Good morning to you my precious family and friends

Hebrews 10 verses 22-24 says 22Let us draw near to God with a sincere heart and with the full assurance that faith brings, having our hearts sprinkled to cleanse us from a guilty conscience and having our bodies washed with pure water. 23 Let us hold unswervingly to the hope we profess, for He who promised is faithful. 24 And let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds”

The book of Hebrews tells us how Jesus Christ makes possible a loving relationship between a holy God and His unholy people. Jesus has actually become our perfect priest, having made a sacrifice of Himself in order that all God’s people might be united with Him. In today’s verses the writer turns to talk about our response to God’s gracious love in Christ. If God has done all this for us, then how should we live?

One way is to live in hope—­unswerving hope. But even here, as the writer turns to talk about what we should do, it’s clear that unswerving hope is possible only because of the faithfulness of God. It is possible to hope in the promises of God because God keeps His promises. It is possible to hold unswervingly to the hope we profess because God, who promised the things we hope for, is faithful to keep those promises.

The hymn “Blessed Assurance” was written by Fanny J. Crosby. Though she become blind at six weeks of age through improper medical treatment, Fanny Crosby wrote more than eight thousand gospel song texts in her lifetime of ninety-five years. Her many favourites such as “Blessed Assurance” have been an important part of evangelical worship for the past century. One day Mrs. Joseph (Phoebe) Knapp, who was an amateur musician, the daughter of a noted Methodist evangelist, and a close personal friend, visited Fanny in her New York home. After kneeling in prayer and clutching her little Bible, the blind poetess stood to her feet with face aglow: “Why, that music says,” Blessed Assurance, Jesus is mine! O what a foretaste of glory divine.”” Soon the words began to flow from her heart, and there was born another of the more than eight thousand gospel hymns by this godly woman, the “queen of gospel music.”

The Scriptures teach that we can know with absolute certainty that we have the life of God within us (1 John 4:13 says “This is how we know that we live in Him and He in us: He has given us of His Spirit.") This confidence is not based on inner feelings or outward signs. Rather, this “blessed assurance” is founded upon the promises of a faithful God and His inspired Word. It depends not on the amount of our faith but on the object of our faith–our Lord Jesus Christ Himself!

At first glance verse 22 seems full of to-do’s in our approach to God. It says to not only draw near, but to draw near with a true heart in full assurance of faith. Then it says our hearts should be sprinkled from an evil conscience and our bodies should be washed with pure water. The verse is not a list of to-do’s. It’s a list of what’s already been done by the blood of Jesus. The writer is telling us is to get in the right mind-set, understanding what Christ has done on our behalf so we can enter with boldness.

Just like Jesus Christ, God responds to faith over need. Our faith—believing what He has done for us—is what activates His power.

He is an Almighty God Who is powerful in every way, but He also granted us the power of the Holy Spirit when we accepted Jesus Christ as our Saviour. We have a responsibility to participate in the process. The writer tells us why we can have boldness and why we should have boldness when approaching God.

We don’t have to hide our immoral thoughts and desires from God. The blood of Christ covers us so we can approach Him in truth, which is in Christ. We can come to God in the boldness of the truth when we believe we are safe in Christ, which helps us trust Him with the outcome. That is a true heart in full assurance of faith.

God works through the truth, so when we come to Him giving Him access to what has been hidden in our hearts, He sees the beauty of Jesus Christ and then heals and restores us to His righteousness and causes the peace of Christ to enter in.

Verse 22 says we can draw near with a true heart. “Heart” in the Greek means: the thoughts or feelings. Christ gave us the power to approach God with the truth of what we’re thinking and feeling, whether it’s good, bad or ugly.

Next, it says that because of the blood of Christ the believer’s hearts (our thoughts and feelings) have been sprinkled from an evil conscience and our bodies washed with pure water. So the writer tells us that the blood of Christ cleaned us on the inside–our hearts—so we can approach God with a clean heart and a clean body.

Even though the blood of Christ gives us the power to live free from evil, we must participate by bringing every thought captive to the obedience of Christ. It is a process, but one that is greatly rewarding as we follow Him. From Verse 23 we might ask “What is the “hope we profess?” It is Jesus Christ and Him crucified for the forgiveness of sins who will save those who believe and repent, and who will return again in glory to judge the living and the dead. To profess this hope is to be saved. To “hold unswervingly” to this hope is to live according to it. True belief is shown by the way in which one lives. To swerve from this would be to wander off the path to the right or the left into some error or contradiction.

The doctrine of eternal security is that if one is truly saved, then salvation is guaranteed and cannot be lost. The Bible consistently acts as part of the means of that security by exhorting Christians to hold onto their faith and to keep going with Christ where He leads. We are warned against falling away like the Israelites, having been saved from slavery in Egypt by God’s mighty hand and outstretched arm, who then went and rebelled in unbelief in the wilderness, perishing. The reminder of this tragic falling away is meant to help Christians avoid the same fate. The grounds for the plea to hold to the hope is the faithfulness of the God who has promised our salvation and the return of His Son, Jesus Christ. God will not fail to accomplish His purposes which include our eternal life in Christ.

A true believer will want to hold “unswervingly.” How much more could the Christian grow, and the Church accomplish if it eliminated swerving to the left or the right?
The hope we profess is Christ crucified and risen from the dead, to return at the proper time for the ushering in of the New Heavens and the New Earth. John 3:16 reminds us that the hope is that any who believe in Him shall not perish, but have everlasting life.

Verse 24 says that as believers we are also instructed to be concerned about our brothers and sisters in Christ and to stir up one another unto love and good deeds. We are to care for each other and consider how to stimulate one another to love as Christ loved us, and to produce good deeds that God has prepared for us to do. We as believers are instructed: to challenge others unto love and to good works.

As fallen creatures it is easy to provoke each other to anger and strife through unkindness and criticism - but as believers we are instructed to provoke one another unto LOVE. And it is through unchanging love that love is provoked. It is by means of loving another that they become stimulated to love in return. It is through an unchanging attitude of never-failing Christ-like love towards our brothers and sisters in Christ, irrespective of their attitude towards us. That love can be motivated within them - as they see Christ living in us and loving through us.

And just as love earns love, so too encouraging others to do good works by our own demonstration, will promote good works in them as well. Good works can only by carried out in our Christian life through the power of the indwelling Holy Spirit. And so we promote love and good works in others, in spirit and in truth. How blessed we are if we can reflect on our own lives and identify those that by God's grace, patiently and lovingly provoked us to love and good works - by grace through faith in Christ. Remember that Christians are never judged by the confessions they make, or the creed they recite; it is always by their actions.

Let us pray

Heavenly Father, thank You for loving me so much that while I was still dead in my trespasses and sins, Christ completed His finished work on the cross, so that by grace through faith in Him, I might have forgiveness of sin and life everlasting. Thank You for those who taught me about the Lord Jesus and who demonstrated the love of Christ in their own lives - challenging me to love and good works in my own life. Holy God, help us to stay true to the hope you have given us in Jesus Christ. Surround us with other Christians who will encourage us in this life of hope. Help me to be so in tune with You that others may be provoked unto love and good works through my witness, as Christ lives in me and I in Him. AMEN.

Please sing with me - “Blessed assurance, Jesus is mine! O what a foretaste of glory divine!
Heir of salvation, purchase of God, Born of His Spirit, washed in His blood.” Chorus:
“This is my story, this is my song, Praising my Saviour all the day long;
This is my story, this is my song, Praising my Saviour all the day long.

Much love to you in Christ from Maurice and Margaret