Saturday, August 22, 2009

Don't throw away your confidence!

Last weekend's message at Vineyard Columbus was "Who May Ascend the Mountain of the Lord?" Today's follow-up study on that message is from Hebrews 10:19:39. Powerful!!

There are so many things I assume I understand more than I actually do. Over the past few years God has been revealing amazing stuff. Very little of it is totally new but it brings about a newness in me that I can't fully express.

The Hebrews passage was very exciting to me this morning. I've lived with the idea that "we are hidden in Christ." Some have explained that as "When God looks at us, he sees Jesus, not us because we are so sinful." That's not true! God sees us! He sees me! He sees you!

That "hidden" teaching is based on Colossians 3:3: "For you died, and your life is now hidden with Christ in God."

Why do we chop up scripture so much? The first part of that verse says "you died." The verse right after it says "When Christ, who is your life appears, then you also will appear with him in glory." It doesn't say we'll be standing behind Christ. That life died like the sacrificial lamb of the Old Testament. It's gone!

Hebrews 10 tells us that the blood of Christ cleansed us. In the Old Testament, the blood of the sacrificed animal was only a representation of what was to come. It reminded the people of how serious their sin was to God but the curtain remained which protected the sinful people from the wrath of a Holy God.

That curtain which separated the Holy of Holies from the sinful lives of God's people is gone! That is a literal fact. It tore in two when Jesus died on the cross. Think on that a bit. We can now approach God without fear. Why? Because Jesus died for us yes but there is more.

If we accept Jesus as our sacrifice - our payment for the self-centered, God-denying life we were born with - then we must also be willing to let that life be buried with Christ in the tomb. But wait there's more!

Christ came back to life but it wasn't the same life he had before - the physical body was very much the same but his new life was very different. This is the foundation of our hope which we experience in part as soon as we allow our old sinful nature to be buried with Christ! We are a new creation now (2 Cor 5:17).

A child who hides behind a stronger person lives in fear and/or shame. Jesus doesn't block God's view of "who we really are" as some might think. Jesus opened up a new and living way for us to stand in God's presence. We can approach God, the Creator, the Almighty. Think on that!! You can approach God with the confidence that his holiness will not destroy you. But you can't approach him with the life of sin. Leave it buried. Approach God with the new life you received from Christ.
If we deliberately keep on sinning after we have received the knowledge of the truth, no sacrifice for sins is left but only a fearful expectation of judgment and of raging fire that will consume the enemies of God. ~Heb 10:26-27
If you aren't excited about this stuff, then I haven't explained it very well. Go read Hebrews 10 (especially verses 19-39). Picture each segment in your mind. Picture the temple of the Old Testament, the area designated as the Holy of Holies, the huge curtain that separated God's holy presence from the unholiness of his chosen people, the Priest who entered this area with a rope tied around him in case he died in the presence of God's holiness. Now picture yourself freely and confidently approaching God.
So don't throw away your confidence; it will be richly rewarded. You need to persevere so that when you have done the will of God, you will receive what he has promised. ~Heb 10:35-36
If you are a follower of Christ who has not experienced water baptism by immersion, I challenge you to pray about being baptized. It might help you understand the significance of being buried with Christ and raised to new life.

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the mission:
PROCLAIM the good news; HEAL the sick and oppressed; BRING JUSTICE
~ Luke 4:16-20

Anyone who has faith in me will do what I have been doing (John 14:12)
~ Jesus 

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