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Bless-ed! 52 Blessings Your Lost Friend Doesn’t Have . . . And What You Can Do About It! (Part 32)

What are some temptations that you face as a believer? One of the blessings that I have as a follower of Christ is a sensitivity to the Lord. I don’t want to embarrass my Savior, grieve the Holy Spirit, or hurt myself or my family by giving in to sin.

However, temptation is not sin. The Lord Jesus faced temptation, but turned away from the enticements of the Evil One. And believers face temptations all the time. But I’m pretty sure that Mike — and my other unsaved friends —

32. THEY DON’T HAVE A VIGILANCE ABOUT TEMPTATION!

“Oh, no! Not another missionary!” I just learned that a long-term missionary has been caught cheating on his wife. They are now separated, getting intense counseling, but it seems unlikely that the marriage will survive. Christians aren’t immune to temptation and sin.

But God’s Word does not leave the believer in the dark when it comes to sin and its precursor temptation. We read in Hebrews 4 —


Please notice several key points brought out in this passage: (1) Although the writer to the Hebrews uses negatives to make his point, the positive way to state verse 15 is: we have a high priest who is able to sympathize with our weaknesses! You and I, as children of God, will never be in a situation in which we might say, “Jesus would never understand what I’m going through!”
(2) Jesus has been tempted in every way we are — yet He did not sin.
(3) We can approach God’s throne of grace and find mercy and grace in our time of need.

My lost friend Mike doesn’t enjoy any of those benefits. God may indeed show him mercy when he gives in to temptation, but he (as of yet) has no relationship to the Savior and should not expect to find help in his time of need. His greatest need is to repent of his sins and trust Christ for his salvation. Then Hebrews 5:15-16 will prove to be a great help to him!

So, how do I pray for my unsaved friend? I make it clear that I’m not above or beyond temptation and sin. I might share some of my struggles with my lost friends — and how Jesus as my high priest helps me overcome temptation. And I pray for my friend that he would take temptation and sin seriously and bow his knee to the Savior. (to be continued)

 

 

 

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Our Permanent High Priest — the Lord Jesus 
(A Brief Look at Hebrews 7)

My friends and I have been reading through the book of Hebrews. This week we’re reading Hebrews 7 together. I describe our Bible-reading covenant here and recommend that you consider doing the same with a few of your friends!

I think Hebrews 7 is one of the toughest chapters in all of the Bible! I don’t understand much of the material about Melchizedek, but that’s okay. The major point of the chapter, I believe, is about our great high priest, the Lord Jesus Christ. Here are some of my observations on verses 26-28 —

1. He is a high priest who meets our needs (v. 26). My primary need — and yours too I suspect — is for an intercessor with the Father. And the Lord Jesus is precisely that for His disciples. There is no greater need.

I have a bit of a confession to make.  My wife and I are avid Starbucks coffee drinkers. Every morning I get up about 5:30 and make myself a cup, freshly ground, in our Keurig. When Linda wakes up, I kiss her good morning and ask, “Would you like a cup of coffee?” She says, “Yes, as a matter of fact, I would.” And I make her a cup. We’re presently drinking an expresso flavor. I found it interesting that it is described as “BOLD” and “DECADENT.” I want to be bold in my life, but certainly not decadent!! And I’m so glad the Lord Jesus has taken care of my decadence.

2. His character is described in five ways. He is holy, blameless, pure, set apart from sinners, exalted above the heavens (v. 26). These qualities show that Jesus is our perfect high priest and is now exalted by the Father for His atoning work.

3. Unlike every other high priest, Jesus does not need to repeatedly offer sacrifices day after day. He had no need to offer sacrifices for His own sins for He had none. He has made the ultimate sacrifice — Himself — for our sins!

4.  The Son has been made perfect forever. This statement in verse 28 seems to relate to the Son of God’s humanity for He was always perfect as the Second Person of the Trinity.

Today’s Challenge:  Some of our previous posts have been about our need for a high priest. Thank the Lord today for your permanent, perfect high priest who intercedes for you and me before the Father!

 
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Posted by on August 12, 2021 in Hebrews 7

 

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Got a High Priest? 
(A Look at Hebrews 4:14-16) Part 4 Conclusion

My friends and I have been reading through the book of Hebrews. This week we’re reading Hebrews 4 together. I describe our Bible-reading covenant here and recommend that you consider doing the same with a few of your friends!

As we conclude our discussion of the Lord Jesus as our great High Priest, we read the following in Hebrews 4 —

In our three posts we’ve seen that: (1) Jesus is our “great” high priest — and we need to focus on Him! (2) That He has ascended into heaven (v. 14) and is at the right hand of the Father, interceding for us! (3) That His role as our high priest should motivate us to “hold firmly to the faith we profess” (v. 14). (4) That we must notice what we don’t have! We don’t have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses!

(5) We also saw that our great high priest has been tempted in every way like we are — yet without sin (v. 15)! Our sixth observation was that (6) We have every reason to approach God’s throne of grace with confidence (v. 16)!

As we conclude this brief study today, I want to remind us of (7) what we receive when we approach God’s throne of grace. We receive not judgment or condemnation, but MERCY and GRACE.  And those two gifts are given to “help us in our time of need.”

Today’s Challenge: What a simple word — HELP! It’s just four letters’ long, but boldly proclaims our utter need for God in our lives! What NEED do you have that causes you to simply cry out to the Lord . . . “HELP!”? Don’t hesitate to do just that. And tell another believer of your situation.

 

 
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Posted by on August 2, 2021 in Hebrews 4

 

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Got a High Priest? 
(A Look at Hebrews 4:14-16) Part 3

My friends and I have been reading through the book of Hebrews. This week we’re reading Hebrews 4 together. I describe our Bible-reading covenant here and recommend that you consider doing the same with a few of your friends!

As we continue our discussion of the Lord Jesus as our great High Priest, we read the following in Hebrews 4 —

We’ve seen in our first two posts that: (1) Jesus is our “great” high priest — and we need to focus on Him! (2) That He has ascended into heaven (v. 14) and is at the right hand of the Father, interceding for us! (3) That His role as our high priest should motivate us to “hold firmly to the faith we profess” (v. 14). (4) and that we must notice what we don’t have! We don’t have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses!

Let’s make two other observations from our text. (5) We see that our great high priest has been tempted in every way like we are — yet without sin (v. 15)! Temptation is not sin. If you need a really good book on temptation and sin, well . . . I tried to write a good one a few years ago entitled When Temptation Strikes! (And I’ll send you a free copy if you ask me).

Our sixth observation is — (6) We have every reason to approach God’s throne of grace with confidence (v. 16)! How can that be? We are sinners who are tempted, who need to be told to “hold firmly” to the faith, who often fail. But His throne is a “throne of grace” — and that’s what I need.

Today’s Challenge: Do you ever find yourself thinking, “Jesus just wouldn’t understand what I’m going through right now!”? Well, with all the pastoral kindness I can muster, REPENT of that thought! And thank God for your great high priest who has been tempted in every way that you are tempted. And stands ready to help you with the grace that only He can provide!

 

 
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Posted by on July 31, 2021 in Hebrews 4

 

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Got a High Priest? 
(A Look at Hebrews 4:14-16) Part 2

My friends and I have been reading through the book of Hebrews. This week we’re reading Hebrews 4 together. I describe our Bible-reading covenant here and recommend that you consider doing the same with a few of your friends!

Let’s continue our discussion of the Lord Jesus as our great High Priest! Here’s what we read in Hebrews 4 —

We’ve made two observations in our first post: (1) Jesus is our “great” high priest — and we need to focus on Him! (2) The second observation is that He has ascended into heaven (v. 14). We have an ascended High Priest who is at the right hand of the Father, interceding for us!

Let’s notice this morning —

(3) His role as our high priest should motivate us to “hold firmly to the faith we profess” (v. 14). By “the faith” the writer to the Hebrews means the total content of the Christian faith. And we are to “hold firmly” to that. Two people that I love have chosen to abandon their spouses and have (even though they don’t think so) abandoned the Christian faith. Really. They’ve turned away from God’s teaching about marriage and faithfulness and suffering. And they think they are still in God’s will. Whenever you or I choose our own way instead of God’s, we are doing the same! We are to “hold firmly” to this faith we profess!

(4) Observation #4 is that we must notice what we don’t have! We don’t have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses! That’s a lot of negatives, isn’t it? In other words, our great high priest can sympathize, can empathize with our temptations and weaknesses and struggles. We dare not think otherwise.

Today’s Challenge: Are you holding firmly to the faith you profess? How can you tell? And are you grateful for your high priest who is with you in your challenges and trials? Praise Him this morning for Who He is.

 
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Posted by on July 29, 2021 in Hebrews 4

 

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Got a High Priest? 
(A Look at Hebrews 4:14-16) Part 1

My friends and I have been reading through the book of Hebrews. This week we’re reading Hebrews 4 together. I describe our Bible-reading covenant here and recommend that you consider doing the same with a few of your friends!

If you are at all like me, you hardly ever think of the Lord Jesus as your High Priest. We don’t live in a culture that requires a high priest (or so we think). But this concept, this blessed role that the Lord Jesus plays in our lives, needs to be examined — and embraced!

Here’s what we read in Hebrews 4 —

A proper exegesis (examination) of this text would require an extensive study of the Jewish priesthood and especially the role of the high priest. And that’s a study worth pursuing.

For our purposes I would like to simply make some observations and raise some questions in several posts on this passage. Your comments and reflections are always welcome!

1. The first observation: Jesus is our “great” high priest. When I focus on the world around me, the world that belongs to my Father and has been given for my righteous enjoyment, I can quite easily fail to focus on my Savior. I’m not making the case that we are to ignore or turn away from the beauty of God’s creation. My point is that Jesus my high priest is great — and I need that truth to receive my primary attention.

2. The second observation for today is that our great high priest “has ascended into heaven” (v. 14). I’ve heard very few messages on the ascension of the Lord Jesus, but that event is a cardinal doctrine in the Christian faith. His ascension indicates that the Father approved His atoning work and guarantees that He will return for His own. We have an ascended High Priest who is at the right hand of the Father, interceding for us!

Today’s Challenge: What in the world makes us think that we don’t need a high priest in our lives?! Thankfully our sense of what we need doesn’t limit God’s provision of what (Who) we really need! Praise Him for providing the Lord Jesus as our great High Priest!

 
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Posted by on July 27, 2021 in Hebrews 4

 

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