Summary: Straight is the gate and narrow is the way and few there be that find it. This sermon, based on the entrance of the High Priest into the Holy of Holies explores the question, What are the requirements for entering the presence of God?
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Pastor James May
GOING WHERE FEW HAVE GONE BEFORE
God had established a “Tent of Meeting” where he would come down and dwell in the midst of his chosen people, the Children of Israel. Every part of that building was designed by God, who, through the power of the Holy Spirit, inspired Moses to write down even the minutest detail of how it was to be built, of the materials that were to be used, and the manner in which the work was to be completed.
Our God is a God of order and everything he does is meticulously planned and executed. He leaves nothing to chance, nothing to be questioned and nothing unfinished. God is the one who chose to come to sinful man, not the other way around. Man had no thought of God and, even if the Children of Israel had desired to approach God’s presence, there was simply no way to enter into his spiritual realm and meet his demands for holiness and righteousness. Man had no chance to get close to God.
It was God’s mercy, grace and love that brought about the establishment of a “Tent of Meeting” where he could come to dwell and commune with man whom God had created to worship, love and serve God. God chose the Children of Israel just as he is still choosing people to serve him today.
God is still “Looking for a Few Good Men”; not good in the sense of holy or righteous, or deserving of his grace, for not one of us will ever be worthy. God is looking for a “good man” in the sense that he is looking for a man whose heart will allow God to dwell within, and for a man who will surrender his will to God’s will and for a man who will desire to become as much like God as a human being can become.
The entirety of that “Tent of Meeting” is so designed and constructed to depict as much of the character of God’s only Son, and to depict the price for our Redemption that Jesus paid in his own blood. From the walls of righteousness, to the only way inside, through the door at the east end, to the brazen altar where the sacrifices were offered, to the laver where the filth of the world was washed away and the priests were cleansed by washing of the water from a perfect mirrored basin – everything was built to show that it is only through Jesus and obedience to the Word of God that we can ever enter into the Holy Place with God.
Entering into the Holy Place, we encountered a closer relationship with Jesus as represented through the “Bread of Life” upon the table of Shewbread; the anointing and illuminating power of the Holy Spirit through the unending light of the Menorah (Lampstand); and finally to the Altar of Incense where the prayer of not only the church, but more importantly, our Advocate, the Lord Jesus Christ and the Holy Spirit who are ever making intercession before the Father on our behalf.
Through acceptance of, belief in and surrender to the Lord Jesus Christ as your Savior, we are now made ready to enter into a place where only a few people have gone before.
In the Old Testament Tabernacle, only one man was allowed to enter into that place where the glory and presence of Almighty, Holy God was so real and so visible. The High Priest of Israel, after following and obeying every instruction for cleansing himself, offering sacrifices for both his own sin and the sin of all Israel, would enter in beyond the veil into the Holy of Holies and into God’s inner chamber.
What a wonderful yet fearsome sight it must have been to enter into the very presence of God for that High Priest. I guarantee that it was an experience that he would never forget. It was fearsome, yet so peaceful. Awesome and yet calming. The priest would feel so unworthy, so frightened, so overwhelmed, but at the same time, if he had obeyed God’s commandments and the people he represented had done their part, he would feel the peace of God and an acceptance into God’s presence that was so wonderful.