Hebrews 10:19 Therefore, brethren, since we have confidence to enter the sanctuary by the blood of Jesus,
You may have heard there is a comet in the sky, you may have also heard that a group of people killed themselves convinced that they would be taken up into a spaceship that would apear in the comet’s tail. They had confidence, they thought the end of the world was approaching. They acted with conviction. Do you have faith? Good, of course you do. But do you have a faith that allows you to act with conviction, confident, knowing what is right and doing what needs to be done?
I’m not asking you to kill yourself. I do want you to know that the end is near, not because of a comet, not because we are fast approaching the year 2000 - although for many people, either of these is enough to cause them to act with conviction. The end is near, not because I say so, but because the Bible says so. No, there is no sign to say when it will happen, and no time table is given, but the Bible does tell us it is near, and that we should live in such a way that we are always ready. We will never know when the last day will come, but we will know it has arrived because we will see Jesus return, and that will be the end.
But if you know when the last day is coming, what should you do? Simple answer, always be prepared. Always be ready to answer to God. Always be ready to give an account. For some people, this is a great terror, they can’t be ready, not today, not for many days, they have a long list of things to do. So where do you begin? Well, if today was the last day, what would be important to do today? Could picking up the twigs be put off till tomorrow? Could painting the house be put off? Could washing the car? And soon you begin to look at your list, and say, well what does matter for today?
If it is the last day, you will soon be meeting God. Shouldn’t that be the first place to begin? How to begin? Shouldn’t the first thing be to stop doing all the things you know that God doesn’t like, and especially the things which God has clearly told you: Thou Shalt Not! And then, aren’t there are few things God told you to do, that just haven’t been getting done? Now the amazing thing is that this is the way every day should begin, with confession, repentance and prayer. In fact it is not just the way the day begins, but is also the way the day progresses, until night comes, and with it sleep. If we do this we will find that when God does come, we will be ready.
But are you confident that you will be ready? Are you certain that if you were to meet God this moment, that you would be prepared? You should be, we have had confession, and repentance and prayer. But by themselves, these do not give us confidence, and so we have also heard the Word of God, not just some portion, but a very special part that assures us that all our sins are forgiven; that our guilt has been taken away; and that we have peace with God in the blood of Jesus Christ.
In fact this night is a celebration of all these things, as we remember how our Lord, on the night he was betrayed took the bread and the wine, and blessed it and broke it and said: this is my body, this is my blood, given and shed for you for the forgiveness of sins. Our text tells us that we should have this confidence, not because of who we are, or what we have done, but simply because of the blood of Jesus Christ given and shed for us, for the forgiveness of all of our sins. What does this mean? It means that we need not be afraid, even if we should find ourselves standing before God. Why? Because in Christ all our sins have been forgiven, we stand covered in Jesus righteousness, we have been washed, we have been made pure and holy, we are redeemed. We know that God has worked in us, and has created in us a clean heart and renewed a right spirit within us. Why, because these are the promised gifts that come with salvation.
And that brings us back to the therefore: Therefore, brethren, since we have confidence to enter the sanctuary by the blood of Jesus, - Therefore what? How then should we live, seeing that Jesus has shed his blood for us? How? Somehow we have made it back to the beginning - confession, repentance and prayer and the good news of the forgiveness of sins that is ours. If this helps us to make each day new, and keep us always ready, wouldn’t it be good in the next thing on our list of things to do, would be to make certain that all we know, know the way of faith. Wouldn’t it be good for all to be able to be confident, that by grace through faith, in Jesus Christ, that they too could stand before God.