Seeking God Pt. 2 #TraditionallySouthside

We need to realize that seeking God is an ongoing process in our lives as Christians. But seeking God is not a once in a lifetime pursuit. Yes, salvation takes place with the initial seeking of God, and once you are saved, you never have to be saved again. Salvation, when we accept Jesus Christ as our Lord and Savior is only the beginning of God’s work of grace in us. That work continues as we live day by day. In most of those verses above, understand that the action of seeking is an ongoing, never-ending process, kind of like what hide-and-seek feels like sometimes at our house. As soon as everyone is found, we do it over again, and again, and again.

Listen. We live in a day of doing. What I mean by that is that we have to be doing something all of the time. If you are driving down the road, what are you usually doing? Listening to the radio. Talking on the telephone. Some of you even texting? If you are sitting at home, what are you usually doing? Watching television. Doing yardwork. Talking on the telephone. Checking Facebook. Texting? Even in church, it’s all about doing. Every second of our services has to be scripted. Any silences are uncomfortable. But hear me, my friends. Instead of trying to do everything we think God wants us to do, the number one priority of the church – the thing that we should be doing more than anything else – we should be Seeking God through worship.

The simple truth is that God invites His people to seek His presence through worship. Think about it. In our Scripture this morning, it was God who invited His people to come into His presence, and they refused because of fear. In Jeremiah 29:13, God makes the invitation coupled with a promise. He says, “You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart.”

Look at what Paul said in Hebrews 10:19-25. Understand the full context of this passage is about worship. Literally, he rewrites the definition of worship. Worship is entering the presence of God with boldness. My friends, we need to do nothing more than to enter God’s presence with boldness. Listen to me. Through the sacrifice of our Lord Jesus Christ, He has made provision for us to enter into the presence of God. Paul says, “Having boldness to enter.” The word “having” is a present-tense participle which means that boldness is something we have right now as our present and ongoing possession. But Paul’s choice of words is interesting because the word boldness literally means “freedom of speech.” That is, we have freedom or liberty to enter into the presence of God and say to Him whatever is on our hearts. We have that freedom because Jesus provided it to us in a new and living way.

But this entrance into the presence of God must be pursued. Look at vs. 22 again. “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.” Do you know what Paul was describing here? He was describing the priestly ritual that would take place every year before the High Priest could go into the Holy of Holies. The blood of a sacrificial animal had to be sprinkled on him, symbolic of being cleansed on the inside. He would stop by a basin that was filled with water and wash himself off, symbolic of being cleansed on the outside. In other words, in order for the High Priest to enter God’s presence, he had to be clean on the inside as well as on the outside. The heart has to be sprinkled with blood and the body has to be washed with pure water.

Worship is drawing near to God. Hear me, my friends. According to these verses, Jesus, as our new and superior High Priest, has led the way for us into the Holy of Holies, into the very presence of God. Jesus is our forerunner, the one who has gone on in advance to prepare the way for us. And since He has prepared the way for us, v. 22 becomes an open invitation for us to join Him, to come into His presence. Let us draw near. Now if you believe that the Bible is the inspired Word of God, which I do; that the Holy Spirit of God breathed into the writer and gave Him the words to use, which I do; then v. 22 is like God in Heaven telling His children, “Come on in, friend; it’s good to see you.” Listen to me. The Old Testament kept the people of God out of the Holy of Holies, but the New Testament brings us into the very presence of God. What a wonderful provision has been made for us.

Listen. God has prepared the way for us to enter into His presence, to worship Him. But know this. Worship is preparing our hearts as we seek Him.  We must prepare ourselves for the act of worship. Before we can come into the presence of God, we must deal with any sin that’s in our lives. We cannot come to Him unless we come on the basis of the shed blood of the Lord Jesus Christ. We do not have access to God on the basis of our own good deeds and merit. We come into God’s presence saying, “Lord, I don’t deserve this, but the precious blood of your Son has cleansed me from my sin. I’m coming in on the basis of His blood.”

Hear me this morning. There is a double meaning to what Paul has said here. First, notice that what he says is in the past tense. Having our hearts sprinkled and our bodies washed. It happens at the moment of salvation. But there is also a continuing aspect to this. We believers have the privilege of washing our lives with the precious water of the Word of God. We must have a time every day when we get into the Word and let it cleanse our outward lives, rearrange things, and make us what we ought to be. Only then do we have an entrance into God’s presence so that we can have fellowship with Him in worship. We can enter into the presence of God for ourselves.

(Taken from sermon preached in May 2015)

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