Read: Hebrews 4:14-5:10

How many people do you know, who embraced Christianity with enthusiasm, only to walk away from the faith months or years later? One of the most famous “departures” was that of Charles Templeton, an early associate to evangelist Billy Graham. Some people who have known both men say that Templeton was the most accomplished preacher of the two. But after years of observing world events and human evil, Templeton said that he could no longer be intellectually honest and a Christian at the same time. So he abandoned the faith!

You might have your own opinions about what happened to Mr. Templeton. But what about the other people you know who no longer identify themselves as believers or who have little enthusiasm for the faith? What about the man I met in my first pastorate who was rescued from alcohol abuse and started coming to church every time the doors were open? He was “on fire for Jesus” for about a year, and then his enthusiasm cooled. Some say it was his wife’s illness. Others say it was conflict with his children. Whatever the cause, he seemed to turn away from Jesus after an enthusiastic start.

There are a lot of complicating situations that go into the current quality of a person’s faith. But I think there is one overarching factor that contributes to how we live for Jesus. It is the “false idea” that we can somehow live the Christian life in our own power. Yes, we think we are trusting Jesus to atone for our sins and eventually get us to heaven. But when it comes to everyday challenges, we can handle things on our own (“thank you very much”). The reality is that we can’t! We need help!

And that’s where our text for the week comes into play. As I’ve stated in previous posts, the Book of Hebrews was written to Jewish believers, who at some point had come to believe that Jesus really was the promised Messiah. But as days, months, and years passed, they were alienated from family members who still held on to the rituals and ways of Judaism. These believers were persecuted and marginalized. I don’t know that I can really comprehend how abandoned and alone they must have felt. And in the process they tried to make things work. They tried to find joy. They tried to live in two worlds—the worlds of Judaism and Christianity. But after a while, their “double lives” were just too much to bear. So they cooled their enthusiasm for Jesus, and chose to sit on the sidelines. In fact, that might be where you are right now.

If that’s the case, read Hebrews 4:14-5:10 one more time. You will want to notice that verses 14-16 have two commands. There is an exhortation to “hold fast” or to “hold on tightly” to the faith. Then there is the command to “approach” or “draw near” to the throne of grace. In fact, the writer tells us to approach the throne of grace with great confidence. Or to put it another way, we are to call out to Jesus, our high priest, and ask Him to……HELP us! 

Why would we do that? In verses 1 through 10 of the next chapter (Hebrews 5) the writer elaborates on the greatness of Jesus. He is a great high priest because God the Father (not man) has appointed Him to His intercessory role. But even more important, our high priest has experienced life with all of its challenges and disappointments. He learned how to obey the Father and persevere when life seemed overwhelming (verse 8). And now as the one and only high priest, Jesus continually intercedes for us (verse 9).

So what does this mean for those of us who all too often try to make it through life on our own? What does it mean when we are overwhelmed by evil, by limited resources, and by people who let us down? What does the high priesthood of Jesus mean for us on this side of heaven? Simply this: Whatever your need, call on Jesus to help you. Whatever your challenges are right now, call on King Jesus to come to your aid.

Will He? Our text says that He will give us mercy and grace to help at the “proper time.” The phrase refers to the exact time that God knows we need the help. Jesus will be there to empower us to persevere for His glory—never a second too early and never a second too late. 

Do you need direction regarding your job? Ask Jesus for help. Do you need wisdom regarding a relationship that is fragile? Ask Jesus for help. Are you concerned about your children and the choices they are making? Ask Jesus for help. Don’t try to resolve any issue on your own. Life is too big and too problematic to take things into your own hands. Come boldly into the very presence of God, and ask Him for His powerful assistance. He hears. He cares. And HE…WILL…HELP! So call on King Jesus right now!

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