?November 15, 2009
Proper 28
Hebrews 10:19-25

When my oldest daughter was 3 years old, we were traveling and staying with friends. Surrounded by other children and staying in an unfamiliar place, she found herself in various stages of disobedience several times in one day! At the end of one
particularly difficult afternoon, I told her to go to her room and wait for me to come-she knew she was in trouble!
When I stepped into the room, I was struck by the expression on her face. Totally defeated and lost, she looked like she was absolutely devoid of any personal worth. Sitting down beside her on the bed, I put my arm around her little shoulders and asked, “Rachael, if I could choose any 3-year-old girl in the whole world to be my little girl, do you know who I would pick?”
She shook her head, looking at me with genuine, heartfelt concern and wondering what I would say. Who would I choose? Was she worthy?
I smiled and said, “I would choose … you.” She was stunned-then transformed, collapsing with happiness in my arms! She desperately needed to know her daddy wanted her. And you need to know that your heavenly Father wants you, too!
In Hebrews 10:19-21, the author explains that every Christian has access to the holy, sacred place where God dwells because of the blood of Jesus. Through His personal sacrifice, the Christian possesses a genuine liberty to enter the Father’s presence and speak! But what does it mean to “draw near to God”?

I. Drawing near to God will engage your heart (v. 22).
Jesus did not die to give us the opportunity to draw near to God. Rather, He expects us to draw near-and to do so with a heart that is firmly convinced of the access available to us. In contrast to the rules and regulations that restricted entry into
the sacred space of the Old Testament tabernacle, we have been given complete, unrestricted access to Him.
Jesus criticized the religious leaders around Him who honored God with their lips but not with their hearts (Mark 7:6). Deriving a deep assurance based on what He has done on our behalf, we are called to bring our hearts online and release our passion for God in a habitual pursuit of His presence.

II. Drawing near to God will challenge you to discipline your mind (v. 23).
It is ironic, but sometimes church attendance and activity can crowd out a pursuit of God. Going through the motions of a devoted life, a Christian can lose his or her focus on becoming intimate with God Himself. The growing believer must consciously choose to avoid the trap of substituting ritual behavior for a vibrant relationship with God. The person who draws near to God truly believes He is there to be found!
Maintaining a vigilant allegiance to the truth is the best way to develop consistency when seeking after God. A sustained habit of seeking Him will be fueled by a body of insight into His promises. Doctrinal truth should lead us into an ever-deepening encounter with Him and is the proper fuel for a growing intimacy with God.

III. Drawing near to God will carry you into growing relationships with other Christians (vv. 24-25).
Individuals who take advantage of their access to God will seek out others like themselves-small groups of likeminded Christians. In small groups, needs are shared, personalities are refined and lives are changed.
Occasionally I will encounter a Christian who thinks he or she does not need the church. What a tragic error! The writer of Hebrews could not envision an individual relationship to God that did not result in God’s people living in relationship with one another.
Interactions with other believers are an essential component of sustaining Christian ministry and individual maturity over time. As I draw near to God, He will lead me to minister to His people. As I grow in my relationship to God, I will also be growing in my relationship with His church. Although no church is composed of perfect people, every church contains a necessary mix of personalities and gifts that I need in order to grow!

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