We have come to a place in Hebrews 12 where there is a contrast between Mount Sinai and Mount Zion and knowing what awaits us at the finish line. In order to run this race with great endurance, you ought to know what’s at the end of the race, which is the point in these last chapters of Hebrews. The Lord wants us to know where we stand in regard to Himself. He wants us to know whether we are standing in His favorable presences, or whether we are standing in a place where we are not looked by God favorably because we have not trusted in Christ as our Lord and Savior.
If we have come to a place where we do stand favorably before the Lord, then it is only because of Jesus Christ. It is only because He is our mediator. It is only because we are sprinkled with His blood and have been reconciled to God, the Father, through Jesus Christ, the son. We have come to Mount Zion, not Mount Sinai.
There’s a sharp contrast between The Sinai Mountain experience and Mount Zion. Mount Zion shows us that there is a drastic difference when Christ is in the formula, which is the drastic difference that Christ makes in our approach to God the Father. Mount Sinai is to be approached very cautiously, so we’re to keep back. However, on Mount Zion, a believer finds encouragement to come boldly into God’s presence as it says in Hebrews 4:16:
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 you come to Christ, the whole economy of your life changes. The atmosphere is quite different between these two mountains. One has an atmosphere of fear and trembling, and the other has an atmosphere of festivity. In saying that, I want to continue to discover what awaits us at Mount Zion. 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.
Remember, Mount Zion is where God speaks, it’s where He dwells, it’s where He fellowships with His people, and it’s where He is present. When people thought of Mount Zion, that’s what they thought of. That’s where they were going to meet God. That’s where God is. That’s where God speaks to me. That’s where I listen to Him. That’s where I have fellowship with Him. That’s where I get my sins forgiven. That’s where I learn to bask in His presence and enjoy who He is. That’s what Mount Zion brings to our mind.
Remember, Mount Zion must be appreciated as decisively different because believers are brought to a place where they will enjoy close and delightful fellowship with God and constant access to Him. In Christ alone, God becomes approachable. In any other way, He cannot be approached. Today, that’s very narrow, but it is very true. It’s exactly what the word of God teaches.
So far, we have considered three of the seven things that await believers. If you look at Hebrews 12:22, 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.
In other words, it’s pointing to a reality ahead of us where we’re going. Then, it tells us that when we get there, there’s going to be a joyful celebration along the good, holy angels in heaven before God’s presence. Then, Hebrews 12:23 says:
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.
In other words, he is listing these things to state what’s going to be there when you get there, which is going to be a grand and joyful occasion where you’ll be in Christ enjoying the rights of the first-born.
In modern-day vernacular, we all get the big inheritance. There’s no second, third, or fourth born. We’re all first born, and if we know Christ, we get it all. We’re joint heirs with Christ. We can’t even begin to wrap our minds around that, and I don’t even know where to start on that one. It’s so grand and it’s so vast. It’s not just a little puddle, but an ocean to swim in about what God has in store for those who know Him as Lord and Savior. That is the most exciting thing.
Here is the joy of being a Christian. We who know Christ have come into membership in His city. We are a member of God’s city. We’re written on the roles. We’re in the book to those who know Christ. In the meantime, while we’re in this world, while we have to deal with the evil that is before us, while we have to deal with remaining sin even in our own flesh, the world, and Satan being against us, we are to consider these things in our mind and think about them every day, so that we can run this race on earth knowing we have already come to membership in the city of the Living God, the heavenly Jerusalem.
There’s a fourth thing that I want to park on for a while because when I looked at this passage, I’m wondering why is this there? It causes us to think more soberly about what and who is there? Hebrews 12:23 says:
…and to God, the Judge of all…
Oh man, that is a sobering statement. We’re coming to this joyful festival, this wonderful place of celebration, and we’re reminded there that God is the judge. Even though we have come to celebrate, here we are reminded of a serious certainty. That we are coming into the very presence of God himself, who is the judge of all, the God who will dull out precise and perfectly measured judgment in every circumstance, situation, and person from the beginning of time. His judgment will be completely accurate and fair.
Either this is a direct quote, or it is an allusion to the conversation that Abraham had with three angelic visitors back in the Old Testament, and one of those visitors is named as being the angel of the Lord. He received, of course, a message from those angels where him and his wife Sarah would have a son from their age bodies. It would be a miraculous birth.
His visitors were leaving to assess if it was time for God to hold judgment on Sodom and Gomorrah. In Genesis 18:25, Abraham was now having a conversation with the Lord pre-incarnate. This is a pre-incarnate manifestation of Christ in the Old Testament, and he says:
“Far be it from You to do such a thing, to slay the righteous with the wicked, so that the righteous and the wicked are treated alike. Far be it from You! Shall not the Judge of all the earth deal justly?”
If you remember the conversation where Abraham was standing before the Lord, he says in Genesis 18:23-33:
Abraham came near and said, “Will You indeed sweep away the righteous with the wicked? 24“Suppose there are fifty righteous within the city; will You indeed sweep it away and not spare the place for the sake of the fifty righteous who are in it? 25“Far be it from You to do such a thing, to slay the righteous with the wicked, so that the righteous and the wicked are treated alike. Far be it from You! Shall not the Judge of all the earth deal justly?” 26So the LORD said, “If I find in Sodom fifty righteous within the city, then I will spare the whole place on their account.” 27And Abraham replied, “Now behold, I have ventured to speak to the Lord, although I am but dust and ashes. 28“Suppose the fifty righteous are lacking five, will You destroy the whole city because of five?” And He said, “I will not destroy it if I find forty-five there.” 29He spoke to Him yet again and said, “Suppose forty are found there?” And He said, “I will not do it on account of the forty.” 30Then he said, “Oh may the Lord not be angry, and I shall speak; suppose thirty are found there?” And He said, “I will not do it if I find thirty there.” 31And he said, “Now behold, I have ventured to speak to the Lord; suppose twenty are found there?” And He said, “I will not destroy it on account of the twenty.” 32Then he said, “Oh may the Lord not be angry, and I shall speak only this once; suppose ten are found there?” And He said, “I will not destroy it on account of the ten.” 33As soon as He had finished speaking to Abraham the LORD departed, and Abraham returned to his place.
Well, the Lord held judgment on Sodom and Gomorrah. It was just Lot and his family, so it was much less than ten. The point of the message is that God is the judge, and He will judge accurately as to who occupies a place, who gets life or death, who gets to be in His kingdom, and who gets to remain at Mount Sinai.
It’s a very sobering reality that God is God and He has all the right to pass judgment when He decides and how He sees fit. See, we’re coming to that God. That’s not the God portrayed today in the world. God today, portrayed in the world, is not a judge. God of the Bible is a judge, and when we get to the Eternal Kingdom, we’re never going to forget that. Now, this is my question: could it be that this heavenly assembly that’s meeting in the city of God, in the Heavenly Jerusalem, in some sense, is gathered there for some scrutiny by God and some judgement by God?
So far in Hebrews, that seems to be a possibility. Now, I’m saying it only as a possibility. Remember, back in Hebrews 4:13, it says:
And there is no creature hidden from His sight, but all things are open and laid bare to the eyes of Him with whom we have to do.
There is nothing that is going to escape His attention. Also, the five warning passages that facilitate a reflection on an explicit course of action, including dire consequences if one chooses incorrectly, is if you don’t decide to follow Christ and worship Him, then there are consequences.
In fact, I would like to look at two or three examples where it warns us not to ignore or neglect God’s final Revelation in Jesus Christ. Every single warning has something to do with that. Isn’t that the problem of the world? The problem of the world is that they don’t acknowledge Christ. They ignore Him. They redefine Him. They push Him aside. They can include Him somewhere at the end and as something non-essential.
The word of God is saying don’t do that but be very aware that in each one of these warnings are a mercy from God to anyone who will listen. Listen, Jesus Christ is the only way, but it doesn’t just say:
Listen, if you don’t believe, then that’s the end.
He goes on to list the characteristics of the people who don’t believe and even some of the reasons why they don’t. Thus, each of these warnings have something to do with the final revelation of Jesus Christ. To do so would leave a person either at Mount Zion celebrating, or at Mount Sinai terrified.
There’s really no other place to be. Of course, the admonition to all who are hearing is: don’t go and stay at Mount Sinai but go on to Zion. However, the only way you can go on to Zion is through Christ, so let’s go back to one of the first warnings in Hebrews 2:1:
For this reason we must pay much closer attention to what we have heard…
In view of the preeminent status of the Son that has been listed in the first chapter, God having spoken in His son about His saving purpose that came to its full expression in Him, the Sons message should have Paramount claim upon our attention, upon our belief, and upon our obedience. Why? Well, the exhortation is connected with the warning because Hebrews 2:1 says:
…so that we do not drift away from it.
Pay attention and listen so you don’t drift away. A believer’s responsibility is to pay attention to the word of God and the details of the word of God, so you don’t drift away. Now, that also means that a believer doesn’t want to drift away, and no matter how hard they fight it, they want to hear the message of the word of God, so they are constantly walking with the Lord to not drift away.
Drifting away gives the sense of gradual movement away from the faith, the body of doctrine delivered to the saints, specifically that of Jesus Christ and Him providing salvation. This drifting away would suggest that some kind of problem arose in the person’s life either of them being apathetic, no desire any more to follow Christ, or that of regression for something that happened in their life. Maybe they’re blaming God for something in their life. As a believer, they don’t understand why something happened to them, so they regress away from the truth, and they stay away from it for a time or maybe a long time.
Maybe it’s just being naive. They never got to the place where they thought seriously about what the word of God said to them or to you. The word of God is not written for Martians. It is written to you right where you’re at and right where you sit today.
Therefore, the warning is: don’t slip away from the teaching concerning the Messiah’s future deliverance and Kingdom that are yours who are believers, so as not to be influence by them anymore. In other words, if you drift away, you can’t be influenced by the word of God anymore. Therefore, you’re in trouble. If you drift away from the word of God, what are you going to be influenced by? The world, right? Ungodly friends and the old passions and desires that you had will rise up again and take control. That’s what’s going to happen, and Satan will provide all you need to stay away from the word of God. Hebrews 2:2 says:
For if the word spoken through angels proved unalterable, and every transgression and disobedience received a just penalty
If God was steadfast on how He held people responsible to the law, mediated by angels, and it proved to be unalterable, then what do you think God will do? See, if God in the past error didn’t fudge on His justice and came down hard on people who received His word and then drifted away, mediated by angels, Moses, and the prophets, then how much will God hold people responsible who shrink back from Christ and willfully repudiate the only way of salvation. The warning question is in Hebrews 2:3:
how will we escape if we neglect so great a salvation?
How will you get away? Salvation is the deliverance of people through the mediation of Christ. It is expressed the highest estimate of importance. If God, through His son, provided a greater salvation and you neglect His final, complete revelation and means of salvation, then how will you escape?
Of course, they will not escape from God’s justice if they neglect that. It’s just a matter of not paying attention. You don’t have to be hostile to it. All you have to be is indifferent to it and apathetic to the truth. Some say well, maybe I’m just not feeling it, you know. You don’t feel your need for Jesus. You don’t feel your need for God’s people, God’s church, or God’s word.
You don’t feel the threat of God’s justice in your life, so you’re just not interested. That’s all it takes. People will say, "I’m doing my own thing. It may be good for you and maybe that’s your clutch for life, but for me, I’m doing my own thing. I’m enjoying life." It’s all it takes, and the Lord may let them live life just like that. They hear the message of the Gospel of Jesus Christ, and they just kind of blow it off.
So, here’s where the exhortation warning should claim your attention: if you neglect the only great means of salvation to escape God’s wrath, then you will stand alone to face the justice of God. We are reminded when we get to the eternal city of God, God is the judge, and He has always been a judge. Then, it will not matter of how you can escape, but the cold reality will set in that there is no escape from God’s justice.
There’s a second warning in Hebrews 6 that concerns more of the people who were apostate. They have come under the influence of the message of the Gospel, the good news of Jesus Christ. Under that message, the gifts of God had been given because of the Savior, the blessings that flow to His children were experienced by them, yet he is describing not only a drifting away, but a falling away. Hebrews 6:6 says:
and then have fallen away, it is impossible to renew them again to repentance, since they again crucify to themselves the Son of God and put Him to open shame.
They are no longer willing to hold to the essential aspects of the Christian belief. They drop out of the contest all together. Therefore, they put themselves in a place that they are exempt from all hope of restoration. This means the fallen away cannot mean loss of salvation. It is not possible to lose one’s salvation if you genuinely have it, and if it were possible, according to the passage of Scripture, then such individuals could never become saved. It would become impossible for them to get saved.
Those who have been excited about the things of God and in a quite short period of time, their zeal evaporates, and they go back to their old way of life. In fact, it could be worse than it was before. They were never converted to Christ. In fact, it goes on to say, in Hebrews 6:6, they have abused the Son because of their attitude:
…since they again crucify to themselves the Son of God and put Him to open shame.
These people actually identify themselves with Christ persecutors on that first Good Friday, who deliberately mocked, ridiculed, rejected, and humiliated Jesus publicly during His crucifixion and cried out, “Crucify him! Crucify him!" They became part of the lawless, Godless crowd.
In Hebrews 6:6, it says that it is impossible to renew them again to repentance. It is impossible in reference to both God and man. In this passage of Scripture, it is talking about teaching the word of God. With the word of God being taught somewhere, they were not able to receive the meat of the word, but only could take the milk of the word. Because of that, they couldn’t discern good and evil.
In reference to the man, is an assertion that it’s impossible by any renewed course of elementary instruction to bring back such apostates to an acknowledgement of the truth. If they have had the full message of the Gospel of Jesus Christ, then what else is there to teach them if they reject that? There’s nothing else to teach them. There’s no other message.
Usually, that’s why they wander off somewhere to another religion or another group of people because they maybe want more. Once that spiritual appetite is lost, how difficult it is for someone to be brought back to repentance. With all this exposure, they had not become different. There was no change of mine that usually comes over a believer. There was no change concerning the truth of Jesus Christ.
Instead, they counted Jesus Christ, the Messiah, really as an imposter. The word of God is just a fable. In the end, it’s just a bunch of delusionary stories that Christians believe from the Bible. We must, at least, make this observation according to Raymond Brown. That we are not dealing with sincere believers who are in despair about some spiritual failure, which sometimes happens to us. Neither are we dealing with a backslider, who has temporarily lost interest in the things of God. That happens too.
This person is one who is in fierce opposition to Christ and His gospel, and in public rebellion against Christian living and the determination to bring Christ’s work to an end. So, the main purpose of this whole letter was to urge these Jewish Christians not to allow themselves to be under the pressure of persecution to abandon the distinctively Christian aspects of their faith. That is, Christ being the full revelation of all the types, shadows, and sacrifices of the Old Testament. When you come to Jesus Christ and His sacrifice, that is it. That’s a fulfillment of it all. Therefore, he’s saying:
Listen, if you step back from that, if you go back into Judaism, if you go back to a religious system of good works, then that’s dangerous territory.
Ultimately, the conclusion would be this:
Listen, Jesus’ work was not enough on the Cross. Either I have to add something to it or take something away from it.
So, were such people actually saved? That’s an honest question. I think that we’re confronted with some who have made a profession of faith, and that formerly had the visible signs and marks of being truly committed to Christ and to the Christian life, but by their refusal to grow and continue in the faith, they drop out of their regular assembly with true believers and they go on and do their own thing.
Real regeneration and real conversion results in a believer possessing a radical transform nature, and a new nature that is predisposed to holiness. They want to be holy. Predisposed as the old nature was predisposed to sin. In regeneration, God gives the dead sinner a new heart. God puts in that sinner his Holy Spirit and causes that person to walk in His statutes, to love His word, to fight against the flesh, to expose false teaching, and to grow and mature in Christ.
You go from a baby, to a young man, and to a spiritual mother and father, who learn how to walk by faith, who grow in their knowledge of God, who see the world through God’s eyes and Scriptures, and who’s anticipating entering that eternal kingdom, the heavenly city of Jerusalem. That’s how they live.
Believe me, you cannot produce that on your own. You cannot produce that in your flesh. The world’s not going to teach you that. Satan is not going to allow you to get near that teaching. You can’t do it at all. The renewed and spiritually alive nature drives the saint to be faithful, to be obedient, and to be reverent to God. He wants to grow spiritually. He wants to practice righteousness. He wants because he has the seed of God in him.
So, here’s the warning to all believers, to all who hear this word, especially those who have become dull of hearing, calloused, or even stagnant in their faith, they must leave spiritual infancy and they must grow and move on to spirituality or maturity in Christ Jesus. That is, if the word of God makes you a live to grow, then if you stay right where you were at the day you believe, then there’s no growth or life. Life always brings growth.
If you drop a pumpkin seed in the ground, it’s going to grow the vine that grows the pumpkins. Therefore, life was there. You didn’t know or realize when you threw it there it was just going to pop up, but that’s what happens. When the seed of God’s word is in you, then you grow and grow your whole life. As long as you’re on this earth, you grow in Christ likeness.
It may be up and down a little bit. You may have sometimes when you’re going up, leveling off, and you are on the mountain. Many times, you are in the valley, but you’re still praising the Lord. You’re still growing. You don’t want to go back to be a baby. You want to be mature. Finally, in your maturity, the heavenly city opens up, and you begin to see what God has for you there.
Then, you begin to realize the Christian life is not easy. I can’t live it alone. I need God’s help and spirit. I need the church. I need the assembly of believers, which God designs to help us. Hebrews 10:25 gives us another warning:
not forsaking our own assembling together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another; and all the more as you see the day drawing near.
Here, he is letting us in a little bit on the mindset of a believer, and what is it? To want to be with God’s people. I can’t live the Christian life alone. I want to learn God’s word when we meet together. I want to learn from those who have more and to teach me, and then I can turn around teach someone else. I want to be in that process because the day to Christ coming is drawing near every single day of our lives. Therefore, I want to be ready. I want to be ready for what’s ahead of me.
In Hebrews, the failure of some to continue attending the gatherings of the community is not simply as neglect, but as wrongful abandonment. You see whatever the reason someone would stop attending does discredit to some extent one’s faith, especially if the word of God teaches that the church lies at the very center of the eternal purposes of God here on this earth. William Barkley says:
You still see this thinking today. It is still possible for a person to think that he is a Christian and yet abandoned the habit of worshipping with God’s people, in God’s house, on God’s day.
That’s why the writer of Hebrews brings this up. Brethren, no matter what the condition might be, believers are to stick with Christ’s local church because that is where God is working. That is where God develops you. He doesn’t develop you alone somewhere in some desert place where no one’s around. No, he brings you to a fellowship of believers, so we’re exhorted to take it seriously.
If you desire not to think it important to assemble together with other born-again, blood-bought believers to hear the word of God and to worship God together, then why would you think you would want to go to Mount Zion? Why would you think that you want to go to a place where God dwells, where His people gather to worship Him, and where there is an Olympic-size assembly of the faith of holy angels and God himself is there, who is the judge? Why would you think you would want to go there if you don’t want to be here?
See, real Christianity means part of God’s program is that we will meet together, and we will be consistent and regular about that no matter what’s happening in our life. In fact, the worse it is for you, the more you need to church. Because if it’s going good today, it may not be going good tomorrow. Haven’t you experienced that yet?
There are no promises in life that your wealth is going to be there when you think it is, when the people you depend on are going to be there when you think they are, and that your health is going to be there at the end. There are no guarantees. God gives us no guarantees there. We live in a sinful cursed world where there’s death and dying, and you and I are going to experience that someday. I’ll tell you what… if you are Christian, nobody can take away your salvation. Nobody can take away what’s ahead and what we’re hoping for. Not what I say, but what God says is ahead.
Brethren, a fourth warning passage here is injected into the message. Abandoning the gathered assembly of believers is linked to the first indication of potential apostasy. If someone drops out of meeting with God’s people for whatever reason they have and stay away, that’s the first indication that they may never have been a believer in the first place.
Yes, there are sinners and hypocrites in the church. The church is not perfect, the church doesn’t do this, or have that. That is all true, but the word of God says that we are not to forsake the assembling of ourselves together. If we have to meet under some oak tree and have none of the accoutrements that we have today, then we ought to do that because God says to do it.
Someday, it may come to that. The building could get flooded out, the whole building may fall over, but we don’t stop meeting. Life doesn’t stop because things happen. No, you keep going and obeying the Lord. So you see if you do not desire or thinking important to assemble together, then you will not desire or think it important to assemble with a great assembly someday.
The main warning, concerning God’s judgment or on willful disobedience, the danger of those who might spurn the sacrifice of Christ is that corporate worship is important. To neglect worship gatherings and to withdraw from the Christian assembly leads either to despicable behavior, which means that you pursue is a self-centered life, or outright rejection of God. These people despise and release the truth as said in Hebrews 10:26 says:
For if we go on sinning willfully after receiving the knowledge of the truth, there no longer remains a sacrifice for sins
Here is someone who was sinning deliberately after they have received the full message, the knowledge of the truth, and the saving truth of the Gospel. This does not merely mean that such a sin cannot be forgiven. There is a larger argument going on here that Christ’s sacrifice is Gods full and final revelation and provision for sin. Anyone who knowingly rejects that sacrifice is without hope and without mercy, so the willful sin of Hebrews 10:26 is really the defiant rejection of the sacrifice of the son of God.
The great concern is that the effects of Jesus sacrifice does not extend to so-called believers, who sin persistently or willfully in this manner. If they reject Christ, what else is there to save their souls? Their repudiation of Christ and His sacrifice leaves them with nothing. However, all that is left is God’s judgement. Hebrews 10:27 says:
but a terrifying expectation of judgment and THE FURY OF A FIRE WHICH WILL CONSUME THE ADVERSARIES.
They have become enemies of God, so there’s nothing left but God’s judgement. That’s all that’s left. When we come to the Eternal Kingdom, we’re reminded of that. We’re reminded that God is the judge. With that in mind, if there is no escape, if you can’t escape God’s justice, then, as it says in Hebrews 12:23, you have come to God, the judge of all.
It is at this very juncture that we see the vast difference that Jesus makes because those who come to Christ for salvation do come into the presence of God. They come into the presence of God, who is judge of all. Not to a fearful expectation of judgment and the fury of fire that will consume the adversaries, but they come to the characteristic of who God is. In this case, it will be a positive acceptance. It will be a joyful celebration.
To know that God is Judge will be a joyful and soothing thing because we and know that this God will take care of all in justices. That everything will be righted in His sight. Everything will be done exactly the way should be done in His sight. For those who have been bought by the blood of Jesus Christ, the throne of judgement has been changed to the throne of mercy. For those who have not come to Christ, after they die, they will be ushered to the throne of judgment.
In Hebrews 12:23, it helps us to see why there’s an emphasis on the festive atmosphere that we’re heading for. Something has happened and changed their person’s position. Something has changed their standing before God. What are those changes? Because God is judge, what makes us different than before? What allows us to come into the presence of a God, who is Judge? There are certain things the Bible mentions and Hebrews 12:23 says:
…and to the spirits of the righteous made perfect
We are declared righteous and have been made perfect before the Father. God brings us to the goal. That’s a great picture for someone who’s running. There’s a point in which you reach the goal. There’s a point in which you finish. However, these people have not only been made righteous, but they have been made perfect.
The word signifies not lacking in their relationship with God. Nothing can prevent them to have access to His holy presence. Nothing can prevent them from enjoying what is there and what God has given them. That’s what we have to look forward to.
Also, Hebrews said that the God-man, Jesus Christ, having been made perfect becomes our perfect High-Priest and the source of eternal salvation. Also the word of God says He is a Son made perfect forever. Again, it’s pointing to the perfection of Jesus Christ transferred to us and we are made righteous because of His sacrifice. We are made perfect because of His perfect obedience to the Father. That’s what prevents us from falling under the judgment of God. Then, Hebrews 12:24 says:
and to Jesus, the mediator of a new covenant, and to the sprinkled blood, which speaks better than the blood of Abel.
There is a perfection that takes place because of the atoning blood of Jesus Christ. Jesus, the great High-Priest, has acted as the mediator of the New Covenant. He’s the go-between. He brings us a sin offering, and He brings Himself as the offering. In the word of God, there was no better Covenant that can be made than by the mediator. Moses could not make a better Covenant.
In fact, it’s a better sacrifice and it’s also a better offer. The sprinkling of the blood of Christ was mentioned in the Old Testament when the Covenant was ratified, the blood was sprinkled on the people and on the word of God. Here, it is sprinkled over us. Therefore, the blood becomes clearer than any other message that could ever be delivered.
Even more clear than what was spoken through the prophets in Hebrews 1. Clearer than what was spoken by angels. Clearer than what was spoken by the law. More powerful because it provides victory over sin, death, and Satan. It offers eternal salvation more effective because the Son’s one time forever sacrifice brings one to a finished course in this life and into eternal salvation to be with God forever. There is a main point in Hebrews 12:24:
…and to the sprinkled blood, which speaks better than the blood of Abel.
That’s a very significant statement in this portion of the word of God. Jesus blood speaks louder, longer, and more significantly than Abel’s blood because Abel’s blood cries for vengeance while Jesus’ blood cries for reconciliation. That’s the difference. In Genesis, when able was slain by Cain, his blood upon the ground, the Bible says, cried out for vengeance against Cain. God says to Cain in Genesis 4:11-13:
“Now you are cursed from the ground, which has opened its mouth to receive your brother’s blood from your hand. 12“When you cultivate the ground, it will no longer yield its strength to you; you will be a vagrant and a wanderer on the earth.” 13Cain said to the LORD, “My punishment is too great to bear!"
That’s significant because that’s exactly where we stand before God at Mount Sinai. The punishment that God has for people is too great to bear. You cannot bear it. This statement is crying out for Abel’s blood to have vengeance on the one who killed him, his own brother. Yet, Jesus comes. He provides the sacrifice for sin on the Cross and he is slain there for sinners.
On the Cross, He provides a new way of reconciling to God. Not vengeance, not punishments here in the enemies of God, but reconciliation and grace. The very word reconciliation found in 2 Corinthians 5:18 is:
Now all these things are from God, who reconciled us to Himself through Christ and gave us the ministry of reconciliation.
God provides Christ’s death to transfer centers from enemies to friends. The very word means to put someone into friendship with. When you come to Christ, God, through Christ, puts you into friendship with God. You’re no longer an enemy of God and Paul communicated that to the church at Rome where he says in Romans 5:10-11:
For if while we were enemies we were reconciled to God through the death of His Son, much more, having been reconciled, we shall be saved by His life. 11And not only this, but we also exult in God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have now received the reconciliation.
When you come to Christ, you no longer are enemies of God, but your friends of God, and a sinner cannot reconcile himself or herself to God. That’s God’s place. It is when the sinner repents and turns to Christ in faith, and only then can God, the Father, change His attitude toward the sinner from one of wrath and from the judge, who condemns one and holds vengeance against one for the sin and offense against them, to one who He accepts as a friend because all the payment has been made on their behalf.
The Lord leave us with the ministry of reconciliation. We are to go preach the Gospel of Jesus Christ, so people who don’t think they’re enemies of God can see they are enemies of God under God’s wrath as a judge. Therefore, the only way they can be friends of God and be at peace with God is through Jesus Christ and His shed blood.
It’s no longer the vengeance of God, but the reconciliation of God in which we preach today. We can’t just say God’s a judge without saying that Christ provides reconciliation. Spurgeon used to say:
You can’t reconcile friends. There’s no need to. You only need to reconcile enemies.
If you’re a friend of God, it’s only because Jesus Christ. The work of Christ is the only necessary means provided by God himself for eternal salvation for all people of all times no matter what religious influenced them in their day.
In conclusion, if people reject the message, what do you think God, the judge, will do? Hebrews 12:25 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.
Has God changed? In the middle of this great message, to those who are living and listening, he says:
Listen, don’t refuse Him. Don’t refuse the final revelation. Don’t refuse Jesus Christ, ignore Him, or dismiss Him. If you do, then you’ll have to deal with the judge, who warns from heaven.
You don’t want to be there. The only one who could rescue you from there is Christ himself. So, our passage is speaking of the absolute disastrous eventuality of cutting oneself off from the grace of God. That this person instead of being carried forward by the grace of God, turns away from it and is being left behind and is lost forever.
Not believing Moses, God’s faithful apostle and mediator, is one thing, but not believing the greater than Moses, the faithful Apostle and High Priest, Jesus Christ, is ruinous. There is no other message to preach if someone rejects Christ.
Once men we’re under the terror of the law and the relationship between them and God was one of an unbridgeable distance and shuttering fear, which is Mount Sinai. That’s where the law brings you. However, God says not to remain there, but go on and look where the law was pointing to.
The law brought you to Christ. The law brought you to a place, which the law could never do – save you or make you right with God eternally. The law brought you there, and then you have the message of Jesus Christ and Jesus now takes care of all the rest. After Jesus came, lived, died, and rose, God, who was a far distance, was brought near and the way opened to the presence of God where He remains today the final revelation to all humanity.
Today, He remains as the only way open to God. There is no other way to get to God, the Father, except through Jesus Christ, the Son. That is the message. It is narrow. It is not popular. It goes It goes against all the mainstream thinking of our day, but it is true. Truer than anything else, and we cannot change that message.
So, are you a believer or are you not? If you are, then are you serious about living your Christian Life? Are you just playing games? You have to be sober-minded as well as joyful. There’s got to be this seriousness about Christianity that comes upon you to grow in Christ, mature in Christ, to live for Christ, and to love Christ because that’s where you’re heading.
When we get lost in the grandeur of so great a salvation, we will indeed conclude that it is the greatest thing that could have ever happened to me – to hear the Gospel and be saved. It is the most supreme gift that could be received on this good earth, which is God’s good earth. You will not want to let go once you know that. You will not want to let go of the grandest gift that could ever be bestowed by God himself to people like us, who deserve none of it.
When we see it like that, then we realize that our salvation is magnificent. It is the greatest thing God could ever give us, and we don’t want to let it go. We may lose everything this world thinks we should have and hold to Christ and have lost nothing. We already have everything in Christ. We’re just waiting to get it. We already have it by faith, but we’re waiting to see it with our eyes and be there. That’s the promise of God and He cannot lie. What He says in the word of God is true, so I anticipate it and I live my life according to it. That’s what we ought to do as believer.
On this 9-11 day, in which we all remember the days that the planes hit the Twin Towers, and we realized, for the first time, we are weak, vulnerable, they got past our defenses, and many people died that day, we should ever forget that. At the same time, it should infuse our desire to want to tell people of how to be reconciled to God because it could happen again. It could happen to us. It doesn’t have to happen that way. There are a million trillion ways that God can just take us.
Of course, we all pray it would be later than sooner, but it’s going to happen. If you know Christ, then no worries because He has defeated death. Let’s pray:
Lord, thank You for the word of God. I praise You, Lord, that the Scriptures tell us that things that no other book can tell us because the source is heaven. We know, Lord, that it comes from You, and You tell us Lord the way it is. You tell us what’s going to be like. You tell us, in the word of God, what to expect even how to live here. Lord, as we come anticipating that time, make us sober-minded, make us serious believers. If people don’t know You, bring them to faith, Lord, help them to see that they could never escape Your justice. There is not escape. Only through Christ can we escape the wrath of God. I pray that would be clear today. So Lord, keep us by Your spirit. Keep us assembling together, learning Your word, pouring our lives into each other, meeting needs, serving You, praying before You, and living life in a way that we know pleases You. I pray that You would enable us to do that, so Your work continues, and we can pass to the next generation what You’ve taught us. Enable us to do that Lord. I pray, Lord, that we would always be desiring to meet together for worship because it’s the culmination of our week. It’s the time that we can come and lift up Your great name. I pray that we do that right now as we stand together and close in a song.