By: Pastor Roy Crane
To listen to Pastor Roy’s Sermon on this subject, click here.
MEMORIAL - - A monument, statue, holiday, or ritual that serves as a remembrance or reminder of a person or an event. The Feast of the Passover was a memorial of God’s sparing the firstborn of the Israelites in Egypt and of Israel’s deliverance from Egyptian bondage (Ex. 12:14). When Israel crossed the Jordan River and occupied the Promised Land, Joshua commanded that 12 stones, representing the 12 tribes of Israel, be set up in the midst of the Jordan (Josh. 4:9). “These stones,” he said, “shall be for a memorial to the children of Israel forever” (Josh. 4:7). When Jesus was in the house of Simon the leper, a woman anointed His head with oil. “Wherever this gospel is preached in the whole world,” said Jesus, “what this woman has done will also be told as a memorial to her” (Matt. 26:13; Mark 14:9). On the eve of His crucifixion Jesus instituted the Lord’s Supper (Luke 22:19). The observance of the Lord’s Supper is an ongoing Christian memorial that helps believers remember the sacrifice of Christ on their behalf (1 Cor. 5:7; 11:25–26).
The exhortation in Hebrews 10 assumes that all believers are now priests because we are told to have boldness to enter the Holiest by the blood of Jesus. The common people during the Jewish economy were barred from the Holy Place and the Most Holy Place; only the priests could enter the first room, and only the high priest could enter the second. Now that is all changed. God has no special place where only a special caste of men may approach Him. Instead, all believers may come into His presence by faith at any time and from any place on earth.
Our approach is by a new and living way. Let us draw near. This is the believer’s blood-bought privilege. How wonderful beyond all words that we are invited to have audience, not with this world’s celebrities, but with the Sovereign of the universe! The extent to which we value the invitation is shown by the manner in which we respond to it.
There is a fourfold description of how we should be spiritually groomed in entering the throne room.
1.With a true heart. The people of Israel drew near to God with their mouth, and honored Him with their lips, but their heart was often far from Him (Matt. 15:8). Our approach should be with utter sincerity.
2.In full assurance of faith. We draw near with utter confidence in the promises of God and with the firm conviction that we shall have a gracious reception into His presence.
3. Having our hearts sprinkled from an evil conscience. This can be brought about only by the new birth. When we trust Christ, we appropriate the value of His blood. Figuratively speaking, we sprinkle our hearts with it, just as the Israelites sprinkled their doors with the blood of the Passover lamb. This delivers us from an evil conscience.
4. And our bodies washed with pure water. Again this is symbolic language. Our bodies represent our lives. The pure water might refer either to the word (Eph 5:25, 26), to the Holy Spirit (John 7:37–39), or to the Holy Spirit using the word in cleansing our lives from daily defilement.
Then we should continue to meet together and not desert the local fellowship, as some do. This may be considered as a general exhortation for all believers to be faithful in their church attendance. Without question we find strength, comfort, nourishment, and joy in collective worship and service. It may also be looked on as a special encouragement for Christians going through times of persecution.
There is always the temptation to isolate oneself in order to avoid arrest, reproach, and suffering, and thus to be a secret disciple. But basically the verse is a warning against apostasy. To forsake the local assembly here means to turn one’s back on Christianity. Some were doing this when this Letter was written. There was need to exhort one another, especially in view of the nearness of Christ’s Return. When He comes, the persecuted, ostracized, despised believers will be seen to be on the winning side. Until then, there is need for steadfastness.