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WHAT THE FAITHFUL DO
Intro: The book of Hebrews was written to Jewish converts. These people had been saved from an ancient system of bondage to a law they could not keep. But, the rituals and demands of the law were all they knew.
The book of Hebrews suggests that some of these converts were considering a return to Judaism. They were having a difficult time leaving the rituals and ceremonies of their old live behind. They were clinging to their old religion and to their old methods of worship. Some of had already walked away from their commitment to Jesus, from the church, and they had gone back to their old life. They had returned to Judaism.
The writer of Hebrews has spent the bulk of the book proving that Jesus, and the salvation He provides, is far superior to anything the Jews experienced under the Law. After proving that Jesus Christ and His Gospel are vastly superior to Judaism, the writer closes by challenging the Jewish believers to remain faithful to Jesus and to their faith in Him.
As a part of this message, he mentions two ways that people who hear the Gospel can respond.
Verses 19-25 teach us that some receive the Gospel and are saved. These people are given some challenges they must follow to ensure the continued health and blessing of the church.
Verses 26-31 speak about those people who reject the Gospel of grace. Those who reject the Gospel face certain condemnation. The context concerns those who have abandoned their faith and gone back to their old way of life. Their abandonment of the truth demonstrates the truth that they were never truly saved to begin with. They are said to have trodden under foot the Son of God and counted...the blood...and unholy thing.
This passage contains some very important challenges that we need to hear. These challenges are identified by three let us commands. Each of these let us statements tells us something we should do or avoid doing. I want to consider these let us commands because they teach us about What The Faithful Do. These verses give us a glimpse into what genuinely born again people do when they are a part of the local church. God has a word for us in these verses.
I. v. 19-22 THE FAITHFUL DRAW NEAR
The first challenge is for us to enter in and draw near. These verses tell us how it is possible to enter in to the presence of God, and for us to draw near to Him.
The writer makes a statement in verse 19 that must have sounded strange to his Jewish readers. He tells them to enter into the holiest with boldness. He also tells them that there is a new and living way into the presence of God.
The old Jewish system was a closed system, as were most religious systems in the ancient world. Under the Jewish system no one could approach God but the High Priest, and he could only do so on the Day of Atonement, and only then with the blood of an innocent sacrifice to atone for his own sins. Man was barred from the presence of Holy God!
When Jesus came and died on the cross, He made a way for all those who receive Him to enter the presence of God. When the veil of Christs flesh was broken on the cross, the way was opened to God for all who will enter. Ill. The torn veil in the Temple – Matt. 27:50-51.
When Jesus, Who is our High Priest, entered the Holy of Holies with His blood, He left the way open for us to follow, John 10:9. His shed blood is our invitation to enter the presence of God, Heb. 9:22.
The word having is used three times in these verses. It speaks of a present possession. We have some precious possessions because of what Jesus did for us on the cross.
- v. 19 We Have Boldness To Enter Into Salvation – The way has been opened and we are invited to come, Isa. 1:18; Rev. 22:17. If you havent come to Jesus, you should, and you should do it today!
- v. 21 We Have A High Priest – We have a Man on the inside, praying for us and guaranteeing us that we will be accepted when we come, Heb. 7:25; Rom. 8:34; John 6:37.
- v. 22 We Have Clean Hearts And New Lives - The Jewish worshiper was never truly clean. Even the High Priest had to cleanse himself every time he entered the tabernacle and temple. Things are different for us.
‣ When a sinner comes to Jesus by faith, he is cleansed by the blood of Jesus, once for all, 1 John 1:7; Eph. 1:7; 1 Pet. 1:18-19.
‣ When the heart is cleansed by the blood of Jesus, the outward man is also affected, Heb. 9:14; 2 Cor. 5:17.
‣ Because we are clean in His sight, we have an open invitation to enter into the presence of God at any time. In fact, we are commanded to do so, Heb. 4:16.
Based on what Jesus did for us and what He has provided for us, people are challenged to draw near. There are only two possible responses to the Gospel message: acceptance or rejection.
The call is for people to come.
- We can come with a true heart. We must be sincere when we come to Jesus. We are not to come to Him lightly. We are not to treat spiritual things as if they were a game.
- We can come in full assurance of faith. This means we can come to God with the full assurance that He will receive us. If we come to Him as a born again believer seeking His help, He will receive us and hear us. If we come to hIm as a lost sinner crying out for salvation, He will hear us and not turn us away!
The question that comes to mind at this point is this: What have you done with the Gospel invitation? Have you accepted it?
- If you have, then you have access to God the Father. Make good use of that privilege. Seek His face and call on Him often. Find yourself frequently in the throne room of the King calling on Him to do the incredible for His church and for the lost.
- If you havent the way has been opened for you, if you will come to Him, John 6:37, 47; Rom. 10:13.
I. The Faithful Draw Near
II. v. 23 THE FAITHFUL HOLD FAST
We are told to hold fast the profession of our faith. This means that since we claim to have hope in Jesus, and since we say we are saved and headed to Heaven some day, we are to live out that hope by remaining faithful to Him.
Some of these Jewish converts were having a hard time making a complete break from the rituals of their old religion. They were trying to hold onto their Jewish roots and Jesus too. The writer tells them to beware lest they turn away from Christ and go back to their old lives.
There is a danger in that for us as well. Most of us were not saved out of religion, but out of the darkness of our sin. There is always the danger that we might turn back to the world. We are challenged here to be faithful to the Lord Who saved our souls by His grace.
We have all known those people who were in the church for a while and have departed for the world. We must be on guard that the same thing does not happen to us.
There is nothing back there but pain, suffering, heartache and death. Ill. Lots wife – Gen. 19:26. Ill. Heb. 10:38. Here is what John said about those who turn back: They went out from us, but they were not of us; for if they had been of us, they would no doubt have continued with us: but they went out, that they might be made manifest that they were not all of us, 1 John 2:19.
We can endure faithfully with the sure knowledge that Jesus will keep His end of the bargain. When He saved us and called us out of our sins; He promised us a new life, John 10:10, and a home in Heaven when this life is over, John 14:1-3. He will not fail to deliver everything He has promised the children of God. We will come short in our commitment to Him, but He will never fail us, Heb. 6:18; Heb. 13:5! Every promise He made to us is an ironclad promise and it will be fulfilled.
The knowledge that God will always be faithful to us should serve to make us desire to be faithful to Him in return!
I. The Faithful Draw Near
II. The Faithful Hold Fast
III. v. 24-25 THE FAITHFUL LOOK AFTER ONE ANOTHER
These verses have told us that we can have access to God through the blood of Jesus.
They have also told us that we are expected to live out faithful, dedicated lives to the glory of God.
Verses 24-25 teach us that we are to help one another along the way of life.
The challenge here is for us to consider one another. The word consider means to set the mind on. We are to set our minds on our fellow believers in an effort to provoke them.
The word provoke is usually used in a negative manner. It means to incite. It has the idea of causing a crowd to riot. In this context word means to stir up.
Another significant word in these verses is the word exhort in verse 25. This word means to encourage. Taken together, these words are a challenge for the saints to look out for one another and to encourage one another in our walk with the Lord.
Notice the ways we are to do this.
A. We Are To Love Together – Love is to be the calling card of the church, John 13:35.
Our love for God is to be the supreme love of our lives, Matt. 22:37-38.
Second only to that love is the love we are to have for our brothers in Christ, Matt. 22:39-40.
Genuine, godly love one for another is one of the sure marks of real salvation, 1 John 3:14.
The absence of this love reveals the absence of true salvation, 1 John 4:7-8; 4:20-21.
Ill. The church house is to be a place where people feel loved! It is sad when people receive a warmer greeting at Walmart than they do at the house of God!
We are to love! Dont wait to be love, start loving others and love will come your way!
B. We Are To Work Together – We are to help our brothers and sisters in their work for the Lord. We are to encourage them in the work they do. Instead of finding fault with everyone and everything they do, we should take the time to notice the positive things people are doing and encourage them in their work for Jesus. We are in this thing together and we are to be in the building up business, not the tearing down business, Rom. 14:19; Eph. 4:29. We should be encouraging one another to continues faithfulness in the Lords work. (Ill. I appreciate you!)
C. We Are To Worship Together – Some of the Jewish converts had abandoned the public gatherings of the believers. We are to seek out the fellowship of the saints and not find ways to avoid it. Church attendance is far more vital than many people realize. Just as a hot coal becomes cold when it is separated from the fire, the believer will become cold when that believer is separated from the fellowship of other believers.
We need the excitement, the teaching, the preaching, the worship, the challenges, the encouragement, the fellowship and the sense of family that is available when we go to church. Many of the saints need to reexamine their commitment to the public worship of the Savior. Nothing will help you stay close to the Lord any more than regular, faithful attendance to the services at the House of God!
Please do fall for the trick and trap of the enemy. Do not let him convince you that other things are more important than you being in your place when it is time to worship. Do not let him take away one of the greatest blessing the Lord has ever placed in your life.
Come to church.
Come to Sunday School.
Come to morning worship.
Come to evening worship.
Come to Wednesday evening meeting.
Come to prayer room.
Come to prayer meeting.
Come to youth meeting.
Come ready to worship.
Come to sing.
Come to pray.
Come to praise Him.
Come to hear HIs Word.
Come to fellowship with His people.
Come to serve.
Come to help.
Come to be helped.
Come prepared for the Lord to do something big.
Whatever you do, come!
Come for your children.
Come for yourself.
Come for the glory of the Lord.
Be in your place every time the doors open.
Come to church!
Heres something to think about.
Football in the fall. Basketball in the winter. Baseball in the spring and summer. This pastor has been an avid sports fan all his life. But I've had it! I quit this sports business once and for all. You can't get me near one of those places again. Want to know why...
Every time I went, they asked me for money.
The people with whom I had to sit didn't seem very friendly.
The seats were too hard and not at all comfortable.
I went to many games, but the coach never came to call on me.
The referee made a decision with which I could not agree.
I suspected that I was sitting with some hypocrites -- they came to see their friends and what others were wearing rather than to see the game.
Some games went into overtime, and I was late getting home.
The band played some numbers that I had never heard before.
It seems that the games are scheduled when I want to do other things.
I was taken to too many games by my parents when I was growing up. I don't want to take my children to any games, because I want them to choose for themselves what sport they like best.
Thats silly isnt it? Yet, those are the same kinds of excuses people use for not coming to church. Church is far more important than any ball game has ever been. We need to stow our excuses, and just admit that our hearts are not where they need to be with the Lord. We need to repent of our sin of not attending His house, and get back to where we need to be: the house of God!
If you need a reason to go to church, I will give you two excellent reasons.
1. God commands it - Heb. 10:25.
2. Jesus practiced it - Luke 4:16.
D. We Are To Wait Together – As we see the coming of the Lord draw closer each day, we are to encourage one another to faithfulness and holy living. The idea here is this: as the end of this evil age draws near, and the coming of Christ draws near; it is going to become increasingly harder to remain holy and separated from this world. We are going to need the fellowship of the church more than we ever have. We have a duty to one another to encourage, challenge and help one another along the way of life.
Jesus is coming and we need one another. We need the fellowship and the strength we draw from one another if we are to make it. We need what the church has to offer while we wait for Jesus.
Conc: When you see the phrase let us in the Bible, it is usually a command. These let us phrases here are no different. These commands teach us what the faithful people of God do with their lives. This is what the faithful do. Does this describe you?
As we close our thoughts today, let me ask you a couple of questions.
Are you saved? If you are, you are in the family of God and these commands apply to your life. If you are not, let me invite you to come to Jesus today. He loves you. He died to save you. If you will come to Him, He will save your soul and put you in His family.
Are you faithful? If you are, the Lord will reward you for your faithful service and attention to His will. If you have allowed yourself to wander from the path God intended for you to walk. You can get that made right today.
If you need help in your life, please listen to what the Lord has to say to you today.