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Watch 2022 online sermons » Dr. Charles Stanley » Charles Stanley - Our Great High Priest

Charles Stanley - Our Great High Priest

Charles Stanley - Our Great High Priest
TOPICS: High Priest, Jesus

Why is it that some people see the Christian life as an exciting journey and other people see it rather as 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? Why is it that some people are able to face the difficulties and the hardships and the trials of life and somehow come out with confidence and assurance and boldness while other people find themselves plagued with doubt and often times with failure?

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 often times separates them from His personal work in their life. Sometimes they'll say, "Well yes, I know that Jesus Christ is the Savior and the Lord and I know that He's the Good Shepherd and the King," but somehow, they never connect with who He is in their life in a daily manner.

There are different kinds of phrases in the Scripture to describe Him as we said, the Bread of Life and the Water of Life and all the rest. But there's one that I think often times is overlooked. And once this is understood, it will rekindle in you a sense of excitement and confidence about your daily walk with the Lord. So, I want you to turn if you will to Hebrews chapter four. He says, "Therefore, since 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 cannot sympathize with our weaknesses, but one who has been tempted in all things as we are, yet without sin. Therefore, let us draw near with confidence to the throne of grace, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need".

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. Well, what I'd 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 and the priesthood in the Old Testament was to give us a visible lesson in 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 into 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. So all of this was very important in the eyes of God. When you think about how many hundreds and thousands and millions of animals have been slain during those Old Testament periods, you have to realize that in the eyes of God, this was so extremely important. The number of animals didn't matter. The thing that mattered is they got the point. They learned the lesson: God is holy, sin separates man from God, and the only access to God is through the shedding of blood.

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 tenth 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. Now, 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 was 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 twenty-sixth verse. For example, Jesus was the sinless High Priest. Verse twenty-six 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 twenty-fourth verse. Those priests in the olden days, they went into the Tabernacle or to the Temple to offer sacrifices, but verse twenty-four, chapter nine 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, the presence of God to offer Himself as the sacrifice. Likewise, these priests offered offered animals as we have seen several times. But you'll notice here in the twenty-sixth verse of the ninth chapter says, "Otherwise, He would have needed to suffer often since the foundation of the world; but now once at the consummation of the ages He," Jesus, "has manifested to put away sin by the sacrifice of Himself".

All those sacrifices in the Old Testament: pictures, lessons, types, symbols of the One who would come to give Himself, the living and ultimate sacrifice. And, I want you to notice another difference and that's this, Jesus offered Himself once and for all. And it's interesting how many times in the ninth chapter and the tenth chapter, it is mentioned that Jesus offered Himself once. For example, look if you will in the twelfth 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 twenty-sixth verse, 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 has been manifested to put away sin by the sacrifice of Himself". Verse twenty-eight, "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 ten, verse ten, "By this will we have been sanctified through the 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, one time, listen. 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 every 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.

Listen, 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 sinful man to have a relationship with God, to come into the presence of God. You may say, "Well I'm not a Christian but I pray". Sorry, doesn't do any good. You can formulate Him in a way that He just loves everybody and everybody's gonna get there one way or the other. But you'll find no Scripture for it. 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 of 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 there, listen, sinful man cannot walk into the presence of Holy God.

There is only one sacrifice, listen, 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's done for you and me, He died on the cross for us.

You say, "Well, but suppose I don't believe in Him". Listen carefully. This is what makes it worse. He died for you anyway. You say, "Well if He died for me, then I'm automatically saved". No you're not. He died for you but if you reject Him as the sacrifice, then you've gotta come up with something better. Listen, the Bible says without the shedding of blood there's no forgiveness of sin. So what are you gonna do? You can shed all of your blood and you know what? You say, "Well won't that do it"? No. Here's the reason why, because you're a sinner. And therefore, somebody had to die for your sins and mine and shed their blood who was sinless and perfect. You remember when they brought the sheep? They brought the sheep, the Bible says, listen, "without spot and without blemish". He said, "Don't bring Me any sick sheep".

Without spot and without blemish and what did we just read a few moments ago? "It was fitting for us to have such a high priest, Jesus. Holy, innocent, undefiled, separated from sinners, exalted before the heavens". Only someone who is absolutely sinless can die for your sin. And Jesus Christ is the one who did it. So the first thing He did, He listen, 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 twelfth 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 and 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, in the person of Jesus Christ. And what did He do? He opened, listen, He made it possible for everyone to be redeemed. When you place your trust in Him, you are redeemed. That is, 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 says He did He has done something else for us in chapter ten, verse ten. 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 in 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. Listen, 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, listen, 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 cannot sympathize with us, with our weaknesses, but one who has 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, listen, who offered the only sacrifice.

Listen, think about this. If Jesus Christ had not come to the cross. If God in the person of Jesus Christ had not died on the cross, 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, listen, to Almighty God through His Son Jesus Christ who sits at the Father's right hand. We have access.

Now I want you to look if you will, look in the tenth chapter for a moment. Listen to what He says now. We're talking about the way that He's opened up for us. Verse nineteen, "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 and 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? Father, Lord Jesus, however you want to address Him. Lord Jesus, here's my heart. I've sinned against You. Know I should not have. I'm asking You to forgive me of my sin. We have access to the very throne of the Living God. And how is that? Paved with the blood of Jesus. And how do we get there? 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. How do we know that sacrifice was accepted? The resurrection of Jesus Christ, He in the presence of the Father, listen. There would have been no resurrection had the cross of Jesus Christ not have been, listen, the ultimate perfect final sacrifice to redeem all mankind. 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 open. And now we have the awesome wonderful privilege of coming in the presence of the Living God. We don't have to bring any 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 are believers, 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. 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. I'm gonna tell you why there's no better plan, because there is no other plan. That's the reason there's no better one, there is no other plan. God of mercy, God of grace loves us, died for us, continually watching over us. And here's what He says, he says, "You want Me to be your great High Priest so you can wake up every morning knowing that you're forgiven, sins have been atoned for, feel loved unconditionally all day long. 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. If you're willing to say to Him:

Lord Jesus, I do believe that You died at Calvary for my sins. I believe You were the ultimate sacrifice. I'm asking You to forgive me of my sins. And I'm placing my trust in You as my personal Savior. I don't fully understand it all, Lord, but I understand enough now to know that it's not my good works, but Your great work at Calvary. And I accept that and I accept You as my personal Savior.

If you told Him that with all of your heart, you meant it, your name is written in the Lamb's Book of Life. You've become a child of God. And at this moment you have a great High Priest. Amen? Amen.

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