Hebrews - Part 15 - Coming: A New & Better World

Study of Hebrews  •  Sermon  •  Submitted   •  Presented   •  35:39
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COMING - A NEW AND BETTER WORLD! Part 15 - HEB 12:12-29 Given by Craig Minke - July 26, 2020 Appreciated the last 3 message given by my wife, Keith and Hannes I love the message that the later part of Hebrew conveys. HEB 12:12-13 12 Therefore, strengthen your feeble arms and weak knees. 13 "Make level paths for your feet," so that the lame may not be disabled, but rather healed. * This passage vividly pictures God as a challenging coach who pushes us to our limits, encouraging us beyond what we think we can attain. o When the pressure and opposition build it is easy to let fear paralyze us into inactivity. o We must stay involved and engaged in the race set before us. o Often in our Christian battle struggle, and it is only with Christ's help we can succeed. o An in succeeding we can be help provide strength and support to those who are struggling, just as those who were being sent this letter. * The writer says, Take a new grip with your tired hands. o Tired hands want to stop working. o The Christians were at the point of sheer exhaustion; morale was low. o Rather than concede defeat, Christians must continue to make the effort and always be ready to endure. * Stand firm on your shaky legs. (weak knees) o Discipline or persecution should not cause us to fear; but should encourage us to endure those difficult times,. o Rather than dropping in defeat, Christians should stand firm-even when knees are weak and legs are shaky-in their confident expectation of Christ's return * Mark out a straight path for your feet. Then those who follow you ... will become strong. o Most "paths" encountered in nature wind and dip along with the terrain, we have a few hikers here. o A "straight path," however, has most likely been constructed by someone who took the effort to * Move some of the boulders * Fill in the holes * Clear away the brush and brambles * Stay away from cliff edges * Avoid moss on waterfalls * As believers we can move those obstacles on the path which may cause others to stumble and fall. * As said throughout this epistle, Christians have the responsibility to encourage one another and to help those who are weak - or those who will follow them. o Maybe some of the readers were contemplating a return to Jewish practices, their example would prove discouraging to new Christians. o Instead of running in a straight, clear path, they would be adding hindrances and obstacles to the already difficult trip. o Ask ourselves, doe our example make it easier for others to believe in and follow Christ, and to mature in him? * Or would those who follow you end up confused and misled? PROV 4:26-27 26 Give careful thought to the paths for your feet and be steadfast in all your ways. 27 Do not turn to the right or the left; keep your foot from evil. HEB 12:14 14 Make every effort to live in peace with everyone and to be holy; without holiness no one will see the Lord. * Verse 14 refers to our duty of followers of Christ. That is to pursue peace with everyone... * As Christians we should be known as peacemakers however unfortunately this is not the case * We are to follow after peace and holiness * The word "follow" (diokete) means to run after, chase after, press after, and to pursue. * It has the idea of swiftness of hotly pursuing and seeking after peace. * Today we live in a selfish world where living at peace is not a priority in people's lives. * I remember my camping days where some individuals beside you felt it was their right to party and make noise all night at you were trying to sleep. * After all who cares about my neighbor. * We to follow after peace (eirenen) with all people. The fact however that we has to follow after peace means that peace is not always possible. * There will be those in the world who will not want peace * The very purpose for the believer being on earth is to bring peace between men and God and between men and all other men. * We are to work for as much peace as possible. * Some level of harmony and concord can be achieved at least some of the time. * We are never to give up, not as long as there is hope for some degree of peace. * The cause of conflict must not arise from us as believers. * He is to try everything possible to bring about peace and to keep peace ROM 12:20-21 20 On the contrary: "If your enemy is hungry, feed him; if he is thirsty, give him something to drink. In doing this, you will heap burning coals on his head." 21 Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good. ROM 12:18 18 If it is possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone. MATT 5:9 9 Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called children of God. * The second part of verse 14 states that we as believer's should follow after "holiness" (hagiasmon). * The word means sanctification, consecration, and separation. * It means to be set apart and different. * The root meaning of holiness is to be different. * As believers in Christ * We are set apart for God and * We are separated from the world and its pleasures * We of course still live in the world. * We walk and move within the world; buying, eating, and sleeping in the world; working, playing and are housed in the world; * We relate and associate, and fellowship in the world. * However we are not to be of the world. * We not to be possessed by the world, enslaved to its pleasures and possessions. * What does this mean? * In very simple terms, we are not to indulge and give license to his flesh: * We are not to be a materialist. * We are not to be a gluttons and drunkards. * We are not to be slothful. * On the opposite side we should strive for balance having time for God - not workaholics. * We are not to over-emphasize pleasure and pursue it as our God. * Our life is not one big party, but we are to set aside time to loving, serving and living our mission in meeting the needs of a desperate world that is dying from sin, disease, hunger and war. * Note: this verse declares that no person shall ever see the Lord unless he is holy. Holiness is an absolute essential if a person is to live with God I PET 1:15-16 15 But just as he who called you is holy, so be holy in all you do; 16 for it is written: "Be holy, because I am holy." HEB 12:15-17 15 See to it that no one falls short of the grace of God and that no bitter root grows up to cause trouble and defile many. 16 See that no one is sexually immoral, or is godless like Esau, who for a single meal sold his inheritance rights as the oldest son. 17 Afterward, as you know, when he wanted to inherit this blessing, he was rejected. Even though he sought the blessing with tears, he could not change what he had done. * Verses 15-17 talk about some of the dangers that threaten us as believers o As believers we are to be diligent, watchful lest we do not see the dangers that confront o Here he are given some more warning as believers * 1) There is a warning against falling short of the grace of God o What is the grace of God? o It is the favor and kindness of God that saves man, there is a uniqueness about God's favor and kindness o His favor and kindness are given despite the fact that they are undeserved and unmerited. o God has done a great thing unheard of among men. He has given His grace to man... * despite their cursing Him. * despite their rejecting Him. * despite their rebelling against Him. * despite their hostility toward Him. * despite their denial of Him. * despite their neglect of Him. * despite their half-hearted commitment to Him. * despite their worship of religion instead of Him. * despite their false worship. * despite their idolatrous worship. * despite their trespasses. * despite their sins. o Grace is given * God has given His Son, Jesus Christ, to save men. * He did not have to give His Son. * God could have wiped man from the face of the earth and condemned him. * Man deserved it, but this is God's grace. * God is full of mercy and love and kindness-by His very nature He is full of these glorious qualities. * He gave His Son to die for us. * He died for us-in our place, in our sted, as our substitute. * He suffered separation from God for us. * This is what Scripture means when it says that Christ died for us. * The grace of God is the most wonderful gift in all the world. * God does not force a person to be saved. * God does not want robots living with Him, men who have been forced to live with Him. God wants men to grab hold of the opportunity by their own free will and choice, scripture however seems to imply that some however will not grab on to this opportunity, hence the danger and warning. * But again the great danger is that some men will not grab onto this opportunity. The great danger is that a person will not accept the opportunity * As followers of Christ we should be encouraging to one another, seeking to help and strengthen one another. HEB 12:15-17 15 See to it that no one falls short of the grace of God and that no bitter root grows up to cause trouble and defile many. 16 See that no one is sexually immoral, or is godless like Esau, who for a single meal sold his inheritance rights as the oldest son. 17 Afterward, as you know, when he wanted to inherit this blessing, he was rejected. Even though he sought the blessing with tears, he could not change what he had done. DON'T REREAD 2) The second danger threatening us as believers is A ROOT OF BITTERNESS. (Bitter root of unbelief is taken from Deut 29:18-19) * While some have interpreted this "bitter root" to refer to bitterness, it actually refers to unbelief, * Moses cautioned that "the day the Hebrews chose to turn from God", a root would be planted that would produce bitter poison. o If such a person assumes to have God's blessing and then proceeds to disobey, this plants an evil seed that begins to grow out of control, eventually yielding a crop of sorrow and pain-whenever it springs up, many are corrupted by its poison. o But believers can watch out that this doesn't happen. o If the "bitter root" never finds fertile soil, its bitter fruit will never develop. o Christians must watch out for these false roots because they do not really belong among God's people. o The writer is speaking about any root, any cause that might stir a person to become bitter: * Disappointment (discouragement, depression) * Neglect, being overlooked (favoritism) * inadequacy (self esteem, fears) * teachers (who may have hurt us) * accidents (why Lord) * disease (health issues) * mistreatment (abuse) * loss (relationship, finances, deaths) * ministers (offence at what a minister may say * wife/husband (spouse) * parent (due to poor parentlng skills, mistakes a parent may make) * supervisors (wrongly corrected, hurts) o Bitterness can be caused by any thing or any person who has failed us or brought disappointment and trouble to us in some way. The person who is bitter is often ... * sharp * resentful * cynical * cold * harsh * stressful * intense * relentless * distasteful * unpleasant * unbelief, unbelieving o Any expression of these can cause a root of unbelief to spring up o God desires people to live in love, joy, peace, and holiness, not in bitterness. o Therefore, the believer must look diligently, must guard against the great danger of bitterness. HEB 12:15-17 15 See to it that no one falls short of the grace of God and that no bitter root grows up to cause trouble and defile many. 16 See that no one is sexually immoral, or is godless like Esau, who for a single meal sold his inheritance rights as the oldest son. 17 Afterward, as you know, when he wanted to inherit this blessing, he was rejected. Even though he sought the blessing with tears, he could not change what he had done. DON'T REREAD 3) A third danger talked about here is the danger of IMMORALITY. o The word is a broad word including all forms of immoral and sexual acts. * It is premarital sex and adultery; * it is homosexuality and abnormal sex; * it is all kinds of sexual vice, * pornography is a huge issue today, we cannot minimize it * Matt 5:28 tells us to look lustfully is the same as committing he act of adultery. * whether married or unmarried. o God expects his people to maintain the standards of morality found in his Word. o God forbids sexual sin because he knows its power to destroy us physically and spiritually. o No one should underestimate the power of sexual immorality. o It has devastated countless lives and destroyed families, churches, communities, and even nations. o God wants to protect his people from damaging themselves and hurting others. o Immorality hurts both us and otherS. HEB 12:15-17 15 See to it that no one falls short of the grace of God and that no bitter root grows up to cause trouble and defile many. 16 See that no one is sexually immoral, or is godless like Esau, who for a single meal sold his inheritance rights as the oldest son. 17 Afterward, as you know, when he wanted to inherit this blessing, he was rejected. Even though he sought the blessing with tears, he could not change what he had done. DON'T REREAD * 4) the last danger given in verse 17 is the danger of being a PROFANE PERSON. o Scripture refers to Esau as a godless person (sensual, unhallowed, neglectful of spiritual things, lover of the world's things) o You all know the story of Esau who was out hunting and came back tired and hungry. * who for a single meal sold his inheritance rights as the oldest son. * The BIRTHRIGHT included a double portion of the family inheritance along with honor of one day becoming the family's leader. * The oldest son could sell his birthright or give it away if he chose, but in so doing, he would lose both material goods and his leadership position. * Esau showed complete disregard for the blessings that would have come his way if he had kept it. * He "despised" his birthright * He rejected his religious heritage * To him the covenant promises of God were worth no more than a bowl of stew. * The birthright was a special honor and blessing given to the oldest son * He made the statement that his physical appetite was more important than his birthright. * he cared more for his body and flesh, * for the desires and lusts, * for the pleasure and possessions of this world than he did for the spiritual things of God. * He gave up a long-term blessing for a short-term benefit. * Esau later decided he wanted the blessing - but it was too late, because the blessing was part of the inheritance he had already traded away. * Esau's story shows us that mistakes and sins sometimes have lasting consequences. * Repentance and forgiveness do not always eliminate the consequences of sin. * How often do me make decisions based on what we want now, rather than on what you need in the long run? * We need to evaluate the long-range effects of our decisions and actions. * Impulsiveness can bring heartaches and grief. * Even though he sought the blessing with tears, he could not change what he had done. * How many sell their birthright today? * How many sell their blessing for the satisfaction of their body and flesh, for their desires and lusts, for the pleasures and possessions of this world? * This is one of the great dangers that the believer must guard against. o This is the choice the readers were facing, too: * Would they give up eternal life with Christ for a little convenience in this world? VERSE 18-24 OF CHAPTER 12 TALK ABOUT THE TWO DIFFERENT APPROACHES TO GOD FROM THE OLD AND THE NEW COVENANT HEB 12:18-21 18 You have not come to a mountain that can be touched and that is burning with fire; to darkness, gloom and storm; 19 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, 20 because they could not bear what was commanded: "If even an animal touches the mountain, it must be stoned to death." 21 The sight was so terrifying that Moses said, "I am trembling with fear." * The old covenant was an external worship of holy, distant God of judgment. * The old covenant was a covenant of doom and gloom * There was a reluctant or fearful approach towards God for both the people and their leaders. * In the Old Covenant no person could approach God and be acceptable to God, for no person is perfect. * People in the Old Covenant approached God by trying to be good and by trying to do as much good as they could. * However the point is here is, if a person approaches God through the Old Covenant of the law, he/she stands condemned by God. * The law only condemned man, it did not transform him. * The approach of the Old Covenant was to a holy, distant God of judgment. * The point being made here is: when a person approaches God through the old covenant of the law, he must approach reluctantly and fearfully. * Why? * Because the law is going to condemn him; it can only show him where he comes short of God's glory and perfection. The law cannot make man righteous and perfect. This was not the purpose of the old covenant of the law. VERSE 22-24 TALK ABOUT THE NEW APPROACH WE NOW HAVE THROUGH THE NEW COVENANT. HEB 12:22-24 22 But you have come to Mount Zion, to the city of the living God, the heavenly Jerusalem. You have come to thousands upon thousands of angels in joyful assembly, 23 to the church of the firstborn, whose names are written in heaven. You have come to God, the Judge of all, to the spirits of the righteous made perfect, 24 to Jesus the mediator of a new covenant, and to the sprinkled blood that speaks a better word than the blood of Abel. * So how is the New Covenant so different? o The new covenant is filled with happy people where angels rejoice. o The new covenant is a place of joy and fellowship with God. o It leads to fellowship with our triune God who now dwells within us o The fellowship of the Father Son and Holy Spirit, all a result of what Christ's sacrifice has done for us. o The new approach to God is by the New Covenant, the covenant of God's grace. o In the new approach we now can meet God anyplace: heart to heart, on a spiritual basis. o We can commune and fellowship with God anytime at anyplace. o This is the reward of the saved, those who are the firstborn children of God, who have been welcomed by the Judge of the universe. o They were not perfect, just as we are not, but they & us have been made perfect by the blood of Christ, which promises forgiveness rather than vengeance. o The readers have not come to this place yet, but the author describes it as if they have. (written in the Book of Life) o When they accepted Jesus as their Savior, this joyful place became their new destination, and the author wants to make sure that they do not turn aside. (We become citizens of heaven) * The person who approaches God by the new covenant shall join his loved ones and all others who truly believed in Christ. * The paradox in all of this is o that we have come to the city, o yet the city is still to come. o We are already there in spirit, o yet we are still pilgrims. o This is the journey of faith that Hebrew 11 described and that we are still on. IN THE LAST 5 VERSES OF HEBREW 12 THE WRITER GIVES THE 5TH AND FINAL WARNING GIVEN IN THE BOOK OF HEBREWS "THE DANGER OF REFUSING TO HEAR JESUS CHRIST - OR SHUTTING YOUR EAR TO THE CRY OF HIS BLOOD HEB 12:25 25 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? * The readers of this letter probably had Jewish neighbors who said, "If you turn away from the old covenant, you will be punished. * So the author responds by saying it the other way around "It is true that people were punished from turning away from Moses, but Jesus rescues us from that punishment, so do not abandon the salvation he gives." * Note the statement of warning: see that you do not refuse him that speaks - do not refuse Jesus Christ o The word "refuse" (paraitesesthe) means to reject, decline, turn down, deny, disavow. o o This also refers back to Jesus Christ the Mediator, the One whose blood was shed because of sinful men. o The picture is that of Christ speaking and proclaiming the new covenant of mercy and grace upon man. o He is proclaiming salvation to the world. o Man must not close his ears: he must see to it that he does not refuse Jesus Christ who alone proclaims true salvation. * Note that "spoken on earth" refers to Moses who was God's earthly spokesman. * Note that Jesus Christ however speaks from heaven. He is the voice of God himself. HEB 12:26-27 26 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." 27 The words "once more" indicate the removing of what can be shaken-that is, created things-so that what cannot be shaken may remain. * This is a quote from Haggai 2:7 * The author now makes a transition from this warning into a reminder of the reward God has promised: * At Mount Sinai, God's voice shook the earth, but he has also promised to shake the earth again, and the author of Hebrews focuses our attention on the word once more. He will do it only once - never again will the heavens and earth need to be shaken, because the shaking will be so severe that only the permanent will remain. * The whole universe, all the stars and the natural world and planets are to undergo a cataclysmic change * All nature shall be destroyed by fire and remade into a new heavens and earth. * And those things that cannot be shaken will remain. God is after an eternal world, a universe in which all heaven and earth are made alive and bustling with activity... o of worship - the worship of God and Christ o of communion and fellowship between Christ and believers o of fellowship among believers as the redeemed and eternal people of God. o of service and labor for the Lord Jesus in overseeing the work that will be going on throughout the universe. MK 13:31 31 Heaven and earth will pass away, but my words will never pass away. II PET 3:10-13 10 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 done in it will be laid bare. 11 Since everything will be destroyed in this way, what kind of people ought you to be? You ought to live holy and godly lives 12 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. 13 But in keeping with his promise we are looking forward to a new heaven and a new earth, where righteousness dwells. REV 21:1-2 1Then I saw "a new heaven and a new earth," for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away, and there was no longer any sea. 2 I saw the Holy City, the new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride beautifully dressed for her husband. * The eternal kingdom will come, so how should we respond? HEB 12:28 28 Therefore, since we are receiving a kingdom that cannot be shaken, let us be thankful, and so worship God acceptably with reverence and awe, * Because this world will one day disappear, faith concentrates on the heavenly promises. * The future, unseen world is actually more real than this present one. * This one can be shaken and destroyed, but believers are receiving a kingdom that cannot be shaken. * This kingdom exists now in the hearts of believers and will become a physical reality when the present world disappears. * This is a kingdom that we "are receiving." Christians receive it by God's grace, not through their own effort or by any means other than God's kindness. * Therefore in thankfulness we should worship God with reverence and awe. * When we truly worship God, we do it all the time- o not just at church, with hymns, offering, communion, prayer * True worship includes every action of every day. * By obeying God, our lives become living sacrifices of worship (see Romans 12:1-2). * Since God has promised us such a great reward, o We accept the grace God offers us and we serve him with reverence and Godly fear. EPH 2:8-9 8 For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith-and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God- 9 not by works, so that no one can boast. * We are to be thankful and worship God o Thankful that God answers our prayers o Thankful for God's provision of our needs o Thankful for his blessings o Thankful for God's character and his wonderous works o Thankful for our brothers and sisters in Christ. HEB 12:29 29 for our "God is a consuming fire." * But the danger still exists for those who turn away, for God is a consuming fire to those who refuse him. o Fire is a metaphor for judgment - severe total and complete judgment * This fire is not the flame of a candle * But a roaring blast of raging fire that consumes everything in its path - maybe think of a wind blown raging forest fire. * Beyond human control o God reigns over and will destroy everything that is temporary. o Only the New Covenant and those who are part of it will survive. o That is good news for people who love God, but a threat for those who love evil. o This is a startling conclusion to some who were considering turning away from their faith. o Powerful words and WARNINGS in this chapter, but ALSO SOME WONDEROUS AND POWERFUL PROMISES. CLOSING PRAYER
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