Anyone who has been following my blogging train of thought recently will know that the concept of the veil that was torn in two after Calvary has been on my heart recently - a lot. God first spoke about it dramatically when Pete and I met together for fellowship with God. Then the whole concept again was appropriately referred to in Pete's awesome article on "Liberating Leadership". It is my genuine concern that many church leaders (even unwittingly) are establishing themselves as mediators between God and His people and preventing them from entering or coming into the Holy of Holies - the very Throne Room of God. An example? I was concerned when Bob Kauflin - the SGM Worship Leader - wrote;
"So as I’m standing in front of the church, leading them in songs, Scripture reading, and prayer, my goal is not to "lead them into God’s presence," but to help them remember ... what Christ has accomplished ... through His atoning death".
So suddenly worship becomes something not dynamic but more memorial. Now to be fair myself, Julie and Pete left some comments questioning what Kauflin meant and he did admit that he believed in the concept of God's active and manifest Presence being different from His omnipresence and there should be a place for hungering for God to come down. He said in a comment;
"We need to keep a healthy tension between celebrating his promised presence and eagerly anticipating and crying out for his active presence".
But my concern remains. So I was thrilled to be able to find this video clip of Ern Baxter preaching on this very issue - and was interested that he too noted the same concern. That some leadership (largely Roman Catholic but creeping into Protestantism) isn't eager for every lay Christian to realise their God-given, Christ-paid right to enter into the Throne Room of heaven in experience boldly.
Here is the clip:
The clip comes from the "Priestly Clothing" series that Ern preached at Anglia Bible Week 1983 - organised by my home church, New Covenant Church in Dunstable. The sermon was "The Linen Breeches" - and you will be able to see the model of the priest that Ern used to illustrate his messages behind him.
We MUST realise that we are securely and wonderfully and FOREVER in the New Covenant - and that gives us a right to walk into God's manifest Presence with Christ's imputed righteousness added to our account and when God sees us the sceptre of His acceptance is pointed at us and we are WELCOME there! And that means that every benefit that Christ has from sitting in God's Presence is ours also! Being seperated from God's Presence meant that Jesus Christ cried out in terror and loneliness on the Cross; "My God! My God! Why have You forsaken Me?!". I wonder if some of us as Christians would even know that terror and loneliness if God removed His Presence (which He will not).
The price is paid! Why are we standing in the Court of the Gentiles looking from afar? Why are we listening to leaders who seek to tell us that that worship is simply about memorials to a past event? Of course we must celebrate the Cross of Christ - that made it all possible! But Christ died for a PURPOSE! And that purpose was made so clear in Hebrews 10:19;
"Therefore brethren since we have CONFIDENCE to enter the Holy Place by the blood of Jesus ... let us draw near with a sincere heart in FULL ASSURANCE OF FAITH, having our hearts sprinkled CLEAN ... and our bodies washed with PURE water".
To simply remain "remembering" and going no further would be as ridiculous as the High Priest sacrificing the lamb at the Brazen Altar and yet remaining there watching the lamb burn, rather than taking the full benefits of the sacrifice it made and going on in to the Holy Place and then the Holy of Holies - God's Manifest Presence and God Himself. We are CLEAN! When God looks at us, His justice is SATISFIED! Let's go in! Let's go and commune with our heavenly Father who is passionate to meet us!
Surely to not do this is to make mockery of the sacrifice and the Cross of Jesus Christ. Let's go in. The veil is torn in two - forever! FOREVER!