Sermon:  Where to find your support

Summary:  It is always better to cling to Jesus our High Priest.  What he is 
better than include that he is better than friends, better than power in its 
various forms, and better than other forms of help.  Because of this, we need 
to seek help from the only place we can get true help, which is at the feet of 
our Lord and continue in our faith as our life's profession.

Know:  We need to cling to our faith and seek God in the face of any kind of 
challenge because only Jesus has the ultimate solutions

Feel:  Positive about the help that the Lord provides

Do:  Reflect on the sources of help people rely on in life, and compare and 
contrast this to the help that comes from our Lord.  Identify ways the help from 
our Lord is ultimately better than the various forms of godless helps in the 
world.  Discuss how our faith can sanctify and transform various helps.  Commit 
to a way or ways to cling to the Lord and seek him out to guide you in all 
challenges of life.

Text:  Hebrews 4:14-16

Scripture Reading:  Col. 2:6-10

1.  Do you remember "I Can Read Books?"
	a.  Remember a story about three cats who had three siblings
	b.  In one part of the story, hand armload of toys
	c.  Wanted more, but not enough room in his arms
	d.  Had to make a decision - If wanted it, would have to let something go
2.  You ever felt that way?
	a.  Wanted something else, but would have to let something go for it?
	b.  How do you determine what to cling to and what to let go?
	c.  People decide in various ways don't they?
		- One of the most powerful way is by our feelings
		- Then there are friends to talk to
		- Some seek advice from a book, or listen to celebrity, or an expert
		- There are many, many ways people try to make a decision
3.  This morning's text deals with this (Heb 4:14-16)
	a.  Context - Israel's negative example in chapter 3 and 4
		- Israel wanted God, especially his help and deliverance
		- But they had a problem, they did not let go of Egypt
		- They were freed on the outside, but inside they still in bondage
	b.  Now, the text says, "Therefore"
	c.   Returns to the theme of chapter 2, High Priesthood of Jesus
		- This will be the main theme of book of Hebrews
		- High Priesthood of Jesus mentioned in chapter 2
		- Mentioned again here
		- Become the main focus in chapter 5 on
	d.  From this text:  Because he is the great High Priest, it is always better 
     	    to cling to Jesus
		- What is he better than?
		- He is better than any other support or help we can find

I.  He is better than the help of a friend
	A.  His sympathy is better than a friend's sympathy
	B.  Lets look why his sympathetic friendship is better
		1.  He intimately understands our way because he was tempted as 
		    we are
			a.  Many do not think of Jesus as being enticed by anything
				- Get squeamish at the thought that he was tempted
				- Often think he was above temptation
			b.  But, he shared in our flesh and blood, he was human
				- This means that his temptations were very real
				- He felt the draw like we do
				- If not, then his temptations have no meaning
				- Saying he was not tempted as we are would be like 
				  us being tempted to eat raw cow brains - no draw
			c.  He intimately understands our plight
				- He knows emotional temptation, physical temptation, 
				  spiritual temptation
				- He understand the powerful draw
			d.  This means he can truly sympathize with us
				- He has felt what you and I feel in temptation
				- You may say - so what?  I have sympathetic friends 
					= They have been through it with me
					= They understand
					= They have been down in the dirt with me
				- But there is more to Jesus than sympathetic friend
		2.  He never gave in, he never sinned
			a.  Not only is he human, he is fully God as well - never sin
			b.  Chapter one affirms his godhood, chapter two his 
			c.  Since he never sinned, he is dependable in every way
				- Does not lie, not dishonest with you
				- Not ever hurt you or do bad to you
				- Always do what is best for you in the long run
			d.  Unlike people of the world, he will not ever let you down
				- Always true, always faithful
				- He is not just human, he is God as well
		3.  Because he is sinless, only he has the ability to rescue us
		4.  Because he was humanly tempted, he has sympathy as well
	C.  ILL:  Do you remember the disasters we have seen in our world?
		1.  Earthquake in Haiti, Hurricanes, Floods, Tornados, Famine
			a.  On the news for awhile, then we quickly forget
			b.  Often send some help, which is the godly thing to do
		2.  My Dad went and helped with the Disaster Response Team
			a.  Like Disaster Relief, sponsored by brethren
			b.  But is different, it is not just passing out boxes
			c.  Went to Gulf Coast, helped with cleanup, rebuilding, 
 			    getting necessities to them, etc.
			d.  Opens doors to share the Gospel of Christ
		3.  Dad said it was so different to actually be there on the ground
			a.  To see the devastation first hand - Huge job rebuilding
			b.  To talk to people personally affected by it
			c.  To encourage, pray with, and help personally
			d.  Sympathy increases exponentially in something like this
		4.  Ever wonder why leaders of countries visit disasters personally?
			a.  The people want them to see it first hand
			b.  The people want them to understand their need
			c.  World leaders have access of resources to help
			d.  They will feel more passionate about helping
	D.  Isn't that similar to what Jesus did?
		1.  Think about it
			a.  World a disaster area due to sin, devastated us
			b.  Our Lord came personally to this earth
			c.  He had all the resources of Heaven to help us
		2.  But Jesus went another HUGE step farther
			a.  He BECAME one of us, became human
			b.  He didn't just see it, he experienced it
			c.  Suffered not just alongside us, but as one of us
		3.  Because he is God and man, knows how to apply all the 
  		    resources of Heaven to our plight
		4.  THAT is much better than what any earthly friend can do
			a.  Don't get me wrong, not saying to dispense with 
				- Bible praises GODLY friendships
				- Eccl 4:9f - Two are better than one
				- Prov 27:17 - As Iron sharpens iron, one person 
				  sharpens another
				- Famous friendship in Bible, David and Jonathan 
			b.  But don't rely on friends and not Jesus
				- Jesus does what no other friend can do
				- His friendship is to be #1 in your life
				- Loyal to and love him above all else
				- Jesus' friendship sanctify your worldly ones
			c.  **He is God, and sinless, only he has the power to help 
  			    us in every way..

II.  Better than power
	A.  We are not talking about the power of God, but just power in various Forms
		1.  Whether it is wealth, authority, influence
		2.  Everyone wants some power over their own lives right?
		3.  Whether we strive for wealth, authority, influence,  etc. we would 
     		    like to have power or control over our lives
	B.  Hebrews might not think they had access to any power
		1.  They were being persecuted in so many ways
			a.  May have had wealth, but property confiscated
			b.  May have had authority, but now the governing 
  			    authorities seem to be against them
				- Threat of death hanging over their head
			c.  May have had influence, but now no longer considered a 
  			    worthy person, people no longer do business with them
			d.  Everywhere they look, powers that be are against them
		2.  They may feel powerless
			a.  May be tempted to loosen their grip on Christ
			b.  They had clung to Christ, and look what happened!
			c.  They tempted to reach for what they once had
			d.  Only way they can do that is to let go...of Christ
		3.  But notice what the text says - Draw near to the throne of grace
			a.  No accident that the text uses the word, "throne"
			b.  What does this say about our Lord?  He is on the throne
				- Ultimate power is not Caesar
				- Power not found ultimately in governing authority
				- Power not in brute force, authority, wealth, influence
			c.  Creator and sustainer has ultimate power
		4.  All powerful, but God does not force power on anyone . . . yet
			a.  God wants people to choose to accept his rule
				- Doesn't force people to accept his rule
				- Allows people to choose
				- He wants sincere loyalty to him
			b. This is why powers hostile to God allowed to exist for now
			c.  (1 Cor 15:22-28) In the end, all rule, authority, and power 
  			    will be abolished
				- Rev 20:10 - Satan, the ruler of this world cast into 
				  lake of fire
				- All power that is opposed to God forever destroyed
				- Phil 2:8-11 - EVERY knee will bow, willingly or 
			d.  Nothing will exist except the Kingdom and rule of God
	C.  ILL:  Met a man years ago, business card said, "Own your own life"
		1.  Was promoting going into business
		2.  Their business meetings were like pep-rallies, stories of 
 		     becoming wealthy and taking owning your own life
			a.  Become wealthy, you own life, not the bank
			b.  Can go and do what you want when you want
			c.  Can have all the amenities you are entitled to
		3.  They were selling power and control over your life
		4.  Compare the promise to scripture, it was an empty promise
			a.  All your riches will rot
			b.  Building bigger barns is not the answer
			c.  Trying to control your own life means God is not in charge
			d.  If God is not in charge, your rule and power will be 
	D.  We need to seek help from the throne of God
		1.  Nothing wrong with wealth, power, influence, education, when it 
  		    in subjection to God
			a.  It should always be in subjection to God
			b.  It should always be used for God's purposes
		2.  Need to go to throne of God, not thrones of the world
			a.  Thrones of the world comes in many forms
				- Wealth, power, influence, education
				- Could be simply fitting in with the "in" crowd
					= Put our faith on the back burner
					= Reserve our faith for Sunday where it wont 
 					  offend anyone
			b.  Thrones of the world will ultimately be destroyed
			c.  In the end, they will be of no help
			d.  In the end, they will be your undoing 
		3.  Prayer needs to be a regular part of life
			a.  God will give you the strength that you need
			b.  When devoted to Him, you will overcome in the end

III.  Better than any other helps
	A.  Text says to go to the throne of grace to find help in time of need
	B.  Notice where it says we need to go for help?
		1.  There are many people in helping professions today
			a.  Call them counselors, psychologists, social workers, etc.
			b.  They perform a valuable service
			c.  Don't want to sound like I not saying no value to it
		2.  But, they are not the ultimate answer
			a.  A lot of preaching today is like group counseling
				- How to be a better father or mother
				- How to deal with difficult people
				- How to have a better more fulfilling life
				- Some preachers of this sort are very popular
			b.  But this self-help style preaching does a huge disservice
				- Doesn't deal with topics the Bible does
				- Wrath, righteousness, holiness, sin, the Gospel
				- Often times deal with only the symptoms of the 
 				  problem, not the root, which is sin
			c.  Self-help preaching can be guilty of making the hearers 
  			    more comfortable on their journey to Hell
		3.  Our ultimate need is a priest, not a counselor 
			a.  Jesus is our High Priest
			b.  He is our great High Priest
			c.  Passed through the Heavens
		4.  This means that Jesus is the ultimate solution
	C.  ILL:  Remember going to a training seminar for marriages
		1.  One of the stories we heard was the discouragement of many in 
  		    the helping professions
			a.  Psychologists, counselors, etc. helped very few people
			b.  Family counselors prevented very few divorces
			c.  Some said that over 90% end in divorce
			d.  Many were discouraged and disillusioned 
		2.  You ever heard the statistic about divorce among Christians?
			a.  It has been said that divorce rate among Christians are 
  			    the same as non-Christians
			b.  Just didn't seem right
				- Seem to indicate people not live according to faith?
				- Faith have nothing to do with preserving marriage?
			c.  Learned recently we not get accurate picture from statistic
				- The statistic came from work of George Barna
				- He defined "Christian" very very narrowly
				- Did not include liturgical main-liners or Catholics in 
 				  his definition of "Christian"
					= Presbyterians, Lutherans, Episcopalians, and 
  					  Catholics not included
					= Mainliners and Catholics counted as non-
			d.  When you include the other data, here is what you have
				- 51% Divorce rate of those with no religion
				- 48% Divorce rate of those who believe in a non-
  				  Christian religion
				- 41% Divorce rate among those who claim to be 
 				 Christian of any kind
				- 38% Divorce rate among those active in a non-
 				  Christian religion
				- 32% Of those who are active members in any kind 
 				  of Christian denomination
				- Divorce rate among active members of some kind of 
 				  church is significantly lower than non-Christians
		3.  Seems to indicate correlation of family stability to Christian faith
		4.  This is just one example of many of how marital health, family, 
  		    emotional, social, psychological health connected to Christian 
	D.  Makes sense because he is the designer and creator
		1.  Go to his instruction book 
			a.  Defines who you are - Created in God's image
			b.  Defines the root of your problems - Sin
				- Separated you from God
				- Twisted your will, mind, heart, even intellect
				- This is why programs and therapies with a Christian 
 				  philosophical foundation tend to work better
			c.  Defines the solution to your problems 
				- Redemption, and Reconciliation
				- Transformation from the inside out - Change
				- This comes through Christ, our High Priest 
     				- Dealt with your sin at the cross
			d.  Tells how everyone will be made right in Rev 21-22
				- Final picture is of the New Jerusalem
				- Sin and death done away with
				- No more sickness, pain, crying, or death
				- No abomination, no unrighteousness, nothing 
		2.  When you devote self to Christ, everything else falls in place
			a.  You become what you were meant to be - Whether a 
 			    husband, wife, student, boss, employee, or friend
			b.  Even though twisted by sin, maybe even devastated
			c.  Now you are being transformed into the image and glory 
  			    of God
			d.  Can be the holy, righteous, beautiful person God intends
		3.  Truly, Jesus is superior to any other kind of help you can get
		4.  He said, "I am the way, truth, and the life"

1.  Jesus is better than any of the supports we can find of this earth - Friends, power, 
other helps
2.  So what should we do with this information?  Look at what the text says:
	a.  Hold fast to the faith that we profess/confess
		- Did not say hold fast to it on Sunday, or when it is not difficult
		- Said to cling to your faith - that means all the time
		- It is one that you confess, or profess
		- What is your profession?   Christian! 
	b.  Boldly go to the throne of grace to find help in time of need
		- Need to draw your strength, your very identity from God
		- Prayer needs to be central to your life
3.  Have you been to the throne of grace?  (inv)


Small Group Notes:  Where to find your support

Summary:  It is always better to cling to Jesus our High Priest.  What he is better than 
include that he is better than friends, better than power in its various forms, and better 
than other forms of help.  Because of this, we need to seek help from the only place we can 
get true help, which is at the feet of our Lord and continue in our faith as our life's 

Explore:  Hebrews 4:14-16

1.  Discuss the ways Jesus is a Great High Priest. (also see 2:5-18)

2.  Discuss the various temptations that humans face.  Did Jesus face these temptations?  How 
did he face it differently than us?  (Think about this:  His temptations may have been even more 
difficult because he never gave in)

3.  What does it mean to say that Jesus sympathized with us?  Why is this important?  In what way 
might this have encouraged the readers?

4.  Why is it important that Jesus be without sin?  Why would this qualify him to be able to help?

5.  The passage tells us to approach the "throne."  How might this imagery have encouraged the 
readers who were being persecuted and whose persecutors often had the governing authorities on their 
side?  In what ways might the readers have found help from the Lord?


6.  What sources (Christian or non-Christian) of help do people rely on in life?  How do these 
compare to the help you can receive from the Lord?

7.  What are some ways that our faith can transform or sanctify the various sources of help we might 
rely on in life?  (For example, the help of a friend, the help of governing authorities, the help of 
a counselor, etc.)

8.  What keeps you from seeking help from the throne of grace?  (Lack of faith, fear, not knowing how, 
etc....?)  What can you do to rely more on the Lord and his guidance?