Hebrews 10:19-25 - Homiletics
The great admonition.
Having completed his elaborate argument, and concluded the doctrinal part of the treatise, the author warmly exhorts the Hebrews to maintain their Christian steadfastness. The appeal contained in these verses collects into a focus of intense light and heat the main teaching of this weighty book. The paragraph before us may be regarded as the center of gravity of the Epistle. It is also the key-note of the impressive representations and the loving counsels which occupy the remaining pages.
I. THE BELIEVER 'S PRIVILEGES . ( Hebrews 10:19-21 ) The word "therefore" introduces a brief summary of what precedes in the long section devoted to the priesthood of Christ (Heb 4:14-10:18). The grand substantive blessing of the gospel is that of access to God; and this has been secured in connection with:
1. An accepted Sacrifice. ( Hebrews 10:19 ) Hebrews 10:1-18 treats of this. Jesus has gone into heaven with his own blood, and- has been allowed to sprinkle it upon the mercy-seat. His blood has expiated the sins which debarred men from standing in the Divine presence. Washed in it, the penitent sinner may draw near to God with confidence.
2. An opened sanctuary. ( Hebrews 10:19 , Hebrews 10:20 ) Hebrews 9:1-28 . discusses this branch of the subject. Christians are admitted into a far nobler holy of holies than that from which ancient Israel were excluded. "A new and living way" to the Father has been opened up by Jesus; and it shall always be "new," because, in fact, the "living" Savior is himself the Way. The breaking of his body upon the cross was like the rending of "the veil," for it opened up the mercy-seat to man.
3. A glorious Intercessor. ( Hebrews 9:21 ) Hebrews 7:1-28 . treats of the might and majesty of this "great Priest." Through the merit of Christ's blood the believer takes his place immediately in front of the throne; and then, through the mediation of the Savior, who stands by his side, he is graciously maintained in this position.
"Holiness on the bead,
Light and perfections on the breast,
Harmonious bells below, raising the dead
To lead them unto life and rest:
Thus are true Aarons drest.
"Christ is my only Head,
My alone only Heart and Breast,
My only Music, striking me ev'n dead;
That to the old man I may rest.
And lie in him new drest."
II. THE DUTIES WHICH REST UPON THOSE PRIVILEGES . ( Hebrews 7:22-25 ) These are three in number, each being introduced with the words," Let us." They deal with our conduct towards God, towards the world, and towards the Church. Observance of them calls into exercise respectively the three great graces of the Pauline theology, the duties being those of faith toward God, hope exhibited before the world, and love to our fellow-believers.
1. The duty of Divine worship. ( Hebrews 7:22 ) Worship is the movement of the soul towards God. To "draw near" includes every form which it is possible for acceptable religious service to assume. The apostle, taking for granted that his readers appreciate the inestimable value of communion with God, indicates briefly the qualifications and features of acceptable worship.
2. The duty of public confession. ( Hebrews 7:23 ) It is not enough that we cherish deep religious convictions, and that we maintain a constant commerce with God in acts of secret prayer. We must acknowledge our Christian hope before men—with our lips and by our lives, and in the observance of the public ordinances of grace. We must not he ashamed to manifest profound spiritual earnestness, even in the presence of a persecuting world. To confess our hope will strengthen it. To refuse to acknowledge Christ is to deny him. And our confession ought to be a consistent "Yea." We are unfaithful if we allow it to sway to and fro, even although it should expose us to obloquy and danger. Seeing that our hope is grounded upon the sure promises of our Father God, why should not our acknowledgment of the truth he always explicit and consistent?
3. The duty of Christian fellowship. ( Hebrews 7:24 , Hebrews 7:25 ) Brotherly love should prevail among believers as brethren in Christ. Especially should those who are connected with the same congregation cherish a kindly and affectionate interest in one another Our Church-membership is not maintained merely for one's own personal edification. We should "consider one another" in the spirit of brotherly love, and so that we may be mutually helpful to each other in the Divine life. We are to take kindly thought of each other's excellences and defects, needs and dangers, trials and temptations, and to minister aid to one another accordingly. And in so far as we realize the bonds of love and sympathy which unite us to our Christian brethren, will we prize such opportunities of intercourse with them as the meetings of the Church afford. One great purpose of our "assembling of ourselves together" is to provide occasions for Christian conference and mutual exhortation. It was peculiarly necessary just now that the Hebrew believers should incite one another "unto love and good works," for "the day" of the destruction of Jerusalem and the final collapse of the Levitical system was fast "drawing nigh." That event is now past, but another and more tremendous "day of the Lord" is still to come. We ought as Christians to "consider" and "exhort" one another in view of "that great and notable day" on which Christ shall come to be our Judge, and to describe with his scepter the eternal boundaries of being and destiny.
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