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January 22, 2017

"AN IMMOVEABLE KINGDOM"

TEXT: Hebrews 12: 28-29 (Read vv. 25-29)
READING:  Psalm 96: 1-13

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SUBJ: The fact that we are both in and are receiving the immoveable Kingdom of God with the injunction that we be in the way of receiving it and serving God accordingly with reverence and Godly fear.

AIM: That we might move with confidence in this present in the way of true worship and the service rendered in a proper manner and so to have grace.

INTR: The twelfth chapter of Hebrews is most encouraging in that the witness of the faithful and the witness of the Spirit in us assures us that we are brought to Christ.
1. We are transported to scenes in the past where the power and holiness of God were displayed and witnessed as a terrifying sight.
2. In so doing, the writer causes us to see something of the manner in which the Lord proves that which is genuine and divinely constituted.
3. The book of Hebrews is often characterized by the “better things” it reveals and the Kingdom we are receiving (now and in the future) is far better than any other.

THESIS: Our Lord revealed early on both the fact of the Kingdom and the necessity of the New Birth to enter it. Saved people are both in the process of and are assured of fully receiving this same Kingdom which cannot be moved.

I. The Kingdom we are receiving (v. 28a)
1. The implications here are of an active process and by virtue of that process we are assured of final possession and participation.
1) It is that for which we are being prepared and
2) We shall in every way be fitted for it in time.
2. We are there now because of a divine call: That ye would walk worthy of God, who hath called you unto his kingdom and glory. 1 Thessalonians 2:12.
3. Citizenship in the Kingdom is ever before us in the example of Christ and we are called coheirs with Him.
1) We then have a royal character imparted to us and it is to be cultivated: But ye are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, an holy nation, a peculiar people; that ye should shew forth the praises of him who hath called you out of darkness into his marvellous light: 1 Peter 2:9.
2) As such we are under the protection and care of the King who never slumbers.
3) All spiritual rights and privileges are ours to enjoy including the grace and peace that attends the way of all who wait on Him. In all these things we are given a foretaste of that which shall be brought to perfection when He comes in His Kingdom.
4. And, it is an immoveable Kingdom
1) We can compare the Old Testament Kingdom whose continuance depended on men and as it was shaken it eventually fell.
2) This statement is about the shaking that then occurred and which shall continue to occur.
3) We understand that there is a proving to be endured in that which pertains to Him
i. Thus, He shakes with a view to revealing all that is not genuine (see verses 26-27)
ii. We are reminded that all that “shakes” came against Christ and He never moved and neither does the Kingdom He claims as His.

II. The mandate to have grace (v. 28b)
1. The thoughts are varied as to the meaning of these words and yet, like many other issues, it seems that all thoughts may have merit.
1) The KJV margin has it as “let us hold fast” with the thought of the blessedness of true spiritual awareness.
2) Albert Barnes wrote of assurance that all our interests are safe; all our exertions will be crowned with ultimate success; the efforts we make to do good will have a permanent influence on mankind and will bless future ages; and the reward is certain.
3) John Gill saw is as holding fast to the doctrine of grace, the Gospel and that we should hold it as a possession.
4) Others view is as implying thankfulness which is verified in that we should so all things with thanksgiving: Rooted and built up in him, and stablished in the faith, as ye have been taught, abounding therein with thanksgiving. Colossians 2:7
2. It is by way of these things that we are able to serve God acceptably:
1) Acceptably: In which there is a “sweet savor of Christ” in all we do
2) With a due recognition of the Majesty and holiness of God while we are conscious of our own sinfulness and sense of unworthiness
3) John Gill wrote of Godly fear thusly: it is that “which has God for its author and object, and which springs from His grace, and is increased by the discoveries of His goodness; and which is consistent with faith and spiritual joy: Serve the LORD with fear, and rejoice with trembling. Psalms 2:11
4) We are further remined of Who in the days of his flesh, when he had offered up prayers and supplications with strong crying and tears unto him that was able to save him from death, and was heard in that he feared; Hebrews 5:7.

III. A consuming fire (v. 29)
1. Which may be best understood by the sacrifices He consumed (most notably Mt. Carmel and at the dedication of the Temple).
2. His righteous wrath knows no limits and so He can, has and will consume all that offends Him and His holiness.
3. But, especially to be seen in the outpouring of His wrath on Christ by which our sin debt was taken way having attained full satisfaction in consuming His Son!