"ACCESS TO GOD."
I. THE TWO THINGS THAT WE HAVE GOING FOR US.
A. Verse 19: Having boldness to enter into the Holy of Holies.
1. That is into the very presence of the Father.
2. When Jesus was crucified, the veil of the temple was torn from the top to the bottom.
a. The veil had always stood between God and man.
b. It was there as a protection for man.
c. For sinful man could not come into the presence of God and live.
3. Jesus opened the door of access to the Father for us.
a. He said, "I am the way the truth and the life, no man cometh to the Father, but by Me."
b. Paul wrote to the Ephesians,
For through him we have access by one Spirit unto the Father.
In whom we have boldness and access with confidence by the faith of him.
4. Earlier in Hebrews we read,
Let us therefore come boldly unto the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy, and find grace to help in time of need.
5. This access is made possible through the shed blood of Jesus.
a. The shedding of blood represented the sacrifice of a life.
b. The Old Testament sacrifices acknowledged that the wages of sin was death.
c. The slain animal was a substitute for the sinful man.
d. With the sacrifice came the consciousness of the deadly nature of sin.
e. Sin is destructive, it is destroying your life.
1. It is too bad that people can't see this.
2. We see teenagers smoking; we know the damage that it is doing to their lungs.
3. We realize that in years to come they will have to pay for their foolishness; heart problems, lung cancer, or emphysema.
4. Jesus said, "The enemy has come to rob, kill and destroy, but I have come that they might have life, and that more abundantly."
f. The scripture tells us that the blood of Jesus Christ, God's Son, cleanses a man from all sin.
6. Our access to God is by a new and living way.
a. It is not through the old covenant of the law where the animal was slain to give you access to God.
b. Our access is through a living way. Through the resurrection of Jesus from the dead.
7. Jesus is God come in the flesh. Through His flesh the veil is removed.
a. "Veiled in flesh, the godhead see, Hail the incarnate deity. Pleased with men with men to dwell, Jesus, our Emmanuel"
b. The eternal God has become touchable.
c. In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God, the same was in the beginning with God and all things were made by Him, and without Him was not anything made that was made, and the Word was made flesh and dwelt among us.
d. That which was from the beginning, which we have heard, which we have seen with our eyes, which we gazed upon, which we touched, for the life was manifested, and we saw Him, and bear witness of and show to you that eternal life which was with the Father and was manifested unto us.
e. Through His flesh or body being torn, we now have access to the Father through Him.
B. The second thing that we have going for us is our High Priest who is over the house of God.
1. The church is the house of God. Paul wrote to the Ephesians,
Now therefore ye are no more strangers and foreigners, but fellowcitizens with the saints, and of the household of God;
And are built upon the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Jesus Christ himself being the chief corner [stone];
In whom all the building fitly framed together groweth unto an holy temple in the Lord:
In whom ye also are builded together for an habitation of God through the Spirit.
2. The idea of the church being the house of God is really quite beautiful. God dwells in His church. This building is not the church; this building is where the church meets. We are the church; when you are not here, this is just a building. When we gather in this building it becomes the place where the church has gathered.
C. Now because we have access to God through our great High Priest, there are three things we should do.
II. THE THREE THINGS WE ARE EXHORTED TO DO.
A. "Let us draw near with a true heart in full assurance of faith."
1. We are promised that if we will draw near to God, He will draw near to us.
2. We must draw near with a true heart.
a. How God hates hypocrisy.
b. We think of how God dealt with the hypocrisy of Annanias and Sapphira in the early church.
3. We must draw near with full assurance of faith.
a. How thankful we are for the witness of the Holy Spirit to our hearts that we are the sons of God, and has given us that assurance of faith whereby we cry, "Father."
b. I no longer need to be distanced from God.
c. My great High Priest has offered Himself as a sacrifice for my sin, and has opened the way for me to fellowship with God.
4. So our hearts are sprinkled from an evil conscience.
a. The priests used to sprinkle the blood of the sacrifice, the altar for the cleansing of sin.
b. My heart has been sprinkled with the blood of Jesus.
c. The priest used to bathe before he would approach God. So our bodies are bathed in the words of Jesus. He said, "Now you are clean through the word which I have spoken to you."
d. So I have been purified and cleansed through Jesus, thus I can approach God.
B. "Let us hold fast the profession of our faith without wavering."
1. Again remember the whole background of this book. It is to stop the exodus back to Judaism by some of those who had embraced Jesus as their Messiah.
a. The writer is encouraging them not to waver.
b. James spoke against wavering, he said, he that wavereth is like a wave of the sea driven with the wind and tossed. He is unstable.
2. Remember back in chapter 2, he told them to take the more earnest heed to the things that they had heard, lest at any time they should let them slip.
a. Hold fast to the truth.
3. "For He is faithful who has promised."
a. You can put your trust in the word of God. He never wavers.
b. In the Bible we read,
God [is] not a man, that he should lie; neither the son of man, that he should repent: hath he said, and shall he not do [it]? or hath he spoken, and shall he not make it good?
c. Just before Joshua died, he called the people together and said to them,
And, behold, this day I [am] going the way of all the earth: and ye know in all your hearts and in all your souls, that not one thing hath failed of all the good things which the LORD your God spake concerning you; all are come to pass unto you, [and] not one thing hath failed thereof.
d. Isaiah said,
O LORD, thou [art] my God; I will exalt thee, I will praise thy name; for thou hast done wonderful [things; thy] counsels of old [are] faithfulness [and] truth.
C. Let us consider how to provoke one another to love and good works.
1. There are no lone rangers in the kingdom of God. We are one body.
a. A body has many parts, and all of them are needed to function properly.
b. We should be concerned with each part of the body, and if one part suffers, we should seek to alleviate their suffering.
c. If someone is straying from the truth, we should seek to encourage them to good works.
d. If there is strife between members, we should seek to exhort them to forgive and love.
2. We should not forsake the assembling of ourselves together for this is a time of exhortation.
3. This gathering together should be all the more encouraged as we see the day of our Lord approaching.