Text for the Week- The Blessings of Presence

Scripture: Hebrews 10:19-25

19 Brothers and sisters, we have confidence that we can enter the holy of holies by means of Jesus’ blood, 20 through a new and living way that he opened up for us through the curtain, which is his body, 21 and we have a great high priest over God’s house.

22 Therefore, let’s draw near with a genuine heart with the certainty that our faith gives us, since our hearts are sprinkled clean from an evil conscience and our bodies are washed with pure water.

23 Let’s hold on to the confession of our hope without wavering, because the one who made the promises is reliable.

24 And let us consider each other carefully for the purpose of sparking love and good deeds. 25 Don’t stop meeting together with other believers, which some people have gotten into the habit of doing. Instead, encourage each other, especially as you see the day drawing near.

Theme- Times of Christian fellowship and worship are essential to our growth


  1. What is the significance of the holy of holies and curtain (temple imagery) in verses 19-21?
  2. What is a genuine or true heart and how does it differ from an evil conscious?
  3. What is the connection between entering the holy of holies and meeting together as believers?
  4. In what ways does meeting together encourage other believers, and how does that relate to entering the holy of holies?

Helpful Information

The author has finished an extended discussion on what Jesus has done for us and these paragraphs are meant to show us how to properly respond to Jesus’ work.

The writer of Hebrews exhorts the believers to hold fast to their faith and encourage each other’s love for the Lord. They are also to encourage each other to do good deeds (10:23–24). They are not to drift apart and cease meeting together, but are to seek to support one another (10:25). This is all the more important as the second coming of Christ approaches, because those days will be characterized by more intense persecution (Matt 24:9–11) and increasing evil (Matt 24:12; 2 Tim 3:1–4).[1]

The genuine heart of v22 is meant to contrast the Hard heart of 3:8 and combined with confession of hope is meant to show a stable and complete trust in the work of Jesus.

The word translated “consider… carefully” usually means “anger” and denotes a passionate response to seeing that the church continues show love and good deeds.

“Don’t stop meeting” though a participle is used in v25 it functions as an imperative (command) and the word is better translated “do not walk out on” and in the OT is often connected with Israel abandoning God for sin or God abandoning Israel because of sin.


              One of the many struggles for the church over the last 2 1/2 years has been maintaining fellowship and community. When the COVID pandemic started I used the phrase, “We are not social distancing, we are creating society despite the distance.” It was admittedly a rather poor summation of what was happening, but one element rings true that is the church is always attempting to build society and community. The author of Hebrews clearly understands this point and despite not using imperatives issues commands to the church about coming together. The American church is struggling with the reality that since the outbreak of COVID we have been unable to recapture the numbers in worship that we saw prior to the pandemic. While it is understandable that some still feel a great risk to their health in venturing out particularly when large groups are involved, it is equally true that many have failed to prioritize worship attendance. studies have repeatedly found that across the country churches are down by 50% in attendance each and every Sunday. There might be any number of reasons for that but I do think a significant factor is that many Christians fail to understand the importance of their presence in worship. in meditating on these verses, it seems to me there are two general categories for the good done in worshiping with a church family. One is that this family can be a blessing to the individual, building that person up in love and offering opportunities to be more Christlike and the second is that the individual can you use gifts and talents to build up the community of faith.

              The author of Hebrews understood that it was important for Christians to find support in one another, both so that we can be examples of Jesus to those who are struggling and so we can find support in our difficult times. This is the point of verse 24, where we are told to passionately encourage each other in love and good deeds. The author uses a word that has strong emotions attached to it to highlight the fact that we are to be deeply concerned with the activities of our church community. He seems to be reacting strongly against a community that has either become lazy or despondent because of the situations of life and has slacked in worship attendance. His community seems to lack the necessary passion and excitement for seeing one another and he is taking this time to remind them that their presence in the holy of holies unites them together in a communal bond. The work of Jesus has opened the door to the most sacred possible space and we walk into that space not as individuals, but arm and arm like a football team taking the field. We do not come to church simply to memorize laws, were saying, or pray as we do in our own private houses; part of the reality of our corporate worship is joining together to build up those who are unable to pray, sing, and worship on their own. We come together and worship to learn about the needs of our community, and to come together as Christ’s community in this world.

               There are many things that we can do for Jesus by ourselves, but there are some things that we can only do when we come together as the entire body. Further, there are times in each of our lives where we feel isolated and alone and unable to reach out to God and if we do not have our community of faith in those times our faith is in danger of drying up. We plant the seeds of health and growth in the easy times in the midst of our community and they come ripe when the community gathers around us and the difficulties of life. Those who altogether abandon the collective times of worship have both forgotten their responsibilities as Christians and have set themselves up for times of failure in the future. Worship is not an optional part of our lives, we need the corporate connection to God and the times of connection to one another for our own mental, spiritual, and emotional health. Gathering with the church is essential to helping us develop and deepen the core of who we are as God’s people.

[1] Tokunboh Adeyemo, Africa Bible Commentary (Nairobi, Kenya; Grand Rapids, MI: WordAlive Publishers; Zondervan, 2006), 1527.

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