Life Rooted in Christ - Kingdom Worldview (Heb. 12:25-29)
Life Rooted in Christ (4): Kingdom Worldview
Hebrews 12:25–29 - “See to it that you do not refuse Him who is speaking. For if those did not escape when they refused him who warned them on earth, much less will we 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.”
Life rooted in Christ requires a number of spiritual disciplines: Hebrews 12 points us to each of these: Put on Christ (12:2 - “fixing our eyes on Jesus”), Put off sin (12:1 - “lay aside every encumbrance and the sin which so easily entangles us”), Walk by Faith (12:1 - “run with endurance the race that is set before us”), and New Covenant Worship (12:28 - “let us give thanks, and through this let us offer worship pleasing to God in devotion and awe”).
Refusing Christ (v25). The people of Israel refused the Word from Moses. But how much more should we not refuse Him who has accomplished the work of redemption and is now seated at the right hand of the Father. Take Action: Listen to Jesus, hear His Word, get counsel on how to regularly and effectively feed on God’s Word.
Shaking Earth and Heaven (v26-27). The writer cites the book of Haggai, a book about the rebuilding of the temple (516 BC). That very (second) temple, along with the powers of heaven and earth of the first century are about to be shaken. Jesus Himself predicted this (Mk. 13, Mt. 24, Lk. 21). God shook everything loose in the first century world, including the demolition of Jerusalem, the temple and of the Roman Julio-Claudian line of Caesars. Take Action: Temporal judgments still come. Are you ready for the storm? Are you prepared spiritually for calamity? Where do you stand with Christ? Get right or get left behind (for judgment).
Unshakable Kingdom (vv28-29). After this shaking an unshakable kingdom would be established. This argument is in fact the capstone of the entire book of Hebrews. Don’t turn away from the One who “made purification of sins, He sat down at the right hand of the Majesty on high” (1:3). This shaking of the world, followed by the promised kingdom (Dan. 2:44, 7:ff13). Therefore: “let us show gratitude, by which we may offer to God an acceptable service with reverence and awe” (v28). Gratitude flows out of our hearts in expressions of joy, praise, happiness, contentedness. It is in its essence a response to gifts given, to grace. A lack of gratitude is seen in criticism, backbiting, sarcasm, cynicism, fault-finding, slander, suspicion, judging, etc. The “acceptable service” is the idea of whole-life service/worship to God with profound recognition of God’s power and might. Reverence is properly aligned fear. Only God is to be ultimately feared since He is a consuming fire. We should not fear life or death, angels or demons; we should not fear man, or changing circumstances. We should not fear of the future. The only being worthy of such fear is the living God. Apart from Jesus, your the worst enemy, your greatest threat, your greatest horror is God. “Do not fear those who kill the body but are unable to kill the soul; but rather fear Him who is able to destroy both soul and body in hell” (Matt. 10:28). If you have a low view of God you will fear many things. In Christ we should have our fears redirected and transformed into gratitude and acceptable worship in reverence and awe. Take Action: Press on with right worship, with God’s people, with faithfulness in family life, with our vocations, all of which can be part of this great kingdom advance. Repent of your apostasies and worship. Speak to your family about how their gifts and callings advance God’s kingdom. Encourage your friends and family in the gratitude that powers a properly aligned fear of the Lord.
Gregg Strawbridge, Ph.D., is the pastor of All Saints Church in Lancaster, PA. He became a committed follower of Jesus Christ at age 20, discipled in the context of a University Navigator Ministry. As a result of personal discipleship he went on to study at Columbia Biblical Seminary (M.A., Columbia, SC, 1990), as well as a Ph.D. in education and philosophy... read more