Here is a copy of the sermon I prepared and taught this past Sunday (May 20, 2007). I pretty much followed what I have written here, but I did not really read it like a transcript. In fact, my copy was this, but I highlighted the main ideas I had, to keep me on track. I will probably post a MP3 copy of what I actually said on Sunday morning (but that won’t be coming for at least another week). Anywho, feel free to read this until then, I would love to hear your feedback.
19 Therefore, brothers, while having confidence to access the Holiest place in the blood of Jesus. 20 A new and living way, which He inaugurated to us through the veil of his flesh, 21 and while having a great priest over the house of God, 22 let us draw near with a trustworthy heart in full assurance of faith after having our hearts sprinkled from an evil conscience and our body washed with pure water. 23 let us hold fast the confession of the Hope, without wavering, for the one who promised is faithful. 24 And let us consider one another, to stir up love and good works, 25 not forsaking the meeting of yourselves, as is custom with some, but encouraging the meeting of yourselves and all the more as you see the day drawing near.
As Christians, we all have something great. In these verses, Paul tells us two things we have and because of these two things, we should respond in three ways. These verses are the culmination point of the entire book.
In chapters 1-4, Paul presents Jesus as God’s superior son. In chapters 5-10, Paul presents Jesus as God’s High Priest. In chapters 11-12, Paul elaborates on what the response should be to the first 10 chapters.
Regardless of the evidence that this book seems to have been written mainly to Jewish Christian, it definitely has application to our lives. In these verses (-25), Paul sums up the previous 10 chapters and introduces the next three chapters. First he sums up what we have through Jesus – confidence to enter the holiest place and a great high priest. Then he introduces the next two chapters, telling us what our response should be – draw near to God, hold fast to our faith, and consider one another to good works. As we go through these verses we should see a fine thread that Paul has weaved through this book, and we will try to meditate on the points that Paul is clearly emphasizing.
Paul is affirming that we have two things because of Christ, a bold confidence to enter the Holiest place and a Great High Priest; therefore, because of these free gifts, Paul urges us to respond by drawing close to God, holding fast to our faith, and considering one another to good works.
What do we have? (10:19-21)
1) We have a bold confidence… (19-20).
19 Therefore, brothers, while having confidence to access the Holiest place in the blood of Jesus. 20 Which he inaugurated to us a new and living way, through the veil of his flesh,
Confidence – The word here for confidence is can also mean boldness or frankness. A good understanding in this context would be that we have a bold confidence.
Hebrews 4:15-16 – 15 For we do not have a high priest who cannot sympathize with our weaknesses, but One who has been tempted in all things as we are, yet without sin. 16 Therefore let us draw near with confidence to the throne of grace, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need.
Holiest place – What is the Holiest place? Is this the Old Testament’s Holy of Holies? Is it this building? Is it something else? Look at what Paul tells us in chapter 9…
Hebrews 9:1-3 – 1 Now even the first covenant had regulations of divine worship and the earthly sanctuary. 2 For there was a tabernacle prepared, the outer one, in which were the lampstand and the table and the sacred bread; this is called the holy place. 3 Behind the second veil there was a tabernacle which is called the Holy of Holies,
Hebrews 9:11-12 – 11 But when Christ appeared as a high priest of the good things to come, He entered through the greater and more perfect tabernacle, not made with hands, that is to say, not of this creation; 12 and not through the blood of goats and calves, but through His own blood, He entered the holy place once for all, having obtained eternal redemption.
Hebrews 9:24 – 24 For Christ did not enter a holy place made with hands, a mere copy of the true one, but into heaven itself, now to appear in the presence of God for us;
Inaugurate – How did God inaugurate a bold confidence for us? By dying for us.
Hebrews 9:16-18 – 16 For where a covenant is, there must of necessity be the death of the one who made it. 17 For a covenant is valid only when men are dead, for it is never in force while the one who made it lives. 18 Therefore even the first covenant was not inaugurated without blood.
Veil of his flesh – What does the veil represent to us? Remember in the temple created by men there was this huge veil that separated the
Summary: Because of Christ’s work on the cross, we have a bold confidence to enter into Heaven and stand before God!
2) We have a great priest… (21).
21 and while having a great priest over the House of God,
Great Priest – How is Christ a great priest or greater than the previous priests?
Hebrews 7:23-27 – 23 The former priests, on the one hand, existed in greater numbers because they were prevented by death from continuing, 24 but Jesus, on the other hand, because He continues forever, holds His priesthood permanently. 25 Therefore He is able also to save forever those who draw near to God through Him, since He always lives to make intercession for them. 26 For it was fitting for us to have such a high priest, holy, innocent, undefiled, separated from sinners and exalted above the heavens; 27 who does not need daily, like those high priests, to offer up sacrifices, first for His own sins and then for the sins of the people, because this He did once for all when He offered up Himself.
Over the House of God – What is this?
Hebrews 3:6 – Christ was faithful as a Son over His house– whose house we are, if we hold fast our confidence and the boast of our hope firm until the end.
Summary: Because of Christ’s work on the cross, we not only have a bold confidence to enter into Heaven but we also have a great, holy, innocent, and undefiled High Priest forever, waiting for us in Heaven, continually saving and interceding for those who draw near to God through him and because of him.
What must we do? (22-25a)
1) We should draw near to God (22-23).
22 let us draw near with a trustworthy heart in full assurance of faith after having our hearts sprinkled from an evil conscience and our body washed with pure water.
Draw Near – Hebrews 10:1 tells us that the Law can never make those who draw near perfect. But because of Christ’s work, we have the bold confidence to be able to draw near to God.
Full Assurance of Faith – Paul is pointing his readers back to chapter 6.
Hebrews 6:10-12 – 10 For God is not unjust so as to forget your work and the love which you have shown toward His name, in having ministered and in still ministering to the saints. 11 And we desire that each one of you show the same diligence so as to realize the full assurance of hope until the end, 12 so that you will not be sluggish, but imitators of those who through faith and patience inherit the promises.
Hearts Sprinkled and Body washed – Many people believe that this is a symbol of baptism; I do not think it is. From my studies it looks more like baptism is a symbol of this. As I studied these verses I saw that this terminology is very similar to the Old Testaments terminology for consecrating the
For instance, Exodus 29 describes in detail how consecration took place in the Old Testament times. Here are a few verses from that chapter to help clarify this process:
Exodus 29:1-4,21 – 1 “Now this is what you shall do to them to consecrate them to minister as priests to Me: take one young bull and two rams without blemish, 2 and unleavened bread and unleavened cakes mixed with oil, and unleavened wafers spread with oil; you shall make them of fine wheat flour. 3 You shall put them in one basket, and present them in the basket along with the bull and the two rams. 4 Then you shall bring Aaron and his sons to the doorway of the tent of meeting and wash them with water. . . . 21 Then you shall take some of the blood that is on the altar and some of the anointing oil, and sprinkle it on Aaron and on his garments and on his sons and on his sons’ garments with him; so he and his garments shall be consecrated, as well as his sons and his sons’ garments with him.”
It had never occurred to me before studying these verses, but it seems like the consecration of the temple and the priests of the Old Testament were two signs pointing to the consecration of the temple and the priests of the New Testament. Throughout the New Testament we are referred to as both the temple and the priests.
I should also note that the physical things they did in the Old Testament actually consecrated. Similarly the act of baptizing does not consecrate someone today. At the end of Exodus 29, God assures them of this when he tells them…
Exodus 29:43-46 – 43 “I will meet there with the sons of
Ezekiel 36:25 – “25 Then I will sprinkle clean water on you, and you will be clean; I will cleanse you from all your filthiness and from all your idols.”
I think it is safe to say that God does the consecrating, what we do is recognize the consecrating by performing these symbols.
Summary: In light of what we have, we should respond by drawing near to God. Paul has affirmed for us that those who are saved have been consecrated as priests. Not by a work of being baptized, but by the work of God through Christ’s blood, cleansing us as pure water. Being consecrated as Priests and the
2) Hold fast our confession of Hope (23)
23 let us hold fast the confession of the Hope, without wavering, for the one who promised is faithful.
Confession – What is our confession of Hope? In Hebrews 3:1 Paul tells us that Jesus is our confession. In Paul’s second letter to the Corinthians, he shares with us a testimony of what happens when we hold to our confession of Hope. They will glorify God!
2 Corinthians – Because of the proof given by this ministry, they will glorify God for your obedience to your confession of the gospel of Christ and for the liberality of your contribution to them and to all,
The one who promised is faithful – Chapter 11 of Hebrews as often referred to as the Hall of Faith. As I was studying this book it occurred to me that chapter 11 is not only an example of what our faith should look like – but a testimony to the faithfulness of God. I encourage you to study chapter 11 with that in mind.
Summary: In light of what we have, we should respond by drawing near to God and by holding fast our faith, because God is faithful and will keep his promise. This reminds me of what John wrote in 1 John 4:19, “We love, because He first loved us.” I believe Paul is telling us, “We are faithful, because he first was faithful to us.”
3) Consider one another to good deeds (24-25a)
24 And let us consider one another, to stir up love and good works, 25a not forsaking the meeting of yourselves, as is custom with some, but encouraging the meeting of yourselves
Consider one another – What does it mean to consider one another? In Hebrews 11:3, a similar verb is used, but it is translated “understand.” I think Paul is telling us that we should know each other. I do not mean as acquaintances but as family knows one another. Know one another so well that we are able to truly encourage one another to love and truly urge one another to good works. Paul gives us a few examples of what this looks like:
Colossians 3:16 – Let the word of Christ richly dwell within you, with all wisdom teaching and admonishing one another with psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing with thankfulness in your hearts to God.
Ephesians 5:18b-19 – 18n be filled with the Spirit, 19 speaking to one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody with your heart to the Lord;
1 Corinthians – When you assemble, each one has a psalm, has a teaching, has a revelation, has a tongue, has an interpretation. Let all things be done for edification.
Paul even shares with us what it will look like if we do not consider one another.
Hebrews 12:14-15 – 14 Pursue peace with all men, and the sanctification without which no one will see the Lord. 15 See to it that no one comes short of the grace of God; that no root of bitterness springing up causes trouble, and by it many be defiled;
Forsaking – In the past, many people have used this verse to guilt people into coming to a building on Sunday morning. In light of this text, I do not feel Paul is talking about “going to church.” Paul just told us that we need to be considering one another to love and good works. I think what Paul is saying here, is that when you meet together, if you are not considering one another, then you are forsaking your meeting. When we gather, whether it is Sunday or any other day, we need to have this question in mind – how can I consider my brothers and sisters?
Encouraging – Many of your texts read, “encourage one another,” but since this is a direct contrast to “forsaking the meeting of ourselves,” I think a better translation would be to “encourage the meeting of ourselves.” Can we really be considering one another once or twice a week? In Hebrews 3:13, Paul seems to indicate we should be considering one another day after day.
Hebrews 3:13 – But encourage one another day after day, as long as it is still called “Today,” so that none of you will be hardened by the deceitfulness of sin.
Summary: In light of what we have, we should drawn near to God, hold fast our faith, and we should consider one another, not forsaking but encouraging our meeting, regardless of the meeting place or time. So that none of us will be hardened unto sin.
Conclusion: When should we do it? (25b)
1) All the more (25b)
25b and all the more as you see the day drawing near.
There is some debate as to whether or not this concluding remark of Paul is specifically linked to encouraging, or the three responses that he has listed. I am of the opinion that Paul wants us to respond all the more to all three of the responses he gives.
2 Peter – But the day of the Lord will come like a thief,
I am not claiming that I am a prophet, but I do know a little bit about math. Right now, we are almost 2000 years closer to the end… Jesus could come back at any moment. In fact, Jesus gave us a perfect illustration of this when he told the parable of the ten virgins.
Matthew 25:1-13 – 1 “Then the kingdom of heaven will be comparable to ten virgins, who took their lamps and went out to meet the bridegroom. 2 Five of them were foolish, and five were prudent. 3 For when the foolish took their lamps, they took no oil with them, 4 but the prudent took oil in flasks along with their lamps. 5 Now while the bridegroom was delaying, they all got drowsy and began to sleep. 6 But at there was a shout, ‘Behold, the bridegroom! Come out to meet him.’ 7 Then all those virgins rose and trimmed their lamps. 8 The foolish said to the prudent, ‘Give us some of your oil, for our lamps are going out.’ 9 But the prudent answered, ‘No, there will not be enough for us and you too; go instead to the dealers and buy some for yourselves.’ 10 And while they were going away to make the purchase, the bridegroom came, and those who were ready went in with him to the wedding feast; and the door was shut. 11 Later the other virgins also came, saying, ‘Lord, lord, open up for us.’ 12 But he answered, ‘Truly I say to you, I do not know you.’ 13 Be on the alert then, for you do not know the day nor the hour.”
Do not be like the foolish virgins. The day is coming; we know that we have a bold confidence to enter into Heaven, we know that we have a great High Priest interceding for us daily. We must respond; we must be drawing closer to God, we must hold fast our confession of hope, and we must consider one another to love and good works.