"THE EPISTLE TO THE HEBREWS" A Gracious Exhortation (10:19-25)
INTRODUCTION 1. To this point in "The Epistle To The Hebrews", doctrinal arguments have been presented to encourage faithfulness and steadfastness... a. Demonstrating the superiority of the Son - He 1:1-8:6 b. Illustrating the superiority of the New Covenant - He 8:7-10:18 2. With He 10:19, the author begins making application based upon these premises... a. Which he does through a series of exhortations and warnings b. Such composing the remaining part of this epistle 3. In verses 19-25, we find a three-fold exhortation... a. To draw near to God b. To hold fast our faith c. To stimulate one another in love and good works -- All based upon what Christ has done and will do for us! [I have entitled this lesson "A Gracious Exhortation", for certainly each aspect of the exhortation is based upon God's wonderful grace bestowed upon us through Christ, and it reflects the tone of the author as he makes his heartfelt appeal. Beginning with...] I. LET US DRAW NEAR IN FAITH (19-22) A. WE ARE EXHORTED TO DRAW NEAR TO GOD... 1. To "enter the Holiest" - He 10:19 a. That heavenly place where Christ has entered! - He 9:11-12 b. Into the presence of God Himself! - He 9:24 2. To so enter: a. "having boldness" (with great confidence) - He 10:19 b. "with a true heart" (with all sincerity) - He 10:22 c. "in full assurance of faith" (without doubt) - He 10:22 -- Though not expressed explicitly, this is a call to draw near to God in prayer! - cf. He 4:16 B. THE BASIS FOR THIS EXHORTATION... 1. We are able to "enter" God's presence because: a. Jesus has consecrated "a new and living way, through the veil" - He 10:19-20 1) There is now a new way to approach God in heaven, through One who lives! 2) It is made possible by "the blood of Jesus...His flesh" (His death on the cross) b. Jesus now serves as "a High Priest over the house of God" - He 10:21 1) Who is able to come to our aid - He 2:17-18 2) Who sympathizes with our weakness - He 4:14-16 3) Who ever lives to intercede in our behalf - He 7:24-25 2. But we are also able to "enter" God's presence because: a. We have had "our hearts sprinkled from an evil conscience" 1) This is an allusion to the Old Testament practice of taking blood from the altar and consecrating the priests by sprinkling them with it - Exo 29:21 2) It is the blood of Christ that is truly efficacious in purging our conscience of sin - He 9:14 b. We have had "our bodies washed with pure water" 1) Another allusion to the manner in which priests were consecrated - Exo 29:4 2) The author likely has reference to baptism... a) For baptism is referred to as a "washing"- Ac 22:16; cf. Ep 5:26; Tit 3:5 b) Though the stress is on the inner cleansing, not the outer - cf. 1Pe 3:21 [With Christ as our "High Priest", and our own consecration as "priests" through the blood of Jesus, we should not hesitate to draw near to God in prayer and worship, looking forward to that day when we literally enter "through the veil" into God's wonderful presence! For similar reasons we should also heed the next part of "A Gracious Exhortation"...] II. LET US HOLD FAST OUR HOPE (23) A. WE ARE EXHORTED TO HOLD FAST THE CONFESSION OF OUR HOPE... 1. In Christ we have a much "better hope" - He 6:19; 7:19 2. But there is the danger of apostasy - He 3:12-13; 4:11 3. For which reason we must "hold fast" the hope which we confess - He 3:6,14; 4:14 -- Indeed, we need to "hold fast...without wavering" - He 10:23 B. A GOOD REASON TO HEED THIS EXHORTATION... 1. The faithfulness of God: "for He who promised is faithful"- He 10:23 2. God will not fail us (He 13:5); therefore we need to emulate the faith of Sarah, who "judged Him faithful who had promised" - He 11:11 [We can depend upon God to keep His promise. But will we remain faithful to Him? To help ensure that we will, we need to heed the final part of "A Gracious Exhortation"...] III. LET US CONSIDER ONE ANOTHER (24-25) A. IN ORDER TO STIR UP LOVE AND GOOD WORKS... 1. As we "draw near" to God and "hold fast" our hope, we are not to do so alone 2. We are to be mindful of each other and how we are doing ("consider one another") 3. With a view to incite or spur on ("stir up") both "love and good works" - This is reminiscent of the exhortation in He 3:12-14 B. ACCOMPLISHED THROUGH FREQUENT ASSEMBLING... 1. An important purpose of our assembling is to "stir up love and good works" a. Yes, we do come to worship and praise God b. But we also come to edify and exhort one another! - He 10: 25a 2. Therefore we must not become guilty of "forsaking the assembling of ourselves together" a. The word "forsake" means "to abandon, desert" b. I.e., to stop assembling with the saints altogether c. Some evidently had done so ("as is the manner of some") 3. Exhorting one another through assembling is even more imperative "as you see the Day approaching" a. Some commentators believe the "Day" referred to is the destruction of Jerusalem in A.D. 70 1) Which was impending at the time this epistle was written (ca. 63-65 A.D.) 2) Certainly such an event would call for encouragement through frequent assembling b. Others suggest that the "Day" refers to the Judgment Day at the Second Coming 1) It certainly fits the context of He 9:27-29; 10:27,37 2) And while one might not know the "day and hour" of His coming, we were given some general signs of His coming - cf. 2Th 2:1-8 -- The main point is to appreciate the value and necessity of our assemblies, and that forsaking them is indicative of apostasy! CONCLUSION 1. With "A Gracious Exhortation" before us, we are encouraged to: a. Draw near to God in full assurance of faith b. Hold fast the confession of our hope c. Consider one another to stir up to love and good works 2. As motivation to heed this "exhortation", we are reminded of: a. The "new and living way" now open to God, made possible by Jesus' death b. The High Priest who now serves for us over the house of God c. How we have been "consecrated" through having our hearts sprinkled from an evil conscience and our bodies washed with pure water d. How He who has promised is faithful e. How we have each other to encourage us along f. The approaching Day, in particular the Day of Judgment If we truly appreciate the blessings we now have in Christ, we will do all that we can to draw closer to God, hold fast that hope which we confess, and utilize the opportunities we have to encourage one another in love and good works!