Summary: A message teaching the body the importance of church attendance
CCCAG January 22nd, 2017
Scripture: Hebrews 10:19-25
I want to take a journey through time- We are going to go back in time 3300 years-it’s about 1300 BC and the largest worship gathering ever is about to take place. 6 Million people have met in the desert to worship God. They are camped near a mountain in the southern part of what is today the Sinai Peninsula of Egypt. They strain to listen to the voice of their leader as he tells them how they should prepare for the first worship service of their fledging nation’s history-
Wash your clothes- put on your best robes- we are going to meet our God!
Abstain from intimacy- You need to be focused on worship
Do not draw too close to the mountain- God Himself is going to come down.
The people did as Moses commanded- they washed their clothes, put on their finest robes. Husband and wife slept in separate beds, and they stayed within the camp as ordered.
They all gathered for church, and suddenly the mountain burned with fire, loud noise proclaimed the greatness of the God they came to worship. The sight was so incredible that Moses said, “I am trembling with fear”.
That would be an incredible sight- to see the mountain filled with fire and the angelic choir singing as God descends.
Israel with all of these incredible experiences, and in all of the favor it had with God never knew Him as we do. They knew God as judge, as creator, as almighty, and as Holy. They never knew Him as Father. They knew what it was to fear God, but never really understood God’s love.
That is because God’s love, mercy, and grace are the most frequent targets of the enemy. The enemy wants God portrayed in our minds as unloving, as distant, and a vengeful malevolent dictator that only wants to make our lives miserable.
But that is not the God we serve.
Today we are going to explore this topic, and tie it into the importance of frequently coming together with your church family to worship.
We are going to study Heb 10:19-25
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, 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. And 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.
How do we draw near to God, and why is it important to do so in community versus doing it Lone Ranger style.
Today we are going to start by looking at the way the Old Testament believer in God worshipped
I. The Former Way
People would gather several time a year for various feasts and ceremonies and celebrations that served to remind them of God’s goodness and faithfulness to them and their ancestors.
Many of these were very festive occasions- celebrations and party’s that everyone would look forward to- like Rosh Hashanah which was their New Years Eve.
There were also very solemn occasions, and one of these was called the “Day of Atonement”. This was a day of fasting and prayer, repentance and mourning over the sins of the individual, their families, and the nation.
It was serious business- so serious in fact that anyone who missed this event was exiled from their community and church.
On that day the high priest would take two special animals- both of them bred from the finest of the herds without spot or blemish- perfect in every way. One of the animals he would lay his hands on and ceremonially transfer the sins of the whole community to that animal. That animal was then taken outside the city into the wilderness and driven out from the nation.
The other animal was slaughtered and it’s blood carried through the temple to the Most Holy Place. Something very interesting happened here-
There is a very thick and heavy curtain there that separated the Holy Place from the Most Holy Place. The Holy Place is about the size of this room- it contains the table of show-bread, the candlestick, and the altar of incense. The curtain is hanging right in front of where I am standing- separating the Holy Place from the Most Holy Place. Right where I’m standing would be the Ark of the Covenant, with the Mercy seat resting on top of it.