Hebrews 10:19-25

Hebrews  •  Sermon  •  Submitted   •  Presented   •  1:03:04
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READ Hebrews 10:19-25
Review/Final section about Jesus as the Great High Priest (v19-21)
Application in 4 Exhortations/Commands:
Let us draw near (v22)
Let us hold fast the confession of our hope (v23)
Let us consider how to stir up one another to love and good works (v24-25)

Jesus the Great High Priest

Review: Jesus as the Great High Priest
Review Intro: This section serves as a kind of review and summary of Jesus as the Great High Priest. This section also serves as the reason, as the basis for the invitation/commands (Therefore). So what is the summary? What is the basis for these invitation commands? Well, it can be understood in terms of what Jesus has done, and what we have because of his work.
What Jesus has done
Jesus, as the Son, who is greater than the angels (Heb, 1-2), became man and was greater than Moses and Joshua, who led the people into freedom and rest (Heb, 3-4). He has become a priest greater than any high priest from among men! He is greater because while he sympathizes with our weaknesses, he is free from sin. Because he is free from sin, he needs no sacrifice for himself. He is pure and able to rightly approach God. Because has the power of an indestructible life, his priestly ministry has no end. And because the blood of goats and bulls could not satisfy the justice of God toward sin, the blood of man was required. And Jesus, being the only sinless man, the Son of God from all eternity, he was able to offer himself as our sacrifice and bear the weight of God’s wrath toward us. He died in our place. But, he did not stay dead because he possessed the power of an indestructible life. He was raised up to life again and has gone into the presence of God the Father to intercede, to advocate, to plead our case before God, to present our prayers and our needs before him, like incense, which God describes as a pleasing aroma to Him.
This is just a brief summary of what Jesus has done, according to both Hebrews and the rest of Scripture.
What we have:
So what is the result of what Jesus has done? What do we have, that we didn’t before the sacrifice of Jesus, that we did not have personally before God worked repentance, faith, and spiritual rebirth?
The blood of Jesus (v19)
Which Purifies
Boldness to enter the sanctuary (v19)
and is the result of having Jesus’ blood
A new and living way - a new Covenant
It is a new way to live
It is a way to be perfectly right with God
It is a road paved by, maintained by, and safeguarded by Jesus
A new Curtain, which is the flesh of Jesus.
Now, as I was preparing to preach, I had to stop to think about this, because it was something I had not seen before. Jesus is spoken of as the curtain, a new curtain, really.
But why? Wasn’t the curtain torn when Jesus died on the cross for our sins? Yes, that is what happened according to Matthew, 27:51. And isn’t this rightly understood to mean that the barrier between God and man had been torn by Jesus, so that we can approach the Holy Places? YES!
So, WHY ANOTHER CURTAIN? Because the earthly temple was a fuzzy shadow of the real and heavenly things, according to Hebrews, 9:23-24. So even the curtain was a shadow of something, and that something, according Hebrews, 10:19 is Jesus and his flesh.
And what is the purpose of Jesus as this curtain? To guard the way to God. Now, you might be thinking, “Jesus doesn’t guard the way to God, he made a way!” The truth is, he both is the way and guards the way. Jesus and the New Testament tell us this in many ways.
John 14:6 “Jesus told him, “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.”
That is both giving entrance and exclusion
John 10:9 “I am the gate. If anyone enters by me, he will be saved and will come in and go out and find pasture.”
There is entrance and exclusion again.
1 Corinthians, 1:17-31
1 Corinthians 1:17–31 CSB
For Christ did not send me to baptize, but to preach the gospel—not with eloquent wisdom, so that the cross of Christ will not be emptied of its effect. For the word of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but it is the power of God to us who are being saved. For it is written, I will destroy the wisdom of the wise, and I will set aside the intelligence of the intelligent. Where is the one who is wise? Where is the teacher of the law? Where is the debater of this age? Hasn’t God made the world’s wisdom foolish? For since, in God’s wisdom, the world did not know God through wisdom, God was pleased to save those who believe through the foolishness of what is preached. For the Jews ask for signs and the Greeks seek wisdom, but we preach Christ crucified, a stumbling block to the Jews and foolishness to the Gentiles. Yet to those who are called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ is the power of God and the wisdom of God, because God’s foolishness is wiser than human wisdom, and God’s weakness is stronger than human strength. Brothers and sisters, consider your calling: Not many were wise from a human perspective, not many powerful, not many of noble birth. Instead, God has chosen what is foolish in the world to shame the wise, and God has chosen what is weak in the world to shame the strong. God has chosen what is insignificant and despised in the world—what is viewed as nothing—to bring to nothing what is viewed as something, so that no one may boast in his presence. It is from him that you are in Christ Jesus, who became wisdom from God for us—our righteousness, sanctification, and redemption —in order that, as it is written: Let the one who boasts, boast in the Lord.
Matthew 21:42–44 CSB
Jesus said to them, “Have you never read in the Scriptures: The stone that the builders rejected has become the cornerstone. This is what the Lord has done and it is wonderful in our eyes? Therefore I tell you, the kingdom of God will be taken away from you and given to a people producing its fruit. Whoever falls on this stone will be broken to pieces; but on whomever it falls, it will shatter him.”
You see, Jesus and his work are the way to God but serve as the obstacle between man and reconciliation with God. If they want another way other than following Jesus, there is no other way. If they think they can be good enough, religious enough, moral enough to enter the holy place, the curtain of Jesus’ flesh will deny them entrance.
Matthew 7:21–23
Matthew 7:21–23 CSB
“Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but only the one who does the will of my Father in heaven. On that day many will say to me, ‘Lord, Lord, didn’t we prophesy in your name, drive out demons in your name, and do many miracles in your name?’ Then I will announce to them, ‘I never knew you. Depart from me, you lawbreakers!
A Great High Priest over the house of God

Let us Draw Near

Let Us Draw Near
This is the first exhortation/command, the encouragement to draw near. As we are keeping in mind here the topic of Jesus as the new and better priest, as the new and better sacrifice, and the new and true curtain, we are invited to approach God in worship through Jesus! We are now to approach him to bring our sacrifices:
Sacrifices of thanksgiving, according to Psalm, 116:17
Sacrifices of praise, according to Hebrews, 13:15
We are to offer our prayers to God, which are presented to God with the pleasing aroma of Incense. Revelation, 8:3-4
We are to present our bodies as living sacrifices, denying our sinful desires and walking in holiness, grace, and freedom before God, according to Romans, 12:1)
As Owen says, “So this drawing near includes all the holy worship of the church, both public and private, all the ways of our access to God through Christ. And the exhortation given for this duty is the first inference the apostle makes about the benefits we receive from Christ’s priesthood and sacrifice.”
And we are commanded to draw near to God in a particular manner:
With a true or sincere heart
in full assurance of faith,
with our hearts sprinkled clean from an evil conscience
and our bodies washed in pure water.
Let us think about what these things mean.
With a true heart
We are to come to God with pure motives
James 4:1–4 CSB
What is the source of wars and fights among you? Don’t they come from your passions that wage war within you? You desire and do not have. You murder and covet and cannot obtain. You fight and wage war. You do not have because you do not ask. You ask and don’t receive because you ask with wrong motives, so that you may spend it on your pleasures. You adulterous people! Don’t you know that friendship with the world is hostility toward God? So whoever wants to be the friend of the world becomes the enemy of God.
When we come to God in prayer, we are to make our requests with a pure heart.
Matthew 6:5–8 CSB
“Whenever you pray, you must not be like the hypocrites, because they love to pray standing in the synagogues and on the street corners to be seen by people. Truly I tell you, they have their reward. But when you pray, go into your private room, shut your door, and pray to your Father who is in secret. And your Father who sees in secret will reward you. When you pray, don’t babble like the Gentiles, since they imagine they’ll be heard for their many words. Don’t be like them, because your Father knows the things you need before you ask him.
When we pray, it must not be a show to display our holiness before men, nor in an attempt to flatter God and manipulate him into giving us what we want.
Psalm 51:16–17 CSB
You do not want a sacrifice, or I would give it; you are not pleased with a burnt offering. The sacrifice pleasing to God is a broken spirit. You will not despise a broken and humbled heart, God.
i. Particularly when we approach God after we have sinned, he wants us to have a heart that is humble and repentant.
These are just some of the aspects of what it means to approach God with a true heart.
In full assurance of faith
We approach God with confidence because:
Jesus is our high priest and sympathizes with us (Hebrews,4:14-16)
We approach God with confidence because Jesus has said we can approach through him (John, 10 and John, 14).
We approach with confidence because “The blood of Jesus his Son cleanses us from all sin. If we say, ‘we have no sin,’ we are deceiving ourselves and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, he is faithful and righteous to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.”
We must approach with hearts sprinkled clean from an evil conscience.
This comes back to the last point, that Jesus cleanses us from sin. But this concept of “hearts sprinkled clean” is another one of those priestly references. In the Old Testament, for example, in Leviticus, 16, the blood of the animal sacrifices was sprinkled on the ark of the covenant, on the altar for the burnt offerings, and according to Hebrews, 9 all the articles in the temple were sprinkled with sacrificial blood, and also the scroll on which was written the covenant. And just like these articles were sprinkled, so our hearts are sprinkled for “without the shedding of blood there is no forgiveness” (Hebrews, 9:21).
So in order to approach God, there must be blood shed on our behalf, and then that blood must be sprinkled on us. But why the heart? Because that is where our problem is: the heart. The heart is where our emotions, our desires originate. It was this part of mankind that was affected by the Sin of Adam and Eve in the Garden. After that point, God has said this about the fallen man’s heart:
In the days of Noah Genesis 6:5 (ESV): “The Lord saw that the wickedness of man was great in the earth, and that every intention of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually.”
In the days of Jeremiah, the Lord said, “Jeremiah 17:9 (ESV): The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately sick; who can understand it?”
When Jesus walked the earth, “Matthew 9:1–8 (CSB): Just then some men brought to him a paralytic lying on a stretcher. Seeing their faith, Jesus told the paralytic, “Have courage, son, your sins are forgiven.” At this, some of the scribes said to themselves, “He’s blaspheming!” Perceiving their thoughts, Jesus said, “Why are you thinking evil things in your hearts? For which is easier: to say, ‘Your sins are forgiven,’ or to say, ‘Get up and walk’? But so that you may know that the Son of Man has authority on earth to forgive sins”—then he told the paralytic, “Get up, take your stretcher, and go home.” So he got up and went home. When the crowds saw this, they were awestruck, and gave glory to God, who had given such authority to men.”
Knowing this issue is within the deepest parts of man, we see that the solution is with God. He told the Israelites that if and when they disobey him, they would be sent into exile, and in Deuteronomy 30:1–6 ““When all these things happen to you—the blessings and curses I have set before you—and you come to your senses while you are in all the nations where the Lord your God has driven you, and you and your children return to the Lord your God and obey him with all your heart and all your soul by doing everything I am commanding you today, then he will restore your fortunes, have compassion on you, and gather you again from all the peoples where the Lord your God has scattered you. Even if your exiles are at the farthest horizon, he will gather you and bring you back from there. The Lord your God will bring you into the land your ancestors possessed, and you will take possession of it. He will cause you to prosper and multiply you more than he did your ancestors. The Lord your God will circumcise your heart and the hearts of your descendants, and you will love him with all your heart and all your soul so that you will live.”
The cure, according to God, is an inward circumcision, purification, a rebirth of the heart! And it must be done by God! We cannot do it ourselves! It must be done to us by God, which is why:
John 3:5–8 CSB
Jesus answered, “Truly I tell you, unless someone is born of water and the Spirit, he cannot enter the kingdom of God. Whatever is born of the flesh is flesh, and whatever is born of the Spirit is spirit. Do not be amazed that I told you that you must be born again. The wind blows where it pleases, and you hear its sound, but you don’t know where it comes from or where it is going. So it is with everyone born of the Spirit.”
Romans 2:25–29 CSB
Circumcision benefits you if you observe the law, but if you are a lawbreaker, your circumcision has become uncircumcision. So if an uncircumcised man keeps the law’s requirements, will not his uncircumcision be counted as circumcision? A man who is physically uncircumcised, but who keeps the law, will judge you who are a lawbreaker in spite of having the letter of the law and circumcision. For a person is not a Jew who is one outwardly, and true circumcision is not something visible in the flesh. On the contrary, a person is a Jew who is one inwardly, and circumcision is of the heart—by the Spirit, not the letter. That person’s praise is not from people but from God.
That’s why the word used here is a passive word - a further indication of our dependence the sacrifice whose blood is sprinkled on us, and on our great high priest to do the sprinkling. And that leads us to the final manner in which we are to approach God:
With our bodies washed with pure water.
Just as we need to have our hearts cleansed by God via the sprinkling of the Sacrificial blood of Christ, we need to have our bodies washed as well in order to draw near to God.
Again, this is most likely drawing on the priestly rituals of approaching God, which included the High Priest washing himself and changing his clothes on the Day of Atonement in order to approach God.
We are washed by Christ not by ourselves, as they are passives words. And I believe the author’s point is that God has cleansed, has prepared and is preparing the totality of your person to stand before God, to offer pleasing worship to him. If you belong to Jesus, he has done and is doing a real work in you. You are positionally holy, and now he is working out holiness in your life so that Jesus can rightly present us before God when we meet face to face!

Let us hold on to the confession of our hope

Let us hold on to the confession of our hope without wavering, since he who promised is faithful.
This is the second exhortation/command, and like the first, we are given the command, the manner in which we obey, and the reason for the invitation/command.
This command is the command to hold on to the confession. We covered this early on in our study of Hebrews, and to summarize, the confession is that Jesus is the promised Son of God, the Messiah, and the only way to be saved. Of course we can apply all that we have seen from the text about Jesus as our Great High Priest as well, but the main point is that Jesus is the way to Salvation, not Temple worship at Jerusalem. Not the blood of bulls, goats, or sheep. This truth, this confession that has been held since the Apostles first began to preach is what these Hebrews were being exhorted to hold on to, and what we are to hold onto today.
The way we are to hold is without wavering. As the church was being hammered by persecution and tempted by the Jewish people to return to the old sacrificial system to bring this supposedly self-inflicted suffering to an end, they are told “hold fast, without wavering.” But how could they, and many saints throughout history hope to hold fast without wavering? It is for this reason: “He who promised is faithful.”
God is the one who has always kept the promises he has made.
God promised Abraham he would give him a son and make him the father of many nations. And God kept that promise.
God promised Israel that he would deliver them from slavery and take them back to the land of Canaan to be their possession. He kept that promise.
He promised Israel that when they would disobey and rebel that he would send them into exile. He kept that promise.
He promised Israel that after being sent into exile, if they would repent and cry out to God, he would hear them and restore them to the land. God kept that promise.
And God promised to send a redeemer to save his people from their sin, and he kept that promise.
God promised to make that redeemer, Jesus a priest forever. And God has kept that promise.
God has promised that Jesus is the only way to be reconciled with God, and that those who Believe in Jesus will be raised to life on the last day. He promised that Jesus would hold them safely in his iron-grip.
And we can trust that promise, we can hold onto the confession of Jesus as the only way, because God has shown us throughout history that he is Faithful to keep his promises. So we can trust the greatest promise of salvation and resurrection to paradise without wavering, no matter what the world throws at us. And in many ways, this is the point of Chapter 11, what is often called the Hall of Faith. All of these people, named and unnamed followed God in faith, many to a bitter end, but they held fast, so let us hold fast to our confession, no matter the earthly consequences, just as we are commanded.

Let us consider how to provoke love and good works

Let us consider one another in order to provoke love and good works.
As in the 2 previous invitation/commands there is a command given, a manner in which to do it, and the reason for the command.
The command here is to consider one another in order to provoke love and good works. As the ESV translates it, “Let us consider how to stir up one another to love and good works.” Essentially, the author is saying “Give some thought about how to exhort each other in godliness.”
So, let me me give you an analogy about the importance of this:
Now how many of you have heard of the book and concept “the 5 love languages?” In a sense, I see the basics of this command to be like that. Each person can interpret behaviors more or less loving than other ones. Some people feel very loved if tenderly touched by their spouse. Others crave dedicated time together. Others really desire compliments. Others interpret doing work and projects as a demonstration of love. And others really love presents - especially children.
But what does the idea of the love languages have in common with the command “consider one another in order to provoke love and good works?” It is about getting to know people, thinking about what is meaningful to them. Its about being thoughtful. Just as we should be thoughtful about doing things that are meaningful to those you love, we ought to be thoughtful about how we stir each other up in love and good works.
So that brings us to the how of this command: “not neglecting gathering together, as some are in the habit of doing.”
Just like my wife and I need time together, in order that I can know how to love and encourage her, we need to spend time with our brothers and sisters in Christ to know how to provoke each other to love and good works. How can we know how to push each other toward love unless we see areas in which they excel in loving and areas that need improvement? How can we stir each other up in good works unless we see both the good works they are doing and areas of sin?
So, in order to do this we see that the author of Hebrews tells us that the way we know how to do this is by gathering together.
One obvious application is that we must regularly attend church on Sunday. The Sunday service is first and foremost an opportunity to love and worship God, and during this time we hear Scripture and Sermons and engage in Sunday School which serve as a means to stir us up to love God and Love others. We are exhorted to obey God and do good works. So yes, do this.
But it doesn’t stop at regular church attendance. Let’s look at Acts, after Peter’s sermon on Pentecost: Acts 2:41–47
Acts 2:41–47 CSB
So those who accepted his message were baptized, and that day about three thousand people were added to them. They devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching, to the fellowship, to the breaking of bread, and to prayer. Everyone was filled with awe, and many wonders and signs were being performed through the apostles. Now all the believers were together and held all things in common. They sold their possessions and property and distributed the proceeds to all, as any had need. Every day they devoted themselves to meeting together in the temple, and broke bread from house to house. They ate their food with joyful and sincere hearts, praising God and enjoying the favor of all the people. Every day the Lord added to their number those who were being saved.
In this passage we see several behaviors that the early church was consistently doing.
They were devoted to the Apostles teaching - which is what is being modeled in sermons coming straight from the Bible and engaging in Bible studies.
They were devoted to prayer, which can be done privately, or with others.
They were devoted to the fellowship, or meeting together.
This meeting together included worshipping God at the Temple or Synagogue (until they were kicked out).
They were meeting together house to house, often sharing meals together. And this was something they were devoted to. They were devoted to spending time together. When you do that you see strengths and weaknesses, righteousness and sin. We can understand how and when people need to be loved, encouraged, corrected, and urged to engage in behaviors of love and good works.
If gathering together with brothers and sisters both at the church and in homes is not something that is a regular practice, that is neglecting meeting together. And we are commanded not to do that. In other words, if you are not regularly meeting together both in corporate worship and house-to-house in addition to Sunday Service, that’s disobedience, that’s sin.
And I have tried to approach this carefully. Notice I did not say you cannot miss a Sunday or that you must meet a certain number of times to be obedient to God. Scripture doesn’t give us those kinds of parameters, so neither will I. And we need to be understanding of the fact that sickness will come. There will be important deadlines at work that can get in the way of participation at times. And certain seasons can be unusual in that there is something preventing us from the normal meeting together that cannot be avoided. There is no condemnation for those kinds of things. But those who have been at church regularly, those who have been fellowshipping together will be deeply disturbed and will be missing the ministry of the word and the fellowship if they are away. They long to hear God’s word and long to be with their brothers and sisters.
You see, in 2020 during the year of Covid, my wife and I were living in Arizona, and our pastors did something the majority of other churches did not - they did not shut down at all. And what we found was over the next several months, our church about doubled in size, and it was very common for people coming to be in tears of grief because their pastors had closed their church doors for months on end. They were in tears grateful to be singing the praises of God together with brothers and sisters in Christ. They had been longing to remember Jesus’ sacrificial death through communion, which they had not eaten in 3 months, 6 months, or even longer. They were so grateful to have genuine human connection with other Christians. Brothers and sisters, if you have been timid in returning to worship and meeting together due to Covid or any avoidable circumstance, it is time to come back - so that you may obey this command, and for the health of your soul.
Ultimately, if you do not love God’s people, God’s bride, and yet claim to love God, 1 John says that you do not actually love God, and you do not have salvation.
But I want to remind you that the remedy to this is not “Make sure you go to Church And be involved in a home group” though those are good and obedient things to do. Because the problem is disobedience, is sin, the remedy is this: 1 John 1:9
1 John 1:9 CSB
If we confess our sins, he is faithful and righteous to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.
And the reason we must do this, that we must pay attention to this command, to be lovingly exhorting one another is that THE DAY is coming. The day of Jesus’ return is coming. We must be concerned with our godliness because we want to be ready to meet Jesus. We ought to be concerned with our obedience lest we be embarrassed when he returns, and for those who have not yet turned from their sin and trusted in Jesus for salvation, You must do this because when you die, or when Jesus returns, that’s it. Your opportunity to receive mercy has ended. Do not wait, to find forgiveness.
As we conclude our time, Remember, it is because of the priestly and sacrificial work of Jesus that we may approach God, and therefore, let us draw near to God, let us hold fast to our confession that Jesus is our only salvation, and let us exhort one another in love and good works. Let’s pray.
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