Summary: Sermon 20 in a study in HEBREWS (This is reprint of an old sermon, slightly reworked, because it fit in this series at this point)
“Therefore, brethren, since we have confidence to enter the holy place by the blood of Jesus, 20 by a new and living way which He inaugurated for us through the veil, that is, His flesh, 21 and since we have a great priest over the house of God, 22 let us draw near with a sincere heart in full assurance of faith, having our hearts sprinkled clean from an evil conscience and our bodies washed with pure water. 23 Let us hold fast the confession of our hope without wavering, for He who promised is faithful; 24 and let us consider how to stimulate one another to love and good deeds, 25 not forsaking our own assembling together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another; and all the more as you see the day drawing near. NASB
“Therefore, brothers, since we have confidence to enter the Most Holy Place by the blood of Jesus, 20 by a new and living way opened for us through the curtain, that is, his body, 21 and since we have a great priest over the house of God, 22 let us draw near to God with a sincere heart in full assurance of faith, having our hearts sprinkled to cleanse us from a guilty conscience and having our bodies washed with pure water. 23 Let us hold unswervingly to the hope we profess, for he who promised is faithful. 24 And let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds. 25 Let us not give up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but let us encourage one another—and all the more as you see the Day approaching.” NIV
There is a place into which believers of old never dared tread...where only the High Priest went once each year, and then, with much fear and trembling. It is now the place that God calls all believers to; willing that we should come, not in fear, but boldly, for access has been provided to us on a trail of blood, leading from the altar of sacrifice into the Holiest of All.
Let’s begin by laying a little bit of historical background for the sake of better understanding; more fully realizing the significance of this place in which we now stand spiritually; into which God calls us to enter daily.
The tabernacle of the Old Testament, as designed by God and built according to His instruction to Moses, consisted of three main areas (sanctuaries). The first, the outer court, contained the brazen altar and the laver. On this altar, the blood of sacrificial animals was shed, and the laver was the place where the priests would wash their hands and feet in a cleansing ceremony prior to taking the blood of sacrifice into the holy place.
The second, or inner sanctuary (or Holy Place), contained the show bread, the lampstand and the altar of incense. Now, all of these tabernacle furnishings that I have mentioned so far had much deeper meaning than worshipers of old realized, and were all types of Christ, and significant of the work He was to do. But we will not study all of them here. I have to make these brief statements and let it suffice that we know the general layout of these articles.
The third room, the Holy of Holies, was behind a thick veil, and contained the ark of the covenant and the Mercy Seat. It was here that God’s presence dwelt with the people, and here where the High Priest would enter once each year to sprinkle sacrificial blood on the mercy seat in atonement for himself and all the people, for their sins.
It was a fearful place to be, even for the High Priest, who was commanded to go there...and most certainly a place that all others knew better than to approach. Everything about it; the thick veil, the instructions given to the priesthood for the various ceremonies, the warnings issued against approaching unworthily, all in essence said, ‘you are not welcome here, stand back’.
Examples: In Exodus 31 we see God giving instructions to Moses that Aaron and following High Priests were to wash their hands and feet before entering the Holy Place with the blood of sacrifice, “that they may not die”. And when they went into the Holy of Holies once a year to represent the people, they got in and got out quickly; out of the very place that God now calls us to, and exhorts us to come with confidence; the confidence that accompanies assurance of faith that the sinless blood of Jesus opens the way, and because of His sacrifice and the torn veil, we can stand in the presence of God in His righteousness, our sin already judged.