Teaching Sermons For Pastors and Laymen

 June 3, 2006

The Approachableness of Jesus

PORTION OF SCRIPTURE READ BEFORE SERMON—Hebrews 4:14-16 and 5.1-14 (GNB)
14 Let us, then, hold firmly to the faith we profess. For we have a great High Priest who has gone into the very presence of God—Jesus, the Son of God.
15 Our High Priest is not one who cannot feel sympathy for our weaknesses. On the contrary, we have a High Priest who was tempted in every way that we are, but did not sin.
16 Let us have confidence, then, and approach God’s throne, where there is grace. There we will receive mercy and find grace to help us just when we need it.

1 Every high priest is chosen from his fellow-men and appointed to serve God on their behalf, to offer sacrifices and offerings for sins.
2 Since he himself is weak in many ways, he is able to be gentle with those who are ignorant and make mistakes.
3 And because he is himself weak, he must offer sacrifices not only for the sins of the people but also for his own sins.
4 No one chooses for himself the honour of being a high priest. It is only by God’s call that a man is made a high priest—just as Aaron was.
5 In the same way, Christ did not take upon himself the honour of being a high priest. Instead, God said to him: “You are my Son; today I have become your Father.”
6 He also said in another place, “You will be a priest for ever, in the priestly order of Melchizedek.”
7 In his life on earth Jesus made his prayers and requests with loud cries and tears to God, who could save him from death. Because he was humble and devoted, God heard him.
8 But even though he was God’s Son, he learnt through his sufferings to be obedient.
9 When he was made perfect, he became the source of eternal salvation for all those who obey him,
10 and God declared him to be high priest, in the priestly order of Melchizedek.
11 There is much we have to say about this matter, but it is hard to explain to you, because you are so slow to understand.
12 There has been enough time for you to be teachers—yet you still need someone to teach you the first lessons of God’s message. Instead of eating solid food, you still have to drink milk.
13 Anyone who has to drink milk is still a child, without any experience in the matter of right and wrong.
14 Solid food, on the other hand, is for adults, who through practice are able to distinguish between good and evil.


Introduction:

Luke 15:1 states, "Then drew near unto him all the publicans and sinners for to hear him."

Some of the worst people and the most hated people formed a ring of listeners around Christ.

I gather from that that he was a very approachable person, that he had good manners, and that He was willing to talk to anyone.

That’s what I want to talk about this evening; the approachableness of Christ.

The kings we’re told about in the Bible lived in seclusion, and they surrounded themselves with politicians, officials and solders.

It was very difficult for even their most loyal subjects to approach them.

Do you remember the story of Esther, who, despite the fact that the king was her husband, took her life in her hands when she went before the king, Ahasuerus, to plead for her people, the Jews, because there was a law that said that no one should come to the king unless they were invited.

To break that law meant death.

That’s not the way it is with the King of kings.

His court is more magnificent and He is more worthy of worship; but you may come to him any time, night or day, and no one can prevent you from coming.

There aren’t any soldiers around his palace gate.

The door to his house of mercy is wide open.

The sign over His palace gate states, "For every one that asketh receiveth; and he that seeketh findeth; and to him that knocketh it shall be opened."

You can compare our Lord's kind manners with those of kings and presidents, but you can’t find anyone equal to him in approachableness and compassion.

This morning, I want to talk about this wonderful quality of our Lord.

First, let’s prove it; secondly, illustrate it; and, thirdly, put it into effect.

First, let’s PROVE THE APPROACHABLENESS OF CHRIST, although it really doesn’t need proof, for it is a fact which can be seen in his life.

You may see it clearly in His offices.

Those offices are too many for us to consider at this time.

We will just cull out one specific office.

Our Lord Jesus is said to be the Mediator between God and man.

Now, the office of mediator implies that he should be approachable.

A mediator is not a mediator of one—he must be available to both the parties in the mediation.

If Jesus Christ is the perfect mediator between God and man, he must be able to come to God, and then he must approach man.

This is precisely what Christ has done.

He is a mediator, and as a mediator you may come to Him.

Jesus Christ is the glue that joins earth and heaven together, but if he’ll not touch the poor man who comes to him, then what good is He to mankind?

You need a mediator between your soul and God, so you must not think of coming to God without a mediator; but you don’t want any mediator between yourselves and Christ.

There is some preparation needed before coming to God—you must not come to God without a perfect righteousness; but you may come to Jesus without any preparation, and without any righteousness, because as mediator he has in himself all the righteousness and fitness that you require, and He is ready to give them to you.

Anyone can come to God at any time, because He is waiting to reconcile worldly men and women to God, by his blood.

Well, I could mention many other offices of Christ, such as Priest and Savior, but this will have to do.

Next, I would like you to consider a few of His names and titles.

Frequently Jesus is called the "Lamb."

I don’t suppose there is any one here who was ever afraid of a lamb.

Every child seems almost instinctively to want to put its hand on the head of a lamb.

Oh how I wish that everyone would come and put their hand on the head of Christ, the Lamb of God that taketh away the sin of the world.

Now, you’ll also find him called a Shepherd.

The heavenly Shepherd says, "I will seek out my sheep, and will deliver them out of all places where they have been scattered in the cloudy and dark day."

He is the Good Shepard who gives His life for the sheep.

Another name given to Jesus is Brother, and a person always feels that he can approach his brother.

My brother died 2 years ago, but if he was here I wouldn’t hesitate to share my troubles with him.

And, I would expect for him to help me.

Tell me, why is it that so many believers are so cold toward Jesus?

After all, Christ is approachable.

You should never think that your troubles are too trivial to bring to him; he has an open ear for the little daily aggravations of life.

Folks, you can come to Jesus at any time and at all hours; and if He ever turns you away, let me know, but I don’t think He ever will.

He is also called, a Friend; but he would be a very unfriendly friend if He couldn’t be approached by those He declared to love.

If my friend will not come to the door of his house and talk to me, I would rather be without his friendship; but if he is a genuine friend, and I stand at his door knocking, he will say, "Come in; what can I do for you?"

Jesus Christ is such a friend.

He will meet with anyone who is needy or seeking Him. 

Now I want you to think about His person.

I say His person, because he is man, born of woman, bone of our bone, and flesh of our flesh.

The Lord Jesus Christ is God, but if he was only God, you might stand back, and tremble at the splendor of His majesty.

When I see Christ in the manger, or being obedient to his parents, or "a Man of sorrows and acquainted with grief," a poor man without a place to lay his head, then I think that I can freely come to Him.

Think of Him as being just as you are, in everything except sin, and then you’ll never believe that he will scold you for coming close to Him, or drive you away when you pray to Him.

But if you could have seen Jesus in person when He was here on earth, you would know at once that you could come to Him.

Now, if everything I have said to this point is not enough, let me remind you of something that Christ said.

He was proclaiming His approachability when He said, "Come unto me, all ye that labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest."

He also said, "If any man thirst, let him come unto me and drink."

He invites men to come; he pleads with them to come; and when they will not come he gently scolds them with words like this, "Ye will not come unto me that ye might have life."

You will find a lot of invitations in the Bible, but when Christ invites, He uses loving words like this, "Come now, and let us reason together: though your sins be as scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they be red like crimson, they shall be as wool."

 "Let the wicked forsake his way, and the unrighteous man his thoughts: and let him return unto the Lord, and he will have mercy upon him; and to our God, for he will abundantly pardon."

Know, without a doubt that you may come to Him, since there is no barrier between you and the Savior of men.

The old proverb says that "actions speak louder than words," and I think you may conclude from the actions of His life that He is the most approachable of persons.

There was a woman in the city who was a sinner.

You know what I’m talking about, so I won’t bother to explain that.

Her sin had caused her to be despised and shunned by everyone, but she had been forgiven, and in gratitude she poured the precious ointment on her beloved Savior's feet, and then wiped them with the hairs of her head; and when Simon the Pharisee wanted to tell her off, the Lord Jesus said, "She loves much because she has had much forgiven."

He is approachable by all, so then it follows that even the worst can come to Him; even the prostitute doesn’t need to hold back—she can come, and His touch can make her pure.

I think I have proved His approachableness, but if you want to hear the crowning argument, here it is.

The man, who has lived a life of service, dies a criminal’s death!

Look at his head see the crown of thorns!

Look at His cheeks where they have plucked out the hair!

See the spittle from those scornful mouths, staining his marred countenance!

Note the red rivers of blood which are flowing from his back where they have scourged him!

See His hands and His feet which are pierced with the nails, and see the blood that’s flowing from there!

Look at that face so full of agony, and listen to His words, "I thirst, I thirst;" and as you see him there dying, don’t you think He might now turn away those who want to come to Him?

Now, you see him turn his head and say to the dying thief by his side, "Today shalt thou be with me in paradise."

"There is life in a look from the crucified One."

I don’t think that you need to be afraid to come to Him who went to Calvary for sinners.

Now, I believe that I have proved the approachableness of Christ, so the next thing we should do is TO ILLUSTRATE THIS GREAT TRUTH.

I will illustrate it, first of all, by the way in which Christ opens up for sinners to come to Him.

What is the way for a sinner to come to Christ?

It is simply this—the sinner, feeling his need of a Savior, trusts himself to the Lord Jesus Christ.

I never could understand how I could get to Christ until I understood that it is a mental coming, a spiritual coming, a coming with the mind.

The coming to Jesus which saves the soul is a simple reliance upon Him.

He shows that He’s approachable by making it so simple to come to Him.

No good works, ceremonies, or experiences are demanded, a childlike faith is the royal road to Jesus.

This truth is further illustrated by the help which he gives to sinners, in order to bring them near to Him.

It’s the Holy Spirit who draws them to Christ.

They wouldn’t come to him on their own, since no one comes to Him unless the Spirit first draws them.

You can depend upon it; He will never refuse those whom He himself draws by His Spirit.

Rest assured, He will never shut the door in the face of any soul that comes to feed on the gospel.

He said once, "Compel them to come in," but he never said, "Shut the door in their faces and keep them out."

I need to be brief now so I don’t keep you too long, but I’ll give you just three more illustrations of this great truth.

The first is how the children of God, communicate with our Lord.

It is so easy for you to reach His ear and His heart!

A prayer, a sigh, a tear, a groan, will admit you into the very throne room of the King.

The approachableness of Christ may also be seen in the fact of his receiving the poor offerings of His people.

I don’t think that He needs what we have, but He receives it just like He received the sweet savor of animals offered on the alters of the Hebrew children.

Let me remind you of the good news; Jesus never has rejected a sinner who was seeking Him.

There can’t be found in the entire universe a single instance of a sincere seeker after Christ being turned away, and there never will be.

Didn’t He say, "Him that cometh to me I will in no wise cast out."

Friends, if there had been even a single soul turned away, we would have known it by now, because the one who would have spread it about, is the devil.

We have proven that Jesus is approachable, and we have found examples from His life, so the last thing to do is to see if We Can Be More Approachable.

First of all, those of us who are working for the Master in soul-winning should try to be like Christ in this matter, and not be like some people who are apt to be, proud, stuck-up, distant, or formal.

Have you observed the arrogant ministerial airs that some ministers have assumed; men who ought to be meek and lowly?

Some of the preachers of the past made an imposing collection of men, or at least they thought they were!

They never shook hands with anybody, except, with the deacons, and a little group of evidently superior persons.

Now most churches have those who are just as bad in their congregations.

They’re always saying something like this: "Just in case you don’t know who I am, Mr. Jones, I am the treasurer of this church.”.

"Now, all that kind of stuck-upishness is altogether wrong."

No one can do any good for the Lord who comes across as having an attitude of superiority, and keeps distance from those he feels are below him.

The best teacher for boys is the man who can make himself a boy; and the best teacher for girls is the woman who can make herself a girl among girls.

We can expect souls to be saved when we do as Christ did, namely, get publicans and sinners to draw near to us.

Now, I wonder, If Jesus is so approachable, why is it that so many refuse to go to Him?

How I wish my son and grand daughter would approach Him, and my friends and other relations.

There are no bolts on His doors, no bars on His windows, no big dogs to keep them away.

Every man and woman that ever lived is poor, miserable, and bankrupt before God, and Christ alone can enrich their lives.

And no one should talk about being fit enough to come; there is no such thing:—

"All the fitness he requireth,
Is to feel your need of him:
This he gives you;
'Tis the Spirit's rising beam."

If it’s so easy to come to Him, what excuse can there be for those who refuse to accept Him?

This is the last remark—if Jesus is just such a Savior as we have described him today, then both saints and sinners should praise him.

Isn’t it wonderful that our dear Lord would be so willing for us to come to Him that He would come all the way from heaven to earth for us!

Nothing can match a love like that!

This is only possible because of His unspeakable grace!

The little poem says—

"Jesus sits on Zion's hill
He receives poor sinners still.

Blessed be his name!

Amen.

Do you have any questions or comments?

 A Christian woman experienced a most unusual dream. While sleeping, she dreamed that Christ was coming to visit her the next day at 4:00 P.M. Her dream then carried her through a time warp to the coming day. On the day of her Lord’s expected arrival, she feverishly worked to clean and prepare her house. At four o’clock, she heard a knock at the door. Quickly, the woman examined her appearance in the mirror, then swiftly walked to the door. In shock and horror, she saw a grotesque, dirty figure standing on the other side of the threshold. She feared this emaciated and disheveled individual would ruin her visit with Christ so she rudely demanded, “Who are you?” The man answered, “I am the One you are expecting.” She quickly stated, “You’re not the Jesus I know!” To which he replied, “No, but I’m the Jesus others see in you!” Whether we like it or not, our behavior paints a picture of the Lord. What image do others see on the canvas of your life?

Keith Thomas, 1997 SBC Pastor’s Conference, Dallas, Texas

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