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Thursday, October 7, 2010

We think these mums look nice set with the dry, ready to harvest corn in the background.

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"Full Assurance Of Faith"

"Let us draw near to God with a sincere heart in full assurance of faith" (Hebrews 10:22).

Twelve times in the book of Hebrews the author introduces a phrase with the gentle invitation, "Let us."  When I read or hear a preacher use this invitation I am especially encouraged, as it seems the author or preacher is leading me.  By including himself he's not pointing a finger at me, he's not pushing, and he's not exalting himself in his position. He's indicating, "We're in this together."  In fact I try to preach my messages this way.

One of the first sermons I ever preached when we planted a church in northern Pennsylvania was based on a selection of passages in Hebrews that began with, "Let us".  Following the message a friend from the congregation told me, "You ought to call that the Salad Sermon." He was referring to the repetitive use of "Let us [lettuce]!" Actually it is technically known as the hortative voice.  Interestingly HORTatory and exHORTive both have the sense of encouraging.

Today's short portion is so very encouraging and greatly needed. By repeating it over and over it can be memorized in a fairly short time. You can draw strength from the writer's encouraging invitation throughout the day.  There are so many distractions, so many issues that beckon our attention, creating stress and anxiety. Let us break it down phrase by phrase:

1) "Let us draw near to God."  The Psalmist declared, "But it is good for me to draw near to God: I have put my trust in the Lord GOD, that I may declare all thy works" (Psalm 73:28).  James taught us about the warm reciprocating nature of this relationship, "Draw near to God and He will draw near to you" (James 4:8).  The call to draw near is a lifelong call and a deliberate choice we make, day after day. Far too many have a tendency to be rather casual about their relationship with God which can easily lead to a falling away from the one true God.  As the saying goes, "If you don't stand for something, you'll fall for anything."

2) "With a sincere heart." There is no room for counterfeit or deceit when we come into the holy of holies to meet with God.  "Nothing in all creation is hidden from God's sight.  Everything is uncovered and laid bare before the eyes of Him to whom we must give account" (Hebrews 4:13).  Our relationship with God is foundationally taught in Scripture to be expressed from the heart, our innermost being. But the writer of Hebrews specifies a necessary quality of the way our heart needs to be, "sincere".  Other versions translate this "true".

3) "In full assurance of faith."  Assurance is one of the greatest blessings we have. In fact one of the great hymns of the church declares, "Blessed assurance, Jesus is mine." Assurance comes from the word sure and means that we can fully depend and rely on God's promises.  The relationship is faith-based as God ordained. "Without faith it is impossible to please God" (Hebrews 11:6).

Oh, how we need to draw near to God! And by God's glorious grace we can do so "with a sincere heart in full assurance of faith."  Let us draw near to God today!

Be encouraged today,

Stephen & Brooksyne Weber

Daily prayer: Father, we draw near to you with a clear conscience because our hearts are sprinkled with the cleansing blood of Jesus Christ.  Because of His sacrificial death we can approach Your throne with full assurance and have audience with a holy God.  We can bring nothing artificial nor can we cover up that which is within our hearts because You see everything.  So we draw near to You with sincere hearts, fully assured, that You also draw near to us.  Amen.

Today's Suggested Music and Supplemental Resources
Click on the link to open and play.
(In some cases you may also need to click again to start the song.)

"Draw Me Close To You"  Video 

"Draw Me Nearer"  Video

"Jesus, Draw Me Nearer"  Video  Kristyn Getty

"Blessed Assurance"  Video  

"Blessed Assurance" Audio from the Lifespring Hymnstory podcast. This is one of Fanny Crosby's most beloved hymns. This version has the story as well as a nice version of the hymn.

Fanny Crosby tombstone
Fanny Crosby tombstone in Bridgeport Connecticut

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Scripture references are from The Holy Bible: New International Version. © 1984 by International Bible Society; NEW AMERICAN STANDARD BIBLE®, Copyright © 1995 by The Lockman Foundation, New King James Version (NKJV) Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. and the King James Version.

Personal Mission Statement: "I am created by God to bring Him glory. Through God's Son Jesus Christ I have been redeemed and I make it my life's goal to please the Lord. My mission in life is to honor God through my faith and obedience and to prepare myself and all whom I may influence for eternity."

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