Summary: A sobering look at how God’s plan is to bring us home, clean us up, and keep us there
1. Title: Get In. Hang On. Don’t Fall Off.
2. Text: Hebrews 10
3. Audience: Villa Heights Christian Church, AM worship crowd, September 3, 2006, in the series “Nothing Better Than the Best”
4. Type: textual
For the people to understand the necessity of remaining faithful and the deadly danger of falling away; to understand what we have to help us not to fall into apostasy
For the people to feel concern over persistent sin in their life and to feel resolve to put an end to it
For the people to measure their level of maturity and resistance to sin; to help each other where there is a tendency to stumble; to put away sin that they have found acceptable over long-tem
6. Dominant Thought: God’s plan is to bring us home, clean us up, and keep us there.
7. When I’m finished with my sermon, I want my audience to take a careful look at themselves, make sure that they are not persisting in sin, and honestly work at putting it away from their lives
Intro: The story is one you won’t hear very often. Their marriage was really shaky from the start. She already had a bad reputation. They had a child. Then came 2 others, but we’re not sure if they were his or not. Finally, she completely left him and her home. Prompted by God, he went after her. He found her with some other guy, living as a prostitute, and he bought back his own wife. Talk about going the 2nd mile! So, he brings her back home. And what terrible, unreasonable thing does he tell her? He tells her she’s going to stay with him, and that she’s not to be unfaithful any more. Seems logical for him to expect that, doesn’t it? We’d expect when someone like her has been forgiven of so much and been shown so much grace that she should remain faithful. Now, that’s not a made-up story. It’s the true story of the prophet Hosea.
God had Hosea go through that because that was Judah’s story, and He wanted them to do what was reasonable. Like an unfaithful wife, the nation had wandered off from God, and He brought them back, along with the command to not run off again. Seems reasonable, doesn’t it, when the nation was forgiven of so much and shown so much grace, that they should remain faithful to God then?
Here’s the fun part: That story is our story too. All of us, like sheep, have gone astray. Each of us has turned to his own way. And God has come after us, and bought us back. And as He brings us home it’s with the order to change – to not be unfaithful again. Seems reasonable, doesn’t it? Yet, there’s an enemy who wants every one of us to crash, to turn our backs on God again, and he’s working hard to make it happen.
Most everyone here can name someone who did crash – someone who used to be a believer and then deliberately decided to walk away from it. The technical word for that is “apostasy.” Not only does that just not make any sense in light of all that God has done for us, but it’s also a fatal move.
So, this 10th chapter of Hebrews has some vital things to tell us today. It’s relevant if you’re not a Christ-follower, and it’s important if you already are.
It summarizes itself:
Therefore, brothers, 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 in full assurance of faith, 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.
I’ve tried to summarize that in 7 words: Get in. Hang on. Don’t fall off.
I. Get In (Draw Near To God)
The first part of this is to get in – to draw near to God. Remember, we’re the wife who has wandered away. We’re the lost sheep. We’re the Prodigal Son. It started with the sin of Adam and Eve in Genesis 3, and we’ve managed to maintain that legacy ever since.
God set His Old Covenant in place to begin to address the distance we created between ourselves and Him, but there was always the promise of something better: