Summary: Why did you come to church this morning? Perhaps you came here because that’s the thing to do on Sunday morning. Perhaps you came because you really like the music. Perhaps you came because you knew that a certain attractive someone of the opposi
“Why Did You Come to Church this Morning?”
Why did you come to church this morning?
· Perhaps you came here because that’s the thing to do on Sunday morning.
· Perhaps you came because you really like the music.
· Perhaps you came because you knew that a certain attractive someone of the opposite sex would be here.
· Perhaps you came because you wanted to hear some preaching.
· Perhaps you came because you thought this service would help you worship God.
Why did you come to church this morning?
Some of those reasons are better than others. But I suggest this morning that if those are the only reasons you came you are misunderstanding an important aspect of this time together. You are failing to put into practice an absolutely vital biblical command.
Let me put that positively: Any congregation that improves in following this biblical command will have greater joy, closer fellowship, greater spiritual growth and will bring more glory to God.
What is this vital biblical command?
Let’s read the passage, and see if you can pick out the command I’m referring to: I’ll be reading from my own translation of these verses.
Therefore, brothers, since we have confidence of an entrance into the holy places by the blood of Jesus, 20 by the new and living entrance that he opened for us through the curtain, that is, through the agency of 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, because our hearts have been sprinkled clean from a guilty conscience and our bodies have been washed with pure water. 23 Let us hold fast the unwavering confession of our hope, for he who promised is faithful. 24 And let us consider one another carefully, 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, exhorting, and comforting one another, and all the more as you see the Day drawing near.
Notice the structure of the verses: Verses 19 and 21 contain the word ‘since.’ These verses give reasons, grounds on which the author bases the upcoming commands. Verses 22, 23, and 24 all contain the words ‘let us.’ Here the author provides us with three actions to perform because of the reasons given in the earlier verses. Let’s summarize these reasons and actions:
· Since we have confidence of an entrance into God’s presence, and
· Since we have a great High Priest, Jesus
§ Let us draw near
§ Let us hold fast the confession of our hope
§ Let us consider one another carefully
Which do you think is the vital biblical command I referred to? I’m not going to say yet; we’ll come back to it. We’ll go through the verses quickly, and come back to this question.
First, the two foundations, which explain why the three commands, are logical. These two foundations draw on the earlier themes of the book. Let’s consider them one by one:
“Since we have confidence of an entrance into God’s presence”
Hold it! Why should I have confidence that I can go into the very presence of God?
I can think of many reasons why I should not be confident: Who is God? Who am I? How can I be confident of an entrance?
Remember Esther? She wasn’t even confident on an entrance to an earthly king – her own husband! If he hadn’t held out the golden scepter to her, she would have been done for! So how can I, a sinful human being, be confident to enter into the presence of someone much greater than the King of Persia - the perfect, holy God Himself?
The author gives us the reason: Jesus opened that entrance for us through the agency of His blood. Back in chapter 9, the author refers to the blood of Jesus 12 times. Here are a few examples:
Indeed, under the law almost everything is purified with blood, and without the shedding of blood there is no forgiveness of sins. Hebrews 9:22
13 For if the sprinkling of defiled persons with the blood of goats and bulls and with the ashes of a heifer sanctifies for the purification of the flesh, 14 how much more will the blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit offered himself without blemish to God, purify our conscience from dead works to serve the living God. Hebrews 9:13-14
Jesus’ blood purifies our consciences. Jesus’ blood enables us to serve God. So we have entrance to the presence of God! We are sinful, but we are purified! Forgiven!
That’s one basis for the three upcoming commands. Here’s the second: