Our Great Salvation Rest
21 Aug 2004, Pr George Porter
(George is Thornleigh's Church Pastor)
Title: Our Great Salvation Rest
Theme: Holy Communion Sabbath/Lord's Supper Preceded by
Ordinance of Humility - Feet washing
Scripture Reading : John 13:1-9 Read in several translations
PREPARATION - THE FEET WASHING CEREMONY
Introduction: I recently witnessed an interview of a converted Melbourne criminal on video tape. I will never forget his words. Jesus is now my role model. Jesus is now my Inspiration. Jesus is my forgiveness. There is nothing in this world that I would exchange Jesus for - nothing and no one. Holy Communion is all about the man's conviction that Jesus Christ is Lord of life- now and forever.
Today I will use the KJV translation. We will draw from the book of Hebrews.
Hebrews 2:1 says, "Therefore we ought to give the more earnest heed to the things which we have heard, lest at any time we should let them slip." In other words we are admonished to listen carefully to what we have heard. "Lest", means, in order that we do not . A negative participle/conjunction. This is preventative action against slipping or drifting from an anchored position. Verse 3 asks the question, "How shall we escape, if we neglect so great salvation: which at the first began to be spoken by the Lord, and was confirmed unto us by them that heard him;" Literally it means, we will not and cannot escape the consequences of sin if we neglect the only source of our "great salvation." What have we heard? What do we need to give attention to? Who is this great salvation? The "therefore" of 2:1, indicates all that has gone before in Chapter 1. Read it and see for yourself. He is God's son. He is the one who created the worlds plural. He is very God indeed- 1:3 "express image of his person."
The Father's unique God-Man son who entered this world - 1:6. He lived and loved righteousness and hated sin - 1:9. So He is qualified to purge our sins by His death on Calvary and has returned to heaven - His throne - 1:3 .. He is God. He is divine and much better than angels- 1:4. He is our anchor. This is what we know and believe. We must give it earnest attention and careful listening and never let this salvation slip. Never should we drift from our Saviour. So feet washing reminds us of our need of cleansing. It is to keep us from slipping and drifting.
Hebrews 3:1 says, "…consider the Apostle and High Priest of our profession, Christ Jesus." He is better than Moses and earthy priests. They point us to salvation in Christ BUT Christ IS salvation from sin. He is the better High Priest. He is in heaven.
Chapter 3:12 says, "Take heed", be careful in other words. " Lest", in order that you not develop "an evil heart/mind of unbelief, by departing from the living God." It is stronger than that, as the word "depart" can mean forsaking. Unbelief can make us forsake our Saviour and His salvation. It happens all the time. Feet washing is to cleans us from this sin and to remind us to be careful of unbelief.
Hebrews 3:13 instructs us to encourage each other daily, "lest", in order that we do not become "hardened through the deceitfulness of sin" and unbelief. Feet washing is symbolic of washing the hardening of sin away. We do it regularly as protection from slipping and drifting from salvation. The issue is confidence in Christ. The salvation rest He offers the soul. Rest from sin. Rest from guilt and a clear conscience. Verse 18 and 19 make it clear that slippers and drifters - those who "believe not", have no salvation rest. The cause and curse is unbelief. The author of Hebrews, whom I believe is Paul the apostle, makes a dominant issue of unbelief. It is a cancer to beware of as it robs us of our salvation provided for by our High Priest Jesus Christ. Feet Washing is a reminder that we ought not to forget or slip or drift.
The is no escape of the consequences of ignoring His salvation. No belief - No Rest! Incidentally, the seventh day Sabbath is a symbol and reminder of this rest. It is a sign between me and you that I am the Lord that sanctifies you. See Ezekiel 20:12,20. A symbol of eternal rest in Christ forever in the new world with out end.
As we go to feet washing let us remember to give earnest heed and thought to our only source of eternal salvation, the God Man, the sinless Jesus Christ , risen and in heaven ministering for and on behalf of us.
THE LORD'S SUPPER. (Scriptures read as the saints partake the symbols of Salvation rest in Christ)
Symbol One - BREAD
Hebrews 4:1 "Let us fear" - let us be afraid of missing out on the promise of salvation as found in Jesus alone. In order that we do not miss out on the promised rest now in the Christian life and during eternity with Him. The warning is to not fall short of the requirement - which is belief in Christ. The opposite is unbelief. This is emphasized again in verse 11. We must "labour" we have our part to play in securing the "rest" of salvation. We must work on resting and not being unbelieving.
Chapter 4:14 says, "we have a great high priest, that is passed into the heavens, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold fast our profession." Paul says, "seeing"; seeing we are sinners we need to take a firm grip of Christ our anchor who will never allow us to drift in the tidal currents of this worlds philosophies and stormy world-views.
The God and Saviour who lived as man with us knows our weaknesses and tendencies and was tempted as we are tempted but unlike us, He never sinned. - 4:15.
Thank God He was minus our bent to sin, our inherited tendencies. That is why there is no "escape" if we neglect Him. That is why we can come boldly with sanctified confidence, to the throne of grace where our High Priest ministers for us in heaven. By faith we confidently "obtain mercy" and "find grace to help us, 4:16.
The broken bread represents the life of Christ broken for us. His righteousness for our sin. Jesus said that when we eat, we should, "remember me." Remember Jesus is our righteousness and our salvation. See 1 Corinthians 11:24.
Symbol Two Wine (Pure Grape Juice) Symbol of the Life and Blood of Christ
Hebrews 6:1 "Therefore … let us go on unto perfection, (maturity)." Wine is the symbol of the life blood of Christ. The symbol of successful Christian living. The Christian's experience is a proceeding, a process and progression of growth and sanctification in Christ Jesus. That is the Gospel. Jesus does not leave us where He finds us. We must not drift but "go on" by the power of the life blood.
Hebrews Chapters 7-9 explain how Christ is better or superior to earthly priests. He is a guarantee of a better agreement because He is reality, not a symbol, 7:22. He has "an unchangeable priesthood", 7:24. He became one of us and is "holy, harmless, undefiled, separate from sinners, and made higher than the heavens," 7:25. He lives continually "to make intercession" for us. See 8:1-2 His blood represents the Christians life found in Him. Chapter 9:12 says, that "…. By his own blood .. having obtained redemption for us. In comparing the animal sacrificial blood and symbolic salvation of the OT, with the blood of Christ of the NT, verse 14 says, "How much more shall the blood of Christ , ….purge/ cleanse your conscience/mind from dead works to serve the living God." The Lord's supper table and its symbols of His life are representative of our dependence on Him alone for salvation. Our efforts and works are dead and deathly but His life is our life and we work or practice His works and behaviour. He intercedes with the Father on our behalf in heaven, 9:24.
Chapter 10: 10-12 He is the better sacrifice and it is His blood and resurrected life by which we are sanctified and made holy - saints of the kingdom. Notice verses 19-39. It is this knowledge and the reality of our fellowship with Him that gives us "boldness" or confidence , to participate in this, "new and living way" to salvation which is symbolized by the Holy Communion table. It is an opportunity which we must not let slip of drift away from us. There is no other way to salvation from sin. We must have, "true hearts/minds" with "full assurance of faith", knowing that hearts/minds sprinkled with His blood, cleanses an " evil conscience. Bodies washed with "pure water" represents confession and forgiveness- the washing away of our sins. We are to hold fast / persistently hold firmly, "the profession of our faith without wavering", because the issue is there is no other Saviour like our Saviour Jesus Christ. He alone is worthy and able to save to the uttermost.
Considering this "great salvation" we should consider each other and encourage each other to live in Christ's love and lifestyle - "good works." This salvation life and rest is all symbolized in the Holy Communion table. It is all about Jesus Christ. 10:35 says "Cast not away therefore your confidence it has great promise of reward." The reward comes by faith in Jesus Christ our sacrifice and High Priest. The reward is the , "saving of the soul". The total you, body soul and mind, because by faith you and I have a better resurrection because of Jesus, -see 11:35. The promise of resurrection for a list of of men and women, (chapter 11) , who by faith overcame sin (some criminals), to eventually receive the promise of eternal life at Christ's return. Now that is "great salvation", to "the saving of the soul." The Holy Communion table represents all this as found in Jesus Christ. So Jesus said that when taking the wine to do it "in rememberance of me". see 1 Cor 11:25. The Holy Communion table has a dual application. It is to remind us of His death until he comes again. It is all about Jesus and His salvation for us forever. All of the facts of salvation as found in Jesus should compel us to , "lay aside every weight, and the sin ", which so easily holds us back from being successful born again Christians. We are to keep, "looking to Jesus ….who endured the cross, despised the shame, and is set down at the right hand of the throne of God." 12:1-2.
Christ is our great salvation rest. He is our anchor and our confidence.
Belief is Salvation but in unbelief there is no escape from eternal loss of His promised rest. Boldly accept Him with confidence. Rest in His salvation.
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