Session 5 – The God Who Shakes (Mohler)
Text: Hebrews 12:18-29
18 For you have not come to what may be touched, a blazing fire and darkness and gloom and a tempest
19 and the sound of a trumpet and a voice whose words made the hearers beg that no further messages be spoken to them.
20 For they could not endure the order that was given, “If even a beast touches the mountain, it shall be stoned.”
21 Indeed, so terrifying was the sight that Moses said, “I tremble with fear.”
22 But you have come to Mount Zion and to the city of the living God, the heavenly Jerusalem, and to innumerable angels in festal gathering,
23 and to the assembly of the firstborn who are enrolled in heaven, and to God, the judge of all, and to the spirits of the righteous made perfect,
24 and to Jesus, the mediator of a new covenant, and to the sprinkled blood that speaks a better word than the blood of Abel.
25 See that you do not refuse him who is speaking. For if they did not escape when they refused him who warned them on earth, much less will we escape if we reject him who warns from heaven.
26 At that time his voice shook the earth, but now he has promised, “Yet once more I will shake not only the earth but also the heavens.”
27 This phrase, “Yet once more,” indicates the removal of things that are shaken—that is, things that have been made—in order that the things that cannot be shaken may remain.
28 Therefore let us be grateful for receiving a kingdom that cannot be shaken, and thus let us offer to God acceptable worship, with reverence and awe,
29 for our God is a consuming fire. (ESV)
We have tuned out the warnings of scripture. We should be waking up in the middle of the night in sheer terror of the danger we are in. Hebrews 12 is a chapter about the danger to come.
Warnings in Hebrews which trouble us:
1. Hebrews 6:4-8. How does this passage mesh with the perseverance of the saints? We must cross reference this with the parable of the soils. There are soils which show signs of life but do not continue. The words in Hebrews 6 sound like someone who is regenerated, but a careful examination shows that they can also be applied to those who appear to be saved but are not.
2. Hebrews 10:26-31. Is the death of Christ nullified by an intention to sin? Imagine this indictment against a person:
a. spurned the Son of God
b. profaned the blood
c. outraged the Spirit
3. Hebrews 12:3-13. The warning is against growing weary. We are troubled by the fact God disciplines us when we grow weary.
4. Hebrews 12:14-17. Esau sought to repent but no room was found for him to repent.
However, the warnings are offset by the promises of better things. There was a warning against touching Mount Sinai and that warning yielded fear and trembling. But thank God we have come to Mount Zion. God has proved Himself as a terrible, holy judge. But God has also proved Himself merciful beyond measure through Jesus Christ. Hebrews 12:22-24 speak of the greatest hope available to those who believe:
1. A mountain that can be touched without fear
2. A place where angels gather in joy
3. The City of the Living God
4. A place where the firstborn are citizens – that is us, we are the ones enrolled in heaven
5. A place where God will judge the righteous who are made perfect by the blood of Jesus Christ
6. A mediator who was also our sacrifice
Then in verse 25 the writer of Hebrews moves on to pleading with his readers. If the people of old perished because they did not heed the warnings when God thundered and shook the earth from Mount Sinai, what will happen to those who ignore the warning when God from heaven shakes the heavens and earth?
Notice that the writer of Hebrews freely moves back and forth between the picture of “shaking” and the picture of a “consuming fire.”
We are citizens of a kingdom that cannot be shaken. It is the only thing that will not pass away. And that is because of the work of the one who is the mediator of the new and better covenant. And what is our response to be? Worship.