Our God is a Consuming Fire (Hebrews 12:28-29)

Hebrews 12 28-29“Therefore, since we are receiving a kingdom that cannot be shaken, let us be thankful, and so worship God acceptably with reverence and awe, for our “God is a consuming fire” ( Hebrews 12:28-29 )

In the end, when it all comes down to it, the only things that remain are you and God. The things of this life will pass away and be forgotten. The desires and troubles of this world will no longer exist and what was, will no longer be. In light of this what kind of people should we be?

Since we are receiving a kingdom that cannot be shaken or removed, we should be a grateful people who worship God because of the great and mighty things He has done for us. While we look forward to eternity, we do not need to wait for it to experience the abundant, intimate life promised. Through Christ Jesus we have already begun eternal life ( John 17:3 ).

This is the perspective we should have each and every day of our lives, not focusing on the cares of this world, but focusing on the kingdom which cannot be shaken, because it is what will remain when all is said and done. God is a jealous God ( Deuteronomy 4:23-24 ) and He desires intimacy with us. We should activity worship Him, being thankful for all He has done, making our lives count on the basis of what Jesus has done for us.

“Through Jesus, therefore, let us continually offer to God a sacrifice of praise—the fruit of lips that confess his name. And do not forget to do good and to share with others, for with such sacrifices God is pleased” ( Hebrews 13:15-16 ).

Posted in Hebrews 12

So That What Cannot Be Shaken May Remain (Hebrews 12:25-27)

Hebrews 12 26-27“See to it that you do not refuse him who speaks. If they did not escape when they refused him who warned them on earth, how much less will we, if we turn away from him who warns us from heaven? At that time his voice shook the earth, but now he has promised, “Once more I will shake not only the earth but also the heavens.” The words “once more” indicate the removing of what can be shaken —that is, created things—so that what cannot be shaken may remain” ( Hebrews 12:25-27 ) 

Unlike the Israelites who trembled with fear as God spoke to them from the earthly mountain, we speak directly to God, which is why it is very important to pay attention to the message. If the Israelites did not escape when God spoke to them from earth, how will we escape if we ignore what is spoken to us from His heavenly position?

At that time, His voice shook the earth and now, once again, the promise is that everything that can be shaken will be. In the end, everything created will be removed. “But the day of the Lord will come like a thief. The heavens will disappear with a roar; the elements will be destroyed by fire, and the earth and everything in it will be laid bare. Since everything will be destroyed in this way, what kind of people ought you to be? You ought to live holy and godly lives as you look forward to the day of God and speed its coming. That day will bring about the destruction of the heavens by fire, and the elements will melt in the heat. But in keeping with his promise we are looking forward to a new heaven and a new earth, the home of righteousness” ( II Peter 3:10-13 ).

Everything created will be destroyed in this way in order that what cannot be shaken may remain for eternity. As believers we have been given a kingdom that cannot be shaken or removed ( Ephesians 1:13-14, Hebrews 12:28 ). Which is why we must pay attention to what God is speaking to us; so that the things in our lives that need to be removed can be, now

His desire has always been to create a holy and righteous people for himself ( Exodus 19:5-6, I Peter 2:9-10 ). Entering into this community was accomplished by Jesus and we enter into this standing by faith. We have been given the Holy Spirit as a guide and helpmate to show us the Father and to remind us of what He had said.

Jesus, when preparing the disciples for the things that would come, gave instruction about the Holy Spirit ( John 16 ). He made it very clear what His role would be in the believer’s life. “But when he, the Spirit of truth, comes, he will guide you into all truth. He will not speak on his own; he will speak only what he hears, and he will tell you what is yet to come. He will bring glory to me by taking from what is mine and making it known to you. All that belongs to the Father is mine. That is why I said the Spirit will take from what is mine and make it known to you” ( John 16:13-15 ). His function is to relay God’s message to us and to make known God’s will for our lives.

The more we heed the voice and direction of God in our lives, the more the strongholds and struggles of this world wash away so we will be the people that God has invited us to be. We have been called into a life of transformation ( II Corinthians 5:17 ) which is why we must pay attention to the words spoken to us each day. Throughout this process we will find grace to help us and in return we will be changed and what remains, will last for eternity to the praise and glory of God. “Therefore, since we are receiving a kingdom that cannot be shaken, let us be thankful, and so worship God acceptably with reverence and awe, for our “God is a consuming fire” ( Hebrews 12:28-19 ).

Posted in Hebrews 12

You Have Come To God and Jesus The Mediator of a New Covenant (Hebrews 12:18-24)

Hebrews 12:22-24You have not come to a mountain that can be touched and that is burning with fire; to darkness, gloom and storm; to a trumpet blast or to such a voice speaking words that those who heard it begged that no further word be spoken to them, because they could not bear what was commanded: “If even an animal touches the mountain, it must be stoned.” The sight was so terrifying that Moses said, “I am trembling with fear” 

“But you have come to Mount Zion, to the heavenly Jerusalem, the city of the living God. You have come to thousands upon thousands of angels in joyful assembly, to the church of the firstborn, whose names are written in heaven. You have come to God, the judge of all men, to the spirits of righteous men made perfect, to Jesus the mediator of a new covenant, and to the sprinkled blood that speaks a better word than the blood of Abel” ( Hebrews 12:18-24 )

God’s desire has always been to create a people for himself. As He assembled the Israelites together at Mount Sinai to give them the law, He told them that if they obeyed His decrees and kept His covenant they would be for Him, a kingdom of priests and a holy nation ( Exodus 19:6 ). They were to be His people, a treasured possession ( Exodus 19:5 ).

At this time, the Lord had Moses assemble the entire nation to speak directly to them from a cloud so the people would hear Him and put their trust in Him, following Moses as their leader and mediator ( Exodus 19:9 ). However they were strictly warned not to touch the mountain or they would be killed ( Exodus 19:12 ). The people washed and consecrated themselves as Moses led them out, to meet face to face with God ( Exodus 19:14, 17 ).

The whole sight was terrifying ( Exodus 19:18-19, 20:18-21, Deuteronomy 4:11-12, 5:4-5), 5:22-27 ). God gave the Ten Commandments to the entire nation of Israel and afterwards they begged Moses to speak directly to God on their behalf.“When the people saw the thunder and lightning and heard the trumpet and saw the mountain in smoke, they trembled with fear. They stayed at a distance and said to Moses, “Speak to us yourself and we will listen. But do not have God speak to us or we will die( Exodus 20:18-19 ). They wanted Moses to mediate for them, it was such a terrifying experience that they did not want to hear directly from God because they were afraid. They told Moses “Go near and listen to all that the Lord our God says. Then tell us whatever the Lord our God tells you. We will listen and obey” ( Deuteronomy 5:27 ).

This was how it was under the Old Covenant. God’s awesomeness was magnificent but also terrifying. Because of this, the Israelites did not wish to approach God individually they chose to let Moses speak to God on their behalf. However, we as New Testament believers have not come to a mountain burning with fire and to a sight so terrifying that we run and hide. Instead we come to the Mount Zion to the city of the living God and the perfect mediator Jesus Christ ( I Timothy 2:5).

In fact, this illustration is a perfect summary of Hebrews and the differences between the Old and New Covenants. This entire book is focused solely on Jesus Christ and the change He has made in how we approach God now that we are holy and righteous in His sight.

Unlike the Israelites who trembled at the sight and sound of God, we can boldly approach His throne and will always receive grace and acceptance  ( Hebrews 4:16, 10:19-23 ). If Abel’s blood poured out on the ground cried out to God for vengeance ( Genesis 4:10 ), Jesus’ blood poured out on the mercy seat continually speaks for grace upon grace ( Zechariah 4:7, John 1:16, Hebrews 9:12, 14, 15 ).

In light of this, we should have no fear or trepidation in coming to God the Father for anything. We should take a biblical view of what Jesus has done for us and run to Him knowing we are accepted and loved and God considers us holy and righteous. He holds us in high regard and sons and daughters. Therefore,Let us then approach the throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need” ( Hebrews 4:16 ).

Posted in Hebrews 12

Beware of Sexual Immorality (Hebrews 12:16-17)

Hebrews 12 16-17See that no one is sexually immoral, or is godless like Esau, who for a single meal sold his inheritance rights as the oldest son. Afterward, as you know, when he wanted to inherit this blessing, he was rejected. He could bring about no change of mind, though he sought the blessing with tears” ( Hebrews 12:16-17 )

Did you know that faith in Jesus brings you into an elite group of royal priests ( I Peter 2:5 ). Jesus bestows His righteousness to you the moment you believe ( Romans 3:21-22, II Corinthians 5:21 ). The result is that God looks at you in the same way, with the same love as He looks at His Son Jesus ( John 17:22-23, I John 4:17 ). This is incredible! Not only are we redeemed and saved from wrath and judgment but we are given the rights of sons and daughters of the Most High God ( Romans 8:15 ) and entitled to an inheritance that can never perish, spoil or fade ( Romans 8:17, I Peter 1:4 ).

This change happens at the moment we believe and it makes us entirely different than we once were, ( II Corinthians 5:17 ). We no longer belong to the rank of sinners; instead we belong to God as a holy and righteous people. Therefore, it is important for us to act as who we are, not what we were.

Previously, the writer of Hebrews instructed us to be holy by pursuing holiness and acting on the Word of God which gives instruction ( Hebrews 12:14 ). Now, the charge in this verse is geared specifically toward our sexual nature. As believers we are to abstain from sexual sin, because it is God’s will that we are holy ( I Thessalonians 4:3, I Peter 1:16 ).

Paul wrote specifically about this, “Flee from sexual immorality. All other sins a man commits are outside his body, but he who sins sexually sins against his own body. Do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you have received from God? You are not your own; you were bought at a price. Therefore honor God with your body” ( I Corinthians 6:18-20 ). The reason the sin is committed against your own body is in the previous verse, “But he who unites himself with the Lord is one with him in spirit” ( I Corinthians 6:17 ).

To help us understand this, the writer uses the example of Esau, who by tradition, rightfully owned the birthright as the oldest son,. In his lust for the physical, Esau traded this incredible blessing for a bowl of stew (Genesis 25:29-34). The Bible calls him godless and sacrilegious because of this ( Hebrews 12:16-17 ). He despised and disdained the family blessing for that which was temporary and afterwards, Isaac honored this transaction and Jacob received the blessing as rightful heir, regardless of the tears and protest of Esau ( Genesis 27:27-29, Hebrews 11:20 ).

In the same way, we are not to trade a holy relationship, defile the marriage covenant for temporary gratification of the body. God has given sex as a special thing between a husband and wife. He has given it to us, to bless us and uses the marriage relationship to illustrate His covenant with us ( Ephesians 5:25-32 ). Which is why, as believers we are to protect this from defilement and honor it our entire lives. God desires so much more for us that what is temporary; “So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen. For what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal” ( II Corinthians 4:18 ).

Posted in Hebrews 12

Cutting Down the Bitter Root With Grace (Hebrews 12:15)

Hebrews 12 15See to it that no one misses the grace of God and that no bitter root grows up to cause trouble and defile many” ( Hebrews 12:15 )

Grace does not stop being extended to mankind once they are born again. The opposite is actually true; through Jesus we receive grace upon grace ( John 1:16 ). God’s grace is continually influencing us as believers. His grace is the anchor that keeps us turned and focused on Christ, growing in faith, growing in the knowledge of God and it is what continually strengthens us in His love. Remaining steadfast in that grace protects us from harm.

One of the admonishments from the writer of Hebrews is to be on the lookout for one another; encouraging each other to remain secure in the state of grace, God’s unmerited favor and spiritual blessing. Grace protects our heart from allowing bitterness from situations and experiences to creep in and wreak havoc. The attitude of bitterness is likened to a bitter root that grows and produces fruit of its kind.

It is interesting that bitterness will not only affect your own life but this verse explains that when it grows it will cause trouble by defiling many. By definition defilement means to stain, to soil, to sully or to contaminate. Bitterness can overflow and take root in others very easily when unchecked and released. This is why we must pay attention to the grace of God. His grace covers a multitude of sins. His grace has the power to wash over resentment, hurt and misunderstandings so bitterness has no place to grow. His grace can replace hurt with healing, which is exactly what it will do when we let it.

In the previous verse, we are encouraged to live at peace and be holy, this verse provides a practical way in which to do this; we are to remain steadfast in God’s grace allowing it to dictate our reaction to all situations. God’s grace is what transforms us continually into the men and women He has called us to be. What an amazing truth!

Posted in Hebrews 12

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