40.Day.Week6

AUGUST 6

ALTAR CALL

Hebrews 13:10-19 | We have an altar… [Sacrifices] for sin are burned outside the camp. 12 So Jesus also suffered outside the gate in order to sanctify the people through his own blood. 13 Therefore let us go to him outside the camp and bear the reproach he endured. 14 For here we have no lasting city, but we seek the city that is to come. 15 Through him then let us continually offer up a sacrifice of praise to God, that is, the fruit of lips that acknowledge his name. 16 Do not neglect to do good and to share what you have, for such sacrifices are pleasing to God.

Every head bowed. The Preacher concludes his altar call with a most astonishing appeal. Earlier on, he invited us to the throne of grace (Hebrews 4:16). Next, he called us into the Holy Place within the veil (10:19-22). Then, he took us up to the highest heaven to worship God with perfected saints and countless angels (12:22). Are you dizzy yet? Hold on. There’s one last invitation.

Finally and most paradoxically, the Preacher calls us to an unholy place! “We have an altar”, he says, where animal carcases are burned. That altar is outside the gate, where Jesus suffered and died to make us holy. “Therefore,” says the Preacher, “let us go to him outside the camp.” Whatever for?

We have an altar there. What sacrifices do we bring to that altar? The Preacher mentions a few: Bear the reproach and rejection of Jesus. Offer a sacrifice of praise to God by confessing his name publicly with your life and your lips. Do good for others as Jesus does. Share what you have with the poor (13:13-16). In other words, go out and vaccinate this sin-demic world with the holiness of Jesus. “With such sacrifices, God is well pleased” (:16).

In this way, the Preacher concludes his appeal with a compelling call to missions in response to the One who sacrificed himself for us outside the camp. Will we respond in kind? We have an altar. But where are the sacrifices?

Where are the worshippers who will identify, not just with the Lofty One at the right hand of God, but also with the Lowly One outside the gate? Where are the pilgrims who put no stock in the city of man but sacrifice everything for the City of God?

We are destined to share in the glory of Jesus (2:10). But the road to glory runs through Golgotha, the lowly place outside the camp where Jesus died to make us holy. Let us go out to him.

The Sermon to the Hebrews ends here. Prepare your heart for the benediction.

ALTAR CALL

Hebrews 13:10-19 | We have an altar… [Sacrifices] for sin are burned outside the camp. 12 So Jesus also suffered outside the gate in order to sanctify the people through his own blood. 13 Therefore let us go to him outside the camp and bear the reproach he endured. 14 For here we have no lasting city, but we seek the city that is to come. 15 Through him then let us continually offer up a sacrifice of praise to God, that is, the fruit of lips that acknowledge his name. 16 Do not neglect to do good and to share what you have, for such sacrifices are pleasing to God.

Every head bowed. The Preacher concludes his altar call with a most astonishing appeal. Earlier on, he invited us to the throne of grace (Hebrews 4:16). Next, he called us into the Holy Place within the veil (10:19-22). Then, he took us up to the highest heaven to worship God with perfected saints and

 

AUGUST 6

countless angels (12:22). Are you dizzy yet? Hold on. There’s one last invitation.

Finally and most paradoxically, the Preacher calls us to an unholy place! “We have an altar”, he says, where animal carcases are burned. That altar is outside the gate, where Jesus suffered and died to make us holy. “Therefore,” says the Preacher, “let us go to him outside the camp.” Whatever for?

We have an altar there. What sacrifices do we bring to that altar? The Preacher mentions a few: Bear the reproach and rejection of Jesus. Offer a sacrifice of praise to God by confessing his name publicly with your life and your lips. Do good for others as Jesus does. Share what you have with the poor (13:13-16). In other words, go out and vaccinate this sin-demic world with the holiness of Jesus. “With such sacrifices, God is well pleased” (:16).

In this way, the Preacher concludes his appeal with a compelling call to missions in response to the One who sacrificed himself for us outside the camp. Will we respond in kind? We have an altar. But where are the sacrifices?

Where are the worshippers who will identify, not just with the Lofty One at the right hand of God, but also with the Lowly One outside the gate? Where are the pilgrims who put no stock in the city of man but sacrifice everything for the City of God?

We are destined to share in the glory of Jesus (2:10). But the road to glory runs through Golgotha, the lowly place outside the camp where Jesus died to make us holy. Let us go out to him.

The Sermon to the Hebrews ends here. Prepare your heart for the benediction.

Prayer Track

■ Reflect on this extraordinary altar call: Let us go to him outside the camp and bear the reproach he endured. Today, Christ is still suffering with all of his faithful disciples who are being persecuted for their faith. Will you join him outside the gate? Pray for the 245 million in 50 countries where persecution is extremely severe (WORLD WATCH LIST). Many will die for the faith. Despised, mocked, bullied, humiliated and oppressed, the overwhelming majority will remain faceless and voiceless, unseen and unheard. But Jesus knows each one by name. The very hairs on their heads are all numbered (MATTHEW 10:30). Pause and pray. Linger at the altar and experience God’s emotions. He wants us, comfortable Christians in safe Singapore, to feel his Father heart for his persecuted church. He cherishes his hurting children in a profound way. All parents know this intuitively. We love all our children, but our hearts ache in an inexplicable way when one of them is hurting. Also, he wants us, casual Christians in First World Singapore, to feel his fatherly pride for his children who are living the kingdom paradox: those who lose their lives for Jesus’ sake will gain them (MATTHEW 16:25). May we be found faithful along with those who endure to the end. Ask Jesus for the gift of tears and his tender affection for his persecuted disciples. Remember them as if you were in their shoes, sharing their torture (HEBREWS 13:3).

■ Let this truth sink in: True worship goes beyond music and singing. True worship takes us outside the four walls of the church to make Christ known through evangelism and good works. The Church is the Church only when it exists for others… not dominating, but helping and serving. It must tell men of every calling what it means to live for Christ, to exist for others (DIETRICH BONHOEFFER). How are we doing? Thank God that our church leaders are convinced that God’s purpose is always salvation. Every soul matters, every family matters, every community matters (BISHOP RENNIS PONNIAH). Thank God that at the institutional level, the Singapore Church has an extensive network of charitable services. Thank God that priority-care goes to the poor and vulnerable among us. We can do more, much more, and all the more in this time of global health crisis and economic downturn! Pray.

■ At the individual level, ask yourself: Could it be that the suspension of our church services is meant to teach us how to worship God — outside the camp? Consider the widening income gap, the jobless, the broken families, the suicidal youth, the lonely elderly, the sick, the 80% unsaved. Don’t curse the darkness. Light a candle. Start right where you live. Revive the kampung spirit. Befriend your neighbours. Pray for them. Seek their welfare. Be a true worshipping witness who proclaims Good News and does good works. The Spirit of the Sovereign Lord is on me, because the Lord has anointed me to proclaim good news to the poor. He has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim freedom for the captives and release from darkness for the prisoners, to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favour (ISAIAH 61:1-2).

Prayer Track

■ Reflect on this extraordinary altar call: Let us go to him outside the camp and bear the reproach he endured. Today, Christ is still suffering with all of his faithful disciples who are being persecuted for their faith. Will you join him outside the gate? Pray for the 245 million in 50 countries where persecution is extremely severe (WORLD WATCH LIST). Many will die for the faith. Despised, mocked, bullied, humiliated and oppressed, the overwhelming majority will remain faceless and voiceless, unseen and unheard. But Jesus knows each one by name. The very hairs on their heads are all numbered (MATTHEW 10:30). Pause and pray. Linger at the altar and experience God’s emotions. He wants us, comfortable Christians in safe Singapore, to feel his Father heart for his persecuted church. He cherishes his hurting children in a profound way. All parents know this intuitively. We love all our children, but our hearts ache in an inexplicable way when one of them is hurting. Also, he wants us, casual Christians in First World

Singapore, to feel his fatherly pride for his children who are living the kingdom paradox: those who lose their lives for Jesus’ sake will gain them (MATTHEW 16:25). May we be found faithful along with those who endure to the end. Ask Jesus for the gift of tears and his tender affection for his persecuted disciples. Remember them as if you were in their shoes, sharing their torture (HEBREWS 13:3).

■ Let this truth sink in: True worship goes beyond music and singing. True worship takes us outside the four walls of the church to make Christ known through evangelism and good works. The Church is the Church only when it exists for others… not dominating, but helping and serving. It must tell men of every calling what it means to live for Christ, to exist for others (DIETRICH BONHOEFFER). How are we doing? Thank God that our church leaders are convinced that God’s purpose is always salvation. Every soul matters, every family matters, every community matters (BISHOP RENNIS PONNIAH). Thank God that at the institutional level, the Singapore Church has an extensive

network of charitable services. Thank God that priority-care goes to the poor and vulnerable among us. We can do more, much more, and all the more in this time of global health crisis and economic downturn! Pray.

■ At the individual level, ask yourself: Could it be that the suspension of our church services is meant to teach us how to worship God — outside the camp? Consider the widening income gap, the jobless, the broken families, the suicidal youth, the lonely elderly, the sick, the 80% unsaved. Don’t curse the darkness. Light a candle. Start right where you live. Revive the kampung spirit. Befriend your neighbours. Pray for them. Seek their welfare. Be a true worshipping witness who proclaims Good News and does good works. The Spirit of the Sovereign Lord is on me, because the Lord has anointed me to proclaim good news to the poor. He has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim freedom for the captives and release from darkness for the prisoners, to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favour (ISAIAH 61:1-2).