Understanding Our Access

Boldness -- now, that doesn’t mean presumption. And that doesn’t mean using prayer and faith as a way out of things into which you’ve gotten yourself.

Scripture: Ephesians 3:11-12, Hebrews 4:15, 1 John 2:28


Alright, thank you very much. And hello again, my dear radio friend. How in the world are you? Oh, I’m fine, thank you. A little tired now because, although I do most of these broadcasts early, early in the morning, this one is late, late at night. My schedule has been cut up by a number of things and so I sit down at the microphone with my Bible and the Concordance and the Greek New Testament and earnest prayer. And out of that mix comes something I trust that will be of help and encouragement to you. Someone who works in Washington told me just the other day that he listens every morning. He’s an attorney and he listens every morning. And he says, “If I miss it, it seems like I’ve missed something important in the day.” Oh, I tell you, that was an encouragement to my heart. I’m glad if anything that the Spirit of God gives me to say will be helpful to you. I’m really grateful for that.

Well, we’re looking at Ephesians 3, we’ve come to verse 12. And you have to get a running start into it. He said, “According to the eternal purpose which he purposed in Christ Jesus our Lord.” Now the purpose of God is to show you off as exhibit A throughout all eternity, as a member of his body, the church. Might be in heavenly places, “To the intent that now unto the principalities and powers,” that’s the angelic and demon world, “In heavenly places, might be known by the church, the manifold wisdom of God.” And this is right down along the line, the word according means right down along the line of the eternal purpose that he purposed in Christ. “In him,” now we come to verse 12. I changed the whom to him. “In him, we have boldness and access with confidence by the faith of him.”

Now, this whole concept of verse 12 hinges on the expression by the faith of him. When you commit yourself to the Lord Jesus Christ, what do you have? You have boldness instead of cringing away. Paul speaks of it and John the apostle speaks of it as well. He says, “Now, little children abide in him that when he shall appear, we may have confidence before him and not be ashamed away from him at his coming.” 1 John 2:28. Boldness. It’s based upon the fact that things that were wrong are now made right, a relationship that was wrong has now made right. A person who was a stranger and an alien is now a member of the family. Sin that blotted the page of life has now been cleansed and expunged from the record, and everything is right with God. And so, I can hold up my head. I don’t have to cringe away.

The writer to the Hebrew says, “Let us come boldly to the throne of grace that we may obtain mercy and find grace to help in time of need.” You would call that passage. It’s based, you see, upon the saving work of our Lord Jesus Christ because we have this great high priest, the Lord Jesus Christ. We have a great high priest who has passed into the heavens, Jesus, the son of God. Let us hold fast our profession.” That’s your confession of faith, your commitment to Christ, in other words. For he said, “We have not a high priest which cannot be touched with the feeling of our infirmities.” Take out the double negative there. And what does it say? We do have a high priest who can be touched with the feeling of our infirmities. He was in all points tested like we are, yet without sin, so because we’ve got him, and because he owns us now, we’ve committed ourselves to it. “Let us come boldly to the throne of grace that we may obtain mercy and find grace to help in time of need.”

That’s such a precious passage there, where in Hebrews 4:15, he said, “He can be touched with the feeling of your infirmities.” He knows how it feels. You know, you don’t know how arthritis feels until it hits you. And you don’t know how the feeling of weakness is after a heart attack, for example, until you’ve had one. You can describe it to somebody else, but it just isn’t there. The feeling of being completely wrung out and not having enough energy, scarcely enough energy to draw breath. You don’t know about that until you’ve had it. Yeah, that’s right. Well, beloved, Jesus has been through it. He knows how you feel and he cares about you. 1 Peter 5:7, “Casting all your care upon him, for he careth for you,” you’re his concern.

So we have boldness and access with confidence. You don’t have to be afraid of how God is going to treat you because he has promised to receive you. “Whoever cometh to me I will in no wise cast out,” so you can come. As we’ve just said in this passage from Hebrews 4, “You can come boldly to the throne of grace.” It’s not a throne of judgment anymore, it’s a throne of grace because Jesus bought your redemption on Calvary. Boldness. Now, that doesn’t mean presumption, that doesn’t mean presumption. And that doesn’t mean using prayer and faith as a way out of things into which you’ve gotten yourself.

I learned that early on as a little boy. Someone had given me a piece of sheet music. I was taking violin lessons in those days, I was, I guess, about eight or nine, or something like that. And I was taking violin lessons, two lessons a week and practicing two hours a day. My father saw to that. And we went to a little church in East Cleveland, Hayden Avenue and 144th Street, I think was the address of the First Church of the Nazarene, that’s where we were attending at the time. Pastor C. Warren Jones, a man with a great voice and a heart to match was the pastor and I played in the orchestra there.

I remember that experience, because I was always amazed because the pastor’s wife played the sousaphone. That’s a tuba that’s gotten elongated and you wrap it around yourself. And there she sat, this faithful lady, every time the orchestra practiced and she played that big base horn. I would look at her with a degree of awe, and sometimes maybe a little amusement. But one night, someone gave me this music, and said, “Would you like to try to master this?” Well, I said yes. I took it on home, put it in the bottom drawer of the chest of drawers where I kept some of my clothes. And the bottom drawer had toys in it and other things. I stuck it away there and promptly forgot it.

Well, some months went by and the lady asked me one day at church, “Have you finished with that music yet?” I said, “Oh, I’ll give it back to you.” So I dug it out, and to my horror, I still remember that feeling of complete horror and devastation that I felt when I dug that music out of the bottom drawer because the mice had been there, and they had chewed it up. It was ruined. And I remember holding it in my hand and I thought, “I’ll pray about this.” Can’t you see the scene there? [chuckle]

Little guy said, standing in the hallway of this basement flat. It was a flat that was connected by a hallway. There was a kitchen, and then the hallway went on and you turned right, and you went into the bathroom. And then the hallway went on, you turned and made another right turn, you were in a bedroom. And then if you went far enough, you were in what we called the front room. And between the door to the bedroom and the door to the front room, was this chest of drawers, and I stood there in that hallway and held that ruined piece of sheet music in my hand. And I thought I’ll pray about this and God will fix it. [chuckle]

So I prayed. I said, “Oh God, fix this.” Or words to that effect. And then I opened, I thought, well, I’ll risk one eye. I opened one eye, and there that ruined music was still there in my hands. It’s still in that deplorable condition. Well, God answered my prayer. He answered by letting me stew in my own juices and face up to my own carelessness. I had to bring that back to the lady and tell her I was awfully sorry that I had put it away, and the mice had gotten at it. And she forgave me and everything was Alright.

So when we say boldly, we don’t mean that you can presume on God. He just won’t let you do that. He said, “I am the Lord, that is my name, and my glory will I not share with another.” You don’t order God around. Little boy was saying his prayers one night. He was saying, “God, do this, and God, do that.” And his mother tapped him on the shoulder and interrupted him and said, “Sonny boy, don’t bother giving orders. Just report for duty.” There’s the difference, you see, boldness. No, it’s not presumption, but you don’t have to cringe. You don’t have to wonder if God is gonna run you out. You don’t have to wonder if he’s gonna dump you. You don’t have to wonder whether he’s gonna forsake you. No, he’s faithful.

God is faithful by whom you were called into the fellowship of his son, Jesus Christ, our Lord. Then it says access, and that means the way has been opened. It’s an interesting word in your Greek New Testament, means walk right in, the way is open. There’s an open door now into the Father’s presence. Jesus opened it for you, when he died for you and rose again for your justification. It says, “He ever liveth to make intercession for them who come unto God by him.” So he’s there to introduce you. You know, it’s a very nice feeling when you go to a strange location, or a strange home, or a strange business, and you find somebody there that knows you who can show you around. Isn’t that nice? Oh, I’ll tell you, that’s a good feeling. You don’t feel quite so strange and disoriented if there’s someone there that knows you, they can say, “I want you to meet my good friend, Bob Cook,” and he introduces you around.

Have you had that experience? It’s a lot different, isn’t it, than going in, as we say, cold turkey, where nobody knows you? Well, you come into the presence of God and there’s somebody there, beloved, that knows you. He knows your name. Ah yes, he knows all about you. Jesus didn’t need anybody to tell him about people. You’ll find this in the early chapter of John there, John 1. He didn’t need anybody to tell him about people because he knew what was in people. The psalmist said, with a degree of awe, he said, “There’s not a word in my tongue, but, lo, o Lord, thou knowest it altogether. Thou hast beset me behind and before, and laid thine hand upon me. Thou knowest my downsitting and my uprising, and thou understandest my thought afar off. Whither shall I go from thy presence.” Because there’s no place where I can escape you, you’re there and you know all about it me.

That’s right. God knows, “Oh yes, he knows. And the door is open. You can walk right in, just as you are, as you are, just as you are. You don’t have to dress up. Sometimes, in human situations, if you don’t prepare for a situation, you give people a shock. I can recall a day at Wheaton College when I realized that the last day for paying one’s tuition fee had arrived and I was busy working in the garage. I worked for Russel Wright in those days in a garage that was done by the railroad tracks, and working there and eeking out a precarious living, and trying to work my way through college. And this was the last day.

And I said to him, “Russ,” I said, “I gotta go out and pay my bill.” And I dashed up to college, just as I was dressed in coveralls with a smudge of grease on my nose, which I didn’t discover until later, dashed into the office and said, “I’ve got to pay my bill. Here’s my money.” The dear lady just about fainted when she saw this apparition in garage man’s clothes coming through the door. You can give people a shock in human situations, but beloved, God will never raise a divine eyebrow if you come to him just as you are.

Dear heavenly Father, today, oh, thank you for the open door into your presence. Grant to us to pray our way through the day and enjoy Thy touch. In Jesus’ name, Amen.

Till I meet you once again by way of radio, walk with the King today and be a blessing!

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