Welcome to this weekend's In Touch Podcast with Charles Stanley. Jesus was a miracle baby born in a manger a long time ago, and now He is seated in heaven, interceding on behalf of all who trust Him as Savior. Today we learn what this means as the book of Hebrews helps us get to know Jesus, our great high priest. There is a burdensome kind of path that they have to walk, being unfulfilled and uncertain.
And why is it that some people seem to be able to have peace and joy in a consistent way and other people just have it in spurts in their life? Well, there's more than one reason for all of that, but I think one of the underlying reasons is one that we probably don't think about, and that is so many people have such a very inadequate view of who Jesus is, sort of a poverty-stricken view. They don't understand who He is. They don't understand what He's up to in their life. They don't understand what He's up to in the world.
And so they put Him in a category that oftentimes separates them from His personal work in their life. So I want you to turn, if you will, to Hebrews chapter 4, and I want us to read just three verses of this, but these are three very, very encouraging verses from Scripture because all of us have to come to these verses or at least to the idea and to the concept that's here often. He says, Now, all of us have needs in our life, every single one of us.
The question is, do you know what to do when those needs arise? If you'll notice in this passage, it says that we all have a great high priest. What I like to do is to look at that and how it affects you and me today, and to do so, we need to go back in the Old Testament for a few moments and look at the priesthood and the whole sacrificial system in the Old Testament.
And why was that? Well, I believe that one of the primary reasons that God instituted the sacrificial system, the priesthood in the Old Testament was to give us a visible lesson in the holiness of God and how sin separates man from God. When they built the tabernacle, for example, there was a holy of holy place. Only the high priest could go in once a year and offer with blood, having sacrificed for his own sin. Anyone who walked in that place, other than the high priest at any time, would be struck dead. Why would God do such a horrible thing?
Wasn't horrible in the eyes of God. He was teaching man the holiness of God, that sin separates man from God, and without sacrifice, there is no way for sinful man to have a relationship with God or to come into his presence. Now, all of that was a foreshadowing. All of that was a pattern. All of that, for example, was, as we say, a shadow of something that was to come.
For example, look, if you will, in the 10th chapter of Hebrews and just that first verse, because here he gives us an idea of that when he says, For the law, since it has only a shadow, listen, a shadow of the good things to come and not the very form of things, can never by the same sacrifices, which they offer continually year by year, make perfect those who draw near. It was a shadow, so to speak. It was a foreshadowing. It was a symbol.
It was a type of that which was to come. When you think about how God dealt through these priests with people and brought about their forgiveness because those sheep, those lambs were symbols. They were types of the ultimate sacrifice who is the person of Jesus Christ. And you'll notice there's a vast difference between those priests in the Old Testament days and Jesus, for example. The scripture says that Jesus, of course, was sinless. In fact, let's look at two or three verses here, because I want you to get these down because I want you to understand this whole message, because it's the basis and heart of our relationship to him and also our defense against those who say you do not have to know Christ as your Savior to be saved.
And there are other ways. For example, I want you to look, if you will, in the seventh chapter and the 26th verse. For example, Jesus was the sinless high priest. Verse 26 says, For it was fitting for us to have such a high priest, holy, innocent, undefiled, separated from sinners, and exalted above the heavens, while all those priests in those days did sin against God. In the ninth chapter and the 24th verse, those priests in the olden days, they went into the tabernacle or to the temple to offer sacrifices. But verse 24 chapter 9 says, For Christ did not enter a holy place made with hands, a mere copy of the true one, but into heaven itself, now to appear in the presence of God for us.
So instead of going to some other place, he went into heaven in the presence of God to offer himself as the sacrifice. Likewise, look, if you will, in the 12th verse of this ninth chapter. He says, And not through the blood of goats and calves, but through his own blood he entered the holy place, once, listen, once for all, having obtained eternal redemption one time.
Look, if you will, in the 26th verse of the ninth chapter. Otherwise, he would have needed to suffer often since the foundation of the world, but now once at the consummation of the ages, he's been manifested to put away sin by the sacrifice of himself. Verse 28, So Christ also, having been offered once to bear the sins of many, will appear a second time for salvation without reference to sin to those who eagerly await for him. Chapter 10 verse 10, By this will we have been sanctified through the offering of the body of Jesus Christ once and for all.
Now listen carefully. Why all this emphasis on the fact that Jesus offered himself at Calvary one time? Because every single lamb that was slain, all of that was a visual lesson of the ultimate Lamb of God, who is the person of Jesus Christ, whom God had crucified on the cross and who atoned for all of your sin and all of my sin.
Therefore, the emphasis here is so very vivid. That is once, once, once, once, he says, Jesus Christ laid down his life for your sin and mine. And you'll recall at the crucifixion, the Bible says there was an earthquake, big storm. And then that the veil in the temple that separated the Holy of Holies from other places was rent from top to bottom, which meant that God tore it asunder in order to say there is no more Holy of Holies. Man has access to the very presence of the living God.
You must listen carefully. That was a moment in time when God opened the door to the presence of Almighty God. No more animal sacrifices, no more location of Holy of Holies. But now man has access to Almighty God because of the ultimate and final sacrifice of his only begotten son, Jesus Christ. There is only one adequate sacrifice that makes it possible for a sinful man to have a relationship with God, to come into the presence of God. You may say, I'm not a Christian, but I pray.
Sorry, it doesn't do any good. I'll tell you why. Unless you're willing to ask him to forgive you of your sins, unless you're willing to deal with your sin issue, you're talking to God and praying to God and telling him all these things. Listen, sinful man cannot come into the presence of Holy God and ignore the only adequate sacrifice by which man is able to face the living Holy God.
Therefore, all of the good things you've done, you can live a lifetime of doing good things and reject the Lord Jesus Christ and you have no access to him. And so therefore, it's very important you understand, until you are willing to accept the one and only sacrifice pictured, foreshadowed, typed in all those sacrifices in the past which God said was so very important, so absolutely essential. He was willing for millions of animals to be sacrificed, millions of gallons of blood to be shed, confessions to be made because sinful man cannot walk into the presence of Holy God. There is only one sacrifice. He offered himself, the living God, the Lord Jesus Christ, offered himself the only acceptable sacrifice and when you accept him as your personal Savior, you accept his sacrifice as the sacrifice of Almighty God provided for the forgiveness of your sin, only then do you and I have the privilege of coming to him, having a personal relationship with him or coming to him asking for any need of our life.
Otherwise, it was all a big mistake. If you can be good enough without coming to Jesus, big mistake. If you can be good enough without coming to Jesus, all that whole sacrificial system was a big waste. God said it's no waste because he said it is so important that, listen, sinful man understand Holy God and our only access is through the final ultimate sacrifice of Jesus Christ. So the first thing he did, he sacrificed himself for our sin. The second thing he did, I want you to notice is the Bible says in the ninth chapter and the 12th verse, look if you will, that he, listen, not through the blood of goats and calves, but through his own blood, he entered the holy place once and for all, having obtained for every single believer, having obtained eternal redemption. Listen, not temporary redemption, not partial redemption, eternal redemption. That means this, that when you place your trust in Jesus Christ as your Savior, understanding that he died on the cross for your sins, that that was God's substitute. Listen, God's ultimate final substitute that ripped the veil in the temple and made it possible for men to come to God, that substitute had to be none other than God himself walking in the flesh and the person of Jesus Christ.
And what did he do? He made it possible for everyone to be redeemed. When you place your trust in him, you are redeemed. That is the sin debt has been paid to redeem someone means that you pay something in their behalf, something a substitute.
You redeem them from their past condition. God, through his son, Jesus has redeemed every single believer. Listen, we are eternally secured in him. Not only that, he has done something else for us in chapter 10, verse 10.
Look at that, if you will. He says, by this will, we have been sanctified through the offering of the body of Jesus Christ once and for all. He not only went to the cross on your behalf and my behalf, he not only redeemed us, that means he made us his children, but the Bible says, listen, he sanctified us.
What does that mean? It means that, listen, once you and I trusted him as our personal savior, because he shed his blood at Calvary, he has set you and me apart as his children, eternally secured in him. The ultimate sacrifice has been made and now you and I are the sons of the living God. We've been sanctified, set apart from the rest of the world as the children of Almighty God. Not only that, but I want you to notice something else that's very evident in what he has done for us, and that is he understands us.
The Bible says, if you'll go back to that fourth chapter a moment and notice what we read. He said, we do not have a high priest who can't sympathize with us without weaknesses, but one who's been tempted in all things as we are without sin. That is, he's not the kind of high priest who can't sympathize. He's one who sympathizes absolutely and totally. Now, the very word sympathy means, listen, to suffer with someone else.
Here's what that means. When Jesus Christ sympathizes with us, that means that he gets up under our pain and our hurt and our guilt or whatever, and he experiences it with us. That is, he understands. He understands where we are. Can he feel what you and I feel?
Absolutely, he can feel what we feel. That's why he says he is an understanding, sympathetic high priest. Think about this. Here's the Lord Jesus Christ who offered the only sacrifice. Listen, think about this. If Jesus Christ did not come to the cross, if God in the person of Jesus Christ had not died on the cross, almost every single one of us would die in our sins, separated from God because of our sin and be eternally separated from God.
Somebody says, well, now, but wait a minute. What about all of our good works? Without the shedding of blood, there is no remission of sins. All the good works in the world, listen, cannot substitute for the living, sinless, substitutionary, all sufficient, adequate, eternal. Listen, sacrifice of the Son of God who laid down his life voluntarily at the cross.
No substitute. He is an understanding, loving Lord Jesus Christ who absolutely understands every single facet of our life. He not only did that, but he did something else that is awesome. I referred to it a moment ago. When he went to the cross and paid our sin debt with his blood, he opened the door so that you and I now have access to Almighty God through his Son, Jesus Christ, who sits at the Father's right hand. We have access.
Look at it in the tenth chapter for a moment. We're talking about the way that he's opened up for us. Verse 19, Therefore, brethren, since we have confidence to enter the holy place by the blood of Jesus, by a new and living way, which he, Jesus, inaugurated for us through the veil, that is, through his flesh when he died, and since we have a great high priest over the house of God sitting at the Father's right hand, let us now draw near with a sincere heart in full assurance of faith, having our hearts sprinkled clean from an evil conscience and our bodies washed with pure water. Let us hold fast the confession of our hope without wavering for, listen, he who promised is faithful.
What do we have? We have a new and living way. In the Old Testament, how do they come to God? Through a priest and the offering of a sacrifice of an animal. What is our new and living way?
Here's our new and living way. Seated at the Father's right hand is the Lord Jesus Christ. How do we come to him? We simply say, Lord Jesus, here's my heart. I've sinned against you.
I'm asking you to forgive me of my sin. We have access to the very throne of the living God. On our face before him, on our knees in prayer, however you come to him. But you must come by the way of the blood of Jesus. That is, when you come to Jesus Christ, you are acknowledging that he is the final ultimate and accepted sacrifice before the Father.
And his resurrection is the living proof that every single one of us needed to know. Sacrifice accepted, sins atoned for, redemption offered, the way's been opened and now. We have the awesome, wonderful privilege of coming in the presence of the living God. We don't have to bring in his sacrifices.
We don't have to do any of that. We come knowing in our heart that he is there to forgive us and to cleanse us and to meet our needs. Think about it. For all of us who believe as we wake up every morning under the canopy of our great high priest, who loves us unconditionally every moment, who voluntarily died in order that our sins are forgiven, who knows every need that we have, who knows exactly where we are, who loves us unconditionally based on nothing but who he is.
Think about it. Wake up every morning the great high priest who paid this sin debt that you and I could never pay for ourselves, watching over us, caring for us all during the day, all during the night, knowing all of our needs, all of our hurts, all of our heartaches, all of our burdens, all the difficulties, all the things that you and I will face in life. We come. We wake up every morning with him. We live with him all day.
We go to bed with him at night. Let me ask you a question. Do you mean to tell me that you have a better deal than that? There's no better plan.
God of mercy, God of grace loves us, died for us, continually watching over us. And here's what he says, I know where you are, know what your needs are. I'm ready to meet them. Just come ask me. Can you beat that?
No. If you're really honest, wouldn't you agree that this being true, that it is foolish to live your life in your own strength, battling with the difficulties and hardships of life when you can have him as your great high priest, not only today, but today and for all eternity. Thank you for listening to Jesus, Our Great High Priest. If you'd like to know more about Charles Stanley or In Touch Ministries, stop by intouch.org. This podcast is a presentation of In Touch Ministries, Atlanta, Georgia.
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