Justification Gymnastics & The Great High Priest

September 24, 2017

First Christian Church

Combined Service With First Baptist Church

Ordinary Time

Glenwood IA, USA


Hebrews 4:14-16


The Sympathetic High Priest


Welcome In The Name Of The Father, The Son, And The Holy Spirit


14 Since then we have a great high priest who has passed through the heavens, Jesus, the Son of God, let us hold fast our confession. 

15 For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but one who in every respect has been tempted as we are, yet without sin.

16 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.



Outline & Outliers 


Main Idea: Christ’s solidarity with sinful mankind makes Him your intercessor, His work gives you safety and confidence to draw near to the Divine in all His glory.


Main Application: Talk To God. Confess Your Sin God.


  1. 14 Keep The Faith
  2. 15 He Understands
  3. 16 The Practicality Of Grace


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Lord we come to you humble and mild standing in assurance of pardon because of your Son’s good work upon the cross. We believe you. We praise you. Open our myopic self-centered eyes to the beauty and truth of your Word this very hour. Grant us understanding, conviction and the most beautiful of things, repentance. ~ Amen.





Big Idea: Your Rest Is In Christ.


Application: Do not miss the one true source of rest by trusting in counterfeit gospels.


  1. Hebrews 4:1-3 Rest Is Still Being Offered To You In Christ.
  2. Hebrews 4:4-11 Your Rest In Christ Parallel’s God’s Sabbath Rest On The 7th Day Of Creation.
  3. Hebrews 4:12-13 You Can Believe All Of This Because The Word Is True & Trust Worthy.



Hebrews 4:1-3 Rest Is Still Being Offered To You In Christ.

1 Therefore, while the promise of entering his rest still stands, let us fear lest any of you should seem to have failed to reach it. 

2 For good news came to us just as to them, but the message they heard did not benefit them, because they were not united by faith with those who listened. 

3 For we who have believed enter that rest, as he has said,  “As I swore in my wrath, ‘They shall not enter my rest,'” although his works were finished from the foundation of the world.  

Context: Last time we left off on Hebrews 3.19 which says that the people were not able to enter the rest of the promised land because of unbelief.


Hebrews 3.19

“19 So we see that they were unable to enter because of unbelief.”


Rather grim.


Yet hope of salvation always shines in Christ Jesus our Lord. Do you see Him even now, shining in the darkness? He is our Redeemer and friend, the very darkness He has beaten back time and time again still tries to bring Him down to His knees, it is relentless, but He is stronger, Jesus will not yield. He will not let go of you, child. Jesus will not hand you over to the darkness. His love shines on in the form of mercy to sinners like you and I.


He is standing there, crucified hand extended toward us, the offer of entering His rest still stands. But do not take His offer for granted, as if you’ll live forever, as if you have any inkling as to when you will die. enter His rest today by trusting in Him for forgiveness.

Rest on the promise of Christ. The hope He offers is eternal spring.

Verse two reminds us of the terrible truth that a human can hear the goodness of the Gospel over and over again to no saving effect if the hearing is not married to faith in the Word proclaimed. I think this is why verses 12-13 talk about how God’s Word is living and active, sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing to the division of soul and of spirit, of joints and of marrow, and discerning the thoughts and intentions of the heart. Because we are bored, dulled by our fallen nature. Mankind is born into a stupor by our sin nature. We take for granted the most wonderful truths as if they were ours by right, as if Jesus is ours to dismiss or be into. As if He were our inferior to do with as we please. He is Lord. Humble and wild, powerful and meek, The Lord of All That Is, yet a servant.

If we are honest with ourselves, and I never assume we are, but if we are, we will see that in Him is all the majesty and mystery swirling in a wild tempest which somehow heals everything it touches. He would heal your torn heart and soul too, but you’re running to tombs for shelter from the storm of God’s uncontrollable love and sovereignty.

So it is, that there He is, the Crucified Carpenter King, who you would not have recognized during the days of His earthly sojourn, but you recognize Him now, you know in your heart that He is true, and that He is calling you Home. Do you see Him now?

Let us look together, at Matthew 11, and just for the fun of making ourselves uncomfortable with the fine marbling of Christ’s Sovereignty so liberally running through all of Scripture, let’s start in verse 27.


Mathew 11:27-30

 27 All things have been handed over to me by my Father, and no one knows the Son except the Father, and no one knows the Father except the Son and anyone to whom the Son chooses to reveal him. 

28 Come to me, all who labor 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.”

Yes, rest is still being offered to you in Christ at this very hour we call “today”. Do not throw away your shot. Do not invest your life and soul in counterfeit good news which will only leave you high and dry and thirsty and dead.

God’s love is strong. He desires to show you Lovingkindness in Christ crucified for sinners. He Loves you. Believe.

A disciple whom the Lord Loves once wrote,


“When I refuse to go to my Father in prayer, I have allowed my pain to turn me into dust all the while the creek of life bubbles nearby. Here I am dying and drying out, if only I would close my eyes and speak to the wellspring of life. ” 

Our fight is against disbelieve. Keep the faith, beloved.

Mark 6.6

6 And he marveled because of their unbelief. And he went about among the villages teaching. 


The author of Hebrews begs you to believe while you have the chance, while it is called “today”.


The Lord Jesus wants to give you rest now, and eternal rest forever. Rest, or Sabbath, is something stressed often in the Scriptures. Some folks don’t have a problem resting, that is they are busybodies, busy yet doing nothing productive for the Kingdom, or they are slothful, always at rest in the body, yet starving the soul nonetheless. And then there are those who are just busy, running from here to there like a chicken with its head chopped off. We are often running to and fro with our hearts cut out, busy doing, yet never accomplishing anything that will endure for eternity.

Mark 6:31-34

31 And he said to them, “Come away by yourselves to a desolate place and rest a while.” For many were coming and going, and they had no leisure even to eat.

32 And they went away in the boat to a desolate place by themselves. 

33 Now many saw them going and recognized them, and they ran there on foot from all the towns and got there ahead of them. 

34 When he went ashore he saw a great crowd, and he had compassion on them, because they were like sheep without a shepherd. And he began to teach them many things. 



Hebrews 4:4-11 Your Rest In Christ Parallel’s God’s Sabbath Rest On The 7th Day Of Creation.


4 For he has somewhere spoken of the seventh day in this way: “And God rested on the seventh day from all his works.”

5 And again in this passage he said,  “They shall not enter my rest.”

6 Since therefore it remains for some to enter it, and those who formerly received the good news failed to enter because of disobedience,

7 again he appoints a certain day, “Today,” saying through David so long afterward, in the words already quoted,  “Today, if you hear his voice, do not harden your hearts.”

8 For if Joshua had given them rest, God would not have spoken of another day later on.

9 So then, there remains a Sabbath rest for the people of God,

10 for whoever has entered God’s rest has also rested from his works as God did from his.

11 Let us therefore strive to enter that rest, so that no one may fall by the same sort of disobedience.



Have you heard the good news yet failed to enter rest because of disbelief and disobedience? There is still time to repent in the here and now while today is still called “today”. Don’t wait until tomorrow.


Christ is superior to Joshua.

The promised land is a picture of Heaven, And Rest in Christ.

Our God is the God who created the universe with His words in 6 days and took a rest on the 7th for our benefit. It was all for our benefit and His Glory, for He didn’t even need 6 days to create all that is. He wanted to teach us something about the rhythm of life, about night and day, and light and dark, and work and sweat and joy an rest. All things He is teaching us.


Rest. How do we do that? One theologian whom Jesus loves, writes,


“When we listen to His voice and obey, we enter a rest where striving ceases. Because we are admitting that our sin is too great and we need Him. We can’t earn His favor, so we stop kicking and screaming and rest like a toddler in his car seat. In contrast, verse 11. disobedience produces the opposite of rest. We might think our sinful striving is getting us somewhere, but we are walking in the wrong direction on an escalator. Sometimes sin is lazy. But sometimes it is busy and arrogant and it thinks it can reach God. True obedience means admitted that we need rest, and that rest is found in Christ alone.”

Hebrews 4:12-13 You Can Believe All Of This Because The Word Is True & Trust Worthy.


Hebrews 4:12-13

12 For the word of God is living and active, sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing to the division of soul and of spirit, of joints and of marrow, and discerning the thoughts and intentions of the heart. 

13 And no creature is hidden from his sight, but all are naked and exposed to the eyes of him to whom we must give account.


Read the Bible. Reading the Bible will do more for your formation as a Christian than anything else. Reading the Bible will help you know God more than anything else. Reading the Bible will help you walk in obedience more than anything else, nothing else compares or competes with simply making time to read the Bible and believing what you have read. We are people of The Book.


We must give an account for everything we have done, says verse 13. All these verses are leading us to verse 13. Trust in Christ, Rest in Christ, serve Christ, follow Christ, so that your tongue will be ready to confess Christ as your only plea and source of confidence on the the Great Last Day.

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