By the Rev. Vance Drum

On Sunday, the Sunset pastor began a new sermon series, “Drilling Deep, Drawing Near,” to continue for several months, with a message of the same title.  The text was from Hebrews 10:22:  “…Let us draw near to God with a sincere heart in full assurance of faith….”

The pastor made three points:  (1) Confidence to Enter; (2) A New and Living Way; (3) Drawing Near to God.

(1) Confidence to Enter.  The Book of Hebrews was written to some Jewish Christians who needed some encouragement in their faith.  So the author writes, v19: “Therefore, brothers, since we have confidence to enter the Most Holy Place by the blood of Jesus….”

In the old Jewish temple, the Most Holy Place was the symbolic dwelling place of God.  It was off limits to all except the high priest, who entered only once a year into the presence of God, taking with him a sacrificial offering for the sins of the people.

In those days most people did not have the Holy Spirit living in them — only the prophets who spoke for God and the kings who did God’s will.

But now, the writer says: “We have confidence to enter by the blood of Jesus.”  Jesus the Lamb of God has sacrificially shed his own blood for us, so that now all who receive him may enter into the very presence of God.

We are not alone in the world:  God is with us.  We all may have the Holy Spirit living in us, and the body of Christ surrounding us, as we journey together under God’s care.

(2) A New and Living Way.  V20: “By a new and living way opened for us through the curtain, that is, his body.”  When Jesus died, the heavy thick curtain in the temple that separated the Holy Place from the Most Holy Place where God was split from top to bottom, signifying that we too may now enter into God’s own presence.

Jesus has taken away all our sins for all who believe in Him, the barrier between us and God has been removed and heaven’s gate is opened wide.  The Holy Spirit lives in all who believe:  He leads, guides, and gives us strength and power to do his will, and even in this life we may, as the song says, “Walk with him and talk with him, and he tells us we are his own.”

(3) Drawing Near to God.  Therefore, v22: “since we have a great priest over the house of God, let us draw near to God….”  God knows that in ourselves, apart from him, we are weak and subject to fall.  But in him we have the power of God at work in us.

Last week Sunset members visited the Enchanted Pines Assisted Living Center and the local jail.  We encouraged all there to continue to draw near to God through Jesus — He is the source of your blessings!

Then the writer says to draw near to God “with a sincere heart in full assurance of faith.” A sincere heart is an undivided heart.  It is a serious commitment to follow the Lord Jesus Christ.

“Full assurance of faith” means that we have the assurance of God’s presence and blessing because our faith is in Jesus.  We do not trust in our own goodness; we trust in His goodness because He, as the sinless Son of God, died for us, bringing us up to God.

Then he says, “having our hearts sprinkled to cleanse us from a guilty conscience.”  Our hearts are cleansed from sin by the sacrificial blood of Christ, the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world.

Finally, v22:  “and having our bodies washed with pure water.”  Baptism is the outward sign of the cleansing God is doing in our hearts.  Draw near!  Jesus is your ticket.

“Give thanks to the Lord, call on his name; make known among the nations what he has done.”  [Psalm 105:1]

May all God’s people let a needy world — all the nations — know that God loves us all, and has good plans for us who believe — our prayer for you from your friends at Sunset Christian Church.