For the past weeks we’ve been exploring Hebrews 12. We’ve talked about endurance, discipline and obedience. Hebrews 12 offers a great vision of how to live as a child of God during these times we’re living. It is a great encouragement to us, as we follow Christ, to know that HIS kingdom cannot be shaken. We may go through difficulties here on earth, but we serve a God that has a kingdom greater than any disturbance here on earth, and we can be assured that if we follow His ways, we will NOT stumble.
“Work at getting along with each other and with God. Otherwise you’ll never get so much as a glimpse of God. Make sure no one gets left out of God’s generosity. Keep a sharp eye out for weeds of bitter discontent. A thistle or two gone to seed can ruin a whole garden in no time. Watch out for the Esau syndrome: trading away God’s lifelong gift in order to satisfy a short-term appetite. You well know how Esau later regretted that impulsive act and wanted God’s blessing—but by then it was too late, tears or no tears. Unlike your ancestors, you didn’t come to Mount Sinai—all that volcanic blaze and earthshaking rumble—to hear God speak. The earsplitting words and soul-shaking message terrified them and they begged him to stop. When they heard the words—“If an animal touches the Mountain, it’s as good as dead”—they were afraid to move. Even Moses was terrified. No, that’s not your experience at all. You’ve come to Mount Zion, the city where the living God resides. The invisible Jerusalem is populated by throngs of festive angels and Christian citizens. It is the city where God is Judge, with judgments that make us just. You’ve come to Jesus, who presents us with a new covenant, a fresh charter from God. He is the Mediator of this covenant. The murder of Jesus, unlike Abel’s—a homicide that cried out for vengeance—became a proclamation of grace. (Hebrews 12:14-24 MSG)”
There are a few bold statements in these verses:
1: In order for us to serve God, we need to obey God’s word.
Did you know that sin separates you from God? It’s not easy to obey him, but the reward is a glimpse of God. Get along with others —-and get along with God. And the word “work” suggests that it is not something that just comes naturally. No, it is not natural to love people. No, it is not natural to get along with God. You need bold obedience to love people. People are not easy to deal with and many times situations call for criticism and hatred, but, When God tells you get along with each other, do it, because the consequence might just be separation from Gods presence. And that’s a terrible place to be. You need bold obedience to stay close to God, to get along with God. Sin separates you from God. It takes bold obedience to say no to sin. It takes courage to separate yourself from this filthy, dirty, nasty culture. We are tempted to sin everywhere we go, it takes a youth that goes AGAINST the grain to say “I want to obey”.
2: It takes bold obedience.
If you have a temptation lingering around, be careful not to trade your birthright like Esau for just a tidy bit of pleasure like a simple lentil soup. What a mistake! It takes bold obedience to say no to appetite, to say no to sin, to say no to pleasure. What are you trading that salvation for? What is God asking you not to do? When Esau traded His birthright, he LOST his chance. Be careful that your disobedience might cause you to lose your blessing. You might find yourself crying bitter tears because you’ve just traded what God had been planting in your heart for so long for a moment of disobedience. It might be too late for you to turn around. (Teacher note: tell the story of the dark room and the door) Be Bold, Be Obedient. Stay focused.
3: You’re not in this alone.
Many people all around you are also boldly obeying God. (Teacher note: pick 1 article out of the 4 to support this point: “you’re not alone, many are also gathering in obedience for this call”) Reach out to your ultimate example, Jesus. He endured the cross to save you. He is the mediator and the champion of our salvation. You were bought at a high price, and you’re just as important to Jesus as anyone else also in this race. You’ve been bought with precious blood so you could stand at His feet and worship Him along with the angels. Take this bold move to separate yourself from the world and take on the grace that His blood proclaimed for you. Accept Jesus into your life, accept what He is asking from you and boldly give him your all today. You may be in a situation right now that you might think you’re not worthy to be worshipping God is being called His son/daughter, but I tell you right now His blood purchased you and the sins that we have committed have all fallen on His shoulders. He carried the cross and boldly obeyed God’s call to save the world. Won’t you obey His calling right now to stand in Mount Zion and boldly give your life to him? We all need this challenge. Doesn’t matter how long you’ve been serving The Lord or how good you think your life is, in this walk we will face opposition. Let me tell you, if you’re not facing opposition you should be worried. The devil should be so scared of you that he should be doing everything he can to stop you on your tracks. If your life is fine and dandy right now you should be worried, because that means the devil doesn’t really want you. If you’re facing opposition and you’re getting tempted left and right to separate yourself from God, you’re in the same boat as us. You WILL face opposition, you will be faced with many choices that will tempt you like Esau to sell yourself cheap, but let me tell you IT TAKES BOLD FAITH AND BOLD HEARTS TO SAY “I am separated.” “I am standing on Mount Zion.” “I am not going anywhere away from God’s presence and I will obey Him and I shall not be shaken!”
It takes bold faith. It takes bold obedience. You have to make that choice. Let’s reflect in this scripture and ask God to show us how to be obedient. We must obey Gods Holy Word. This isn’t a joke. Esau did NOT move Gods heart with his tears, it was too late. Let that not be YOUR story. Today. Today is the day to make a choice and tell God “I will obey” “I want to live and worship freely in Mount Zion, in your presence!”