This morning let’s take our bible and turn our bibles to Hebrews 10. Last week I looked at where the scripture tells us to enter in. This morning I’m going to look at drawing near. Entering into God’s presence, now drawing near to God’s presence. Remember I had moved from a large doctrinal section from Hebrews 1 to chapter 10. And now we’ve come to this place in scripture where doctrine fleshes out in deeds. I’ve been insisting on, and Hebrews actually has been insisting on, correct teaching. Now we look at consistent behavior. In other words, the teaching of scripture not only needs to be received by us, that’s where it starts, but it needs to be appropriated by us. Not just sitting there, getting a big, old, fat head of knowledge but doing something with what God is teaching you.
How do we do that? Well, scripture does not leave us alone on that matter. It doesn’t leave us guessing on that matter. In chapter 10 we have a section here of exhortation and encouragement and then a section of warning. That is always the pattern of the one who is preaching Hebrews.
In the first part we are given four appropriate responses to the preceding doctrine. Everything from the 10 and a half chapters of Hebrews that have gone before. And believers are exhorted into action because they possess something, they have something that they did not have before. They have something that they didn’t earn. Something that they didn’t deserve. They have been given something by God because of His divine mercy and grace towards sinners. It says in verse 19:
19Therefore, brethren, since we have confidence…
And then in verse 21:
21and since we have a great priest…
The bible is indicating to us that we have in our possession already something quite unique and very important for us. The great and grand truth which is for all of God’s children is that based on this one-time sacrifice of Jesus Christ, God forgets our sins. He forgets all our violations of His law and He purges them forever.
There is no longer a need for any other sacrificial system. There is no need for a ritual and ceremony at all whatsoever. But because of Christ’s full and final death for sins. For all time, believers are made right before a holy and just God and given access to God. That is awesome. That is an awesome thought.
And last week I said that there are two things we need to accompany our approach to God. The first one was that followers of Jesus Christ have to enter the Holy Place with confidence. With boldness. With assurance. But not based on anything. Based on truth. Based on doctrine. Based on what Christ has already done. In fact, if we do not come based on our understanding of what Christ has done, we come wrongly.
I was studying this scripture and I’m leading to prayer again this morning. And I began to think to myself, “I don’t know if I really ever prayed in my life”. Now, what I mean is that I need to rethink this whole thing, from a scriptural standpoint, how important it is to come into the presence of God. That true believers already have a confidence they are given by an establishment of truth in their mind and heart.
And they are exhorted to go directly into God’s presence with boldness. Meaning freedom of speech and courage to express their personal needs before God. The last time the message ended with the challenge for prayer. I don’t know if too many people heeded that message. Hopefully you did and were thinking about it.
I am going to go back to that great practice of the Christian’s lifestyle of faith which has to do with prayer. Before I do that, there is something else, a second thing that needs to accompany us in our approach to God. It is this, that followers of Jesus Christ are to draw near with sincerity. I am going to take a long time to get to that. I’m going to take some time to get to it because I really want you to get it.
Once again, what the Word of God is telling the believer is that they already have something in their possession. In Hebrews 10:21 it says:
21 and since we have a great priest over the house of God
It is in that passage of scripture, it comes from verse 19, that we have something. Not too many people can say that they have a High Priest that can take them the whole way into the presence of God. Not many people can say that because our High Priest has authority over the whole House of God. He determines who can enter.
Someone who lives in Washington DC can point a bunch of people to the White House, but how many people can actually take them into the presence of the President? A few. They must have security clearances to get there, you don’t just walk into the door. How much more with God?
People think they know God and have a relationship with Him because they are religious, go to church or are good people, but they are wrong. If you think on those grounds you can enter into presence of God, you are mistaken. Only those that God has given the authority can enter into His presence. The Lord has given us the authority to become the children of God. The right to come into presence of a holy God. That is quite awesome.
We can trust God for His greatness and His power as the High Priest. As our High Priest, for those who know Christ. And then press on in our Christian pilgrimage no matter what befalls us on the way to the celestial city as pilgrims.
While we are moving and while we’re growing in Christ-likeness, we should be practicing going to Christ in prayer for necessary strength, for grace because of our weaknesses. We need the High Priest’s assistance. All the purposes of His office of High Priest are for our benefit. Every single purpose of His office of High Priest is for our benefit.
Now, Hebrews has sufficiently covered that in chapter 4. It says about our High Priest. Our High Priest is the compassionate One in this way: He knows exactly how we feel. He knows exactly what we are going through. He knows the pressures of life, the testing of life in a Godless world. He knows all that and He knows it to a further extent than any one of us can ever experience.
It says in Hebrews 4:15 that Jesus our great High Priest is deeply concerned about our weaknesses. It says:
15For we do not have a high priest who cannot sympathize with our weaknesses…
This means that the Lord, in His affections, is moved inwardly toward us while we suffer and go through trials. With a sense of empathy, He knows what we are going through further than we do.
Also in Hebrews 4:15, it shows that Jesus understand us. It says:
15…but One who has been tempted in all things as we are, yet without sin.
Jesus, in His perfect humanity, is familiar with our temptations and our problems. He was tempted. Not only that, He was tempted by every means, by all instruments and by all directions as we are. And, in fact, to a deeper extent because Jesus is aware of our needs to the fullest and has gone to a place we could never have gone. C.S. Lewis says that “we never find out the strength of evil impulse inside of us until we fight it”.
Because Christ was the only man who never yielded to temptation, is also the only man who knows to the fullest what temptation really means. He becomes the only realist when it comes to temptation. We give up way too soon in our temptation. We give in too soon. We throw in the towel too soon. Jesus never threw in the towel. In a sense He went the whole 16 rounds and beyond. Being in a ring with a fighter going 16 rounds is an awesome task whether you win or lose. If you’re still standing at the end, you’ve done something! It’s saying here that Christ went way passed that and never gave in, never dropped for us. He understands what we are going through.
Jesus Christ, our High Priest, knows all about sin without having sinned. And because He passed through the heavens, into God’s presence, Jesus now has broken down all the obstacles that could hinder a sinful human being from coming into God’s holy and perfect presence. And now He welcomes all who comes through Jesus Christ to come boldly. It says in Hebrews 4:16:
16Therefore let us draw near with confidence to the throne of grace…
In chapter 10 he says the same thing but with more doctrine behind it, more truth and teaching behind it. Confidence is that freedom to come before God. The obstacle is removed. The free right to approach God with bold frankness was given because of the sacrifice of Jesus Christ. And that is the only way we can come into the presence of God.
That means that the believers have daily access to God for grace and assistance. All the formalities have been fulfilled and removed in Christ. So all we need is to come and receive continual help. Now that was a big problem because His audience was basically Jewish. Everything about Judaism was pomp, ceremony, ritual, preparation, consecrations, and all those things. The writer of Hebrews is saying all those things are done. Come to Christ. We don’t need the priesthood. You don’t need all those things. Come to Your High Priest and call upon the name of the Lord.
This is why we cannot be prayerless as believers. We cannot be prayerless. Do not think that you can cope with life without divine help. Do not think that you can live this impossible Christian life without divine help. You cannot do it. We must accept the invitation to follow our Lord Jesus boldly into the holy place. One man, maybe rightfully so, he actually insisted that prayerlessness is the root of sin.
Jesus knew He had to pray and did so gladly, necessarily, and effectively. It is one thing to talk about prayer. It’s quite another thing to pray. We talk about prayer all day. We can read books on prayer all month, all year. Prayer is the most difficult discipline in the Christian life. Tell me it’s not! Going to prayer on a regular, daily basis is difficult.
There is a difficulty in prayer. As a matter of fact, there are many difficulties in prayer. Prayer, brethren, is not an easy thing to practice. In fact, it is extremely difficult. However, we are being taught here, in this scripture, that we are to know exactly how to pray. We are to approach God with confidence, boldness and assurance in prayer. Do you pray like that? Do I pray like that? The question is for me too.
In fact, Our Lord helps us to see the difficulty and struggles in prayer. Just look at his life when you follow Him in the gospels. That when Jesus was in the days of His flesh, what did He do? He prayed. Look in Hebrews 5:7, it says:
7In the days of His flesh, He offered up both prayers and supplications with loud crying and tears to the One able to save Him from death
What does it say in that passage? Does this passage say that prayer is easy, that you just go in and do it? No, in that passage if Jesus Christ struggled with prayer in the flesh and He was not a sinner, how much more us? We do not think that prayer is that serious. Sometimes we do not think seriously on it. Jesus was under the full pressure of humanity and, therefore, He became a man of sorrows, acquainted with grief.
He became a man of prayer, where it says He offered up both prayers and supplication with loud crying. Meaning His soul was being ripped apart as He came before the Father anticipating what was going to take place. Remember when He knelt in the garden that night when He was arrested. He was faced with a humanly terrifying death. Such a divinely necessary sacrifice that only the Father could rescue Him and save Him from that death. He could go to One who could save Him and rescue Him and that was His Father because His Father set out the plan of salvation.
How much should we pray in the days of our flesh? In fact, the Lord right now is exalted to the right hand of God and what is He doing? He is interceding for the saints. Why? He is praying for us while we are in the flesh. Someday the intercessory ministry of Christ is going to end. He will not have to pray for us because we will no longer be in the flesh. We are going to be glorified in new bodies with Him, before Him.
I am saying all that for this reason, there are obstacles to prayer. If we can identify those obstacles and remove them, then we are going to be better equipped to understand how to approach God and do it with confidence, assurance, boldness – all the same meaning – but they give the sense that I am coming before God assured of something. Of something I have. Of something that has happened to me. Of something in my possession. Of something that God has done for me and I did not contribute to it at all. But here, in the practical part of doctrine, I am contributing to something. Because God asks me to do something. He asked me to come. After I have been a believer, to come.
I want to look at some of the obstacles found here in scripture and lift them out of here in a little bit of a different way and come back to them. Our text helps us to identify some real obstacles to prayer. There are at least 3 that we can glean this morning. Hebrews 10:21 says that the first obstacle is entering the House of God. Why is that a problem? We are entering the holiest place in the universe. Prayer means that we are entering in the very presence of God. We are not taking to ourselves, even though we may think that sometimes. We are not talking to anyone else when we are praying. We are talking to God when we pray. That must be clear in our mind when we come to prayer. We must come in a certain way to God. We must approach Him in a certain way. Why? Because how can we dwell in the presence that Isaiah describes as a burning light? How can we, like Moses, come before the burning bush without taking off our shoes, knowing that where I am standing is holy ground, because God is present.
I do not respond to God like I respond to human beings. I respond to God in a totally different way. I understand Him based on what scripture tells me about Him. The prophet Isaiah says: that God is light and in Him is no darkness at all.
Hebrews 12:28-29 says:
28Therefore, since we receive a kingdom which cannot be shaken, let us show gratitude, by which we may offer to God an acceptable service with reverence and awe; 29for our God is a consuming fire.
We are coming into a presence of a God who is holy. So, no one can enter. No one can just roll in there. People who say that they pray all the time and do not come the right way, they are deceiving themselves. Prayer is not an easy thing, it is an impossible thing. Remember, in the new covenant you have the Holy Spirit and you have the Word of God that aids you in prayer. It is the only aid you are going to get in prayer. You are not going to get much aid from your flesh. You are not going to get aid from the world or Satan. He is not going to encourage you.
In fact, Satan laughs when we do not pray, but he trembles when we do. When God’s people are serious about coming into the presence of God in this way, he trembles. We are mindful that we are approaching a God who is a consuming fire, therefore, we should do it with reverence and awe. That means with a certain weight that goes with His name. That goes with no other name is the universe. That is on my mind when I approach God.
In doing so, we realize if that difficulty is moved out the way then I am understand prayer more. When I understand who God is in my mind and heart then I am understanding how to approach Him.
There is a second difficulty in Hebrews 10:22. Here is the second obstacle: an insincere heart. I am reversing it, but I want you to know how it says it here in the passage. It says:
22let us draw near with a sincere heart in full assurance of faith, having our hearts sprinkled clean from an evil conscience…
So here is our second obstacle – an evil conscience. Would you say that you have ever experienced in your own life that you have an evil conscience? This scripture is talking generally. All men and women have evil consciences. Here’s our obstacle to prayer, I’m coming to God with an evil conscience. All of us can justify our behavior before other people and do it pretty well. “Oh, this is why I did this. This is why I went here. This is why I did not do that”. We go along and we justify our actions. But the moment we come before the God who is a consuming fire with our prayers, our consciences begin to rattle. They begin to shake.
They begin to speak to us and say to us, you justified yourself before someone, but you cannot do that before God. In fact, you have to tell God the way you really are. What you really did this past week. How you really thought about that person this past week. So, you come to God with an evil conscience and your conscience begins to move around when you pray. If you come into the presence of a Holy God and you are coming with awe and reverence, then unless a person deals with the conscience, he/she doesn’t pray. He/she cannot pray unless the conscience is dealt with. Doesn’t it say in Psalms 66:18?
18If I regard wickedness in my heart, The Lord will not hear;
Our insincere hearts and evil consciences are a problem when to comes to prayer. Have you ever experienced that?
Here’s the third obstacle in Hebrews 10:22
22 let us draw near with a sincere heart in full assurance of faith, having our hearts sprinkled clean from an evil conscience and our bodies washed with pure water.
The third obstacle is a sense of uncleanness before a Holy God. You ever feel unclean before God in prayer? “I feel dirty Lord” or “I know I am coming before You and I am understanding in the Word of God who you are and I want to come in reverence and fear but I feel so dirty.” You want to know why you feel dirty? Because you sinned. You feel dirty, too, because your evil conscience has not been dealt with.
When you come to prayer, you sense your pollution. Sin pollutes us and gives the sense of not feeling clean. We feel dirty and have a sense of total unworthiness often before God. A great example of this is David. In fact, David uses these words very clearly about feeling dirty because of his sin. What is he going to do, wash 25, 000 so he gets the dirt off? What is he going to do? He knows he cannot clean the dirt off his conscience. He cannot clean the pollution out of his life, so what does he do?
One thing that made David a man after God’s heart is that he did not run away from God. He ran towards God. He understood the character of God.
In Psalms 51:2 lets pick up some of the passages and get a sense of what David felt when He sinned before God. David committed adultery. He should have been at war but he was not. He committed adultery with Bathsheeba. Bathsheeba was married to Uriah. Uriah was a captain in David’s army, so David sent him to the hottest part of the battle and Uriah got killed.
David was an adulterer and a murderer.
Now, Nathan the prophet comes to David and acting like, in a sense the Holy Spirit, points his finger in David’s face and gave him a little story about a little lamb. David says, “It was a terrible story. I’ll get that man who took that lamb!” And Nathan says, “You’re the man”. David begins to feel convicted, and he begins to feel dirty. And he begins to melt before the consuming fire who is God. He cries out and says in Psalms 51:2
2Wash me thoroughly from my iniquity…
He uses different words for sin. Iniquity is like crookedness. My crooked dealings. My trying to hide everything and manipulate circumstances so I can get my way. So, it would look like I didn’t commit the sin and someone else committed the sin or maybe no one will notice. Psalms 51:3, 4 says:
2…And cleanse me from my sin.
3For I know my transgressions, and my sin is ever before me.
4Against You, You only, I have sinned and done what is evil in Your sight, So that You are justified when You speak And blameless when You judge.
We cannot wiggle out of the judgment of God. God knows exactly what is going on. Psalms 51:5:
5Behold, I was brought forth in iniquity, and in sin my mother conceived me.
David was realizing that it is not the actions that was the problem. He realized it was his heart that was the problem. By the time it gets to the actions, it is already done. Sin is conceived in your heart. That is where God sees it.
Matthew 5: 28 says:
28but I say to you that everyone who looks at a woman with lust for her has already committed adultery with her in his heart.
That means that God sees the sin in your heart before you act it out. And even if you never act it out it is still sin. That is where God is going to judge. If you look at it like that, we are all guilty. We are in big trouble. In this sense, David understood who God is and he’s coming to God feeling dirty. In psalms 51:7, it says:
7Purify me with hyssop, and I shall be clean; Wash me, and I shall be whiter than snow.
Purifying with hyssop is when they used to deep the hyssop branch in the blood and sprinkle it. Meaning that was the covering of sin by the blood sacrifice. David says, “The only way my sin can be washed away is by the blood. And then when it is, I will be whiter than snow before God. Then I will realize that my dirt and pollution will id gone.” God sees the heart.
In Psalms 51:10:
10Create in me a clean heart, O God, and renew a steadfast spirit within me.
David understood the inward complications of the heart and knew it was a heart problem before God. So, how in the world can a person riddled with an evil conscience come into the presence of a God who is a consuming fire? How can that ever happen? We need to realize that these obstacles can be overcome. That is the point of the scripture in Hebrews 10. That is what the rest of our text is saying.
Our text is saying in Hebrews 10, how to approach God in the way that He requires. In looking at that there are some essentials, at least 2, that will aid us to remove the obstacles so that we can pray with confidence. How can we go on to the next thing if we have not resolved to take care of our conscience? To take care of the dirt we have gathered on ourselves through life. How can we approach God?
I am headed to describe the kind of heart we are to have when we draw near to God. I’ll tell you what, it is not a proud heart. It is not a self-sufficient heart. It is not an insincere heart that God delights in to approach him. No, it’s none of those or any other one we can add on there. So, what kind of heart are we to have when we approach a Holy God? Hebrews 10:22 says:
22let us draw near with a sincere heart in full assurance of faith…
If you have a King James, New King James, or ESV it says a true heart. Maybe that is a better way to say it. The NAS ’95, ’77, and then the NIV say, “let us draw near with a sincere heart”. The word in the Greek is the literal word for true. The definition is a little fuzzy but will be clear once I look at the opposite of it. It is defined in this way: that which has not only the name a semblance but the real nature corresponding to the name.
In other words, the opposite of pure gold is adulterated metal. The word may be better understood when it is put up against it opposite. The words true and sincere is a heart that is not fictitious. It is real. It is a heart that is not counterfeit but it is authentic. It is a heart that is not imaginary so that it is without fakery. It is a heart that is not simulated but it is a heart that is the real thing. It is a heart that does not pretend and without hypocrisy.
Another way to put it is we approach God with an honest heart. It is the only way to approach God. Believers, according to our text, we are to draw near to God with a true, sincere, honest heart which assumes that we are aware of the kind of heart we are coming near to God with. We have a certain amount of understanding with our own heart. We are to have a level of discernment, ever growing, of our own heart and our own tendency to sin in certain areas. And of the weaknesses we have in our life that may pull us away from prayer. So, therefore, remove those things so we can continue to pray.
You cannot meet with God with an insincere heart. You can fool people some of the time, but you can never fool God. This is the issue. This is the main issue that he brings up when it comes to the obstacle of prayer. Are you coming to God with an absolutely honest heart about everything that is going on in your life and in your thoughts?
You do not have to sugar-coat things with God. Tell it like it is. If you are sinning in a certain way, tell God. Be blatantly honest with Him. “This is who I am Lord. This is the way I am sinning. This is what makes me feel dirty. This is what keeps me from You and prayer. This is what stops me from proclaiming Your name. This is what stops me from being a loving husband or a loving wife. This very thing. I want to be honest with You. This sin is preventing me from approaching you. I want to get rid of it. I want it done for good. I want to come before You as the scriptures tell me, with full assurance of faith. That is the way I want to come. Because Lord I know, and I am not even going to try to fool You or manipulate You or sugar-coat what is going on in my life. I’m going to tell it like it is. I am going to be honest. Finally, Lord, I am going to be honest.”
You know what, you do that, I do that, it changes everything. It changes whether I am in the Holy Place or not. It changes my approach to a holy and a consuming God. It changes everything and not only does it change everything with my relationship with God, it changes everything with my relationship with people. Both changes. God can never be fooled. In Hebrews 4:12
12For the word of God is living and active and sharper than any two-edged sword, and piercing as far as the division of soul and spirit, of both joints and marrow, and able to judge the thoughts and intentions of the heart.
How can you try to fool God if that is the case? It says Hebrews 4:13:
13And there is no creature hidden from His sight, but all things are open and laid bare to the eyes of Him with whom we have to do.
How do I approach God? With an honest heart. You know what? If you’re a believer, you know Christ, you can do it. By the power of the Holy Spirit, you can do it. That is what the scripture is saying. You can remove this obstacle and do it. That may be some painful prayer times for you. It may be some restitution that you may have to do after you get off your knees in prayer. It may mean that you may need to go to someone and tell them something because of the sin you committed against them.
It may be a lot of things after you get off your knees in prayer. But believe me, you won’t want to do it any other way because it is God’s way. This is the way you have power in your life. This is the way you have victory over sin. This is the way you can be used in your spiritual gift in the church. This is God’s way.
That is not all. You can’t be sincere and not come with a heart fully trusting God. That comes next. In Hebrews 10:22 it says:
22let us draw near with a sincere heart in full assurance of faith…
Knowing truth and growing in doctrine will give you a clear understanding of what the sacrifice of Christ has already done for you. And what kind of heart the Holy Spirit is creating in you. In other words, if I come to God with my conscience riddled with pollution and I come to God feeling dirty, well, that is already taken care of on the cross. 1 John 1:9 says:
9If we confess our sins, He is faithful and righteous to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.
He will make me whiter than snow. Why? So, I do not go along, keep living my life with this weighed down conscience and feeling dirty when I do not have to. That is the point of what Christ has taken care of completely, forever. But, the approach must be made in the right way and we understand the doctrine of what Christ has done to take care of the obstacle. Then, what do we do?
Knowing the truth and growing in doctrine will give you a clear understanding of what the sacrifice of Christ has done for you and what kind of heart the Holy Spirit is creating in you. You the believer, He is creating an open heart that fully trusts in God. That is what He is creating in you. That is where the boldness comes from. That is where the confidence come from. I understand what happens to me in salvation. I understand what the bible says that Christ accomplished on the cross. I understand what it means practically in my life. Therefore, I will implement those things and live the way I ought to live. I am going to do that, and I am going to want to do that.
Remember, the Lord kept saying in Hebrew that it is the new and living way. It is a new way. This is not an old, dead religious system. This is not the old rituals and ceremonies of Judaism or any other religious system that is based on work. No, this is a new way. This is a living way. When you come this way, you have life. The new way is the way God has planned from all eternity.
That is the only way you have access to the presence of God. The only way. Through Christ and coming with an honest heart. There is no real access to God but by the sacrificial death of Jesus Christ. I said in my prayer this morning that God is not about what we do. The Gospel is about what God has already done. There is no way we can add to something God has already done. What we do is we believe it and follow it. That is what we do. This is what You have done Lord? Then that is what I am going to do” “This is what You say? Then that is what I am going to do”.
That is what happens in a believer’s life. When a person actually comes to Christ for the first time, do you know what they are saying to God? “Lord, Your way is the only way. So, I am giving up all my ways to try to get saved and I am going to follow your way”. That is the prayer that God hears. Until that point, you are not on praying ground. So, a rock singer that gets up and says, “I pray to the Lord that I would have a successful season and I give praise God.” And all their songs are about sin and corruption and sex, they are just deceiving themselves. They do not even know who God is. If they did, they would not be doing that.
There is a certain fear and reverence that comes into our lives that we do not do certain things. Not because there is a list of things not to do but because God is holy, and I live before His eyes. It does not matter what people are saying or who is looking because God sees and if I am going to come before God with an open heart, then we are already prepared to go before Him because we are living everyday before His piercing eyes. We go before Him as our Father and not our Judge.
There is a second thing in Hebrews 10:22, it says:
22…having our hearts sprinkled clean from an evil conscience and our bodies washed with pure water.
It is the heart that has been cleansed so we must have a cleansed heart. But brethren, we do not clean our own heart. We pray and confess our sin and Christ cleans your heart. As a matter of fact, the cleansing power has already been established in the cross. If Christ is the end of the law and the law convicts and condemns of sin, we no longer live according to the Mosaic law, we live according to the Law of Christ.
The Spirit of God living in me enables me to live according to the Law of Christ. And, you know what? The Law of Christ is above the law of Moses. That is why Jesus said in the sermon on the Mount, Matthew 5:27-28
27 “You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall not commit adultery’; 28 but I say to you that everyone who looks at a woman with lust for her has already committed adultery with her in his heart.”
Christ is putting Himself above the law and the standard is way higher. That is why you can only live by the power of the Spirit of God. You cannot live it any other way.
You come before the Lord with an open heart and when you come before the Lord you must have a cleansed heart. If the law is satisfied because Christ bore our sin and guilt, well, then my conscience is clean. And my conscience is satisfied. And my feeling of being dirty and unclean is overcome by the blood of the Lamb. Isn’t that what it says in scripture? When it comes to the great Tribulation what was their cry in Revelation 12:11?
11And they overcame him because of the blood of the Lamb and because of the word of their testimony, and they did not love their life even when faced with death.
For my heart has been comprehensively cleansed, inside out by the blood of Christ.
If you notice the end of Hebrews 10:22 it says:
22…and our bodies washed with pure water
That is not necessarily referring to baptism in the sense of the consecrations that the priests used in washing their bodies to approach God. That has been taken care of, too, in another way that God has comprehensively cleansed us. He cleansed us from the inside out and the Spirit of God constantly is cleansing us. Outward cleansing cannot cleanse from the pollution of sin. Jesus, in justification, cleanses a person so they can enter in and the Holy Spirit continues to cleanse the disciple of Christ. He cleanses their innermost thoughts and desires through the sanctification of the Holy Spirit and the sanctification of the Word of God.
We are ever-growing to put off sin. We are ever-growing in our mind to understand more of who God is and more of what God requires of us. We are growing more in the direction of delighting and enjoying God.We know that we are no longer under condemnation. We are no longer under the judgment of God, but we have received the grace, and the mercy, and the love of God and therefore I have learned to enjoy it. Have you learned to enjoy your Christian life yet? Enjoy yourself. Enjoy the providences of God every day.
Learn from the trials and tribulations that He providentially sends your way for your good and my good. You do not have to moan and groan in prayers and saying, “Lord, take this from me!” You may pray to the point, “Lord, Thank you for it. I needed it. It is sanctifying me. It is drawing me near to You. It is getting my mind off the world and my eyes off the things I ought not to be spending time on”. It gets you sober and clear-thinking. That’s what it does.
I love that passage of scripture in John 13. Do you remember when Jesus came to his disciples and he washed their feet? It is a strange passage of scripture, isn’t it? Jesus was really saying something very important in that passage. He wanted His disciples to know that what He was going to do on the cross was going to cleanse them completely. He shows them in humility. In John:13:3-11:
3Jesus, knowing that the Father had given all things into His hands, and that He had come forth from God and was going back to God, 4got up from supper, and laid aside His garments; and taking a towel, He girded Himself. 5Then He poured water into the basin, and began to wash the disciples’ feet and to wipe them with the towel with which He was girded. 6So He came to Simon Peter. He said to Him, "Lord, do You wash my feet?" 7Jesus answered and said to him, "What I do you do not realize now, but you will understand hereafter." 8Peter said to Him, "Never shall You wash my feet!" Jesus answered him, "If I do not wash you, you have no part with Me." 9Simon Peter said to Him, "Lord, then wash not only my feet, but also my hands and my head." 10Jesus said to him, "He who has bathed needs only to wash his feet, but is completely clean; and you are clean, but not all of you." 11For He knew the one who was betraying Him; for this reason He said, "Not all of you are clean."
In other words, the one that was not clean was Judas and he was going to betray Him. However, Christ was relaying before the cross, how the cross was going to completely cleanse them and make them acceptable to God. They would not understand when He was speaking but they understood afterwards what the Lord was saying.
The Lord wanted them to know, “Listen, what I’m going to is going to so cleanse you and make you clean before God that you will be able to approach God at anytime, anywhere, with boldness and confidence based on the work of God. Not anything you can ever do.”
And in prayer, when the accuser comes to you, the devil, Satan, and his demons and they begin to point out things in your conscience. When he begins to point out things you are supposed to be doing that you are not doing. Whenever he begins to point out certain sins that are blatant in your life and begins to accuse you. You need to point the devil to your Lord Jesus Christ.
You need to point him to the One who was crucified. The one who was risen. The one who was exalted. The one who is coming again. And you need to proclaim to him the confidence that God gave us to enter the presence of God based on the sacrifice of Jesus Christ. You can tell the devil, “I don’t need to fear you. I don’t need to fear you because of my Lord and what He has accomplished on my behalf. I don’t need to fear you.”
The bottom line is that true believers with their doctrine and understanding of who God is and what God has done come before Him with confidence and come with freedom of speech, encouraged to express their needs. And they come regularly with an honest heart. And a heart that has been cleansed, but is dirtied daily by sin, but confession takes care of it because all my sins have been taken care of on the cross. When I understand that I can come to God with all our needs, and all my prayers, and all my intercessions on a regular basis and know that God has heard me. And anticipate answers to those prayers. That is the only way to come. So, if you individually and we as a church begin to understand this and come in this way, then let us pray prayers that only God could do. Do not pray prayers that you could do. Do not pray prayers within the limits of human power and ingenuity. Let us pray prayers that only God can do. That people would say, “That’s impossible!” Exactly.
But I’m coming to a God who has a unique way of dealing within the realm of the impossible. He is able to save people who others would say, “No way, God would never save that person!” Oh yes, he will. Why? Because people have been seeking God’s face for that person’s soul. “God would never heal that marriage!” Oh, wait a minute, come before God in prayer and see what God can do. God works in the realm of the impossible and when you have people who understand prayer then that realm is open to us. Let us think through this again and let us practice is and not talk about it.