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The Throne of Grace

The Bible Study Hour / James Boice
The Truth Network Radio
July 7, 2021 8:00 am

The Throne of Grace

The Bible Study Hour / James Boice

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July 7, 2021 8:00 am

The throne of God, which should be a throne of judgment, has become a throne of grace - a mercy seat - because of the death of Jesus Christ. On The Bible Study Hour, Dr. James Boice gives us the bottom line on all of this - that we should be bold in coming to God in prayer.

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This throne of God, which should be a throne of judgment has become a throne of grace and mercy seat because of the death of Jesus Christ coming up on the Bible study are Dr. James Boyce gives us the bottom line on all of this that we should be bold when coming to God in prayer and welcome to the Bible study our radio and Internet broadcast with Dr. James Boyce propelling you to think and act biblically. Most of us want to praying most of us wish we prayed more can be challenging to be consistent with our prayer. So today from Hebrews 4 Dr. Boyce tells us exactly what we need abundant grace from the throne of grace, to pray always been very interested in the things that George Gallup, a founder and director of the Gallup organization has to say about the religious life of Americans is because the kind of material I deal with the field I'm interested and also because George Gallup is a Christian man because he has great insight.

Recently I came across some things he had to say about prayer in American life.

He pointed out, I'm sure, quite rightly, that a great many Americans do pray you ask Americans about anything even say that they believe in the power of prayer and yet most of their prayers according to George Gallup are extremely superficial as you get below the surface and begin to analyze things you find that the prayers of most Americans are only for things in that means things for themselves and that they contain very little intercession for other people or Thanksgiving or request for forgiveness of the text.

We come to Hebrews 416 is about prayer that it's also about grace were doing a series on grace and so here we have a verse that takes our major theme of the race applies in this area of great need in such limited understanding where grace occurs in it two times, I'm sure you noticed that.

Let us then approach the throne of grace with confidence so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need that tells us that God is a God of grace and we come to the God of grace, we will find grace to help us whenever I need may be the place we have to start always talk about prayer, however, is to recognize that prayer is a problem for most of us whenever person first becomes a Christian lease told her she is told about a number of things which is odd to begin to go to church regularly learn to worship God private.

Sometimes group Bible study to be times for fellowship should be some witnessing in Christian service. All those things are important to identify those things that we are told to do. Prayer was certainly the most difficult very hard to come to church began participating in worship services.

We always do that easily, because we have patterns in our lives and have to be changed, but when it person becomes a Christian.

It doesn't require a great deal of readjustment of priorities in time in order to begin coming to church and in the same way especially if one has been reached for the gospel by other Christian people. That's not called back its natural one is been born again to begin associating with Christian personal or small group life Bible study or fellowship or some such thing. Witnessing is harder and acts of service sometimes require a commitment that goes a bit beyond it, but those things really aren't hard and you prayer is really is difficult and we want to ask why.

Why should that be so well. One reason, of course, is that many who prayer not Christian I'm talking about Christians praying and that's what this message is all about is for Christians, but there are many people who aren't Christians, nevertheless, try to pray, and they naturally find it difficult. I have in my library a lot of books on prayer. One of them has a whole first chapter begins by stressing again and again. Prayer is a natural and universal instinct, particularly when people find themselves in some danger. I suppose that's true.

You don't have to be told to cry out for help when you're drowning you can do it, you naturally do it, so I suppose that's right. That's not what I'm talking about. It's not really prayer is a prayer but is not really prayer. Prayer according to the teaching of the Bible is talking to God and people who are not Christians are not really talking to God because they don't know God, but they do instead is say a prayer under that phrase a lot you say a prayer for me that means Kenneth Reed recited a prayer say certain words when you know somebody you don't say that you don't say to someone say a conversation when you're with so-and-so that is not the way you talk. So that's one problem. Second problem I think is that we are just too busy.

I know that's no excuse.

Somebody is that if you're too busy to prayer just too busy and Martin Luther was very very busy reading the Reformation in his day producing an enormous volume of help material that was distributed written form throughout Europe said that he was so busy himself that he couldn't get through all the things he had to do in the course of the day unless he spent four hours in prayer in the morning, yet his priorities right so it's no excuse to say were too busy to bribe and yet that's not what I'm talking about instantly saying that we are too busy very busy and so because were used to a fast-paced life find it hard actually sit down concentrate and think about the presence of God and talk to them also to simple language strikes a little bit deeper is harder for us to face, but it is true you know in the book of Isaiah, God had Isaiah right surely the arm of the Lord is not too short to say, nor his ear to Delta here but your iniquities have separated you from your God, your sins have hidden his face from you so we will not hear is often the case with us if we are carrying sin in our hearts. We are practicing in our lives things that we know against the will of God. Well, then we are going to be ineffective in our prayer were going to find prayer difficult is one reason why confession always has to be a part of true prayer were not sinful confession to be left out that we are sinful and so we have to pray little a prospect is often used in prayer. The acrostic based on the word acts a CTS thing to remember a for adoration become in the presence of God. The first thing we have to recognize is that it is God who were coming coming anybody. This is the God of the universe and as soon as we begin to realize that we want to begin the praise of the great God is then confession. One of the things that God is holy. We are modeling when we come before this sovereign rate, merciful lives, knowledgeable and fairly godly confess our sins, and then after that comes supplication with thanksgiving included the fact that we don't really prayer know how to pray as we often stress supplication that his work asking for thing before we do anything else than the acts acrostic. It comes last prayer we make it first as well as last one of the sins we need to confess is an unforgiving spirit know what Jesus said.

He said when you stand praying, if you hold anything against anyone, forgive him, so that your father in heaven may forgive you your sin.

Jesus that our heart has to be right with other people as well as with God before we can pray aright and, of course, for many of us that's not the case for thing. I think it really is a problem in our prayer and maybe this gets even closer to it is that we really don't always believe we need it. I think we see that by our prayer, behavior patterns, we could go for long, long times without crying and then something begins to go wrong in our lives and so we begin to pray what that really says is that when things are going right we don't think we need to pray well because the thing is going right and so we let this great thing slip and go by what is the problem.

The problem is really sentence another expression of our own self-sufficiency and self-confidence word for it is applied really are so prideful we don't feel we have to humble ourselves to God to get his blessing. I think that double muscle laugh at us for all of the things we do in American religious life do not pray. I guess he would say something like this. He would say you Americans are so religious that does not bother me a bit as I religious you build your great churches and you establish your great church budgets that you have your wonderful programs in your institutions. You can do all that you want as long as you don't try because I know that unless it's done in the power of prayer. It is not the blessing of God upon and I don't fear your programs or your budget figure churches as long to get on prayer get on prayer is that I think that's the way the devil thinks but we have to get over that we have to understand we are called to be people of prayer.

God is made possible given us a throne of grace which we can come brings us to our text we read it.

Hebrews 416. Let us then approach the throne of grace with confidence so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need versus mental encourages prairie understand that in the first way it's meant to encourages us to tell us that the throne of God which we, as a throne of grace was not slip over that easily reread a phrase like that because we've heard it many times we don't pay much attention to it, but it's a marvelous thing. The throne of God is for those who come in Jesus Christ, throne of grace say that God is mentioned other times in Scripture and it is most characteristically mentioned not as a throne of grace with the throne of judgment, to the book of Revelation, and you find God sitting upon his throne introduced Morrison chapters 4 and the images carried on five and six God was sitting upon his throne is unleashing judgments on the will of the sins of humanity.

So you find the broken seals sounding trumpets and the destroying play all that unfold throughout the book of Revelation. It's a picture of the judgments of the last time, the very end of chapter 20, just before the real handling of all things in the passing away of the old creation of a new heaven and new earth in the new Jerusalem and the last great scene for the transformation judgment of the great white throne. Find everyone brought before the throne of God judging his away. It says in Revelation. Then I saw a great white throne and him and who was seated on earth and sky fled from his presence was no place for them and I saw the dead, small and great, standing before the throne and opened. Another book was opened, which was the book of life, and that didn't were judged according to what they had done as recorded in the book sea gave up the dead that were in it, death and Hades gave up the dead that were in them, and each person was judged according to what he and Don and death and Hades were thrown into the lake of fire in the lake of fire is the second death is a dreadful see, say, seem likely to be feared. Yet, when we read Hebrews 416 is not talking about throne of judgment talking about throne of grace. Again, we might think of the throne in a slightly different way. We might think of it not so much as a throne of judgment is set throne of the holiness of God because God is holy and it's gone up on the throne. That's experience in Isaiah Isaiah tells us about it in the six chapters of his prophecy said God revealed heaven to him.

He saw God on high and exalted, and there were seraphs, cherubim forms of angels, a called one another what they were singing was this early holy is the Lord Almighty is filled with his experience of Isaiah as he looked upon the throne of God and saw the Lord in his holiness was one of anguish because he was not holy, so he cried out in great anguish were with me. I am ruined.

I'm a man of unclean lips, and I live among the people of unclean lips mine eyes have seen the King, the Lord of hosts to see the point I'm making is that when we are encouraged to pray as we are in Hebrews 416 is not by stressing holiness of God. We are encouraged but it's by stressing God's grace leads me to the second thing and it's this God who sits upon the throne is a God of grace, something we really have to explore event. Think about and I suppose the best of always to do it is to think of it in terms of each person of the God that God is a Trinity, God the father, God the son God the Holy Spirit in each person of the Trinity is revealed to us in Scripture as a God of grace, God the father. First of all Jesus, perhaps at most to say about that because he picked up on that idea of God being father and emphasized that he said God is a loving heavenly father which father among you except would be meeting with his children if they come to him with a request. He said if the sun would ask her father for bread would give them a stone instead laughing at the joke. He pulled on his side now of course not sadness hungry and the father has the means he gives a brand or the Ashford efficiently give them a snake that he said if you even though you are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your father in heaven give good gifts to those who ask him. God is gracious, say, I came across a story so I was thinking about this and reading some material on it this week from missionary work in New York City and the depression earlier in this century was New Year's Eve. It was snowing missionary was going around the business of poor families became upon one family knocked on the door. There was no answer.

He opened it he went in there and a very bare room on a broken table. I was a man with his head bowed.

He obviously had been crying in the corner on the map with three little children.

They were asleep on the map is about all that was in the room was very poor poor dwelling missionary began ask what was happening in the man explained he just lost his job a few months before and his wife died the year before.

That was Christmas Eve and the little children over in the corner gone to sleep. Having hung up their stockings and they were expecting Santa Claus to come and bring them something that might man said he had absolutely no money at all. Nothing at all to give didn't even have anything to sell.

He had obviously would've done it in order to satisfy the expectation children is with a human father can be like a human father is like that. How much more God I read that story and it reminded me of what is probably one of the happiest memories of my youth very end of the second world war. My father was released for military service. He had been serving in the South. All living there in Louisiana at the time and then Christmas Christmas time just before Christmas, left the South. We began to drive north to where we were going to live out of Western Pennsylvania,, McKeesport landed father had a job waiting for him.

There and we had a place to go because my aunt, my grandmother lived there in an apartment organ squeeze into it for time though my father got settled and we started north we are trying to get there by Christmas Eve because the next day was Christmas and relatives that everything ready for us of all we are so excited about that major trends formation major change in our lives as we were making our way up from the south toward Western Pennsylvania passing through the mountains west terrible snowstorm. My earliest good memories. I remember that snow coming down is getting stuck on a mountain pass, trying to get up over one of those poor roads from those days remember at one point the car began to slide. We are afraid to go to slide over a hill. My father merged with the humility hour, he jumped out of the car he grabbed the blanket.

He ran behind and stuffed it under the wheel and sliding after a long long delay. We finally got the car going again but it was late, no chance of our getting to Western Pennsylvania.

That night we had to stay overnight in a tiny little time mountain village name I forgot somewhere in West Virginia.

Christmas Eve where we disappointed my parents said to us well now you know Santa Claus knows that you're here and find you here just as well as he cannot.

McKeesport wanted to hang up your slot have any of those fancy big red ones by today the hold so much that mother and dad can even find enough to put in them, and instead fill them up with half a dozen oranges we just at the slots we were wearing so we took one off and we stuck it in the top drawer of the bureau and we went mad when we woke up the next morning that candy chewing job. I kind of thing and it I realize later when my parents and I must've been exhausted.

It's hard to pack pack up all those things that we were making our way north.

We had a long, long, tiring day. We battled the snowstorm must've been 11 or 12 o'clock at night when we finally found the room in the hotel they'd gone out that late hour to find something by them in order to fill our stockings use it.

That's what a human father human mother will do on says I'm like that. Jesus said look your evil. You know how to do good things. How much more your father in heaven, do good to those who ask God is gracious God, Jesus Christ, is gracious. Jesus is much the God of Grace's father. This is the point. I suppose that the author of Hebrews is particularly concerned to mention please introduce Jesus the great high priest here in the section and he's emphasized that there is a high priest ferocity had first of all to become a human being like us.

It was on the stress that kind of things he experienced. He stresses the fact that he was tempted, he was tempted in every way. He says, just as we are yet he was without sin. That is mean, you understand that Jesus himself experienced every variety of every kind of temptation that you or I would ever experience actually saying that it just saying it was tempted in every way.

This is weird tempted in every way on the words. His temptations correspond to stances.

You see, he sympathizes with this he knows the kind of things we go through. There's no temptation it's come to you.

The God himself in one way or another is not experienced on a course father knows all think of some of those things we have the story of the literal temptation of Jesus Christ by Satan again suggesting first of all because he was hungry. He ought to turn the stones and the brand was a physical temptation that had to do with his senses. Then he talked about jumping off the temple coming down God preserving him and so launching his career with a great splash, sort of, every presidential aspirin stream and that I was an intellectual temptation to do it that way and finally to double through pre-density said look at this for about worship me, I give you all the kingdoms of the world and their glory and you will you have to go to the cross was spiritual temptation is. That's why temptations come to Austin senses through the intellect to Jesus was tempted in all those waves we think of the physical things he went through that deprived nations and the sufferings that one point to those who had in mind to follow him. You know, I don't even have a place to lay my head. The birds have nest boxes even at Dan's themselves, but I don't even have a place to lay my head and follow me. That's what you're going to have to go through know that there were times that he was hungry when he hung up on the cross.

He was thirsty. Leslie missed the point when he hung up on the cross was made sin for us, God turning his back on his son Jesus right out in great anguish. My God, my God, why say can suppose, of all the bad experiences of you and I can go through the greatest of all of us have sensation that we been forsaken by God. Sometimes the mystics called at the dark night of the soul can't seem to get through the presence of God and yet you see in every feel that way you can understand that you have in Jesus Christ great high priest was gone through it before you. You've not been forsaken by God. He never forsake you. You really are his child. Jesus Christ did experience that he was made sin for us.

You see he is wonderfully gracious Savior and the Holy Spirit to the Holy Spirit you know and John 14 also in the 15th and 16th chapter is called the comforter, the Greek word for that sparkly toss and it's translated several different ways and means helper at the cutter counselor but also means comforter silently think of the Godhead. We think of the God of grace and comfort one, so that's why when we think of prayer. We should really think of every member of the Godhead. Sometimes people say what can you pray for Jesus Christ instead of praying to God the father and you pray to the Holy Spirit. The answer to that is, of course, you can Lance normally spoken about in Scripture. Is this. We pray to God the father through Jesus Christ, we do it in the Holy Spirit that is assisted by him is in each case, God to whom we, God sits upon the throne of grace is a God of grace and I can see about this text is when were talking about prayer and member speaking of God's throne being a throne of grace. The triune God, being a God of grace we have to go further, we have to say that the throne of grace is become a throne of grace because of what Jesus Christ is done in other words, because of the work of Jesus Christ prayer as possible. Let me take you to that great image from the Old Testament that I mentioned that the reason I do it is because it's developed so thoroughly in the book of Hebrews speculate in chapter 9. This image of the ark of the covenant spoken about before. Most of you know what that is with me just review the ark of the covenant was a piece of furniture that was Within the most holy place of the Jewish tabernacle tabernacle had a big outer court had an inner building in the inner building had two parts, holy place, and that was the most holy place and I was in the most holy place of the ark of the covenant was placed as a box about a yard long 18 inches high and deep. It was made of what it was covered with gold and then on top of it and how this object called the mercy seat lid was more than just the lid and also had these seraphs are cherubim on it. Perhaps it kept track of the kind of thing that Isaiah salon, recorded in Isaiah 6.

At any rate, the two angels were here they face one another in their wings stretch out a backward lay almost met above, the covering of the ark.

Now in that space between the wings of the angels God and that symbolic way was understood well I want is a picture. Well, God thing down from his place between the wings of the cherubim sees within the ark. The law of Moses, which we are broke ark was built as a container for the long. That's a picture of judgment is so that the ark becomes one becomes a judgment seat as that picture is presented to us that you see when back covering is referred to in the Old Testament is not referred to as a judgment seat is referred to as a mercy seat reason it's called the mercy seat is this once a year on the day of atonement, the high priest and offering he made one for himself. First of all because he was a simple management. The author of Hebrews is talking about in the passage that contains our text and then after it made an offering for himself.

He sacrificed an animal for the sins of the people and he took the blood of that sacrifice very carefully.

But somehow he violate any of the regulations designed tactful holiness of God. He made his way in the most holy place once a year on the day of atonement very took the blood of the animal and killed any sprinkle it up on the mercy when his wife told the mercy seat because God now it looks down between the wings of the angels sees nothing now that we are broken with the shed blood is a testimony to the fact that innocent victims died in the place of those deserved by the mercy of God is now free to go out save the center. Now that's what Jesus Christ did you see in the case of Jesus Christ.

You have number one individual and did not have to make an offering for himself as he was the perfect son of God, and God himself.

He was holy. Secondly, although we didn't have to make an offering himself. He himself became the offering would one and the same time he is both the offering and the priest so you come later on in the book and here's the kind of thing. Here the author of Hebrews saying unlike the other high priest.

He does not need to offer sacrifices day after day, first for his own sins and then to the sins of the people.

He sacrificed for their sins once for all when he offered himself again. He entered the most holy Place once for all, by his own blood, having obtained eternal redemption.

Again, this is man is destined to die once and after that to face judgment, so Christ was sacrificed once to take away the sins of many people and he will appear a second time, not to bear sin, but to bring salvation to those who are waiting to see what is happened by the death of Christ's throne of God, which should be a judgment seat is, mercy, and the author of Hebrews describes it as a throne of grace on the bottom line of all of this is that we ought to be bold and coming to God. We are drawn near and confident is what is done we came in our own merit game completing any kind of righteousness that we think we might possess. We have no confidence at all. How could we, who were simple in our own merit. Possibly appear before the holy God. Because Jesus is made the way by the sacrifice of himself making a perfect atonement for our sins. We make come in further mowing the comparably and with confidence knowing that whatever it is we really need. We come to the God of grace.

We will fight because the God of grace is just that the God of grace.

What is it you need is forgiveness for sin. You committed a sin ways upon you, and you know you need forgiveness. If you can't find forgiveness by the DC forgiveness would become the God instilled a holy God. You have to relinquish the sin something requires of you, but you find forgiveness with you, maybe it's strength for daily life going through hard times you feel worn out is one you were to have the on the God for strength provide the strength he doesn't do anything that he doesn't provide spring bear last important you need comfort because of some great lost someone close to you is by husband or wife or child daughter, grandparent, whatever it may be able provide comfort. God is the God of comfort is a direction that you need for some important decision in your life you don't know where to go.

You don't know which way to target provide direction as it was the wisdom and encouragement give you encouragement.

Whatever it is, say, the throne of grace, find the grace you need in time of need.

Remember what Paul wrote in Romans eight God is for us who can be against us who did not spare his own son but gave him up for us all, how will he not also, along with him, graciously give us all things about this him. It's a great hymn of Charles Wesley is about prayer. Arise, my soul, arise, shake off like guilty beers that leading sacrifice in my behalf appear before the throne by surety stands by name is written on his hands by bleeding wounds. He bears received on Calvary, a poor effectual prayers. I strongly plead for me forget it will forgive. They cried more like that. Ransom 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 my and father father cry. Wesley understood our text wanted men to draw near to God of grace. So what is the bottom line the bottom line is we ought to pray, find it hard to do but we ought to do it all the same. We need to pray we don't need more lessons on prayer.

We don't need seminars on how to pray no need to read more books on prayer. We don't need tracks on prayer we need to do is pray. Is that asking you'll find seeking you'll find noncommittally open on the James that you don't have because you don't ask because Jesus told a story about prayer. One occasion he said there was a judge in a certain town was really an unrighteous judge.

He had no fear of God fearing man was a widow in that toddler to just concentrate came to him and he didn't want to trouble himself with a widow she didn't have enough to pray. I widow kept coming game again and again and again and finally the unjust judge said to himself, even though I don't fear God or care about man yet because his widow keeps bothering VLC that she gets justice but you won't eventually wear me out with her coming and then Jesus by this conclusion is and I listen to what that unjust judge says will not God bring about justice for his chosen ones and cry out to him day and night will be keeping them off. I tell you we will see that they get justice for the point of the story is not that God is unjust is not. It's not that he's a different setting back in different it's not that hard of hearing hears our prayers when in the story is that he does here is not indifferent. He cares he will answer and therefore pray at some point the story, let your requests be made known on the God and God will hear and answer. Why don't we pray. I suppose it's because we don't really believe that God will hear us. We don't really believe God will answer. Perhaps what we don't really believe is that we need it. Listen. Our text again. Therefore, since we have a great high priest was gone through the heavens, Jesus the son of God.

Let's hold firmly to the faith we profess, profess to believe in you do not have a high priest was unable to sympathize with our weaknesses. We have one tempted in every way, just as we are yet without sin is then approach the throne of grace with confidence so we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need abundant grace on the throne of grace is exactly what we need right. Father, we are people who stand in need of your grace every single day. You have need of forgiveness, guidance, comfort, direction, wisdom, and encouragement all those things that we lack in no way lack you are the one that was the abundant source of all those great blessings father as we pray. Now we come to you confidently believing that you care and you are able to answer and do answer and will answer and will answer us of the relators request before you know our hearts.

You know the people that are praying people web burdens for whom they're concerned, unsaved relatives, children, parents worry about a job care of others. All those things. Father hear us as we pray, we know you do answer out of your great mercy say amen you are listening to Bible study hours with the Bible teaching of Dr. James Boyce listener supported ministry of the alliance of confessing Evangelicals. The alliance exists to promote a biblical understanding and worldview. Drawing upon the insight and wisdom of reformed theologians from decades and even centuries gone by. We seek to provide Christian teaching that will equip believers to understand and meet the challenges and opportunities of our time and place. Alliance broadcasting includes the Bible study hour with Dr. James Boyce every last word with Bible teacher, Dr. Philip Reich and Dr. Barnhouse in the Bible featuring Donald Barnhouse. For more information on the alliance including a free introductory package for first-time callers or to make a contribution.

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