The audio sermon of this post is available HERE.
There are many things on the Christian journey that rob us of our confidence. Our own stumbling ways make us wonder if we really have God on our side. An icy word from someone who seeks to hurt us or shut down our efforts for God can leave us with a chill that’s hard to shake. Disappointment in others whom you thought you could count on. Episodes of doubt and anxiety can ruin our assurance. When your fire is bright, the firemen will come! And I don’t know who I think I am by writing about confidence … me… the shy guy who would rather disappear than appear. A jolt of confidence is needed … but not self confidence. There has to be more! When we realize the true source of our confidence, then we can remain confident in Christ alone. Here are some thoughts from Hebrews 10:19-11:1 about how the unconfident and uncomfortable can find strength in the right place.
Begin with total reliance on Jesus Christ, not on our own brilliance or service (10:19-20). Religion teaches us to trust ourselves … be a good person … do the right things … be nice to all people. No wonder we all feel like failures at times. We are, if we trust religion. But trusting Jesus produces different fruit. Yes, we all come to Him admitting that we are sinners in need of His grace, but His grace brings us strength and hope and purpose. It is by keeping our heart set on Jesus that we do not despair when things aren’t going as planned. It is by keeping our focus on Jesus that we understand that the hopelessness we observe in the world is reversed in the Kingdom under His power. “I am the vine; you are the branches. If a man remains in me and I in him, he will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing” (John 15:5). A religion of rules and monuments is dead. Our faith is in the living Christ, and in Him alone.
Find new inner strength by drawing nearer to the Father (10:21-22). This can only happen through faith in the sacrifice of Jesus. It is through faith in Jesus that the conscience is cleansed … the body is washed clean. It is no longer sinner John but righteous John. Not on his own merit, but in the power of the blood of Christ. We can only come near to the Father because of what Jesus has done for us at calvary. Do we realize what an awesome privilege it is to be able to enter into His presence with confidence? “But blessed is the man who trusts in the LORD, whose confidence is in him, ” says Jeremiah (Jeremiah 17:7).
With nothing causing you to swerve, hold on to hope (10:23). There are many obstacles in the road, but keep the course steady. Do not let any of the road hazards move you out of your lane. When you think you can’t make it any more, keep it steady. When you feel exhausted and fruitless, drive on. When you see others taking a break and getting into the ditch, keep it between the lines. Why? The One who promised to be with you, to empower you, to save you, to use you … He is faithful. You can trust Him. Hebrews 13:6 says. “So we say with confidence, ‘The Lord is my helper; I will not be afraid. What can man do to me?’”
Don’t Try To Do It Alone. We were made to live in community (10:24-25). We are to provoke one another … in a good way! “Spur” each other on to good works. Is that happening on Sundays when we assemble? It should be. It is an integral part of why we come together. Our flawed “five items of worship” never included this item! Even though we hunger for authentic relationships, our culture is more isolated than ever. WE do not know our neighbors. Some of our best relationships are keyboard to keyboard, rather than face to face. We are tempted sometimes to try to go it alone. Don’t give up meeting with one another … it’s a bad habit to fall into. It will starve our souls because there is something about spending time together that brings us strength and encouragement.
Warning: Don’t Throw It All Away (10:26-31, 35)! In the middle of all of these encouraging teachings comes an ultra-stern warning – don’t throw away your relationships with each other and God by refusing to live the life. Christianity is not church attendance or even membership … it is a lifestyle that defines who we are. We are all weak at times and sin more than we care to remember … but if deliberate sin characterizes our life, we need to consider if we are really allowing God to reign in our hearts or not. In fact, to continue to walk in ungodly pathways is to insult God’s Spirit and to injure Christ. Why? Because it says ‘You’re not good enough’. When we enjoy the blessings of being in Christ but continue to let sin reign in our hearts, we are throwing away all that God has given to us.
When Feeling Weak, Rekindle The Fire (10:32-34). Take a look at the journey you’ve been on … it hasn’t always been easy … but you
did it because of your trust in God. Keep that trust alive! Hebrews 3:13-14 says, “But encourage one another daily, as long as it is called Today, so that none of you may be hardened by sin’s deceitfulness. We have come to share in Christ if we hold firmly till the end the confidence we had at first.”
Don’t Give Up … Stick With It (10:36-38). Seek God’s help and live by faith in His promises. Hebrews 4:16 “Let us then approach the throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need.”
But we are not of those who shrink back and are destroyed, but of those who believe and are saved.Now faith is being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see. This is what the ancients were commended for. (10:39-11:2)
Our confidence is not in ourselves, but in Jesus and the promises He gives us. Don’t shrink back … believe and be saved. Be sure of what you hope for! Be certain, even when you cannot see. The solution to being a confident Christian is tied up in the concept of FAITH! Faith doesn’t require you to know all the answers, but to know the ONE who has the answers!