Saturday 21st November Hebrews -Confidence in Christ’s Blood
Hebrews 10: 19-25
Therefore, my friends, since we have confidence to enter the sanctuary by the blood of Jesus, by the new and living way that he opened for us through the curtain (that is, through his flesh), and since we have a great priest over the house of God, let us approach with a true heart in full assurance of faith, with our hearts sprinkled clean from an evil conscience and our bodies washed with pure water. Let us hold fast to the confession of our hope without wavering, for he who has promised is faithful. And let us consider how to provoke one another to love and good deeds, not neglecting to meet together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another, and all the more as you see the Day approaching.
Paul had confidence born of faith. Confidence built on Christ. That’s surely one of the reasons that his ministry was as wide ranging and impactful as it was. It’s no wonder that he urges others to have that same confidence.
Nevertheless, confidence alone is no guarantee of the quality of anyone’s faith, or the quality of their message. After all, the false prophets, to whom Paul alludes elsewhere, probably also displayed a similar confidence. However, Paul reminds the Hebrews that the right sort of confidence and the right sort of message should provoke them to love and good deeds. They can see from the fruit growing within their community, or the lack of it, whether or not the confidence is warranted.
Paul also tells the Hebrews to meet together. One of the many good reasons for doing this is so that they can discern together the worth of any message. Whilst an individual can be led astray by a new and exciting preacher, the community as a whole will more easily discern a false apostle. In other words, when we get back to having coffee after worship, we should also return to the old, old ways of discussing the sermon over the biscuits. This will allow us to absorb all that has been said that is good and to discard anything not so good.
Paul then prompts the Hebrews to encourage one another. So often those with the strongest gifts do not recognise them for what they are. It is only when they are encouraged by others that they may have the confidence to step forward and to offer those gifts to God and to the community. So coffee time needs to become encouragement time too. That way, those with unrecognised gifts can discover both the gifts and the confidence to use them.
Living and loving God, We praise you that we can stand before you in the confidence that through Christ we have been forgiven. We ask you now to grant us the discernment to know what you would have us do And the confidence to step forward in your name and to do it. Thanks be to God Amen.
The Rev’d Jacky Embrey, minister in the Bolton and Salford Missional Partnership