Text:   Hebrews 4:14-16

14 Therefore, since we have a great high priest who has gone through the heavens, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold firmly to the faith we profess. 14 For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but we have one who has been tempted in every way, just as we are—yet was without sin. 16 Let us then approach the throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need.


            Dr. Billy Graham once said, “Never forget: Satan’s goal is to turn us away from God.” We are most vulnerable to the enemy of our souls when we are drowning in guilt as a result of sin, but the worst thing we can do is try and run or hide from God. This series, “When We Have Failed—What Next?” explains three steps we need to take when we have failed God. First, we need to remember who Jesus is. Many times the Bible says “remember” or “do not forget,” because we tend to remember things we shouldn’t and forget those we should. In addition to remembering who Jesus is, you need to cling to your faith. The flesh will whisper that you are unworthy and suggest you distance yourself from God, but when you have failed, you should do the opposite—don’t lose your faith but rather cling to it. Finally, when you have failed, run to the throne of grace.

Verse 16 states, “Let us then approach the throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need.” We do not have to go through a priest or anyone else to approach God. In the past, the Temple veil separated people from the Holy of Holies, the place where God resided. But when the veil was torn in two, at the moment of Jesus’ death, the way into the presence of God was opened. That torn veil is symbolic of the truth that any of God’s children can come running to Him at any moment, with any problem, or after having committed any sin. In fact, there is nothing that delights the Lord more than for His children to come running to Him.

Do you realize how much God loves you? Zephaniah 3:17 states, “The Lord … will take great delight in you, he will quiet you with his love, he will rejoice over you with singing.” Did you know that God rejoices over you with singing? Do you realize that you put a song in God’s heart!

When I think about how much I love my two grandsons, it is difficult for me to imagine that God loves me that much, but I know that He does. Recently, my wife, Creecy, and I took our grandson Smith to Pullen Park so he could ride the carousel. I’m told that Smith looks like me because neither of us has any hair, so I am Big Pop, and he is Little Pop. Creecy made a video of our carousel ride. I was seated on the horse with Little Pop in my lap when the carousel began to spin rapidly. Little Pop became afraid. The video shows how much I love Little Pop because he is clinging to me, and I have both of my arms wrapped tightly around him so that he feels safe and secure. He is learning that I will protect him from anything that might harm him. You see, little Pop puts a song in my heart.

When you fail God, remember that you still put a song in His heart. Remember that you are His child. Run to Him because He is waiting for you to climb up into His arms so that you can experience His mercy and grace, which He delights to give. Jesus said in Luke 15:7, “…there is more rejoicing in heaven over one sinner who repents than over ninety-nine righteous persons who do not need to repent.” God loves to see brokenness in a person’s heart over his sin. Often, those who have committed egregious sins have the most repentant hearts. Additionally, they tend to be more compassionate towards other sinners; they tend to love Jesus more than those whose sins don’t seem as egregious. In Luke 7:47, Jesus said to the Pharisee concerning the sinful woman who anointed His feet with her tears, “Therefore, I tell you, her many sins have been forgiven—for she loved much. But he who has been forgiven little loves little.”

It boils down to this: Human beings are all cut from the same fabric. We are all sinners, capable of committing the most egregious sins. Romans 3:10-12 states, “There is no one righteous, not even one; there is no one who understands, no one who seeks God. All have turned away, they have together become worthless; there is no one who does good, not even one.” Again, what God really wants to see in each of us is brokenness.

When you have failed God, run to the throne of grace so that you may receive mercy and find grace to help you in your time of need. Do you understand the difference between justice, mercy, and grace? Justice is getting what you deserve, mercy is not getting what you deserve, and grace is getting what you don’t deserve. We deserve God’s wrath, condemnation and judgment. But because God is merciful, He is willing to withhold His wrath and judgment from those who truly repent and turn from their sins and run to Him. Not only that, because He is a God of grace, He will give those who turn to Him eternal life, eternal rewards and blessings, and eternal rest. God’s grace is beyond measure. Paul writes about God’s grace in Ephesians 2:4-7. “But because of his great love for us, God, who is rich in mercy, made us alive in Christ even when we were dead in transgressions—it is by grace you have been saved. And God raised us up with Christ and seated us with him in the heavenly realms in Christ Jesus in order that in the coming ages he might show the incomparable riches of his grace, expressed in his kindness to us in Christ Jesus.” If you have placed your trust in Jesus but have experienced failure, repent and run to the throne in your brokenness. This is what is in store for broken people: We have already been seated with Christ in the heavenly realms and will eventually comprehend fully what that means. One day, when we arrive safely home in heaven, God is going to lavish His grace upon us forever. Why? Because we put a song in His heart, and that is what He wants to do—pour out His grace upon His children.

Sheila Walsh, in her book God Loves Broken People, writes of her own personal brokenness and how it opened doors of intimacy with Jesus that might never have been opened any other way. Walsh writes:

On April 27, 2011, a devastating storm swept through Alabama, reducing the city of Tuscaloosa to rubble. Meteorologists estimated the tornado to be a mile wide—the 2nd deadliest twister in U.S. history, causing more than three hundred deaths. Witnesses captured terrifying images on their cell phones and posted them on YouTube and Facebook. The storm picked up homes and tossed them around like paper cups; cars flew through the air like children’s toys.

In the midst of the tragedy and devastation, reports trickled out of some amazing, even miraculous rescues—stories that encouraged those still searching for missing family members and friends.

One story in particular tugged at people’s heartstrings, the tale of a little girl who refused to stop looking for her dog—Mason, a two-year-old terrier mix. On the day of the tornado, Mason got sucked out of the family garage and disappeared into the whirlwind. The twister reduced the family’s home to rubble, but part of the porch remained standing. Day after day, family members returned to the devastated site in case their little dog had somehow, against all odds, survived the storm and found his way home.

Can you imagine their joy and surprise when a full three weeks after the storm hit they found Mason sitting on what remained of the front steps? No one knows how far he had to crawl on his two broken legs just to get there. His shattered bones looked ready to pierce his skin. Mason suffered from severe dehydration and had dropped to half his normal weight. But he was alive! And he had grimly determined to get home to the people who loved him. When he saw his family at last, this poor, miserable, terrible—looking little dog eagerly wagged his tail and hobbled toward them.

Now we can learn some spiritual lessons from this little dog. It didn’t matter to him that he looked like a mess. He felt no shame or embarrassment about his condition. He didn’t try to run or hide or clean himself up to make himself more presentable.

            He knew he was lost.

            He knew his little world had been turned upside down.

He knew he needed help. And so he dragged himself home, straight into the arms of the ones who loved him.[1]

So why do we seem to have so much difficultly returning to God? We try to fix things on our own. Instead of running to God and seeking His help, often we run further away. I want you to understand that brokenness is a gift. Have you wandered away from God? Have you failed Him in some way? Have you knowingly done something outside of God’s will? This world has a way of messing us all up. We live in a world that has been devastated by the storms of sin, and perhaps you are caught up in some sinful stronghold. Listen, all you have to do is confess it to the Lord. Remember who He is. Hold on to your faith. And run to Him, who is seated on the throne of grace.

No matter what you have done or what you have become, God loves you and wants you to come to Him. Remember, God’s compassion never fails. His mercies are new every morning. Great is His faithfulness. You put a song in His heart, and He delights over you with singing.

Prayer:  Lord, I have failed in so many ways. Thank you for your grace and mercy. Thank you for your forgiveness. I am coming to you because I know that you love me. Please take my brokenness and use it for your glory. Show me how I can help someone else who is broken. I love you Lord. Amen!

[1] Walsh, Sheila. God Loves Broken People, (Nelson, 2012), 20-21.