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Cornerstone Community Church

Hold On and Consider

Intro:  Growing up Catholic.  Converting changed how I approach God: like OT => NT.

Big Idea:  As High Priest, Jesus gives new identities, hope and community.

Background: Hebrews encourages persecuted Jewish Christians to persevere by revealing the superiority of Jesus and the New Covenant He established.  We saw our High Priest who intercedes for us.  Now He is our living Sacrifice that makes us new.

I. Enter boldly, for Jesus gave you a new identity (vs. 19-22).

-         Old Covenant: the people stood back from the holy places, unable to enter.

-         New Covenant: Jesus opened the veil for us to enter the real holies: we are all priests!

-         We are bold because we belong there.  It is not the boldness of sin.  Ill. Living in closet

-         One that lives”- not a ritual, liturgy or procedure.  Ill. Roman Catholic mass

-         Jesus is the living way to enter by faith. Our GHP presented His body as a sacrifice.

-         “Draw near with a true (in accordance w/truth) heart.”  Sin => guilt & pollution.

-         Jesus has purified the hearts of Christians from evil/bad consciences.  Ill. Catholic guilt

-         Jesus has borne our sin, so we come guilt-free.  His work penetrates our hearts!

-         “Having bodies washed”- He makes us ceremonially clean fulfilling Leviticus.

-         All the fit-ness we need to enter God’s presence comes from Jesus.  Look to Him!

Transition: We enter God’s presence boldly as priests for Jesus removed our guilt & pollution.

II. Live in hope, for God no longer remembers your sin (vs. 23).

-         Once more he encourages them to join him in holding fast.  Ill. Eli holding my hand

-         He builds on the confession- “the confession of hope without wavering.”

-         Hope can seem so fleeting in this world: changing circumstances shift us around.

-         “He who promised is faithful.”  Our hope rests on Him who does not waver.

-         Our God is a promise-keeping God: His mercies are new every morning.  Ill. W@H

-         The promise is to forget our sins (vs. 17), not bringing them up.  Ill. Family & prayer

-         Jesus has removed our past sins, & our present & future sins as well.

-         No more sacrifices are needed.  We rest in Him, not in “feeling bad or restitution.”

-         Do you live in the freedom of real pardon, or do you live in the prison of guilt?

15 The Holy Spirit also testifies to us about this. First he says: 16 “This is the covenant I will make with them after that time, says the Lord. I will put my laws in their hearts, and I will write them on their minds.” 17 Then he adds: “Their sins and lawless acts I will remember no more.” 18 And where these have been forgiven, there is no longer any sacrifice for sin. Hebrews 10 (NIV)

Transition: We can have hope because God keeps His promises, especially to forget our sin.

III. Consider each other, for Jesus stirs you to love and good works (vs. 24-25).

-         The reality of our priesthood & God’s promise is to shape our relationships.

-         “Consider one another”- Christianity is not a private religion.  We belong to one another.

-         In the New Covenant we serve one another (Eph. 4).  Ill. Father Rogers did it all.

-         He works directly thru the Spirit & indirectly thru the community.  Both use the Word!

-         We can’t help each other unless we “assemble ourselves”- gathering as a community.

-         They were rejecting the new community for the old one- apostasy!

-         Some are frustrated with their churches.  I agree w/the complaint.  Ill. Catholic worship

-         Today some reject the organized, formal church for informal relationships.  Dangerous!

-         The solution isn’t to reject the organized church, but to reform it or find a healthy one.

-         Healthy churches use programs to “stir up love and good works”: purposeful fellowship.

-         Implication: we don’t love, do good or encourage as Jesus did.  We need to grow!

-         Neglecting opportunities to be encouraged & stimulated?  Encourage & stimulate?

“Our sin causes us to be incredibly self-absorbed, reducing us to idolatrous worshippers of self.  Christ died to break the back of our self-absorbed idolatry.”  Paul Tripp

Conclusion: In the midst of temptations to give up, Hebrews offered a bold vision of what the New Covenant community is supposed to be.  Jesus gives us a new identity as a community of priests who boldly enter the holy places in heaven.  God keeps His promise to remember our sins no more so we are a community of hope.  Jesus stirs us up to love and God works by gathering us together to encourage one another.  God’s great provision means we have great privileges and responsibilities.  We glorify Him as we trust Him and walk in them.

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