A Book of Better Things - A Better Communication

Sermon Summary 

This message delves into the better communication we now have with God because of what Jesus did for us on the Cross. He made a way for us to be able to enter into the very presence of God because we are covered with His righteousness. Under the Old Covenant, people had to go through an earthly priest to communicate with God. Only the High Priest could enter into the Holy of Holies where the presence of God dwelled. Jesus was a high priest after the order of Melchizedek and became our "forever" high priest. A brief discussion of what this implies is discussed. As a result of Jesus becoming our high priest, we are able to communicate directly with God. And, as you're about to see, when He was on this earth, Jesus set the example for us of what we're to do when we get into His presence and find ourselves in a position to communicate directly with God!

Community Group Discussion Guide

1. What is your biggest hindrance when it comes to communicating with God?

2. Because of Jesus' holy and perfect sacrifice on the cross, God ripped the curtain that kept us from entering the Holy of Holies from top to bottom. From top to bottom signifies that salvation is from God not man! We can now enter into the very presence of God without fear because we're covered in the righteousness of Jesus! What are some of the ways in which this should encourage better communication with God? 

1 Pet 2:24 He himself bore our sins in his body on the tree, so that we might die to sins and live for righteousness; by his wounds you have been healed. 1 Pet 2:25 For you were like sheep going astray, but now you have returned to the Shepherd and Overseer of your souls.

3. Discuss what it means to you to offer up prayers and petitions to God with a loud voice and with tears. 

1 Pet 2:24 He himself bore our sins in his body on the tree, so that we might die to sins and live for righteousness; by his wounds you have been healed. 1 Pet 2:25 For you were like sheep going astray, but now you have returned to the Shepherd and Overseer of your souls.

4. His reverent submission even on the cross led to our salvation. It led to our ability to have eternal life! It led to the curtain of separation being torn in half so we could have a better communication with God! In person and face to face! The question for you and me today is to fold…When we realize the price Jesus paid to get us behind the curtain and into the very presence of God, will we take the time to talk with Him? And secondly, when He responds, will we reverently submit to His loving wisdom and will for our lives? What are some of the things that hinder our submission to God's will for our lives? 

Prov 3:5 Trust in the LORD with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; Prov 3:6 in all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make your paths straight. Prov 3:7 Do not be wise in your own eyes; fear the LORD and shun evil.

Full Sermon Notes

A Book of Better Things - A Better Communication

"I see the Holy One high and exalted, I hide my eyes and I tremble before Him!" What happens next is beautiful. Jesus gets up and steps down from the right hand of The Father and walks over to the one bowed down. He gently reaches down and lifts the persons face and looks them in the eyes and says…"My child, don't be afraid! You can talk to my Father, you can share your heart! You can share your doubts, your fears, your struggles. He then turns and looks at the Father and says something like this...

"Father this is my friend, I gave my life for him, and he accepted my sacrifice on his behalf." The Father then says, "My child, stand, come near, I've been wanting to talk to you!" Folks, we've been given the privilege to communicate with God Almighty because Jesus destroyed the barriers of communication that sin had erected. Let's PRAY and ask God to speak to us and teach us today!

Let me share with you that communication with God was not always available and open to us like it is since the cross. Back in the Old Testament, after the fall of humankind in the garden of Eden, we were separated from God by our sin. An earthly priesthood was set up with all kinds of rules and regulations for a sinful person to enter in to the very presence of God. Even then, this was reserved for a select group of individuals called priest. It's not that God didn't want to talk to people, or fellowship with them, He did, but their sin separated them from God. Isaiah put it so well in Isaiah 59:1-2

Isa 59:1  Surely the arm of the LORD is not too short to save, nor his ear too dull to hear.
Isa 59:2  But your iniquities have separated you from your God; your sins have hidden his face from you, so that he will not hear.

You see, the holiness of God was so powerful, it sought to destroy wickedness. God knew if a sinful person came into His presence His holiness would quickly act to eradicate sin. Consequently the sinner would have been eradicated as well. As a result God could not allow a sinful person into His presence. This broke God's heart! We were His beloved, created in His image, and given life by His very breath! So He developed a way for sinful humanity to still have access to Him without being destroyed and that was through the priest hood.

Indirect Communication Through Earthly Priest

Let's read the first part of our text...

Heb 5:1  Every high priest is selected from among men and is appointed to represent them in matters related to God, to offer gifts and sacrifices for sins.
Heb 5:2  He is able to deal gently with those who are ignorant and are going astray, since he himself is subject to weakness.
Heb 5:3  This is why he has to offer sacrifices for his own sins, as well as for the sins of the people.
Heb 5:4  No one takes this honor upon himself; he must be called by God, just as Aaron was.

When you go back and look at the sacrificial system of the Old Testament in Exodus and other places, it is very complex. The earthly priest had to make sacrifices for his own sins, and then for the sins of the people. The earthly priest could understand the needs of the people and speak to God on their behalf because he had the same needs. He too was a sinner in need of cleansing and forgiveness. But because he was called by God, consecrated, and set apart, he could communicate with God on behalf of the people. And while this was a good thing, it was not at all the relationship God desired to have with His people! God wanted to once again be able to fellowship and communicate directly with His people as He had done with Adam and Eve before the fall! The only way for this to happen would be for a better priest to come, a heavenly one! However, for this heavenly priest to understand the ones He would represent, He would need to fully understand both sides. We talked about how Jesus did this in our message on Jesus being a better mediator. We've talked about how Jesus can understand us because He came in the flesh and was tempted like us, yet without sin, and how He sympathizes with our suffering, because He suffered. Like the earthly priest, Jesus is also able to deal gently with those who are ignorant and are going astray, because He understands human weakness and frailty. Yet, while Jesus was fully man, He was also fully divine. Jesus was God in the flesh! He had been called on by the Father to leave Heaven and come to earth in order to become our high priest and give us access to...

Direct Communication Because of Jesus Our Forever Priest

Heb 5:5  So Christ also did not take upon himself the glory of becoming a high priest. But God said to him, "You are my Son; today I have become your Father."
Heb 5:6  And he says in another place, "You are a priest forever, in the order of Melchizedek."

When it says "so Christ also did not take upon himself the glory of becoming a high priest," I believe it's referencing the humility of Jesus. What He did He did unselfishly to please the Father and because of His love for us! You've heard these words from Paul the Apostle in his letter to the Philippians, before...

Phil 2:5  Your attitude should be the same as that of Christ Jesus:
Phil 2:6  Who, being in very nature God, did not consider equality with God something to be grasped,
Phil 2:7  but made himself nothing, taking the very nature of a servant, being made in human likeness.
Phil 2:8  And being found in appearance as a man, he humbled himself and became obedient to death-- even death on a cross!
Phil 2:9  Therefore God exalted him to the highest place and gave him the name that is above every name,
Phil 2:10  that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth,
Phil 2:11  and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.

Jesus in His great humility was exalted to the position of high priest forever! When the preacher in Hebrews says...

Heb 5:5  ...But God said to him, "You are my Son; today I have become your Father."

He was not saying that Jesus had been created, but that He would leave heaven and take on the role of The Son of God, humbly robed in human flesh. And then the writer extends an explanation of just how special Jesus' appointment to the priesthood was when he attributes the Old Testament words of David as prophecy concerning Jesus...

Heb 5:6  And he says in another place, "You are a priest forever, in the order of Melchizedek."

This is what David said...

Psa 110:4  The LORD has sworn and will not change his mind: "You are a priest forever, in the order of Melchizedek."

Who was this Melchizedek? The only other place besides The Book of Hebrews and Psalm 110 he is mentioned in the Bible is in Genesis 14 after Abram had return from a battle. Check this out...

Gen 14:18  Then Melchizedek king of Salem brought out bread and wine. He was priest of God Most High,
Gen 14:19  and he blessed Abram, saying, "Blessed be Abram by God Most High, Creator of heaven and earth.
Gen 14:20  And blessed be God Most High, who delivered your enemies into your hand." Then Abram gave him a tenth of everything.

Why is this so significant? Well according to the Mosaic law priest had to come from the lineage of Aaron and from the tribe of Levi. And as far as I can tell, none of the Kings of Israel or Judah were Priest. Melchizedek was not from the lineage of Aaron and was the King of Salem. Yet the fact that Abram gave him a tenth of everything shows that Abram recognized him as a true High Priest of God. Now why did the writer of Hebrews make such a big deal of this and compare Jesus to Melchizedek eight times? The reason is that just as Melchizedek didn't come by his office through human linage, but by God's special anointing, Jesus also came to His position, not by human linage! Jesus was of the linage of King David not Priestly Aaron. Like Melchizedek, Jesus received His position by a special anointing of God! And Jesus was both high priest and a king. Let me correct that Jesus was The High Priest and the King of Kings! And listen to this further explanation by the Hebrew preacher...

Heb 6:17  Because God wanted to make the unchanging nature of his purpose very clear to the heirs of what was promised, he confirmed it with an oath.
Heb 6:18  God did this so that, by two unchangeable things in which it is impossible for God to lie, we who have fled to take hold of the hope offered to us may be greatly encouraged.
Heb 6:19  We have this hope as an anchor for the soul, firm and secure. It enters the inner sanctuary behind the curtain,
Heb 6:20  where Jesus, who went before us, has entered on our behalf. He has become a high priest forever, in the order of Melchizedek.

And then in Hebrews 7:1-3...

Heb 7:1  This Melchizedek was king of Salem and priest of God Most High. He met Abraham returning from the defeat of the kings and blessed him,
Heb 7:2  and Abraham gave him a tenth of everything. First, his name means "king of righteousness"; then also, "king of Salem" means "king of peace."
Heb 7:3  Without father or mother, without genealogy, without beginning of days or end of life, like the Son of God he remains a priest forever.

And why do I make such a big deal of this and what does this have to do with a better communication? Because of who Jesus was He was able to do what He did for you and me in order to reconcile us to God! And our ability to communicate with God directly is because of that reconciliation! We no longer have to go through an earthly priest! Praise God, because of Jesus' holy and perfect sacrifice on the cross, God ripped the curtain that kept us from entering the Holy of Holies from top to bottom. From top to bottom signifies that salvation is from God not man! We can now enter into the very presence of God without fear because we're covered in the righteousness of Jesus! And, as you're about to see, when He was on this earth, Jesus set the example for us of what we're to do when we get into His presence and find ourselves in a position to communicate directly with God!

Better Communication Because of the Example of Jesus!

Heb 5:7  During the days of Jesus' life on earth, he offered up prayers and petitions with loud cries and tears to the one who could save him from death, and he was heard because of his reverent submission.

Okay, so what's the protocol? Well the first thing you do is...

Offer Up Prayers

I know that sounds overly simple! But just pray! Prayer is another word for communicating with God! Just talk to Him! Praise Him for what He's done in your life! Praise Him for your blessings. Thank Him for His forgiveness! Praise Him for allowing His Son Jesus to die for you! In humility thank Him for the privilege of being allowed to talk with the God of the universe! And realize you can pray 24/7. Being aware that you can talk to God at any time and in any circumstance will give you great courage and comfort. Paul said this...

1 Th 5:17  pray continually;
1 Th 5:18  give thanks in all circumstances, for this is God's will for you in Christ Jesus.

And when you pray, it's okay to petition God!

Offer Up Petitions

In other words, present your request to Him. He wants you to do that! If you ask for something that's not good for you, don't worry, He know how to say no! Paul told the Philippian church...

Phil 4:6  Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God.
Phil 4:7  And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.

And when you pray, don't hide your feelings! Jesus didn't. Our Hebrew preacher said that He prayed with...

Loud Cries

Did you know that crying out your prayers is one of three kinds of prayers taught by Jewish rabbis? Crying out in a loud voice was a way of being honest with God about your feelings and your needs. The Psalmist did this...

Psa 5:1  For the director of music. For flutes. A psalm of David. Give ear to my words, O LORD, consider my sighing.
Psa 5:2  Listen to my cry for help, my King and my God, for to you I pray.
Psa 5:3  In the morning, O LORD, you hear my voice; in the morning I lay my requests before you and wait in expectation.

While this kind of crying out may simply mean with a raised voice of urgency and honesty, it could also include...

Tears

For the Jewish Rabbi, tears were the highest form of prayer! When we shed tears we are at a most vulnerable and honest place. Many of us never get to this place because we are just too prideful and won't open up to that depth. However, we need to sometimes reach this level of communication with God! We need to trust God enough to bare our souls to Him! We need to humble ourselves before Him and know that it's okay to shed those tears before God. These tears may be over sins committed and the hurt it caused others. Remember this...

2 Cor 7:10  Godly sorrow brings repentance that leads to salvation and leaves no regret, but worldly sorrow brings death.
2 Cor 7:11  See what this godly sorrow has produced in you: what earnestness, what eagerness to clear yourselves, what indignation, what alarm, what longing, what concern, what readiness to see justice done...


The tears could be due to the loss of someone you love. They could be because your heart is breaking for someone who is far away from God and you see Satan destroying their lives. The tears could be from disappointments in life. Whatever they are from, God wants you to bare your heart before Him. He will hear you and He will act. He will comfort you if you will let Him!Never forget this verse...

Psa 51:17  The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit; a broken and contrite heart, O God, you will not despise.

Now at some point in your communication with God, He may give you some instructions. Your decision about those instructions will be crucial in your continued communication with Him. Will you be like Jesus and give Him your...

Reverent Submission

Heb 5:7  During the days of Jesus' life on earth, he offered up prayers and petitions with loud cries and tears to the one who could save him from death, and he was heard because of his reverent submission.
Heb 5:8  Although he was a son, he learned obedience from what he suffered
Heb 5:9  and, once made perfect, he became the source of eternal salvation for all who obey him
Heb 5:10  and was designated by God to be high priest in the order of Melchizedek.

Once made perfect doesn't mean Jesus was ever not perfect, it means that He had choices, but all the way to the end He made the right choice to submit to the Father. And what was that final act of obedience...

Luke 22:41  He withdrew about a stone's throw beyond them, knelt down and prayed,
Luke 22:42  "Father, if you are willing, take this cup from me; yet not my will, but yours be done."

His reverent submission even on the cross led to our salvation. It led to our ability to have eternal life! It led to the curtain of separation being torn in half so we could have a better communication with God! In person and face to face! The question for you and me today is to fold…When we realize the price Jesus paid to get us behind the curtain and into the very presence of God, will we take the time to talk with Him? And secondly, when He responds, will we reverently submit to His loving wisdom and will for our lives?
Let's pray!