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Summary: The human tendency is to hate authority. The Bible, on the other hand, not only exalts God’s authority, but it also places its blessing on certain forms of human authority. God has also made every church member accountable to every other church member. Go

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Purpose: To explain how true fellowship happens.

Aim: I want the listener to see the benefits of being accountable.

INTRODUCTION: The human tendency is to hate authority. The Bible, on the other hand, not only exalts God’s authority, but it also places its blessing on certain forms of human authority. This includes government (see Romans 13:1-7), the husband’s authority (see Ephesians 5:23), and church leaders (see Hebrews 13:17 & 1 Peter 5:1-2, 12-13 & Colossians 1:28).

God has also made every church member accountable to every other church member. God want us to see that as a blessing.

We don’t like authority because by nature we don’t want to be held accountable for our actions. The problem is that our faults (sins) keep us from having a joyful relationship with Christ and with others. So, how can we overcome that awful tendency?

Our text gives us a clear outline. Notice: we have two explanations of a Christian’s relationship with Christ "since we have..." in verses 19 & 21. Then we have a threefold invitation based on our relationship with Christ: "let us..." in verses 22, 23, 24 which includes our faith, hope, and love.

Vs.19-21 I. How Can we Fellowship with God?

Here we see the phrase "since we have..."

Vs.19-20 A. Through the sacrifice of Christ "by the blood of Jesus...His flesh"

We must NOT approach God through formalism, tradition, hypocrisy, hard work, or religious ceremonies. We can only move from the Holy Place (Vs.19) into the Holy of Holies (Vs.20) through the bloody sacrifice of Jesus Christ.

This is what the book of Hebrews has been explaining up until this point. The only way to get to God is through the dreadful death of Jesus Christ. "Therefore, when He comes into the world, He says,[in Psalm 40:6] "SACRIFICE AND OFFERING YOU HAVE NOT DESIRED, BUT A BODY YOU HAVE PREPARED FOR ME; " (Hebrews 10:5, NAS)

"By this will we have been sanctified through the offering of the body of Jesus Christ once for all. Every priest stands daily ministering and offering time after time the same sacrifices, which can never take away sins; but He, having offered one sacrifice for sins for all time, SAT DOWN AT THE RIGHT HAND OF GOD " (Hebrews 10:10--12, NAS)

The sanctuary is divided into two parts: the Holy Place & the Most Holy Place. If you were to enter the Holy Place you would immediately notice a strong smell. Burning frankincense is in the air which is mixed with the delicious aroma of fresh baked bread. By the flicker of the menorah candles you notice the floor: streaks of red blood stripe the floor which then disappears, under the veil into the Holy of Holies.

We can only move from the place of sacrifice, the Holy Place, into the place of intimate fellowship with God, the Holy of Holies, because of the sacrifice of Christ. Before we enter we must lay down anything we are clinging to and acknowledge our own nakedness before God. All my ambition, all my good works must go. It wasn’t until Adam and Eve felt their complete nakedness that God clothed them with animal skins.

We must become naked before we can be clothed in the righteousness of Christ. Jesus warned us not to approach Him with our own efforts. "Many will say to Me on that day, ’Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in Your name, and in Your name cast out demons, and in Your name perform many miracles?’ And then I will declare to them, ’I never knew you; DEPART FROM ME, YOU WHO PRACTICE LAWLESSNESS.’ " (Matthew 7:22--23, NAS)

Vs.21 B. Through the supreme authority of Christ "a great priest over the house of God"

Christians make up a house that God built. (Hebrews 3:2--6, NAS) "[God] was faithful to [Christ] who appointed Him, as Moses also was in all His house. For He has been counted worthy of more glory than Moses, by just so much as the builder of the house has more honor than the house. For every house is built by someone, but the builder of all things is God. Now Moses was faithful in all His house as a servant, for a testimony of those things which were to be spoken later; but Christ was faithful as a Son over His house--whose house we are, if we hold fast our confidence and the boast of our hope firm until the end. "

"[Christ] is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of all creation. For by Him all things were created, both in the heavens and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or rulers or authorities--all things have been created through Him and for Him. He is before all things, and in Him all things hold together. He is also head of the body, the church; and He is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead, so that He Himself will come to have first place in everything. " (Colossians 1:15--18, NAS)

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