Sunday, October 16, 2011
Hebrews Chapter 10 (part 2)
Hebrews Chapter 10:19-39
- The veil in the temple represented the separation of God from man. From the time of the fall of Adam, we have been unable to come before the throne of God on our own. We are now sin-covered. Our sin prevents us from having open communion with God.
- The veil was set up to protect us from the wrath of God at our sin. For our Holy God to come into contact with our filthiness... would demand that He destroy us.
- He threw Adam and Eve out of communion with Him because of their sin... and then subsequently set up a system that would allow that communion to be reestablished... at least to an extent.
- That system required a third party. There wasn't direct communication with God. You had to go to the temple and make a sacrifice and talk to a priest... Most of the time... the priests talked to God... I don't know how many people in Israel took the initiative to brave the wrath of God to form relationships with Him. We see that David did. And Solomon. And Joshua. The prophets. But... they seemed to have been an exception. Most of the people just let the priest do the talking for them...
- When Christ died and the veil ripped in two, it was no small task... It wasn't a little sheer veil. It was about 60 feet high, 30 feet wide, and 4 inches thick. That's no child's play. It has many times been noted, that when the veil split, it was split from the top to the bottom... or from heaven... to earth. Man wasn't going to be able to rip that veil apart and survive the task... God on the other hand... could.
- Because of the death of Christ, we now have access to the Father. The separation has been done away with. Open communication has been reestablished. The blood of Christ... has bridged the gap.
- “By His death, Jesus opened a new and life-giving way through the curtain into the Most Holy Place.”
- Because of His death, Christ became our High Priest. He is our advocate before the throne. He is our mediator.
- “And since we have a great High Priest who rules over God's house, let us go right into the presence of God with sincere hearts fully trusting Him. For our guilty consciences have been sprinkled with Christ's blood to make us clean, and our bodies have been washed with pure water.”
- Not only have our sins been washed away... but our consciences have been cleared. Something the animal blood never did. We have been washed clean... inside... and out. We have been given a second chance... a new start. A clean slate, so to speak.
- I mean how awesome is that!?
- Matthew 27:50-52
- Luke 23:44-46
- I John 2:1-6
- John 14:23-29; 16:5-15
- “Let us hold tightly without wavering to the hope we affirm, for God can be trusted to keep His promise. Let us think of ways to motivate one another to acts of love and good works. And let us not neglect our meeting together, as some people do, but encourage one another, especially now that the day of His return is drawing near.”
- What kind of promises? “I am with you always.” “I will never leave you nor forsake you.” Those are good right? How about... “In this life you will have trouble”? “They will hate you for my namesake”? Not all of God's promises were the happy kind. There were some that were... less than happy sounding...
- Which is why those verses above are so important. We HAVE to hold fast. We HAVE to cling to God with all that we have... with all that we are...
- Otherwise... when those troubles and trials come... as He promised they would... well... we'll fall. Just like the man who built his house on the sand... our foundation will be swept away...
- In order to hold fast though... we need encouragement. We can't do it on our own. One lone stone can't hold up a house...
- When it speaks of not avoiding or neglecting to meet together... that's because... like it or not... we need each other. We need contact with other believers.
- If for no other reason than sharing our stories. Our story may help someone else... and their stories... may help us. But you don't know that if you keep yourself away from one another.
- And when the world is screaming at you that you're the only one. (Elijah thought he was the only one still serving the true God until God told him there were 7000 more! He didn't know this because he had been hiding out from Ahab.) That there's nobody else in the world who thinks like you do. Or believes like you do. Or that you've just gone and lost your mind... religious fanatic... you just need some professional help to get over the sickness... you have a group of people to fall back on, who can remind you of who God is... what He is... and why He is...
- As believers, our job is to build one another up.
- This walk doesn't get any easier...
- I was talking to a friend today about comfort zones...
- I don't think God has such a thing as a comfort zone in mind for us. Comfort zones... mean apathy... and He doesn't like apathy... If we are walking with God and letting God do a work in our lives and hearts... there's no way we're going to settle in to a comfort zone.
- Most of the time that means that He allows things in our lives that seem really hard. Forget seems... They ARE hard. But it's a growing process. There IS a reason behind it...
- As we wind down to the end of time... things aren't going to get any easier... in fact... they're probably going to get even harder... and the harder they get... the more desperately we need one another to help us along.
- A stone alone... may stand okay on it's own... but it erodes more quickly in the elements...
- Deuteronomy 30
- I Thessalonians 5:12-22
- II Thessalonians 2:13-17
vs. 26-31, 37-38
- “Dear friends, if we deliberately continue sinning after we have received knowledge of the truth, there is no longer any sacrifice that will cover these sins. There is only the terrible expectation of God's judgment and the raging fire that will consume His enemies.”
- Now this verse has been looked at as very harsh by many people... And it sounds harsh. I mean... once we become Christians we can never sin again? No mistakes? Or we're going to be forever thrown out? I mean that sounds impossible!
- Because it is...
- The point in this verse is this: Once we come to a knowledge of who God is... once we take the step to accept God as savior... we should not go out into life with the intent to sin... because if we go into life after having that life-changing experience... there is no sacrifice that will cover those sins... because we are in effect, turning our backs on what we know to be the ONLY truth... and going back to our sin-filled life... with intent.
- Now I know everybody makes mistakes. Everybody sins probably every day... multiple times a day... there's no perfect life.
- okay... example. I am a sinner. Maybe I'm an alcoholic. Maybe I have a problem with sex. Maybe I am a drug addict. Whatever my sin is... I find Christ. I see Him as the Truth. I accept Christ into my life. I invite Him into my heart. And I change. My life is so great! I put away those things that were sin in my life. I have no desire to do them again!
- But about a month... or 4 months... or a year... or 5 years down the road... I start to think... man... I used to have so much fun when I was doing that thing. Or maybe... it was just habit when life got rough... and life starts getting rough... and instead of facing the challenge... I start... looking back at that thing that helped me get through before...
- And I turn... knowing that I'm not supposed to go back... and go back to my sin. Not just... a mistake. Not a slip-up. Not a word spoken at a wrong time... but I turn... and put myself back in a situation, or a lifestyle... that is contrary to what I know to be truth.
- That kind of sin... is rebellion. It is a turning away from God. It's idolatry. It's going back to those idols that I had set up in my life. We actually say to ourselves, “I know this is not what God would want me to do, BUT I'm going to do it anyway. We just turned our backs on the sacrifice Christ made for us. The ONLY sacrifice that can save us from our sins. There is no other sacrifice to be made.
- In that case... we are the goats... “Depart from me ye workers of iniquity... for I never knew you...”
- “For anyone who refused to obey the law of Moses was put to death without mercy on the testimony of two or three witnesses. Just think how much worse the punishment will be for those who have trampled on the Son of God, and have treated the blood of the covenant, which made us holy, as if it were common and unholy, and have insulted and disdained the Holy Spirit who brings God's mercy to us. For we know the One who said, “I will take revenge. I will pay them back.” He also said, “The Lord will judge His own people.” It is a terrible thing to fall into the hands of the living God.”
- I mean think about it... if this is a better covenant. A higher covenant. A covenant with deeper relationship... and men were killed for disobeying the first one? They died an earthly death for breaking the law... We will die an eternal death for turning away from God...
- It said that we would have “insulted and disdained the Holy Spirit.” I mean that's harsh. We just turned up our nose at the Almighty, Living, Holy God. YIKES!
- Down in verses 37 and 38, it says, “For in just a little while, the Coming One will come and not delay. And my righteous ones will live by faith. But I will take no pleasure in anyone who turns away.”
- God is a faithful God. And in answer to HIS faithfulness... He desires that we are faithful to Him as well.
- Romans 5:12-6:23
- II Peter 2:1-3:14
- II Corinthians 5:11-7:4
- “Think back on those early days when you first learned about Christ. Remember how you remained faithful even though it meant terrible suffering. Sometimes you were exposed to public ridicule and were beaten, and sometimes you helped others who were suffering the same things. You suffered along with those who were thrown into jail, and when all you owned was taken from you, you accepted it with joy. You knew there were better things waiting for you that will last forever. So do not throw away this confident trust in the Lord. Remember the great reward it brings you! Patient endurance is what you need now, so that you will continue to do God's will. Then you will receive all that He has promised.”
- Again... to point out... we were not promised an easy life on this earth. The author precursors “you will receive all that He has promised”, with all the problems and sufferings that they've already had. Just because God promises us a paradise in the after life... does not mean that this life is going to even remotely resemble a paradise here...
- The author is talking about early zeal. When people first become Christians... they have this fire. This zeal. This burning to go shout it from the mountaintops that Christ is Lord and that their lives have been changed.
- In following Christ... sometimes that beginning fire... dies out pretty quick. We continue to live life. We go back to our jobs, or our school... our daily lives... and we settle into a routine... again. And then apathy starts to set in. Where in the beginning we would have died to fight our battles... now we stand and watch the battle from afar... hoping it doesn't effect us personally.
- God doesn't want apathetic followers. He wants sold out, on fire, ready to head into the heat of the battle followers.
- There's a saying that says something like “When the going gets tough, the tough get going.” And that can be taken two ways... 1. We pick up and fight back... or 2. we run away.
- What kind of Christian are you? Are the fighter who fights to the bitter end? Or are you the kind who stands back hoping that the people in front of you can finish the battle before you ever have to enter into any real combat? (Sometimes this means spending hours on our knees in spiritual warfare for our loved ones or the temptations we are going through. A literal fight or a rash word spoken in anger is not the way Jesus responded to his accusers).
- Hopefully... “We are not like those who turn away from God to their own destruction. We are the faithful ones, whose souls will be saved.”
- I John 2:7-17
- John 15:18-16:4
- Revelation 2:24-29
- I Corinthians 1:5-9