Summary: In light of the cross of Christ, how should be as believer's live?
We’ve been talking about sharing our faith. About taking the command of our King seriously: “go and make disciples of ALL nations,” (Matthew 28:19-20). We’ve talked about how we must be passionate and obedient about sharing the Good News with everyone. Then we said we need an attitude of acceptance and grace with nonbelievers, since the only difference between a believer and nonbeliever is we’ve trusted Jesus and they’ve yet to do so. Today, let’s think about being intentional about our growth as Christ followers and encouraging to new believers as they grow in following Jesus. (READ TEXT)
In verses 19-21, the writer speaks of salvation. Hebrews compares and contrasts the idea that a right standing with God is achieved by obeying the law, with the truth that it’s only by Jesus’ sacrifice we can be right with God and know we’ll one day enter His Most Holy Place - His very presence. By shedding His blood, Jesus provided a new and living way through faith in His finished work; as opposed to the old and dead way of trying in vain to measure up to God’s standard of righteousness by means of good works. The way Christ has provided is new.
“New” is the Greek word, “prophastos,” used only here in the New Testament. It’s original meaning is, “freshly slaughtered,” and refers to Christ’s death on the cross. It’s by means of His sacrifice - “through the curtain, that is, His body” that sin’s penalty was paid and God’s justice satisfied. And it’s a living way, referring to His resurrection - the proof that sin’s penalty - death - was fully paid. The message of the Gospel isn’t “Do” but “Done.” It’s the message we must believe to be saved and the message we must share if others are to be saved.
Salvation brings confidence about entering God’s presence one day; but it also brings confidence about entering His presence today. Jesus is our Great High Priest with whom we can commune with daily. So, in light of the salvation we’ve received through His finished work, there are four things we must be intentional about.
1. Let us Walk With God - v. 22
We draw nearer to God by making sure our hearts are sincere. But how do we maintain a sincere heart and draw nearer to God every day?
A. Daily cleansing - “having our hearts sprinkled to cleanse us from a guilty conscience”
I must be intentional about claiming the cleansing power of the cross.
“If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness.” - 1 John 1:9 (NIV)
B. Daily commitment - “having our bodies washed with pure water”
The Old Testament priest went through ceremonial washing before serving in the temple. Likewise, we must present our bodies to God to be used by Him. Again, the cross inspires us. Since Jesus died for us, surely we can live for Him.
“So here’s what I want you to do, God helping you: Take your everyday, ordinary life - your sleeping, eating, going-to-work, and walking-around life - and place it before God as an offering. Embracing what God does for you is the best thing you can do for him. Don’t become so well-adjusted to your culture that you fit into it without even thinking. Instead, fix your attention on God. You’ll be changed from the inside out. Readily recognize what he wants from you, and quickly respond to it. Unlike the culture around you, always dragging you down to its level of immaturity, God brings the best out of you, develops well-formed maturity in you.” - Romans 12:1-2 (The Message)
By daily cleansing and commitment we draw near to God. And if our commitment fails, we claim our cleansing! But we must be intentional.
When cruise controls on vehicles first came out, a newly retired couple bought one of the finest motor homes on the market. It had cruise control. As they traveled, the husband got tired and asked his wife to drive while he napped. As she drove, she put the camper on cruise control. After an hour of straight highway driving she got up to go to the bathroom. She thought cruise control was the same as auto pilot, she told the Highway Patrol after the accident. The motor home was totaled, but neither partner was hurt.
That’s a true story that illustrates what happens when Christians put their lives on cruise control. Without intentionality about drawing near to God through daily cleansing and commitment, we’re on a collision course. Jesus died for us so that we might live for Him. Let’s honor His sacrifice and show gratitude for our salvation by walking with God.
2. Let us Witness For God - v. 23