Monday, November 01, 2010

Are you ready for Worship?

Therefore, brothers, since we have confidence to enter the Most Holy Place by the blood of Jesus, by a new and living way opened for us through the curtain, that is, his body, and since we have a great priest over the house of God, let us draw near to God with a sincere heart in full assurance of faith, having our hearts sprinkled to cleanse us from a guilty conscience and having our bodies washed with pure water. Let us hold unswervingly to the hope we profess, for he who promised is faithful. And let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds. Let us not give up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but let us encourage one another—and all the more as you see the Day approaching. Hebrews 10:19-25

In the context of the passage, Hebrews chapter nine, we have a reminder that we enter a Most Holy Place; we have access to God’s Heavenly Temple where before, in the earthly copy, only the high priest had access, and then only once a year. This is a monumental opportunity and shows us the depth and magnitude of how much we have been saved, the whole propose of giving honor to God. This passage shows us that Jesus is our Perfect Sanctuary and gives the comparison between what God expected in the Old Testament and how we were not able to meet His standards; but, Christ does so in our place (Psalm 100; Heb. 9-10).

The passage in Hebrews, chapter ten, gives us an incredible promise and hope for our lives. We have the mind-boggling opportunity and call to approach God with boldness and confidence since He has covered our sins by the Person and Work of Christ. In worship, we are entering God’s holy sanctuary! We must be aware of the extraordinary unique sacrifice our Lord paid on our behalf and the agony and cost He bore, just so we could enter into God’s presence (Rev. 4-5).

Perhaps by refocusing on what Scripture lays out, we can fix our broken churches and our irreverence for our Lord. We must pay attention to Christ with faith and hope. He is giving encouragement to show an essential aspect of faith; it is trusting in Christ, but not blind faith because we know in whom we trust. This gives us assurance. We do not need to go to an altar or a priest, since Christ fills that role Himself. Jesus now asks us to come, where before, we had to stay away and give a sacrifice that was very temporary; in addition, if one’s heart was not right, the sacrifice was not accepted. Now we can go before Him anytime and anywhere. In context, we are also given four conditions:

1. Sincere heart!
2. Undivided allegiance, as in loyalty to Christ and His Church!
3. Full assurance of faith!
4. Hearts sprinkled and Bodies washed!

The question is why do we not, or why do we do so, so rarely? The pointed question for us is: are we filled with gratitude for who and what He has done? Can we really draw near to Him (Heb. 10:19-25)?

This all means we have clear, uninhibited access to God because of Christ (Gen. 4:2-15; Psalm 15; 73:28; Jer. 30:18-22; Matt. 27:51; Rom. 5:1-2; Eph. 2:13-22; Heb. 4:16; 7:19-25; 12:28; 3:15-16; 1 Pet. 2:4-10). And what makes this entrée happen is responding to His call with our sincere and true heart. This is showing that our willingness to be dependable and faithful without ulterior motives are the practical applications and exhortations of Christ’s precepts (Psalm 24:4; Jer. 24:7; Matt. 15:8).

Then, our full assurance of faith indicates our commitment; our faith does not hesitate since we are trusting in and following Christ. This sets us up for the Hebrews chapter 11 “hall of fame” of faith, what godly people do with faith. Salvation is not meant to be an invitation to merely sit in a pew; it is meant to impact our lives so we can motivate others to be encouraging and practical to one another.

By the work and love of our Lord, our hearts are sprinkled. By this, I mean a complete change and renewal of our hearts and minds when we receive Christ’s work and gift of grace and are thus released from a guilty conscience. This is about who Christ is and what He has done, and that we have freedom because of His once-for-all sacrifice (Rom. 1:8-15; 1 Cor. 11:4; Phil. 1:3; Col. 1:3; 1 Thess. 1:2; 2 Thess. 1:3; 2 Tim. 3:1; Philemon 4).

We are given covering and spiritual cleansing as our bodies are washed. This is like how the Hebrew Priests who went through the cleansing rituals could enter God’s presence with reverence and respect. We are cleansed before God’s sight; what an animal sacrifice did in the OT law, now Christ has done permanently for us, and we are washed so we can enter God’s presence (Ex. 24:8; 29:4; Lev. 16:4; Rom. 12:1-3; Heb. 9:13-14; 1 Pet. 1:2). Why is this important? It prepares us to worship God, for our sins are temporarily hidden. Now, in Christ, we are cleansed by the New Covenant and we are enabled to worship, which is an essential component of communion and community in Christ. We communicate our love, adoration, and gratitude to Christ, doing it together as a church locally, as a Church universally, and with all of creation “in concert” (Ex. 30:19-21; Lev. 8:6; 14:7-9; Ezek. 36:25-29; Eph. 5:26).

However, we must be on guard for the barriers that block us from receiving the application of worship. First, we are not to doubt, rather, trust and obey. James warns us that being double minded is like being on a rudderless boat, in a storm, on the sea. It will toss us to nowhere but ruin. Second is unwavering faith. The result is we will turn our frustrations and problems over to the Lord. If we insist on solving life’s issues ourselves, we will be very disappointed at the outcome. Giving of ourselves is a prime aspect of worship as our own personal gift to ourselves cannot work. If you are too busy working it out yourself, then the opportunity for God to work in you will be lost. Let God give Himself to you, let Him be God. Instability leads us nowhere, just like the storm tossed sea. Let your faith be unwavering and your boat be guided by God’s rudder and power; then, we can be healthy growing Christians in that elusive healthy church (James 5:1-8).


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