- Sermon Notes
He Speaks a Better Word
This is the final weekend message out of the book of Hebrews. I am absolutely going to miss this book; it’s one of the richest, most inspiring letters
that challenges our faith.
In the verses we’re studying today, he brings them to a grand conclusion, challenging them to recognize the value of this great salvation they received
and to respond by taking hold of it with strong faith, for without faith it is impossible to please God.
He then gives them an interesting warning, “Those things that can be shaken will be shaken in order that those things which cannot be shaken may remain.”
What does that mean? It’s important we understand because it appears that many things in this world are ready to be shaken. Make sure you take hold
of those things which will remain.
If you take hold of the promises of God and strengthen your faith, it will transform how you live because when you recognize the value of what God has
done for you, the response is to show gratitude and the desire to offer God something in return.
- One of the great themes that runs through the book of Hebrews is that what we have in Jesus is far superior to anything that came before it.
- God spoke long ago to the fathers in the prophets in many portions and in many ways, but in these last days He has spoken to us in His Son.
- In chapter 12 he shows the contrast. “You have not come to a mountain that may not be touched and to a blazing fire, and to darkness and gloom and whirlwind.” He’s
referring to when Moses went up to Mount Sinai to receive the Law from God. The people were intimidated and asked Moses to speak for God because
they were afraid of God’s voice.
- You have not come to Mount Sinai, you have come to Mount Zion and to the city of the living God, the heavenly Jerusalem; you have come to Jesus, the
mediator of the new covenant…
- And you have come to the blood of Jesus which speaks a better word…
- The contrast between Jesus and the Old Testament continues; the blood of Jesus speaks a better word than the blood of Abel.
Genesis 4:9-10, Then the Lord said to Cain, “Where is Abel your brother?” And he said, “I do not know. Am I my brother’s keeper?” He said, “What have you done? The voice of your brother’s blood is crying to Me from the ground.”
- What was the blood of Abel crying out? It was crying for vengeance; an eye for an eye, a life for a life.
- But the blood of Jesus speaks a better word. Instead of vengeance, it speaks a word of grace and mercy and forgiveness.
- That blood of Jesus is sprinkled over every aspect of your life. It speaks life and love; it speaks the favor of God and His hand of blessing on all
- Live with confidence knowing that the blood of Jesus is sprinkled over every area of your life.
Illus – I’ve always believed in the favor of God on my life. Even when bad things have happened I have always believed that God is able to bring good out of it.
I have a vivid memory of missing a plane and yet arriving on time! Yet there were other times I missed the plane and didn’t arrive on time. I trust that God orders my steps regardless of what happens.
When I look back on my life I see evidence of God’s favor over and over and I know that my God is not finished with me yet.
B. Do not refuse Him who is speaking
- This theme that runs through the entire book. God is now speaking through His Son and when God who created the universe speaks, we most certainly
should receive everything He says.
Hebrews 2:1, 3, We must pay much closer attention to what we have heard, lest we drift away from it… How shall we escape if we neglect so great a salvation? After it was first spoken by the Lord, it was confirmed by those who heard, God also testifying with them both by signs and wonders and by various miracles and by gifts of the Holy Spirit.
- Then he adds a warning; if they did not escape when they refused him who warned them on earth, much less shall we escape who turn away from Him
who warns from heaven.
- Moses came down from Mount Sinai with the word of God for them, but they refused to listen. Jesus came from heaven, speaking the words God sent
Him to speak and we must not refuse to hear.
- The word ‘warning’ sounds ominous, but in reality it’s a warning that helps us; the heart behind it is loving.
Illus – It’s like a warning sign, “Bridge Out Ahead.” Someone might read that and say, “I don’t think I like the tone of that warning; that sounds kind of bossy to me. When they learn to write signs more nicely, then we’ll listen. Keep driving, honey.”
- Even in the Old Testament God’s heart was for relationship…
Exodus 19:4-6, “You yourselves have seen how I bore you on eagle’s wings and brought you to Myself. Now then, if you will indeed obey My voice and keep My covenant, then you shall be my own possession among all the peoples, for all the earth is Mine; and you shall be to Me a kingdom of priests and a holy nation.”
- He also gives us a warning and in the same way, it’s for our good. It’s like saying, “That’s the last train out of there, be sure you’re on it
because if you miss it, they will be no other train.”
Illus – I recently used the illustration of the guy in the flood who refused help from a rowboat, a powerboat, and a helicopter, waving them off, saying, “God will save me.” Of course, he dies, gets to heaven and complains to God, “Why didn’t you save me?” God responds, “What are you talking about, I sent you a rowboat, a powerboat, and a helicopter.”
- No one can refuse the Son whom God has sent to bring us so great a salvation and then get to heaven and say, “Why didn’t you save me?” God will
respond, “What you talking about, I sent you My Son.”
Acts 4:12, And there is salvation in no one else; for there is no other name under heaven that has been given among men by which we must be saved.
John 14:6, “I am the way, and of the truth, and the life; no one comes to the Father but through Me.”
- And then he adds a very interesting warning…
C. Everything that can be shaken – will be
- Verses 26-27 – But now He has promised, saying, “Yet once more I will shake not only the earth, but also the heaven.” And this expression, “Yet
once more,” denotes the removing of those things which can be shaken… In order that those things which cannot be shaken may remain.
- Is your hope fixed on things of the earth? Everything on earth will be shaken.
- A powerful warning. Hebrews 11 is filled with heroes of faith who accomplished great spiritual things because they had set their sights toward
the city which has foundations, whose architect and builder is God. He says it here again…
Hebrews 13:14, For here we do not have a lasting city, but we are seeking the city which is to come.
- An increase in earthquakes is one of the ‘signs of the times’ that Jesus said indicate that the end of the age is near. The earth will literally
shake with greater and greater intensity, like a woman in childbirth, as we draw nearer to the end of the age.
- It’s also symbolic in the sense that God promises that everything that can be shaken – will be – in order that those things which cannot be shaken
- “For here we do not have a lasting city, but we are seeking the city which is to come.”
Illus – I mentioned before that the unimaginable happened when the city of Rome was sacked in 410 AD. It was unfathomable that what was once called “The Eternal City” could be sacked and pillaged. As a response, Augustine wrote the famous book, The City of God.
- If the city of Rome can fall, the United States can fall because God says that everything that can be shaken – will be. In other words, don’t get
too comfortable here; this earthly city is not our home. We’re strangers and aliens here. We are seeking the city which is to come.
- The things which are in God cannot be shaken; those are the things which remain. Set your sights higher, seek for those things that are eternal,
that cannot be shaken.
- In verse 26 the writer is quoting from the prophet Haggai. The nation of Israel itself had been sacked and pillaged, in fact, it was destroyed
by Babylon. Israel spent 70 years in exile there.
- When they finally returned, they rebuilt the city of Jerusalem and rebuilt the temple, but many were discouraged because the Temple was nothing
in comparison to its former glory; that’s when God gives this famous promise…
Haggai 2:1-9 Once more God will shake the heavens and the earth…and the latter glory will be greater than the former.
II. Let Us Therefore Show Gratitude
- Verse 28 – Since we receive a kingdom which cannot be shaken, let us show gratitude by which we may offer to God an acceptable service
with reverence and awe.
- In other words, the response to this amazing salvation is not only to be thankful, but to show gratitude. That’s a whole
A. Offer to God an acceptable service
- Jesus did not come to be served, but to serve and to give His life as a ransom for many. When you show gratitude to God,
you have a heart to serve like Jesus served; that is an offering to God that pleases Him.
- Verse 29 – And then he adds, “for our God is a consuming fire.” In other words, everything will be tested by fire…
1 Corinthians 3:13, Each man’s work will become evident; for the day will show it, because it is to be revealed with fire; and the fire itself will test the quality of each man’s work.
- Then, in chapter 13, he lists one after another, those things which show gratitude in acceptable service…
- Let love of the brethren continue, do not neglect to show hospitality to strangers, remember the prisoners, as though in prison with them, let
marriage be held in honor among all, let your character be free from the love of money, being content with what you have, respect those who
are in authority over you and imitate their faith. On and on the list goes.
B. Let us continually offer a sacrifice of praise
- Hebrews 13:15 – let us continually offer up a sacrifice of praise to God, that is the fruit of lips that give thanks to His name.
- God doesn’t want you to just be thankful, He wants you to show gratitude and one way to show gratitude that pleases His heart
is to offer a sacrifice of praise; the fruit of lips that give thanks to His name.
- In other words, say it, sing it, shout it, give God the fruit of your lips in giving thanks.
- Our human nature, our flesh, doesn’t naturally want to show gratitude, that’s why it’s called a sacrifice of praise. It’s an offering to God from
the soul because the spirit is alive within us.
- In our flesh, we want to feel sorry for ourselves, we want to be cynical and grumpy, and caustic, and say every rude thing we feel. For many people,
if they don’t feel good, they have no filter over their feelings and the fruit of their lips, let’s just say, isn’t very edifying.
- Giving God a sacrifice of praise is good for our soul, it reminds us to be grateful and to show gratitude by honoring God with the fruit of our
Psalm 50:23, He who offers a sacrifice of thanksgiving honors Me.
Psalm 100:4-5, Enter His gates with thanksgiving and His courts with praise. Give thanks to Him, bless His name. For the Lord is good; His lovingkindness is everlasting and His faithfulness to all generations.
Hebrews 12:22-13:21 NASB
22 But you have come to Mount Zion and to the city of the living God, the heavenly Jerusalem, and to myriads of angels, 23 to the general assembly and
church 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, which speaks better than the blood of Abel.
escape who turn away from Him who warns from heaven. 26 And His voice shook the earth then, but now He has promised, saying, “Yet once more I will
shake not only the earth, but also the heaven.” 27 This expression, “Yet once more,” denotes the removing of those things which can be shaken, as of
created things, so that those things which cannot be shaken may remain. 28 Therefore, since we receive a kingdom which cannot be shaken, let us show
gratitude, by which we may offer to God an acceptable service with reverence and awe; 29 for our God is a consuming fire.
3 Remember the prisoners, as though in prison with them, and those who are ill-treated, since you yourselves also are in the body. 4 Marriage is
to be held in honor among all, and the marriage bed is to be undefiled; for fornicators and adulterers God will judge. 5 Make sure that your character
is free from the love of money, being content with what you have; for He Himself has said, “I will never desert you, nor will I ever forsake you,”
is the same yesterday and today and forever. 9 Do not be carried away by varied and strange teachings; for it is good for the heart to be strengthened
by grace, not by foods, through which those who were so occupied were not benefited. 10 We have an altar from which those who serve the tabernacle
have no right to eat. 11 For the bodies of those animals whose blood is brought into the holy place by the high priest as an offering for sin,
are burned outside the camp. 12 Therefore Jesus also, that He might sanctify the people through His own blood, suffered outside the gate. 13
So, let us go out to Him outside the camp, bearing His reproach. 14 For here we do not have a lasting city, but we are seeking the city which
is to come.
15 Through Him then, let us continually offer up a sacrifice of praise to God, that is, the fruit of lips that give thanks to His name. 16 And do not
neglect doing good and sharing, for with such sacrifices God is pleased. 17 Obey your leaders and submit to them, for they keep watch over your
souls as those who will give an account. Let them do this with joy and not with grief, for this would be unprofitable for you. 18 Pray for us,
for we are sure that we have a good conscience, desiring to conduct ourselves honorably in all things. 19 And I urge you all the more to do this,
so that I may be restored to you the sooner. 20 Now the God of peace, who brought up from the dead the great Shepherd of the sheep through the
blood of the eternal covenant, even Jesus our Lord, 21 equip you in every good thing to do His will, working in us that which is pleasing in His
sight, through Jesus Christ, to whom be the glory forever and ever. Amen.