Preparing for Worship - October 8, 2017

By Pastor Matt Sikes

“Therefore, brothers, since we have confidence to enter the holy places by the blood of Jesus, by the new and living way that he opened for us through the curtain, that is, through his flesh, and since we have a great priest over the house of God, let us draw near 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. Let us hold fast the confession of our hope without wavering, for he who promised is faithful.” (Hebrews 10:19-23)

Almost every week I try to turn your attention towards the verse that follows this passage in Hebrews – “let us consider how to stir up one another to love and good works.” This week I wanted to also draw our attention towards the words that precede these words.

In these verses the author of Hebrews is telling us the spectacular truth that Jesus alone has made it possible for us to draw near to God in worship. To understand just how spectacular this is we have to look at the verses immediately preceding verse 19. In verses 1-18 the author is explaining how the Old Testament system of sacrifices was only a shadow of what Christ would do. In verse 4 he says that it is impossible for the blood of goats and bulls to take away sins. Often times we may get confused and believe that what Jesus did in dying on the cross for our sins was pointing back to the Old Testament sacrificial system, but these verses tell us the exact opposite , that the OT sacrificial system was actually pointing forward to what Christ was going to do. And now Hebrews is telling us that Christ has died once for all to make atonement for the sins of all who believe and accept the free gift of salvation.

Then, in verse 19, the author tells us that because of Jesus’s sacrifice once and for all we have confidence to enter “the holy places” and that we can draw near to the throne of God with full confidence and assurance of faith. In other words, when Jesus died for our sins on the cross and was raised he purchased the right for us to boldly approach the throne of a holy and infinite God despite the fact that we are sinful, finite, and unworthy.

Let’s think about this for a moment. The God who is the creator of everyone and everything and who is completely other than us has himself entered into history to make it possible for us to approach him with confidence and to worship him fully in his presence with “full assurance.” We can know that he hears us and accepts our worship if we come to him by faith in Jesus.

The beauty of this promise is that we have access to the Holy of Holies on a daily basis as we approach God in our private worship and, likewise, we have full access to him when we gather together as the church to worship him. And we know that he hears our prayers and accepts our worship because of Jesus.

All that God wants from us is a “broken and contrite heart.” He wants us to realize that we are desperate for him and need him every moment of our lives. He wants us to stop falling into the default temptation that we have finally have it figured out and that we can trust in our own righteousness.

As you spend time preparing for corporate worship this weekend will you ask the Lord to reveal the idolatry in your heart and the places that you have slowly slipped once again into a mode of self-righteousness? Will you pray that he will do the same work in our brothers and sisters in Christ as we look forward to gathering to worship him once again to remember his sacrifice once and for all and the unshakeable hope that we have that he will soon return?

For this Sunday

This Sunday we will be singing:

All Hail the Power of Jesus’ Name

Grace Greater than Our Sin

Bound for Glory

O the Love of My Redeemer

*This is a new song that we will be introducing this Sunday. You can find the words and music to this song HERE.

How Deep the Father’s Love for Us

Pastor Mark will be preaching from Mark 11:27-12:12 as we continue our series in the Gospel of Mark. The title of his sermon will be The Authority of Jesus. The choir will be singing Glory to His Name as the offertory.

See you Sunday!