May 26, 2024. Hebrews 12:25-29

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HE WHO SPEAKS FROM HEAVEN. Hebrews 12:25-29. 5/26/2024. #47.

25 See that you do not refuse Him who speaks. For if they did not escape who refused Him who spoke on earth, much more shall we not escape if we turn away from Him who speaks from heaven, 26 whose voice then shook the earth; but now He has promised, saying, “Yet once more I shake not only the earth, but also heaven.” 27 Now this, “Yet once more,” indicates the removal of those things that are being shaken, as of things that are made, that the things which cannot be shaken may remain. 28 Therefore, since we are receiving a kingdom which cannot be shaken, let us have grace, by which we may serve God acceptably with reverence and godly fear. 29 For our God is a consuming fire.

1. The command voice

                a. When God manifested Himself in the OT, there was fear and trembling

                                a1. Fire consuming the rebellious Levites

                                a2. Mt. Sinai quaking in giving of the Law

                                a3. Nebuchadnezzar struck with madness

                                a4. A plague at Baal Peor

                                a5. Fire descending at Mt. Carmel

                b. At each manifestation of God, there were consequences for disobedience

                                a1. Vipers among the disobedient Israelites

                                a2. A generation was not allowed to enter the land

                                a3. Moses was not allowed to enter the land

                                a4. Jonah was swallowed by a fish

                                a5. David experienced turmoil and death in his family

                                a6. Uzziah was struck down with leprosy

                c. The voice of God spoke of His holiness

                                a1. The love of God is emphasized by believers

                                a2. We must not forget the holiness of God

                                a3. When God spoke it moved men to act, however, men returned to evil when fear wore off

                d. The earth is a shakable thing (i.e., the Flood)

                                a1. God’s demonstration of power showed His holiness and willingness to punish disobedience

                                a2. A warning should have been sufficient, but most often, it was not (Genesis 2-3)

                e. Voice of God elicited fear, but often on obedience

2. From shakable to unshakable

                a. God, who shook earth, will shake both heaven and earth (Revelation. 12:7-12), before His unshakable kingdom comes

                b. Haggai 2:6 God’s great power seen in His Incarnate Son

                                a1. He did not come to threaten man, but to save him

                                a2. Jesus’s call to salvation is a call to peace with God through His sacrifice

                c. Through Christ we can move from what was shaken to what can never be shaken

                                a1. To hold onto the fear of the Law was to hold on to the terror of its provisions

                                a2. Heb. invites all to reject the certain terror of judgment to the grace found in Christ

                                a3. The New Heaven and Earth can never be shaken

                                                b1. They are not subject to sin and death

                                                b2. Under the Law, uncertain efforts led to insecure results (only faith in Lord made the sacrifices meaningful)

                d. Once the unshakable is established, there will never be again that which can be shaken or threatened

3. Serving in peace

                a. Since keeping the Law doesn’t guarantee salvation, Hebrews invites his readers to receive the Kingdom that can’t be shaken through His grace via faith in Jesus Christ (John 3)

                b. Instead of rebelling against God, we serve Him in reverence and godly fear (a pleasure to worship and serve)

                                a1. Man’s rebellion = search for independence

                                                b1. Isaiah 14 first, Lucifer in heaven rebelled

                                                b2. Genesis 3, man sought independence in Eden

                                a2. Romans 12:1-3, man was created to worship and serve God

                                                b1. As we serve Him, He puts us in charge of many things (as David as king, or faithful servants given rule over cities)

                                                b2. Ironically, those who rebel will end up alone in torment, while those who submit will rule with Christ (II Timothy 2:12, Revelation 20:4, 20:6, 3:21, Matthew 25:14-30)

                c. We were created to serve God and are only at peace doing it

                d. Those who rebel find God to be a consuming fire

                                a1. Judgment and salvation are the only 2 options

                                a2. To reject God is to reject peace, joy, and fulfillment

Key passage: Revelation 12:7-127 And war broke out in heaven: Michael and his angels fought with the dragon; and the dragon and his angels fought, 8 but they did not prevail, nor was a place found for them in heaven any longer. 9 So the great dragon was cast out, that serpent of old, called the Devil and Satan, who deceives the whole world; he was cast to the earth, and his angels were cast out with him. 10 Then I heard a loud voice saying in heaven, “Now salvation, and strength, and the kingdom of our God, and the power of His Christ have come, for the accuser of our brethren, who accused them before our God day and night, has been cast down. 11 And they overcame him by the blood of the Lamb and by the word of their testimony, and they did not love their lives to the death. 12 Therefore rejoice, O heavens, and you who dwell in them! Woe to the inhabitants of the earth and the sea! For the devil has come down to you, having great wrath, because he knows that he has a short time.”

May 19, 2024. Hebrews 12:18-24

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CHURCH OF THE FIRSTBORN. Hebrews 12:18-24. 5/19/2024. #46

18 For you have not come to the mountain that may be touched and that burned with fire, and to blackness and darkness and tempest, 19 and the sound of a trumpet and the voice of words, so that those who heard it begged that the word should not be spoken to them anymore. 20 (For they could not endure what was commanded: “And if so much as a beast touches the mountain, it shall be stoned or shot with an arrow.” 21 And so terrifying was the sight that Moses said, “I am exceedingly afraid and trembling.”) 22 But you have come to Mount Zion and to the city of the living God, the heavenly Jerusalem, to an innumerable company of angels, 23 to the general assembly and church of the firstborn who are registered in heaven, to God the Judge of all, to the spirits of just men made perfect, 24 to Jesus the Mediator of the new covenant, and to the blood of sprinkling that speaks better things than that of Abel.

1. A tale of two mountains

                a. Heb. brings his argument to a conclusion

                                a1. He has demonstrated that Jesus was superior to angels and men

                                a2. The New Covenant was far better than Old

                                a3. Holding onto the Old Covenant was both futile and a hindrance to faith in Christ

                b. Now Hebrews contrasts the manifestation of the Old Covenant with the New (Exodus 19-21)

                                a1. The Old came with terrifying images and stern rules, regulations, and retribution

                                a2. The New comes with hope, promise, and harmony

                c. The image of the giving of the Law was frightening

                                a1. Moses went on Mt. Sinai, which darkened

                                a2. Lightning, quakes, thunder, smoke, and terror shrouded the mountain (Dt. 4)

                                a3. If anyone or any animal touched the mount he, she, or it would be put to death

                d. Mt. Zion is different

                                a1. Mt. Sinai was physical and could be touched

                                a2. Mt. Zion of Jesus’s rule is future and spiritual

2. Mt. Zion speaks

                a. When God spoke from Mt. Sinai, the people shook

                                a1. They begged God to speak anymore

                                a2. Even Moses trembled on the mountain

                b. The terror of God displayed His awe and holiness

                                a1. A God who must be obeyed or faced

                                a2. An emphasis on submission and obedience

                c. Jesus’s future rule from Mt. Zion speaks of grace

                                a1. Grace sought through compliance with laws and sacrifices replaced by grace obtained by faith in Jesus Christ

                                a2. Warnings concerning disobedience yields to promises obtained through Christ

                d. Instead of a picture of thunder and terror, Mt. Zion is a picture of peace, joy, and fulfillment

                e. Through Christ, the church becomes the chief born of God via the chief born of all of creation

                f. Saints made complete by the sacrifice of Christ where sin in judged forever and he mediates for us

                g. Genesis 4 as Abel’s blood cried out in vain for justice, Jesus’s blood made justice a reality

3. Mt. Sinai must yield to Mt. Zion

                a. Hebrews urges the reader to give up Mt. Sinai, where nothing but terror awaits, to gain Mt. Zion’s hope

                b. We can’t hold onto anything else (pride, traditions, good works, others…) and Christ at the same time

                                a1. Our hope is in Christ alone (Galatians 3:10-14)

                                a2. Faith in anything but Christ is futile

                c. The promises of glory in a realm full of angels, peace, and joy is only for those of Christ

                d. Those holding onto other things rather than Christ alone may not be saved at all (Heb. 6)

                                a1. This is the fear of Heb.

                                a2. The believing Jew wanted the comfort of tradition, as other faiths hold onto icons, church teachings, and rituals

                e. Mt. Zion looks forward to faith, while Mt. Sinai looks back to Law, which can’t save or give hope

                f. Full examination: what are you holding onto?

Key Passage: Galatians 3:10-1410 For as many as are of the works of the law are under the curse; for it is written, “Cursed is everyone who does not continue in all things which are written in the book of the law, to do them.” 11 But that no one is justified by the law in the sight of God is evident, for “the just shall live by faith.” 12 Yet the law is not of faith, but “the man who does them shall live by them.” 13 Christ has redeemed us from the curse of the law, having become a curse for us (for it is written, “Cursed is everyone who hangs on a tree”), 14 that the blessing of Abraham might come upon the Gentiles in Christ Jesus, that we might receive the promise of the Spirit through faith.

May 12, 2024. Mother’s Day 2024

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WIFE OF WISDOM OR WOE? Proverbs 11-19. MOTHER’S DAY 2024

Proverbs 11:16 A gracious woman retains honor, but ruthless men retain riches. 22 As a ring of gold in a swine’s snout, so is a lovely woman who lacks discretion.

Proverbs 12:4 An excellent wife is the crown of her husband, but she who causes shame is like rottenness in his bones.

Proverbs 14:1 The wise woman builds her house, but the foolish pulls it down with her hands.

Proverbs 18:22 He who finds a wife finds a good thing, and obtains favor from the LORD.

Proverbs 19:13 A foolish son is the ruin of his father, and the contentions of a wife are a continual dripping. 14 Houses and riches are an inheritance from fathers, but a prudent wife is from the LORD.

1. Sweet and swine

                a. The Word is full of contrasts and comparisons: good vs. evil; wisdom vs. folly; humility vs. pride; honorable vs. disgraceful; diligence vs. sloth; charity vs. greed; helpfulness vs. apathy; truth vs. lying…

                b. Proverbs is full of contrasts, including about men and women (a choice of behavior – Genesis 4:7)

                c. These proverbs contrasts the gracious woman vs. the indiscrete woman

                                a1. A gracious woman bestows goodwill on others, particularly, those in need

                                a2. A gracious woman I worthy of praise and recognition

                d. The indiscrete woman, even though she is attractive, is like decorating a pig

                                a1. Discretion = reasoning or judgment

                                a2. An indiscrete woman lacks judgment

                e. I Peter 3:1-3 a woman who emphasizes outward appearance over holiness lacks wisdom and opens herself to folly, deception, and sin

                f. No matter her personality, she has a choice

2. Crown or caustic

                a. Unfortunately, many marry for physical attraction, security, or just the desire to be married

                b. Few people end up being spiritual spouses

                c. A virtuous godly wife is a rare treasure

                                a1. She brings honor to her husband and he is joyful to have such a wife

                                a2. He honors her and seeks to please her

                d. By contrast, a shameful wife is an embarrassment, causing grief, sorrow, and even physical stress

                                a1. The wife who gossips, nags, fusses, embarrasses, rails, and rants burdens him

                                a2. By choosing her own selfish desires and ungracious demands, she ruins her house

                e. A wife can be a crown or a canker to her husband

3. Busy Hands

                a. A wife has a choice to either build her house or destroy it; to enhance her family or hinder it

                b. A wife can honor and be a support to her husband or tear him down and provoke him

                                a1. She can set an example to her children and train them in the ways of the Lord

                                a2. She can choose to be selfish and ungodly

                c. The wife has a choice to focus on honoring God or pursuing her own selfish desires

                d. A wise woman focuses or serving God by serving her husband and family (anything else is evil)

4. A gift from God

                a. He who finds a true wife finds a good thing

                                a1. A wife as defined by Genesis 2:24 is a helper, companion, lover, and mother

                                a2. Titus 2:3-5 she has affection for her husband and children and is a chaste keeper of the home

                b. A prudent wife is from the Lord (a precious gift)

                                a1. Wisdom is knowing what is right and prudence is doing what is right despite all temptations

                                a2. A wife who honors the Lord is a rare find

Key passage: 1 Peter 3:1-31 Wives, likewise, be submissive to your own husbands, that even if some do not obey the word, they, without a word, may be won by the conduct of their wives, 2 when they observe your chaste conduct accompanied by fear. 3 Do not let your adornment be merely outward—arranging the hair, wearing gold, or putting on fine apparel—

May 5, 2024. Hebrews 12:12-17

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WHAT IS LOST CAN’T BE REGAINED. Hebrews 12:12-17. 5/5/2024. #45.

12 Therefore strengthen the hands which hang down, and the feeble knees, 13 and make straight paths for your feet, so that what is lame may not be dislocated, but rather be healed. 14 Pursue peace with all people, and holiness, without which no one will see the Lord: 15 looking carefully lest anyone fall short of the grace of God; lest any root of bitterness springing up cause trouble, and by this many become defiled; 16 lest there be any fornicator or profane person like Esau, who for one morsel of food sold his birthright. 17 For you know that afterward, when he wanted to inherit the blessing, he was rejected, for he found no place for repentance, though he sought it diligently with tears.

1. A choice to respond

                a. After Hebrews speaks of the chastening (training) of the Lord, he speaks of our response to it

                                a1. Like Israel, God can chasten, but we must respond (Genesis 4:1-7)

                                a2. Training is only effectual with cooperation of the one being trained

                b. Must strengthen what is spiritually weak

                                a1. Strengthen (make straight) limp hand and feeble knees

                                a2. Just as the body can become flabby via lack of exercise, so our spiritual lives can

                                       become feeble through lack of commitment to the Lord (Word, prayer, service)

                c. There are areas where we are spiritually lame

                                a1. May be worldliness, inattention to Lord, laziness, carnality, prayerlessness…

                                a2. If we do not strengthen the weak areas,

                                       we will dislocate them, causing permanent disability

                d. We can change before it is too late

2. The fruit of a spiritual life

                a. Hebrews lists several qualities of a spiritual walk

                                a1. Pursuit of peace with all men

                                                b1. Not agreeing with all men

                                                b2. A gentle non-confrontational spirit

                                a2. Pursuit of holiness (being separate)

                                                b1. Purposeful separation from carnal and worldly pursuits

                                                b2. Separated to the devotion to God and spiritual pursuits (not just a side plate as a part time pursuit)

                                a3. Unless one is separated to God, he is unable to see God

                b. Do not want to fall short of the grace of God

                                a1. God has so many blessings for us, but they come through discipline and obedience

                                a2. Those who ignore spiritual life for worldly life lose forever the blessings of grace

3. No redoes

                a. Heb. warns against a root of bitterness

                                a1. A poisonous root leads to poisonous fruit

                                a2. By taking in the world, the entire tree (you) becomes toxic (bitter fruit)

                b. Rejecting the chastening and way of the Lord ruins us

                                a1. Defiles (pollutes, corrupts, contaminates) us by tainting the holy with the unholy

                                a2. Fornicators = those who are sexually defiled and morally stained

                c. Esau is a prime example

                                a1. Esau was profane (outside the temple) = not meaning “blasphemous”, but not concerned about the things of God

                                a2. Esau’s focus was on hunting, marrying local women, manly prowess…

                                a3. He thought so little of his inheritance that he sold it for a pot of soup and morsel of bread

                d. Esau bitterly tried to regain what he had lost = gone

                                a1. Once we spend our lives in useless pursuit it can’t be regained = lost forever

                                a2. Ecclesiastes 12 bitter regret won’t change choices

                                a3. Wood, hay, and stubble are burned up

                e. Only change that can be made in the present

Key passage: Genesis 4:1-7

1 Now Adam knew Eve his wife, and she conceived and bore Cain, and said, “I have acquired a man from the Lord.” 2 Then she bore again, this time his brother Abel. Now Abel was a keeper of sheep, but Cain was a tiller of the ground. 3 And in the process of time it came to pass that Cain brought an offering of the fruit of the ground to the Lord. 4 Abel also brought of the firstborn of his flock and of their fat. And the Lord respected Abel and his offering, 5 but He did not respect Cain and his offering. And Cain was very angry, and his countenance fell. 6 So the Lord said to Cain, “Why are you angry? And why has your countenance fallen? 7 If you do well, will you not be accepted? And if you do not do well, sin lies at the door. And its desire is for you, but you should rule over it.”

Apr 28, 2024. Hebrews 12:5-11

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BOOT CAMP FOR SAINTS. Hebrews 12:5-11. 04/28/2024. #44.

5 And you have forgotten the exhortation which speaks to you as to sons:

“My son, do not despise the chastening of the Lord,

Nor be discouraged when you are rebuked by Him;

6 For whom the Lord loves He chastens,

And scourges every son whom He receives.”

7 If you endure chastening, God deals with you as with sons; for what son is there whom a father does not chasten? 8 But if you are without chastening, of which all have become partakers, then you are illegitimate and not sons. 9 Furthermore, we have had human fathers who corrected us, and we paid them respect. Shall we not much more readily be in subjection to the Father of spirits and live? 10 For they indeed for a few days chastened us as seemed best to them, but He for our profit, that we may be partakers of His holiness. 11 Now no chastening seems to be joyful for the present, but painful; nevertheless, afterward it yields the peaceable fruit of righteousness to those who have been trained by it.

1. Training

                a. We like the rewards and goodness part of God’s promises, but not the trials and chastening part

                b. We understand the trials of this world which comes from living in a fallen nature

                c. We even understand when God must correct us because of sin

                d. We are not as keen on the chastening of the Lord

                                a1. “Chastening” is not the word for punishment, but the word for training

                                a2. Every child must be trained to know right from wrong, correct from incorrect, and proper from improper

                e. Beyond training in proper behavior, there is training in patience, fortitude, enduring hardship, perseverance, focus, and boldness of conviction

                                a1. These traits can’t be done via instruction alone, but by testing and experience

                                a2. The molding of a soldier or athlete (II Timothy 2) takes much discipline and deprivation

                f. Heb. quotes Proverbs 3:11-12 don’t despise the chastening of the Lord, for every father chastens his son

                                a1. One of the proofs that we are children of God is that God chastens us

                                a2. A father does not chasten someone else’s children, but just his own children

                g. A good father molds his son into a godly honorable person, to show respect, reverence, and reliability

                h. Those who are not chastened are not true sons

                i. At times, discipline seems harsh (Ezekiel, Jeremiah, Hosea, Joseph, Paul, Peter…)

                                a1. This is the only way to achieve holiness

                                a2. A soft Christian is a weak Christian

2. Embrace the chastening

                a. We are told to endure (Eng. word gymnasium) God’s chastening

                                a1. An athletic term = to push self to limit

                                a2. To be spiritually exercised

                b. The discipline of the Lord is to our profit, not for arbitrary general principles or to inflict pain

                c. God knows what discipline we need, even if we think that He is being overly harsh (Job)

                d. To accept trials and hardships is to learn from them and to learn from them is to be effective for God

3. The finish line

                a. Chastening must be viewed from the results

                                a1. Unpleasant and distasteful, but faith requires trust in Lord (Job 13)

                                a2. God will turn the disciplined saint into a praise to His glory (Romans 8:28-39)

                b. For a short time, our trials are very uncomfortable, but for eternity, they yield the joyful peaceable fruit of righteousness (partakers of His holiness)

                c. Reward is not only in what we do, but in being faithful in tribulation and trials along the way

                                a1. We are to be an example of righteous endurance to others as the see Christ work in us

                                a2. It is not the journey that matters, but the destination, making the journey worthwhile

                d. A spiritual saint has been trained and his trust is seen

Key passage: Romans 8:28-3928 And we know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are the called according to His purpose. 29 For whom He foreknew, He also predestined to be conformed to the image of His Son, that He might be the firstborn among many brethren. 30 Moreover whom He predestined, these He also called; whom He called, these He also justified; and whom He justified, these He also glorified. 31 What then shall we say to these things? If God is for us, who can be against us? 32 He who did not spare His own Son, but delivered Him up for us all, how shall He not with Him also freely give us all things? 33 Who shall bring a charge against God’s elect? It is God who justifies. 34 Who is he who condemns? It is Christ who died, and furthermore is also risen, who is even at the right hand of God, who also makes intercession for us. 35 Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword? 36 As it is written: “For Your sake we are killed all day long; We are accounted as sheep for the slaughter.” 37 Yet in all these things we are more than conquerors through Him who loved us. 38 For I am persuaded that neither death nor life, nor angels nor principalities nor powers, nor things present nor things to come, 39 nor height nor depth, nor any other created thing, shall be able to separate us from the love of God which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.