##It Feels Good To Be Clean!
###Scripture: Hebrews 10:12-25
There are things from childhood that we remember, and they become stories we tell. I think this only happened once or twice, but if my mom was here she would probably say that it happened a lot more often.
I’d be outside playing, as happy as a pig in mud, as people say, and probably because I was in actual mud, dirty, but loving it. My mom would call me inside – well probably to the verandah, where the clothes would be peeled off before entering the house, and I would be sent inside to have my bath.
For a 5 or 6 year old, happy as Larry in his sand and mud and water, bath time was such a party pooper, a chore, the last thing on my mind. And mom always made the bath too cold anyway, probably fearing I would burn myself if it was any warmer. I’d sit there until mom yelled out ‘wash all that dirt off now’, and later when I hadn’t, it would be followed by a dire threat, something like, ‘if you don’t get finished in that bath soon, I am going to sell you to the gypsies’ … which seemed pretty pad … even though I had no real idea what gypsies were, and besides, which mom would really sell their oldest son to the gypsies?
I was a clever one though, so I would switch the water about, so it sounded like I was washing myself, making sure not a single droplet made contact with my body, then I would pull up the plug, get into my pyjamas, and emerge from the bathroom with a look of great shrewdness and accomplishment.
However. Mom always seemed to know. I wonder what gave me away? What followed was some whacking of the derriere (actually, I think I’d have preferred being sold the gypsies) and another, even colder, bath being run, and cleansing happening, this time under supervision! Including soap! And getting my hair washed … yes there actually was time when I had a good head of hair.
I still remember how much it hurt when she washed my hair. And how dirty the water was. And what a lovely ring of grime I was able to get around the tub. And how good I actually felt when I was finally clean.
Here’s the point I am hoping to make: sometimes we don’t learn our childhood lessons very well. So many adults pretend to be spiritually clean when we are actually playing games of pretend? How many of us actually think that neither God nor man will ever really know? We think that nothing will give us away.
Scripture suggests otherwise. Our text is from Hebrews 10:12-25. It is speaking of Jesus Christ when it says:
**12 But when this priest had offered for all time one sacrifice for sins, he sat down at the right hand of God. 13 Since that time he waits for his enemies to be made his footstool, 14because by one sacrifice he has made perfect forever those who are being made holy. 15 The Holy Spirit also testifies to us about this. First he says: 16 “This is the covenant I will make with them after that time, says the Lord. I will put my laws in their hearts, and I will write them on their minds.” 17 Then he adds: “Their sins and lawless acts I will remember no more.”**
**18 And where these have been forgiven, there is no longer any sacrifice for sin. 19 Therefore, brothers, since we have confidence to enter the Most Holy Place by the blood of Jesus, 20 by a new and living way opened for us through the curtain, that is, his body, 21 and since we have a great priest over the house of God, 22 let us draw near to God with a sincere heart in full assurance of faith, having our hearts sprinkled to cleanse us from a guilty conscience and having our bodies washed with pure water. 23 Let us hold unswervingly to the hope we profess, for he who promised is faithful. 24 And let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds. 25 Let us not give up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but let us encourage one another—and all the more as you see the Day approaching.**
My mom could always tell when I had *actually* taken a bath, and it is the same thing, spiritually, too. When we have been cleaned up spiritually, there is always evidence of a clean heart; evidence that is both internal and external.
#THE INTERNAL EVIDENCE OF A CLEAN CONSCIENCE
It is a true thing to say that the conscience serves as an internal guide for a Christian. When we have invited Jesus to take up residence in our hearts, the Holy Spirit works with our hearts and minds. When your conscience starts to trouble you, it is a very good idea to press the pause button, and then let the search light of God do its work. This internal guide gets its signals from the Holy Spirit and Word of God (15-16).
**15 The Holy Spirit also testifies to us about this. First he says: 16 “This is the covenant I will make with them after that time, says the Lord. I will put my laws in their hearts, and I will write them on their minds.”**
The closer you live to the Holy Spirit and the more you immerse yourself in the the Bible, the more you will here from God. The closer you will feel connected to God — a connectedness that reveals itself in intimacy (18-22).
**18 And where these have been forgiven, there is no longer any sacrifice for sin. 19 Therefore, brothers, since we have confidence to enter the Most Holy Place by the blood of Jesus, 20 by a new and living way opened for us through the curtain, that is, his body, 21 and since we have a great priest over the house of God, 22 let us draw near to God with a sincere heart in full assurance of faith, having our hearts sprinkled to cleanse us from a guilty conscience and having our bodies washed with pure water.**
Intimacy wanes when there is sin in the life of a Christian doesn’t it? We cannot draw near with confidence when we are hiding in the shadows pretending to be clean while still wearing the sweat beads of sin.
There is no hiding in the bathroom waiting for a sufficient extended period of time to pass before we walk out acting as if all is well. It requires the ministry of Jesus – His blood to wash us and makes us clean.
#EXTERNAL EVIDENCE – LOVE AND GOOD DEEDS
A. W. Tozer, another wonderful devotional writer said this:
The widest thing in the universe is not space; it is the potential capacity of the human heart. Being made in the image of God, it is capable of almost unlimited extension in all directions. And one of the world’s greatest tragedies is that we allow our hearts to shrink until there is room in them for little besides ourselves.
Our bodies follow our hearts and when there is unconfessed sin within it hinders our efforts to serve God effectively. A clean heart reveals itself in love, good deeds, and Christian community (v. 23-25).
**23 Let us hold unswervingly to the hope we profess, for he who promised is faithful. 24 And let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds. 25 Let us not give up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but let us encourage one another—and all the more as you see the Day approaching.**
So, the conscience is an internal indicator of a clean heart, and it is also true that our acts of righteousness (or lack thereof) are indicators of a life **that is right with God**.
How so? The more God transforms me through the great commandments (which we see in Mark 12:29-31) the more I see good works as evidence of love. Especially as I look at the second greatest commandment:
**31 The second is this: ’Love your neighbour as yourself.’**
It is such a waste to spend your time and life merely serving one’s self — it is no way to go through life. On the contrary, we see a wonderful opposite of that in the life of Christ.
Jesus spent himself in service to others and, in doing so, showed his love and devotion to God. It was evidence that the heart was pure and clean.
It can be no less true for us.
Let me conclude. In a few moments we are going to share in Communion together. Here’s the thing, before we do: you know when your heart is clean, and you know when it is not. You could pretend, but it doesn’t solve anything.
God’s love is all about receiving His forgiveness, His healing power, His strength, His encouragement, His love. We know what it feels like to be clean again, after being dirty, and in the simple act of communion together, we are face to face with another opportunity to do what is right.
Before we receive communion this morning, let’s take the opportunity to do place our lives before God, to ask Him to receive us, dirty and tainted as we are by sin, and to ask Him to wash us clean again.
From our text today, we know that the day is coming when such opportunities will be gone (v. 25) and we are wise to take off the mask, and stand before the Lord with a clean heart.