Persevere to Pursue Holiness

Hebrews 10:19-25
Having therefore, brethren, boldness to enter into the holiest by the blood of Jesus, By a new and living way, which he hath consecrated for us, through the veil, that is to say, his flesh; And [having] an high priest over the house of God; Let us draw near with a true heart in full assurance of faith, having our hearts sprinkled from an evil conscience, and our bodies washed with pure water. Let us hold fast the profession of [our] faith without wavering; (for he [is] faithful that promised;) And let us consider one another to provoke unto love and to good works Not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as the manner of some [is]; but exhorting [one another]: and so much the more, as ye see the day approaching.

Here in Hebrews we are again being exhorted and encouraged to draw near to God. We are not being told to draw near hoping that we’re good enough or hoping that God will accept us. He already has accepted us in Christ and if we are to draw near and have boldness to enter into the Holiest, we must do so based not on identifying with our former selves, but based upon who we are in Christ Jesus. It is His blood that has cleansed us, purified us and given us acceptance before Him. When the Father looks upon us now He sees us in Christ and receives us as such.
One thing the tone of this scripture brings to us is that we do not enter in by the attitude of “I wish I may, I wish I might”. The scripture is saying to us gird yourself up in the confidence of who you are in Christ, with a true heart, in fullness of faith. We know that the blood of Jesus has dealt with the sin issue that separated us from God. We know that His Word is renewing our mind and thinking, washing our bodies with the water of the Word. But do we have a true heart? One that is truly set, fixed and will settle for nothing less than His manifest presence? The Lord is telling us that we have everything we need to enter into the Holiest by the blood of Jesus. That Holiest is where the light of His glory is present over the cherubim. It is that place in his Holy presence we meet with Father, Almighty. While we have access and provision to come here, it is not a place for the weak and faint of heart and faith. They will not see this place. We are talking about a place and dimension at the mountaintop. Most will not enter in because the path is not well traveled. It takes the passionate person that will persevere in faith, boldness and confidence. God is looking for a people that are wholly sold out to Him, where He alone is the object of the their passion and desire. A people who covet nothing less than His manifest presence and life. They don’t want to settle for just living in Israel. They don’t want to settle anymore for just living in Jerusalem. They have their have their eye single and steadfast upon Mount Zion, where the King reigns. They have been promised through this Word an audience with His Majesty and they will not be detoured by anything until they have come into His presence. They will make whatever spiritual preparations required, but they have determined that they will not be denied His promise. Most of us get discouraged and distracted along the way and we give up on our highest pursuit. The whole reason we meet together and have church where two or more are gathered in His name is so that He might be in our midst and so that we might stir one another up in our passion to pursue Jesus into the Holiest. We have to keep one another focused on our life purpose, which is to know Him and manifest His nature in these mortal bodies.
Hebrews 12:1-4 goes on to exhort us after we have just left the hall of faith in Hebrews 11. It tells us, “Wherefore seeing we also are compassed about with so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which doth so easily beset [us], and let us run with patience the race that is set before us, Looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of [our] faith; who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is set down at the right hand of the throne of God. For consider him that endured such contradiction of sinners against himself, lest ye be wearied and faint in your minds. Ye have not yet resisted unto blood, striving against sin.” Whatever it requires of us, we want to be God-chasers, passionately intent on entering into that place where He has made a way. This is our quest to enter into the prize of His glory and presence. On the journey we will find ourselves changed and transformed, for the closer we get to Him, the more His consuming fire burns away all that is perishable within us. The closer we get the more in His likeness we become. Hebrews 11:6 tells us, “But without faith [it is] impossible to please [him]: for he that cometh to God must believe that he is, and [that] he is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him.” Summon up your faith in all boldness and with a true heart and all of your might, pursue the Lover of our souls into the Holiest.

Blessings,
#kent

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Yoked Oxen and Wild Asses

Ephesians 2:13-18
But now in Christ Jesus ye who sometimes were far off are made nigh by the blood of Christ. For he is our peace, who hath made both one, and hath broken down the middle wall of partition [between us]; Having abolished in his flesh the enmity, [even] the law of commandments [contained] in ordinances; for to make in himself of twain one new man, [so] making peace And that he might reconcile both unto God in one body by the cross, having slain the enmity thereby: And came and preached peace to you which were afar off, and to them that were nigh. For through him we both have access by one Spirit unto the Father.

As the New Covenant Church began after the death, resurrection and ascension of Christ there were many struggles for men and women to come into the truth of the grace and freedom that is in Christ Jesus. There are still many parallels of that in the Church today. On one side you have what we will call the “yoked oxen”. These are the religious ones who have grown up in the religious atmosphere of denomination and religious structure. Most have grounding in the basic truths of God’s Word, but they have been so long under the yoke of the routine of religion it is hard for them to have the vision of how God is expanding beyond the perimeters of their individual camps of truth and revelation. In many ways they have become similar to the Jews of Israel. “Bless God, we are God’s chosen and our way is the right way. It was good enough for my ancestors and it is good enough for me.” It is the mentality that wants to put God in the box of our religious way of thinking and they struggle to see beyond that.
On the other hand we have what we will call “the wild asses”. These are those much like the Gentiles outside of Judaism that have little or no roots in religious background or the Christian religion. They have lived life free and wild before the Holy Spirit drew them to Himself and they came into knowledge of Him. They may not have the reverence and respect for the time honored traditional values that the “yoked oxen” have. They often have no clue of the proper etiquette and decorum of worship and reverencing God. But the “Wild Asses,” on the other hand, come with a certain freedom from the tradition and teachings of men. Their souls are like virgin soil for the gospel to be planted into. There is this wall of religion and rebellion that exist between the two camps as they often have conflict in dealing with one another. This was that middle wall of partition that separated the Jew and Gentile of old and a prejudice that still exist today. The scripture says Christ is our peace that has made us both one. As these two cultures come together in the atmosphere of true Christian fellowship, worship and relationship it is often hard for them to relate with one another. What we sometimes forget is that each brings to the table something that the other needs to balance them both. The wild ones need the structure and discipline, the reverence and respect that accompany the fear of God. The yoked ones need the freedom from inhibitions, liturgical thinking and expression that the wild ones bring. It is coming out of a box and culture for both sides that, together, the two may become one new man in Christ.
If missionaries from America go to foreign countries trying to impose their cultural thinking and ways as they preach the gospel they are often very much rejected and resisted. If they go and are willing to lay down their preconceived cultural ideas and reach out to the people from their cultural understanding and perspective they are often better understood and received because the people from that culture can relate with them.
What are we saying? God is bringing people into body from every nation, tribe and tongue, from every background and culture. We all have to come out of our cultural boxes and shells if we are to relate with one another in Christ. The cross of Jesus and the love of God are the common ground upon which we meet. Our focus must be much less on that of judging others and conforming them to our particular ideology of Christianity and more focused on how do we build each other up in love. If I can be more focused on meeting your need than I am on fixing your problem, the problem may well get resolved as I meet the need.
I once worked with a young man who was very open to hear about the Lord, but was from a different religious background than myself. I had my book and I was going to set him straight on why his religious background was wrong. Before I talked with him, I felt I heard the Holy Spirit say to me, “Just speak the truth in love and the truth will set him free.” It is each one of us opening up our hearts and minds to what the Spirit wants to teach us that will set us free. He will lead us into all truth if we will abide in relationship with Him and remain obedient to His leading. He will break down the middle wall of partition and make the “yoked oxen” and the “wild asses” one man in Christ.

Blessings,
#kent

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