Freed from the Fear of Death (Hebrews 2:14-18)

Sunday 18/07/2021

Hebrews 2:14-18 (NIV 2011)

14 Since the children have flesh and blood, he too shared in their humanity so that by his death he might break the power of him who holds the power of death – that is, the devil – 15 and free those who all their lives were held in slavery by their fear of death. 16 For surely it is not angels he helps, but Abraham’s descendants. 17 For this reason he had to be made like them, fully human in every way, in order that he might become a merciful and faithful high priest in service to God, and that he might make atonement for the sins of the people. 18 Because he himself suffered when he was tempted, he is able to help those who are being tempted.

Freed from the Fear of Death

  1. Why Jesus Came (v14-15)
  2. How Jesus Gives Freedom (v16-18)

The Desolating Decree – Part 2 (Daniel 9:20-27)

There’s plenty of bad news around. But what good news are you hoping for?

We don’t expect to wake up one morning to find that this world has been transformed into some kind of paradise because of the actions of mankind. But we still have hopes for our broken world this side of the new heavens and new earth. What are you hoping for?

It might be something out there in the world: Like an end to COVID, being able to travel and see your family without the uncertainty of the last few years.

Or you might be hoping for good news closer to home. There’s illness you’d love to be gone. Or ongoing conflict you want to be over.

What good news are you waiting for?

At the start of Daniel 9, God tells us what good news Daniel was waiting for. His prayer (v4-19) is a plea that the great and awesome, promise-keeping God would forgive sins and remove shame, not because anyone deserves that but because of His great mercy. The good news Daniel was waiting for was the end of sin and its consequences.

At the end of Daniel 9, God gives Daniel the good news he had been waiting for: Jesus, God’s Anointed One, will be put to death to put an end to sin and its consequences.

There’s so much that we can hope for. But no matter what our hopes are, what God promises to Daniel is just what we need: the end to sin that Jesus brings.

So, why do we need this good news?

The Desolating Decree – Part 1 (Daniel 9:1-19)

Let me start with a question for you: What is real Christianity all about, in one word or phrase?

It’s about salvation and forgiveness. Christianity is about being rescued by Jesus.

But lots of people think Christianity is about trying to do good so that we will be accepted by God. Is that what you think? ‘God won’t welcome me until I’ve sorted out my life, if I ever do’?

Real Christians don’t think they’re good enough. A Christian is someone who knows they are not good. A Christian knows that they can’t be good but who relies on Jesus, God’s chosen rescuer.

Which of those do you believe?

We’ve read Daniel 9. You remember Daniel and the Lion’s Den; well, this is about the same time in his life. He’s in his mid-80s. And the prayer he prays recognises that he and his people are not good enough for God. All Daniel can do, and all we can do, is to cry out to God to rescue us, not because we deserve it, but for His glory.

The Desecrating Devastation (Daniel 8)

Have you ever had to wait for God?

If you’ve ever prayed, then you’ve waited. But maybe you’re really waited. For years.

And as we wait, we can think ‘Does God care?’

Have you ever been disappointed by God?

If you’ve suffered, then maybe you’ve felt let down by God.

When we suffer, we can think, ‘Is God really in control?’

The questions, ‘Why do I have to wait for God?’ and ‘Why does God allow me (or my loved ones) to suffer?’ are questions we all ask.

Becoming a Christian doesn’t make those questions go away. Why do God’s people suffer? And why do we have to wait for God to keep His promises or to answer our prayers?

Those are questions believers ask too. Daniel did. His second vision, recorded here in Daniel 8, might not answer all of our questions, but it does help us to trust God when we don’t know why.

It’s a human think to ask ‘Why?’, isn’t it? We want to know where suffering and evil came from. God doesn’t tell us where evil and suffering started, but He does tell us how they will end! And knowing that will help us to endure and to be confident that God loves and that He is in control, even when we have to wait for Him and even when we suffer.

But does that mean that we shouldn’t care what happens? Should we forget the past and ignore the future? No! God tells us plenty about both to help us to trust in Him.

Magnify the LORD with Me! (Psalm 34)

How can we change? There is a guaranteed way to change, and it’s not a 30-day, money-back guarantee. It always works. The way to change is to ask God help you be what He promises to make you.

God tells us His will for us in 1 Thessalonians 4:3: “This is the will of God, your sanctification.” So, if we ask God to sanctify us, to make us holy, He will.

Today, we’re going to think about just one way God makes us holy: in our thoughts and in our words. In Psalm 34, David tells us the resolution he made, a resolution that changes our hearts, our thoughts and our words:

  1. Make A (New?) Resolution: Continual Praise (v1-3)
  2. Feel An Eternal Motivation: Fear (v4-14)
  3. Depend Upon God’s Action: Keeping (v15-22)

Notice that the change doesn’t depend on our will-power. It depends on what God has done and keeps doing. That’s how we know we can change, and that’s why this change will last: it depends on God