Alright let’s again take our Bibles and turn to Hebrews 12. We’re going to be looking at the last section of this chapter and then I will touch a little on Hebrews 13. Chapter 13 begins the practical application of all that is taught in the book of Hebrews.
Sometimes we want to get to the application right away but the Bible takes time to go through why we should be doing what we are doing. Also turn to Luke 14:16, which we are going to look at in a second. First, let’s have a word of prayer.
Lord, this morning I pray that You would take me as a weak vessel and display Your glory in this earthen clay. I pray that Your Word would be heard and that Your people would listen to it and obey it, and live in light of what it says. I pray that we would all take the admonitions, exhortations, and warnings that are given in this passage of Scripture. I pray this in Christ’s Name, Amen.
So brethren, I have a question for you. Do you believe that the salvation that the Lord has acquired for us is indeed a great salvation? Do you believe that Jesus Christ’s priestly and sacrificial work is indeed magnificent? If you believe that and understand those things, they should change the way you think and live.
In fact in the first chapter of Hebrews, the author laid out for us concerning the Song Jesus Christ, that He is the Inheritor of all things. In chapter 2, that He is the Creator of all things. And back in chapter 1, that He is the Radiator of the glory of God, as well as the Representer of all things. He is the Sustainer of all things, the Savior of all the redeemed, and the Finisher and Completer of everything. That’s who He is and it’s shown in just the first few verses of the book of Hebrews.
Jesus has been displayed all throughout this book as the apex of divine revelation in which Jesus fulfills completely the offices of Prophet, Priest, King, and is the Finisher of all God has spoken. Therefore the incarnate Son is the superior revelation of God the Father. God has spoken in His Son, it His ultimate communication and final Word. If someone rejects that, they are lost forever and for eternity.
You see, when you get lost in the grandeur of so great a salvation you will indeed conclude that the greatest thing that could have ever happened to you on this earth is that someone spoke to you the gospel of Jesus Christ. He opened your eyes, He granted you faith and repentance, and you believed. Now, you understand more and more of what Christ did on the cross and what the gospel has acquired for you for all eternity.
That changes your life. You will conclude that it is the most supreme gift that you could have ever received on this earth while you’re here. It is the greatest message that could have ever gone into your ears and made you think about. It is the message that God came to you and gave you the gospel and you became one of His children because of it.
If you understand that, you will not want to let go of the grandest gift that could ever bestowed upon you by God Himself. You will cling to that with your dying breath. You will cling to that with your eyes closed, anticipating all that God has promised you when you finally open them up in glory. That is what a believer is and what keeps us running this race, because we are such undeserving sinners.
We are so corrupt to the core of our hearts when we see ourselves as God sees us. Then we realize that we can’t save ourselves, nor anyone else, only God can.
So the message of Hebrews is, “Don’t miss, ignore, or refuse Jesus. Instead, listen to the warning and heed it. Then, living according to it.” It is all one package. It’s not just a profession of faith, but it is a lifestyle that God has called us to. Therefore, I want to mention a final warning this morning not to refuse when God is speaking. Then I want to look over to a final admonition to pay attention to what God has done and what He will do. Lastly, I want to give an exhortation to live according to it.
Let’s go back to Hebrews 12:25, it says:
See to it that you do not refuse Him who is speaking. For if those did not escape when they refused him who warned them on earth, much less will we escape who turn away from Him who warns from heaven.
The very word here for refuse is the same word that is used in the gospel of Luke, chapter 14:18, where it refers to men who are invited to the great supper of God and they begin to refuse the invitation of God. Let’s turn there for a minute to get a sense of this narrative that is spoken in Luke. You’ll see that they begin to make excuses why they cannot come to Christ. The word refuse in this passage means to consider someone excused, or to hear, understand, and decline an invitation. It says in Luke 14:16-24:
But He said to him, “A man was giving a big dinner, and he invited many; and at the dinner hour he sent his slave to say to those who had been invited, ‘Come; for everything is ready now.’ “But they all alike began to make excuses. The first one said to him, ‘I have bought a piece of land and I need to go out and look at it; please consider me excused.’ “Another one said, ‘I have bought five yoke of oxen, and I am going to try them out; please consider me excused.’ “Another one said, ‘I have married a wife, and for that reason I cannot come.’ “And the slave came back and reported this to his master. Then the head of the household became angry and said to his slave, ‘Go out at once into the streets and lanes of the city and bring in here the poor and crippled and blind and lame.’ “And the slave said, ‘Master, what you commanded has been done, and still there is room.’ “And the master said to the slave, ‘Go out into the highways and along the hedges, and compel them to come in, so that my house may be filled. ‘For I tell you, none of those men who were invited shall taste of my dinner.’”
When we come to the Lord’s Table, we are in our minds coming to a table where we are at peace with God and will taste the good things that God has for us. The Bible says that if you are invited to come to God’s feast and you have some lame excuse why you cannot come, you will never taste of God’s Table or the goodness offered to you there.
So who do you think has a greater responsibility to pay close attention to the voice of God? Is is Israel of old or Christians and Believers of all ages? To ignore or set aside God’s final revelation through His Son is to display a level of contempt for the new covenant that is incongruous and incompatible with a true Christian’s profession of faith. In fact, it is tantamount of rejection of the gospel, of the gift of salvation. As one commentator says, the greater the gift the greater the peril involved in its rejection.
So if you are offered the greatest gift in the universe and you reject it, what do you think the implications will be for such a huge rejection? There has to be consequences for that! I have been saying already that all who listen and obey the voice of God and what they hear will receive a blessing. But a deliberate refusal to listen to God will bring dire and eternal consequences. Just think in your mind for a minute when Paul is writing to the Galatians. He says not let yourself deceive yourself. He says in Galatians 6:7-8:
Do not be deceived, God is not mocked; for whatever a man sows, this he will also reap. For the one who sows to his own flesh will from the flesh reap corruption, but the one who sows to the Spirit will from the Spirit reap eternal life.
In other words, if anyone is false to God they will lose everything. But if anyone is true to God they will receive everything. That’s what the writer of Hebrews is writing to the people.
Dr. Robert Louis Stevenson said of this passage in Galatians, “Sooner or later in life we will sit down to a banquet of consequences.” Ignoring consequences may be in fashion. People often want to put off the end result and just live for today. That is a horrible and foolish way to live. It is not the way the Bible calls us to live. Consequences have a way of catching up with us.
I often say to people, in a very holy way of course, consequences come and bite you in the butt! Dr. Robert G. Lee of the Bellview Baptist Church in Memphis, Tennessee said, “Payday someday is written in the constitution of God’s universe. The retributive providence of God is a reality as certain as the laws of gravitation are a reality.”
I have come to make a correction also this morning from the last time I preached. I said in our passage of Scripture that it was Jesus speaking from Heaven. But after consideration, I say that the One speaking from Heaven is God the Father in this immediate context. The judgment that fell on the ones that refused to obey the law according to the Old Testament was God. It was not really Moses, who spoke to Israel for God as His face and voice.
It was God’s voice at Sinai that warned and terrified the Israelites of their obligations under the old covenant. It was the voice of God that shook the earth and of course we have it recorded in Hebrews 12:26:
And His voice shook the earth then.
The heard and refused to listen and did not escape the curses attached to the old covenant. Remember it says in verse 25:
How much less will we escape who turn away from Him who warns from heaven.
No one will escape is the conclusion. If a person rejects God’s warning, His fiery judgment on them is final. The Christian has the greater responsibility of not dropping out of this race that God has called us to, but to continue remaining attentive to the voice of God, and sensitive to the moving of the Spirit as He speaks through the Word.
The Christian also has the responsibility of keeping on being faithful until the day he dies. That is what we are called to do! Why? Because of the superior character message. What is that character? It is from God and it is final. There’s nothing else that comes with that.
We also have the list of privileges connected with Mount Zion that I already mentioned from Hebrews 12:22-24. The verse says again:
But you have come to Mount Zion and to the city of the living God, the heavenly Jerusalem, and to myriads of angels, to the general assembly and church of the firstborn who are enrolled in heaven, and to God, the Judge of all, and to the spirits of the righteous made perfect, and to Jesus, the mediator of a new covenant, and to the sprinkled blood, which speaks better than the blood of Abel.
Christians are to continue running because of the list of privileges given to us from God. God has let us in on what He is going to do and what’s ahead of us. To motivate us, He tells us that there is a prize at the end. We also know that we are recipients of a kingdom that cannot be shaken and has end. It says this in Hebrews 12:28:
Therefore, we receive a kingdom which cannot be shaken.
To bolster the seriousness of the warning, Scripture brings to mind who God shook the earth of the time at Mount Sinai. When God spoke, the earth shook violently and this is recorded in Exodus 19:18:
Now Mount Sinai was all in smoke because the Lord descended upon it in fire; and its smoke ascended like the smoke of a furnace, and the whole mountain quaked violently.
We’re talking about an earthquake here. We experienced a minor one not too long ago from Virginia. I remember I was in my office and everything started moving and I thought I was actually having a dizzy spell. So I held on to something but things were still moving. I didn’t put two and two together right away until my wife went out to the post office and the lady asked if she had felt the earthquake. That was nothing in comparison to what happened when God spoke in Exodus.
Natural disasters like this burn into your memory so you remember where you were and what you were doing. Similarly, the psalmist writes in Psalm 68:8:
The earth quaked; The heavens also dropped rain at the presence of God; Sinai itself quaked at the presence of God, the God of Israel.
It says also in Psalm 99:1-3:
The Lord reigns, let the nations tremble! He is enthroned above the cherubim. Let the earth quake. The Lord is great in Zion, and He is exalted above all the peoples. Let them praise Your great and awesome name; Holy is He.
So quaking and the presence of God often go together in Scripture. In Hebrews 12:26 there is a promise that He will once again shake the earth and this gives us a final admonition to pay attention to what God has done and what He will do. God’s just not done shaking things up because the next time He does it He will also shake the heavens. Look at what it says in verse 26:
And His voice shook the earth then, but now He has promised, saying, “Yet once more I will shake not only the earth, but also the heaven.”
There is a promise of what God will do in the future that God’s shaking will have a definitive, eschatological character to it. This is what He is taking about here, a general sense of the end. He doesn’t mention any details. This final shaking will produce something radical to everything that we know to be normal today.
He’s quoting from the prophet Haggai in this verse here. He mentions in this next verse what we depend upon every day. We depend on the sun setting and rising, the earth rotating on its axis at a certain speed and angle and in doing so it keeps life normal as we know it. This is what Haggai 2:6, 21 says:
For thus says the Lord of hosts, ‘Once more in a little while, I am going to shake the heavens and the earth, the sea also and the dry land. I will shake all the nations; and they will come with the wealth of all nations, and I will fill this house with glory,’ says the Lord of hosts.
Speak to Zerubbabel governor of Judah, saying, ‘I am going to shake the heavens and the earth.’
Here in its historical context, it is talking about shaking the nations to bring the stolen treasure back to the second rebuilding of the temple in order to restore its magnificence. It also has a future message which the writer of Hebrews picks up on. He says that the Lord has not completely carried out this particular prophecy as of yet. Someday the Lord will shake the earth and the whole of the universe.
Just think about that for a minute. All one hundred thousand million galaxies, each containing at least as many stars, and each being one hundred million light years across in distance will hear the voice of their Creator and they will be shaken out of place and existence.
Even our own astrophysicist Dan Fabrycky, who has become famous again, is now at the University of California Santa Cruz. He and his team have been searching space for a circumbinary planet, which is a two sun planetary system. They found one! They are thinking about naming it Tatooine, from Star Wars. This is when Luke Skywalker looks out on the dessert dominated by two setting suns. The official name is not too exciting, it is Kepler-16B.
Astrophysicists say that Tatooine is not located in a galaxy far far away, but is right in our backyard relatively speaking. The two-sun planet is about two hundred light years from earth. Getting to this particular planet aboard a spacecraft and traveling at the speed of life, which is 86,282 miles per second, would take 200 years.
I saw all this because while I read the article this past week I couldn’t help but think of how vast our universe is. When we read a passage of Scripture like this, we see that God knows how vast it is and how powerful He is Himself who spoke it in existence and keeps it where it ought to be. He spoke it into existence and will speak it out of existence. The Word of God informs us that God has made this present earth and universe temporary. It was never designed to be permanent.
I love that passage of Scripture in Psalms 102:25-26 where the Psalmist says:
Of old You founded the earth, and the heavens are the work of Your hands. Even they will perish, but You endure; and all of them will wear out like a garment; like clothing You will change them and they will be changed.
This particular earth we live on is temporary. We ought to be good stewards of it, but you also don’t have to try and save the planet. The effort is futile because God is going to speak it out of existence.
The future more extensive shaking will determine what is to be shaken and what is to be shaken and kept. That’s why God is going to do it. Because if He is going to take the universe and shake it then it has a future purpose to God. Hebrews 12:27 tells us this:
This expression, “Yet once more,” denotes the removing of those things which can be shaken, as of created things, so that those things which cannot be shaken may remain.
God in divine judgment is going to shake the earth and the universe where once it’s done being shaken by God, whatever remains is eternal. In fact the very word for shaking is the word used for divine judgment or divine voice. Divine voice when it speaks causes things to move to and fro or causes things to waver, or totter and go out of balance.
So the God who speaks speaks everything that is created and the God who created everything speaks again and the nuclear glue will come apart. This is what He let the church now and will be what is to come. We know it, we have an inside scoop! All of the stuff that is going on in the world, the fear and disasters on the news are all secondary compared with what is happening and what is to come.
Once the shaking done, you will have a relationship with Christ that cannot be shaken. Nobody can take that away from you! In fact this is really something that is giving an illusion from the prophet Isaiah where he says this in Isaiah 13:13:
Therefore I will make the heavens tremble, and the earth will be shaken from its place. At the fury of the Lord of hosts in the day of His burning anger.
No one is going to get away from this. Isaiah says that the nations are but a drop in the bucket, they are as nothing to God. We think these great things concerning what’s going in the world but in reality, they are not so great at all. It was the apostle Peter who said in 2 Peter 3:10:
But the day of the Lord will come like a thief, in which the heavens will pass away with a roar and the elements will be destroyed with intense heat, and the earth and its works will be burned up.
The questions I have now are who and what will not be removed? I really only concluded two things. Number one that the faithful members of His community that share in His holiness will not be removed because they cannot be shaken.
In fact, go back up to Hebrews 12:14. We looked at this passage there and we were told that the only safe evidence that anyone has that they are in Christ is that of a holy life. God has not only elected a person to salvation, but also to be blameless or holy.
Look at Ephesians 1:4, it says:
That we would be holy and blameless before Him.
We are not only called to one but both! A real conversion will produce a real holy life, a desire to be separated unto God, which includes all your life, from your thinking to your doing to your speaking. That’s what God is doing in you. If you know nothing of your holiness, remember what Jerry Bridges says: “You shouldn’t flatter yourselves, you who are Christians. The bottom line is that it is not those who profess to know Christ who will enter Heaven. Rather it is those who live holy lives.”
They don’t live holy lives in and of themselves, but because they are connected to Christ and because of what He requires of them as being one of His children on this side of eternity. In fact, you can’t see the Lord without holiness. In Hebrews 12:14 it says:
Pursue peace with all men, and the sanctification without which no one will see the Lord.
If you are a believer and a set apart Christian, you are to reflect certain attitudes and behaviors consistent with the Spirit of God living in you and this new relationship you have with Christ. You can’t be moved or shaken if you have these things. If you have come to these things and have listened to God, you cannot be moved from your holy position because you are a faithful member of God’s community. You then receive an unshakable Kingdom of which you are apart of.
In the gospels, the Lord spoke to Hid disciples and He reminded them of their tribulations and troubles. He said to them to not be afraid. In Luke 12:32 it says:
Do not be afraid, little flock, for your Father has chosen gladly to give you the kingdom.
Even when the disciples were arguing with each other about who was going to be the greatest in the Kingdom. Jesus had said to them in Luke 22:28-30:
You are those who have stood by Me in My trials; and just as My Father has granted Me a kingdom, I grant you that you may eat and drink at My table in My kingdom, and you will sit on thrones judging the twelve tribes of Israel.
The Word of God is telling us that those who are not going to be removed are those who are in the community that share in God’s holiness because of their conversion to Christ. A second thing that cannot be moved is the Kingdom where God dwells. Everything will be shaken in the universe and there will be two things left, God’s Kingdom and us in it.
Other than that, I don’t find anything else that will stay. There’s going to be a new Heaven and earth but God will redo those completely. According to the prophet Daniel, the Son of Man is referred to as the Lord Jesus Christ. He says in Daniel 7:18:
But the saints of the Highest One will receive the kingdom and possess the kingdom forever, for all ages to come.
Again in Daniel 7:27 it says:
Then the sovereignty, the dominion and the greatness of all the kingdoms under the whole heaven will be given to the people of the saints of the Highest One.
Here he talks about the saints as the holy and separated ones. As God the Father gives Christ the Kingdom, then Christ gives the people, who are the saints of the Highest One, the Kingdom. Thus the Kingdom will be everlasting and all of the dominions will serve and obey Him.
I believe that’s talking about a beginning of an earthly Kingdom that heads into the eternal Kingdom of God. But even if we consider Hebrews when he talks about the Kingdom where God cannot be moved, we see that it is the Heavenly homeland, the unshakable Kingdom, and that it is an abiding city which is to come.
In other words, Zion is the unshakable mountain where God is worshiped safely without distraction or interruption and where God reigns forever with Christ at His right hand.
He also mentions that the Son of Man, who is Christ Jesus, is crowned King of the Kingdom. The Father gives the Kingdom, as well as the title deed, to the Son. It says this about it in Daniel 7:13:
I kept looking in the night visions, and behold, with the clouds of heaven one like a Son of Man was coming. And He came up to the Ancient of Days and was presented before Him.
The Ancient of Days is a picture of the Father. In this passage of Scripture, we have the crowning point of all human history where Jesus Christ is crowned king in Daniel. This is the coronation of the king.
Now look at Daniel 7:14, which says:
And to Him was given dominion, glory and a kingdom, that all the peoples, nations and men of every language might serve Him. His dominion is an everlasting dominion which will not pass away; and His kingdom is one which will not be destroyed.
This word glory is very important because after the destruction of the temples, Israel was looking for the glory of God that was spoken by Ezekiel the prophet. The first part of Ezekiel depicts the glory of the Lord departed, the second part is the dry bones that get life and Israel now being in its land resurrected by God and able to hear the gospel of Christ. Jesus Christ receives a dominion, a Kingdom, and a place to reign.
The Kingdom of God will give Christ full dominion, it will have the fully glory of God present there, as He is the one in charge.
Now let me mention something just by way of a side step. The first segment of the eternal Kingdom is the millennial kingdom. This reveals the end time drama that will, according to Revelation 20, be a period of a thousand years. According to the prophets and the apostle John, the thousand year Kingdom must be understood as the initial stage of the everlasting Kingdom.
In other words, this is where it starts. It starts with the Lord being the King of kings and the Lord of lords on earth. It starts with the glory of God being displayed in Jerusalem on this earth where Christ reigns. Many of the prophets speak about this particular time so I say that yes, Hebrews is talking about the eternal Kingdom all the way at the end but what starts that off is this first segment. This initial stage of the Messianic Kingdom will differ from the eternal segment on two different accounts at least.
The first is that mortal human beings will enter the millennial Kingdom and bear children that will need to be evangelized afterward because Satan is loosed for a thousand years. Secondly, many of those born in the Kingdom will reject Christ even when He is reigning and Satan is bound.
They will reject Christ, gather as an army against Him, and rebel at the end of the thousand years when Satan is loosed. After this period when Satan is released, the unregenerate human heart is still in rebellion against God. When we get to these parts of the book of Revelation, we get this sense that God is giving them another chance, but they are still rebelling against Him. They continue to say that they don’t want to believe, and they rally to Satan’s leadership in that time and of course assemble to make war against Christ.
It was Doug Bookman who said that the millennial Kingdom will demonstrate infallibly in the entire moral universe that man’s problem is himself. That his own rebellion, bottomless pride, selfishness, and hatred of God, who deserves his devotion and allegiance, will become very clear. There will be no doubt that man always had this problem that he was a rebel and a hater of God. Of course the lost dead are raised from judgment and the eternal aspects of the Kingdom begin.
The first phase, the first segment of the Kingdom is this earthly reign of Christ on the earth which leads to a war where God destroys Satan in the eternal kingdom. With all of these encouraging truths that the Lord has given to the church as a gift, we are completely informed and no longer in the dark about anything.
We will get there, but in the meantime Scripture has a lot to show us about how we are to live expressively for Christ. That word is emphasized in the light of these particular truths and all of them that are mentioned in the book of Hebrews.
Now I want you to turn back to Hebrews 12:28, specifically the word therefore. The author is giving a final exhortation to live the Christian life in the shadow of God’s true character and true message to believers. It says:
Therefore, since we receive a kingdom which cannot be shaken let us show gratitude, by which we may offer to God an acceptable service with reverence and awe.
In other words, you believers already have the Kingdom by faith. It’s already yours. You can tell people that you are rich and own a kingdom! But we are exhorted to two general things in this passage of Scripture that are so vitally important but also so simple. Notice again what it says in verse 28, “let us show gratitude.”
The firs thing here is that we are to live with expressible thankfulness in our lives because of all this we have, we have an unshakable Kingdom. When God ultimately shakes the universe, you are going to remain because you know Christ! If you think about that for a minute, then you have to be thankful for every single thing in your life. The blessings and the negative things in your life.
Your attitude as a believer should always be that of showing gratitude. That is what real conversion to Christ does. It removes the impediments of worship. It removes the things that cause defilement and it cleanses us from defilement caused by sin through the sacrificial death of Jesus Christ. Now we are able to genuinely be thankful to our great God and Savior for everything.
Christians are to be people filled with gratitude. It should overflow in your life and come out in everything you do and say. If you catch yourself grumbling and complaining, just stop and repent of that sin before God because you are not being thankful.
Now you think that all of this theology which comes down to just being thankful should be more complicated, but it’s not. Real thankfulness tells a whole lot about how you speak to people and how you worship God. It reveals the importance to you about gathering with believers and what God’s Word means to you.
All those things come out of you when you are thankful. In fact when you are ministering to people, you might think that it is such a privilege that you are thanking God even for the difficulty of dealing with some people. But you can’t lose your thankfulness because people are obnoxious.
But you also have the ability as believers to genuinely serve our great God and Savior with a right attitude and live in a way that pleases Him. Remember the last part of Hebrews 12:28, which says, “we may offer to God an acceptable service with reverence and awe.” Here is the character of a believer. You are meant to be thankful all the time about everything and when you serve God, you are to do it in an acceptable way that really pleases Him, not other people.
You are not looking for accolades or a pat on the back. Instead you are serving God from your heart with reverence and awe. You understand the character of God as you serve. We are to live with acceptable service according to verse 28, congregational praise and prayer, and words and actions that flow from true gratitude.
I’m not going to get to the rest of these things in detail but I do want you to notice them in your own Bibles. Look at Hebrews 13 which gives us some. You want to serve God in the right manner? Then look at Hebrews 13:1:
Let love of the brethren continue.
Look at Hebrews 13:2:
Do not neglect to show hospitality to strangers, for by this some have entertained angels without knowing it.
I think Scripture is really talking about angelic beings here, which are keenly involved in the work of God. Look next at Hebrews 13:3:
Remember the prisoners, as though in prison with them, and those who are ill-treated, since you yourselves also are in the body.
Then look at Hebrews 13:4:
Marriage is to be held in honor among all, and the marriage bed is to be undefiled; for fornicators and adulterers God will judge.
Notice in Hebrews 13:15, which says:
Through Him then, let us continually offer up a sacrifice of praise to God, that is, the fruit of lips that give thanks to His name.
If you want to offer sacrifices to God and give it out of your heart, it has to first start in your heart. Real praise comes from deep in your heart because the gratitude you feel towards what God has given you means that you know you don’t deserve anything that God ever gave you.
When you realize what God has done for you, you are just so overwhelmingly filled with you that it comes out of your mouth. When you sing praises to God and talk about the Lord, you are just getting excited about what He has done. This is the kind of sacrifice that the Lord is pleased with, to hear positive things about Him come out when you open up your mouth.
Praising God has a magnetic way of drawing people in to a place where you can share the gospel. Hebrews 13:16-17 says:
And do not neglect doing good and sharing, for with such sacrifices God is pleased. Obey your leaders and submit to them, for they keep watch over your souls as those who will give an account. Let them do this with joy and not with grief, for this would be unprofitable for you.
We don’t like this one right? If you are always praising God and full of gratitude, you will be joyful. But if you are always grumbling and complaining, you will not have joy.
So this is how we are acceptable servants and how we express thankfulness to God, by being involved in these things. Look at Hebrews 13:18:
Pray for us, for we are sure that we have a good conscience, desiring to conduct ourselves honorably in all things.
We have to pray for each other’s sanctification and holiness. With holiness you will see the Lord. Some people who think they are saved need prayer that the really understand the gospel and are genuinely saved. We do that by praying to God and asking Him to set people aside and sanctify the to make them holy so that their profession of faith and lifestyle connect together to give them assurance that they are children of God.
I’m going to go deeper in that next time, but these are here for you in Scripture so you know how to be thankful and acceptable in your worship! These are ways you can know you are pleasing to God! There’s a foundation for acceptable worship, which is living your life in the true light of God’s essential character. Look finally at Hebrews 12:29, which tells us that:
Our God is a consuming fire.
You know what that means? He is holy. God’s holy character remains unchanged under the new covenant. Jesus and God are the same God as the Old Testament, He is the same God of Sinai. This is an abiding and essential characteristic of God, that He is a consuming fire.
So when you come to worship, you must keep in mind that our God is both One of consuming love and a God of consuming fire. So we have the mercy and love of God, as well as the justice and wrath of God and they give balance to the character of God.
This is the ground work of holy living, the ground in which we are to understand that we are to live holy because our God is a consuming fire. We must then worship Him with reverence and awe.
Here is a final question for you. Do you live a Christian life that expresses offerings of thankfulness and humble service coupled with reverence and awe?
Is that how you endeavor to live your Christian life? If you do, here’s the promise. You will not be shaken. You will not be shaken by divine judgment, but you will remain safe and intact in the unshakable Kingdom of God. When you leave this earth, you will leave a baton to be passed down to the next generation on what it really means to be someone who serves God in the right way. That’s what we need more than anything in this world.
One of the things when we go to the mall and talk to young people about the Lord is that they know nothing about anything that has to do with spiritual stuff. They have been fed Facebook and internet stuff and nonsense, and they know nothing about God and Jesus Christ and how to be made right with Him. And neither do most of them care.
We need to be out there sharing with them. I am really thankful for that ministry and the opportunity we get to talk to people. Am I full of fear on Fridays? Yes. I am trembling in my boots because I don’t know what people are going to say. When I get there and start talking to people, I am always amazed at what I learn and how I get to share the gospel. I’m really thankful for Paul and the work he does.
So this morning the bottom line is where do you stand? How are you really living your life? I think this chapter gives you plenty of information to examine yourself completely in the areas of whether you’re thankful, whether you are serving God, and whether it is all in an acceptable and humble way. Do you understand in your heart the reverence and awe you are to display before the Lord? Do you realize that He is a consuming fire and that you cannot get away with anything?
As believers, we live with joy and with hearts that know God is for us and not against us. But He is still holy. So we are always to remember that. And we are to express that to others when they see our lives. If we sin like everybody else sins, people won’t even take you seriously. But if there’s a marked difference in your life and in your attitude and the way you speak, then they take notice and want to know what’s going on with you that makes you different. Then you get a chance to tell them and speak the message of the gospel. And all God’s people said amen.
Let’s pray. Lord again, I’m amazed at Your Word. I bow before Your holiness this morning and I praise You Lord that You did not withhold these things from us. I thank You, Holy Spirit, that You have been given to us as a down payment and that You are the One that enables us to understand the Word of God and to put it into practice. You help us to see where we stand before our great God and Savior and to know what will be and how to live while we’re here. I pray and ask You that You would work on Your people and sanctify them. Make them holy and give them an insatiable desire to put their sins to death and walk away from it once and for all, that it would be the evidence and character that shows them that the Spirit of God and the Word of God is working in their lives to set them more and more to God. For we know Lord that someday when You shake the Heaven and the earth, we will remain because we are in union with Christ, who is the King of the Kingdom. We know we will not be moved. For this we praise You, we thank You, we want to offer acceptable sacrifice to You and we pray that You would change us in a way that is remarkable different than how we used to live. And I pray this in Christ’s Name, Amen.