Three Heads of Let Us

Introduction

Our text - Hebrews 10:19-26 - is one of these passages that if I took time to thoroughly unpack it, you’d be here for hours reading page after page.  Rather than writing a mini-commentary, I thought we’d try an exercise in brevity by pointing out the three action points to which this text calls  us.

But first, notice that the foundation of all the human action is the work of Christ. Before we get to what we’re supposed to do, the author of Hebrews points us to what Christ has already done for us.

Christ has ‘opened a living way through the curtain, that is, through his flesh’. In his body on the cross Jesus bore the penalty for our sin; as his flesh was ‘opened’, Jesus has opened for us a way to God. This way is described in verse 19 as ‘by the blood of Jesus’. His blood speaks of his death on our behalf (Rom. 5.8, I Cor. 15.3). Through what Jesus has done we have access to God.

The subjective response this living way  produces in us is confidence. Or at least, that's the intended result. Rather than living with fear and trepidation as we think about the future, we remember that God has secured an inheritance for us, an he has secured us for an inheritance. The best is yet to come!

Our confidence, however, is not confidence in general, and it’s not self-confidence; rather, we have confidence to enter the holy places – that is, to come directly into the presence of God. This direct access to God was forbidden to Old Testament believers and only mediated by a priest. Jesus is the perfect High Priest through whom we have direct access to God.

With all this in mind, let’s look at the three ‘let us’ action points.

1. Let us draw near

v. 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.

I had a friend once who was given ‘any time you want it’ access to a Mediterranean villa; he never used it. That’s how some Christians treat the presence of God. Jesus paid the highest price for our access; use it! By the blood of Christ, our consciences have been cleansed from the guilt of sin; we can come into God’s presence without shame. Don’t be lazy; let us draw near to God.

How do we that? We can meet God in his word; we can draw near through prayer; we can experience God's presence by waiting on him and enjoying him. Regardless of the means, the qualitative characteristic of drawing near to God is by faith: we come to God in full assurance of faith.

2. Let us hold fast

v. 23. Let us hold fast the confession of our hope without wavering, for he who promised is faithful.

This is my story and I'm stickin' to it. The American football team Carolina Panthers takes as its mascot something of a non-existent animal. Though not as mythical as Nessi, there is no such thing as a black panther; they are usually black jaguars or leopards or melanistic cougars. Cougars have been extinct from North Carolina since the early 1900’s. So when a friend of mind claimed he had seen a black Carolina Panther, I challenged him and said, ‘Wrong!’. But he would not relent: he stubbornly held fast to his confession, which, in his case, was a mistake.

Our confession in Christ is not a mistake; it is rooted and grounded in the fact of who Jesus is, what he did, and what it means. The confession of our hope is the bold declaration that God will keep his promise and bring us safely home. The future Christ has purchased for us will happen. The author of Hebrews tells us to hold on to this confession because God keeps his word – he will do what he has promised.

3. Let us consider

v. 24: And let us consider how to stir up one another to love and good works

Life is full of considerations: we consider what brand of peanut butter to purchase, what job to take, whom to marry. Not all of this consideration impact our destiny to the same degree!!! To consider simply means to think carefully about something before making a decision.

Consider this: The author of Hebrews invites us to give careful consideration to one very important action: stirring up one another to love and good works. Why do we need stirring up? Because we get lazy. And the author of Hebrews identifies the lazy habit of those who neglect to meet together.

Conclusion

Stirring each other up during the era of online church takes proactive creativity. One of the ‘stirring up’ mechanisms normally accessible to us – meeting together – is not available. I would like to suggest that the best stirrer-uppers are those who draw near and those who hold fast. That is, as we come into the presence of God and verbally confess the hope we have in him, we are stirred by him to stir up others to love him well. So let’s go to work on these three heads of ‘let us …’.

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