Alright let us take our Bibles again this morning. We are going to turn to Hebrews 4 and continue in this great passage of Scripture concerning what the Word of God tells us about the unique High Priest Jesus Christ. I left off last time in Hebrews 4:12-13, which describes the terror of the Word of God and what it says to those who do not believe. Or this could be to people who say they believe but in their heart, they do not. To those who disbelieve the oath of God will stand, and they will not enter into God’s rest, but instead they will be left with the terror of the Word of God for which there is no escape.
The reason for this is because the Word can cut through your defenses. The Word can lay bear all your innermost thoughts, intentions, secrets, making it impossible to avoid God’s judgment. That is why the Word of God is terrifying. God Almighty is perfectly aware. He can deal with us according to not what we appear to be, but according to who we really are and who He knows us to be. We can fake it a lot, but you cannot fake it before God. He searches down to the depths of our hearts in judgment that He will expose all unbelief.
In fact in Hebrews 4:13 it says this:
And there is no creature hidden from His sight, but all things are open and laid bare to the eyes of Him with whom we have to do.
Everything is laid open and bare before the eyes of God. But to those who continue to believe, there is good news for them who trust God’s promises and believe in Jesus Christ as their Lord and Savior. They will enter into God’s rest. For them, instead of the terror of the Word of God being against them, they will have a merciful High Priest who is for them, who intercedes on their behalf and who helps them to hold fast to their profession of faith. Why do we need a High Priest? Because God is well aware that we are weak, are we not?
Are we not people who are prone to wander? Do we not get distracted very easily? The slightest thing can get our attention and move us away from our confession and profession, what we are supposed to be in Christ. As it says in 1 John 2:16:
The lust of the flesh and the lust of the eyes and the boastful pride of life.
These things are always there and Satan wants to tempt you and gain advantage in your life as a believer. That is why Hebrews 4:14-16 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.
That is the promise that God gives to those who believe and who continue in the faith. Once you are cleansed of all your sin and you start down that road on your Christian pilgrimage, how is it possible to find strength to continue if it does not come from somewhere other than ourselves? We have no strength to do what God asks us to do. Well the answer to that question is found in the unique character and nature of our great God and Savior, our great High Priest Jesus Christ. And just as the people in the Old Testament needed a ministry of the high priest, so we also are in need of the High Priest’s assistance every single day of our lives. We need divine help. That is what the point is in Scripture.
You have this divine help. In fact, the Lord has accomplished everything so we have that help available to us every single day. In other words, we can continue to press on in our pilgrimage because of four essential aspects of the priesthood of Christ. This morning though, we will probably just talk about one of them. In fact it was my intention to do verses 14-16, but that did not happen. I could not get out of verse 14. I do not usually do that, but there was so much there that I could not get out of it. So I want you to see some of the things that are here and in this passage. There is a very practical application found in our text this morning. I read it, and I want to look at the first essential aspect of the priesthood of Christ.
It is that we can continue to press on in our pilgrimage because Jesus is our victorious High Priest. Underneath that, there are certain things that qualify Him to be victorious. The first one is found in Hebrews 5:14, He had to be a great High Priest. If you notice it says:
Therefore, since we have a great high priest.
This is the first time that Jesus is referred to in this way. He is not only a high priest, but a priest to the superlative degree. He is the great High Priest. It means that His priesthood had a greater range, a greater cost, a greater depth, and efficacy than any other priest that went before Him. We would use the word mega to describe this word great. It is used of people and things that are highly esteemed for their excellence. It is used to describe intensity in degree. And it is also used to mean in all respects. We see in this passage of Scripture that Jesus Christ in the book of Hebrews is called High Priest because by undergoing a bloody death, He offered Himself an expiatory sacrifice to God. This means that Jesus was victorious as the One who had no rival. No one came close in degree to Jesus Christ because not only was He, as I mentioned before, the One who offered the sacrifice. But like no other priest before Him, He was the sacrifice. Just as John the Baptist pointed Him out and described Him as the Lamb of God who takes away the sins of the world.
He is that Lamb that becomes the sacrifice. Jesus Christ is victorious because He is like no other high priest. A second thing that qualifies Him to be victorious is found again in verse 14:
Jesus the Son of God.
The word Jesus means that He was a human priest. Jesus is His human name, but also given to Him at a miraculous virgin birth and indicates the work He had to do on behalf of sinners. In fact in Matthew 1:21 it says:
"She will bear a Son; and you shall call His name Jesus, for He will save His people from their sins.”
Jesus comes as a human to be a substitute to save sinners like you and I. He is totally qualified as a perfect human, One who has never sinned or violated the law. He always did what was right and did what was the will of the Father. There was no blemish in Him or anything that could have prevented Him from doing His mission. Jesus fought the greatest battle on our behalf and won the greatest victory over sin and death, and He did that as a man. Never underestimate the humanity of Jesus Christ. In fact, He could not be the great High Priest unless He understood fully what humanity went through and the temptation humans face every single day of their lives. I am going to look at that at another day, but this becomes important that He was a human priest.
Thirdly, to be victorious Jesus had to have a relationship with God the Father. As it says in verse 14, He was the Son of God. Connected with as Him being human is the term that designates Jesus Christ as divine in nature. Included in His Name, God and man become one person. This is a mystical union that is very difficult to understand and wrap your mind around. Nevertheless, Jesus Christ had a relationship with the Father because He was with Him in the beginning and came into this world in a manger. When He leaves this earth, He goes back and continues that relationship with the Father. Jesus participates fully in our nature, condition, suffering, sorrow, and temptation. By the incarnation He becomes man but this is also the prerequisite of His becoming the great High Priest. In Hebrews 2:17 it says:
Therefore, He had to be made like His brethren in all things, so that He might become a merciful and faithful high priest in things pertaining to God, to make propitiation for the sins of the people.
So what does He do? Two things come together in Jesus Christ and He shows that His Priesthood was supremely different than all others who went before Him. Just to mention one reason, is how Jesus perfectly knew God and man. No other high priest was able to be victorious in the ways unless the had these characteristics. In verse 14, it says that Jesus is victorious because He is the unique Priest. There is something here in this phrase that cannot be missed because it brings together His greatness, humanness, uniqueness and divinity by adding a very interesting piece of truth. Essentially, it shows us that Jesus had gone where no man had gone before or where no man could have ever gone. He was God, human, and as great as He was, the phrase is that He passed through the heavens. It means that He passed through somewhere or some place in order to get someplace else. The verb used here is used in the perfect tense and this indicates that He passed through the heavens and is still there. That is probably why the Holy Spirit used that tense, to let us know that right now He is still there. He is still there as our High Priest, ready and willing to accomplish His mission there as we we at the next thing in God’s plan.
Now this term the heavens can be taken into two ways. The first is that the heavens refer to the place of God’s glorious residence. This is the holy habitation of God, the resting place of blessed souls. It is where His throne is and where thousands of holy ones stand before Him, serving and worshiping Him.
It can also be taken as the air. This means where the birds fly, where the sun, the moon, the planets, the stars, and the galaxies hang out. Jesus is the agent through whom the entire universe of space and time were created. He created every speck of dust in the hundreds of thousands of millions of galaxies and who created the sub micro systems. And He passes through them and ascends above them in what we call the third of heaven, or the Heaven of Heavens. This is the place where God dwells. I believe that it is used in both senses. You put it together and get the picture that Jesus is essentially great and victorious because He has gone where no other man or high priest has gone before. All this is concerning the function of the high priest, the shadows, the pictures, the types, and roadsigns that would all be fulfilled and accomplished in Jesus Christ.
For example turn in your Bibles to Leviticus 16. In the course of a duty of a high priest, if you know anything about it and what the high priest does in the Old Testament, he had many functions but his chief function was to go once a year on the day of atonement, or on Yom Kippur. He was to enter into the Holy of Holies after elaborate preparation and cleansing ceremonies before he can go on that one day out of the year. Only the high priest could go and offer sacrifice first for himself, and then for his family and for the sins of the people of Israel. He had to prepare himself. There are several things that become important for us to understand what Jesus did in Leviticus 16:17, it says:
When he goes in to make atonement in the holy place, no one shall be in the tent of meeting until he comes out, that he may make atonement for himself and for his household and for all the assembly of Israel.
The first thing he did was go out of the sight of the people and the ministering priests. This high priest had a very significant job. He could not mess this up, and if he did and peaked in to try and see what was going on, he and anyone else involved would be killed. God only allowed one man to step in during one time of the year. He was to pour the blood on the mercy seat so the people’s sins and his sins and his family’s sins could be atoned for. Kippur means the covering of sin. It would be blotted out so God could not see their sin. And this would last the whole year and then he would do it again the next year on this high holy day.
The second thing that would happen on this day of atonement for the high priest, is that he would pass through the second curtain. Remember behind the first curtain was the table of showbread, the altar of incense, the lamp, and then another curtain, and the Holy of Holies which could only be entered once a year. On the day of atonement, he was able to pass through the second curtain, into the tent of meeting as he goes into the Holy of Holies. Look at Leviticus 16:2:
The Lord said to Moses: “Tell your brother Aaron that he shall not enter at any time into the holy place inside the veil, before the mercy seat which is on the ark, or he will die.
Once he entered in, the veil came in from behind him so that it shut him in, separated from all the people and put in a holy place. Then notice a third thing that took place in this verse:
For I will appear in the cloud over the mercy seat.
Could you imagine how that must have felt to be in the presence of God and know it? There was no privilege higher than this privilege, and not everybody was picked for this. Only certain men were picked and they had to be qualified in all kinds of ways to perform this duty. This was repeated every year on the holiest day of the Jewish calendar, Yom Kippur.
Now let us turn back to Hebrews and ask what does Jesus the Great High Priest do for us? He entered into the holy place made without hands. Look at Hebrews 9:24, it 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 Jesus enters into the actual holy place of God. Look at Hebrews 8:1-2:
Now the main point in what has been said is this: we have such a high priest, who has taken His seat at the right hand of the throne of the Majesty in the heavens, a minister in the sanctuary and in the true tabernacle, which the Lord pitched, not man.
So where the Lord goes, no high priest could have ever gone. This was all a picture of what Christ would do on behalf of us so we can truly be saved so there does not have to be a high priest that has to do it every year again and again.
A second thing is that Jesus passes through these heavens. That is the second curtain between us and the holy sanctuary. Has anybody who has ever traveled in space ever seen God? Or even had a glimpse of the glory of God in this holy place? No, because there is a veil between us. We cannot go into the presence of God, no one knows how to or has the ability to. All of our arguments are foolishness to God, to think that we could even possibly be make it to God on some kind of whimsical philosophical or religious system that we made up and enter into the presence of a holy God. That will never happen. What is the penalty for sin? Death. Separation from God forever. Jesus passes through these heavens as the second curtain between us and the holy sanctuary and actually enters heaven itself. Look at Hebrews 9:24, it 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.
No one could have done that. Jesus was also hidden from everyone’s sight when heaven took Him. He passed through the presence of God Himself as the God-Man. Notice what it says in the last part of the verse:
Now to appear in the presence of God for us.
He does this for us! Not for Himself. He accomplishes everything and is completely victorious so He can take us there. The only way you get there is if Jesus Christ is your High Priest. You are not going to get into God’s holy presence unless someone has blazed the trail to get there. The only One is Christ Himself.
Jesus, upon entering the Heavens, sits at the right hand of the majesty of God on high. He started out like that and must remain there. Jesus right now is seated at the right hand of the Father, but His plans are not done yet and we are in the midst of it! This should thrill you and bring you to a place of deep convictions and decisions about what is going on.
I want you to look over at Acts 3:20-21, He is seated there on the right hand of the majesty on high and must remain there until God restores all things. Remember that passage? Notice what it says there:
That He may send Jesus, the Christ appointed for you, whom heaven must receive until the period of restoration of all things about which God spoke by the mouth of His holy prophets from ancient time.
Jesus has ascended into heaven, after giving orders by the Holy Spirit to the apostles. He did not leave like everyone else leaves the earth. He went from time back to eternity. He did that under His own power. Jesus took His seat at the right hand of God and is seated there and reigning in Heaven. As it says in Matthew 28:20, the passage of Scripture He gave to His disciples before He ascended, He says:
I am with you always, even to the end of the age.
He is calling people to Himself and to the ministry He has as the High Priest. He is doing that right now all over the world. A third thing He does is intercede for us. Romans tells us:
Who is the one who condemns? Christ Jesus is He who died, yes, rather who was raised, who is at the right hand of God, who also intercedes for us.
Here is our Great High Priest’s ministry for us! He prays for us. John 17:15 also says:
I do not ask You to take them out of the world, but to keep them from the evil one.
That is a high priestly prayer. Why do we have trouble and weakness and suffering after we become believers? In this world we have someone against us more so now because we are in Christ and we have His identity. He intercedes for us us as our Great High Priest. This process comes to an end when Jesus returns to earth. He will come as the King of kings and Lord of lords. He will come surrounded by enumerable angels and redeem saints. Why is He coming? He is coming to restore all things, to bring restitution to all things and to reconstitute the universe. Paul told the Ephesians in Ephesians 1:10:
The summing up of all things in Christ, things in the heavens and things on the earth.
Do you see the greatness of the victory the Lord has accomplished on your behalf? Hopefully you will come to see how much you need the High Priest who sits in heaven while we are still on earth. He is praying on our behalf and waiting for us to come to Him when we are in trouble. He has come to help us for this very purpose, so we do not let go of our profession in Christ. So we do not drop this profession and say to forget it.
In light of this victory that Jesus won for us, and this encouraging ministry taken up by the High Priest, it is no time for you and I to sit on the bench or to have caution or to be a coward. It is no time to be silent. It is not a time to thoughtlessly and lightly dismiss and abandon our confession concerning Christ Jesus. It is time for you and I to be fearless in our witness, to hold fast to our confession and profession, and to advertise it as well. It is time for all of this. We have all of heaven on our side. Here is our duty based on the truth just explained. Look again at Hebrews 4:14:
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.
That is the practical application! We must hold it firmly so no one can rob it from us. You are going to see in Scripture why Hebrews was written. Someone is trying to rob your confession and throw a monkey wrench in the whole works. How do you know you have faith and are holding fast to your confession? Well if faith is the root of our confession, then obedience must be the fruit of our confession. Is this not a call to obedience? Here is our responsibility on earth while Christ is interceding for us, to hold fast. We do not see God now but we know that His Word is true. So hold fast and do not let go of it. Your obedience is the fruit of your confession and your profession. I know you are holding fast to your confession by the fruits of your obedience. Do you take what God says seriously?
I think several things happen when we think about obedience. It has to start from inside, not doing this on your own strength but starting from the inside. There must first be internal obedience, that means when we become Christians and are saved, Christ puts His Spirit inside of us which gives us this internal drive to want to follow Christ. At the same time, we understand that we are struggling and weak. It is a pilgrimage, and we do not always see clearly. Ultimately in our hearts, there is this eternal drive to want to please Christ.
There are several ways this has been communicated in Scripture. In Romans 6:22 it says:
But now having been freed from sin and enslaved to God, you derive your benefit, resulting in sanctification, and the outcome, eternal life.
This means that once you become a Christian, you have a benefit. Your benefit is sanctification. God is setting you apart and the outcome of sanctification is eternal life in which we can go into the presence of God where our High Priest is and see God. Even when going through the book of Acts, in Acts 15:8-9, it says:
And God, who knows the heart, testified to them giving them the Holy Spirit, just as He also did to us; and He made no distinction between us and them, cleansing their hearts by faith.
That is salvation. Something happened to you and I inside of us. Because of that, we have a profession that God has given to us and we really desire deeply in our hearts to please God. When we get knocked down, we get back up. That is the way our lives are going to be until we get in the presence of God. Paul said something similar to the Corinthian church in 2 Corinthians 7:1:
Therefore, having these promises, beloved, let us cleanse ourselves from all defilement of flesh and spirit, perfecting holiness in the fear of God.
Now God giving us a desire to put our own recognized sin to death. To recognize that when we are tempted with our eyes, with the lust of the eyes and the flesh and the pride of life, we do not want to go there. Because we know that if we start loving those things, the love of God is not in our hearts. God wants to give us the confidence not to live there. There is something that goes along with an eternal obedience and I am not talking just about morality. There are many people who are moral. I am talking about a morality that comes from an internal obedience to Christ.
There is secondly an external obedience. That is not hard to figure out, but failure in your external obedience can lead to a complete overthrow of your confession. In other words, this is how I know you are a believer. Because of the drive, the Word of God, the relationship and the understanding that God has given you with the High Priest, that you have an internal drive that wants to externally live for Christ. You do not want to do it with a mask on. You do not want to do it because that is hypocrisy, but you want to do it with love for Christ.
With that thought in mind, take your Bibles and look at Philippians 3. In ever epistle, we are warned about people that give the appearance that they are believers when they are not. Look at Philippians 3:17-18, which says:
Brethren, join in following my example, and observe those who walk according to the pattern you have in us. For many walk, of whom I often told you, and now tell you even weeping, that they are enemies of the cross of Christ, whose end is destruction, whose god is their appetite, and whose glory is in their shame, who set their minds on earthly things.
Would you say that there is a battle for your mind once you become a believer? As a matter of fact, the main battle is for your mind, what you think about. All over Scripture you find that the Scripture is admonishing us to listen. Cast your cares upon Christ, let the peace of God rule in your hearts, and think on these things. Why are we to think this way? Because thinking has everything to do with whether you are going to internally and externally obey. You have to hold to your profession. Do not ever think lightly about your thoughts flying about in your head. You entertain them for awhile and then you begin to think about them a lot. This is coming from the enemy who wants your identity from Christ.
2 Timothy 2:19 has another warning, it says:
Nevertheless, the firm foundation of God stands, having this seal, "The Lord knows those who are His," and, "Everyone who names the name of the Lord is to abstain from wickedness.”
Why do I abstain from wickedness, because I have a relationship with Jesus. Because Jesus Christ is my Lord and He died for that sin and all sin is an offense to Him. Therefore, I do not want to go there in my mind. I want to begin to put sin to death in my thoughts. I want to be transformed in the renewing of my mind as it says in Romans 12. This is so that I can know the good and acceptable and perfect will of God. If I am thinking of other things than what I should be thinking as a believer, then why am I always confused about what God wants me to do? I have been entertaining it in my mind and not abstaining from wickedness. I have been enjoying my fantasy life in my mind, but I must put that to death. That is nothing but wickedness. Do not give ground to sin that you already have. Do not do that. That is what the Word of God is telling us, this is external obedience. We need Jesus as our High Priest to take care of these things. Next, turn to this passage in Titus 1:16:
They profess to know God, but by their deeds they deny Him, being detestable and disobedient and worthless for any good deed.
People can go all day long and say they profess to know God. Internal obedience must translate to external obedience. You do it because you love Christ. In your Christian confession and profession, and your behavior, should be clear when it is compared to your confession. Your words should be clear in comparison to your confession.
We are always going to fall on our faces and commit sin regarding this. But we will commit sin as believers, we will get back up, confess sins, and the power of the cross is going to be efficacious to us. We are going to get back there and be cleaned by His blood and the power of the cross. We will watch out for that sin. We will watch our for what we think because we do not want to live there.
Brethren, I have to say that in the passage that talks about the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes and the pride of life, what is very interesting about when we allow Satan to take ground from us, and believe me, when you because a Christian you were freed to love and serve Christ like you were never able to do before. And there is a battle going on in your mind and Satan wants to gain a foothold in your life. You can give him the rights. You can give him the right to take advantage of you, by believing his lies and living in sin. And believe me, he has all the lies you can possibly think of. He will tangle your life up and make things so confusing that you will not know who you are or even your name. His point is to destroy you and your confession. When people hear that you are a Christian, they will not believe you.
None of us are exempt from what I am saying. It should bring conviction to us very deeply in our hearts. When we give Satan ground, he draws you away from the will, Word, and worship of God and then he destroys your dependence on God and your confidence in God and ultimately your obedience to God. That is his pattern. His pattern is easily discoverable in Scripture. He works the same way all the time and his goal is to move you away from your confession and profession.
You see how much we need the High Priest, our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. I am going to share an example. He may tempt you to live on the fringe of immorality. He will tell you that you have freedom as a Christian and to enjoy life. He will convince young people to go out and hold hands and share a little kiss here and there that will not hurt anybody. He will lie to you and convince you to do innocent things. But he will never let you see that he has helped you pull the pin from the hand grenade. It will all seem very innocent and yet we have a whole book in the Bible called Proverbs that admonishes all of us. Young people need to grow out of being foolish and naive and a scoffer. So that you can have the blessing of God upon your life and not have the destruction of Satan come into your life.
In fact, turn quickly to Proverbs 1:20-30, where it says:
Wisdom shouts in the street, she lifts her voice in the square. At the head of the noisy streets she cries out; at the entrance of the gates in the city she utters her sayings: “How long, O naive ones, will you love being simple-minded? And scoffers delight themselves in scoffing And fools hate knowledge? Turn to my reproof. Behold, I will pour out my spirit on you. I will make my words known to you. Because I called and you refused, I stretched out my hand and no one paid attention. And you neglected all my counsel. And did not want my reproof. I will also laugh at your calamity. I will mock when your dread comes, when your dread comes like a storm. And your calamity comes like a whirlwind, when distress and anguish come upon you. Then they will call on me, but I will not answer. They will seek me diligently but they will not find me. Because they hated knowledge. And did not choose the fear of the Lord. They would not accept my counsel. They spurned all my reproof. So they shall eat of the fruit of their own way. And be satiated with their own devices. For the waywardness of the naive will kill them, and the complacency of fools will destroy them. But he who listens to me shall live securely. And will be at ease from the dread of evil.”
Brethren, from Scripture, what we see here that wisdom is available to us but we do not have to listen. But then we will reap the results of our own foolishness and naivety. Look at Proverbs 5:21, it says:
For the ways of a man are before the eyes of the Lord, And He watches all his paths. His own iniquities will capture the wicked, and he will be held with the cords of his sin. He will die for lack of instruction, and in the greatness of his folly he will go astray.
In other words, you will be tangled up in your sin that you will not know what is up or down. Either Scripture is true or it is not. I say that it is true, right? Do not hang around, young people, with people who are fools and those who are scoffers and naive. Do not call them your friends. A friend is someone who loves you and respects you and watches out for you. A person who is your friend will not violate your person to manipulate your mind, get to your body, and rob you of your virginity and chastity. Sin will leave you to destitute of self-respect if you prostitute yourself to a friend like that.
All that people want to do today is gratify their flesh and if a person will not gratify their desires, they will be dropped and will be left for someone who else who will. As soon as you deny someone what they want, they will mock you, leave you, and ostracize you from the group. And you know what? That is okay. For someone who has a profession and a confession of Christ in their hearts. It is okay to stand alone. It is okay to do what God wants you to do in the right way. Lust is not love anyway. Young men and young women, if you continue to go with them, then you will become just like them. And if so, you deserve everything that life offers. But hopefully your mom and your dad fear God enough to tell you to keep away from such company, to save yourself from the deep and prolonged heartache that comes with hanging with people who only want to gratify the lust of the flesh. If you listen to God’s wisdom, He will supply your needs and delight your soul. Serve Jesus and live! For young people, do not court, date, or marry in unsaved people. Young men, stay away from young women who are foolish and naive and do not fear God. I am assuming you want to fear God. And your parents, live wisely before your kids and do not give into these subtle lies of the enemy who wants to take ground from you and your kids and your family and this church.
Is this a constant battle to fight? Absolutely. It will only get more fierce. As I was studying Proverbs many years ago, I came across ten things that a parent should teach their kids. If you teach your kids to love God, then you love God. Teach your kids to guard their minds, you guard their minds. All of these come from Proverbs. Teach your kids to honor their parents, but make sure you are worthy of honor. Teach your kids to control their thoughts and to be faithful to their spouses when they do get married. Teach your kids to watch their words because they reveal what is in their hearts. Teach your kids to persevere in your work and honor the Lord with your work. Teach your kids to honor the Lord with your wealth and then to be generous. Teach your kids to select companions and friends and potential spouses correctly.
Now if I left you right there, this is the practical application that I am giving you. It has to do with holding to our confession. Young people, someday, you are going to get married. By you cannot go by Hollywood standards. You have to go with God’s standards. Wise people find out what God’s standards are before they get into any relationship. The first standard for everybody that we have contact with, especially the person you are actually going to say yes to, is that they must seek God’s will. That is first, to trust in the Lord with all your heart, and lean not on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge Him and He will direct your paths. He knows what is going on in your life! The High Priest is aware of all your weaknesses, all your desires, and all your intentions.
The second thing is that that person must be a Christian! There is no exception. Proverbs 1:7 says:
The fear of the LORD is the beginning of knowledge. Fools despise wisdom and instruction.
2 Corinthians 6:14 also says:
Do not be bound together with unbelievers; for what partnership have righteousness and lawlessness, or what fellowship has light with darkness?
The third thing is that the person should be beginning to be wise. Above all, it says in Proverbs 3:7:
Do not be wise in your own eyes. Fear the LORD and turn away from evil.
Find someone who has good training and background. Proverbs tells us that someone who has a good name is to be more desired than great riches. Favor is better than silver or gold. The person should be good natured and even tempered. In other words, if you marry someone who is very prideful or angry, why would they change when they get married? That is why the person has to be a Christian not only in profession but also in deed. They would want to serve God even if they never met you. That should be their intentions.
Proverbs 22:24 says:
Do not associate with a man given to anger, or go with a hot-tempered man.
Here is something that is vital. The person should be ambitious and industrious. In other words, they actually have a job and have a desire to work. Proverbs 10:4 says:
Poor is he who works with a negligent hand, But the hand of the diligent makes rich.
Proverbs 6:6 says:
Go to the ant, O sluggard, Observe her ways and be wise.
If you think you are going to marry someone who is a couch potato and a sluggard and who does not want to work, you think they will work once you get married? That is not going to happen.
If I could admonish you, young people, to think every day that you are going to be a pure virgin until you say yes to the one God gives you in marriage. You are going to hear it twenty other times in the opposite way every day. Satan will lie to you every chance he gets. If you want to be sure, keep yourself pure.
Proverbs 31:10 says:
An excellent wife, who can find? For her worth is far above jewels.
Marry someone who believes that marriage is a lifetime agreement. Whatever happens in sickness and health, and everything that goes along with that. It should be forever. Anybody can confess and admit that there are different phases of marriage. There are difficulties you go through in marriage that are really hard, and yet when you have a High Priest who understands all your weaknesses and needs, and when you have a husband and wife who seek Him out, then what is He going to do? He is going to help you increase your profession, increase your faith, and keep you strong on this pilgrimage of life. He will cause you to be a good example to your kids, somewhat in the direction that they will see that you were right on somethings. And God is always right.
Marry someone that believes that children are an inheritance and a gift from God. Well I have said more than I plan to this morning. But I could have gone fifteen different places with this application here. But how much do we need what God has given us and to run to our High Priest for mercy and help. The Lord is completely available and qualified to help you. Satan will say that God does not like you and cannot help you. But He can! You do not need your self-esteem built up. What you need is to be on your face before God asking Him for help and to give you strength. Ask Him to help you overcome the thoughts in your mind that are not pleasing to Him. Ask Him for help to go into a situation with strength and wisdom. This is what God does. He is going to help you and I keep our profession. Both in internal obedience and external obedience.
Let us pray. Lord, thank You, this morning for Your Word. I ask You to bless us with it. I ask You, Jesus, that You would make us people that are serious about it. That the sins we have committed and the mistakes that we made in laying it aside and possibly getting away from being serious about it, in fudging in somethings, I pray we would get that corrected today. That we would turn to you and cast our cares upon the One who really cares for us and wants us to live a life that is honorable before God. I pray that You would bless us with that every day. Now as we come to the Lord’s Table, help us to prepare ourselves and examine ourselves and to confess our sins. And then Lord help us to be thankful, and joyful about what You have done. Help us to declare our beliefs about the new covenant of Jesus Christ, the physical death and resurrection, and return of Christ. And I pray in the interim that You would give us the strength to live for Christ. So Lord, as we come to the Lord’s Table make us ready for it. Make us prepared for it. And we give You the glory and praise for all that You will accomplish. In Christ I pray, Amen.