Sermons & Sunday Schools

What a Difference Christ Makes! Part 1

Full Transcript:

Let’s take our Bibles this morning and turn to Hebrews 12:18-24 and get ready to use your Bible again because we’ll be going back to Deuteronomy also and some other places in Hebrews. I have been out of Hebrews for a while because of a bit of a break. We are back in it and I just want to mention that this book has really been a very rich theological book.

It is a very christological book. Christ is the center of it. Of course, it has a purpose of this book to be deliberate and to encourage every listening, every following, every learning believer to press on in this Christian race.

That’s where I kind of left you last time. Running the race and that when we do run the race that the growing knowledge of God will increase one’s faith and cause all believers to hear and see what God is doing.

Got that, to see and hear what God is doing. Ultimately to understand where God’s grace actually brings you. In a very real way God’s doing a big thing.

He really is and sometimes we don’t see it as a big thing. We don’t see salvation as a huge thing. I was just reading the missionary letter from Jamie Winship and he had a story in there about a Iraqi Air Force pilot.

If you read it he was shot down over the Arabian Gulf in their conflict with Iran. He said, “it was a horrible sound the pilot.” He told couples were listening to his story that the surface to air missile that struck his French made mirage jet.

Caused it to burst into flames, he injected into the ocean and he floated in the Mediterranean Sea for three days. He watch the sharks circle him and he could see the expressions on the faces of the Iranian sailors as they patrolled and search the area for him.

HE pray two things, he was a Muslim, one was that he would be invisible to the enemy and the second, that he’d ask God to either kill him quickly or save him big. Jamie Winship and his friend Yon were listening to the story in there apartment in Atlanta, Georgia and he stopped right there, and they said well what happened? You can’t just leave us right there. He said, ” An American aircraft carrier picked me up.” How big is that? Now that’s just the earthly story. God is doing something big. I believe that in this part of Hebrews He wants this audience, who’s being tempted to go back to the old religious system, which is easy.

Which doesn’t bring persecution upon them. They don’t lose anything. They get their respect back and all the things that go with being a Jew at that time in Judaism.

They were attempting to go back and He is saying to them, wait a minute don’t go back because God is doing a bigger thing than He ever did with the Jews in the Old Testament.

He’s doing a huge thing and I don’t want you to miss it. See if we take our eyes off the goal and start looking back we will not finish the race.

If we keep our eyes on the finish line and continue to grow in our understanding of what awaits at the finish line, we will conclude that there is nothing better.

There is nothing better that can be offered to you or sufficient enough to replace what God has given you in Christ Jesus. There’s nothing bigger. There is nothing better. That’s the whole book of Hebrews.

If you miss that you miss the whole thing. You see this is where our problem lies though. We don’t think enough about Heavenly realities. We don’t think enough about our privilege and our blessing that we have in Christ.

We are so distracted by the temporal. We are so distracted and overloaded by the information dump that each of us experiences every single day. We’re consumed by that. People twittering, texting second by second motions of what people are doing all over the place.

All empty waste of time. In fact, it robs us . It is worthless. It robs us and it crowds out any time to think about eternal realities which will actually help you endure the Christian race. Remember in Hebrews what we need is endurance. What gives us endurance is truth.

That’s what set before us. I would like all of you today to ponder what a difference Christ makes. Now, this message is in two parts so if you come to the first part you have to come to the second.

Because the second gives you the bigger picture but it starts with the first part. What God offers us in Christ and what Jesus has accomplished is immeasurably superior than anything else that could ever be offered to you.

The Jews had Abraham they had the the Abrahamic Covenant with all the Messianic promises. Yet, all the Old Testament saints died without seeing the promise fulfilled in Jesus. Here is the direction of our texts this morning that the readers have come to the actual fulfillment of the promise made to Abraham. That is to Jesus Christ and all that He actually has bought for them and brought to them.

We have it too. We have the fulfillment of the promise. We are on the other side of the cross. In fact, our text is designed to help us understand what we have not come to and then it shows us what we actually have come to.

Now, let me show you real quick Hebrews 12:18. Notice what it says,

For you have not come…

See that in your Bibles. Do you see that in your Bibles? In your electronic Bibles, in your paper Bibles, in your cell phone Bibles, whatever Bibles you’re looking at. Look at a Bible.

It’s saying there in the Word of God that listen you have not come to something. But then look at Hebrews 12:22 where it says,

But you have come..

Those two little phrases there are supremely important for our texts because it helps us to run with greater endurance and it gives us an understanding as to where we are standing in regard to the Lord God. Either you are in His fiery presents or you are in His favorable presence.

If a person is in God’s fiery presents, that means their approach to God will prove to be deadly because it’s the wrong way. If that person is in the favorable presence of God, that means that their approach to God will be welcomed.

Only because they have received Jesus Christ. Only because they have a mediator between them and God. Only because they have been sprinkled with His blood having been reconciled to God the Father through Jesus Christ the Son.

See, this is vitally important. Here’s the mistake people are making, they see the small picture. They only see part of the picture and they don’t see the whole picture.

They are only looking at part of the Revelation and not at all the Revelation. This is the mistake people make, they cling to the old easy way or they cling to partial Revelation.

Therefore, according to Hebrews neglecting the truth. Neglecting so great a Salvation offer to God, they’re not looking at it as great. Or they ignore it. Even despise God’s final Revelation in Jesus Christ where it already said in Hebrews, then they trampled under Foot the message, or the person of the final say, in how God saves people.

Or what they finally do is they fall back to the old religious system and escape any trouble or persecution that’s going to come with the name of Jesus Christ or the trouble that comes in running the Christian race.

It’s a long-distance race. It is not an easy race. You cannot do it in the flesh. You must have Gods Spirit. You must be filled with God’s word. Let’s not make these mistakes but instead we should desire to understand two things about where we are heading in the race.

Since we have come to Christ. Why? Because if you are going to run this race, this Christian long-distance race, with any kind of successful endurance you must know where you have come from and you must know where you’re going.

You must know where you have not come to and you must know where you have come to. That’s how He packages the text this morning. I want you to see the first point which I will labor for this morning is that today I want you to park in this text with me.

I want you to see two things. There’s two mountains that are talked about in this text. Two different mountains. The first mountain is Mount Sinai. The second mountain is Mount Zion.

These two mountains are very significant in all of the Word of God, but these two mountains are vitally important. Hebrews 12:18 says,

For you have not come to a mountain that can be touched and to a blazing fire, and to darkness and gloom and whirlwind,

The mountain He is talking about here is Mount Sinai. Now that is the mountain which Moses receive the Ten Commandments.

He is saying here, in other words, you have not come to Mount Sinai. Another way of saying it Christians are not stuck at the foot of Mount Sinai. They have gone on from there to another Mountain.

At what mountain have they gone on to? They have gone on to Mount Zion and I’m not going to be preaching on that this morning, but I want you to see verse 22 it says,

But you have come to Mount Zion and to the city of the living God, the heavenly Jerusalem, and to myriads of angels,

I’ll just stop right there because that text is loaded with seven things God lists that say, okay you have not come and you’re not stuck at Sinai, but you have come to Zion. What a blessing, what a great thing God has done for you when you reach Zion.

I’ll describe and define what Zion means next week. See, before you get to Zion you got to go to Mount Sinai. Before you get to Zion you must go to Sinai because what we learn at Sinai about the character of God is so much needed to understand why you must be saved in the first place.

Then even after you’re saved that God has not changed in who He is because you’ve become a believer.

He is the same God but, what happens that once you become a Believer, you learn more about Him. You learn more about what He has done. In fact, when you learn about and understand the justice of Almighty God then, the grace of God is all more sweeter right. When you realize what God saved you from and how you couldn’t rescue yourself from that then the grace of God becomes something that is so deep and wide that you just swim in it like it’s a vast ocean.

From our passage we can clean glean about 6 things showing forth God’s power and majesty and holiness and kind of show you where He’s going with this for our own sake this morning so that we can understand it in our own Christian Life. So that we can understand that these characteristics He’s listing here really are emphasized by earthly natural signs, which always usually accompany God’s presence in the Old Testament. Look at what it says in Hebrews 12:18. It says,

For you have not come to a mountain that can be touched..

In other words, the mountain you come to cannot be approached. It’s deadly to approach this mountain. Then also it lists some things.

For you have not come to a mountain that can be touched..

This meaning that it is an inapprochable Mountain. It says secondly that this Mount is consumed by a blazing fire. In other words, it’s ignited to burn. At this mountain there is thick black darkness. You can cut the darkness with a knife.

There’s also deep gloom at the mountain and it ends also in verse 18, that there is whirlwind at the mountain.

In fact, that word actually means cyclonic winds or hurricane winds. If anything’s going on like that on a mountain you don’t go Near that thing. Do you know why? because your life is in danger. All those things, all these, signify that there was an infinite distance between God and man. In fact, so frightful and awesome was the display of God’s power that the people begged God to speak only through a human messenger like Moses don’t speak to us directly.

Hebrews 12: 19 says,

and to the blast of a trumpet and the sound of words which sound was such that those who heard begged that no further word be spoken to them.

In other words, the people will say, “stop speaking. We can’t take it. It’s too much for us. It’s too overwhelming we cannot take it.” Take your Bibles and turn back to Deuteronomy where we pick this up in the Old Testament.

Of course, we now we see the people of Israel. They are three months after coming through the Red Sea and this is what they come to. They come to Mount Sinai.

This is what’s going on there. Their first real display of the personality of God is displayed on this mountain and they are shaking in their boots by God’s presence. Deuteronomy 5:25-27 says,

Now then why should we die? For this great fire will consume us; if we hear the voice of the Lord, our God any longer, then we will die. For who is there of all flesh who has heard the voice of the living God speaking from the midst of the fire, as we have, and lived? Go near and hear all that the Lord our God says; then speak to us all that the Lord our God speaks to you, and we will hear and do it.

The people are responding to the presence of God and they’re so afraid of what they have heard and what they have experienced by these natural things going on in the mountain that they say, “Listen we can’t take this because we know if we hear it any longer it’s going to kill us. We’re going to die.”

Moses becomes the representative. In fact, if you take your Bible and go back to Hebrews, the present tense of the verb is used verse number 22 to signify the command that God gave them.

The present tense really presents a command as ringing constantly in their ears. Hebrews 12: 20 says,

For they could not bear the command, “IF EVEN A BEAST TOUCHES THE MOUNTAIN, IT WILL BE STONED.”

They couldn’t bear that particular command. All this saying this, that the Sinai experience was a terrifying one. People don’t see God as terrifying. They don’t see God in this way, and that’s not good.

You must see God like this because if you don’t you will not be afraid of Him. The Sinai experience, even from Moses, with its audible and it’s visible aspects produced fear in him.

Under the Sinai Covenant there was a sense of danger in approaching God and distance that separated the worshipper from God. Look at Hebrews 12:21. This is what it says about Moses,

And so terrible was the sight, the Moses said, “I AM FULL OF FEAR and trembling.”

Just think for a minute, Moses is shaking in his boots at the presence of God. He’s trembling and it says he’s full of fear. There’s nothing left inside of him, but fear. This whole section is making it very clear and emphasizing the frightening and inapproachability of this God.

In other words, all that took place on Sinai to which God brought Israel, was not the completion of the Abrahamic promise. What do I mean by that? On the mountain of Sinai God brought the Ten Commandments right? What was the purpose of the law? What was the purpose of the Ten Commandments? The Law of the Bible says was added to keep them in the knowledge of sin.

Now you have a God who’s presenting Himself like this before the people. They are full of fear and now Moses gives them the Commandments, the decalogue, and the people are reminded everyday that because of their sin they’re in trouble with this God.

In fact, Paul brings up in Romans 5:20. It says,

The Law came in so that the transgression would increase; but where sin increased, grace abounded all the more.”

Then he says again to the Galatian church why the law then? Why the law? Why the Ten Commandments? It says in Galatians 3:19,

Why the law then? it was added because of transgression, having been ordained through angels by the agency of a mediator, until the seed would come to whom the promise had been made.

Remember according to the writer of Hebrews the law was never the completion of the promise. In fact, if you just like the slip back a minute to Hebrews 7:18-19 it says,

For, on the one hand, there is a setting aside of a former commandment because of its weakness and uselessness for the Law made nothing perfect, and on the other hand there is a bringing in of better hope, through which we draw near to God.

In other words, if I take you back in your mind’s and if you haven’t been there, just by way of memory, the two proper ways a person may have access to God, may approach God, in the Old Testament system was in the first proper way through the law. Through the keeping and obedience of the law. A second way ,both went together they weren’t separate, to have access to God, to approach God, was through the priesthood. Through the sacrificial system. That prove to leave one with a real issue. A real problem and that the two proper ways to have access to God were ineffective.

In this sense that the law was weak and useless unable to make anything perfect, as I just read, that the priests were weak and in perfect and sinful and died and the sacrificial system was repetitive. Over and over again and could make no one perfect.

The bottom line was that the law of the priesthood in the sacrificial system could not give a person continual access to God and make one right before a Holy and just God. Why was that? Because there was no escaping the human estrangement from God which followed sin. All the efforts of the priest and all the sacrifices offered could not restore a lost relationship completely.

Why did God do it that way? Well, why was it necessary for the old system to be replaced by the new system? It could not be achieved for this reason because it could not achieve the completion God intended. This Mount Sinai is again showing the people how they just can’t approach God in the old way.

Even the system God put in place was ineffective to bring and restore a relationship to the Living God. Believers needed to have a priest who can give them constant access to God and make them perfect.

That’s what they needed. Make them acceptable before a Holy and a just God. Before God in whom people and men tremble. Before a God in whose presence was a fiery presence. Before a God who if you approached Him in the wrong way, you would be killed.

The Old Testament method of providing for God’s people did not produce Holiness in them and it did not perfect anyone eternally. The point is this in Hebrews, Christ makes all the difference.

The Law came through Moses, but grace and truth came from who? Jesus Christ. That very verse is right on the very top of Mount Nebo in Jordan. The only verse I saw. That’s the perfect verse. I wish they understood it. Those who come to see it.

The Bible is really saying to us that Christ makes the difference because He is the final fulfillment of the promise. Listen what it says in Hebrews 7:19,

and on the other hand..

I love when it says that in scripture. hope

..there is a bringing in of better hope, through which we draw near to God.

Wait a minute. Here is Christ who now gives one the ability to draw near to God. Jesus Christ becomes the high priest and what does He do for us? He enters into the Holy place, not made with hands as it says in Romans 9.

What does He do? He passes into the Heavens, passed the second curtain into the Holy sanctuary and He enters Heaven itself. Hebrews chapter 9, and then Jesus was hidden from everyones sight when Heaven took Him but Jesus passed into the presence of God Himself as a man. As the God man. Hebrews 9:24 says, to appear in the presence of God for us;

Jesus is the one who makes the difference. Who adds the Revelation of God that could save us from the wrath of this God and bring us into His presence completely. As one holy and as one made perfect.

The Heavens took the Lord Jesus Christ, He entered into it and now He sits as a Victor on the right hand of the Majesty on High and He must remain there until the time comes for God to restore all things.

Until then, we ought to reap something from a passage of Scripture like this. We ought to reap an understanding of the character of God and how we can respond to His character in a right way.

Not in a wrong way. What did the people learn about the character of God that day? What did they learn? The first thing they learned is from Deuteronomy 5:24 and it is that the presence of God was awesome.

It was great. It says in Deuteronomy 5:24,

You said, ‘Behold, the Lord our God has shown us His glory and His greatness,..

That day God wanted them to experience that part of His character. A second thing they learned was that God communicates and He does so in understandable words. Deuteronomy 5:24,

..and we have heard His voice from the midst of the fire; we have seen today that God speaks with man, yet he lives.

Now this was completely different than all the gods around the nation of Israel. Then all the gods Israel new even in Egypt. None of the god spoke to the people.

They were just graven images made by men. Men offered sacrifices to them. Men would pray to them, but they never spoke to them. Here they learn that God speaks.

This is an incredible revelation that God speaks. Not only that but in Deuteronomy 5:24 that God lives. That God’s alive. It changes everything. Wait a minute, I’m not serving some dead deity.

I’m serving a living God who has an awesome presence that if I’m not careful He could easily consume me. They learn this too and this was a very important thing they learned. They cannot approach God in any old freestyle manner. To do so would prove deadly even if irrational animals wandered in too close to the presence of God at Mount Sinai they would be killed.

That is to conclude if rational human beings came too close, the same thing would happen to them. Death. So they learned also and maybe most importantly about the fiery terrifying presence of God. What does that teach us? To learn what they learned. That we can learn also today even as Believers, even as those who know Christ, that the fear of the Lord is a very important part of our life. To understanding correctly.vTurn to Deuteronomy 4:10 because this gives a sense to us what they learned that day.

What was the main message God was teaching them at the foot of Mount Sinai? Well, you’ll find that in this passage of Scripture. This is what they remembered in Deuteronomy 4:10 and it says,

Remember the day you stood before the Lord your God at Horeb, when the Lord said to me, ‘Assemble the people to Me, that I may let them hear My words..

notice what it says, they may learn to fear Me..

There is the lesson. Then it says,

..all the days they live on the earth, and that they may teach their children.’

Teach their children what? The fear of the Lord. Because at Sinai we learn to fear God.At Sinai we learn that the law magnifies our sin and makes us more condemned before this God. That’s what we learn. It says also in Deuteronomy 4:11-16,

You came near and stood at the foot of the mountain, and the mountain burned with fire to the very heart of the heavens, darkness, cloud and thick gloom. Then the Lord spoke to you from the midst of the fire; you heard the sound of words, but you saw no form-only a voice. So He declared to you His covenant which He commanded you to perform, that is, the Ten Commandments; and He wrote them on two tablets of stone. The Lord commanded me at that time to teach you statutes and judgements, that you might perform them in the land where you are going over to possess it. So watch yourselves carefully, since you did not see any form on the day the Lord spoke to you at Horeb from the midst of the fire, so that you do not act corruptly and make a graven image for yourselves in the form of any figure, the likeness of male or female.

The people learned that day that this is a God to be feared. This is a God who is someone you cannot go up against. This is a God in which you will not win.

This is a God who cannot be approached by your own philosophy of life, by your own religious system, or by anything you come up with. You can’t approach God. You only could approach God in one way and that way was given to Abraham as a promise that we have fulfilled in our hearing this morning.

That promise is Christ. That through Jesus Christ I can have access to God. I can approach God.

In fact, it tells us in the Word of God I can come with confidence boldly to the throne of God, only through Christ. Any other way, even today, will cause that person to remain under God’s condemnation and God’s Wrath and if they try to do it any other way or go in any other way, they will be consumed and sent to an eternal destiny without Christ.

So all peoples should learn this lesson and believe me christians ought to learn this lesson. The lesson that they learned at Sinai. That to hear God is to fear God is to obey God.

They all go together, but sometimes when we think about the fear of God, we think all wrong about it. We have to go beyond the knee knocking fear of God, because that’s part of it, to what the fear of God actually does for us as believers. As someone who’s coming to a relationship with Jesus Christ. In fact, it was the same in the Old Testament when they understood rightly the full character of God and took the full revelation of God is not only a god of wrath but He’s a God of loving kindness, He’s a God of truth, He’s a God of compassion and He is a God who comes to the rescue.I have both of those and I begin to understand the God of the Bible and I understand now more in Jesus Christ what God intended for you and I. But this whole thing about the fear of God understood rightly really brings great benefits. Just to show you what I mean take your Bibles to a few passages of scripture in Psalms.

I looked at a section on the fear of God and there were so many passages of scripture. There’s no way that I can look at all of them, but I wanted to take a look at some of them from the book of Psalms to give you a sense.

The benefit we have when we properly fear God. Psalm 25:14 says,

The secret of the Lord is for those who fear Him, and He will make them know His covenant.

See when we fear God properly He lets us in on it.n It can be translated friend. That God lets his friends in on what He’s doing. He tells them the truth. He lays it out before them. Those who fear God, God watches over them. Psalms 33:18 says ,

Behold, the eye of the Lord is on those who fear Him, On those who hope for His lovingkindness.

The eye of God is on those who fear Him, who have respect for Him. Who want to hear and obey Him. Fear is all that is included and this kind of fear is that I want to obey God. I want to do what He says. I want to approach Him in the right way. I want to honor Him with what I think and what I do in my life. I want to do what God wants me to do.

In fact, here’s another passage that the angels are given the job of protecting and delivering those who fear God. Psalm 34:7 says,

The angel of the Lord encamps around those who fear Him, and rescues them.

God is looking out for those who fear Him. He’s protecting those who fear Him. He’s rescuing. Have you ever sensed that God has rescued you from something. We pray from Matthew 6, Lord deliver me from temptation.

We’re asking God to rescue us from the power of temptation that could come against us that in the flesh alone we would easily give into it. But God steps in with His Word and the power of His Spirit and He rescues you from where temptation could lead you and it leads you to sin. You know where sin takes you right? It destroys everything in your life. See, God promises that those who everyday get up and learn to fear Me that I am they’re providing protection.

I am they’re ready to deliver you ready to watch out for you. Psalm 34:9 says,

O fear the Lord, you His saints; For to those who fear Him there is no want.

The fear of the Lord will give you freedom from your craving. When you fear God you don’t have any wants.

Why is that? Because you realize you grow and you say, “Lord you provided all my needs. I have way more than I even need. You have kept me, protected me, and supplied my needs. I don’t any wants. Not only that but you provided for my greatest need Eternal salvation. The ability to approach You through Christ. What else do I want?”

It’s like the Psalmist who says, I will dwell in the house of the Lord forever. Eternally. Why? Because I have no wants. I have no needs. The Bible says that those who fear Him will have freedom from craving things. Then Psalm 147:11 says,

The Lord favors those who fear Him, Those who wait for His lovingkindness.

The fear of the Lord will make you a delight to Him. You want to be able to be delight to God. The Lord God finds delight in those who fear Him. Those who hear Him and obey Him all go together. Psalm 103:13 says that we are guaranteed the pity and compassion of God to those who fear Him. Psalm 103:13,

Just as a father has compassion on his children, so the Lord has compassion on those who fear Him.

We’re guaranteed the permanent love of God to those who fear God. Psalm 103:17 says,

But the lovingkindness of the Lord is from everlasting to everlasting on those who fear Him, and His righteousness to children’s children.

Of course, the fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge and wisdom. It has to start here. It says in Psalm 111:10,

The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom; a good understanding have all those who do His commandments; His praise endures forever.

Proverbs 14:27 says,

The fear of the Lord is a fountain of life, that one may avoid the snares of death.

The fear of the Lord satisfies.

Proverbs 19:23 says,

The fear of the Lord leads to life, so that one may sleep satisfied, untouched by evil.

The one who fears God can approach God because they will see the only way to approach God is through Jesus Christ and they will obey the message of the Gospel of Jesus Christ.

After they come to Christ, they will have a clearer and a better understanding of what it means to fear Him. In fact, it was when the Apostle Peter with all his issues he had dealing with other cultures because he was he was a Jew of Jews. That’s for sure. And when God was trying to teach him that God is not a respecter of any man then Peter came to this conclusion in Acts 10:34-36 and it says,

Opening his mouth, Peter said: “I most certainly understand now that God is not one to show partiality, but in every nation the man who fears Him and does what is right is welcome to Him.

Then he qualifies it with this,

The word which He sent to the sons Israel, preaching peace through Jesus Christ (He is Lord of all)

He is saying to them, listen, anyone who comes and learns the terror of God in God bringing wrath upon a human being that they could have peace with God through this person Jesus Christ because of what He accomplished on the cross and now have access to God. Well then everything changes. Jesus Christ makes the difference in my approach to God.

I will not be killed. I will not be consumed. I don’t even have to be terrified anymore even though I have a respectful, rightful fear of God. Yet, I come boldly into God’s presence.

In this passage there is a sharp contrast between Mount Sinai and Mount Zion. It’s meant to show a drastic difference that Christ makes in our approach to God the Father the sense on Mount Sinai is very cautious.

The sense on Mount Sinai is a cautiousness about how you approach God so keep back. So you do it the right way, but on Mount Zion a Believer finds encouragement to come boldly into the presence of God. As Hebrews 4:16 already said,

Therefore let us draw near with confidence to the throne of grace, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need.

This is revolutionary to those who heard this message. When one becomes a Biblical Christian the whole economy in which they belong becomes grand and glorious and the atmosphere is quite different between the two mountains. One is the atmosphere of fear.

Which is needed but the other is a festive atmosphere. It is as if one has finished a great race successfully and you come to the end. There’s a festive atmosphere. It’s like one who finishes the great battle and they won what was at the end? A festive atmosphere.

The Bible is really saying to us and the second that I’m going to bring up next week is that those who are in Christ are now heading for the festive and joyful economy of Heaven. That put before us in running the race at the finish line is what gives us endurance to continue because what God promises He will not take away.

We are heading for home. Home is described by another Mountain but this time it’s not Mount Sinai it’s Mount Zion. Then it list at least seven characteristics of what believers are headed for and are to look forward to.

Hebrews 12:22 says,

But you have come to Mount Zion and to the city of the living God, the heavenly Jerusalem, and to myriads of angels,

So you have not come to Mount Sinai, you have come past it to the teaching of grace through Christ. Hebrews 12:23-24

…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.

Wow. That’s what we have to look forward. That’s the greatness of salvation. I’m going to unpack that next week, but I want to ask you a question. Who do you fear?

You have to come to Mount Sinai first. You have to know the fear of God and the awesomeness of God. That God is the judge. That He makes the rules. He sets out the plan on how He saves you. Not you. Then he saves you. Not you.

I must fear Him in this sense, “Lord, whatever way you choose to save a human being that’s the way I want to come.” Then the Father says well the way I’ve chosen is Christ.

I’ve chosen the cross. I chose Christ to bear the wrath and penalty for your sins that the wrath you saw on Mount Sinai. More of it that I poured out of My Son for all the sins of all those who would come and believe in Me through Christ.

That’s the way I’ve chosen. I have not chosen any other way. No religious system can save you. No philosophy of life can save you. No “would-be” God that you created in your own mind and your life can save you. Only Jesus Christ can save anyone. Muslim, Hindu, Buddhist Catholic, Baptist.

Whoever you come from and whatever your background is, it’s Christ who you must come to to be saved. I must fear Him and then my fear changes to joy when I understand what He has done.

Whom do you fear? Where are you heading? Are you heading to God’s fiery presence? Or are you heading to God’s favorable presence? Where are you heading? You are heading somewhere today? I’ll guarantee you that.

You are heading somewhere today. Today only through Christ can you be heading into God’s favorable presence. I prayed today that you would come wherever you’re at, if you have a bunch of doubts in your mind. Come anyway.

Coming with all your sin and all your baggage. Come and trust in Christ as your Lord and Savior. If you know Him as your Lord and Savior then grow in your knowledge, so your faith increases so you can fear God rightly and not only being keenly aware of listening to His Word, but also putting His Word into practice by your obedience.

Because He is still the same God. How do I know that? Look at how He ends Hebrews 12:29,

for our God is a consuming fire.

He wants to show the people. Listen, if you want to go back to your old system, to your old ways, to your old philosophy, then go there but I want to remind you of this God is still a God of a consuming fire.

You will stand before Him. You will be responsible for your actions and your decisions. I want to let you know that. You haven’t seen God as big as He wants to show Himself.

You have shrunk Him down into a little box where you control Him. He says that if you want to do that you go back to your Judaism. You go back to your religious system.

You go back to the easy way. Go back there, but God is still a consuming fire. He hasn’t changed because He offers free grace through Christ. He has not changed. Where do you stand? That’s it.

There’s no other place to go. I love when God corners us. He corners us. He says, okay, what you going to do? Let’s pray.

“Lord, I think the greatest thing that we can pray today is that we would hear God and see what He’s doing. I do ask you, Lord, that all who are here this morning, you know who they are. You know where they’re heading. You know what they’re putting their trust in. You know who they’re putting their trust in.

But I pray Lord that you would change all that for those who have thought wrongly and have dependent on things that will not save them. I pray, Lord Jesus, that you would show them if they have never confessed You as Lord and Savior. If they have never come to repent and turn from their unbelief to trust in Christ.

The only way to approach our heavenly father than I pray, Lord, today would be the day they ask you to save them. If those who are here that you know know you I pray you would grow all of us Lord in a proper understanding of how to fear you.

Because You are still the same but I thank you, Lord, that through Moses you gave the law but through Christ came grace and that we have grace available to us every moment of every day.

Thank You, Lord, that the fear of God actually benefits us because You’re for us. So we don’t have to fear You with trembling fear. We have to fear no one because if You’re for us no one could be against us.

Thank You, Lord, for the word of God help us to see the greater picture of what you’re doing and help us to see how great salvation is and we’re actually heading to that Mount Zion and I pray we would rejoice in it. That we would understand that festive atmosphere that we’re heading to even though this race that were in is hard.

Sometimes it’s long. Sometimes it’s overwhelming. The lessons you want to teach us. Sometimes we feel like they crush us, but Lord we know You’ll never give us anything more than we can handle.

So I just ask you, Lord, develop our character. Give us endurance to run the race and help us to keep our eyes on the gold and we’re heading so we can do it with an attitude of joy and with the strength that comes from You and I thank You for what You do in Christ name. Amen.”