I am processing my sermon notes today. We are in a sermon series, “Looking to Jesus,” working through Hebrews – spectacular. Today our student pastor preached – well worth listening! Click here. If you are thinking about digging into Hebrews on your own, checking out the sermon series as part of your study plan would be awesome! You’ll find my notes on Hebrews using the category search, Hebrews – Look to Jesus.
Therefore, brothers and sisters, since we have confidence to enter the Most Holy Place by the blood of Jesus, by a new and living way opened for us through the curtain, that is, his body, and since we have a great priest over the house of God…Hebrews 10:19-21
The author of Hebrews has been walking us through deep theological truths comparing the old covenant, the sacrificial temple system to the work of Christ. His point has clearly been that Jesus is better in every way. Jesus sets aside the old covenant to establish the new one. Jesus died once for all; His sacrifice was perfect, complete, no other needed. And with His sacrifice, our sins are removed as far as the east is from the west! So different from the old covenant where sacrifices were made over and over, because they were imperfect, inadequate, unable to remove sin.
Then we come to the word, “therefore.” And we look back to see to what the author is referring. The author has created a set of bookends – notice Hebrews 4:14 – 16 … the author encourages us to approach the throne with confidence! And now in chapter 10 the author returns to the idea of confidence!
Therefore, since we have a great high priest who has ascended into heaven, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold firmly to the faith we profess. For we do not have a high priest who is unable to empathize with our weaknesses, but we have one who has been tempted in every way, just as we are—yet he did not sin. Let us then approach God’s throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need.Hebrews 4:14 – 16
The author wants us to know something about this confidence we have! The word, confidence, means we have the freedom to access, authorization to access the throne! This would have been eye-opening for the Jewish listeners. In the temple system, there was a veil separating the people from the Most Holy Place. There was no free access, no authorization to enter … this was new! Our authorization has nothing to do with our virtue, our goodness but had everything to do with the work of Christ! Christ entered the Most Holy Place by shedding His own blood. And His sacrifice cannot be repeated, will not ever need to be repeated because it obtains an eternal redemption – hallelujah! So powerful is this work of Christ on our behalf that we should be overwhelmed with joy! His death, burial, resurrection is the living way into the Holy of Holies!
And since we have this great High Priest, this authorization to enter the Most Holy Place, the author of Hebrews give us three exhortations … “let us” statements –
- Let us draw near to God with a sincere heart and with the full assurance that faith brings, having our hearts sprinkled to cleanse us from a guilty conscience and having our bodies washed with pure water.
- Let us hold unswervingly to the hope we profess, for he who promised is faithful.
- Let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds, not giving up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but encouraging one another—and all the more as you see the Day approaching.
Just because we have this amazing invitation, this authorization to enter the Most Holy Place doesn’t mean we would do it unless we also had the exhortation to follow through!
James also exhorts us to draw near to God and he will draw near to us. The author of Hebrews reminds us that Christ is the better hope through which we draw near to God! Moses had been invited up the mountain to meet with God but God explicitly said no one else, not even the animals could draw near. We draw near to God because He opened the way for us! No curtain, no limitation – an open invitation because we have new clean hearts.
I will sprinkle clean water on you, and you will be clean; I will cleanse you from all your impurities and from all your idols. I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit in you; I will remove from you your heart of stone and give you a heart of flesh. And I will put my Spirit in you and move you to follow my decrees and be careful to keep my laws.Ezekiel 36:25-27
We “hold on” to our hope because God is faithful! Hope is not something we wish for, but a confident expectation. Our confidence is not in ourselves – it is in HIM! He is faithful, He moves us to follow His law, He completes the work He had begun. He remains faithful, for he cannot disown himself.
Last we spur others on towards love and good deeds! Our life in Christ is not a solo event – it is about community! Not only do I need others speaking into my life, but others need to hear from me as well! It’s our love for one another that will speak the gospel to our world!
“A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you,John 13:34 – 35
so you must love one another. By this everyone will know that
you are my disciples, if you love one another.”
Our challenge is both vertical – looking to Jesus, drawing near, holding on to our hope – and horizontal – loving one another well, speaking into one another’s lives. Today I’m prayerfully considering these exhortations – specific ways I can grow in each one!
I am Thine, O Lord, I have heard Thy voice,
And it told Thy love to me;
But I long to rise in the arms of faith
And be closer drawn to Thee.
Consecrate me now to Thy service, Lord,
By the pow’r of grace divine;
Let my soul look up with a steadfast hope,
And my will be lost in Thine.
Oh, the pure delight of a single hour
That before Thy throne I spend,
When I kneel in prayer, and with Thee, my God
I commune as friend with friend!
Draw me nearer, nearer, blessed Lord,Fanny Crosby, 1875
To the cross where Thou hast died;
Draw me nearer, nearer, nearer blessed Lord,
To Thy precious, bleeding side.