Just Announced: Philippians Sermon Series

Summary: The closing argument: your choice is between returning to the dread and trepidation of Mount Sinai or the confidence and glory of the heavenly Mount Zion. Which will you choose?

Dread and Trepidation or Security and Glory?

(Hebrews 12:18-29)

1. A lady went to a psychiatrist complaining of a terrible phobia. “Every time I lay down on my bed I get this terrible fear that there is something underneath. “Wow” responded the psychiatrist “I’ve never heard of such a phobia, but like all phobias it can be treated, but it will likely take around 20 sessions.” “OK” responded the lady “how much is each session?” “Oh it’s just $80 a session, but trust me it’s well worth it.” When the lady didn’t come back to the psychiatrist he gave the lady a call. “How come I didn’t hear from you? He asked.” “Well” responded the lady “when I came home and told my husband about the cost he thought he would save some money, he just cut the legs off the bed!”

2. Not all fears are that easily solved. And not all fears should be that easily solved.

3. The fear of God is a lost fear in our society and in the kingdom of God, and one that needs to make a comeback.

4. The fear of God is respect and reverence, but it is also an awareness that we are at God’s mercy. The fear of God should drive us to seek the grace and mercy of God. The fear of God should drive us into the arms of Jesus.

5. If we do not have a relationship with God by grace through faith in Christ, we ought to have so much dread of God that it should keep us up nights, we should feel emotionally crippled. But alas, people assume that they are on good terms with the “man upstairs” who is, after all, their buddy.

6. Some among the Hebrew believers thought that they were safe to relate to God apart from Jesus Christ.

7. The author of Hebrews has argued masterfully that Christ was superior to all the Judaism offered. Trying to recap & summarize his argument and give an emotional, motivational, compelling charge to inspire his audience toward the right choice.

Ben Witherington put it this way: the author “seeks to convict, convince, and galvanize his world-weary audience.”

Main idea: The closing argument: your choice is between returning to the dread and trepidation of Mount Sinai or the confidence and glory of the heavenly Mount Zion. Which will you choose?

I. The Heavenly Mt. Zion is Way BETTER than the Fierce Mount Sinai (18-24)!

• A travelogue, letting us know what our destination choices would be like.

• The travelogue takes us to an undesirable mountain and then to a highly desirable mountain.

A. At Mt. Sinai, we stand FAR away and cringe in fear. (show photo 1)

B. At the heavenly Mt. Zion, we stand NEAR with confidence and joy. (show photo 2)

1. This is where Jesus is preparing for us a place (John 14:2-3) described in Revelation 21:1-22:5.

2. Holy angels, innumerable and dressed for a festive gathering (party)

3. The church of the firstborn and general assembly

4. God, the judge of all

5. Spirits of just men made perfect (why “spirits”) — OT believers

6. Jesus, the mediator of the New Covenant

7. The blood of sprinkling — still visible on the Ark of the Covenant in heaven (Revelation 11:19)

C. A lot of people need to make up their MIND about which mountain they want to stand on.

D. The God of Mt. Sinai is the same as the God of Mt. Zion — the difference is HOW we relate to Him: with our works or with His grace.

• So many people set the attributes of God against one another

• The simplicity of God, according to Wikipedia, “In theology, the doctrine of divine simplicity says that God is without parts. The general idea can be stated in this way: the being of God is identical to the "attributes" of God. Characteristics such as omnipresence, goodness, truth, eternity, etc. are identical to God's being, not qualities that make up that being, nor abstract entities inhering in God as in a substance; in other words we can say that in God both essence and existence are one and the same.”

II. An UNSHAKEABLE Kingdom is Way Better than a Shakable One (25-29)!

A. The principle of SHAKEABILITY

1. In returning to JUDAISM

2. In returning to a past life of SIN and worldliness

3. Jesus told the parable about the two house builders, sand and rock

4. There is an average of 50 earthquakes worldwide every day, reminding us that our earthly existence is never really stable and a given.

B. The principle of DURABILITY

1. In 2014, engineers developed an earthquake resistant house:

Stanford engineers have built and tested an earthquake-resistant house that stayed staunchly upright even as it shook at three times the intensity of the destructive 1989 Loma Prieta temblor 25 years ago.

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