Summary: # 16 in series. The writer now gives a three-fold directive based on our new relationship with God the Father.
A Study of the Book of Hebrews
Jesus is Better
Sermon # 16
“What You Have Is Worth Keeping!”
This morning we come to the turning point in the letter to the Hebrews. The writer turns from an explanation of the superiority of Jesus to this truth’s application in the lives of his readers. He begins in verse nineteen by saying, “Therefore, brethren, having boldness to enter the Holiest by the blood of Jesus, (20) by a new and living way which He consecrated for us, through the veil, that is, His flesh, (21) and having a High Priest over the house of God.(NKJV)”
The writer now gives a three-fold directive based on our new relationship with God the Father.
First, We Are To Draw Near In Faith.(v. 22)
“Let us draw near with a true heart in full assurance of faith, having our hearts sprinkled from an evil conscience and our bodies washed with pure water.”
The wonderful truth is that we can enter into the very presence of God with full assurance that he accepts us and hears us.
By Christ once for all time sacrifice for sin
Christ has purchased for us “a new and living way” (v. 20) into the very presence of God. The resurrection of the one slain has made this new way, a living and enduring way. This stands in mark contrast with the former animal sacrifices under the Old Covenant. These animal sacrifices made by the priest remained dead, they only temporarily covered sin. We are able, and indeed are invited to walk into the presence of Almighty God on the merit of the risen, and living Christ.
In verse twenty-two we are told how we are to enter into the presence of God.
We are to enter with a clear conscience, for the first time in their lives their guilt was completely gone. The writer says therefore that they should enter into God presence with a “true heart” - the word translated “true” here means ‘sincere.” That is with no mixed motives or divided loyalties. It is the opposite of what we some times experience in our everyday lives. We have all met people, who when they are introduced keep talking and smiling at us but all the will there eyes are roaming looking at other people and other things. They really are not interested in us at all. That is exactly the opposite of what we are told that God expects from us!
We are not only invited to Draw Near In Faith but …
Second, We Are To Hold Fast In Hope (v. 23)
“Let us hold fast the confession of our hope without wavering, for He who promised is faithful.”
So many people in our world today live without any real hope. In fact they are not living so much as just surviving. They manage to put one foot in front of the other by depending on some unfounded worldly “hope.” By that I mean that they are “hoping” that the future will bring something different into their lives. They live hoping for a brighter tomorrow, hoping for a change, looking for someone new in their lives to change every thing. But their hope is not founded on truth, but rather wishful thinking.
But as Christians our hope has substance. When the author here refers to “the confession of our hope” he is referring back to what he said in 6:19. “This hope we have as an anchor of the soul, both sure and steadfast, and which enters the Presence behind the veil.” We understand that an anchor grabs onto the floor of the ocean and holds the vessel securely. But the shifting sands of this world offer nothing to secure us for eternity. So our anchor does not go down to the ocean below, but upward and is anchored in God’s presence in Heaven.
We are not only to Hold Fast In Hope but …
Third, We Are to Encourage In Love (vv. 24-25)
“And let us consider one another in order to stir up love and good works.”
Consider means “to observe,” “to contemplate,” or “to have an intelligent insight into.”
The idea here is that we are “to spur or stir up” one another to good works. The King James Version captures the strength of this verb (paroxusmos) by translating it “provoke.” Normally speaking this is not a pleasant word – but here has the pleasant connotation of prodding our brothers and sisters to good deeds. The Greek word speaks forcefully of the tremendous impact believers can have on each other.
•In Order That We Stir Each Other Up (To Do Good).
I think that it can truly be said that we as Christians often stir each other up, but it is not always to good deeds.