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November 8, 2020 1:00 am
For the Christian, life is often hard. We may feel alone and tempted to take shortcuts from God’s path. But we can be glad that Jesus stands before the Father, praying for His own that we might be able to persevere. In this message we learn about God’s provision of an intercessor.Click here to listen (Duration 54:30)
For the Christian life is often hard. We may feel alone and tempted to take shortcuts from God's path, but we can be glad that Jesus stands before the father praying for his own that we might be able to persevere from Chicago.
We welcome you to The Moody Church. Our weekly service of worship and teaching under the ministry of Dr. Erwin Lutzer.
Today we bring you another in an eight part series on the inheritance of the redeemed blessings given to everyone who believes in Jesus.
Later Erwin Blitzer will speak on the gift of an intercessor.
Dr. Blitzer comes now to open our time of worship. Our theme is the inheritance of the redeemed and today I'm going to speak about Jesus as our intercessor. So as you listen to the music. I want you to realize how Christ exalting it is it is if you get the impression today that it's all about Jesus and it's not about us. You got the right impression. Meanwhile, in this very busy world. Let us about together in prayer. Let us invite God's presence, even as we think about our great and wonderful Savior, Lord Jesus Christ please join me now father from diverse communities from different parts of the city in different parts of America.
We come to you in the name of Jesus seeking special blessing seeking the Lord God, that our hearts will be open to your truth that no sin will intervene between our soul and our Savior that we might be able to worship acceptably and make this a transforming experience for us to your glory in Jesus name, amen. This is God's holy way in chapter 12 we read.
Therefore, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses also lay aside every weight, and sin which clings so closely, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, looking to Jesus, the founder and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is seated at the right hand off the throne of God. Consider him who endured from sinners such hostility against himself, so that you may not grow weary or fainthearted, and in chapter 4. Since then we have a great high priest who has passed through the heavens, Jesus the son of God, let us hold fast our confession, for we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but one who eating every respect has been tempted as we are yet without sin and with confidence draw near to the throne of grace, that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time.
Need well as you know anything about me you do know that I love to engage people in religious topics, hoping for an opportunity to talk about Christ. And when I do this I never have an argument once it came close, maybe twice, but never have an argument is no use doing that and them always being respectful. The Bible says we should respect those with different opinions and if we don't respect them. Why should we listen to them or they listen to us. One day I was in a cab with a Muslim driver and I just asked a random question. It was somewhat random. I said Mohammed has been dead now for several centuries. What do you think he is doing what his his occupation. What is he up to the driver thought for a moment and said nobody knows and nobody can find out. So I pointed out that it is really different than Jesus because we know that Jesus didn't stop being the shepherd of the sheep. When he went to heaven fact he continues today. Jesus didn't stop being a Redeemer when he died on the cross was raised and went to heaven, he continues his redemption work. We don't know everything that Jesus does for sure, but we do have some insights as to what Jesus is doing today. The Bible speaks about him as being our advocate. That is one who defends us.
It speaks about him being our intercessor and our mediator. We know that Jesus is doing that this is actually the sixth in a series of messages titled the inheritance of the redeemed blessings that belong to all those who put their faith in Christ and today's blessing we are going to sail to the heavenly and when it's over. I believe that your life is going to be changed. The context in which we're going to look at Scripture are the context really of persecution. Christians found the pressure to live for Christ so strong that they were tempted to give up the faith just like we sometimes find that pressure today that we have no idea what all the saints in the past have endured. In fact it's written to those who are going through periods of doubt is Jesus really all that he claimed to be. Can we hang in when life gets difficult. I hope that at the end of this message, you will realize that you can hang in when life gets difficult. I hope you also realize that if you're planning to send them some of you may be planning to sin this coming week that you recognize that that is such an indictment regarding the Savior whom we are going to expound upon that sin is never a good idea. I hope we learn all that and more. Two passages of Scripture that were going to usually have to use both both of them are in the book of Hebrews and I want you to take your Bibles and turn to Hebrews chapter 4 and also seven now.
I thought I had it in my Bible and I'm sure that unless somebody pulled the pages out book of Hebrews is here somewhere.
I don't think anyone did.
I was just sitting beside Bill so I don't think you have done the last verses of chapter 4 of Hebrews and the last verses of chapter 7 in my Bible there is only a page between now if you have a phone or other means by which you are watching our reading, you'll have to go back and forth, and that if you are listening to this by radio and you may be driving a car or running on your treadmill. Whatever it is that you're doing. Remember last verses of Hebrews chapter 4 last verses of Hebrews 7 I'm going to take time to actually read these verses I'm picking it up in chapter 4 verse 14.
Since then we have a great high priest who has passed through the heavens, Jesus the son of God, let us hold fast to our confession, for we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but one who in every respect has been tempted as we are yet without sin. Let us then with confidence draw near to the throne of grace, that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need. Now chapter 7 just turn the page at verse 23. The former priest were many in number because they were prevented by death from continuing in office, but he holds the priesthood permanently because he continues forever. Consequently is able to save to the uttermost those who draw near to God through him, since he is always living. He always lives to make intercession for them, for it was indeed fitting that we should have such a high priest, holy, innocent on the stained separated from sinners and exalted above the heavens is no need, like those high priest to offer sacrifices daily, first for his own sins and then for the sins of the people, since he did this once for all when he offered up himself.
For the law appoints men and their weaknesses as high priest. But the word of the oath, which came later than the law appoints as son been made perfect forever.
The reason I'm using both passages of Scripture today is both of them had to do with the advocacy of Jesus. Jesus is intercessor and today I may be using the word advocate intercessor interchangeably, because they essentially mean the same thing.
Here's what were going to do.
I'm going to give you four characteristics of Jesus as our intercessor for characteristics and then we'll talk about the implications the life changing implications and that were going to be using both passages in the process. I hope that our intention here is very clear. The first characteristic of Jesus as our intercessor is that he is sinless. You'll notice we read up there in chapter 7 we have a high priest who is holy, innocent, undefiled, unstained in chapter 4 it says he was tempted like we are but without sin.
The sinlessness of Jesus. Now we must understand that Jesus had a fully human body, mind and soul, totally, completely 100% human know.
That explains why. Sometimes he made statements that are mysterious to us that he didn't know when he was going to return to earth.
He said nobody knows that the Angels don't the Son of Man doesn't the father and he read that you still didn't Jesus have omniscience as God. He did and sometimes he displayed that omniscience, but often times he was thinking helping himself and operating in the incarnation, not depending upon his divine attributes and that explains also why he even made the statement once my father is greater than I will not, in essence, we know that, but greater in the particular incarnation that Jesus was experiencing, but he was totally sinless and I told this story many times it's probably the last time you will hear it, but it's necessary especially for students that are here.
Remember at the Parliament of world religions were how I've told you how I went down in the Palmer House where there were about 100 different religions with their various propaganda and information and I went for a search on us and look for salicylate I went to the Buddhist snow Buddha didn't claim sinlessness enlightenment by Halle I already knew. As I went to the table regarding Islam, that in the Quran. Mohammed indicated that he also had sin and needed forgiveness. So here I am. I'm looking for a similar Savior and I explained to the people and they had very blank looks on their face when I said I'm a sinner and I'm looking for a similar Savior because another sinner can't save me. I need somebody who is above the battle, you know, in Florida there was a toddler who fell into a swimming pool. The grandmother in desperation hopped in after the toddler. Both of them drowned because neither of them could swim and that's the way the religions of the world are not to put too fine a point on it, but other religions say this look.
I am a sinner but I'm telling you how to live. Let's join hands and go to the bottom of the lake together enjoying it. To the extent that we can. We are sinners and we need somebody to save us who sinless Jesus meets that qualification. I also believe that that's why he was virgin born to protect his sinlessness all right, first of all, Jesus is sinless. Secondly, he is sympathetic. He sympathetic. We read it there in chapter 4 when it says we do not have a high priest is verse 15 I think who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but one who is in every respect been tempted as we are yet without sin. He can sympathize with us tempted in all points. Now, of course, that doesn't mean that Jesus experienced every single temptation that human beings ever would experience that's not possible. For example, you have never experienced the temptation that perhaps a woman has, because Jesus wasn't a woman or a married man and so what what that means is, is that Jesus experienced the essence.
The essence of temptation for all of us and that what was the essence of temptation we see in the book of Matthew that the Holy Spirit comes down like a dove upon Jesus and the father says you are my beloved son in whom I am well pleased, and immediately after that it drives Jesus the spirit drives Jesus into the wilderness to be tempted of the devil and his tempted by the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes and the pride of life, just like we are, but his temptation always remember this about the devil his great desire is to separate you from fellowship with the father. He doesn't care what senators what he wants to do is to make you question God's goodness he did this in the garden of Eden. You know what a good God restrict you so that you can eat of the fruit of the tree of the garden is not a good God wouldn't do that a good God wouldn't respect you.
The way he does morally and and in other ways. And so what you want to do is to argue against the goodness of God and drive a wedge between you and God. That's why Satan is a splitter he wants to split you from God. Jesus experienced that. But because he was pure he experienced that in a way that you and I will never have to experience it with a tremendous amount of pressure. None of us. For example, have ever been in such agony that we have sweat drops of blood. But Luke says Jesus did that. So he experienced the great trials and the great pressures you say could he have sand. No, I don't believe that Jesus could have sand for the obvious reason that his deity in his humanity were united in such a way that he could not have sinned as man without also tainting the divine nature. They were brought together in a way by which he couldn't sin but yet he experienced the temptations powerfully and that's why he can sympathize with us.
That's what the Scripture says Jesus feels your pain. You know, if you had two pianos together and you hit middle C on one piano and there's another piano in the room.
The other will pick up that kind of resonance that kind of the sympathetic resonance Jesus picks up on your pain and he can say I know what the temptation is I know what the trials are. I have been through all that and I understand, in a very special way.
What you are enduring, so the cries on earth have sympathy resonance, if you please, in heaven. That's why when the apostle Paul remember was accosted on the way to Damascus.
Jesus came to him and said, Saul, Saul, why are you persecuting me you persecute my church you are hurting me and throughout the world today where there is persecution of Christians. Jesus is entering into their pain into their loss into their loneliness because he knows what it's like to experientially go through pain and loss and difficulty. So Jesus here is saying to us as we think about him. We got covered two characteristics. First of all, he is sinless and secondly he is sympathetic by the way these four characteristics all begin with the letter asked normally they don't in my servants, but today they do just happens that it fell out. That way you know the sermon came down from heaven already made when that be easy if it did, he sinless he sympathetic the sacrificial now notice what the text says in 723 where again back in seven it says that the former priest were many in number because they were prevented by death. Death has a way of ending your career. By the way, if you ever meet somebody who's complaining about old age encourages them by reminding them that old age does come to an it comes to an end.
They were prevented from living forever because of death, and so there had to be many priests so one of the contrast is between many priests and this high priest who lives forever as the text says and is not just that it's many sacrifices they offered many sacrifices and Jesus you have to read these verses for yourself. But in verse 27 of this passage. These it says that he offered himself once for all, because his was the final sacrifice and the only sacrifice that really took away sins and all the other sacrifices pointed toward it. So Jesus is the sacrificing intercessor. The third characteristics and the other is this led to all the other priests stood there were no chairs at the altar and so they worked in three shifts at the age of peace. That is to say, eight hours of peace because if you were to sit down. That would imply that your work was done, but God wanted to say in the Old Testament. Your work is never done because there's this river of sin that needs to be taken care of continually and so it is what it is. And Jesus sat down. I've mentioned this before, but again, you should keep these things in your mind so that you can witness to people and answer some of their objections. You don't have to answer all of them but if somebody says to you, while you know, this idea of demanding a sacrifice. Other gods demanded that to you can go on the Internet you can see it. The answer that you need to give to people is simply this, that there is no other religion in which God becomes the sacrifice that this is so critical that Jesus not only was the priest, priests offered sacrifices. Jesus the text tells us here at the end of verse 27, once for all offered himself.
He becomes the sacrifice you know sheep often lay down their lives for the shepherd. This is the one instance in which the shepherd lays down his life for the sheep. He is the sacrifice and that sacrifice is the blood of Christ which takes away the sin of the world. So we have Jesus sinless.
We have them sympathetic.
We have him sacrificial and now is very critical.
He is seated at the right hand of God. Why is that important. Listen if you had a dispute with the president of the United States you know you could say will Mr. Pres. we have this dispute. I am bringing my own mediator to help us negotiate this. I think the president would say no. Now that's not to. That's not acceptable if we can have a mediator and sometimes it's good I'm going to supply the mediator so not any old mediator is going to do it is God who is going to supply that mediator and that mediator has a right to be the mediator because after his work was done he was taken to heaven and he seated at the right hand of God the father. Now it's very interesting that in the Old Testament when a priest was going to offer the final sacrifice or when the high priest went into the holy of holies as he did on one day a year yet to basically go through three entrances. The first entrance got them into the court of the people the general court and then there was an entrance into what we call the holy place and then there was the curtain and he had to go behind the curtain into the holy of holies, where the mercy seat was and what the Bible says is that this Ark of the covenant and this whole tabernacle is actually a copy of the tabernacle in heaven. That's what it says in the ninth chapter of the book of Hebrews. So you see what Jesus did is when he ascended on high, he went through. First of all, the atmospheric heavens, the birds of the heaven, and then he went through the stellar heavens were all the stars are and then he went into the third heaven, which is really the essence of where God dwells. Now God is everywhere, but there's a sense in which God is localized to one place and it's that upper heaven that Jesus went to but furthermore, the Scripture says in the ninth chapter of Hebrews that he passed through the heavens while I'm reading it here for Christ has entered, not to the holy places made with hands, which are copies of the true things that are in heaven, but into heaven itself, now to appear in the presence of God in our behalf. You see, Jesus went there to appear before God.
Some people actually believe that he took his own physical blood to heaven because it it goes on in context, talking about how things have to be purified by blood. I don't believe that Jesus took physical blood into heaven when it says that he and he ascended into heaven, not by the blood of bulls and goats, but by his own blood. I think it means. On the basis of his own but he goes there and he is seated at the right hand of God the father. Now it's very interesting that about 10 times in the New Testament, Jesus is spoken of as seated at the right hand of God where God dwells in the third heaven and then there's only once. However, where it says that he was standing on all of you know exactly where it is. It's in the book of acts where Stephen is being stoned in the Bible says that the heavens opened and Stephen saw Jesus standing at the right hand of God.
It was as if Jesus was saying Stephen those rocks really hurt. I know that you're going to be in pain dying is no fun you're going to have a very rough ride but you're going to have a very safe landing. Because when you get here I'm waiting for you.
God was saying Stephen and while were talking about Jesus entering into the holy place and into heaven itself.
In the very holy of holies, which exists in heaven.
Let me remind you that it's a beautiful beautiful metaphor. You know, I'm drawing the snow from the last part of the six chapter of the you can read it on your own but don't turn to it. Now I'm going to tell you what it says it says that Jesus has entered into heaven, he passed through the heavens as our forerunner having entered into heaven for us. Note the imagery is in olden times when the boat was coming into shore and there were so many rocks that were along the shoreline of forerunner would hop in the water swim to shore and then by means of a rope and a very ancient winch would draw that boat into the harbor.
He was the forerunner I I'm ahead of you, and I'm making sure that you get where I have gone Jesus never expects us to go to a place where he hasn't gone he died and he says that I'm the forerunner and I'm preparing a place for you and so forth. Because he's the one you see, and meanwhile our boats Creek. Our the wind blows we think to ourselves, we can't endure this but the forerunner runs ahead of us and says I know you can make it because I made it and I'm here for you is your forerunner Jesus, having accomplished it all in heaven sits down my work is done. It's all finished.
I still have a responsibility I still intercede for you, but the work is done now. Remember the four characteristics here of the intercessor remember them. I do, I think. Let's review them first of all, he is sinless. Secondly, he is sympathetic. Third is a sacrifice and forth. He is seated, what difference should that make to us and why is it that God intends that we leave this place differently than we came. That's the issue before us just to very quickly become applications that I want to make the first is simply this led to Jesus Christ. We have access now once again we're in chapter 4. Sorry that I'm making you go back and forth but that's the way it is. You'll notice it says in verse 15 and following chapter 4 we have this high priest who is able to sympathize in our weakness. Verse 16. Let us then with confidence draw near to the throne of grace, that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need.
We come with confidence to the throne not of God, who revels in naked power, though he has power not to a God who is in different, but we come to one who if we could visualize the throne. We'd have to see a flag flying that says mercy and grace why mercy that's where the mercy seat is where Jesus has entered into that mercy seat so you know if Jesus is this great high priest if he intercedes for us in picks up her cause.
Why doesn't he deliver us from all of our trials. Why doesn't he heal everybody.
Why didn't he do all this in my experience that almost never though sometimes but almost never does God deliver us from trials, the mercy and the grace is to get us through those trials continuing to trust God.
Just like we sang through it all through it all and God is therefore asked not by delivering us from our many trials, but saying you can be faithful in the midst of those trials because I will grant you grace and when you sin you have mercy because we come now to the mercy seat. This isn't just an experience of some high priest in the Old Testament to wind in one day a year when Jesus died on the cross availability Temple was of course ran from top to bottom. Proving that God did it in the analysis.
Come, come to the holy of holies and you come in. You'll receive mercy and you'll receive grace to help in time of need. Have you come recently or you just kind of throw up the prayers to God, not knowing whether or not he's going to hear them.
The text says we come with confidence and we have this confidence because we aren't sure that we are heard because of our intercessor and were coming in.
His name and for the glory of God. Your cry to God is heard. We come with confidence because of Jesus Christ. It is worth it all. So first of all we have access. Secondly, we have an advocate as I say, advocate, intercessor. Now your Bibles are open to chapter 7. Have you enjoyed going back and forth to work.
Are you on your phone a little bit confused. You'll notice it says as we talk about this in verse 24, but he holds his priesthood permanently because he continues forever. Jesus is and yes he died, but he was raised again and he permanently, by the way, is going to be a man in heaven forever will see the nail prints. Consequently, he is able to save to the uttermost those who draw near to God through him, since he always lives to make intercession for them. That word uttermost can be translated. He saves completely or he saves eternally.
Either way, it's completely true. He is really able to be an effective Savior because he died and he makes intercession and I'm speaking to people today that if you were honest about your background and what you've done you know you've done some pretty terrible things God through Christ is able to save you completely and eternally, and the depth of your sin is not a barrier to his grace and his ability to save he can save the vilest of sinners. If they believe on him.
So let that invitation be you, no matter where you are and accept Christ as your Redeemer. Now, what does it mean to us to have an intercessor I'm going to tell you the story of a pastor course. It's a true story he told it in a meeting and I asked him for a copy of his notes at this point I'm going to be reading and paraphrasing his experience. Listen carefully. I'm not giving you his name but he says several months ago I made a trip to Dallas and while I was there I attended the opening day for a trial of a friend of mine. He'd been in print for 12 years is pastor led him to faith in Christ. There was a side to his life. He could not walk away from and it caught up with him. I was sitting in the courtroom when an attorney came over to me and asked whether I would be a character's for him and I said yes I would do whatever I could. Well, there was a turn in the case and tapes were exposed and they exposed a part of his life that no one knew about.
And now they called because they were desperate for me to be a character witness all of his other friends had stepped away but I I'd given my word.
I was struggling.
I got mad fast for two days at my wife.
I was torn about keeping my word and on the other hand, looking like an idiot speaking for the guys character when it was all on tape and he was of questionable character. I was on the phone the night before at 11 in the evening with their lawyers. That is the man and his wife and that they insisted that I come so I got up and was at the airport by 5 o'clock in the morning to fly to Dallas. I got to the Dallas airport or the Dallas courthouse and rode up the elevator and went through the sensors into the courtroom when the guy behind the counter said the trial is over. It's been rested its finished.
He said I was fit to be tied here right, all of this way to keep my word and embarrass myself know the whole trip was for nothing and I've lost a day or more. I met with a couple trying to hide how upset I was and left the airport to catch the next flight back home.
I was furious under warn you that this ends with the pastor, weeping in aisle seat on American Airlines and warning you because when I heard him tell the story. I know I couldn't hold back the tears. And it's okay, you know, to cry once the oil so maybe I will maybe will I don't know but let's continue the story. I was furious, but sitting in that aisle seat on American Airlines at 34,000 feet God spoke to me this is what God said to him you know you're pretty mad. Aren't you the right to be just want you to know that God is speaking one day you are going to be standing in a much bigger courtroom and I am going to be your judge and I got tapes on you, as a matter fact I got a pack of DVDs and they are all on each.
Everything you have ever done everything that you have ever said public-private got it all. When you stand before me, would you want somebody to speak up on your behalf. Would you want somebody to plead your case in my presence pastor said.
By now I was in a puddle of goo in that airline seat. I couldn't even respond to God I was so ashamed and God continue to say look at how good I am to you. I allowed you to go to Dallas to keep your word, and then kept you from getting on a stand and embarrassing yourself and now look at how mad you are me ask you when you're standing before God, and the tapes are rolling. You want Jesus there to defend my shirt to who shall lay any thing to the charge of God selected is God who justifies. Who is he that condemns it is Christ that died, a rather that is risen again, it is even now on the right hand of the throne of God also maketh intercession for us. I'm glad that when I die, and then have a character witness is going to say it's all true, but because of my death, and because the blood that I shared he is. Don't you want an intercessor like that.
Dearly beloved these things I write unto you, that you sin not. But if you sin you have an advocate with the father, Jesus Christ the righteous. Charles Wesley Road five bleeding wounds. He bears received on Calvary. They pour effectual prayers.
They strongly forgive him all over again. They cry, nor let that ransom center die. The father hears him pray his dearest anointed one.
He cannot turn away the presence of his son, his spirit answers to the blood, then tells me I am born of God, my God, is reconciled.
His pardoning voice I hear he owns me for his child. I can no longer fear with confidence I now draw nigh and father Abba, father cry soul because of Jesus our advocate for sinners who receive him.
Have you received somebody here in the front city. Yes, couple of others. If you received them. You can clap if you have I'm glad that when I stand before God.
I have an advocate with the father was going to plead my case father we pray that you might save those who need to be saved. Show them their sin show them father why they need an advocate show them why they need a Savior show them why Jesus is the only one qualified to be that advocate because he is sinless he is sympathetic he is sacrificial and he is seated there on our behalf.
We ask Lord working people's hearts. And if you've never received Christ as Savior.
You could do that, even now, if God is talk to you.
You say yes I want Christ as my Savior as my advocate because I know he's got the tapes. We thank you father that Jesus is such a friend a man on today's movie church. Our Dr. Erwin lutes are brought another in a series of eight messages on the inheritance of the redeemed. Many Christians debate the issue of eternal security. Can someone who has been saved ever be lost.
The issue is highly contested, even now. Next time a look at the words of Jesus about his role as the good Shepherd and the security. This brings worldwide tyranny and oppression are on the rise. This is an echo of what happened in Nazi Germany and is the mark of nations that forget God for your gift of any amount to The Moody Church. Our will send you a copy of Erwin lutes's book when a nation forgets God.
Seven lessons. We must learn from Nazi Germany Ball, 1-800-215-5001. That's 1-800-215-5001 or write to us at The Moody Church 1635 N. LaSalle Boulevard Chicago, IL 60614 online go to moodyoffer.com that's moodyoffer.com join us next week for another Moody Church. Our with Dr. Erwin lutes are in the congregation of historic Moody Church in Chicago and