The great news that…Jesus is our great high priest!

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Jesus fulfilled or completed the Old Testament system of mediation. Jesus became our great high priest! Does this sound strange or lacking in relevance? It is actually an amazing and important truth, practical to your everyday Christian life.

Watch this 30 minute video. See the Old Testament robes of the high priest placed on a model, and learn how this relates to Jesus…and you.

“Therefore, since we have a great high priest who has ascended into heaven, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold firmly to the faith we profess.” Hebrews 4:14

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Believe and Wait

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As mentioned in the last post, here is the transcript for my message on Psalm 27, and Luke 2: 25-33 (Simeon) and Luke 2: 36-38 (Anna).

The title above Psalm 27 in one of my Bibles is: “an exuberant declaration of faith.” –  Do you ever express your faith exuberantly? Another Bible I have states a theme before each Psalm, and for Psalm 27 it says the theme is: “God offers help today and hope for the future. Confidence in God is our antidote for fear.”

The first verse of Psalm 27 is well-known. It begins: “The Lord is my light and my salvation; Whom shall I fear?”

Light helps us see – literally and figuratively. Light is a word used not only for literal, physical light – like the sun or a lamp – but for almost everything positive: truth, goodness, joy, vitality.

Light signifies understanding. The expression “I saw the light” means someone finally realized the truth of a situation and they are moving in a new direction. Children are not afraid of the light, they are afraid of the dark. They wonder what is hiding in the dark, so the light reassures them.

God’s first gift to us was light. On day 1 of history, God said in Genesis 1:3 – “Let there be light, and there was light.” God didn’t just create light, He is the light. First John 1:5 says: “God is light and in Him is no darkness at all.”

We worship the eternal triune God: Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. And when Jesus, God the Son, walked this earth, he said in John 8:12 “I am the light of the world. He who follows Me shall not walk in darkness, but have the light of life.”

In Revelation 21, when the New Jerusalem is described, it says in verse 23: “The city had no need of the sun or of the moon to shine in it, for the glory of God illuminated it. The Lamb is its light.”  – The Lamb is the Lord Jesus Christ. Wow. Can you imagine that? The glory of God illuminates the city!

But back to Psalm 27…Verses 1-6 express David’s confidence in the Lord. Note the personal pronouns. The Lord is my light, the Lord is the strength of my life. In David’s time of trouble, he based everything on his personal knowledge and experience of God. He turned to what he knew to be true about God.

What do you know to be true about God?  We need to know what we believe, in order to be anchored in that truth during a storm of life. If we don’t know what we believe about God, we can end up adrift, without an anchor, in the storm.

In this Psalm, we see that God is light. God is good. God is our salvation, our strength, our shelter, our rock. Verse 5 says that in the time of trouble God will hide David in God’s pavilion or tabernacle, and set him high upon a rock.

God will be a spiritual shelter for David. The word rock, like the word light, can be used literally and figuratively. God being our rock – or David being set upon a rock – refers to: stability, permanence, a sure foundation. David knew the future was in secure hands – the hands of God.

Remember that a theme of Psalm 27 is: Confidence in God is our antidote for fear. Where is your confidence?  Sometimes the problem is that we place our confidence in the wrong things. Instead of being set upon a solid rock, we’ve set ourselves upon shifting sand. We are self-reliant instead of God-reliant. It doesn’t say David climbed upon the rock, but that God set him there. In verse 1, David said “The Lord is the strength of my life.”

In verse 6, David is joyful and lifts his voice in song. David says: “I will offer sacrifices of joy in His tabernacle; I will sing, yes, I will sing praises to the Lord.” It is a high point of this Psalm.

But then in verses 7-12, the mood of the Psalm changes. Suddenly David prays for mercy, to be heard, to not be forsaken by God, for God not to hide himself from David. There is a shift from the mountaintop of faith to the valley of doubt and fear.

Life can be overwhelming. Fear often lives next door to faith. We can sometimes ride a roller coaster from faith to fear. And David recognized his need for a fresh experience of God’s grace. David turned again to what he knew to be true about God. In verse 8, David says “Your face, Lord, I will seek.”

What are you seeking? Just like we can put our confidence in the wrong thing, we can seek the wrong things. Back in verse 4, David said: “One thing I have desired of the Lord, That will I seek: That I may dwell in the house of the Lord all the days of my life. To behold the beauty of the Lord and to inquire in His temple.”

David has a singleness of purpose. “One thing.”  He desired above all to live in God’s presence, and he was deliberate about it. In verses 4 and 8, David says “I will seek.”  The best answer for fear is to seek God and behold his beautiful face. That’s the essence of worship. There is a modern worship song that says:
“I raise a hallelujah, in the presence of my enemies. I raise a hallelujah, my weapon is a melody. I’m gonna sing, in the middle of the storm.”

That does not mean being fake or ignoring our problems. It also doesn’t mean that we won’t need other help in life too. But getting that “one thing” right – seeking God and dwelling in his presence – puts us on the right foundation.

In verses 9 and 10, David says of God “You have been my help…O God of my salvation…The Lord will take care of me.” Notice the words: have been –and– will. David remembers how God helped him in the past, and will help him in the present and future.

In verses 13 and 14, the last 2 verses of Psalm 27, David comes out of the valley and brings the trust element back into clear focus. Verse 13 says: “I would have lost heart, unless I had believed that I would see the goodness of the Lord in the land of the living.” – David takes his stand on the goodness of God. God is good. Let’s say that together: God is good!

In verse 14, David brings a time element into it: “Wait on the Lord; Be of good courage, and He shall strengthen your heart; Wait, I say, on the Lord!”

David has used personal pronouns in this Psalm, but in this last verse he says God will strengthen your heart. It’s like he wanted to include anyone going through a trial or a test of their faith.

David repeats twice to wait on the Lord. Waiting is not easy. We need patience and courage. We can begin to lose hope or doubt God.

But God is never early, and God is never late. God is always on time. The problem is that our timing isn’t always God’s timing. God is faithful and keeps his promises, and we need to stand on God’s promises through faith. We need to wait on the Lord and be of good courage.

David knew what it was like to wait. David was anointed king when he was 16 years old, but he didn’t actually become king until he was 30 years old. This was a long interval, and during those years David was chased in the wilderness by the jealous King Saul who often wanted to kill him. David had to wait 14 years to become king … but sometimes our faith is in promises that won’t come to pass until after we die.

The entire history of God’s people is one of waiting on God. God called Abraham and promised to make Abraham a great nation, with many descendants, through whom the entire world would be blessed.

Abraham saw the beginning of these promises fulfilled through the birth of Isaac but the majority of the promises God made to Abraham would not be fulfilled until he died – until long after his lifetime.

Would we be willing to follow God like Abraham if we knew that most of the results of our faith would not come to pass until generations after we died?!  – That’s an amazing faith.

One of Abraham’s descendants was King David. God promised David that the Messiah would come from the lineage of David and the tribe of Judah, and that the Messiah would establish an eternal kingdom. Eventually God’s timing came to pass. Matthew 1:1, the very first verse in our New Testament, states: “This is the genealogy of Jesus the Messiah the son of David, the son of Abraham.”

God’s people had been waiting a long time. Hebrews chapter 11 contains that great hall of faith – listing all these people of the Old Testament who lived by faith in God’s promises. Hebrews 11:13 says:

“These all died in faith, not having received the promises, but having seen them afar off were assured of them, embraced them and confessed that they were strangers and pilgrims on the earth.”

Our two Scripture readings from Luke 2 earlier in the service were about Simeon and Anna. I think they are good examples of Psalm 27. They were seeking God’s face and waiting on the Lord. Psalm 27:4 spoke of that “one thing” and both Simeon and Anna were dwelling in God’s presence. Although Simeon and Anna were old, they were still living lives of faith, waiting on God’s promises.

Simeon and Anna were in the temple when Mary and Joseph brought in Jesus as an infant. What an honor and privilege to be in the temple at this time.

Simeon had received special revelation from God that he’d not die until he saw the Lord’s Christ – that is the Messiah. It says that Simeon was righteous and devout, waiting for the Consolation of Israel. Simeon took Jesus in his arms and blessed God and said, in part:

“My eyes have seen Your salvation which You have prepared before the face of all peoples, a light to bring revelation to the Gentiles, and the glory of Your people Israel.”  The promises made to Abraham and King David were fulfilled through our Lord Jesus Christ.

And Anna was a prophetess. It says she was of “great age” and had been a widow for many years – and she served God with fastings and prayers, night and day. Fasting and prayer were signs of deep piety or devout faith in Judaism, and “night and day” just means she was totally devoted to the worship of God.

Anna happened to appear when Simeon was there with Mary and Joseph and it says Anna “gave thanks to the Lord, and spoke of Him to all those who looked for redemption in Jerusalem.”  Anna became one of the first evangelists of the New Testament, telling others that she had seen the Savior – the one to bring redemption.

Being old or being female does not limit God’s ability to utilize us as his witnesses and for his glory.  God is simply looking for faithful people. God is looking for those who have good courage and are waiting on Him.

Remember that Psalm 27:1 said “the Lord is my light and my salvation.” Simeon and Anna got to see this light and salvation in the temple, in fulfillment of Malachi 3:1 – the last book of the Old Testament.

Malachi 3:1 says: “‘Behold, I send My messenger, And he will prepare the way before Me. And the Lord, whom you seek, Will suddenly come to His temple, Even the Messenger of the covenant, In whom you delight. Behold, He is coming,’ Says the Lord of hosts.”

And today we wait for the second coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, His future return in glory as the King of Kings and Lord of Lords. There will be a New Heaven, a New Earth, and a New Jerusalem – and the Lamb will be the light of the city. Meanwhile, remember the last verse of Psalm 27: “Wait on the Lord; Be of good courage, And He shall strengthen your heart; Wait, I say, on the Lord!”

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