12 Sep Hebrews 21: The unshakeable kingdom
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.
One of my joys and privileges as a pastor is I get to attend many graduations. I love to celebrate your milestone with you. It is a delight to be able to share that joy with you and your family. That, and the fact that I get to wear my suit to a special occasion. I love wearing a suit but it’s kind of weird if I wear a suit to work when there is only me and my dad in the office. And another thing about me is that I’m a punctual person. I hate being late. But I also do not like waiting. And it is kind of tricky when it comes to attending graduation. I do not know exactly how long it takes for the ceremony to end and for the graduate to walk out. Usually, it takes about 1.5 hours but that’s only an approximation. One time, I was invited to graduation. So, I went to work wearing a suit that day. The ceremony began at 1 PM and the graduate would walkout at around 2:30 PM. So, I had to leave my office by 2 PM. I got everything planned out already. But that day, I was in my sermon writing mode and I lost track of time because of it. When I finally checked the clock, it was already 2:15 PM. I panicked. So, I quickly made my way to Macquarie University. I prayed that there would be no traffic and for God to provide a parking spot. Because one of the headaches of attending graduation is finding parking. God answered my prayer. It was very easy to find parking that day. And as soon as I parked my car, I ran to the graduation oval. I thought I must be very late because Macquarie Uni was surprisingly empty that day. I got to the oval, I was out of breath, I checked my phone, and it was 2:40 PM. I was 10 minutes late. But there was no one at the oval. I was confused. I thought maybe they changed the graduation place. And suddenly I remembered. The person who was graduating did not attend Macquarie University but UTS. I was in the wrong university. True story.
Here is why I tell you this story. The author of Hebrews tells us that it is possible for us to run as hard as we can, for us to be out of breath, but ends up in the wrong place. The issue is not only whether we are running our race, but whether we are running toward the right destination. And this is the theme of the book of Hebrews. Remember the context of the book of Hebrews. There were many Jewish Christians who questioned whether it was worth it to follow Jesus. They found out that the Christian race was hard. They experienced many sufferings and pain. They were rejected by the people closest to them. And they were tempted to walk away from Jesus and return to their old ways of life. They wanted to run back to the old covenant. And the author of Hebrews tells them, “Don’t run back to Judaism. Don’t run back to the old covenant. Because you have something far better already. You have the new covenant and Jesus as the guarantor of it. So don’t run back to Judaism but run forward to Jesus.”
And to make his point, the author creates a contrasting picture between two mountains: Mount Sinai and Mount Zion. This is the climactic point of the book of Hebrews. This is the crescendo. Many scholars think that the book of Hebrews was originally delivered as one long sermon. So, if you think that I preach long, think again. And chapter 12 is the conclusion of the sermon’s main argument. In chapter 13, the author gives us the practical applications of his sermon. But in our passage for today, the author is making one final contrast picture between the old covenant and the new covenant; between Moses and Jesus; between the law and the gospel. He uses the image of Mount Sinai to describe the old covenant and Mount Zion to describe the new covenant. He is putting together everything he has been saying up to this point to persuade his audience to make the right choice. There is only one way we can come to God. There is only one mountain that solves our problem. There is only one kingdom that will remain forever. The question is, are we on the right mountain? Or are we on the wrong mountain? Get this. If we are on the right mountain, we can remain steadfast and strong amid all uncertainties that happen around us. Because on the right mountain, we receive the unshakeable kingdom that enables us to have confidence in life. It does not matter what happened or what will happen, we are unshakeable.
I have three points for my sermon: Mount Sinai; Mount Zion; The kingdom.
Hebrews 12:18-21 – 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.”
Verse 18 begins with the word, “for”. And every time you see the word “for”, you must connect what the author is saying with what he just said previously. And if you remember last week sermon, we ended with the exhortation from the author to not be like Esau. He said, “Do not be like Esau who traded God’s blessing for a bowl of soup. That’s dumb. And later when Esau desired the blessing, it was already too late. Don’t make the same mistake. Don’t trade Jesus for Judaism. Don’t trade the blessing of the new covenant with the old covenant.” And now he gives us the reason for it. “Do not be like Esau for you have not come to Mount Sinai.” That phrase “for you have not come” is very important. It tells us that it is something that has already happened. The author does not say “for you will not come” but “for you have not come”. So, get this. The exhortation for us to not be like Esau is not a way for us to receive God’s blessing but a way for us to trust God for the blessing we have received. Are you with me? And the author will use the experiences of Mount Sinai and Mount Zion to explain why we should not trade the blessings of the new covenant with the old covenant.
Let’s look at the experience of Mount Sinai first. The author does not mention the name of Mount Sinai. But the moment the Jewish Christians read the descriptions in verses 18 to 21, they immediately know that the author is referring to Exodus 19, where the Israelites encountered the presence of God at Mount Sinai. Mount Sinai was the mountain Moses climbed up to receive God’s law. God commanded Moses to warn the people of Israel to sanctify themselves or they would die. They could not touch the mountain because God’s presence was manifested on the mountain, and it would kill every sinner who draw near to the mountain without invitation. And to make his point, God manifested his presence in terrifying ways. The author of Hebrews gives us seven descriptions of Mount Sinai experience: tangible mountain; blazing fire, darkness; gloom; tempest; trumpet’s sound; terrifying voice. The voice was so terrifying to the point that the people beg God not to say anything else to them. That’s why they told Moses to speak to God on their behalf or else they would die. They could not endure it. And here is what’s interesting. Even Moses himself was frightened by what he saw. The manifested presence of God on Mount Sinai was so terrifying that Moses trembled with fear.
What is the point of these terrifying manifestations of God’s presence at Mount Sinai? The effect of these terrifying physical signs was to display the absolute unapproachableness of God. No one can draw near to God’s holy presence. Not even your cute innocent dogs. So, if Ruby and Nello the cavoodle decided to run around Mount Sinai at that time, they must be stoned. The message is simple. God is a holy God, and you don’t play around with him. God’s manifested presence on Mount Sinai showed us the incomparable power of God and his sheer holiness. It created fear and terror for the people of Israel. Under the old covenant, the emphasis was on the infinite distance between the holy God and his people. God’s message for his people under the old covenant was, “Stay away. Don’t get too close. Or you will die.”
What does it tell us? It tells us that it does not matter how good we are, it does not matter how capable we are, we cannot draw near to God based on our own merits. Approaching God through our obedience to the law of God does not work. Our best effort means nothing in the presence of the holy God. In fact, our best effort is nothing but hypocrisy. None of us ever lives up to our standard of best. Let me give you an example. I think it is safe to say that every one of us believes in the golden rule. “Do to others as you would have them do to you.” It is a good rule for life. We often use the golden rule as our standard of measurement on what it means to be a good person. We tell ourselves, “I know I am not perfect, but I am a pretty good person. I have tried my best to live out the golden rule. I treat others the way I want them to treat me. Therefore, I am good.” But are we? Let me speak for myself. I am not able to live out the golden rule. There is not a single day in my life where I have tried as hard to understand others the way I want them to understand me. There is not a single day where I try my best to meet the need of others the way I want them to meet my need. Not even close. I want people to understand and meet my need more than I do toward them. It is hypocrisy for me to think that I am a good person because I have tried my best to live up to my own standards. The truth is I fail my own standards every day. There is not a single day where I live up to my own standards. I am not a good person.
But I can easily fool myself into thinking that I am a good person. And when I encounter the holy God, I trembled with fear. Why? Because my lies are exposed. Everything about me falls apart. It’s like Jenga. I hate playing Jenga because I always lose. But if you play Jenga, and you are good at it, then you would reach a stage that you can’t remove any more blocks. But you have to because it is your turn. Whatever block you choose to take out, the tower will crumble. Every single block has become the strong point from which the whole tower stand. Remove one and the tower collapse. That’s what happens in the presence of the holy God. God exposed our hypocrisy. We realized that we are not good people. Not even close. When we get to the presence of the holy God, everything falls apart. Everything is shaken.
Timothy Keller gives a wonderful illustration to explain it. He describes it like attending an elite university. When you study at an elite university, there is a tremendous amount of pressure for you to succeed. Everybody wants an A. And all the students who attend an elite university, have gotten all A before. They have always been the smartest in the class. And it’s not simply that they are the smartest but being smart and getting straight A’s is how they get through in life. It is their identity. It is who they see themselves in the mirror. It is their strong point. But when you get thousands of people who only ever got A in the same classes, somebody has to get a B. Somebody has to get a C. And so many students crumble with a B and a C. They fell apart. Why? Because if the strong point of their life is, “I am the smartest”, then when they get into the presence of smarter people, it is frightening. It is traumatic.
If that’s what happened in the presence of people who are so much better than us, what do you think would happen when we are in the presence of the holy God? We would be shaken to the very core of us. In the presence of God, what we thought to be strength is nothing but weakness. The holiness of God not only reveals our sinfulness. The holiness of God makes us look at our greatest strengths and realize they are not strengths at all. When we get into the presence of God, we realize that we are the problem. The world is filled with sinners, and we are one of them. Even the best part of us is ugly. The Bible is clear on this. Whenever someone encounters the holy God, they start to hate themselves. We know we have encountered the holy God not when we feel good about ourselves, but when we finally realize that we are sinners. We are more prideful than we think. We are more selfish, more cruel and more capable of evil than we dare to acknowledge. There is not a single person who can stand in the presence of God and say, “God, look at what I’ve done!” We can only say, “God, what have I done?” The presence of God crushes us. There is nothing good in us that can make us approach God’s presence at Mount Sinai. That’s the bad news. But here is the good news. We were brought to a mountain, but not that mountain. We have not come to Mount Sinai but Mount Zion. Mount Sinai is where the Israelites met God in the old covenant. Mount Zion is where Christians meet God in the new covenant. As Christians, we do not identify ourselves with the mountain where the law was given, but with the mountain where the law was fulfilled. So, let’s look at Mount Zion.
Hebrews 12:22-24 – 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.
Mount Zion is another name for the city of Jerusalem. It is often used to describe the city of God, the city of promise fulfilment and peace. Notice the phrase “You have come”. This is perfect tense. It means that it is a permanent continuing condition. It means that Mount Zion is not something we will come to. Mount Zion is our present reality. And Mount Zion is far better than Mount Sinai. If the experience of Mount Sinai was terrifying, the experience of Mount Zion is joyful. Look at the seven descriptions the author gives us of Mount Zion experience.
First, we have come to the city of the living God. It means that we are already citizens of the kingdom of God. Second, we have come to innumerable angels in festal gathering. This word festal gathering is interesting. It means an incredibly wild party. So, we are in joyous celebration, partying and worshipping God with a multitude of angels. Third, we have come to the assembly of the firstborn. Assembly of the firstborn refers to all Christians from every nation, tribe, and tongue, in the past, present, and future. It speaks of the universal church that has been redeemed by Jesus’ blood. We have come together as one people of God. Fourth, we have come to God, the judge of all. The word judge here is not used to communicate one who will condemn but one who has declared that there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus. And if God has declared us not guilty, who can condemn us? And the same God will one day judge those who refused to believe in Jesus. Fifth, we have come to the spirits of the righteous made perfect. It means that right now, in all our weaknesses and flaws, we have been made perfect by Jesus’s once for all sacrifice. There is no unrighteous or imperfect person in Mount Zion. Sixth, we have come to Jesus, the mediator of a new covenant. In the old covenant, Moses was the mediator, and he did it while he was trembling in fear. But in the new covenant, Jesus is our mediator, and we have no reason to be afraid because Jesus lives forever to mediate for us. Seventh, we have come to the sprinkled blood that speaks a better word than the blood of Abel. The blood of Abel cries out vengeance for the wrong that was done to him by his brother. But the blood of Jesus cries out forgiveness for the wrongs that we, his brothers, do against him.
Can you see the contrast between Mount Sinai and Mount Zion? Don’t miss this. If Mount Sinai describes our relationship with God through the law, Mount Zion describes our relationship with God through the gospel. If Mount Sinai cries out, “stay away from God”, Mount Zion cries out, “draw near to God”. And the good news is that we have not come to Mount Sinai, but we have come to Mount Zion, the city of the living God. Mount Sinai has been displaced by Mount Zion. We have a far better covenant today. What we hear from Mount Zion is not the frightening voice that makes us want to stay away. What we hear from Mount Zion is the loving voice of our Mediator inviting us to stay close. In the new covenant, we hear God says to us, “I love you. I forgive you. I purchase you. I redeem you. I cleanse you. I protect you. I keep you. I am with you always.” Jesus is a far better mediator than Moses. Jesus removes every reason for us to be afraid of God. This is the reality of Mount Zion. We have been invited to the party of the universe. Mount Zion is oceans of joy.
A few years ago, I listened to Francis Chan’s sermon, and it stuck with me. He said that there were too many Christians who settled for the Mount Sinai experience and missed out on what God has in store for them. Think about the Mount Sinai experience. The people of God witnessed the presence of God, and they were terrified. They told Moses, “Moses, why don’t you go up the mountain and speak to God on our behalf? We will wait for you down here.” So, Moses went up Mount Sinai to meet with God while God’s people waiting for Moses to return so they can hear what God has to say through Moses. And it was great. God showed his people that Moses was his chosen mediator. That was Mount Sinai. But today, we did not come to Mount Sinai. We have come to Mount Zion. Listen. Church, I love you. But I am not your Moses. And you do not need Moses. You do not need another person to be your mediator. The good news of Mount Zion is that the veil was torn once for all. Now you have access to the mountain top. You are invited to come into God’s presence and hear from God yourself. Don’t get me wrong. I am not saying you do not need me as your pastor because you do. I still have a role to play in Mount Zion. Otherwise, I would be jobless. I am happy to preach the word of God to you. I am flattered when you say, “I can’t wait to hear what God has to say through Yosi today. C’mon Yos. Give me more gospel. I want more.” That’s awesome. But if that’s all you want, you are missing out big time. Because you do not have to wait till Sunday at 4 PM to hear from God. You have access to God’s presence at any time. You can come up to the mountain. You can hear from God, meet God, and experience God for yourself. And that is far better than hearing what God has to say through me. Why would you settle for Yosi when you can meet the God of the universe yourself? This is the reality of our Christian life and our relationship with God. We have been invited to enjoy God for ourselves. We have come to Mount Zion. Are you with me? And that also means we have received the unshakeable kingdom. Let’s look at the third point.
Hebrews 12:25-29 – 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.
In verses 25, the author makes the lesser to greater argument that he did several times throughout his letter to compare the old covenant and the new covenant. He is saying that if the punishment for ignoring what God said in the old covenant was so severe, how much more for ignoring the far better new covenant? If we cannot escape the severe punishment of refusing God in the old covenant, we will never be able to escape the punishment of rejecting Jesus. And today, if you have yet to put your faith in Jesus, and you hear Jesus speaks to you, do not refuse him. He is offering you eternal salvation. He wants to bring you to Mount Zion. You only have two choices: receive his word and receive eternal salvation or reject his word and receive eternal judgement. My prayer is that you do not make the wrong choice. Confess your sins before God and receive his abundant grace. His grace is available for you for free. You cannot purchase it and you cannot earn it. You can only receive it freely because the price is too much for you to pay. But Jesus has paid it all. Jesus satisfied the wrath of God against sin by dying on the cross for you and he offers you the free gift of salvation. You can come to Mount Zion. Do not refuse him who is speaking to you.
Look at verses 26 and 27. I love it. Hebrews 12:26-27 – 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. The author tells us clearly that everything in this world that can be shaken will be shaken. Just like God shook the earth with his voice on Mount Sinai, there will come a day where God will shake not only the earth but also the heavens. There is nothing in this world that can be shaken that will not be shaken. Let me put it this way. Does anyone ever watch Gerard Butler’s “has fallen” movie? I think there are three movies. Olympus has fallen, London has fallen, and Angel has fallen. They have the same storyline. You watch one and you watch all. The premise of the story is that something that is seen as impregnable and powerful suddenly falls apart. And Gerard Butler is there to save the day. And the author of Hebrews is saying a similar thing. In those days, it was unthinkable for the Roman empire to fall apart. The Roman empire was the greatest civilization the world has ever known. Rome was the most powerful kingdom. So, when Rome fell apart in the 5th century, everyone thought it was the end of the world. Rome has fallen.
In fact, we don’t have to go back to the 5th century to know that everything in this world is shakeable. We experience it ourselves in the last two years. COVID-19 shakes the whole world. It shakes our nation. It shakes our city. It shakes our family. And it shakes our life. There is not a single person in this place who is not shaken by COVID-19. Some of us have lost jobs because of it. Some of us have lost people that we know and loved. And all of us have our freedom taken away by COVID-19. Everything around us is shaking. More than ever before, we understand that life is very fragile. Nothing in this world is unshakeable. Whether it is achievement, possession, pleasures, power, comfort, everything can be taken away from us in a single moment. Nothing in this world lasts forever. Everything in creation will wear out. Our favourite clothes will wear out. Our car, our job, our spouse, our favourite food, our favourite view, everything in creation has its expiry date. Ladies, it does not matter how often you botox that face, wrinkle is coming. Guys, it does not matter how often we go to the gym, the day that we hurt ourselves by sleeping is coming. Ask Joshua Fernando if you do not believe me. We can delay it, but we cannot stop it. Every kingdom and government will come to an end. Every king, every president, every athlete will come to an end. Even the planet earth that we live on has its expiry date according to scientists. A day will come where God will shake everything in this world once more. God will remove and destroy everything that is unpleasing to him. He will remove anything that is impure. No imperfection will remain. Why will God do it? “In order that the things that cannot be shaken may remain.” In other words, get this. God will shake and remove everything that is shakeable to show that he is the only one that is unshakeable. His kingdom is the only kingdom that lasts forever.
But here is the good news for Christians. For us who lived in the new covenant, we receive a kingdom that cannot be shaken. We are part of God’s kingdom that will never come to an end. The kingdom of God has no expiry date. It is an unshakeable kingdom. Nothing can stop God’s kingdom from triumphing over the kingdoms and rulers of this world. The White House cannot stop God’s kingdom. The royal family cannot stop God’s kingdom. Kim Jon Un cannot stop God’s kingdom. ISIS cannot stop God’s kingdom. The Taliban cannot stop God’s kingdom. And yes, it does not stop them from trying. The kings and kingdoms of this world will try to stop the kingdom of God from advancing. But their best efforts are like a speck of dust before Himalaya Mountain. They are powerless before the might of the kingdom of God.
King Nebuchadnezzar experienced firsthand how futile it is to oppose the kingdom of God. He thought he was powerful. He thought nothing could destroy Babylon. He said, “Look at the great Babylon that I build with my own hand.” And God shook him and his kingdom. Nebuchadnezzar lost his sanity for a season. And through it, he learned the hard lesson. And this is the lesson that everyone who opposes the kingdom of God will eventually learn. Daniel 4:34-35 – 34 At the end of the days I, Nebuchadnezzar, lifted my eyes to heaven, and my reason returned to me, and I blessed the Most High, and praised and honored him who lives forever, for his dominion is an everlasting dominion, and his kingdom endures from generation to generation; 35 all the inhabitants of the earth are accounted as nothing, and he does according to his will among the host of heaven and among the inhabitants of the earth; and none can stay his hand or say to him, “What have you done?” This is how powerful the kingdom of God is. And for us who have put our faith in Jesus, we are citizens of this unshakeable kingdom. It does not mean that we will be safe from every harm in this world. Receiving God’s unshakeable kingdom does not mean that we are free from COVID-19. But it means that there is nothing that can separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus. In Jesus, we are unshakeable.
And what is our response to receiving a kingdom that cannot be shaken? Hebrews 12:28-29 – 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. Think about it. Should we be afraid of consuming fire? It depends. Because fire can either kill us or purify us. And for the enemies of God, they should be afraid of God’s consuming fire because it will kill them. But for Christians, the fire of God can consume us and not destroy us. It purifies us. How? Because someone else took God’s punishment for our sins. Someone else was shaken so that we can be unshakeable. Matthew 27 recorded that when Jesus died, there was darkness over the land, the earth shook, and the rocks were split. Darkness. Earthquake. Rocks split. Does it sound familiar? It was Mount Sinai experience all over again. Mount Sinai fell on Jesus. The weight of God’s justice fell upon Jesus. His body was torn at the cross. Jesus was getting the shaking that we deserve. Jesus was shaken in a way that we would never be. He absorbed every drop of God’s wrath against sin, and he died for it. And God was satisfied with what Jesus had done and he resurrected Jesus from death on the third day. This was God’s vindication of Jesus’ sacrifice. In doing so, Jesus defeated our ultimate shaking, death, once and for all. The resurrection of Jesus proves that the kingdom of God is unshakeable. The wage of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life. And we receive this gift when we put our faith in Jesus. Jesus’ righteousness becomes our righteousness. Jesus’ victory becomes our victory. And this is why we are unshakeable. Jesus was shaken so we may receive a kingdom that cannot be shaken.
If this is true, then our first response is gratitude. We who deserve death have received life. And not because of our own merits but because of grace. How can we not be thankful? And our second response is reverence and awe. We do not become arrogant and careless but rather we live in such a way that expresses our worship toward God. We are in constant awe of the One who died for us and gave his life for us. We who were condemned criminals have been declared innocent and became the citizens of the unshakeable kingdom. What else can we do but live a life worthy of the gospel? Let me close with this illustration from Martyn Lloyd Jones. Let’s say that one day your friend decided to pay your bill. How would you respond to your friend’s kindness? It depends on the bill, right? If it’s a $100 bill, you would probably say, “You don’t have to but thank you.” You feel gratitude toward your friend. But let’s say it is not $100, but $1 million. What would you do? Lloyd Jones said you would probably fall to your knees and say, “Your wish is my command.” And friends, this is the power of the gospel. If we get the gospel, if we get what Jesus has done for us, our natural response is to live in constant reverence and awe of Jesus. When we see the penalty Jesus paid for us, the debt he absorbed into his own body to make us his, we will desire to live a life worthy of the gospel. If we are only thankful for the gospel, we have not truly grasped the gospel. And this is the point that the author of Hebrews is making. We have not come to Mount Sinai. We have come to Mount Zion. We do not have a relationship with God based on law. We have a relationship with God based on grace. We have Jesus as the perfect mediator of the new covenant. We have received the unshakeable kingdom of God. If this is true, why would we want to go back to Mount Sinai? That is extremely dumb. Jesus has given us what no one else could give us. He has given us access to God’s presence. He has given us the unshakeable kingdom. Jesus is better. So don’t trade Jesus for anything. Let’s pray.
- Have you ever been in the presence of someone you admire, who is much better than you? What happened?
- Why were the Israelites terrified to approach God’s presence on Mount Sinai? What does it teach us about God?
- On Mount Zion, we no longer need “Moses” to be our mediator. We can come to God’s presence ourselves. But why do you think many of us still prefer “Moses”?
- Everything in this world that can be shaken will be shaken. How does this truth shape Christian’s relationship with the things of this present world?
- How do we receive a kingdom that cannot be shaken?
- Give specific examples of what it means to live a life worthy of the gospel.