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                      "THE EPISTLE TO THE HEBREWS"

             Coming Boldly To The Throne Of Grace (He 4:14-16)

INTRODUCTION

1. In our study thus far we have seen the concern of the author of
   "The Book Of Hebrews"
   a. That Jewish Christians remain steadfast and firm in their faith
   b. That they not make the same mistake of departing from the living
      God, as did many of their ancestors

2. His "modus operandi" (method of operation) has been two-fold
   a. Illustrate the superiority of Jesus (e.g., to prophets, to
      angels, to Moses)
   b. Exhort them to faithfulness in light of these comparisons

3. In two exhortations we have seen thus far, to remain faithful we
   must
   a. "...give the more earnest heed to the things we have heard"
      - cf. He 2:1-4 
   b. "...exhort one another daily..." - cf. He 3:12-14 

4. To put it another way, to remain faithful we must be diligent...
   a. In our study of the Word of God
   b. In exhorting one another daily
   -- Other things are also necessary, and in our text we read of
      another - cf. He 4:14-16 

5. The main thought in this passage is that we should
   "come boldly to the throne of grace"
   a. But what does that mean?
   b. And why should we be diligent to do this?

[These are the questions we shall address in this lesson, and so we
begin by considering...]

I. WHAT IT MEANS TO "COME BOLDLY TO THE THRONE OF GRACE"

   A. THE "THRONE OF GRACE"
      1. This is simply another way to say the "throne of God"
         a. Other passages emphasize that "God's throne" is one of
            righteousness, justice, mercy and truth - cf. Psa 89:14 
         b. I.e., God is known for, and is the source of, these things
      2. He 4:16  emphasizes that "God's throne" is one of MERCY
         a. "the throne of GRACE"
         b. I.e., where kindness, mercy, and benevolence may be found

   B. THE EXPRESSION "LET US COME" ("DRAW NEAR" ASV)
      1. This is a priestly expression, used in the Old Testament of
         priests in their approach to God
         a. E.g., Lev 21:17-21 
         b. It denotes approaching God for worship and prayer
      2. Its use here suggests that the priestly privilege of access
         to God is now extended to all Christians
         a. As we saw in Leviticus, only certain individuals had this
            privilege
         b. But now, in Christ, we can ALL draw near to God in
            worship and prayer!

   C. THIS WE CAN DO "BOLDLY"
      1. This word means "with confidence"
            (In Greek., parresia, meaning "full story")
      2. In ancient Greece
         a. It was used to describe the right of a citizen to speak his
            mind on any subject in the town assembly (Lightfoot)
         b. Only "full citizens" had this right, slaves did not
      3. As used here in Hebrews, it stands for our freedom to approach
         God
         a. Without hesitation or inhibition
         b. Made possible by the blood of Jesus - cf. He 10:19-22 

[And so this passage speaks of the wonderful privilege Christians have
through prayer to approach our gracious God, with full confidence that
He hears our prayers.

It is important to utilize this privilege, and in our text we find
several reasons for doing so]

II. WHY WE OUGHT TO "COME BOLDLY TO THE THRONE OF GRACE"

    A. BECAUSE WE HAVE BEEN GIVEN THAT PRIVILEGE BY GOD
      1. Not everyone has the opportunity to approach God
         a. During the period of the Law only the High Priest
            could approach the Holy of Holies - Ezek 42:13-14
         b. As a Christian we have our High Priest to whom we can
            direct our prayers He 7:26-28 
         c. All those in His church (Greek: Ekklesia; called out from
            the world) have access thru prayer  Rev 1:6 

   B. BECAUSE WE HAVE YET TO ENTER "THE REST THAT REMAINS"...
      1. As seen earlier in this chapter, there is still a promised
         rest for the people of God
         a. We need to fear (respect) lest we come short of it - He 4:1 
         b. We need to be diligent - He 4:11 
      2. This being true, we need all the mercy and grace we can
         find

   C. BECAUSE OF THE "HIGH PRIEST" THAT WE HAVE
      1. In Jesus we have a great High Priest - He 4:14 
         a. One who has passed through the heavens -
            cf. He 9:24; He 7:26-27 
         b. Having ascended to the right hand of God, He has become
            higher than the heavens
      2. In Jesus we have a sympathetic High Priest - He 4:15 
         a. The word "sympathy" literally means "to suffer with"
            1) The Greek word suggests an intensity that is lost in the
               English word "sympathy" (Lightfoot)
            2) Westcott describes it as "the feeling of one who enters
               into the suffering and makes it his own."
         b. Jesus' sympathy is due to being "tempted as we are, yet
            without sin."
            1) This qualifies Him to be a merciful and faithful High
               Priest - He 2:17 
            2) One who is able to aid those who are tempted - He 2:18 
      3. With such a High Priest interceding for us, shall we not take
         advantage of Him while we can? - cf. He 7:24-25 
         a. Especially since He is able save to the uttermost those
            who come to God through Him
         b. And since He always lives to make intercession for them
      -- Does this not encourage us to "come boldly to the throne of
         grace"?

   D. BECAUSE OF THE "MERCY" AND "GRACE" THAT AWAITS
      1. Christians continue to need two things throughout their lives:
         a. "mercy"
            1) I.e., forgiveness for our sins
            2) For we do sin; to deny that is to call God a liar
               - cf. 1 Jn 1:8; 1 Jn 1:10
         b. "grace to help in time of need"
            1) I.e., God's favor to help us in time of need
            2) E.g., His providential protection (cf. 1 Co 10:13) and
               divine strength (cf. Ro 8:13; Ph 4:13 )
      2. The Christian finds these things in answer to PRAYER!
         a. By confessing our sins to God in prayer, there is mercy
            - cf. 1 Jn 1:9 
         b. By praying for strength from God's indwelling Spirit, there
            is grace to help in time of need -
            cf. Ep 3:16; Ep 3:20; Ep 6:10-13

CONCLUSION

1. Friends, when we are diligent to "come boldly to the throne of
   grace", what do we find?
   a. A "graceful God" and a "sympathetic High Priest"!
   b. Mercy and grace to help us in time of need!

2. The means by which we "draw near" is prayer,
   a. Diligent study of the Word of God - cf. He 2:1-4 
   b. Diligent exhortation of our brethren on a daily basis -
      cf. Ep 3:12-14
   -- We must add diligent prayer if we are to going to find the mercy
      and grace necessary to "hold the beginning of our confidence
      steadfast to the end"

3. Be thankful for the avenue of prayer He has given us
   a. Do we appreciate the "great" and "sympathetic" High Priest that
      we have in Jesus?
   b. Do we realize we enjoy direct access to God through Jesus Christ?
   c. Are we utilizing the opportunities we have to "come boldly to the
      throne of grace"?
   -- May this passage remind us never to take the privilege of prayer
      lightly!

As for the privilege of prayer itself, by which we can now draw
near to God, bear in mind that it is made possible by "a new and
living way" (He 10:19-20). Only by the blood of Jesus shed in His death
can we now come to God.  This was not available previously without the
intervention of the High Priests.  Now it is available to everyone!

Have you been washed in the blood of Jesus for the remission of your
sins?  For those seeking this wonderful blessing, give careful
attention to these words by the disciple sent by Jesus to Saul of
Tarsus:

   "'And now why are you waiting? Arise and be baptized, and wash
   away your sins, calling on the name of the Lord.'" - Acts 22:16 
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