First Presbyterian Church of Blackwood
21 E. Church Street
Blackwood, NJ 08012
Sermon Notes (Sunday, March 19, 2023)
Rev. Dr. Mouris A. Yousef, Pastor
“Don’t Throw Away Your Confidence!”
Psalm 27:1-10; Hebrews 10:32-39
Trust is foundational for healthy relationships. The absence of trust is the root for serious issues in our family dynamics, professional relationships, and our spiritual walk with the Lord. Trust gives reassurance and security. It helps to heal hurts and overcome obstacles. Trust is the foundation for any relationship. Without trust, our relationships will be shaky and will eventually fail. Lack of trust is the main reason relationships fall apart.
Over these past few weeks, I had the chance to explore with our Bible Study groups and to reflect on Christ’s three temptations in the Judean wilderness. The issue of trusting God is at the heart of the three temptations. In the first temptation, Jesus declared to Satan that food or no food, He trusts His Heavenly Father. In the second temptation, Jesus refused to put the Lord to test by throwing Himself off the pinnacle of the temple. He didn’t need a proof that His Father in heaven cares for Him and loves Him. In the third temptation, Jesus refused to bow down and worship Satan trusting God that, in due time, God will exalt Him with honor and glory.
Having presented his case and his defense of the supremacy of Christ, the sufficiency of His righteousness, and the completeness of His mission and work for our redemption, the author now exhorts his audience, the Hebrew Christians, to fully trust Christ. This is the most logical conclusion. “So do not throw away your confidence; it will be richly rewarded,” says the author in Hebrews 10:35. This trust, this confidence in the Lord, calls the believers to two things. It works in our lives in two different ways:
First: It Calls us to Hold Fast to our Confession
At the heart of the message to the Hebrew community is a continued invitation to hold fast to Jesus; to hold fast to our confession. That is what the author says in Hebrews 10:23, “Let us hold fast the confession of our hope without wavering, for he who promised is faithful.”
In our life, we get pulled and pushed in so many different directions. There are so many voices we hear every day that demands our allegiance. There are so many things in life that will try to separate us from God’s love in Christ. The verb “hold fast” in Hebrews 10:23 (as well as 3:6, 14) is katechō, which literally means “to adhere firmly to traditions, convictions, or beliefs, hold to, and hold fast.” Notice also the how, the way in which we are to hold on: unswervingly, without wavering. The adjective aklinēs is a compound word which means “not to lean, not to bend.” We are to stand firm.
The uplifting truth for us today is that when you and I get weary and fail to hold fast onto Christ, Christ Himself will not let go of us. I heard the story of a little girl who was crossing a bridge with her dad. The dad was kind of scared, so he asked his little daughter, “Sweetheart, please hold my hand so that you don’t fall into the river.” The little girl said, “No, Dad. You hold my hand. “What’s the difference?” asked the puzzled dad. “There’s a big difference,” replied the little girl. “If I hold your hand and something happens to me, chances are that I may let your hand go. But if you hold my hand, I know for sure that no matter what happens, you will never let my hand go.”
Second: It Calls us to Encourage One Another
At least two times in the letter to the Hebrews, the author states that a life that is secured and rooted in the faith is a blessing to others. Earlier in Hebrews 3:13 we read, “But encourage one another daily, as long as it is called Today, so that none of you may be hardened by sin’s deceitfulness.” Then here in Hebrews 10:24-25, “And let us consider how to stir up one another to love and good works, not neglecting to meet together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another, and all the more as you see the Day drawing near.”
Both passages stress the need for mutual encouragement as well as the urgency of doing so. This is not an option but a command. It is this Christian encouragement that helps us stay our course. I bet so many of us are in Christ today because of the encouragement we have received from the body of Christ. They lifted us to the throne of grace when we couldn’t lift ourselves. They brough us to the Lord when we couldn’t bring ourselves.
The question the Lord asked Cain in Genesis 4:9 is still valid today, “Where is your brother Abel?” “I don’t know,” he replied. “Am I my brother’s keeper?” We are to consider one another. We are to stimulate one another. We are to ignite the passion for Christ and His kingdom in the heart of each other. Christianity is not designed as a hermit-oriented faith, but one with intense love and concern for one another. Faith is a journey that is meant to be traveled in community.
Friends, may we never throw away our confidence and trust in the Lord especially when everything around us calls us to do the opposite. King David is a good example for that. The words of Psalm 27 are words of confidence and assurance. Most scholars believe that King David penned these words when he had been in exile. He was being chased by King Saul. His life was in danger. Yet, he says in Psalm 27, “The Lord is my light and my salvation— whom shall I fear? The Lord is the stronghold of my life—of whom shall I be afraid? … Though an army besiege me, my heart will not fear; though war break out against me, even then I will be confident.” Where did he get this confidence from? Certainly from holding onto his faith; from God’s faithfulness.
Our trust in the Lord is two dimensional. It calls us to hold fast to our confession, to the hope we have in Christ, as well as encouraging those around us to stay the course and to keep running the race ahead of us. “Therefore do not throw away your confidence, which has a great reward. For you have need of endurance, so that when you have done the will of God you may receive what is promised. For, “Yet a little while, and the coming one will come and will not delay” Hebrews 10:35-37. In the name of the Father, and the Son, and the Holy Spirit. Amen.Top of Form
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