Thankful The Present Is Purposeful Bill D. Whittaker September 1, 2006 Hebrews 10:11-25 These three Sundays leading to Thanksgiving have focused on the work of Christ at the cross to forgive and cleanse us of sin and obtain our eternal redemption. Many would say, using a movie title from a few years ago, “Heaven Can Wait.” Christians have been accused of focusing too much on eternity and forsaking the present time. The writer of Hebrews doesn’t commit that error. He strongly emphasizes the practical dimension of Christ’s sacrifice. Hebrews 10: 11-18 reviews what Christ did for us; verses 19-25 issue a challenge for our continuing response. “Therefore, brothers” (v. 19), this is the consequence, based on what Jesus accomplished “after He had offered one sacrifice for sins forever” (v. 12). All theology must result in practical life impact. Christ has “perfected” us, completed the work of salvation from sin and death, and we are now “being sanctified” (v. 14), set apart to complete the work of the Holy Spirit until He returns. What are we to do? Come into His presence (v. 22) Because of Christ we can “draw near” to God. It is now possible for a sinful humanity to fellowship with our holy God. Christ and the work of the Holy Spirit to give us a “true heart sprinkled clean from an evil conscience” have opened the way into His presence. Jesus made possible the promise, “Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God” (Matt. 5:8). The way is open for prayer, individually and with other believers. The way is open for worship in spirit and in truth, individually and with other believers. Realizing who we are, it seems brash and prideful to approach God. But we have “boldness,” holy confidence, to come into His presence through Christ, “a new and living way” (vv. 19-20). Hold on to your confession (v. 23) We often speak of making a “confession of faith” but the word here speaks of the “confession of our hope.” Faith develops hope; hope encourages faith. We are tempted to give up or give in when trials, temptation, disappointment or discouragement come. Jesus asked, “Do you also want to go away?” Realizing all He has done and continues to do we also confess, “Lord, to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life” (John 6: 67-68). We hold on “without wavering” because “He who promised is faithful.” Abraham was given a promise and “he did not waver at the promise of God through unbelief, but was strengthened in faith, giving glory to God, and being fully convinced that What He had promised he was also able to perform” (Rom. 4:20-21). Care for one another (v. 24) A true encounter with Christ is manifest in a caring relationship with His people. Peter likened the church to a “spiritual house” built upon the “living stone” of Jesus (1 Peter 2: 4-5). A confessing believer uninvolved in a local body of believers is like a brick missing from the wall. We are called to attentive, continuous care for fellow believers. The outcome is a stimulation of love and the practice of faith. It is impossible to develop this attitude by abandoning worship. William Barclay wrote, “Even if the sermon is poor and the worship is tawdry, the church service still gives us the chance to show to men what side we are on” (Daily Study Bible Hebrews, rev. ed, 122). Care for one another brings personal encouragement to live life by faith in the limited time we have. This appeal “is not on what a believer gets from the assembly, but rather on what he can contribute to the assembly” (Warren Wiersbe, 315) The three practical calls issued here include the trinity of eternal values stated by Paul in 1 Corinthians 13: 13 – faith (v. 22), hope (v. 23), love (v. 24). “Faith provides assurance. Hope promises an incentive to obedience. Love provides a foundation for prodding believers to godly living” (Thomas Lea, Holman NT Commentary Hebrews, 1999, 187). ___________________Sermon brief provided by: Bill Whittaker, President of Clear Creek Baptist Bible College in Pineville, KY Leave a Reply Cancel Reply Your email address will not be published.CommentName* Email* Website Notify me of follow-up comments by email. Notify me of new posts by email.