Sunday, August 21, 2022

“Let Us...” [Matt's Messages]

“Let Us...”
Lanse Evangelical Free Church
August 21, 2022 :: Hebrews 10:19-25 

Does anybody remember what my key vision word was for this year?

The vision word for 2022 is “good.” I’m simply praying that this year would be marked by God’s goodness and our goodness.

Good News.
Good Deeds.
Good Plans.

And all three of those figure in to this passage in front of us today. I think you’ll quickly hear the strong connection especially between Good Deeds and Good News.

You can really feel the logic in this little paragraph. Can’t you?

There’s clearly some strong logic at work. The author has been building an argument for the last 10 chapters. We don’t have time this morning to review all of that. Someday, I’ll get to teach through the Book of Hebrews to you. It’s a masterpiece of theology, showing how Jesus fulfills and surpasses everything in the Old Testament, including what we’ve been working towards in the Prophecy of Jeremiah.

But, today, we’re parachuting in to the end of the argument, where the author is presenting his (or her) conclusions and pressing home the implications of that argument. This is the “so what” section where we get to the bottom line of what we are supposed to do because of the truth of the gospel that he (or she, we don’t know exactly know who the author was, I’ll be using “he” from here on) has been presenting. And you can just feel the logic. 

It’s got words like “therefore,” and “since.” (There’s two “since’s” in there.)

If this is true...because this is true...since this is true...

Then therefore this is how we should live as followers of Jesus Christ today.

You can just feel the logic.

And, as part of that, he keeps saying, “Let us...” In the NIV there are 5 of them. I hope you heard them as I read it to you. “Let us do this.” “Let us not do that.”’ “Let us...”  So that’s our title today, and here’s what it means:

It means like what they say in the movies right before the action sequence, right before the big fight, right before the good part, right before the beat drops. 

“Let’s do this.”

Let’s get’s busy. “Let’s gooo.” Let’s crack our knuckles and get started. Let’s get down to it. This is what we are supposed to do.

And, today, I’m going to summarize them in three exhortations.


Let’s dive in to verse 19 and see the logic at work. V.19.

“Therefore, brothers [and sisters! That’s us. The family of God, Therefore brothers], since we have confidence to enter the Most Holy Place by the blood of Jesus, by a new and living way opened for us through the curtain, that is, his body, and since we have a great priest over the house of God...” Just stop there for a second.

You feel the logic? You see how it’s building towards a conclusion? 

He’s talking here about the Good News. What we were trying to share yesterday with our guests. He’s talking about the Gospel of Jesus Christ. He’s talking about what Jesus did on the Cross.

Jesus’ blood (v.19) is the reason why we have “confidence to enter the Most Holy Place.” The holy presence of God! For us, that’s in Heaven! 

Before, in the Old Testament, only the High Priest, only once a year, could enter into the Most Holy Place in the temple, symbolizing entrance into the very holy presence of God. And there was this thick curtain that kept everybody out or they would be destroyed by the holiness of God because of the sinfulness of Man. 

But remember what happened on the day Jesus died? The curtain was torn in two! And that symbolized the access that believers now have to the very holy presence of God. Jesus’ death opened up the way, a new and living way. A new and greater covenant! Just like Jeremiah 31 predicted. And Jesus is a new and greater high priest.

Just like we’ve been singing this morning. There is power in the blood of Jesus. “There’s power in the blood of the Lamb.”

“Before the throne of God above
I have a strong and perfect plea;
a great High Priest whose name is Love,
who ever lives and pleads for me.
My name is graven on his hands,
my name is written on his heart.
I know that while in heav'n he stands
no tongue can bid me thence depart,
no tongue can bid me thence depart.”
(Before the Throne of God Above, by Charitie Lees Bancroft)

That’s what the author is talking about here in verses 19 through 21.

And he’s saying that SINCE this is true, THEN “let’s do this.” Let us draw near to our God. v.22

“...let us draw near to God with 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.”

Doesn’t that just make sense? You feel logic here? Since Jesus died for us, giving us access to God, let’s get close to God!

Draw near.
Don’t stand far off.
Don’t hang back. Draw close to God.

You have nothing to fear!

If you are outside of Jesus Christ, if you are not trusting in what Jesus did for you on the Cross, then you do have something to fear. You have to fear the holiness of God. But if you have put your faith in Jesus Christ, then your heart is sprinkled to cleanse you from a guilty conscience. You are forgiven!

If you have put your faith in Jesus Christ, then your heart is sprinkled to cleanse you from a guilty conscience and you can have  You are forgiven!

You are forgiven!

So live like a forgiven person.

Get up close to the One Who forgave you!

This means prayer.
This means worship.
This means daily time alone with God.
And it means gathering with the people of God like we are doing today.

He says, “having our bodies washed with pure water.” Scholars are divided on this, but that might be a reference to water baptism like Jonathan did just a few weeks ago. And some more of you are getting ready to do, too. Or it could be what baptism points to–the spiritual cleansing that comes from the Holy Spirit. Either way, we are pure because of what Jesus has done. 

So, let’s do this. Put your faith in Jesus, and draw to near to our God. Are you doing that? 

“Oh, the pure delight of a single hour
That before Thy throne I spend,
When I kneel in prayer, and with Thee, my God,
I commune as friend with friend!

Draw me nearer, nearer, nearer, blessed Lord,
To the cross where Thou hast died;
Draw me nearer, nearer, nearer, blessed Lord,
To Thy precious, bleeding side.”
(“I Am Thine, O Lord” by Fanny Crosby)


The logic continues. Verse 23. Since all of this is true... (v.23) “Let us hold unswervingly to the hope we profess, for he who promised is faithful.”  

Let’s do this. Let’s hold on. 

Some of you need to hear that this morning. Life is tough, and it seems to be getting tougher. And you need a reminder of the good news of the gospel, and you need to be reminded about our hope.

Our hope here is not our wishes, what we wish will come true. Our hope is what God has promised to us because of what Jesus has done for us. And it makes all of the difference.

That was our message yesterday at the Good News Cruise. We were telling people what Jesus has done for us on the Cross and because of that, what God has promised for us in the future. That’s our hope.

How strong is our hope? Well, a promise is only as good as the promise-maker is good.

If someone tells you that if you meet them tomorrow at such and such a place at such and such a time, they will give you $5,000. How likely is that to happen?

Well, it all depends on the person, right?

And it all depends on how trustworthy they are. Should you arrange your day so as to be at the location at that time? It all depends on who dealing with. That’s why the author says in verse 23, “he who promised is faithful.”

If Jesus gave His blood...
If Jesus opened up the new and living way...
If Jesus because our great high priest over the house of God...

Do you think you and I should hold on to all of His promises for our future?  "He who promised is faithful.”

“The Lord has promised good to me,
His Word my hope secures;
He will my Shield and Portion be,
As long as life endures.”
(“Amazing Grace” by John Newton)

He has GOOD PLANS for us!  Hold onto that! Verse 23 says, “unswervingly.” Don’t swerve from this hope. Verse 23 also says that we “profess” this hope. We say this with our lips. But do we live it out? We talk the talk, but do we walk the walk? Do we say that we believe all of this about God, but then act like we don’t have any hope in our day to day lives?

Let’s do this, Lanse Free Church! Let’s hold on to our hope.

In few minutes we’re going to talk about some of our plans for the Fall. We don’t have a lot to tell you yet. You’ve heard some of them from Keith this morning. We have a few more ideas to share with you. Mostly foundational ones that lay the groundwork for the future. These are moving forward but slowly. And we need to hold onto our hope while we wait.

And one more. Here’s the logic. Here’s where the good news about the good plans leads to the good deeds.


Let us draw near to our God.
Let us hold onto our our hope.
And let us encourage our brothers and sisters in Christ. V.24

“And let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds.”

Here’s the logic. The author says that because the gospel is true, let’s do this:

Let’s look for opportunities to spur one another on toward love and good deeds. Let’s watch out for each other and watch for chances to provoke each other towards love.

Isn’t that interesting? The author of this letter knows that we all need poking and prodding to do the right thing. We all need little nudges and little shoves. The Greek word here for “spur” is “paroxusmon,” and it means to “encourage, provoke, stir up, incite.” Poke. It means to lovingly get into each others faces and call each other to do what we know we need to do.

All of a sudden, it’s football season, right?

Did you ever watch the coaches on the sidelines get the players ready to go into the game? I like watch to Todd do this. He pulls on the player’s jersey and gets them to look in his eye, and he says something to them. I don’t know what he says. I’m not down there. But then they nod and they go out and try to do it in the game. That’s “paroxusmon.” That’s stirring them up.

And that’s what the church family is supposed to be for each other. That’s one of the big reasons why we gather. That’s one of the reasons why we are here today. It’s not to watch some religious show. You are not an audience and we up here are performers. We are all here for each other. We are here to get into each other’s lives and spur one another one to love and good deeds. To say to each other once a week, “Okay. Let’s do this.” 

“Jesus is real. Let’s do this.” The week is going to be full of hard things. Draw near to God. Hold onto your hope. And then, get out there and love people in Jesus’ name.

By the way, the Greek words for “good deeds” in verse 24 are the exact same words that Pastor Kerry told us about last week in 1 Peter 2:12. “kalown ergown.” “Live such good lives among the pagans that, though they accuse you of doing wrong, they may see your [kalown ergown] good deeds and glorify God on the day he visits us” (1 Pet. 2:12 NIV).

And, folks, you have done good deeds this last week. Yesterday was good deed after good deed after good deed. Registration, photography, set-up, take-down, prizes, food, parking, food, music, food, greeting people, food. Did I mention, food? You did the good deeds yesterday. And not just here but out the world all the last week. At your job. In your neighborhood. At the family gathering.

Doing good deeds in love for Jesus and in His name.

Good job! Keep it up! Don’t give up. Keep on loving each other and loving even your enemies because the gospel is true. Because of the good news we do the good deeds. That’s the logic.

Some people think that we are trying to do good deeds to earn God’s favor and get into heaven. It doesn’t work that way. The logic goes the other way. Because of what Jesus has done for us by shedding His wonder-working blood, we are free to now love other people and do good deeds in His name.

You see what I’m trying to do here? I’m trying to stir you up. In fact, that’s what I’m trying to do each and every week when we open God’s Word together. That’s a big part of why we gather.

So need to gather! That’s the next thing he says. Verse 25.

“Let us not give up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but let us encourage one another–and all the more as you see the Day approaching.”

Apparently, some people who claimed to be Christians had stopped coming to church gatherings.

The word for “gave up” is the same word as “forsake” like what Jesus felt on the Cross, forsaken, the turned back. Some people had turned their back on the church family and gotten into the habit of non-participation.

And that hurt them! It hurt the people who left, and it hurt the people who stayed. Because we all need each other.

I’m so glad you came to church today because we need you. Notice that the point of gathering is to encourage each other. When you show up for church, you are encouraging the people around you.

When you come to church, you come for yourself because you need it, but you also come for each other, because we all need each other.

You know, covid has been really hard because it has made gathering together more difficult and less comfortable. In fact, at times, it has been more loving to not gather because we have been watching out for each other. Thank you for not coming to church when you are sick with covid. I stayed away when I had it.

But it’s become easier in some ways to not obey verse 25. You get out of the habit of gathering because it’s harder. Because it’s different. Because it’s not like it used to be. Because it’s not familiar or normal. Or comfortable. 

But verse 25 is still in our Bibles even in a time of plague.

We need to encourage each other. We need to poke and prod and provoke and spur one another on to love and good deeds. We need to tell each other, “Let’s do this.”

There’s a new book out the foyer. We got a box of them free from the publisher called, “Rediscover Church: Why the Body of Christ Is Essential,” and there’s a bunch of them out there. They are free for anybody who wants to read it. Or maybe you might want to give it to somebody who is wondering if church is all that important after all.

It is.

Not coming to some building and listening to a concert and an inspirational TED talk. That’s not what church is. Church is the gathering of the family of God to draw near to our God and worship Him and to spur one another on to love and good deeds and encourage each other to hold onto our hope.

To get close to each other and say, “We can do this.”

Let’s do this.

I’m so proud of how this church family continued to meet all the way through the restrictions phase of covid. Sometimes in really different ways like Zoom or in spread-out seating or under a tent or in the parking lot.

But, by and large, you have done a great job of staying committed to each other.

And encouraging each other.
And encouraging each other.
And encouraging each other.

I hope that everyone who comes on Sundays is both encouraged and an encourager.

Let me tell you this: Come to church bent on encouraging someone each week, and you will go home encouraged yourself.

Come to church bent on encouraging someone each week, and you will go home encouraged yourself.

Let’s do this!
Let’s do this!

Let’s really do this.

You see how the author intensifies it at the end of verse 25?

“...let us encourage one another–and all the more as you see the Day approaching.”

What Day is that? It’s the day of Christ’s return. Jesus didn’t just die and rise again and ascend to heaven like Abe told us about two weeks ago. But Jesus is going to come back soon, like Abe also told us about two weeks ago.

And we need to remind ourselves of that again and again and again. We need to tell each other that again and again and again. One of the reasons why we gather as a church every Sunday is to remind each other that there is a Day coming when all will be made right.

When everything that is bad will come untrue.
When all of those promises that God has made will be fulfilled.
When the kingdom of Christ will come in all of its fullness.
The Day is approaching! We can see it approaching.

It’s sooner now than it has ever been.

Joel was just talking about that at Prayer Meeting this Wednesday in Mark 13.

“Let us encourage one another–and all the more as you see the Day approaching.”

Do you see the logic? Do you feel it?

Let’s do this.

Lanse Free Church:

Let us draw near to our God. We have confidence in the blood of Jesus. Good News.
Let us hold onto our hope. He who promised is faithful. Good Plans.
And let us encourage our family towards love and Good Deeds because the Day is approaching.

And what a Day of rejoicing that will be!