the veil was torn within the temple. The veil that the Bible is referring to is the veil that stood between the sanctuary of the temple where everyone could go, and the area where only the priest could go to. This symbolizes that Christ had become a great high priest, and a final sacrifice, and that we all have become priest in the sense that we all have an equal right to enter the “Holy of Holies”. We all as God’s children have the right to boldly approach Him with our request.
Many of us might have grown up in a church where we were taught to go through a priest, or to a confessional booth to get a hold of God. Taught that we still needed another man to be worthy enough to come before God, but His word tells us that this is simply a lie. As believers in Christ, one of our key doctrines as Baptist is that we believe in what is known as the “Priesthood of the believer”. This means that all believers have the same freedom and access to approach the throne of God as every other.
I say all of this to bring us to this point. When we don’t come to God, and take advantage of our priesthood as believers, we are essentially neglecting and ignoring a gift from God. He died to give us the freedom to come directly to the father, and just let all of our requests be known unto Him, but when we back away from doing that, we are making Christ sacrifice meaningless in our lives.
Not only do we have Christ has an intercessory savior to allow us direct communication with God, but secondly, our next reason to come boldly before the throne, is that:
- We have an Impossible Situation without Him
In verse 16, we see the Bible tells us Hebrews 4:16 Let us therefore come boldly unto the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy.
The second reason why we need to come boldly before God, is because without Him, we are desperately, hopelessly in need of His mercy. Mercy as we know, is defined as “withheld punishment”.
The tendency of man is to believe that we are sinless and deserve no punishment, but we know the truth.
Isaiah 64:6 But we are all as an unclean thing, and all our righteousnesses are as filthy rags; and we all do fade as a leaf; and our iniquities, like the wind, have taken us away.
The sad reality, is that one of the biggest reason Christians suffer, and unbelievers go hell, is that we are simply too prideful, or too foolish to ask for forgiveness and mercy. We try to work our way out of the troubles and punishment, when all God is really asking for us to do is simply come to Him and acknowledge our faults.
1 John 1:9 If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.
Psalms 34:17-20 17 The righteous cry, and the LORD heareth, and delivereth them out of all their troubles. 18 The LORD is nigh unto them that are of a broken heart; and saveth such as be of a contrite spirit. 19 Many are the afflictions of the righteous: but the LORD delivereth him out of them all. 20 He keepeth all his bones: not one of them is broken.
How foolish are we to try to just “handle” or “get through” life. Whether we are going through punishment from the Lord, or even just another trail the Lord is allowing us to go through, we shouldn’t be thinking about how long we can take it, or how much we can handle, but instead, just be quick to ask God for His mercy!
Oh how helpless we are without Him, but how great we are through Him! Remember, it was Jesus who said, “With man this is impossible, but with God, all things are possible!” We can’t forgive ourselves, and we certainly can’t handle the punishment for our sin by ourselves. Oftentimes, God is punishing us BECAUSE were not turning to Him quickly enough. Don’t try to just get through your problems alone, but be humble enough to ask God for His mercy!
Finally, the last reason Christ gives us to boldly approach His throne is that:
- We can find Immediate Satisfaction in Him
Let’s take one last look at the final words of our passage found in:
Hebrews 4:16 Let us therefore come boldly unto the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy, and find grace to help in time of need.
Not only can we find mercy at the throne of God, but we also find grace in our times of need. When we learn to come boldly before the throne of God, we will always find that immediate satisfaction knowing our God is involved in our trial.
James 5:13 Is any among you afflicted? let him pray. Is any merry? let him sing psalms.
When we have a pressing need in our lives, when we are faced with a difficult situation, we must have an urgency to bring it straight to God. We shouldn’t be thinking about what websites we can check to solve our problems, what friend to ask, what books to buy. We should have a mind that is just completely bent on bringing it straight it to the only God that can meet our needs. Like the old hymn says:
I must tell Jesus! I must tell Jesus! I cannot bear my burdens alone;
I must tell Jesus! I must tell Jesus! Jesus can help me, Jesus alone.
Brothers and sisters in Christ, can we ask ourselves, do we still have a sense of urgency when it comes to bringing our needs to Christ, or are we still trying to keep it to ourselves?
If we expect to find true everlasting satisfaction, we must learn to come boldly to God. We should never be ashamed or afraid of the answer. We know that God answers prayers 3 ways. Yes, No, or Wait, and whatever the answer it, is always the best for us.
Let’s learn to stop asking for the logical, or the realistic, and learn to start praying for the miraculous, with a heart of expectancy. When I hear a child asks for a toy, they don’t just say, “get me any toy”. A child let’s you know it has to be at least THIS big, THIS color, and THIS special, and they always expect it.
When a Christian comes to the Lord asking for revival, it usually sounds like this. “Dear God, please send us some revival. Please give us a few more people. Please help some of us out”.
Let me just say, when we come to God, we don’t have to be shy and we don’t have to be careful. If it’s God’s will for you to have it, He can make it happen, and if it’s not, then He won’t and we will be happy He didn’t!
Tonight, when we get together to pray for the missionaries, or the church ministries, or the Bible schools, let’s not approach God with a heart of fear. Instead, can we learn to boldly approach the throne and God, and say Lord, I don’t care if the world thinks is possible, but send us a true revival. Lord, I don’t care what the statistics show, but help this church get to a 100, 200, 300, 400 souls someday.
The great missionary William Carey once said, “Attempt great things for God, expect great things from God”
Tonight, can we have that same optimistic childlike approach, as we boldly approach God’s throne of grace, and pray not for any old blessing, or any old revival, but instead, pray to God, expecting a miracle. Let’s pray.