Summary: Hebrews 10 says "Let us..." do 5 things.
Purpose Series #2
(Six Sessions on God’s Purpose for Your Life)
SCRIPTURE READING: Hebrews 10:22-25
We live in strange times. There are more than 6 billion people in the world, but (at least in the USA) very few feel like they have any real friends.
· People are more mobile than in the past, often staying in any one place less than 5 years. So long-term friendships are becoming rare.
· It’s rare not for people to actually know their neighbors. With garage-door openers and busy work schedules it’s possible to live somewhere for years without even knowing what your neighbor looks like.
· An article by Timothy Morgan put it this way: “Proximity is a lost cause as Americans are drawn into tag-team parenting, commuter marriages, and distance learning.” (Timothy Morgan, “Making Webheads of us all.”)
· People are increasingly “cocooning” themselves into isolated worlds where their only daily contact is with “cyber buddies” in “cyber communities.”
· If people have any close relationships at all, it’s a cyber-relationship in a chat room. In fact, E-mail, and Instant Messaging are changing the rules of civil discourse.
The problem is that we weren’t created to live in virtual isolation. God made us for relationships--- real flesh-and-blood relationships --- face to face, up close and personal relationships--- the kind of relationships that make room for things like a hug and a pat on the back, a tear and a prayer, or maybe a good joke and a shared belly-laugh.
And this is exactly why Jesus established the Church. You can read the Bible backwards and forwards, but you won’t find any Cyber-church in there. What you do find is a Greek word that is repeatedly used in scripture for the church’s fellowship. The term is Koinonia, and it means shared life. In the church we are to SHARE LIFE together. In fact, if we don’t SHARE LIFE, we are not being the church at all.
But the truth is that developing real relationships is not easy. That’s why Hebrews 10:22-25, gives 5 specific calls to action. Each one is preceded by the words, “LET US.” (Another preacher called this a recipe for Fellowship Salad --- because it contains so much “Let-us” (get it?) … So let us look at these 5 kinds of let-us…)
1. Let us Draw Near Hebrews 10:22
Let us draw near to God with a sincere heart in full assurance of faith … Hebrews 10:22
The idea of drawing near to God probably sounds normal to most of us. But we need to understand that this was a revolutionary idea to the Jewish converts who first read these words. They were used to the Jewish Levitical Law where only the High Priest could “draw near” to God. Only the High Priest could enter the “Holy of Holies” --- and he could only do that once a year. The High Priest went into that sacred room once a year to sprinkle sacrificial blood on the altar in order to atone for the sins of the people. In preparation for this, the High Priest would first wash himself thoroughly with water.
Now we are ALL invited to enter the Holy of Holies. But we don’t just stroll in. This is still sacred ground. Listen to the preparation we need to make if we want to “draw near” to 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. Hebrews 10:22
When Jesus died on the cross, the Curtain that closed off the Holy of Holies was torn from top to bottom. That meant something. In fact, it meant everything. Jesus is our final and ultimate High Priest.
We can now draw near to God because our hearts have been sprinkled with the blood of Christ. Because of Him our conscience is clean, and in obedience to Him, our bodies have been washed with pure water. This refers to our Baptism. Baptism is our washing with water. We don’t have to do it over and over like the Jews did. We are commanded to be Baptized once as a symbol that we have joined into the death and resurrection of Jesus. He is the One who keeps us continually clean so that we can go daily into God’s presence.
Drawing near to God is not something to be taken lightly. We need to take time for preparation when we approach the throne of God. That’s why our prayers need to include Praise, Thanksgiving, and Confession of sins instead of just jumping immediately into our list of requests! Let us draw near --- with the right attitude. And then, Let us Hold On.