Hebrews 12:14-29: A Kingdom That Cannot Be Shaken
September 23, 2023
TODAY'S BIBLE READING:
The author of Hebrews has been urging his readers to continue following Christ because Christ is better (by far) than any of the Old Testament prophets and leaders – he is their fulfillment and the culmination of God’s work in the world.
But what does such faithfulness to Christ mean in the worshiping community of the church? In our passage today, the author of Hebrews first addresses community and then the nature of worship in the New Testament church.
First, in terms of community (verses 14-17), he is very practical.
- We must make every effort to live at peace with each other. Don’t let any bitter root grow up that will cause trouble and damage many people. It is so easy in community to let grudges grow. But as inheritors of all God’s blessings in Christ, as recipients of grace, we are to forgive as we have been forgiven. God, grant us grace to live at peace with each other!
- Equally practical, he urges us to avoid sexual immorality. If one danger in community is too great distance from each other, another danger is too much intimacy that becomes sexual in nature. Be warned of the dangers of sexual immorality, and flee from it!
Then, second, in terms of worship (verses 18-29), he is very inspiring.
- New Testament worship is both more joyful and more awesome than Old Testament worship. Whereas, the archetype for Old Testament worship was the worship of the people of God around the Mount where they received the Ten Commandments, the worship of God’s people is more spiritual or “heavenly” in nature. We have not come to “Mount Sinai”; we have come to “Mount Zion.” “Thousands upon thousands in joyful assembly.”
- And because of this, we must “not refuse him who speaks.” The joy and awe, the city of the living God of which we are part, and God himself to whom we have come, mean that we must pay even greater attention to God’s Word, the gospel, the teaching of the Bible!
- This kingdom of God “cannot be shaken.” It is now the fulfillment of what God promised in the Old Testament.
“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.’”
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ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Josh Moody (Ph.D., University of Cambridge) is the senior pastor of College Church in Wheaton, IL., president and founder of God Centered Life Ministries, and author of several books including How the Bible Can Change Your Life and John 1-12 For You.
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