Introduction

  1. Text: Heb. 4:14-16.
  2. Although many people live quite pleasantly most of the time, no one gets to the end of life without having to deal with its “rough edges” somewhere along the way.
    1. Into every life some rain must fall — and in some lives the rain falls pretty much all the time.
    2. It can be hard sometimes not to despair.
  3. The gospel of Jesus Christ meets the suffering and sorrow of the world with a message of hope.
  4. And the gospel is a message of hope precisely because it is a message of help – Heb. 4:15,16.
  5. Consider how God’s grace can help us and give us hope.

I. The Damage Sin Has Done to Our World

  1. Sin has not only alienated us from our God spiritually, its effects have so pervaded the temporal world that hardship and heartache are never very far away.
    1. We can’t attribute every specific instance of suffering to the sin of the individual involved – Jn. 9:1-3.
    2. But it should be obvious that sin is the ultimate cause of all the suffering in the world — there would be no suffering in the world if sin had not entered in.
  2. Might it not have been Jesus’ knowledge of all the suffering that sin has wrought in His creation that caused Him, when He thought about it, to weep at the tomb of Lazarus? Cf. Jn. 11:33-35.
  3. The world in which we live “groans and labors” under the burden of the suffering caused by sin – Rom. 8:20-22.

II. The Help That God Offers

  1. Theoretically, God could snap His fingers and put the world back the way it was prior to sin, removing the symptoms.
    1. God could, like an indulgent parent, arbitrarily shield us from the earthly consequences of sin.
    2. We can be thankful, however, that God has not dealt so superficially with sin.
  2. He has chosen, at the Cross, to deal radically with the problem itself – Jn. 3:16,17; Rom. 5:6-9.
    1. Those who are willing to accept God’s solution have the hope of a future life where all will be made right.
    2. Until then, we remain in a world ravaged by the temporal consequences of sin — both our own and others’.
  3. We must not charge God with “not helping us” merely because His help doesn’t come in the manner we think appropriate – Jn. 11:21,32,37. Cf. Exo. 5:22,23. (Generally, we want the problem removed . . . and immediately.)
    1. God has not promised that those who have been saved spiritually will have no further hardships temporally.
    2. He has made it possible, instead, for them to “find grace to help in time of need” (Heb. 4:16). Cf. 2 Cor. 12:8,9.
  4. God cares about us and helps us – Psa. 23:1-6; 1 Pt. 5:6-11. Cf. Psa. 118:5,6; Mt. 6:26-30; 7:7-11; 10:29-31.

III. The Relationship in Which God’s Help Becomes a Reality

  1. Obviously, we can be glad for God’s help — but it is in Christ that the help is available – Heb. 4:15,16. Cf. Rom. 5:1,2.
    1. “The eyes of the Lord run to and fro throughout the whole earth, to show Himself strong on behalf of those whose heart is loyal to Him” (2 Chron. 16:9).
    2. “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me” (Phil. 4:13).
    3. Those unwilling to accept the gospel’s solution to the GUILT of sin are not eligible to pray for help with the SYMPTOMS of sin. Cf. Prov. 1:28,29,33; 28:9.
    4. If, regarding redemption in Christ, we remain on the “outside looking in,” we stand outside the realm where the only help is available that will mean anything in the long run. Cf. Mt. 23:37-39.
  2. Christ has lived in this world, and He can sympathize with our plight: “For we do not have a High Priest who cannot sympathize with our weaknesses, but was in all points tempted as we are, yet without sin” (Heb. 4:15).
  3. In Christ there is “grace to help in time of need” (Heb. 4:16) — but we cannot despise the Source of the help without forfeiting the help itself!

Conclusion

  1. God is the God of our help – Psa. 139:7-12.
    1. May we gladly accept the salvation of our souls through obedience to the gospel of Christ.
    2. Then may we have the trust in our Heavenly Father to seek the help He is ever able to give us in any need.
    3. “Therefore let those who suffer according to the will of God commit their souls to Him in doing good, as to a faithful Creator” (1 Pt. 4:19).
  2. May we pour out our gratitude to God in service to those around us — helping them in His name, as He has helped us.

Gary Henry – WordPoints.com

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