Introduction: Last week we looked at why a life of faith is possible. It is because of who Jesus is and what He has done for us in bringing us to God. Now today we want to take a look at what a life of faith looks like. In our text, Hebrews 10:19-25, we find 3 areas of a life of faith that are visible in all our lives if we are following Jesus. We are going to focus on 22-25 this morning.
Let’s read Hebrews 10:19-25.
In this passage we see 3 verses that essentially begin with “Let us.” I want to focus on the words that follow these 2 simple words. The writer says,
1. Let us draw near…
2. Let us hold fast…
3. Let us be concerned…
I believe these 3 statements give us a good picture of what living by faith looks like in very practical ways. As we look at these today, ask yourself how you are doing in these areas. If you and I are going to live by faith - continue to experience revival in our hearts and connection with God these things need to be in our lives. In fact look at what Peter says 2 Peter 1:3-11 as he relates to this idea of continuing in Christ. Look at what Paul says in 2 Corinthians 13:5-6.
You and I must test ourselves to evaluate whether or not we are walking by faith. How can you tell? Well according to the Corinthian passage, you should be able to see Jesus in yourself! A way we can check ourselves is by using the verses from Hebrews. In these 3 verses we find 3 simple and visible ways we can evaluate our lives. We must be honest with ourselves and with God as we evaluate our lives. Will we do these things perfectly? No we won’t. But we had better be known or characterized by them. If others don’t see these in us – there is something wrong and we need to surrender our lives to Jesus – consecrate ourselves to His Lordship.
Now, before we look specifically at the words that follow the let us statements, I want to share something with you that’s important. The words “Let us” are not actually in the original text. They are words that are used to describe the ending and mood of the word in Greek. Greek does not have pronouns per say. The ending of a verb shows how to interpret the word. Like – ballo = I throw; ballomen = we throw…
Why is this important? Because the word not only tells who is doing the action but also whether the action is demanded or suggested. In Greek there is a tense, voice and a mood beyond the ending that shows who is doing the action. In each of these words the tense, voice and mood are the same! The tense is present which means what is said is simple fact. The voice is active which shows that the subject of the verb is the doer or performer of the action. The mood is subjective. This means that the action being done is a possibility or a potentiality. In other words, the action may or may not be done based on circumstances.
What the writer of Hebrews is telling us is that we are responsible for these 3 areas. He says “let us” as a way of encouragement. In other words if you want to live godly, faithful lives you need to do these things but it is up to you! This is critical because you and I need to ask ourselves how badly we want to follow Jesus. We are demanded to take up our cross daily and follow Him. It is a must. Now we are shown how we can take up our cross and follow Jesus. When we do these 3 things the ability to follow the commands of God is greatly increased. The opposite is also true. When we do not do our part living by the commands of God is incredibly difficult. So the writer of Hebrews basically tells us- hey, do you want to be successful in following Jesus? Then do these 3 things. If you do you will be able to walk closely with God.
So let’s look at these 3 “Let Us” statements.
I. Let us Draw near
We are to draw near to God. This is an expression of personal devotion to God and with God. In this verse we see 4 conditions in which we must draw near to Him.
A. A true heart – sincere – Matt 15:19 and Luke 6:45
16 “Are even you still lacking in understanding?” He asked. 17 “Don’t you realize that whatever goes into the mouth passes into the stomach and is eliminated? 18 But what comes out of the mouth comes from the heart, and this defiles a man. 19 For from the heart come evil thoughts, murders, adulteries, sexual immoralities, thefts, false testimonies, blasphemies. 20 These are the things that defile a man, but eating with unwashed hands does not defile a man.” Matt 15:16-20 (HCSB)
43 “A good tree doesn’t produce bad fruit, nor again does a bad tree produce good fruit. 44 For each tree is known by its own fruit. Figs aren’t gathered from thorn bushes, or grapes picked from a bramble bush. 45 A good man produces good out of the good storeroom of his heart, and an evil man produces evil out of the evil storeroom. For his mouth speaks from the overflow of the heart.
Luke 6:43-45 (HCSB)
I am thankful that the bible teaches that God gives us a new heart when we are born again. Before Christ we were dead in trespasses and sin but when Jesus came into our lives we were made new. The old was done away with and the new has come! We must continually cultivate that true heart. Being honest with God in all things and seeking him with all our heart. Having our hearts, our desires, our focus set on Him. We must guard ourselves against distractions.
B. Full assurance of faith – without doubting – James 1
In James 1 tells us we are come to God without doubting His love for us. God wants what is best for us and we can trust Him on that. We can have full assurance that He is on our side. Remember the words we looked at last week. We can come to God with boldness because of the fact that Jesus is our Lord and Savior, our advocate!
It is hard for us sometimes to come to God in full assurance of faith because we see in ourselves behavior we are ashamed of. Don’t you realize that God sees that even before we try to come into His presence? I was reminded the other day that King David was in many ways a scoundrel. He was a murderer, and adulterer and yet what does God say about him before He even made him king – before he did all those horrible things – he is a man after my own heart!
You see we can come to God with full assurance because we are His children. He has chosen us to be His very own! When you feel burdened and unworthy to come before God – be honest with Him about that and let Him shower you with His love and forgiveness. That leads us into the next condition…
C. Clean heart –
1. Now this condition of a clean heart could be speaking of 2 different things. On one hand it could be
speaking of constant confession of sin. We are told in scripture to confess our sins to the Lord whenever we see them in our lives. I believe that is valid interpretation here. This links with the idea of full assurance of faith. We come to Him in full disclosure. We can’t hide anything from Him anyway so why try. Coming to Him with a clean heart would be the same as saying coming clean before Him – admitting sin and receiving forgiveness through the Holy Spirit.
2. But it could also be symbolic of salvation – see Ezekiel 36:24-29a. You see God has given us a
clean heart at salvation. So this interpretation would suggest that unless you are born again you cannot draw near to God. I believe that is a true statement. Unless the Holy Spirit draws us unto salvation we cannot know God or understand Him. That is why it is so crucial that we learn to share our faith with others. The reality is that unless people come to a saving knowledge of Jesus Christ, they will not be able to know God! We have got to get past this political correctness that says all religions are basically the same. No they aren’t! Christianity is exclusive. We believe there is no other way to God! If we do not accept Jesus as our personal Lord and Savior we have no hope of heaven!
The only way we draw near to God is through a clean heart – salvation and continual confession of sin!
D. Purity of body –
This too can be seen a couple different ways. One is the idea of baptism. Baptism is an outward display of obedience to God’s command to follow Jesus. It is an outward commitment to Christ. I have known many people who are stuck in their infancy spiritually because they have not followed the Lord in believer’s baptism. When you know that God has commanded that we be baptized and we do not follow through with obedience – it is obvious that we cannot draw near to Him. Just like a child who is being disobedient cannot enjoy the presence of a parent until that disobedience is resolved. We must be obedient to following Christ in baptism
But this could also be seen symbolically as a righteous lifestyle. We are told in I Corinthians 6:19-20 - 19 Do you not know that your body is a sanctuary of the Holy Spirit who is in you, whom you have from God? You are not your own, 20 for you were bought at a price; therefore glorify God in your body. (HCSB)
Paul also tells us in Romans 12 that we are to live as living sacrifices - Using our bodies for the Kingdom of God. Purity of lifestyle is very important if we want to enjoy the presence of God and see Him continue working in and through us. Again that is what revival is – God’s children being consumed with passion for God to the degree that our lives are changed both outwardly and inwardly!
II. Let us Hold on
To the confession of our hope without wavering. This is similar to the words of James when he says to ask of God without wavering. To confess means to tell the truth about something. So we are to confess, tell the truth about our hope. And our hope is Jesus!
I see this played out in 2 ways in our lives.
1. Our trust being in Christ. So many times I must confess to God that I am not trusting Him for
things. Just the other day I had to confess the truth to God that he was in control and I am not. He is my only hope. He is my only reason for existence. If I ever lose sight of that I have lost sight of the greatest thing in my life and therefore I lose sight of reality and become no good to anyone. I must hold on to the confession of my hope. My hope is built on nothing less than Jesus blood and His righteousness. I dare not trust on anything else! Not my good works, not my church attendance, nothing! I cannot trust in anything except Jesus and the hope that He secured for me!
But also I see our holding on to this confession of hope in …
2. Our witness for Christ. You and I must make every effort to win the lost to Jesus. We must learn
how to share our faith and then be active in sharing our faith. Sharing our faith is not just inviting someone to church although that is great. We just can’t stop there. We must share the love of Jesus with people and lead them to a point of decision. We are not to try and manipulate people. But we are called to share who Jesus is and what He did for humanity in order to bring them to God and eternal life. This is the most vital message the world has ever known. We must hold on to our confession and be active in it for the glory of God!
Finally, he says
III. Let us be concerned about one another.
The word concerned literally means – “concentrated attention.” Our concentrated attention will produce something in other people. The word says – it will promote love and good works!
1. Promote love. When God’s people love one another the world around us notices. In fact that was the point of Jesus’ words – they will know you are my disciples by your love for one another. When we strive to promote love among the brothers w are doing an incredible thing. We promote love by loving and encouraging. We also promote love through discipline. Steve made a comment during the revival that has stuck with me. He said, “Love without truth is poison.” In context what he was saying that without us applying the truth to our words and behavior – disciplining ourselves and disciplining one another, love because something of a poison because we don’t think it is our place to call out sin? So when you are aware of a problem, and are silent about the problem you become part of the problem. Real love – loves enough to call sin, sin. Real love is not looking the other way and hoping the problem will disappear! Love is sometimes showing tough love for the purpose of promoting healthy community
2. Good works – our genuine concern for one another spur us on to doing things for each other. Good works results when God people are connected with one another. When someone knows you love them – they will be able to do things that they could not otherwise do with the support of their friends and those who love them. That is why when someone gets an award they thank those who have loved them. They recognize that the love had a powerful impact on them and their ability to do good works. The church should be the greatest place that this happens.
The greatest way to promote love and good works is being together regularly. The writer of Hebrews calls out those who have forgotten this important part of their walk with God. Yes, you can worship God on a golf course or in a boat. You can worship God anywhere and you should. But, you are foolish if you think you can forgo going to church and think that that excuse is going to fly. It won’t! In order to follow Jesus closely you must be involved in a local church! It is not possible to walk closely with God without walking closely with his people! And when I say involved I’m not speaking about coming on Sunday morning only. Sunday morning worship is important and you need it but you need much more intimate connections with God’s people than coming and setting next to them for an hour and a half. I mean really how much connection happens in here? It is very minimal. That is why small groups are so important – not only small groups during Sunday school but small groups where you can really live life with others. I know personally the men getting together to share burdens and have fun together is a vital part of my walk with God. Women’s groups, student groups, and children – we all need close connections with each other. That is what the church is supposed to offer to people. Those vital connections that make life worth living. We were never meant to live alone and we were never meant to try and walk with God alone. We need each other for support and encouragement on our journey.