The Book of Hebrews #40 chapter 10:19-25
The Book of Hebrews
Responding to the New Covenant (pt. 1)
Hebrews 10:19-25
Tonight we are at Hebrews 10:19.  It is actually the beginning of an invitation to these Hebrews to respond to the message of Jesus Christ.
Now think about that:  For 10 and one-half chapters, the author has preached a sermon about the superiority of Jesus Christ to Judaism.  It’s taken us 39 weeks to cover it.  That means, so far I’ve given you 19.5 hours of teaching on the person and work of Jesus before we get to the invitation.  And BVro. Gary thought I was long-winded!
But when you think about it, that makes all kinds of sense.  If you’re going to talk about the absolute sovereignty and superiority and supremacy of Jesus Christ, you better be prepared to spend some time doing it.  I feel sorry for those who are satisfied with a little bit of Bible reading.  They can pick it up occasionally and read a little bit and get a little sermonette at church every so often and be satisfied.
Not me, man!   Give me the goodies and the deep stuff and let me jump in with both feet and spend some time reveling in how great and big is my God!
So the author spends 10 and ½ chapters talking about Jesus and supporting his argument from Old Testament Scripture as he systematically disassembles Judaism and presents Christ as superior in every regard.
Then he comes to the invitation.  And the invitation he extends to them is the same invitation we extend to people today and there are only two responses. 
When a man hears the gospel, the good news of salvation from sin through Jesus Christ, and when that man understands the gospel, and when that man believes that the gospel is true, then he will either accept it or reject it.
It’s one of those things with which there is no middle ground.  You’re either in or out.  There is either a positive response or a negative response.
Hebrews deals with the positive response first. The positive response is salvation. Now, salvation is made up of three features and you find them referenced through Scripture.  There is faith, hope and love.  And it is interesting to see how they are presented here in Hebrews 10.
Verses 19-24
Did you notice that there are three statements beginning with “Let us” in these verses.  First is faith. "Let us draw near," verse 22. Secondly is hope, verse 23, "Let us hold fast", and then there's love, verse 24, "Let us consider one another."
Salvation is drawing near, holding fast and loving each other. That's the fullness of salvation.
Think about that very practically.  If somebody draws near and falls away, that's not salvation. If somebody draws near, but doesn’t love his brother, that’s not salvation either.
In fact, it sound an awfully lot like I John, in which it says, "If any man say he love God and love not his brother, he's a liar."
And so salvation could be dissected into faith, hope and love.  Christians have faith in God, they hold fast to our hope and love each other. That indicates a true believer.
Let’s look at them individually.  First,
Verses 19-22
The key thought is verse 22.  We draw near through faith.
On what basis can we draw near?
Verse 19
Notice he begins by saying, "We can enter into God's presence" and he references it as the “Holiest”.  That’s a reference to the Holy of Holies in the Temple and Tabernacle.  The Jews understood what he was talking about. That was the dwelling place of God in their mind. Nobody went there except the high priest once a year to offer atonement for the sins of the nation Israel.
But now He is saying, "All of you can enter into God's presence. The veil has been torn down, and you can all enter in, and you can enter in boldly."
Now that’s a pretty big deal to a Jew because nobody ever even went close to the Holy of Holies.
They still don’t, by the way.  In fact I read an article posted in the Jerusalem Post in March of 2012 about the rabbis warning the Jews about visiting the Temple Mount at all.  It reminded them that going to the Mount, much less the Holy of Holies required specific cleansing ceremonies that cannot even be performed today. They have signs posted warning the Jews that Torah Law forbids them from approaching the Temple Mount.
But because of the new covenant, He says we can have boldness. We don't even go in sheepishly, saying, "God, I'm coming, don't hurt me!"  We don't need to go into God's presence trembling. We can go in without any fear.
Back in chapter 4, verse 16, this thought was introduced to us, when He said, "Let us therefore come boldly unto the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy.”  The reason we can go in boldly is because we know God is not going to give us justice.
If we went in there and He gave us justice, He'd have to destroy us, because we deserve punishment. Instead, He took the justice and laid it on Jesus Christ and paid for sin, and therefore he can give us mercy, and so we can go boldly.  In fact, we go into His presence, the apostle Paul says, "crying Abba, Father," which means papa. It's intimate and personal.
So based on the fact that through His blood, Jesus made the perfect sacrifice that provided access, we have boldness to go in and meet God person to person.
That process is described in verse 20 as a “new and living way." It's not the old way. The old way was done away with because it didn’t work.  The new way got us all the way in because it was by the blood of Jesus, not animals.
By the way, the word “new” here in the text is an unusual word.  It’s not the usual word we normally find.  This particular word means “freshly slaughtered”.
Literally what it says is, "We have boldness to enter into the holiness by the blood of Jesus by a freshly slaughtered way." Is that not vivid?  Who was it that was freshly slaughtered that opened the way? Jesus Christ, a freshly slain road to God.
Not only was it a freshly slaughtered way, it is a living way.
How can you have a freshly slain way that is a  living sacrifice? You and I know.  We take that for granted.  We know it very well.  But that didn’t work in the Old Testament. You could have one or the other but you couldn’t have both.
None of those animals bounced back to come alive again. None of those pieces joined back together. But Jesus did!  He is freshly slaughtered and living at the same time!  In fact, this letter was written about thirty years after the ascension and they’re still referencing it in that way.
Jesus isn't a dead sacrifice. He's alive. He's risen. And he's seated at the right hand of the Father, making intercession for us. And so it's a living way because the sacrifice is alive.
And by the way, do you remember what He said?  He said, “Because I live, you shall live also.”
Even though we were dead in our trespasses and sins, Jesus Christ reached down and made us alive.
The day I met Jesus Christ, I came alive, in the truest sense.
John said in John, chapter 1, "In Him was life, and the life was the light of men." In Him was life. Jesus said, "I am the way, the truth and the life." He said to Martha, "I am the resurrection and the life. He that believes in me, though he were dead, yet shall he live. And he that lives and believes in me shall never die."
And the Old Testament couldn't give that kind of sensitivity. The old covenant couldn't promise that kind of real, intimate life, where you sense God. But we have it.  And we walk and talk with Him every day. And we're alive to Him, and we feel Him. It's a new and living way.
And notice how verse 20 continues.
How did He make this available? Through His flesh. And here His flesh is called a veil.
This is interesting. The inner Holy of Holies was separated from the Holy Place by this heavy veil. That was to keep anybody out that wanted to get in. You just couldn't get in there. This great veil was there. It barred man's access to God.
When the high priest in Israel went into the Holy of Holies on that one day, he just pushed it aside and went in. But when Christ died, He didn't brush the veil aside. He split it from top to bottom, and left it wide open.
But there's even a deeper thought than that here. The writer says the veil is Christ's flesh. Now think about that.  As long as Christ stayed alive, and as long as He was living, the way to God was barred, even though He was telling us about God.
Christ came into the world and told us all about God.  Through Him, men got to see God in the flesh.  But if He had remained alive, and if His flesh was never torn on the cross, then the way was never open. But when the flesh of Jesus Christ was ripped asunder at the cross, the way to God was open. And so Christ's flesh, in a very real sense, veiled off God until it was torn.
An uncrucified Savior is no savior at all. If Jesus just came into the world, talked a lot, said what He wanted us to do and left, the way would still be barred. He had to die and rise again, so that we could die to sin and live to God.
So as long as in the flesh He was alive, it was a veil. When He died, the veil of His flesh was torn, and the way to God was open. And it was symbolized as the veil in the Temple was split, and access to God was provided.
And so the Messiah had provided actual entrance into the presence of God. The reality had come. And all the Old Testament things could fall away. They were no longer needed. He opened the way.
Verse 21
Not only did He open the way, He became the high priest in the presence of God. He not only showed us the way. He took us in there with Him.
The term "high priest" here is really translated "great priest." He, the great priest, is there in God's presence mediating for us. And the term "the house of God" has to do with all believers.
So Jesus Christ opened the way, a new and living way, but He didn't only open it. He took us in there with Him.
And it is on the basis that access is provided that verse 22 says "Let us draw near." The way is open and you can come in boldly into the presence of God, because of what Christ has done.
Then He tells them how to come.
Verse 22
 "Come with a true heart."
That's a beautiful thought. True is means true in the sense of genuine, with no ulterior motives, no hypocrisy, no superficiality. Genuinely. This is coming to God with a total commitment in your heart.  And remember we are talking about coming in faith.
He says, "Come on, draw near, but do it genuinely, with a whole heart."
Then he says, "in full assurance of faith."
We must come to God in faith. Not works, not self-righteousness, but faith. Not doubting, but believing God.
In fact, all God asks is that you believe. You can't please God apart from faith. Only faith pleases God.
We all live by faith, and faith is a commodity that every man has to a certain limited degree, but when a man comes to Jesus Christ, he comes with a faith that is more than just the natural man has.
The Bible says in Ephesians 2:8 and 9, "For by grace are ye saved through faith, and that not of yourselves. It is a gift of God."
Saving faith is a gift of God, just like everything else. It's when God plants within your heart the ability to believe, and gives you the faith to respond, when your heart is open and ready. And no man really comes to God unless he believes.
What happens when we do?
verse 22
He is drawing their attention to the Old Testament ritual. The priest would wash himself. The holy things were cleansed. And everything was sprinkled with the blood of the sacrifice. And all through all of this sprinkling of blood and everything, the priest was constantly bathing and cleansing himself in the laver, which was the basin of clear water.
But it was all external.  It never got inside.
But notice the statement "having our hearts sprinkled from an evil conscience." This is a beautiful picture of deliverance.
The conscience condemns and brings guilt. And the guilt can never be removed until the sin is removed. And when Jesus died, His blood removed our sins, and thus our conscience becomes free from guilt.
When Jesus' blood is shed and we believe, our sins are forgiven. And when the burden of a guilt-ridden conscience is removed, we've been cleansed from an evil conscience. The precious blood of Jesus Christ removes the evil conscience, that condemning, guilty feeling. And we don't condemn ourselves anymore.
Now, that has to do with God's side. You see, when you're saved, sin is forgiven. You're sprinkled, as it were. Like on the Passover, the blood was sprinkled. The angel of death passed by. You're sprinkled and clean. That's satisfaction toward God, or expiation, if you want a theological word. It's the cleansing that applies toward God. In other words, sin is removed.
But it also deals with our side of it as well.  Our bodies are washed with pure water. And here we have simply the idea that there is a cleansing that goes on within us by the Spirit of God.
First of all, blood is sprinkled to satisfy God. Then you and I are cleansed on the inside by water.
Now, some people say that's baptism, but it can't be baptism. That's not the point there. This is talking about a spiritual cleansing.
So you have two things when you're saved. Number one, God is satisfied, and two, you're changed. Your sins are covered in the blood, and your life is transformed.
And those two are inseparable. When a man comes to Christ, they both take place. The legal act of Christ's death is applied on His behalf, and God is satisfied. And the cleansing act of the Holy Spirit changes him on the inside, and he is satisfied. And all this comes when a man boldly enters by faith.
So the first response, then, that the Word of God is calling for to the new covenant is the response of faith. He says, "Let us draw near."
Let’s pray.
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