Have you ever had the chance to attend a live concert of your favorite band or musical artist? I did a few times. When you’re there in the crowd, you get caught up in the excitement and energy. The lights and special effects add to the growing thrills and anticipation. It’s way different than listening to them on a recording or even watching a video. Excitement is contagious.
In today’s COVID-19 pandemic world, many churches are closed. Some are broadcasting online and some are open. Mine is open. At first, I hated having to wear a mask, so I opted to watch from home. Now that they’ve asked me to help manage the Facebook Live feed, I attend every week. What a difference! It’s such a pleasure to worship live with my church family even if the sanctuary is only half full. We all get caught up with the energy of the Holy Spirit and the joy and delight of worshiping our Savior, Jesus Christ.
Today we tackle Hebrews 10 and I hope that the light of Jesus shines and uncovers the truth to you…
Christ’s Sacrifice Once for All
The old system under the law of Moses was only a shadow, a dim preview of the good things to come, not the good things themselves. The sacrifices under that system were repeated again and again, year after year, but they were never able to provide perfect cleansing for those who came to worship. 2 If they could have provided perfect cleansing, the sacrifices would have stopped, for the worshipers would have been purified once for all time, and their feelings of guilt would have disappeared.
3 But instead, those sacrifices actually reminded them of their sins year after year. 4 For it is not possible for the blood of bulls and goats to take away sins. 5 That is why, when Christ came into the world, he said to God,
“You did not want animal sacrifices or sin offerings.
But you have given me a body to offer.
6 You were not pleased with burnt offerings
or other offerings for sin.
7 Then I said, ‘Look, I have come to do your will, O God—
as is written about me in the Scriptures.’”[Psalm 40:6-8]
8 First, Christ said, “You did not want animal sacrifices or sin offerings or burnt offerings or other offerings for sin, nor were you pleased with them” (though they are required by the law of Moses). 9 Then he said, “Look, I have come to do your will.” He cancels the first covenant in order to put the second into effect. 10 For God’s will was for us to be made holy by the sacrifice of the body of Jesus Christ, once for all time.
11 Under the old covenant, the priest stands and ministers before the altar day after day, offering the same sacrifices again and again, which can never take away sins. 12 But our High Priest offered himself to God as a single sacrifice for sins, good for all time. Then he sat down in the place of honor at God’s right hand. 13 There he waits until his enemies are humbled and made a footstool under his feet. 14 For by that one offering he forever made perfect those who are being made holy.
15 And the Holy Spirit also testifies that this is so. For he says,
16 “This is the new covenant I will make
with my people on that day, says the Lord:
I will put my laws in their hearts,
and I will write them on their minds.”
17 Then he says,
“I will never again remember
their sins and lawless deeds.” [Jeremiah 31:33-34]
18 And when sins have been forgiven, there is no need to offer any more sacrifices.Hebrews 10:1-18 NLT
The old Jewish sacrifices were just imitations of the sacrifice that Jesus made for our salvation once and for all. We can embrace the Living God directly and not the fake actions of religions like sacraments, the Eucharist, confessing to a priest, baby baptism, venerating Mary and praying to dead “saints”. These are futile gestures just like the Old Testament Hebrew sacrifices were that they had to do over and over again — day after day — and still they were not sanctified.
Rites and rituals are just shadows of the true form. While the old covenant Jews had an annual reminder — Yom Kippur — we have a daily reminder of the attributes of holiness, righteousness and the presence of God in our lives. We can talk with Him directly — pray — in the name of Jesus (not Mary!). Continuing in Hebrews 10….
A Call to Persevere
19 And so, dear brothers and sisters, we can boldly enter heaven’s Most Holy Place because of the blood of Jesus. 20 By his death, Jesus opened a new and life-giving way through the curtain into the Most Holy Place. 21 And since we have a great High Priest who rules over God’s house, 22 let us go right into the presence of God with sincere hearts fully trusting him. For our guilty consciences have been sprinkled with Christ’s blood to make us clean, and our bodies have been washed with pure water. [Baptism]
23 Let us hold tightly without wavering to the hope we affirm, for God can be trusted to keep his promise. 24 Let us think of ways to motivate one another to acts of love and good works. 25 And let us not neglect our meeting together, as some people do, but encourage one another, especially now that the day of his return is drawing near.
26 Dear friends, if we deliberately continue sinning after we have received knowledge of the truth, there is no longer any sacrifice that will cover these sins. 27 There is only the terrible expectation of God’s judgment and the raging fire that will consume his enemies. 28 For anyone who refused to obey the law of Moses was put to death without mercy on the testimony of two or three witnesses. 29 Just think how much worse the punishment will be for those who have trampled on the Son of God, and have treated the blood of the covenant, which made us holy, as if it were common and unholy, and have insulted and disdained the Holy Spirit who brings God’s mercy to us. 30 For we know the one who said,
“I will take revenge.
I will pay them back.”
He also said,
“The Lord will judge his own people.” [Deut. 32:35-36]
31 It is a terrible thing to fall into the hands of the living God.
32 Think back on those early days when you first learned about Christ. Remember how you remained faithful even though it meant terrible suffering. 33 Sometimes you were exposed to public ridicule and were beaten, and sometimes you helped others who were suffering the same things. 34 You suffered along with those who were thrown into jail, and when all you owned was taken from you, you accepted it with joy. You knew there were better things waiting for you that will last forever.
35 So do not throw away this confident trust in the Lord. Remember the great reward it brings you! 36 Patient endurance is what you need now, so that you will continue to do God’s will. Then you will receive all that he has promised.
37 “For in just a little while,
the Coming One will come and not delay.
38 And my righteous ones will live by faith.
But I will take no pleasure in anyone who turns away.” [Hab. 2:3-4]
39 But we are not like those who turn away from God to their own destruction. We are the faithful ones, whose souls will be saved.Hebrews 10:19-39 NLT (bold emphasis mine)
Apostasy in the Church Today
Apostates reject God’s truth. That is the Gospel Truth found in the New Testament. Many churches today have watered-down the gospel so much to make people feel good and conform to today’s culture, that it’s not even recognizable.
The Catholic Church maneuvered the gospel so much, they invented their own “truth”. Isn’t that what’s popular today? Having your own truth? What’s true for you can be different than what is true for me. That’s such a bunch of malarkey! The truth is the truth. You can’t twist it to make it say or mean what you want. That’s being a heretic — straying from the truth. And a blasphemer attacks the truth. We’ve got both going on all over social media today.
Discerning the Truth
That’s why we need the Holy Spirit in our hearts to help us discern the truth. When you surrender your life to Christ and invite Him into your heart, the Spirit will guide you to the truth and reveal Satan’s lies. Without Him, we’re lost.
Christians also need each other. The Holy Spirit ties us all together. As it says in Hebrews 10…
23 Let us hold tightly without wavering to the hope we affirm, for God can be trusted to keep his promise. 24 Let us think of ways to motivate one another to acts of love and good works. 25 And let us not neglect our meeting together, as some people do, but encourage one another, especially now that the day of his return is drawing near.Hebrews 10:23-25 NLT
Jesus is coming back soon! Are you ready?
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Soli Deo Gloria — To God Alone Be the Glory!