Peter Misselbrook's Blog
Nov 11 2013 - Hebrews 10:19-39 – Encouragement to go on

Those to whom this letter is written have not had an easy time of it since they began to follow Jesus Christ. "Sometimes you were publicly exposed to insult and persecution; at other times you stood side by side with those who were so treated. You suffered along with those in prison and joyfully accepted the confiscation of your property, because you knew that you yourselves had better and lasting possessions" (Hebrews 10:33-34). They had a remarkable and challenging testimony. No doubt they were still facing suffering and persecution and perhaps some had begun to question whether the prize was really worth the fight. "Remember how much you have suffered," says the writer of this letter, "don't chuck it all away now."

To turn one’s back on Jesus Christ is to turn away from the only hope for a dying world. It is to trample the Son of God underfoot (10:29). It is to reject the judgment-bearing atoning work of Christ and all the offers of his grace and to declare that we will take our chances with God; we are ready to stand before him on the basis of our own righteousness. To say this would be to show appalling ignorance of the character of God as well as ignorance of our own character: “It is a dreadful thing to fall into the hands of the living God” (10:31).

“Get real” says the writer of this letter. There may be suffering along the way for those who follow Jesus, but there are also great blessings now and these are only a foretaste of greater blessings to come. Listen again to the encouragement of 10:19-25 and note the blessings that are ours in Christ:

Therefore, brothers and sisters, since we have confidence to enter the Most Holy Place by the blood of Jesus, by a new and living way opened for us through the curtain, that is, his body, and since we have a great priest over the house of God, let 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. Let us hold unswervingly to the hope we profess, for he who promised is faithful. And let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds, not giving up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but encouraging one another – and all the more as you see the Day approaching.

The encouragement to go on is based not only upon the promise of a prize to come, it is sustained and empowered by fellowship with the living God – we already have access into his presence through Jesus. By his death, resurrection and ascension to the right hand of God, Jesus our representative has brought us into the presence of God. His presence gives us strength for the journey (see Exodus 33:14-15).

In the light of these things we are called not only to be encouraged and to carry on but also to encourage one another as we follow Jesus together.

Consider the different ways in which you could encourage your fellow travellers today.

Lord Jesus, open our eyes to see more of your glory and more of the treasures which we possess in you. Help us to see that there is nothing in the world more precious and more to be desired than knowing you and following you. May this keep us from turning back to the rubbish we have left behind. Help us to encourage one another in following you. Help us so to live as your disciples that others may see something of the treasures that are ours and be drawn to become your disciples.

Peter Misselbrook