I WILL NEVER LEAVE YOU NOR FORSAKE YOU
As has already been stated by the many preachers who have mounted this pulpit before me, the Book of Hebrews could be titled, “The Preeminence of Jesus Christ,” for indeed, Jesus Christ is superior to and preeminent over everyone and everything. And one of the key words in this Book is the word “better”: That’s a good word, because…
• He is better than anything that was before.
• He is better than any Old Testament person.
• He is better than any Old Testament ritual.
• He is better than any Old Testament sacrifice.
• He is better than anyone and everything else.
Having Christ, having a relationship with Christ, is just better, and that’s really the foundation of my text…
If ya’ll have your personal copies of the Word of God handy, go to Hebrews 13:5,6, where out of the King James Version it reads as follows:
Let your conversation be without covetousness; and be content with
such things as ye have: for he hath said, I will never leave thee, nor forsake
thee. So that we may boldly say, The Lord is my helper, and I will not fear
what man shall do unto me.
The subject that the Lectureship Committee has assigned to me this evening is:
I WILL NEVER LEAVE YOU, NOR FORSAKE YOU.
There is a comfort in knowing Jesus. A comfort zone that is indescribable and satisfying, fulfilling and complete. In this 13th chapter of Hebrews, the writer is dealing with our ethics, Christian ethics, and he focuses on sexual purity, satisfaction with what we have, and steadfastness in the faith. In dealing with the second leg of his ethical presentations, I want to suggest that when we really know and believe that Christ “will never leave us nor forsake us,” three things ought to be affected in our daily walk:
I. IT OUGHT TO AFFECT OUR CONVERSATION.
II. IT OUGHT TO AFFECT OUR CONTENTMENT.
III. IT OUGHT TO AFFECT OUR CONFIDENCE.
I. IT OUGHT TO AFFECT OUR CONVERSATION.
Knowing that Christ “will never leave you nor forsake you” should affect our conversation. Now, I think I ought to tell you that the passage is not talking about the way we talk, in practical terms, but rather it places emphasis on our character. The New American Standard Bible reads this way:
“Let your character be free from the love of money…”
Love of money is one of the most common forms of covetousness, partly because money can be used to secure so many other things that we want. But I’m here to tell you tonight that whether it’s the dog track in Shreveport, the gambling houses in Biloxi, or the lottery ticket down at the corner store, loving money is lusting after material riches, whatever the form is! A Christian should be free from such love of material things. Now, recognize that I said “should.”
I am not so naive to think that all those slot machines, black jack tables and scratch off cards have been played by those outside the church…I know better than that! What I am saying is that a good number of sinners and saints have some growing and maturing to do, because love of money is sin against God! It’s a form of distrust. Loving money is trusting in uncertain riches rather than the living God (I Timothy 6:17)! It’s looking for security in material things instead of in our heavenly Father!
“Beware, and be on guard against every form of greed,” Jesus warned,
“for not even when one has an abundance does his life consist of his
possessions.” (Luke 12:15)
Achan’s love of money cost Israel a defeat at Ai, the lives of at least thirty-six of his fellow countrymen, his own life, and the lives of his family and his flocks (Joshua 7:1,5,25). After Naaman was cleansed of leprosy, following Elisha’s instruction to wash seven times in the Jordan, the prophet refused any payment. But Gehazi, Elisha’s servant, later ran back to Naaman and deceived him in order to profit from the grateful captain. After lying again, he was cursed by Elisha with Naaman’s leprosy (2 Kings 5:15-27). His greed led to lying, deceit, and leprosy. Judas was greedy as well as traitorous, willing to betray the Son of God for thirty pieces of silver. Ananias and Sapphira paid for their greed and attempted deceit with their lives (Acts 5:1-10). Greed is a great sin before God! It has kept many unbelievers out of the kingdom, and it has caused many believers to lose the joy of the kingdom, or worse.
Now, I don’t want to leave the impression that it is wrong to earn or have wealth. Abraham and Job were extremely wealthy. The New Testament mentions a number of faithful believers who had considerable wealth. It is love of money that “is a root of all sorts of evil, and some by longing for it have wandered away from the faith, and pierced themselves with many a pang” (I Timothy 6:10). It is longing after it and trusting in it that is sinful. People think: