- August 17, 2008
- By Gary Long, Willow Meadows Baptist Church, Houston
• Hebrews 10:19-29, 32-36
“I am able to do all things through him who strengthens me” wrote Paul in Philippians 4:13. Confidence in ourselves always is helpful in difficult situations, and it makes a difference in our relations with others.
Remember Reggie Jackson predicting he’d hit three home runs in a World Series game and then did it? Or consider that successful salespeople are confident they can sell anything to anybody.
So where does confidence fit into the life of a Christian? Is it right for a Christian to even feel confident? And if so, when does it border on arrogance?
This week’s passage indicates believers can radiate the same kind of confidence as Martin Luther or William Carey or Martin Luther King Jr. Christians can worship and witness with confidence when that confidence is based on the sacrificial work of Christ. Let’s talk about the specifics of that.
Know the source of confidence (Hebrews 10:19-23)
Simply put, the source of our confidence as Christians lies in the person and work of Jesus Christ. Because of his work, we are able to approach God with confidence, without need to make a sacrifice. The blood of Jesus has opened the way to God, and we can draw near to God with a cleansed and guilt-free heart.
The idea then, is that we stand before God not on our own merit, but on the merit of what Jesus did for us. So then, if we have any confidence to approach God, it is only because of Jesus’ sacrifice for us.
Ask your learners what keeps them from approaching God with confidence. Mostly we keep ourselves from God by failing to confess our sins and by believing wrongly that the sins of the past are still being tallied by God. Once we have confessed our sin, it is possible for us to stand with confidence before God.
Stay connected to Christians (Hebrews 10:24-25)
The Christian faith was never meant to be practiced in isolation. Jesus travelled with 12 disciples and stayed connected to the temple and its community of scholars and leaders. Hebrews instructs us to band together and meet regularly to foster community and accountability.
Our gathering times are not simply about being “fed,” however, because the idea of fellowship is that we encourage one another, pray for one another and grow closer to one another.
Believers will find it difficult to have confidence in their relationship to God if they are not actively connected to a community of faith—made up of like-minded believers. Serving in church alongside other believers helps us to stay connected to each other and to Christ.
Ask your learners to consider completing a service project in Jesus’ name sometime in the next 30 days. Observe the connectedness to one another that will occur in such a scenario.
Ask your learners to make a commitment to attend church together and make a commitment to miss no Sundays for six months.
Take sin seriously (Hebrews 10:26-29)
This passage is a call to take sin seriously, but it is not to be understood as teaching we can lose our salvation. The writer of Hebrews simply is warning us about the seriousness of sin and the consequences of sin upon our lives now. It is impossible to have confidence in our lives when God is not in control. It also is impossible to have control of our lives when sin is in control.
Remember past victories (Hebrews 10:32-36)
One of the ways we can be confident in our life is to remember the victories of the past—both the ones we have accomplished and the ones God has accomplished.
The writer of Hebrews is complimenting the readers for being strong in the face of persecution. It is this kind of confidence we want to have when facing challenges in life.
Maintaining confidence is easier when we’ve had past victories, and those memories make us less likely to throw away our confidence in the present.