Worship, Sunday, June 2, 2024
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  • He Is Our Peace
  • In Christ Alone
  • Jesus, the Very Thought of Thee
  • My Jesus I Love Thee
      • Hebrews 4.14-15ESV

      • Hebrews 4.16ESV

      • Hebrews 5.1-3ESV

      • Hebrews 5.4-6ESV

      • Hebrews 5.7-9ESV

      • Hebrews 5.10ESV

  • Summer is upon us. So I wanted to begin with a true story from an article by Mario Vittone. I read it back in 2010, and shared it as a reminder to our aquatic staff while I was working at the Y. Somehow, it seemed appropriate for today as we break into summer.
    The new captain jumped from the cockpit, fully dressed, and sprinted through the water. A former lifeguard, he kept his eyes on his victim as he headed straight for the owners who were swimming between their anchored sportfisher and the beach. “I think he thinks you’re drowning,” the husband said to his wife. They had been splashing each other and she had screamed but now they were just standing, neck-deep on the sand bar. “We’re fine, what is he doing?” she asked, a little annoyed. “We’re fine!” the husband yelled, waving him off, but his captain kept swimming hard. “Move!” he barked as he sprinted between the stunned owners.
    Directly behind them, not ten feet away, their nine-year-old daughter was drowning. Safely above the surface in the arms of the captain, she burst into tears, “Daddy!”
    How did this captain know, from fifty feet away, what the father couldn’t recognize from just ten? Drowning is not the violent, splashing, call for help that most people expect. The captain was trained to recognize drowning by experts and years of experience. The father, on the other hand, had learned what drowning looks like by watching television. Until she cried a tearful, “Daddy,” she hadn’t made a sound.
    As a lifeguard, I wasn’t surprised at all by this story. Drowning is almost always a deceptively quiet event. The waving, splashing, and yelling that dramatic conditioning (television) prepares us to look for, is rarely seen in real life.
    The same is true in our spiritual lives. Too often we think we know what drowning looks like. We think of it as dramatic with a lot of drama. Perhaps we think of outward signs of a life spiraling out of control - drugs, alcohol, violent outbursts, can’t focus, getting fired or bouncing from one job to another…
    Things can look so good on the outside, and you can be struggling a lot on the inside. Swirling in self-doubt, fearful that you’re not good enough that somehow you don’t measure up. Am I a good enough friend, parent, grandparent? Is my faith real?
    Our lifeguard, our Savior sees it all. That’s what Jesus is like, our great lifeguard who has gotten off that lofty lifeguard stand, and come down into the water with us. He’s not unable to sympathize with us, but in every respect has endured it with us.
    I want to focus on one phrase in our scripture reading this morning as begin, it’s at the end of chapter 4, He 4:16
    Hebrews 4:16 (ESV)
    Let us then with confidence draw near to the throne of grace, that we may receive mercy and find grace to help IN TIME OF NEED.
    In time of need is a very toned down from the gist of this phrase in the Greek. In the Greek this phrase is a colloquialism of which a more exact equivalent would be “nick of time.” So, if we put it in that way, we read: He 4:16
    Hebrews 4:16 (ESV)
    Let us then with confidence draw near to the throne of grace, that we may receive mercy and find grace to help IN THE NICK OF TIME.
    There is no postponement of your petition, until your evening time of prayer, until your Bible study, until you pray in church; No! Right there, man, there in the street, in the midst of the temptation in front of you, turn to Christ, cry for help, and the grace will be there in “the nick of time.”
    I think of Peter out on the water back in Matthew 14, we read beginning at verse 28: “And Peter answered him, “Lord, if it is you, command me to come to you on the water.” He said, “Come.” So Peter got out of the boat and walked on the water and came to Jesus. But when he saw the wind, he was afraid, and beginning to sink he cried out, “Lord, save me.””
    Matthew 14:31 (NIV)
    Immediately Jesus reached out his hand and caught him.
    In the ESV it reads:
    Matthew 14:31 (ESV)
    Jesus immediately reached out his hand and took hold of him.
    In the “nick of time” he reached out his hand and caught him. We talked about this last week, and I talk about it often. Jesus has got you.
    As we get into chapter 5 we read: He 5:1
    Hebrews 5:1 ESV
    For every high priest chosen from among men is appointed to act on behalf of men in relation to God, to offer gifts and sacrifices for sins.
    That’s the role of the high priest in Hebrew tradition, to offer gifts and sacrifices for sins. And then the author points out a key difference between Jesus and the high priest, Jesus isn’t obligated to offer sacrifice for his own sins like other high priests.
    And then in the end of our passage for this morning: He 5:9-10
    Hebrews 5:9–10 ESV
    And being made perfect, he became the source of eternal salvation to all who obey him, being designated by God a high priest after the order of Melchizedek.
    Who was this Melchizedek? Well, the truth is we don’t know a lot about him. His name means “righteous king” or “king of righteousness.” He’s mentioned in Genesis 14 where he is listed as the king of Salem” and “priest of God Most High”. He approaches Abram and pronounces a blessing on him. Abram responds by giving him a tenth of his spoils.
    The Scriptures give us no additional details about his identity, nor do they explain how a Caananite city king became priest of God Most High. He does not appear in any genealogy.
    He appears again in Psalm 110, a psalm addressed to the king of God’s people. In it Yahweh promises to bring victory in battle and to establish the king as “a priest forever after the order of Melchizedek.”
    By invoking Melchizedek’s name the author of Hebrews provides Christ a priestly status that rivals anything in their religious establishment. Melchizedek serves asa a prototype for Christ by establishing the eternal priesthood that the Son of God now possesses.
    It’s not our human mediators that make a difference it is Christ who is our high priest and who does the saving work - not the priest, not your pastor. You all don’t need me to pray for you, you can pray directly to God because of Jesus.
    Years ago, I was serving a church and immediately after the service we were to have a potluck. As I was leaving the service a member of our congregation grabbed my arm and it was clear she was in some distress. Of course I was concerned and so we pulled aside and began to talk. In the mean time members went on to the potluck. About 45 minutes later I entered our fellowship hall and all the food is laid out beautifully on the buffet and not one person has any food on their plate yet. Someone came up and said, “Finally! We were waiting for you to pray so we could eat.”
    Now, I appreciate being valued so highly. I have to admit I have an ego like anyone else. But I was really taken back that the food had been getting cold, and people were upset with me (and relatedly the person in distress) for not being there for them to eat.
    You and I have a high priest that we can go directly to with our concerns. He has offered up prayers and supplications, and the ultimate sacrifice of himself for us. We read that back in chapter 2 of this epistle: He 2:17
    Hebrews 2:17 ESV
    Therefore he had to be made like his brothers in every respect, so that he might become a merciful and faithful high priest in the service of God, to make propitiation for the sins of the people.
    Propitiation - that’s a big theological word isn’t it. It means to make atonement for, oh wait, that’s another theological word isn’t it? How about to cleanse from sin or the defilement of sin.
    We are cleansed from the sin, the sin is removed from us, and we are removed from the sin.
    Returning to our lifeguard motif we started with this morning, are you drowning?
    When someone is drowning there is so much you don’t see, it’s beneath the surface. There’s the body position, the ineffective kick, the head back, there’s no forward momentum, the look in their eyes,… the only goal for the drowning person is to try and get their head above water for one more breath of air. Everything else is secondary. There’s typically no calling out for help, no waving of arms, it’s not dramatic like we see on television.
    When someone is drowning in life it’s often invisible if you’re not looking carefully. So much is below the surface, behind the scenes so to speak. Mental health struggles. Financial struggles. Marriage struggles. Spiritual struggles. All can feel like they’re pulling us down, pulling us away from God.
    Anything that is pulling us away from God puts us, ourselves, in the center. When we get in survival mode we’re focused solely upon ourselves, and that’s sin. Whether it is intentional or not - we’ve made sin as something we do that is bad and that’s part of it. But sin is anything that pulls us away from God. Being in survival mode happens to all of us, it takes our eyes off of God.
    A few weeks ago, we read this from the author of Hebrews:
    Hebrews 3:13 (ESV)
    Exhort one another every day, as long as it is called “today,” that none of you may be hardened by the deceitfulness of sin.
    To exhort is to strongly encourage. One might say it’s to spur another on.
    The great Rev. Fred Rogers, said, “Whatever is mentionable is manageable.”
    Jesus brother said, James 5:16
    James 5:16 ESV
    Therefore, confess your sins to one another and pray for one another, that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous person has great power as it is working.
    The disciple John wrote: 1 John 1:9
    1 John 1:9 ESV
    If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.
    We must be open to admitting our struggles to one another. So that others can encourage us in the midst of those struggles. There is something in our human nature that when something is known by another makes it more manageable and encourages us to work on it.
    We admit our logs, and we join a whittling club, working on the logs in our own eyes and gaining the vision to help others with their specks.
    Let’s not let our hearts be hardened by the deceitfulness of sin, let us exhort one another, encourage one another and build one another up.
    The price has been paid, by our high priest. He has made the atoning sacrifice, so that we are able to come together knowing in our hearts my debts been paid, and so has yours.

    Jesus is our High Priest

    Jesus is our high priest. Jesus is our ultimate lifeguard. To Him be the glory. AMEN
      • Hebrews 5:1ESV

      • Hebrews 5:9–10ESV

      • Hebrews 2:17ESV

      • James 5:16ESV

      • 1 John 1:9ESV

  • In Remembrance
  • We Are An Offering
  • Blessed Assurance
      • Hebrews 13.20-21NIV2011

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