Passage: Hebrew 10:19-25
1 Peter 2 (The Living Stone and a Chosen People)
4 As you come to him, the living Stone–rejected by men but chosen by God and precious to him– 5 you also, like living stones, are being built into a spiritual house to be a holy priesthood, offering spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ.
9 But you are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people belonging to God, that you may declare the praises of him who called you out of darkness into his wonderful light. 10 Once you were not a people, but now you are the people of God; once you had not received mercy, but now you have received mercy.
11 Dear friends, I urge you, as aliens and strangers in the world, to abstain from sinful desires, which war against your soul. 12 Live such good lives among the pagans that, though they accuse you of doing wrong, they may see your good deeds and glorify God on the day he visits us.
As a child, in our natural inquisitiveness, and innocence we simply wanted know why something happened, or why someone did something.
The why of something is important.
Sadly, something happens as we grow up: we ask that question less. Either we think we know it all, or sadly we simply don’t care anymore.
The why of church?
Why are we part of a church family?
Why do we come here?
Why this emphasis in our church family on spiritual habits and the challenge to show the fruit and use the gifts of the spirit?
Knowing the why keeps us focused.
Hebrews 10:19-25 is very helpful as we consider why we meet together.
Let us not give up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing…
Why we meet together and are the church is ‘because of Jesus’
As you read through Hebrews 10:19-21, consider how each of the points below point us to what Jesus has achieved for us:
- we are family
- we are confident in the presence of God
The importance to the people of God of the Most Holy Place in the Tabernacle (the tent of God that was in the middle of the Israelite camp).
Only the high priest could go in – and only once a year, on the day of atonement.
The first High Priest was Aaron, Moses’ brother. He was from the tribe of Levi, from which all the priests would come. He made sacrifices for his own sins and the sins of the people (Lev.16:6,11-14). One of his most important roles was to enter the Most Holy Place once a year on the Day of Atonement and sprinkle the blood on the Mercy Seat and before it (Lev.16). He would also symbolically place the people’s sins upon a goat and send it into the wilderness (the scapegoat). (Lev.16:20-22).
Through Jesus and his sacrifice on the cross, God did something new: the blood of Jesus means we can be forgiven through faith in him.
The writer to the Hebrews wants to make it very clear to the people what Jesus achieved – so he continues…
That curtain that separated the holy presence of God from the people was torn apart from top to bottom.
Mark 15:37–8 With a loud cry, Jesus breathed his last. The curtain of the temple was torn in two from top to bottom.
Jesus is the way the truth and the life. His sacrifice on the cross opened the way, a new and living way, for us to come with confidence into the presence of God.
Jesus is our great high priest (v21) Consider this picture:
“It must have been a comfort for some of the youngsters, as they came of age and first began their priestly duty in the solemn courts of the temple, to have a high priest who have been used to it all and could show them just how to comport themselves in the Divine presence. Thank God, as we come into the lofty dwelling place of God, we have a great Priest to take us by the hand and present us at court, and tell us how to comport ourselves before the Majesty in the heavens.”David Gooding, ‘An Unshakeable Kingdom‘
As we read on in Hebrews 10:22 we see that because of Jesus:
- we can draw near to God
- how are are to do this:
- with true hearts
- without guilt
- clean bodies
In this final section, we see that because of all of the above:
- We are changed
- to hope in our profession
- to spur one another on toward love and good deeds
- to encourage one another
Here the writer urges us to meet together.
How does meeting together help us in each of these areas?
If we don’t meet together how will it affect our ability to be a changed people?
As a church, what steps can we take to ensure that during our times of gathering (in large or small groups) we seek to do these three things?
And yet, we wonder: What goes missing when your “church” experience is nothing more than a weekly livestream? For starters, you think less about your fellow members. They don’t come to mind. You don’t bump into them and have the quick conversations that lead to longer conversations over dinner. Beyond that, you remove yourself from the path of encouragement, accountability, and love.Colin Hansen, Jonathan Leeman, Rediscover Church
In light of all we have considered how does this statement continue to challenge you?
“they may see your good deeds and glorify God on the day he visits us.” (1 Peter 2:12)
What have I found interesting?
What has challenged my life, attitudes and actions?
How would this habit help me to become more like Jesus?
How would this habit help me to introduce others to Jesus?
What practical steps do I need to take to incorporate this habit into my life?
Is there there anything I need to pray about, explore further or extra help I need?
Is there someone I should to share with, pray with or encourage