Hebrews 13:8-10 Jesus Christ the same yesterday, and today, and forever. Be not carried about with divers and strange doctrines. For it is a good thing that the heart be established with grace; not with meats, which have not profited them that have been occupied therein. We have an altar, whereof they have no right to eat which serve the tabernacle.
Jesus is the same, yesterday, today, tomorrow… the way He works in the heart of man today is the same way He worked 2000 years ago. I want to talk about your heart this morning…
- Hebrews 13:8 says “it is a good thing that the heart be established with grace…”
The KJV translates bebaióō as ‘established’, but a better way might be ‘strengthened’ like the NASB and ESV do. For the Greek word actually means:
To make firm or reliable so as to warrant security and inspire confidence, to strengthen, make true
1. How is Your Heart today?
Not the organ but your heart of hearts, your vitality, that which gives you passion for living.
Sometimes we can get beat down. We feel like we’ve been run over by a bus. Sometimes family does a number on us, or maybe a close friend. We start to lose heart, we start to feel overwhelmed. It can even affect our health. The Bible (Luke 21:26) says that in the last days, things will get so bad, that many men will have heart attacks because of the fear of what will happen. Ever heard someone say “You scared me to death”?
Things can get bad. They can get so bad that you do stupid things, like give up, take your own life. I’ve known people who have taken their own life. They lost hope, they lost heart.
God never wants us to lose heart. In fact, He has something much better:
Ephesians 3:16-17 That he would grant you, according to the riches of his glory, to be strengthened with might by his Spirit in the inner man; That Christ may dwell in your hearts by faith; that ye, being rooted and grounded in love,
Now, just because you are a Christian doesn’t mean you won’t ever lose heart and give up. What happens is that you think your problems are greater than God. But God wants us to realize that it is a good thing that our heart can be strengthened by Grace.
2. Strengthened by Grace, not Food.
For it is a good thing that the heart be established with grace; not with meats, which have not profited them that have been occupied therein.
This world tries to tell you that your heart health is influenced by what you eat. Healthy food is a healthy heart. I won’t deny that. What I will say is that if you think food is the answer to your depression, your discouragement, your loss of love for life, you are badly mistaken. What strengthens your heart is not food, but Grace!
Some of you are thinking, man, what have I gotten into. They are going to bring out an empty plate and tell me they are serving Grace, and that it is better for me. Cheap people!
No, we will serve you some great food! A full stomach may help you to feel better, but it will not help with problems of depression and discouragement, broken families, lack of employment, bills…No, you need something supernatural, something available only from God, and that is Grace!
3. How do you eat Grace?
We need to see that there is a special altar. This is not the altar in the Temple of the Old Testament. That altar the Priests and the needy could eat from. The fat and select portions of meat were given to the priests for food. Other was set aside for the hungry and poor. But that is not the altar we have in view. There is another altar we must see, an altar where Grace flowed down, an altar where we can feast on Grace, an altar where our hearts can be strengthened.
- Hebrews 9:26 For then must he often have suffered since the foundation of the world: but now once in the end of the world hath he appeared to put away sin by the sacrifice of himself.
- Hebrews 10:12 But this man, after he had offered one sacrifice for sins forever, sat down on the right hand of God;
This is the altar where Jesus the Son of God gave Himself as the perfect sacrifice. There, outside the gates, He offered Himself once and for all.
There on the altar He prepared a forever breakfast for us to feast on every day, a forever breakfast of Grace. Don’t they say that breakfast is the most important meal of the day? Well so is the breakfast of Grace if you want a strong heart to face the trials of this life.
4. Breakfast of Grace
Once a year the High Priest would offer a sacrifice on the Day of Atonement. This was a very solemn day. The people were forbidden to work. The High Priest did not where his normal robe, but appeared as a common man, with dull linen garments. There were special sacrifices, offered in a specific order. The sacrifices were to be totally consumed by the fire. There was to be nothing left over to eat. The Day of Atonement was all for God. Man was not to work or assume any office of importance. Everything was in God’s hands.
The result of the waiting people was that their sins of the past year were forgiven, and now they began the New Year with the Hope of God’s blessing and favor.
“For it is on this day that atonement shall be made for you to cleanse you; you shall be clean from all your sins before the LORD” (Lev. 16:30).
5. We Feast at the Altar of Grace
We have great news from our Creator God. It is written in this Bible, it was put on display for the entire world to see when His only begotten son died on the upraised cross of cursing. Jesus became the cursed goat, the cursed man, the curse for us, when He took our sins upon Himself. There He satisfied the righteous demands of God, and split the veil in two, so that you and I can experience the love and Grace of our Righteous and Holy God. With the Blood of Jesus, mercy and grace came flowing down the Cross and saturated this whole earth.
At the altar of the Cross we have something greater than food to feast on. It is Grace, grace that means that no matter how badly we have messed up our lives, no matter how bad a day you had yesterday, every morning you can wake up to a breakfast of grace and tender mercies. Every day you can know that your sins, your ugly mistakes are wiped clean and forgiven, and instead of despair, depression and discouragement, you can feast on the Hope of Jesus Christ.
John 16:33 These things I have spoken unto you, that in me ye might have peace. In the world ye shall have tribulation: but be of good cheer; I have overcome the world.
What good is grace and peace when I’ve lost everything? When I’m so deep in debt that I can’t see bottom? I can’t answer that for you. I can only testify that I have been that deep in debt. I can testify that things looked so bad that my thoughts were constantly on running away, and even taking my life. But God kept reminding me that I had given my life to Him, that I was His. He challenged me to trust Him with my needs. He challenged me to give Him my desires. He challenged me with Hebrews 13:5
Hebrews 13:5 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.
I listed everything that I needed, and something’s I desired. I drew a circle, a circle of trust & hope, and gave the entire list to Him. Then I hoped and waited upon Him.
Psalm 147:11 The LORD taketh pleasure in them that fear him, in those that hope in his mercy.
It takes a lot of faith to come to the altar and feed on grace. No matter how badly you have failed, the altar is for you. There forgiveness flows from Calvary. There is the hope that we have in our risen Savior. That hope says that no matter how bad this life is, if your trust in Christ as your Savior, He will make all things good, even if it isn’t until heaven.
My prayer for you echoes Paul’s prayer in 2 Thess 3:5
2 Thessalonians 3:5 And the Lord direct your hearts into the love of God, and into the patient waiting for Christ.
We yearn so much for physical comforts that we miss out on that which really strengthens us, really gives us a strong heart. We miss out on the Grace that Jesus can give us.
May you listen as the Lord directs your heart unto the Love of God, the Love that Calvary revealed. May He then direct you into the patient waiting for Christ.
 Spiros Zodhiates, The Complete Word Study Dictionary – New Testament, (Chattanooga, TN: AMG Publishers, 1993), WORDsearch CROSS e-book, Under: “bebaióō”.