Sermon, 11/08/2015

November 8, 2015 Text: Hebrews 9:24-28

Dear Friends in Christ,

Are you a confident person? When you were younger would you raise your hand because you knew you had the right answer? When confronted with problems do you face them head-on or hang your head? Do you have quiet confidence in the face of adversity?
Many people want to have more confidence. Amazon sells over 23,000 books on the topic of building confidence in oneself. There are over 143 million websites that deal with the subject of overcoming doubt and increasing confidence. Blogs, magazine articles and newspaper columns are written on the subject. Wouldn’t it be nice to have more confidence?
Our text from Hebrews is going to help us this morning as God’s Word always does.
Do you wish you could live confidently? Don’t we often make promises to ourselves that we won’t get angry at the insults of others, or that we’ll keep our cool when our ideas are challenged or dismissed? Yet when things don’t go our way or our ideas get rejected, we have our confidence shaken. We might react with anger or self-doubt. It might have happened when we raised our hand in class and we gave the wrong answer and the teasing that then went on in the playground. Our ideas might be dismissed at work, on the ball field, in our homes, among our peers.
There are many things at work that tear at our confidence. Maybe those who build themselves up by tearing you down have shattered you. Maybe you don’t feel you are being heard in our frantic world. Maybe your idea of “perfectionism” makes it impossible for you to live up to your own standards. Maybe you have lost a job or a promotion, or you didn’t make a team or win a competition. A loved one has died that shakes your confidence. I have experienced that with my mom dying. She was my biggest supporter and I miss the conversations we used to have. That void has not been filled. Finally, we all are plagued by our inability to live up to God’s Law. Like Paul we are doing the things we don’t want to do and not doing the things we should. Our sin convicts and it hurts our self-confidence.
Yet our text talks about those who are confident, those who are eagerly waiting for Christ. There is a source of confidence in the face of any self-doubt or challenge in life. That source of ultimate confidence is rooted in the person and work of Jesus Christ. We can confidently live our lives in eager expectation in Christ.
You see Christ has dealt with the root cause of our lack of confidence. The writer to the Hebrews compares a sacrifice carried out by a human with the perfect sacrifice of our Savior Jesus Christ. He didn’t enter a temple made by humans, like the Old Testament priests, but heaven itself, where he appears before God on our behalf. Jesus is God himself, so only one sacrifice, rather than repeated sacrifices, was needed.
The forgiveness, life, and salvation Jesus accomplished were done for all people. Jesus died for all. No sin of yours or mine is too heinous that it hasn’t been covered by the sacrifice of Jesus. Jesus has “put away” our sin by sacrificing himself. It has been dealt with. It is no longer a factor as God looks at us. That should give us real confidence not the false bravado of the world, but the reality that all of our sins that rip at our heart and gut, have been put away.
What great confidence we have because Christ has dealt with it all. Christ has promised to give us all things, so we need not doubt ourselves. Please know this: it is not about us, it is about Jesus. That is how the widow in today’s Gospel could give her last pennies. That’s how the widow at Zarephath could trust the instructions of Elijah in the Old Testament. They knew the Lord and it made all the difference.
What is your source of self-confidence? There are certainly psychological and sociological explanations for why some people seem to lack confidence and others have confidence in abundance. But the message from our Epistle lesson today is that we can all live in confidence. We can confidently live our lives in eager expectation, because in Christ we can be confident of God’s love and forgiveness. Live confidently…Christ has done it all for you.