Through the Bible with Les Feldick
LESSON 3 * PART 4 * BOOK 48
Hebrews 4:12-16 – Part 2
Let’s go back where we left off in our last lesson and that would be in chapter 4, and verse 14 and I don’t feel like I really finished that verse as much as I should.
“Seeing then that we have a great high priest, that is passed into the heavens,…”
And remember, going back to chapter 1, that when He passed into the heavens having purged our sins, He what? He sat down at the right hand of the Majesty on High.
“…when he had by himself purged our sins, sat down on the right hand of the Majesty on high;”
And you remember I made the point that when He sat down, what did it indicate? That it was finished. Right. Oh, that the finished work of cross took care of everything. There wasn’t another iota that could be added to it. And consequently, He could rest and be aware that it was totally finished. So here again:
“…we have a great high priest, that is passed into the heavens, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold fast our profession. 15. 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.”
And on the other hand He can be touched with the feeling of our infirmities because He was in all points tempted or tested like as we are, yet without, or apart from sin. In other words, even the thought of yielding to temptation never entered His mind.
Now the three categories of temptations that cover every possible scenario of the human experience can be found in the little book of I John chapter 2. Now we did this way back when poor old Eve was caught in temptations in Genesis chapter 3. We probably used it when we covered the temptations in our study of Matthew, but it never hurts to repeat some of these things. But first let’s look in I John chapter 2 beginning in verse 15.
I John 2:15-16
“Love not the world, (in other words this world system) neither the things that are in the world.(or materialism). If any man love the world, the love of the Father is not in him. (now here’s the world) 16. For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh, and the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life, is not of the Father, but is of the world.”
Now I’ve already mentioned Eve, so let’s jump all the way back to Genesis chapter 3 and see how that she was pummeled with all three of them at one time. Most of us are dealt with these one at a time. We may suddenly find ourselves confronted with something that is desirable to an appetite of the flesh, still another thing may just appeal to our pride, but sometimes it may appeal to our eye. But see, Eve was confronted with all three at one time.
“And when the woman (poor Eve) saw that the tree was good for food, and it was pleasant to the (what?) eyes,…”
So what have we got? Here was a fruit that was an object of the lust of her eyes. It was a beautiful fruit. I don’t think it was an apple, but whatever it was it must have been beautiful. It was alluring, it must have just looked delicious and of course with Satan’s prodding it just looked all the better. And then the next part was that this same beautiful fruit was something that would make her wise.
“…and a tree to be desired to make one wise, …”
Now what does that appeal to? The pride. Pride that it would make her wise, and remember that Satan’s temptation was that she could be as God. Then the third step was:
“… she took of the fruit thereof, and did eat.”
Now listen, have any of you ever been so full of a good large dinner that you couldn’t eat another bite? Of course you have. Just the thought of another bite just almost becomes repulsive. So really, in order to enjoy something, you have to be a little bit what? Hungry. My wife knows that better than anybody. When you are hungry just about anything can taste delicious. So, even though the Scripture itself does not definitively say it, Eve must have had enough of an appetite to really want to satisfy the desire to eat. And then what does she so? She plucked the fruit, she looked at it again, and she suddenly desired the flesh of that fruit to satisfy her hunger. But also her old mind was just spinning like everything. What’s it going to do to her? It’s going to make her wise. And so here she is pummeled with all three categories of temptation at one time. I guess it’s no wonder she succumbed is it?
But you see, the Lord went through those same three categories in Matthew chapter 4, but remember, apart from sin. He never had any inkling to give in like Eve did. But nevertheless, in Matthew chapter 4 at the temptations, this was the whole purpose. This was the purpose so that when he became our great High Priest He knew exactly what we go through. He too was tempted with making those stones bread when He was hungry. He too was tempted to fulfill a desire of the eyes. He too was given the temptation, I guess the one that’s the easiest to understand, is chapter 4 and like I said, don’t ever get the idea that He even thought about succumbing but this is simply given to us to understand that He knows what we’re going through. Because you see you can’t really understand unless you’ve been there.
Just the other day I got a letter from a gentleman who had just lost his wife of 46 years or something like that. And I just wrote a short note to him and I said something like this: “I can’t say I know how it feels because I haven’t been there. I can’t really say that I can sympathize with you because I haven’t walked in your shoes. I haven’t lost my wife.”
And isn’t that true of anything? You can’t really understand the feelings that people are going through unless you’ve been there. And unless you have lost a spouse, you don’t know what it’s like. Unless you have been faced with a certain dilemma that’s unique to your own situation, you don’t know what it’s like. But see the Lord did. The Lord faced these three categories so that He would know exactly what the human race is going through. He knew what it was like when He was hungry to have Satan mention bread. He knew what it was like when Satan said, “Fall down and worship me and all the kingdoms of this world, I’ll give them to you.”
Well now it never affected Him because they were already His. But what we have to learn from it is, Satan was tempting Him with something that would make a human being proud. That’s why men attain to be emperors. That’s why they attain world power, to satisfy their pride. And so the Lord could honestly say without any doubt whatsoever, I’ve been there. I know what you are going though. I know exactly what its like. And that’s why we can go to Him with full assurance that since He has tasted temptations, He has been confronted.
Let’s even go a little further with this thought. As He was going through the suffering leading up to the cross, and He cried out at one time “Father if it be thy will, let this cup pass from me.” Do you realize what He was really saying? If there was any way that God could perform salvation without His having to go through that which was coming, do it the other way. What was that? Well it was really a temptation that He could have somehow avoided the sufferings of the cross. But He didn’t. He never did. And so always take these things into consideration when you read a verse like this. That He can be touched with the feelings of our infirmities because He’s been there. He’s walked in our shoes. Now back to the Book of Hebrews, and let’s go on down to verse 16. And again one of Paul’s favorite words:
“Let us therefore…”
I love the way Paul uses therefore over and over and over throughout his letters. I guess the first one that comes to mind is Romans 8:1
“There is therefore (that’s right, I see you’re already wording it. Therefore, because of all that Paul had written in those first 7 chapters of Romans, there is therefore) no condemnation to those who are in Christ Jesus,…”
In other words to those who have come into salvation by faith + nothing. Oh the world thinks it’s faith plus some works, you know, do this and do that. Fulfill this little prescribed ritual, and fulfill this little operation and then you can have eternal life. No, no. It’s FAITH + NOTHING! I guess if I’m known for anything it’s that. It’s Faith + nothing. But be sure it’s faith in the right place. It’s faith in that finished work of the cross, that Jesus died for our sins, was buried, and rose from again, + nothing else. You are to believe that in your heart for salvation. Alright, now then, verse 16 of Hebrews chapter 4 again.
“Let us therefore (because of the high priest that we have, because He has passed into the heavens, He’s not someplace on earth. We don’t have to go to some headquarters, nor even our denominational headquarters. We don’t have to go someplace in order to get into the right mood and mode for prayer, but rather we can:
“…come boldly unto the throne of grace,…”
Now I just went back and had to look up some of the Greek and some of the commentaries. Do you know what that word boldly means? Just exactly like you get it on the first impression. We go into the throne room without any apology. I don’t have to say, “Well now Lord here I am. You know I really don’t have any right to ask you this.” No. We are instructed; we are commanded to go boldly into His presence. Now why? Because again it just affirms what a great salvation we have. Now if I didn’t have this great a salvation, I couldn’t go boldly into God’s presence, but I can with anything that I want to approach Him with.
When we work cattle, I have no compunction about saying “Now Lord, let those critters behave themselves today.” Those of you who know livestock, know there’s a big difference from one day to the next. Some days they can be as cantankerous as they can be. Other days they’ll just walk into that chute like docile little teddy bears, so I have no compunction going right into the throne room and saying, “Now Lord make it a little easier on us today.”
Now that’s mundane I know, but nevertheless, that’s just an example that you and I can go into the throne room of heaven boldly, without any excuse, without any doubt, knowing that He knows Les Feldick, He knows Charles Daniels, He knows Jerry Pool, He knows everyone of you by name. And you don’t have to introduce yourself when you get there, because He knows who you are. He knows what you’re going to ask before we do. Alright, Oh what a precious verse we have here. I can just feed on it.
So, let us therefore remember all that has been coming out of these first four chapters. Don’t be like those Jews at Kadesh-barnea and in unbelief say “No God you can’t do it.” But come with faith, believing Who He is. He’s God the Son, He’s the Creator, He’s the Sustainer, He’s the One Who finished the work of salvation, and nobody can add anything to it. It’s done. And listen, all of Christendom is trying to add something to it. They’re patching on something here, and they’re sticking on something there, but remember you come into that pure unadulterated Gospel of the Grace of God, and you just believe it!
You know, I had a pastor write the other day, and he said, “Les, why is it the more I preach the grace of God the less people want to hear it?” And it’s so true, because people don’t want to hear it. They’d rather go and hear a big booming instrumental group entertain them than to hear what you’re hearing today, and you know it’s true, because that’s where the masses are and all they want is to be entertained. They want some feel-good, ear-itching stuff that they can go home and then go through the week and coast until they get another little high.But listen, we are resting on that finished work of the cross. The Christ Who has passed into the heavens. The One Who has faced every temptation that we face and consequently then, therefore, we can come boldly without any qualifications on our part to the throne of Grace.
What’s Grace? Unmerited favor! Do you and I have any reason to expect something like this? No. There’s no reason God should say, “Well come on in boldly and share your needs, share your joys, share your sorrows, I’ve got an open ear.” No there’s no reason for Him to do that. Except Grace. Oh how God loves to be gracious, how He loves to just pour out all of His goodness.
“Let us therefore come boldly unto the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy, and find grace to help in time of need.”
Alright, so we come into the throne of Grace that we may obtain mercy. But what do we deserve? Judgment. But what do we get? Mercy. Let’s go back to Exodus chapter 33, and that’s the first place that this is really explained in perfect order. This goes clear back into the Law of Israel. Even under Law, what made it possible for a Jew to get right standing with God? His Grace! My goodness, you all know it as well I do. Time after time, what did God have every right and reason to do with Israel? Wipe them off the face of the map. They didn’t deserve His Grace. But it isn’t just Israel. We’re no different. My as much as we love our beloved America, do we deserve another day of our liberty? No, we don’t deserve it, any more than any other group of people. But, oh, we’ve been enjoying it now for several hundred years because of God’s mercy and grace.
“And he said, I will make all my goodness pass before thee, and I will proclaim the name of the Lord before thee; (and now here it comes) and I will be gracious to whom I will be gracious, and I will shew mercy on whom I will shew mercy.”
What’s that telling you? God in His Sovereignty can show mercy to whomever He will. Now He doesn’t have to, but He does, because in His Sovereignty that’s just His bent. He is the God of all grace, and He is the God of mercy. And so in order for us to come into this throne room of Grace, vile sinners couldn’t get there, no one polluted with the sin of this world could possibly come in to the holy presence of God, so what did He have to do? He had to make a provision because we couldn’t do it. And here we come right back full circle to that work of the cross. And so when Christ died and shed his blood and paid the price of our redemption and proclaimed it as what? Finished. Now what can we do? We can come right in to the throne room without having joined anything, without having done anything, without having given anything.
You know, somebody was telling me how his pastor was so hung up on tithing. And I said, “Next time you see him, you ask him if tithing is so all important to you people, why is it that 90% of church members don’t tithe?” Have you ever thought of that? Now I’m pulling that number out of the air, I’ll admit. But I get that number from years and years ago – a group of us were just having coffee after an evening church service and we got to talking about church finances and so forth. And it just so happened that our church treasurer was in our midst and we were not the kind of people that ever found out who was giving what.
But as we were talking about our church finances and so forth, our treasurer made this statement. He says, “Fellows do you realize that about 90% of our giving comes from 5 % of our people?” Now you take that into your own church and I’ll bet it’s not very far off in most congregations. Well if tithing is so almighty important so far as eternal destiny is concerned, what are they doing with these 90% that aren’t tithing? That would scare me to death if I were a preacher and I was depending on that. You know what I’d have to say? I’m doing something very wrong.
But see it isn’t on that. We are not boldly coming into the throne room of grace because I gave 20% of my income. I don’t come boldly into the throne room because I’m such a good guy. Every one of us comes in there on the same premise and what is it? The mercy and the Grace of God. That’s all. And oh, God is so good. My goodness, I have to tell him every morning, “Lord I don’t deserve all these blessings.” And neither do you. We’re all alike, we’re all human. Not one of us can go into that throne room and say Lord I’m here because I deserve it. No I’m here because of what you have done. So we come boldly that we may obtain mercy and find that unmerited favor especially when? When we need it. When’s that? All the time. That’s all the time. There isn’t a moment that we don’t need the grace and the mercy of God especially in the world in which we’re living today. We’re bombarded from every direction with everything imaginable and it’s only the grace of God we make it through each day.
That reminds me of a verse that we share so often when people call with a particular prayer request and many of you know where I’m going. Philippians chapter 4. What a basis for prayer.
“Be careful (or in our present day language we’d say worry) about nothing; (be careful or worry about nothing) but in every thing…”
Now what does the word everything mean? Everything! God doesn’t limit. Now there are some people that say God doesn’t listen to anything unless it’s spiritual. I don’t buy that. God listens to your every legitimate need. Now we’re not going to be frivolous, or silly when we come into God’s presence. But there isn’t anything that is of any note that God isn’t willing to hear about, wants to hear about it. So we’re not to worry about anything, but in every thing:
“…by prayer and supplication (but the secret is the next two words) with (what?) thanksgiving (in other words you thank the Lord before you even tell him what you’re asking for and you thank him for what he’s going to do and so with thanksgiving you) let your requests be made known unto God.”
Does God not know what you need? Of course he does. But what does the heart of God long for between Himself and the believer? Communication. God wants us to talk to Him, God wants us to commune with Him. And that’s what prayer is all about. It’s a two way street. He speaks to us through his Word; we speak to Him through prayer. Iris and I usually tell people, “Now that doesn’t say that He’s going to give a direct answer to everything we ask for. He may say yes. You may have an immediate answer. He may say no. He may not answer the way we think he should. Or he may tell us to wait a while.”
But the next verse is your immediate answer. The next verse is what we get every time we come to the throne room boldly and what is it?
“And the peace of God, which passeth all understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.”
That peace of God. Not the peace with God. You got that when you were saved but rather the peace of God. But now as a believer you come into the throne room boldly and you share all your needs and your desires of your heart and whether God says yes, no, maybe or later – but whatever the answer, you have that peace of God that passeth all understanding.