Three Points and a Poem

The joke among preachers is that a good sermon should contain three points and a poem.

Hebrews’ conclusion to the argument that began in chapter 7 is brought to its conclusion with three points the church should consider. The author didn’t provide a poem.

(1) Let us draw near to God.

Let us approach with a true heart in full assurance of faith, with our hearts sprinkled clean from an evil conscience and our bodies washed with pure water (Hebrews 10.22).

Because Jesus is the Ultimate High Priest, who is seated at the right hand of Majesty on our behalf, we can come near to God.

The earthly high priest sprinkled the blood of the sacrificial animal in the tent to cleanse the nation from sin.

Jesus the High Priest, entered heaven with the blood he sacrificed on the cross to cleanse us from “an evil, unbelieving heart that turns away from the living God” (Hebrews 3.12).

The earthly priest never entered the Holy of Holies without washing.

Our Ultimate High Priest washed his followers at the Last Supper when he instituted the New Covenant.

The lengthy account in John’s Gospel extends to 20 verses. A portion of the event is found below.

Then he poured water into a basin and began to wash the disciples’ feet and to wipe them with the towel that was tied around him.

He came to Simon Peter, who said to him, “Lord, are you going to wash my feet?”

Jesus answered, “You do not know now what I am doing, but later you will understand.”

Peter said to him, “You will never wash my feet.” Jesus answered, “Unless I wash you, you have no share with me.”

Simon Peter said to him, “Lord, not my feet only but also my hands and my head!” (John 13.5-9).

Jesus made it clear to Peter that he needed the service that he was providing. Even though it offended his dignity and self-sufficiency, Peter needed what Jesus came to give him.

The good news is that with our willingness to receive what Jesus came to give us we can draw near to God.

A true heart of faith enables humans to approach God in prayer, worship, and fellowship.

(2) Let us hold fast.

“Hold fast” is a keyword in Hebrews. Like a ship that is tied to a pier, we are to hold fast to Jesus and our confession of allegiance to him.

Let us hold fast to the confession of our hope without wavering, for he who has promised is faithful (Hebrews 10.23).

The 70s were a turbulent time in the ancient world. Israel had revolted against Rome and the Romans were intent on brutally squashing it.

Followers of Jesus were persecuted throughout the Roman Empire.

One of the central reasons why the Letter of the Hebrews was written was to encourage followers of Jesus to hold fast to their confession of faith.

The words of John in Revelation were true in the first century and will remain that way until Jesus comes again.

But they have conquered him by the blood of the Lamb
and by the word of their testimony,
for they did not cling to life even in the face of death.
(Revelation 12.11)

To hold fast to our confession of faith is similar to declaring “the word of [our] testimony.”

Jesus is our model. He persevered in obedience and made it possible for us to also faithfully hold fast.

(3) Let us provoke one another to love and good deeds.

Jesus seldom did anything without a few disciples around to learn from his teaching and example.

The sermon’s third point reminds followers of Jesus that we need other people and they need us.

And let us consider how to provoke one another to love and good deeds,

Not neglecting to meet together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another, and all the more as you see the Day approaching (Hebrews 10.24-25).

As we follow the example of our Ultimate High Priest, we urge and spur to action love and good deeds among fellow Christians.

This behavior is to be done thoughtfully. We are to consider the best ways to teach, live, and encourage others to live a Jesus-kind-of-life.

These three “let us” statements should be considered and followed. Let us do just that today!

YouTube Video

Rudy Ross and I talk about Hebrews today on YouTube. You can see the video on the Bob Spradling channel.

I am indebted to Gareth Lee Cockerill’s commentary on Hebrews for the information contained in this blog.

Please email your prayer request to bsprad49@gmail.com. The Maywood prayer team will pray for you.

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