Sermons & Sunday Schools

What a Difference Christ Makes! Part 2

Full Transcript:

We will look at Hebrews 12:22-25. I have already said that this book has been a very rich theological book, which has had its purpose of a deliberate intention to provide encouragement to those who are God’s children, those who are listening, those who are following, and to those who are learning as they’re running in this race that God has called us to after we trusted Christ as our Lord and Savior.

A growing knowledge of God will always increase one’s faith to cause believers to hear and to see what God is doing and where God is ultimately bringing us. There is a destination that God is bringing us to, and if we take our eyes off of the goal and start looking back, we will not finish the race. However, if we keep our eyes on the finish line and continue to grow in our understanding of what awaits us at the finish line, then you will conclude that there is nothing better than what God can offer you or nothing sufficient to replace what God has given you in Christ Jesus. Paul says in Romans 8:32:

He who did not spare His own Son, but delivered Him over for us all, how will He not also with Him freely give us all things?

What God started is this small snowball that is going down this snow-covered mountain. It’s getting bigger and bigger, and it’s just going to take over everything. God will give us all things. As I mentioned last time, there’s a problem where we don’t think on heavenly things as we ought to, we don’t think on heavenly realities as we ought to, and we don’t think about the privilege and blessings we have in Christ Jesus as much as we should.

Constantly, we are distracted by being overloaded by unnecessary information. We live in an information dump age. There’s enough information where you can get it twenty-four hours a day, seven days a week, but most of it is not worth anything. It doesn’t do anything for you, and it robs you and crowds out your time, so you are not thinking of eternal things.

See, we should be growing in our understanding of the supremacy of Jesus Christ. We know Jesus as our Savior, but how much more do we know about Him? How much more do we know about what He’s done for us? Abraham Kuyper said:

There is not one inch on this planet and universe that Jesus Christ does not reign supreme. If there is anything worthy of praise, in all the universe, it is summed up in one person and that’s Jesus Christ. In fact, you and I and every other human being that ever lived on this Earth, for the past seven thousand years, has been created for the presence of God.

He is supreme in everything. If you think about it, when you look up in the sky, He is supreme over all the galaxies that your eyes can see. He is supreme over all the endless reaches of space even places that we don’t know anything. He is supreme over the earth from the highest mountain to the deepest part of the Pacific Ocean. He is supreme over the weather, hurricanes, tornadoes, earthquakes, monsoons, tsunamis, floods, snow falls, and blizzards. Jesus Christ is supreme over all of that, so how much do we really know about Jesus? How much are we thinking about these particular things?

There’s a controversy going on in the news about the 9/11 Memorial that’s going to be happening soon. The controversy is that there’s not going to be any clergy or prayer at the event even though from the beginning of this tragedy prayer and ministers of all types have been a consistent thread for the past ten years. I’m sure that the mayor of New York City has his reasons why he wants to exclude clergy, but in my observation, it’s a good diagnosis of our society as a whole of God not being welcomed anymore, especially the God of heaven, earth, and the Bible. Paul told the Roman Church in Romans 3:18


They are suppressing the knowledge that they already know they’re going to be accountable to God for everything. We live in a world in that doesn’t help us learn more about Jesus Christ or about what God is doing. Again, I would like all of you to ponder what a difference Christ makes. What God offers us in Christ Jesus and what Jesus has accomplished is immeasurably superior to anything else now and forever.

We have come, in our time and in our day, to the actual fulfillment of the promise of Abraham. Jesus Christ and all that He has actually brought is designed to help us understand what we have not come to in our race. Then, what we have come to in this Christian race. Hebrews 12:18 it 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.

Las time, we came to Mount Sinai, we came to the law, we realized we couldn’t fulfill the law by ourselves, and then understood, by faith and in hearing the Gospel, that Jesus Christ fulfills the law. He makes us right before God. He makes us perfect before God. Thus, Jesus Christ makes all the difference, so now the law can no longer condemn you because He satisfied all of its demands completely and totally. Jesus Christ absolutely makes a difference when you come to Him and believe in Him. There is something quite encouraging in Hebrews 12:22:

But you have come to Mount Zion…

Knowing what awaits us at the finish will help us to run with greater endurance because it gives us understanding as to where we are standing in regard to the Lord. In this case, a Biblical Christian is one who is standing in the favorable presence of God, and that means they can approach God in a welcomed manner. They can approach God only because they have received Jesus Christ, who is a mediator between them and God, and they have been sprinkled with His blood and reconciled to God, the Father.

That’s the only way we can approach God in a manner that is not devastating. Today, let’s together lift up our eyes and see what awaits us at Mount Zion. In Hebrews 12:22, I want to direct your attention to this little phrase that is in the perfect tense. Sometimes, that is something that is hard to pick out, but in the Greek, it is an extremely important tense. In fact, one Greek scholar said:

The perfect tense is the most important exegetically of all the Greek tenses because the force of the perfect tense is simply that it describes an event that is completed in the past has results existing in the present.

Another linguist said:

The perfect tense is used for indicating not the past action as such, but the present state of affairs resulting from the past action.

In other words, for those who have come to Jesus Christ, He performs something so perfect there that presently and daily it has implications in your life. In the text, one of the implications is that you can actually know where you’re going. You can know what is going to await you when you get to the finish line.

That’s incredible. You can’t find that anywhere else in the world except God’s word. Therefore, you become a very privileged character just to be able to listen to this and to what God has done for you. So, I pray that you look at yourself that way.

Before we look at the actual text, in Hebrews 12:22, it says that we have come to Mount Zion. Now, that may not mean much to you until you realize what Zion actually means in the minds of those who understood it.

As far as Zion is concerned, it is found as a Jebusite fortress. In the story of King David’s conquest of Jerusalem, David captured the fortress of Zion and made it his royal residence. Seven years later when he became kind, he named it the city of David, so Zion came to be known as the city of David.

Later on in Biblical history, when referred to the temple mount, it meant you referred to Zion. In several passages of Scripture, it gives this indication. Now, when the city of Jerusalem expanded, the term Zion referred to a larger area when they transferred the ark from the city of David, which is in Zion, to the temple hill, which brought both an extension and a reduction to the territory that is named Zion.

The point being that there’s a close identification between Zion and the hill where the temple was, so the temple precincts became the primary Zion in people’s minds. Thus, reference to Zion, in the prophetic literature and also in the books of the Bible and the Old Testament, is the place where God dwells in the minds of the people.

When you heard the term Zion, the people immediately thought in their mind that’s where God dwells. That’s where I can go approach God. That’s where I can bring my sacrifices. That’s where I can go get my sins forgiven. That’s where I can go get my prayers answered. That’s where I can find a mediator, the priest, to come too and take care of things. Psalm 48:11-14 mentions:

Let Mount Zion be glad, Let the daughters of Judah rejoice Because of Your judgments. 12Walk about Zion and go around her; Count her towers; 13Consider her ramparts; Go through her palaces, That you may tell it to the next generation. 14For such is God, Our God forever and ever; He will guide us until death.

Zion was a place in people’s mind where God dwells. If we go further with this, we find, in the Old Testament, that the dominant idea of Zion as a dwelling place of God and a place where God is in the midst of His people became something that the people understood what Zion meant. In fact, the same way the pillar of fire and cloud stood in the tabernacle in the wilderness, God dwells in Zion day and night.

Also, when Jerusalem became David’s capital, Solomon had completed the temple, and the glory cloud filled the temple, then Jerusalem became the place in which it was known as the dwelling place of God. The Bible tells us that God loves and chose Zion to dwell there and to speak there to the people.

God is a speaking and communicating God, and the people knew that they could get answers from Him. He wasn’t like a dumb idol that people carried around. Rather, He was a living God and that’s what Zion meant to people.

In Scripture, Zion was meant as the city of God, the destination of pilgrims both Jews and Gentiles alike, who longed to be in God’s presence because they were far away from Jerusalem. Sometimes, they couldn’t make it there, and when they did come, they longed to be there because they knew, from the Old Testament prophets and from the word of God being spoken, God was there.

Zion’s position became very prominent and important. When we come to the New Testament, the writer of Hebrews picks up this motif about Zion and he begins to tell us like he did in Hebrews 11:10:

for he was looking for the city which has foundations, whose architect and builder is God.

Now, he’s going past the earthly understanding of Zion to the Heavenly understanding of Zion. When everybody comes to the end of the race, there’s going to be a Heavenly city. It’s not just going to be an earthly city, but an eternal city.

Zion was to be a shadow of the Heavenly city, and the New Testament also looks forward to the recreation of the heaven and the earth. Of course, the New Jerusalem will happen in the end times, and at that time, Zion will be the city on the great mountain, and from Zion a river of life will flow within its walls.

Today, Mount Zion is referred to a hill south of the old city of the Armenian quarter, not to the Temple Mount. It was an apparent misidentification of where it really is, so pilgrims mistook the large flat summit, the highest point of ancient Jerusalem, for the original site of the Jewish temple. Of course, they realize now that wasn’t the original site.

Nonetheless, Zion, as a term, refers to the dwelling place of God where God is present, and a distinction is made of all those who long for the presence of God. Everyone who wants to can go there. Everyone who can go there is accepted there with no fear of the presence of God. That’s what Zion actually came to mean, which is what it should mean for us.

In Hebrews, there’s a sharp contrast between Mount Sinai and the experience they had there and Mount Zion. It is really meant to show the drastic difference Christ makes in our approach to God, the Father. When someone thinks of Mount Sinai, they should be very cautious in their approach to God. However, on Mount Zion, a believer finds encouragement to come boldly into Gods presence. Hebrews 4:16 tells us:

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.

When one becomes a Biblical Christian, the whole economy in which they belong is changed. It becomes grand and glorious. Our destination becomes something of great hope and encouragement. The atmosphere is quite different between the two mountains. One has an atmosphere of fear, and one has a festive atmosphere as if one has finished a great race successfully.

Now, it’s time to celebrate. When you get done with a run, you celebrate it. When you get done with a battle and you win it, you celebrate it. Afterwards, you rest and relax.

Secondly, those who are in Christ are not heading for fear, but they are heading for a festival of the joyful economy of heaven. In other words, we are heading for home. Here, home is described as another mountain, not Mount Sinai, but Mount Zion.

At Sinai, it is a picture of a frightening encounter with God at Mount Zion, it really must be appreciated as being decisively different because believers are brought to a place where they will enjoy clothes and delightful fellowship with God and constant access to him.

Through an act of faith in Christ, one can encounter God through Jesus Christ, and in Christ, God becomes approachable in Christ. So, do you want something to look forward to after this past week? Well, here we have it. We’re looking forward to Zion, and here it gives a list of at least seven characteristics to where believers are heading. However, I will only deal with three of those. Hebrews 12:22 says very clearly:

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

Again, we are given a series of rich and powerful images, and these images are stacked up on top of each other in rapid succession. They’re meant to impress upon your mind and your heart the joys that are to be for all those who know Christ. No matter how hard life gets, no matter how many difficulties that we have to deal with on this side of eternity, that will not be our lot at the finish line. At the finish line, everything changes, and it never goes back to what we knew before.

In fact, what we knew before, we will end up forgetting because the glories and supremacy of Christ will be so vast that we will be lost in that ocean of knowledge, understanding, and His presences for all time. It will be a grand experience. That’s what Mount Zion is. It’s a city of the living God.

What follows Mount Zion are synonyms pointing out the reality of what is ahead. I want to stress that word reality because I’m not talking about things that are written in the children’s book where people think, “That sounds good, but it doesn’t sound real.”

The Bible is speaking in terms of reality. By faith, I am already there at Zion, and you, who know Christ are already there. God wants us to be thinking about what’s already ours in Christ Jesus, which cannot be taken away by anyone. No circumstance could change your position in Christ Jesus, and we must be dwelling upon that if we are going to be successful in our race as believers.

This Mount Zion is the city of the living God and it is the Heavenly Jerusalem. In other words, it is a real place. Hebrews 11:10:

or he was looking for the city which has foundations, whose architect and builder is God.

He’s talking about Abraham, and Abraham’s and every Christian’s longing looked far beyond earthly things and displayed a longing for a Heavenly city whose planner is God. He is the technician. He is the executioner of the plan. He is the designer. God is the actual framer and the builder of this higher and eternal city to which we are heading and that is ours already. It’s also our Heavenly homeland. In Hebrews 11:16 says:

But as it is, they desire a better country, that is, a heavenly one. Therefore God is not ashamed to be called their God; for He has prepared a city for them.

In Hebrews 12:28, it is an unshakable Kingdom:

Therefore, since we receive a kingdom which cannot be shaken…

In Hebrews 13:14, it is an abiding city:

For here we do not have a lasting city, but we are seeking the city which is to come.

In bringing these all together, we must conclude that the City, Kingdom, and Heavenly home is an objective reality prepared by God ready to be revealed at the appropriate time. However, it’s already ours. This is similar to what Jesus told His twelve disciples when He ascended into heaven in John 14:1-3:

“Do not let your heart be troubled; believe in God, believe also in Me. 2“In My Father’s house are many dwelling places; if it were not so, I would have told you; for I go to prepare a place for you. 3“If I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and receive you to Myself, that where I am, there you may be also.

That’s the promise we have. That’s what Jesus left His disciples, and then He went to heaven. That’s what He leaves us. Therefore, we are privier to what God has given us. It is faith alone that can make the prospect of an eternal city built by God real.

To fix our eyes upon it means that the city God builds has a foundation and those who dwell there have permanent dwellings, so it can’t get flooded out. No disaster can remove you from it. It’s going to be permanent. You’re going to be permanent citizens. You’re going to find that living there is going to be truly safe, truly secure, and truly fulfilling. You will never want to leave.

We must notice what the Holy Spirit of God is doing in all who are believers, which is to desire something better. God puts it in us the more we grow in Christ likeness, the more we won the spiritual things, and the more we really want to go home. If you have not learned it yet, I pray that you will learn that this world and what it offers can never really satisfy you. There is nothing in this world that can satisfy you.

Yes, when you are dead in sin, without Christ, a dead world may satisfy your dead heart for a short time with its empty vanities, but no longer once you come to Christ. Certain pursuits in life are really vain for a believer. Once you received, by God’s grace, Christ, you have nobler desires and a stronger, sharper, and more passionate desire than you ever had before. You want as Hebrews 11:16 says:

But as it is, they desire a better country, that is, a heavenly one. Therefore God is not ashamed to be called their God; for He has prepared a city for them.

We have greater and deeper desires. God gives us the desires to draw toward Heaven. Desires to keep us stretching out like a runner for the finish line and for heaven. At the same time, He draws us away from the world and its glitter, and I’m talking about those who have truly come to Christ and have known something about better things and about brighter realities.

Have you not discovered that in this world we have no home? We have no security. We have no real safety. We have no true rest for our spirits on this planet. My friends, God has designed it that way.

Actually, we live in a very violent universe. If you ever thought about it, we live on a ball traveling at 67,000 miles an hour through space around a churning firewall. That’s a dangerous place to be.

Not only that, the world is temporary and it’s falling apart. We are in the time where the Bible says there’s going to be storms, earthquakes, wars, and rumors of wars. These are birth pangs. Just like when a woman is pregnant, and she starts feeling those pains more before she gives birth, we’re in times in which everything is moving towards the end, which is exactly what God said in His word. So, are you surprised that these things are happening?

I hope you’re not surprised because we live in a very restless place. Everything is shaking loose or will shake loose. Our home is yet beyond. By Scripture, we are looking for something better among unseen things. We are strangers and sojourners as those believers who have gone before us. We are dwellers in this wilderness just passing through and we’re heading for our perpetual inheritance in the city of God.

I hope that these Scriptures do stir your heart to be a bit more homesick. especially concerning your present existence on this Earth. That you’re home sick for the presence of God. As a pilgrim, you will never feel quite at home and comfortable here on earth. You will grow in your soul for the Heavenly dwelling.

The more you grow in Christ likeness, the more you will sense this. The more you have knowledge of the word of God, the more you will sense this. Then, you’ll live according to it. When you live according to it, your faith will grow to depend and trust in what God says to us in the word of God that this place, the city of God, is real. It is more real than the things you see, which we already have by faith.

For Christians, our final home is not this world. Our citizenship is in Heavenly Jerusalem. In fact, the Bible is telling us that such a place is only given to those who are true believers in Jesus Christ, who have believed in His sacrificial death and glorious resurrection. This city is so real that the Lord makes sure that we understand its security where He tells us in Revelation 21:10:

And he carried me away in the Spirit to a great and high mountain, and showed me the holy city, Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God.

This is giving us a picture that this new city is not tainted by this old world or any of its remnant. Rather, it is brand new made by God and it is secure for that reason. Also, it tells us that the city of God is secure because God permeates it’s very present. Revelation 21:11 gives you an understanding about God’s presence:

having the glory of God. Her brilliance was like a very costly stone, as a stone of crystal-clear jasper.

That’s a picture of God’s presence. Meaning, it is so clear that the glory of God and the presence of God shines through to every single inch, nook, and cranny there. You cannot go anywhere in the city where God is not there. Also, it is a city that is secure because the city walls allow only God’s own to enter. Revelation 21:12 says:

It had a great and high wall, with twelve gates, and at the gates twelve angels…

Its gates promise protection, and at the same time, it promises free access. Its wall stands as a visible reminder that all people do not have access to God. Now, the walls are described as great and high. Though, it is obvious that the high wall will not be needed for defense because the city will have no enemies.

There will be no armies that come up against it, and no one can take the city. The walls will be symbolic of God’s protection and security and the exclusion of everything that is evil. All who don’t belong there can never enter it, and it says in Revelation 21:8:

“But for the cowardly and unbelieving and abominable and murderers and immoral persons and sorcerers and idolaters and all liars, their part will be in the lake that burns with fire and brimstone, which is the second death.”

The city of God will exclude all that we know so well on this earth. The faithful, on both sides of the Cross, will be the only ones who have fellowship with God in the New Jerusalem, the city of God and final destination of God’s children.

Again, you may say that it sounds like a story from a children’s novel, but it’s not. It’s the final word from the living God about where He is bringing us. It is the truth, not a lie, and we should stand on that by faith. Consequently, we must go there, we must prepare to go there, and we must desire to go there.

Why would you want to go there if you love it so much here? Are you anticipating your heavenly dwelling? Are you anticipating, as a runner in this long-distance run, to make it to the end of what God offers you? Have you ever sensed that there’s more to life than meets the eye? There’s more to this existence than you know? Did you ever experience the groaning of your inner man for something more? A yearning for your real home and heavenly dwelling? Have you ever felt that way? Have you ever experienced that as a believer?

Well, you should because you have come to Mount Zion. You have come to the city of God and the Heavenly Jerusalem. It is already yours and God wants us to think about that. He wants us to have our minds transformed by that. Again, Hebrews 12:22 says:

But you have come to Mount Zion…

Be assured of this: the most attractive thing about this city is that it brings into play the idea that God’s presence is there with His people and that He is the living God. He has always been the living God. He is the one who speaks to His people, who communicates to His people, who responds to His people, who interacts with His people, who dwells in the middle of His people, and who lets His people know that He is there, and He is God.

When you come to Mount Zion, you have nothing to fear. He has taken care of everything. He is concerned about the hairs on your head and the ants that crawl on the ground. He is concerned about every single detail that anyone could ever think of, and He has taken care of everything for us.

That’s who God is, and it is what He communicates in this Word. He wants us to be assured of that. In fact, this term “living God” has been used three times already in Hebrews. In Hebrews 3:12, God is warning people that He is living:

Take care, brethren, that there not be in any one of you an evil, unbelieving heart that falls away from the living God.

He is saying to the congregation to make sure that the people that are around you that don’t have an unbelieving heart because someday they have to stand before a living God. Because that living God is also a judge, they will not be able to say a word. Again, he uses it in the same way in Hebrews 10:31:

It is a terrifying thing to fall into the hands of the living God.

He warned people to not want to fall on the wrong side of this God. He is living, and He is more powerful than you will ever imagine. You don’t have an argument against Him. You cannot win against Him. He is a living God. He is an awesome God. He is a God to be feared. He is a God that will deal with you.

However, in Hebrews 12:22, he’s using it in an encouraging way. Where the people of faith are heading and when they enter the city, they are assured of God’s living presences. In other words, when you get to the finish line, you’re going to experience, in full measure, the full glory of the living God, which you cannot experience while you’re on this earth and in these bodies. It’s going to be awesome.

In fact, it is so awesome that it’s indescribable in human language to be in the presence of the living God, who created the heaven and the earth, who created you, who has given us the Bible, and who sent His son Jesus Christ. He is not going to withhold anything from those who are in Christ Jesus. I must stress that only believers, who have been purified by the blood of Jesus Christ, are going to experience the positive side of the living God. Hebrews 9:14 says:

how much more will the blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit offered Himself without blemish to God, cleanse your conscience from dead works to serve the living God?

Now, we serve the living God. In fact, when I get there in Hebrews 12, there is a grand simple conclusion of practical application to all this theology, which is simply that you have been called by God. You’re running through this race on this earth to serve God. While you serve Him, you are to recognize that you are to serve Him with awe and reverence. Then, Hebrews 12:22 continues to say:

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

Now, why would God want us to know that when we get to the city of God, there will be a bunch of angels there? In the Greek, the terms he uses means the angels are assembled for a festive gathering. It’s a word used to mean an Olympic-size, multitudinous gathering to celebrate a joyful occasion.

In Hebrews, it is the true festival gathering with the good angels, who have long time ministered in God’s service and has ministered to bring the Gospel to the world. Remember, when Moses got the law, the angels were ministering to him. In fact, it was the Apostle Peter who related to us the interest angels have had all along in the plan of salvation. They even wonder about it. Peter said to the people in 1 Peter 1:12:

It was revealed to them that they were not serving themselves, but you, in these things which now have been announced to you through those who preached the gospel to you by the Holy Spirit sent from heaven—things into which angels long to look.

Angels are curious about some things. Maybe, they’re curious about aspects of the plan of salvation. However, the point being made here is that we’re going to be in the city of God, in this joyful celebration, alongside of all the eternal angels. Imagine worshiping God besides Gabriel, Michael, or one of the seraphim that ministered before the throne of God.

To me, that’s very unusual, but very wonderful to think about it. Just like the city is real, what’s happening in the city is real, so we have no fear when we are meeting together with the Holy Angels worshiping God side-by-side. That’s incredible. Where can we ever get information like that except God’s word and from God himself? Then, in Hebrews 12:23, we have not only come to the city of God, the Holy and Heavenly Jerusalem, and the myriads of angels, but to the general assembly:

to the general assembly and church of the firstborn who are enrolled in heaven.

Man, this is really stacking it up for us. Believers are going to assemble with the rest of the great cloud of witnesses that have gone before them and they are called the first born, which refers to first born people. They are a special group of people because they are enjoying their rights as the first born of their union with Jesus Christ. Paul told the Romans in Romans 8:17:

and if children, heirs also, heirs of God and fellow heirs with Christ, if indeed we suffer with Him so that we may also be glorified with Him.

What does this mean to us who don’t live in a country that practices the right of first born? Well, it means that we are all, as believers, in a society of elder sons. In modern-day vernacular, it means that we all get the big inheritance.

If you got saved and you died, if you lived a long Christian life and you were in this long race, then you all get the big inheritance. There are no second, third, or fourth sons and daughters in the church. Everybody is first born, which means everybody gets the full inheritance. God’s not holding back anything from us. Then, he says something very important in Hebrews 12:23:

…who are enrolled in heaven…

Many years ago, kings used to keep a register of names of the faithful in their Kingdom. In Hebrews 12:23, those who are enrolled in heaven are names written on a permanent role in heaven signifying who should enter and who is in the membership. Is your name inscribed there? Is your name on that roll? Jesus said to His disciples in Luke 10:20:

“Nevertheless do not rejoice in this, that the spirits are subject to you, but rejoice that your names are recorded in heaven.”

Meaning, if you don’t know your name is recorded in heaven, then it’s not a cause to rejoice, but a cause to say, “I’m in trouble. I have to stand before this terrifying Living God. I have no argument before Him.”

Paul said in Philippians 4:3:

…whose names are in the book of life.

Then, Revelation 21:27 says:

and nothing unclean, and no one who practices abomination and lying, shall ever come into it, but only those whose names are written in the Lamb’s book of life.

So, the joy of being a Christian is that we know Christ, and we have come into the membership of His city. No one’s going to get in who’s not on the membership. It doesn’t matter what they’ve done here on earth, it doesn’t matter how many times they went to church, and it doesn’t matter what good things they’ve done. The ones who are on the roles are those who have come by faith to Jesus Christ and believed in Him alone, that He can forgive their sins, that He can satisfy the justice of God, and bring them into a relationship with God. When that happens, and they live for the Lord, their names are written on the membership.

We run the race here on earth with all its difficulty, but with this thought: you know you have already come to membership in God’s heavenly city. This is not my home, but I am a member of the eternal city of God.

If you tell that to someone at the checkout counter, of course they will think you are crazy. However, what’s so amazing about it is that it’s true and real. Therefore, that’s what we think of, and that should transform your heart. In Hebrews 13:14, he says:

For here we do not have a lasting city, but we are seeking the city which is to come.

That’s where we’re heading. That’s where we’re going. That’s the promise of God for us and you know what, that’s encouraging and I’m only halfway through it. I didn’t even do everything I wanted to say about these passages of Scriptures, but that’s the encouragement. Don’t walk away discouraged when you know this is yours.

If you don’t know Christ, then you should be very concerned about your eternal soul. You should be very concerned about where you are with God. Remember, either you’re going to be in a terrifying position as in front of Mount Sinai, under the curse of the law, or you are going to be in a favorable position before God because of what Christ has done in your place.

Jesus Christ has made the difference in your approach to God. I don’t have to approach God in fear, but I approach God in joy knowing what’s ahead of me. I’m living my life each day understanding the great things that are before me and anticipating more than ever.

Yes, we want to have our life on earth and good things on this earth. God does give those good things to us also, but before us is something much greater that cannot even be compared to what we have here on this earth. The Lord wants us to know that.

So, are you a member of God’s city? Is your name on the rolls? Is it inscribed there by the hand of God written in the blood of Jesus Christ? Is it there? I pray you know it, and I pray it would encourage you to know it. I pray that you would live according to knowing those things in a way that pleases God. Remember, real evil is anything that doesn’t please God. Let’s pray:

Lord, thank You for the word of God. I must admit Lord; this week has been a very trying week. It has been trying even more so for other people who have lost their homes and who have been displaced from their homes and might not be able to go back. I pray, Lord, that You would hear their prayers and answer them according to Your word. I pray, Lord Jesus, that You would, in this time of need, supply their needs as only You can. I pray, Lord, that in the time we all have left on this earth, You would give us the understanding from Your word to think about these things every day that is before us. I pray, Lord, that it would be a source of encouragement, joy, an delight to know that we have come to the heavenly city of God, Mount Zion, Heavenly Jerusalem, and the myriads of angels that we’re going to fellowship with and worship together to the sovereign and living God and that Lord we have come to a place in which our names are written in Your book, in the Lamb’s Book of Life, and in the membership of the city of God. Thank You, Lord, we know that it’s been Christ who made all the difference. There’s no way those things could have ever happened unless Christ accomplished everything He needed to on the Cross. Thank You, Lord, for that. Help us to worship and praise You as we partake of the Lord’s table, and that we may again be aware of these elements that represent the body of Christ and the blood of Christ that secures our salvation. I pray this in Christ’s name, Amen.