Summary: Christians are called to enter into fellowship with God and each other.
In the fall of the year, Linda, a young woman, was traveling alone up the rutted and rugged highway from Alberta to the Yukon. Linda didn’t know you don’t travel to Whitehorse alone in a rundown Honda Civic, so she set off where only four-wheel drives normally venture. The first evening she found a room in the mountains near a summit and asked for a 5 A.M. wakeup call so she could get an early start. She couldn’t understand why the clerk looked surprised at that request, but as she awoke to early-morning fog shrouding the mountain tops, she understood.
Not wanting to look foolish, she got up and went to breakfast. Two truckers invited Linda to join them, and since the place was so small, she felt obliged. “Where are you headed?” one of the truckers asked.
“In that little Civic? No way! This pass is DANGEROUS in weather like this.”
“Well, I’m determined to try,” was Linda’s gutsy, if not very informed, response.
“Then I guess we’re just going to have to hug you,” the trucker suggested.
Linda drew back. “There’s no way I’m going to let you touch me!”
“Not like THAT!” the truckers chuckled. “We’ll put one truck in front of you and one in the rear. In that way, we’ll get you through the mountains.”
All that foggy morning Linda followed the two red dots in front of her and had the reassurance of a big escort behind as they made their way safely through the mountains.
Caught in the fog in our dangerous passage through life, we need to be “hugged.” With fellow Christians who know the way and can lead safely ahead of us, and with others behind, gently encouraging us along, we, too, can pass safely. - Don Graham
Charles Swindoll, Growing Strong, p. 286.
The fellowship described in this story is similar to that which the writer of Hebrews calls believers to enter into. Christians are called into fellowship with God and each other.
Fellowship is a word that is often misunderstood. While it undoubtedly brings up wonderful memories of casseroles and banana pudding, that is not the biblical idea of fellowship. In fact, we read in
1 John 1:3 that salvation is a prerequisite of true, biblical fellowship. According to John, then, if one is not saved, he or she cannot experience true fellowship.
But how can believers truly experience fellowship? By looking at Hebrews 10:19-25, we can see three calls that are given to us.
I. The call to enter in faith (10:19-22).
A. We can enter into God’s presence because of: (10:19-21)
1. The shedding of Jesus’ blood (10:19)
--Before Jesus, God’s people had many restrictions placed upon them when they wanted to come into God’s presence. In fact, only the high priest could enter into the “Most Holy Place,” and then only on certain days and under certain conditions.
--Now, however, those who have been cleansed by the blood of Jesus have received the freedom to enter into God’s presence with continually and with confidence.
2. The sacrifice of Jesus’ body (10:20)
--When Jesus gave His body upon the cross, the curtain in the tabernacle was torn into, and, a new way was provided to meet God. We have direct access to God through the shed blood and torn body of Jesus.
3. The supplying of Jesus’ blessing (10:21).
-- Jesus has prepared the way for us to enter into the holy of holies—to enter into God’s presence (cf. Hebrews 9:12). It is only when we come into God’s presence, when we have a personal relationship with Christ, that we can receive God’s blessings for us.
B. We can enter into God’s presence in: (10:22)
--As the priest had to be cleansed before he entered into the presence of God (Lev. 16), believers have to deal with their sin before they can have fellowship with God. We have to allow the shed blood and torn body of Jesus to cleanse us. We are cleansed by confessing our sins and receiving forgiveness and righteousness from God (1 John 1:9).
--When we enter into God’s presence with a cleansed heart, we become priests. We do not need anyone to enter for us. We can personally fellowship with God.
II. The call to endure in hope (10:23).
A. We can endure because of God’s future for us (10:23a).
--Those who are saved have the hope of eternal life in Jesus Christ and with Jesus Christ.
B. We can endure because of God’s faithfulness to us (10:23b).
--Even though we are at times unfaithful, God is always faithful and will keep us secure.
Illustration: A number of years ago researchers performed an experiment to see the effect hope has on those undergoing hardship. Two sets of laboratory rats were placed in separate tubs of water. The researchers left one set in the water and found that within an hour they had all drowned. The other rats were periodically lifted out of the water and then returned. When that happened, the second set of rats swam for over 24 hours. Why? Not because they were given a rest, but because they suddenly had hope!