Summary: Finding faith, hope and love in Hebrews and trying to make it practical.
“Straight From the Heart”
By: Rev. Kenneth Emerson Sauer, Pastor of Parkview United Methodist Church, Newport News, VA
I don’t know about you, but there are times when I’ll be walking so strongly in the Holy Spirit (and this may go on for weeks or months) that it seems as if nothing could possibly bring me down…and then…and then…
…not even on purpose…
…I’ll do something dumb…
…and ‘out of the blue’ I’m no longer walking on cloud nine.
Now, I don’t mean that when I’m walking on cloud nine that there aren’t bad things going on around me.
Maybe I have a cold, maybe I’m really worried about a church member or family member who is in the hospital or isn’t doing real hot, maybe my car isn’t running correctly…
…but I still have that ‘peace’ which transcends all understanding.
The things that get me down are sins…whether they be advertent or inadvertent.
And this is because I have dedicated my life to following Christ…
…I want to know Him more and more each and every moment of the day…
…I want to become more and more like Him…
…and I want to do His will.
But there are barriers.
There are things that occur that remind me just how far away I still am from being made holy.
I mess up so often.
Can anyone here relate?
Today’s Epistle Lesson speaks to us about Jesus Christ’s sacrifice for the sins of the world—once for all.
And it also says in verse 14 that “by one sacrifice he has made perfect forever those who are being made holy.”
It doesn’t say those who are ‘holy’…
…it says, “those who are being made holy.”
Now, this is one of the things that makes the Christian journey so exciting, but it can also make living as a sinful, imperfect human being in a Fallen world very disconcerting at times.
When it says in verse 14: “by one sacrifice he has made perfect forever those who are being made holy,” it means that those of us who are running the race are fully forgiven!
And quite often we don’t understand what that means or we don’t accept the fact that God loves us that much.
Our minds can’t comprehend unconditional love…especially if we are not unconditionally loving others.
It is often so hard to understand how or why God could possibly love us that much.
In a Peanuts cartoon, Lucy approaches Charlie Brown with a paper and pen and says, “Here, sign this. It absolves me from all blame.”
Then she goes to Shroeder with the same paper and says, “Here, sign this. It absolves me from all blame.”
Finally she comes to Linus: “Here sign this. It absolves me from all blame.” As she walks away Linus says, “Gee, that must be a nice document to have.”
Well, we don’t have a document, but we do have a Savior Who committed the most unselfish loving act in the history of the world.
Jesus Christ went to the Cross at Calvary so that we would be absolved of all blame and would be fully forgiven.
Remember when Jesus caused quite a stir by saying, “Destroy this temple, and I will raise it again in three days”?
And then, after Jesus was arrested, the chief priests and the whole Sanhedrin were looking for false evidence against Jesus, but when they couldn’t find any-- many false witnesses came forward.
Two of the false witnesses used this against Jesus: “This fellow said, ‘I am able to destroy the temple of God and rebuild it in three days.’”
It is very interesting that after Jesus Christ died, it was only a few years until the temple was destroyed.
And Israel hasn’t been able to put up another temple, and Israel is not offering animal sacrifices anymore.
In verse 4 of Hebrews chapter 10 we are told: “it is impossible for the blood of bulls and goats to take away sins.”
The blood of the animal sacrifices only covered over the sins until the Lamb of God, Who is Jesus, came to take away the sins of the world.
Of course, when Jesus said: “Destroy this temple, and I will raise it again in three days.”
The temple He was talking about was His body.
But in many ways, Jesus was also talking about the actual temple because the Holy Spirit dwelt inside of Jesus.
The Jews had always been taught that God dwelt in the temple, but now, through His once and for all sacrifice, Jesus has changed the location of the temple.
Where is the temple today?
Let’s look at 1 Corinthians chapter 3:16-17.
The temple is within the body of those who, through faith in Jesus Christ, have accepted the sacrifice of His body for the forgiveness of their sins…