Summary: Words of encouragement for when we are tempted to "duck" out of our Christian responsibilities and Christian living.
This past week Justin began dancing around the floor saying “Awses, Awses, Awses” and then he would fall over and just laugh and laugh. At first I couldn’t figure out what he was doing then he repeated it again laughing with the delight the whole time and I realized he was playing Ring Around the Rose” I couldn’t help but smile as I remembered playing the simple games of my childhood.
My favorite was Duck, Duck Goose. I loved it. I loved being the Goose. Loved the anticipation of being called on , loved running, loved the serge of energy when I was tapped on the head. I loved being in charge as the duck. I was always trying to talk the group into playing it but not everybody I knew liked to play Duck Duck Goose. They didn’t like running, they didn’t like going around in circles. They didn’t want to be the goose. Occasionally they would still play the game with me but then they would spend their whole time trying to avoid being the goose. You know what I mean, they’d tuck and duck their head trying to keep the leader from touching them, they didn’t like having to run around the circle and even if you were able to touch them they would argue you didn’t really they weren’t the goose and they would just sit there.
Sometimes I think as Christians Duck Duck Goose is our favorite game. We don’t want to be God’s goose so every time we think He is reaching out to really touch our lives we duck our heads. We really don’t want God to touch us, well, at least we don’t want him to touch us too much. Just enough so we can claim we are in the game but not enough to answer the call to be God’s goose, to be the leader, to really be involved into much of the work, besides God’ never really called us, never touched us on the head and so for one reason or another we choose to sit the game out, refusing to participate.
I think that is the situation we find our hearers in this morning in our text granted they may have some good reasons for their waning interest and enthusiasm but our writer of Hebrews has some encouraging words for them.
Turn with me if you will to Hebrews 10:22-31, 39.
We do not know exactly who wrote the book of Hebrews, or where it was written or to whom it was written but we believe it was probably written during a time when Jewish Christians who were facing persecution so much so that they were ready to give up on faith. They were ready to throw the towel in claiming, this Christian stuff wasn’t worth it. Their enthusiasm is fading, they have lost their courage, lost their zeal for their faith and their attendance at church is falling off. It was too much work, took too much effort and they were tired of always being the ones there when no one else would do the work.
We have only to examine our lives, our own attitudes about the work of the church and our church attendance to realize that we too sometimes face the same dilemma as this Christians were facing. There are times when each of us are tempted to duck out of our Christian responsibilities, when our enthusiasm seems to be waning, when we seem to have loss the courage and zeal we need to follow Christ’s examples. Times when we want to give up on the work of the church. Times when our lack of enthusiasm is evidenced by our lack of attendance.
If you have ever been tempted to give up on the church, tempted to not come to church then this morning the Hebrew writer wants to encourage you and I to stay in the game.
I. Verse 22
A. As Christians, as ones whose hearts have been made pure, sins have been forgiven, as ones who have been baptized as believers the Hebrew writer calls us to draw near
1. to draw near means to approach God so as to come into his presence
2. the Greek verb is present active subjective – meaning it is denoting an ongoing activity – not a once a week, or occassionly do we need to draw near to God
3. But with a continusous, ongoing sense of action “draw near to God”
B. With a sincere heart
1. to draw near not half heartedly with improper motive or pretense but with an undivided heart in genuine worship
C. When you are feeling down, when your feeling like there is no need to continue in the church, no need to continue the work, no need to go, when you are ready to give up on the church and your faith stop – draw near to God and worship him.