Summary: A series looking at the Church.
September 8, 2013
For the next few weeks we are going to take a look at The Church. Not necessarily First Baptist Church, yet, this is all about First Baptist Church, but it’s really about the universal CHURCH. But when I talk about the universal church, I am talking about First Baptist Church. My hope is that after the next few weeks, we’ll have a better awareness of what the church is supposed to be and what our role is supposed to be within the church.
Let me tell you as I studied for this series, I saw a lot of jokes about the church, some of them were really pretty good. Some were filled with sarcasm and cynicism; some were just plain silly. To your benefit I’m not going to tell these jokes. Even though some would really step on some toes, and that’s just the reason I am not telling them. I think, I hope, I can get my point across throughout these messages without making anyone feel too uncomfortable. But, a little uncomfortable . . . that’s okay. So, that’s my preamble as I get into this.
This morning I want to look at a passage of scripture from Hebrews 10:19-25 ~
19 Therefore, brothers, since we have confidence to enter the holy places by the blood of Jesus,
20 by the new and living way that he opened for us through the curtain, that is, through his flesh,
21 and since we have a great priest over the house of God,
22 let us draw near with a true heart in full assurance of faith, with our hearts sprinkled clean from an evil conscience and our bodies washed with pure water.
23 Let us hold fast the confession of our hope without wavering, for he who promised is faithful.
24 And let us consider how to stir up one another to love and good works,
25 not neglecting to meet together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another, and all the more as you see the Day drawing near.
As we look at this scripture, I want to make a few observations about the church and over the next weeks, we’ll get a little more specific about the church.
To understand what the writer is getting at in this passage, we need to take a very quick look at the Old Testament temple.
The writer said, we’re to enter into the holiest by the blood of Jesus. He’s referring to the Holy of Holies. It was the innermost part of the temple. This is where the Ark of the Covenant was kept and contained the Ten Commandments. It could be entered only by the High Priest on Yom Kippur – which is the highest holiday for Jewish people in which they repent for their sinfulness.
So, you and I would not be eligible to enter the holiest of holies and meet with God personally. We would have to go through the High Priest only on Yom Kippur.
Now, imagine an Old Testament scene. A man from a foreign land sees the temple and wants to enter and meet with God because his heart is heavy with grief.
We’ll say he’s a Moabite. He asks a Jewish man “What is this?
The Jewish man says, “This is our temple, where we worship God.”
And the Moabite says, “Well, I would like to go in there.”
The Jewish man says, “You can’t go in there. That’s not for the people of Moab. That’s for the people of Israel.”
“Well, what would I have to do in order to go in there?” asked the Moabite.
“You would have to become an Israelite,” says the Jewish Man.
Then, the Moabite says, “If I were an Israelite, I would go in there! And, I would meet with God.”
But the Jew says, “Oh no, you couldn’t go in the holy place, because you’re not from the tribe of Levite of the house of Aaron.”
“Well, I sure wish I could be an Israelite and a Levite of the house of Aaron. And, I would not stop there. I would want to go into the Holy Of Holies.”
The Israelite exclaimed, “Oh no! You don’t understand. You could be a Levite but you couldn’t go in there unless you were the high priest.”
Finally the Moabite says, “If I were the high priest, I’d go in every day to meet with God!”
The Jew says, “Oh, no, you wouldn’t. You could only go in once a year!”
UGH! You see, the writer of Hebrews wants us to understand that Jesus died for us, so that we could have access to God, not just once a year, but every second of everyday. We get to go in there day by day not only individually, but we go corporately. All of us at the same time can go into the holiest of holies, and we do this because Jesus shed His blood for us.