|Posted by Shalem IPC, NJ. on February 9, 2009 at 11:54 PM|
Introduction: Incidents do occur in our every day lives when we must be steadfast. For Example, the school going students ? They know how much they have to hold fast to their studies in order to pass their annual examinations. In the field of sports, we see guarding the goal to win football game needs a lot of effort and determination. In gardening, the farmer knows how hard he has to work and to wait for the plants to yield good crop in its season. Likewise, in our Christian lives things happen when we must be steadfast. Incidents occur in our lives that cause us to sometimes get discouraged and go away from God?s presence. It may be disappointment, doubt, fear, sickness, persecutions, financial crisis, business loss, job insecurity, family problems, or loss of our dear ones. God?s Word admonishes us that we must hold on to our faith in Christ Jesus even in the midst of all these problems. How is it possible? That is what we read in Hebrews 4:14-16. This passage shows that every Christian should hold fast to his or her faith even in the midst of great difficulties. Let us now turn to God?s Word to consider the reasons why we should hold fast to our faith in times of great difficulties.
1. We should hold fast to our faith because Christ is victorious for us (v. 14): The word hold fast comes from the Greek word for strength which means to ?hold fast with all strength.? It gives us the idea that we must hold fast to our faith at any cost. Why should we hold fast to our faith? It is because we have a great high priest. This talks about Christ?s high priestly work on behalf of us. Jesus Christ became the great high priest by offering himself. In the Old Testament, Aaron was the high priest. He offered sacrifices in the presence of God on behalf of his people for the remission of their sins. But Christ came and offered the great sacrifice of himself on the Cross of Calvary once for all. The blood that was shed on the Cross of Calvary is sufficient for the remission of the sins of the entire world. Thus Christ offered a greater sacrifice and became the great high priest for his people. If any one who accepts this great sacrifice done once for all, he or she will be saved and Jesus Christ will be the great high priest over their lives. What is the quality of this great high priest? He has ?gone through the heavens.? This clause speaks of the ascension and exaltation of Christ in victory. Having defeated sin and Satan, he was ?received up into glory.? And now he is seated at the right of the Father, interceding for us. Jesus Christ, our great high priest is victorious for us.
What kind of a victory has He won for us? This is illustrated in Paul?s portrayal of a victorious Roman General leading defeated enemies behind his chariot (Colossians 2:14-15): ??And having disarmed the powers and authorities, he made a public spectacle of them, triumphing over them by the cross.? Whenever the Roman soldiers won the victory over their enemy, they took them as captives. They tie the defeated captain of the enemy behind their chariot and the defeated army stands behind him having put down all their arms on the chariot. The victorious Roman General takes the captives throughout the street while people watch and applaud and the air is filled with the sweet smell released by the burning of spices in the street. Thus they have a triumphal entry into the palace. What do we learn from this? Our Lord Jesus Christ has defeated sin and Satan on the Cross of Calvary and thus he has won the victory for us. Christ?s ascension and exaltation at the right hand of God is your guarantee of victory over every evil spiritual force or satanic oppression. The victory that the Lord Jesus Christ has won for us is not a partial victory, but a complete victory. Therefore we have a hundred percent victory over every evil that comes against us. Remember this: in every conflict, you are not fighting the enemy FOR a position of victory, but FROM a position of victory! We are on victory side. What fight we have today? It is not for victory, but for the defense of our faith we profess in Christ Jesus. We are defending and celebrating so that Satan may not find a loophole in our faith life. Do you know what we are doing in the church when we sing songs, clap our hands, lift up our hands and say praise the Lord and Halleluiah, we celebrate the victory the Lord has won for us. So let us continue to celebrate and rejoice in the presence of God. You can hold fast to your faith because Christ is victorious for you!
2. We should hold fast to our faith because Christ sympathizes with us in our needs (v. 15): The word, ?sympathize? literally means ?to suffer with.? It is the English word, compassion. Jesus Christ is the one who sympathizes with our weaknesses. He cries with those who cry. He suffers with those who suffer. Only Jesus can understand our exact situation. We read in John 11:35 that Jesus wept at the tomb of Lazarus. Mary fell at his feet and said, ?Lord, if you had been here, my brother would not have died.? When He saw her and the Jews who had come along with her weeping, He was deeply moved in spirit and troubled. We also read in Luke 7:13 that Jesus was moved in his heart when He saw the widow of Nain crying over the death of her only son. Hebrews 5:7 says that during the days of Jesus? life on earth he offered up prayers and petitions with loud cries and tears. See, we have a great high priest who sympathizes with our needs.
Why can Christ sympathize with us? It is because He is the ?One who has been tempted in every way just as we are, yet was without sin.? In his humanity Jesus identified himself with us. He has gone through all the temptations, pains and sorrows just like we experience. He has gone through the hardness of labor when he engaged in carpentry work along with His father, Joseph in Nazareth. He has experienced hunger when he and his disciples were walking through the fields. He has experienced financial crisis when the time came to give tax. He sent one of his disciples to catch a fish and take the money out of the fish to pay the tax. He experienced pain and agony at the time of crucifixion. Finally he experienced death on the Cross of Calvary. Friends, He has gone through every situation that you and I go through today. He knows how much we can bear. Psalms 103: 14 says that our God knows our frame; He remembers that we are dust. He knows our problems; he hears our cry and sees our difficult situation. Psalms 103:13: reads, ?As a father has compassion on his children, so the Lord has compassion on those who fear.? This can be illustrated in the story of a little boy who went with his father to a supermarket. His father bought certain things and sent it home with his son. It was a bit heavy and an old lady approached him on the way and asked, ?Little boy, how can you carry all these things. It is too heavy for you. Who sent it with you?? The little boy said, ?It is my daddy and he knows how much I can carry.? Dear people of God, if an earthly father knows how much his son or daughter can bear, how much more our heavenly Father knows our needs (Luke 11:13). Our Jesus knows our needs. He hears our cry and our God is the one who collects all our tears and reward us. Even our hairs are numbered. I don?t think our wives will ask how many hairs we lost when we come from our office, but our heavenly Father knows how many we lose every day! Jesus cares for you! Whatever your grief, your pain, your problem, Christ feels your need. Jesus came to this world not to take away our pain and suffering, but to share in it. He himself has gone through it to show us how we can also victoriously come out of it. Our God is a God who is able to supply all our needs according to His riches and glory (Philippians 4:19). Hold fast to your faith, because He is a sympathizing Savior.
3. We should hold fast to our faith because Christ will help in time of need (v. 16): Help in time of need means a well-timed help. The grace and help are always ready, but they come at God?s timing. God sometimes allows our crisis to continue for a long time before he directly intervenes. It is illustrated in Peter?s deliverance from prison (Acts 12: 6-11). Peter was there in chain for a few days, but the deliverance only came the night before his trial. The Angel of the Lord came in the night and led him out. Even the Iron Gate was opened before him. Friends, if there is any closed door before you, however strong it may be, it is going to open for you, if you walk with faith in the Lord. Another example is seen in Matthew 14:22. Here, Jesus? disciples were doing their best to get out of the storm, the whole night. They tried in the first, second and third watch of the night, but help did not come. In the fourth watch of the night - early in the morning 3-6 o? clock - Jesus came to their aid walking on the lake. Looks like our God does not sleep - He is always awake and working for His people (Psalms 121). The people of this world may sleep in the fourth watch of the night. Even then we have a God who is always watching over us. The holy places in this world may be opened for some seasons for people to visit and pray. But heaven is always open for you! You can go at any time and call him Abba Father.
We should never question God in the dark hours of life. Quite often we question God when we go through difficult times. Why does God allow these things in my life? Why am I suffering even though I follow Him? Once a farmer was sitting under his walnut tree questioning God for all that happened against his life. When he looked up he saw some small walnuts hanging from strong branches. At the same time he could see big pumpkins on week plant creeping on the ground. He said, ?O! God himself created everything crazy - topsy-turvy. He created small walnut on strong branches and big pumpkins on weak creeper. Immediately a wind blew and a walnut fell on his head. He jumped up and said, ?Thank God that it was not a pumpkin up there.? Friends, we may not understand God?s ways. His ways are higher than our ways and his thoughts are higher than our thoughts. He works in ways that we do not know. He is a God who works beyond our imagination and expectation. He always works for the good of His people. We will always have need for Christ?s help. You might face persecution, loneliness or conflict, but Christ guarantees you timely help. His delays do not mean that you are forgotten.
Conclusion: Every Christian should hold fast to his or her faith in time of great need. Remember these truths: Christ is victorious for you; Christ sympathizes with you in your need; and Christ will help you just at the right time. God can do everything except fail! The Lord will protect you and supply all your needs according to his riches and glory. He will never despise a broken spirit and a contrite heart.
By MATHEW PHILIP