Hebrews 10:19-25 – The “Lettuce” Sayings!
By Pastor Lee Hemen
November 18, 2012 AM
Integrity is truly an interesting word. It speaks to our core principles, of our steadfastness to hold to high moral standards in spite of the rest of the world. It is our completeness or our undivided attention to what we actually believe and adhere too. And finally, it is found in what makes us whole as a person. Someone of integrity can be counted on, is seen as one who is not only dependable but also upright, and someone who is not ashamed of their actions anywhere with anyone. Integrity should be the hallmark of a Christian’s life.
Do you think many of us might be surprised to know how others view our integrity in the Lord? Perhaps we might also be ashamed at how God sees our lives as well. The author of Hebrews was writing to a group of folks who held themselves in high spiritual and moral regard. But as my Dad would say, “Their salad was just shy a few tomatoes.” Meaning, they were not doing what they said they believed. If a person says they believe in Jesus, and what he has done, then they will live accordingly. It all comes down to what you make your life’s salad out of and so our author gives us his “lettuce” sayings. Let us discover what they are today…
What you make your life out of matters. Notice, I did not say what you make out of life matters. What ingredients you put into your life is what the final product will be. Garbage in, garbage out or Godliness in, godliness out, it all depends on the ingredients we use in life. Hebrews relates that if we have been completely forgiven of our “lawless acts” we should live godly lives…
I. Because, we have all the ingredients we need! (Vv. 19-21)
1. Notice that the ingredients we have are already purchased for us!
1) “We have confidence to enter the Most Holy Place by the blood of Jesus!” Integrity is found in lives that are invested in something other than themselves. John would emphatically state, “If we claim to have fellowship with him yet walk in the darkness, we lie and do not live by the truth. But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus, his Son, purifies us from all sin.” (1 John 1:6-7 NIV) The blood of Jesus gives us the confidence we need to live a life of integrity! His blood has cleansed us so we can have confidence before God!
2) We have “a new and living way opened for us through the curtain, that is, his body!” Jesus would declare, “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.” (John 14:6 NIV) In fact, we know that “At that moment” of Jesus’ sacrifice for us, “the curtain of the temple was torn in two from top to bottom. The earth shook and the rocks split.” (Matthew 27:51 NIV) No one else and no other philosophy of life have done or will do for us what Jesus did! He is the “new and living way” and we dare not go back to our old and dead way of our lives!
3) “We have a great priest over the house of God!” Remember, Hebrews has already promised us, “We do have such a high priest, who sat down at the right hand of the throne of the Majesty in heaven!” (8:1) Notice, however, he says Christians are “the house of God.” Jesus refers to Christians as his “church” (Matthew 18:17) and Paul would relate, “Now you are the body of Christ, and each one of you is a part of it.” (1 Corinthians 12:27 NIV) The word for “church” is ek-klay-see’-ah and means the “called out” or the “assembly” for a specific purpose. In fact, we as members of Jesus’ body we are the ingredients ourselves of Jesus’ body doing his will in the world! (1 Corinthians 12:28) We are the church, the called out to do a specific task for Christ! As such, we have all the ingredients we need!
EXAMPLE: Have you ever realized that Christians are called by God, to a calling of God, to serve in his called out body of Christ? If not, why not? There is no greater thing to be called to than the body of believers to serve the Living Lord. This is why Peter would write, “But you are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people belonging to God, that you may declare the praises of him who called you out of darkness into his wonderful light.” (1 Peter 2:9 NIV) We have confidence to come to the throne of God because of the new and living way since we are part of the house of God! He has provided all the ingredients we need in life!
Why is it that even though we may have the best ingredients available to us in life as believers, we sometimes do not use them, as we should? Perhaps it is because we know deep down inside that we do not live as we should for the One who has given us everything. The author here begins to share with his audience that they could bring together the ingredients of God and then live for him. It is all about putting together life’s proper salad, so-to-speak, and so he says…
II. Let us! (Vv. 22-25)
1. Notice what we should do with the ingredients we have!
1) “Let us draw near to God!” Perhaps he was remembering what God had told the prophet Isaiah so long ago, “These people come near to me with their mouth and honor me with their lips, but their hearts are far from me. Their worship of me is made up only of rules taught by men.” (Isaiah 29:13 NIV) James, Jesus’ brother was a little more blunt when he wrote, “Come near to God and he will come near to you. Wash your hands, you sinners, and purify your hearts, you double-minded.” (James 4:8 NIV) We can confidently “draw near to God” when we have “a sincere heart in full assurance of faith, having our hearts sprinkled to cleanse us from a guilty conscience and having our bodies washed with pure water.” When we are right with God, we can draw near to him, and Jesus makes us right with him! Therefore…
2) “Let us hold unswervingly to the hope we profess!” If we truly have placed our trust in Jesus, we know for a fact that “he who promised is faithful!” If have trusted Christ, we can trust God! Remember, Hebrews has already told us “Christ is faithful as a son over God’s house. And we are his house, if we hold on to our courage and the hope of which we boast” (3:6), we have to hold on “unswervingly to the hope” we say we possess! James, again, writes that Christians “must believe and not doubt, because he who doubts is like a wave of the sea, blown and tossed by the wind!” (James 1:6 NIV) Paul writes, “The one who calls you is faithful and he will do it.” (1 Thessalonians 5:24 NIV) We can “hold unswervingly to the hope we profess”!
3) “Let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds!” The idea here is to literally keep an eye on each other and to get in one another’s face, if need be, to provoke each other to live for the Lord, just as a parent does with their children. I am reminded of Paul when he wrote the rebellious Corinthian church these “tender” words of encouragement, “Some of you have become arrogant, as if I were not coming to you… What do you prefer? Shall I come to you with a whip, or in love and with a gentle spirit?” (1 Corinthians 4:18, 21 NIV) I guess he was “spurring” them on a bit. John would write, “Dear children, let us not love with words or tongue but with actions and in truth.” (1 John 3:18 NIV) It is easy for us to say we love fellow believers; it is far tougher to display our “love and good deeds” with our time, talent, or treasure!
4) And finally, “Let us not give up meeting together!” Here is where the rubber meets the road so-to-speak. Why do I say that? Well, we can help folks to massage our guilt, we can even say we love the Lord without actually doing anything, but it is far harder to show up week after week to worship, serve, give, and face your fellow believers, eye-to-eye. We forget that we are called to meet together. That a special fellowship happens when we do come together: “For where two or three come together in my name, there am I with them.” (Matthew 18:20 NIV) The body of Christ is only the actual body of Christ when it meets together in fellowship and service. The church is not some ethereal mystical amoeba that exists somewhere out there, that anyone can say they are a part of without consequence. Christians are to make the effort to meet together as Jesus’ body in order to “encourage one another—and all the more as you see the Day approaching!” Each day brings us closer and closer to the coming of the Lord. And each day brings us closer and closer to our own face-to-face meeting with God. What will you say to Jesus, who died for you and established his church for you to be an active part of, when in fact you are not “meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing”? What is your habitual behavior? It is one of the major ingredients of a believer’s life.
EXAMPLE: I was making pancakes the other day and Andrew, my grandson, came up and asked, in his three-year-old vernacular, “Whatcha doing Papa?” I told him I was making our pancakes for breakfast. He then began to ask about each thing I added to the mixing bowl. I told him that each ingredient was important in order to have good pancakes. Later, after he had eaten his fill, Andrew remarked, “Papa make good pancakes!” We as believers have the best ingredients to live our lives for God. We are to draw near to God, hold unswervingly to our faith, spur one another on to love and good deeds, and to “not give up meeting together” as the body of Christ. You know what; our “Papa” in heaven has given us every ingredient we need as well. Let’s use the ones he has given us!
Because, we have all the ingredients we need, let us do what God has called us to do!
Scripture taken from the HOLY BIBLE, NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION®. Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984 Biblica. Used by permission of Zondervan. All rights reserved.
Pastor Lee Hemen has been the outspoken pastor of the same church for 27 years in Vancouver, WA. He writes regularly on spirituality and conservative causes and maintains several web blogs. This article is copyrighted © 2012 by Lee Hemen and is the sole property of Lee Hemen, and may not be used unless you quote the entire article and have my permission.