(From a sermon preached by Jim Holbeck at St Thomas’ Anglican Church Port Macquarie)
Jesus is the eternal Son of God who has never changed. Nor will He ever change in His character. We see in John chapter 1 and Hebrews chapter 1 these truths about Jesus.
Jesus was the Creator of the whole universe. Everything! John 1:3 “All things were made through him, and without him was not anything made that was made.”
He is the heir, the owner of the whole universe. It belongs to Him. We belong to Him whether we realise it or not. Heb 1:2 “but in these last days he has spoken to us by his Son, whom he appointed the heir of all things, through whom also he created the world.”
He is the Sustainer of the universe (the one who keeps it going). Heb 1:3 “He is the radiance of the glory of God and the exact imprint of his nature, and he upholds the universe by the word of his power.”
He offered the one perfect sacrifice for sins before taking His seat once again in glory, “After making purification for sins, he sat down at the right hand of the Majesty on high.”
He is the Creator. We are His creatures who are meant to live the way He wants us to live.
1). Jesus Is Present And He Wants To Come Into Every Area Of Our Lives. Heb 13:8
A). He is present for those who need Him. Jesus said in Mat 18:20 ,“For where two or three gather in my name, there am I with them.” His promise is that as His people gather together in their 2’s or 3’s or in their two or three thousands, He is present among them. It doesn’t matter whether we feel His presence or not. Reality is not what we feel. It is what God says in His word. As we gather in His name He is present. He knows everything about every person. He knows everything we have ever done or said. He knows the attitudes and motives of our hearts. He knows the thoughts that are going through our minds at any precise moment. He knows what our attitude to Him is at any time.
B). He Wants To Come Into Every Part of Every Person. Into Every Area Of Our Lives. Revelation 3:20. In this verse there is a picture of Jesus standing at the door of every human heart and issuing an invitation to us as individuals, “Here I am! I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in and eat with that person, and they with me.”
Many of us have seen a wonderful painting by Holman Hunt called “The Light Of The World”. It is based on this verse from Revelation 3:20. It is a painting of the risen Christ standing at the door of the human heart holding a lantern representing Him as the Light of the World. He is knocking at the door of the human heart wanting to enter in and to bring light into where there was once only darkness. Someone once remarked to Holman Hunt that he had forgotten to paint a handle on the outside of the door. He replied that it was deliberate. He wanted to show that the handle to the door was on the inside of the door, on the inside of the human heart. God respects the free-will He has given to humans. People need to open the door to Him before He can enter.
There is a wonderful little booklet with the title, “My Heart. Christ’s Home” by Robert Munger. The theme of it is that we need to allow Jesus to enter every room, every area of our personality, every facet of our life, the past and present. Including the cupboard under the stairs that we keep securely locked because of its unpleasant contents. Jesus asks us to allow Him to go in and clean out all the rubbish that is there. He goes in to clean and refresh it. We are cleansed and healed. We are so grateful to Jesus for cleansing us, renewing us, strengthening us that we willingly hand over the title deeds of our hearts to Him. Our heart is now His home and we live in it under His Lordship, His guidance, direction and protection.
Jesus wants us to show forth His presence in our lives in every way and in every relationship. We look at the verses leading up to Heb 13:8 from verses 1 to 4. In brief it is this.
Verse 1. Loving one another as brothers and sisters.
Verse 2. Showing hospitality to strangers.
Verse 3. Remembering those in prison … and those who are mistreated.
Verse 4. Honouring Marriage. (We look more deeply at this truth for a moment).
2). He Wants Us To Honour The Institution Of Marriage. 13:4
Heb 13:4 “Marriage should be honoured by all, and the marriage bed kept pure, for God will judge the adulterer and all the sexually immoral.” What did Jesus think about marriage? He saw it the same way as God described it in Genesis. When asked about the nature of marriage, Jesus quoted what God said about it at creation. (And remembering that Jesus was the Agent God used to create the world).
A). Gender. Mar 10:6-52, “… at the beginning of creation God ‘made them male and female.‘ Jesus identified just 2 genders, because He created just 2 genders. Today some folk have been deceived by atheistic Marxist philosophy which is trying to get rid of genders such as “male” and “female” and “boys” and “girls”. They say those terms have evolved over time, so let’s go back and get rid of genders. BUT Jesus takes us back to the beginning of creation. God made them “male” and” female”.
The American College of Paediatricians is a group of medical scientists who know about and care about children. In a recent report they wrote, ( ‘Transgender’ Conditioning Is ‘Child Abuse’. 2016) “The norm for human design is to be conceived either male or female. Human sexuality is binary by design with the obvious purpose being the reproduction and flourishing of our species,” They observe. “ … The exceedingly rare disorders of sexual differentiation …are all medically identifiable deviations from the sexual binary norm, and are rightly recognized as disorders of human design. … They do not constitute a third sex.”
They warn that trying to get rid of the concept of “male” and “female” “is … an artificial and anti-theist-tainted social construct. It’s an overt act of fist-shaking rebellion against the laws of nature and nature’s God. And it’s dangerous.” As God said, and as Jesus affirmed, and as previous generations understood until atheistic Marxist philosophy took such a recent hold in our universities, “In the beginning God made them male and female.”
B). Marriage. (Mk 10:7) ‘For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, (8) and the two will become one flesh.’ So they are no longer two, but one flesh. (9) Therefore what God has joined together, let no one separate.” How simply has God described His creation. It is understandable to every generation of people. He made “male” and “female”. He had a purpose for the human race to continue through marriage, (Mark 10:7) ‘For this reason a man (a male person) will leave his father (a male person) and mother (a female person) and be united to his wife (a female person), (8) and the two will become one flesh.’ And the human race would continue in families. So God’s institution of marriage must be protected. As it says in Hebrews 13:4) “Marriage should be honoured by all”.
Marriage as an institution established by God Himself has to be respected, honoured and preserved. It must never be diluted or altered in any way.
Individual marriages must be respected as well, 13:4 continued, “ … and the marriage bed kept pure, for God will judge the adulterer and all the sexually immoral.”
Marriage is between a man and a woman. The creator said so. Jesus affirmed it. It’s not about human equality. It’s about human responsibility to be obedient to God who created marriage to be between a man and a woman. It’s about human creatures living in the way God created them to live.
3). Jesus Wants Us To Find Our Security In Him. In His Peace And Rest In This World Of Turmoil. Heb 13:5-6
A). Our security is in Him and not in possessions. Heb 13:5 “Keep your lives free from the love of money and be content with what you have, because GOD has said, “Never will I leave you; never will I forsake you.” 6 So WE say with confidence, “The Lord is my helper; I will not be afraid. What can mere mortals do to me?” Our contentment and our security are never to be found in possessions. They can only be found in the Lord. How can we know this contentment? By getting rid of all stress by coming to Him. But how?
B). He Wants Us To Come To Him To Experience His Rest And His Peace. In the Holy Communion service we read these “Comfortable words” of Jesus. Mat 11:28 “Come to me, all who labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. 29 Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. 30 For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.” He invites us to come to Him when we are under pressure of any sort, whether it be School, Family life, Workplace, Marital tensions, Financial strain, Sickness, Grief, Bereavement, Loneliness, Depression, or Hopelessness. We are to come to the One who is present among us. Getting rid of the burdens we carry so that in their place we can put on the yoke of fellowship and walk in peaceful fellowship with Him. But how do we get rid of the burdens we are carrying?
C). He commands us to get rid of every burden by casting every burden on Him
God has said in the Old Testament, Psalm 55:22 “Cast your burden on the LORD, and he will sustain you.” Or as Peter wrote, 1 Pet er5:7, “Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you.” What burden do you want to hand over to the Lord so you can receive His peace and rest? A Physical need? A sickness or weakness? A spiritual need to feel forgiven or to be able to forgive? A need to get rid of guilt? An emotional need such as depression or Post Traumatic Stress? A need for meaning and significance in life? A need to belong?
It may be that you don’t really know what the burden is. You just know you are weary and heavy-laden. He knows what it is. He wants you to hand yourself completely over to Him so that He can take away the burdens He sees you carrying.
As you come to the Lord who is present among us, hand over those burdens and receive His peace. You may like to pray using these words, “Lord, I thank You for knocking at the door of my heart and asking to come in. I open the door of my heart wide open to You and invite You to come into my life as my Saviour. I invite you to come into all the areas of my life and to take your place as the Lord and Master of my life. I hand over to You all the burdens I know have been carrying and the burdens You know I have. Fill me with Your presence by Your Holy Spirit and give to me Your peace that passes all human understanding. AMEN.”
Just allow the Lord to show you what to hand over to Him. Then allow Him to fill You with His presence and His peace.
Blog No.196. Jim Holbeck. Posted Wednesday 19th October 2016.