Preparing My Heart
Jesus gave His body and shed His blood so I might have bold, unrestricted access to and communion with God Himself. Not only that, His sacrifice also fully atones for my sins and seals me in a covenant relationship with God, working in me an ongoing sanctification.
Faith in such divine work for me encourages me to persevere in the faith. Because of that divine work, I shall renew my efforts to faithfully “draw near” and “hold fast” and “consider one another.”
Making the Bible Personal
How does my congregation affect my ability to persevere faithfully?
What effect do I have on others’ faithfulness?
How do I get vision that is sufficiently sharp to see the day approaching?
What kind of treatment has the Spirit of grace been receiving from me?
How do I cultivate a love of assembling together for mutual edification?
Why would I sin wilfully?
Reviewing Basic Truths
We have boldness by His invitation, not by our presumption.
We need to stick together as members of the local body of believers.
Jesus is the only effective, acceptable sacrifice for sin.
Despise God’s provision and die.
Applying God’s Word to Me
Jesus Christ “consecrated for us” “a new and living way.” He did that for me and for you. Isn’t that shocking?! Or maybe it’s just so common to us that it no longer awes us. If the awe has left me, I need to reflect more deeply and more often on Christ’s work for me. (And ask Him for awe as well?)
Surely this kind of sacrifice and this kind of provision for us should elicit some sort of response that’s reflexive to the new nature. I suggest these three be seen that way:
Draw near. God wants me close. He invites me. Will I respond? Will I draw near to Him? Yes, I will! I will seek first His kingdom and righteousness. I will hunger and thirst after righteousness. I will make His Word a priority in my life — after rising in the morning, before retiring at night. In my waking moments, I will acknowledge Him in all my ways. I want a sharpening keenness to my awareness of my need of Him. My soul will pant after Him as an hart pants after the water brooks. Yes, I will draw nigh to God, believing He will draw nigh to me and knowing that if He doesn’t draw me, I cannot of my own volition draw near to Him.
Hold fast. I will hang on to my profession of faith in Jesus and in His Word. I will refuse to entertain any doubting thought or any treacherous feeling. I will not succumb to any bewitching false substitute, not even one of my own crafting. I do not want to be ashamed of the Gospel and of my faith in it. I will press on toward the mark, striving to know Jesus more and more. And when my faith does waver (as it does at times), I will reaffirm my faith and ask Him to help my unbelief. I. Will. Keep. The. Faith.
Consider one another. Not only must I persevere in the faith and in faithfulness, I must also stimulate my fellow believers to do the same. Actually, God calls each of us to provoke and be provoked to “love and to good works.” This is part of the new and living way that Jesus consecrated for us! The closer we get to The Final Day, the more urgent this mutual encouragement. We must be strong in the grace that is in Christ Jesus, yes. And we must come along side each other lest we faint by the way.
This concludes my comments based on the passage for the International Bible Lesson. To read my comments on the alternate lesson developed by Christian Light Publications, click here: Commission and Ascension of Christ.