Jesus Can Give You Confidence

Steve Viars March 8, 2009 2 Peter 10:1-39

- I’d like to begin our time by asking you a question – how important is confidence to the average endeavor?...does it matter, when you’re about to embark on something, that you possess the appropriate measure of confidence?...

- we’re about to enter baseball season…and here at the community center and many other places we’ll begin our community baseball leagues…

- we had a little league where I grew up too…and on the one hand I liked sports, and I liked being with the other guys from school and the neighborhood…but the truth is…I wasn’t very good…

- I am very glad my youth sports career occurred before the days when every parent carried a video camera around…because some people could probably blackmail me today with the threat of posting some of my little league moments on you tube…

- looking back on it – I think a big part of my problem was – I psyched myself out…I told myself I was going to fail even before I got started…

- I remember one Saturday morning when my dad took me over to tryouts and as soon as we got of the car one of the coaches told me to go out on the pitches mound and try pitching…

- I had never done that in my life and I had no idea what to do…and so I’m walking up to mound thinking something like, I can’t do this, I can’t do this…and sure enough, I proved that I couldn’t do that…

- in fact my dad said to me later, not being mean but because he really wanted to know…”son, were you trying to hit the catcher’s mitt?”…it’s like, did you realize that was the objective?...

‑ then they had you go to home plate and try to hit the ball…

- I already knew that was my weakest suit because I couldn’t hit the ball…getting a walk was my only hope of ever getting on base…and the reason was I was scared of the ball…I had already been hit by errant pitches in previous years…and I convinced myself that I was going to hit again…

- so it wasn’t – I can hit the ball…it was, the ball’s going to hit me…

- in fact my parents told me there were some times in little league where I actually yelled “ow” before the ball even hit me…in anticipation of what I knew was going to happen…

- so sure enough during try outs…strike one, strike two, strike three…

- but what I was “least bad at” was playing outfield…but for some reason on this particular day of try-outs I was even nervous about that…and so I’m standing out there…I know I’m going to miss it…I’ll never get picked…I’m going to trip, I’m going to lose it in the sun…my dad is going to drive home without me…

- and sure enough, they hit me a fly ball…and I had myself so psyched out…I ran around and then put my glove in the air and the ball went right over my glove and hit me right on the top of the head…

- I’m sorry to disclose the fact that when it comes to sports, your pastor’s a loser…but that’s the case…and it had a lot to do with a complete lack of confidence…

- on the other hand, don’t you love watching  basketball player who really believes he can hit the shot…and wants the ball at the end of the game?...and I understand that there’s a lot more to it than just confidence…but that is an important piece of the puzzle, is it not?

- now let me ask you this – spiritually speaking…does God want you to be a confident person?...

- I’m not talking about being arrogant…or self-confident…but does the Bible even discuss this topic?...does God want you to be spiritually confident?...

- one question that we are frequently asked around here is; how can a person know for sure that they have a relationship with God, that they have genuinely trusted Christ as savior and Lord?...

- and some even question whether that’s even possible…being confident of your salvation…

- if you’ve been around our church for any period of time, you probably know that one of my favorite verses in the Scripture is…

­ - 1 John 5:13 - These things I have written to you who believe in the name of the Son of God, so that you may know that you have eternal life.

- this is something that you really can know for sure..

- and we think the Bible speaks about the topic of assurance in three ways…

- theological assurance, historical assurance, and experience assurance…

- theological – you need to know enough about the gospel to understand what it is that you are believing in coming to Christ, and what you’re committing yourself to..

- we’re not talking about being a Bible giant, but you certainly have to understand the significance of the death, burial, and resurrection of Christ and what it means to repent of your sin and place your trust in Him…Paul told the Corinthians…

1 Corinthians 15:1-4 - Now I make known to you, brethren, the gospel which I preached to you, which also you received, in which also you stand,by which also you are saved, if you hold fast the word which I preached to you, unless you believed in vain.For I delivered to you as of first importance what I also received, that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures,and that He was buried, and that He was raised on the third day according to the Scriptures,

- that’s about as simple as it gets…

- then there’s historical assurance – having some idea of when you placed your faith in Him – and that doesn’t necessarily mean that you know the exact date…but there has to be an understanding that you were born on the wrong side of the tracks…you haven’t just always been a child of God…if you know Christ today as Savior and Lord, that had to be a decision that was made at a point in time…and you ought to have some idea of how/when that occurred…

- that would even be indicated by what may be the most well known verse in the Bible…John 3:16 - For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish, but have eternal life.

- then there’s experiential assurance…the evidence of a changed and changing life…

2 Corinthians 5:17 - Therefore if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creature; the old things passed away; behold, new things have come.

1 John 2:3 - By this we know that we have come to know Him, if we keep His commandments.

- that certainly doesn’t mean perfection…but it does mean that there is evidence…

- the overall point is, God wants you to possess spiritual confidence…assurance of the genuineness of your relationship with Him…and the presence of that confidence or the lack thereof will have a dramatic effect on whether you can hit the spiritual ball…

- with that in mind, please open your Bible to Hebrews chapter 10…page 174 of the back section of the Bible under the chair in front of you…

- we’re coming down to the end of a verse by verse study we’ve been doing this winter on the book of Hebrews…we plan to land this plane in the next couple of weeks…

- we’ve organized this around the theme of Finding Hope in Our Sufficient Savior…

- this book is all about the superiority of Jesus Christ, and this particular chapter is going to point to that theme yet again…

- what we’re going to see today is the good news that Jesus Can Make You Confident.

- and what is especially delightful about these verses is, there are specific steps to make this happen…

- now, just a word about how this chapter breaks down – there are three clear divisions here…and let me just tell you the outline even before we read ---

I. The Overview of Christ’s Superiority – 10:1-20

- which is basically a summary of the main points that have been discussed thus far, which is always helpful, even though we’re going to gloss over that pretty quickly…then there’s the…

II. The Implications of Christ’s Superiority – 10:21-25

- in other words, what are we supposed to do with this…how should this affect the way we live today – lock on to the concept of “confidence” carefully as we read those verses…

- and then lastly…

III. The Rejection of Christ’s Superiority – 10:26-39

- many people consider these verses the strongest of all the warning passages in this book…see if you agree…

- Read Hebrews 10:1-39…

- so we’re talking this morning about how Jesus can make you confident…and with the time we have left, let’s organize our thought around these three divisions we mentioned before we read the text…(repeat – overview, implications, and rejection of Christ’s superiority)

I. The Overview of Christ’s Superiority

- if you’ve been with us throughout this study, you recognize all the points that are made in the first 20 verses…

- and one thing about the Bible – God does not mind repeating Himself…and that’s because sometimes some of His people can be a bit dull of hearing…(not you of course…)

- and even for all of us…there’s value to repetition…which is why the apostle Peter told his readers…

2 Peter 1:12-15 - Therefore, I will always be ready to remind you of these things, even though you already know them, and have been established in the truth which is present with you.I consider it right, as long as I am in this earthly dwelling, to stir you up by way of reminder,knowing that the laying aside of my earthly dwelling is imminent, as also our Lord Jesus Christ has made clear to me.And I will also be diligent that at any time after my departure you will be able to call these things to mind.

- now, because there are so many important ideas later in this passage, let’s think about this overview quickly…why should people like you and me come to the conclusion that Jesus Christ is superior and therefore worthy of our belief, and our allegiance, and our hope?

A. Because the Son of God was willing to take on a body, He only had to die once.

- verse 1 says that all these sacrifices done under the law were just shadows…

- there is nothing wrong with that per se’, but it does not result in anything lasting…

- if you stack up a bunch of shadows, you still have nothing…because a shadow is only valuable to the degree to which it represents the real thing…

- that’s why we read phrases like -- Hebrews 10:1 - …(the law) can never, by the same sacrifices which they offer continually year by year, make perfect those who draw near…

- and the argument in verse 2 is – if that were not the case, then why didn’t the sacrifices cease?...

- and because they didn’t cease, in verse 3---what is the effect – all they do is remind the person over and over of their sin and failure---think about that in relationship to the issue of one’s confidence…

- then he quotes from Psalm 40 which is representative of many places in the OT where God says…Hebrews 10:5 - Therefore, when He comes into the world, He says, “Sacrifice and offering you have not desired…

- meaning, sacrifice without a changed heart is just going through the motions…

- and then he went on to say…but a body you have prepared for me.

- which is the way the Greek translation of the OT rendered that figure of speech which is such a great help in understanding how Christ solved the problem of endless offerings…

- that is why Christmas, celebration Christ taking on a body, is so important…

- because He wasn’t just any lamb…He was the spotless lamb of God…

- and it wasn’t just anybody, it was the perfect body of the sinless Savior…and when He allowed that to be nailed to the cross…

- something happened that never happened during a sacrifice before…

- darkness fell over the earth…and Jesus in His agony uttered the words… Matthew 27:46 - Eli, Eli, lama sabachthani?” that is, “My God, My God, why have You forsaken Me?”

- and we know the answer to that question -- 2 Corinthians 5:21 - He made Him who knew no sin to be sin on our behalf, so that we might become the righteousness of God in Him.

- and if that was the only thing you knew about the Person and work of Christ, that would be enough to deem Him to be superior…

- that is why Easter is so important, God raised His Son from the dead because there was no need for any more sacrifices…It is finished…

- now, what does that do for a person who believes?...let me throw out a couple of ideas, and then we’ll explain them…

B. Positionally speaking, His work can make us perfect.

Hebrews 10:14 - For by one offering He has perfected for all time those who are sanctified.

C. Practically speaking, His work can help us change from the inside out.

Hebrews 10:16 - …I will put my laws upon their heart, and on their mind I will write them.

- now, what’s that about?...

- in Bible study, it is very important to understand the difference between positional truth, and practical truth…

- and when you are looking at a verse of Scripture – you need to ask yourself – is this speaking of something that is already positionally true, or something that needs to become practically true?

- the difference is – positional truth occurs the moment you admit your sin and place your faith and trust in Christ – the Bible teaches that literally hundreds of things change in your stand (your position) before God the moment you believe…and all of that is eternally secure because of the work of Christ…”it is in that sense that you are, as verse 14 said, perfected for all times and sanctified…or set apart as a child of God…”

- but then practically, God stands ready to work out the implications of that every day…now your heart and your mind can softened to biblical truth…you are changing and growing in ways that are very evident to those around…

- now, because of that…according to verse 19 – what can you now do?...

D. We can enter the holy of holies with confidence, personally.

- if you were here last week, we studied the OT tabernacle which was discussed in chapter 9…the average person could not get past the outer court…only a priest could go in the holy place…and only the high priest could go into the holy of holies, and even then only once a year…

- think about what the average person under the Old Covenant would be telling him/herself…I can’t go in there, my sins are not really gone, my conscience is not truly clear…

- that is why verse 19 is so revolutionary…

- Hebrews 10:19-20 - Therefore, brethren, since we have confidence to enter the holy place by the blood of Jesus,by a new and living way which He inaugurated for us through the veil, that is, His flesh…

- if that provision does not make Jesus Christ superior, tell me what would…

- some of you know that I have the privilege of being friends with James MacDonald from Harvest Bible Chapel in Chicago…

- we’ve been working on a project together this past fall and so his professional assistant contacted me and said…Steve, we were wondering of for one of those meetings, you would be able to come up the night before and go to a Chicago Blackhawks game with us…

- because one of the Walk in The Word donors gave us the use of his sky box that night and we’d like you to come along…

- now I prayed about that (for about 3 seconds) – and I think I talked to Kris about it from a scheduling perspective…and told them yes…

- have you ever been to a sporting event where you sat in a skybox?...(this being a pastor thing is a racket)…

- you go to this special place in the stadium…and a guy is standing in front of the door with this “what do want?” look on his face…until you show him your ticket…

- and then everything changes…and you’re whisked upstairs like you’re royalty…

- and the view is entirely different as you’re sitting these luxurious seats…

- and if you get tired of watching the game like that, you can go back behind the sliding doors into this living room with these beautiful leather chairs and watch the game on a big screen TV while you’re talking to your friends…

- and then they just keep bringing you all the food you can eat…it’s game food paradise…

- and then they bring the dessert cart…with this selection of incredible desserts…which had to come from heaven…

- and those of you who know me best will understand what I liked best about it --- it didn’t cost me...a dime…

- my friend James took care of it…and I walked into that skybox with confidence, and enjoyed that experience to the fullest…because somebody else provided my access…

- friends, being able to confidently enter the Holy Place of God personally makes a skybox at a hockey game pale in comparison…I hope everyone here has let Jesus give you a ticket…

- now, what do we do with that?...what are…

II. The Implications of Christ’s Superiority.

- these next verses are some of the most practical and important verses in the entire book…they are also very easy to understand…

A. Draw near to God in faith.

Hebrews 10:22 - let us draw near with a sincere heart in full assurance of faith…

- now, let’s break that down very carefully…first of all, what are we to do…

1. What?

- draw near.

- you don’t have to stay in the outer court of the temple anymore…

- you don’t have to let someone else approach God on your behalf…

- now, you can draw near to Him in prayer…anytime, anywhere, personally…

- now you can open His Word and because of the provision of the Holy Spirit, you can understand what God wants you to be, and to do in an entirely different way…

- so, how do you do this?...look carefully at the verse…

2. How?

a) With a sincere heart in full assurance of faith.

 - if you haven’t yet come to Christ, what in the world are you waiting for?...

- and if you have, why are you standing in the doorway peering inside…get in here…enjoy the privilege of knowing Jesus Christ personally…

- and that is what this book has been driving to…and will continue to emphasize in a variety of ways…

- the reason some people lack assurance of their salvation is that they haven’t gotten very far into the room…they’ve barely crossed the threshold…

- they have not explored and enjoyed the privilege of drawing near to God…

- it would be like me going through the front door of the United Center but being afraid to go upstairs…I guess you could say I went to the game. But not really…

- I wouldn’t have seen the game…not from that vantage point…

- I wouldn’t have enjoyed the fellowship…

- I wouldn’t have eaten the food…

- if you were to evaluate the nature of your relationship with the Lord – the intimacy of your prayer life…the time you spend in the Word…the nature of your walk with Him…

- would the phrase drawing near be a fitting description?...

- for those who would answer yes – how does that affect your confidence in Him?...isn’t it true that that helps you overcome worry and fear…

- doesn’t it give you direction?...

- there is a clear and unmistakable connection between drawing near to God and living confidently in Him…

- please notice something else about verse 22…

b) with a clear conscience.

Hebrews 10:22 - …having our hearts sprinkled clean from an evil conscience…

- I’m glad so many people chose to be part of our church family night last Sunday pm…because that is a natural time to be sure you’ve confessed any known sin (develop – should do that every day, but that is a great opportunity to examine yourself…)

- people who are not regularly confessing sin, regularly cleansing their consciences, lack confidence because of the attendant guilt that comes from failing to make use of this provision…

c) with a cleansed body.

- Hebrews 10:22 – …and our bodies washed with pure water.

- one of the values of drawing near to God is begging Him to help you change…

- right in the middle of one of the most important verses on husband/wife relationships in the Bible, we read about why Jesus loved the church and gave Himself up for her…

- Ephesians 5:26 - so that He might sanctify her, having cleansed her by the washing of water with the word,

- my experience is that this is one of the greatest reasons men and women doubt their salvation…or lack confidence in their stand before God…

- it’s because they’re not growing…they’re not seeing any change…

- (cf. FCI, ABF’s, counseling)

- can I ask you this morning – is it obvious that you believe in the superiority of Christ in part by the regular way you take advantage of the privilege of drawing near to Him?...and is that process giving you the kind of confidence that helps you to continue to grow in Him?

- what’s the next implication?...

B. Hold fast your profession with hope.

- Hebrews 10:23 - Let us hold fast the confession of our hope without wavering, for He who promised is faithful;

- the more skilled we become at drawing near to God (dare I say -- enjoying the blessings, provisions, and fellowship of the skybox)…the more our hearts will be filled with hope…

- and of course from a biblical perspective, we’re not using that term in the sense of wanting the best to happen but not being sure it will…

- hope for a Christian always has an object – the revealed Word of God and what it tells us about our futures…

- hope is acting now as if we believe that what God has promised about our futures will truly come to pass...

- for a person outside of Christ, the concept makes no sense…

- infidel Robert Ingersoll – “I suppose it can be truthfully said that hope is the only universal liar who never lost his reputation for veracity.”

- pagan philosophy Friedrich Nietzsche – “Hope is the worst of evils, for it prolongs the torment of man.”

- that’s certainly not true of a Christian – we agree with the Psalmist…Psalm 71:14 - But as for me, I will hope continually, and will praise You yet more and more.

- do you carry yourself with the appropriate amount of Hope?...

1. cf. Pastor Woodall’s recent opportunities in some of the community discussions about juvenile delinquency

2. cf. Letter to the editor from a board member of planned parenthood

3. cf. the upcoming outreach series on hope…

4. cf. people at church family night, out of work, but still praising God…

C. Consider how to stimulate one another.

1. Be a spiritual stimulant to someone else.

2. “Let us” do this.

- cf. the power of the church family.

- cf testimony last Sunday pm about the importance of belonging to a church body

3. Think about it

- let us consider

- when is the last time you spent any significant time considering this?

4. To love

- one of the greatest testimonies to the superiority of Christ – he can help people like you and me love one another

5. To good deeds

6. With faithful attendance

- not forsaking the assembling of yourselves together…

- cf. the increases in attendance 

7. Encouraging one another

- cf. our deacons’ care ministry…

- over pastoral/deacon oversight – cf. what we do at deacon’s meetings… 

- now, what’s at stake?...

III. The Rejection of Christ’s Superiority

A. Its definition.

Hebrews 10:26 - for if we go on sinning willfully

B. Its results

C. Its antidote

Steve Viars

B.S. - Bible, Baptist Bible College
M.Div. - Grace Theological Seminary
D.Min. - Westminster Theological Seminary

Pastor Steve Viars has served at Faith Church since 1987. He and his wife Kris were married in 1982 and have two married daughters, a son, and two grandchildren. Pastor Viars’ gifted teaching ministry, enthusiasm for the Word of God, and organizational skills are instrumental in equipping Faith Church. He oversees the staff, deacons, and all Faith ministries and serves on the boards of the Association of Certified Biblical Counselors, Biblical Counseling Coalition, Vision of Hope, and the Faith Community Development Corporation.

Read Steve Viars’ Journey to Faith for the full account of how the Lord led Pastor Viars to Faith Church.

View Pastor Viars' Salvation Testimony Video