In a previous message outline we looked at some Facets Of Godly Repentance. We briefly defined such repentance as not just having sorrow, but also wholeheartedly aligning our thoughts and ways with those of God. This is an ongoing process for every true disciple of Christ.
We saw from Hebrews 12:5-6 that we were not to take lightly any chastisement from God nor should we become overly discouraged by it. Further, in 12:12-15 we saw what we should do in order to properly repent.
If we continue on in the epistle to verse 24 we see a contrast is drawn between what the Jews experienced when the Law was given at Mount Sinai and what is now available in Christ if we truly surrender to Him. In verse 22, the spiritual Mount Zion is mentioned in contrast with the physical Mount Sinai. Eight more elements are mentioned with Mount Zion to give us a pretty full picture of the help that awaits us as we run the race to Christ. Let us briefly consider all nine points of help.
But ye are come unto mount Sion, and unto the city of the living God, the heavenly Jerusalem, and to an innumerable company of angels,
23 To the general assembly and church of the firstborn, which are written in heaven, and to God the Judge of all, and to the spirits of just men made perfect,
24 And to Jesus the mediator of the new covenant, and to the blood of sprinkling, that speaketh better things than that of Abel.
I. Mount Zion 22a
While Zion is first mentioned in 2 Samuel 5:7, the term “Mount” is first added to it when Rabshakeh, under the authority of the King of Assyria, mockingly threatened Jerusalem (2 Kings 18:17-19:37) in a letter to King Hezekiah of Judah. Upon reading the letter, Hezekiah went to the Temple, spread it out before YHWH and prayed a powerful prayer. The Holy Spirit then came upon Isaiah who sent a message of encouragement to Hezekiah wherein we read (2 Kings 19:31), “For out of Jerusalem shall go forth a remnant, and they that escape out of mount Zion: the zeal of YHWH of hosts shall do this.”
As God spared His people from Assyria at that time permitting them to geographically escape from a point of capture, the spiritual Zion in Hebrews 12 is the place to escape TO from the onslaught of spiritual darkness. Consider Colossians 1:13-14, “Who hath delivered us from the power of darkness, and hath translated us into the kingdom of his dear Son: In whom we have redemption through his blood, even the forgiveness of sins.”
In surrendering to Christ we leave the devil’s dominion and enter into the powerful life changing and life giving realm of Christ.
II. The City Of The Living God 22b
The kingdom of Christ is the life giving one because the Son, in our stead, perfectly served the Father, as we are supposed to. “The city of the Living God” reminds me of the time when Peter, impelled by the Holy Spirit, powerfully said to Jesus (Matthew 16:16), “You are the Christ (Messiah), the Son of the Living God.”
The term “living God” occurs the first time in the Holy Scriptures over in Deuteronomy 5:26 where by the Spirit Moses reminds his hearers that they heard the voice of the Living God when the Law was given at Mount Sinai. At Mount Zion, we experience the fact that God is not only the voice of the Law, but through Christ it is the power to keep the Law to perfection.
III. Heavenly Jerusalem 22c
The term “Heavenly Jerusalem” places in our hearts the encouragement to press on in Christ so that we might not only receive Him for eternity, but all of the blessings promised to the redeemed as we consider the Heavenly Jerusalem of Revelation 21 – 22.
It also should remind us that though, for now, we are “stuck here on earth” in our respective countries, if we are truly His disciple we are citizens of heaven (Philippians 3:20).
IV. Innumerable Angels 22d
Earlier we read in Hebrews 1:14 that angels are ministering spirits, sent forth to minister for them who shall be heirs of salvation. If we view in the Old Testament the activity of angels with the people of God we see that they ministered unto His servants in both physical and spiritual ways. Naturally, the same holds true for Age of the Church.
V. The General Assembly and Church Of The Firstborn 23a
While this previously mentioned spiritual help is most certainly great in regard to us repenting and pressing on to Christ we have some things in the physical world to aid us.
Christ made it clear in the Gospels that when one surrenders all to Him they actually gain a lot, including brothers, sisters, fathers and mothers in Him. There are millions who have committed to Christ, and, along with us, are attempting to walk by faith. It is always good to find a humble fellow disciple willing to let you know they “miss the mark” from time to time while, in such admissions, they never suggest that the forgiveness side of grace is to be taken lightly. They will help their fellow disciples by prayer and encouragement.
VI. God, The Judge 23b
If you are truly redeemed, the thought of God as your Judge should not frighten you, for it is written in 1 John 4:17-18, “Herein is our love made perfect, that we may have boldness in the day of judgment: because as he is, so are we in this world. There is no fear in love; but perfect love casts out fear: because fear hath torment. He that fears is not made perfect in love.”
One of the logical points presented to me less than two hours before I surrendered to Christ was when I heard Billy Graham say that Christ is the perfect Judge, for He is all God and all man. God knows all, including what it means to be human.
VII. Just Men Made Perfect 23c
Just after saying “God, the Judge,” the Holy Spirit leads the writer to say “the spirits of just men made perfect.” He then mentions Jesus as the mediator. You would think the Holy Spirit would have the writer place that point right after “God the Judge.” However, I feel the phrase, “the spirits of just men made perfect,” was inserted by the Spirit to make the point that those mentioned in the Hall of Faith of Hebrews 11 made it into God’s kingdom with less knowledge and spiritual tools than we have. We have more means, so to speak, to attain unto Christ than they did, so we really have no excuse to flounder in sin.
VIII. Jesus The Mediator 24a
A portion of the epistle of Hebrews speaks about Christ being our mediator. A most important point that it brings out is (4:15), “For we have not an high priest which cannot be touched with the feeling of our infirmities; but was in all points tempted like as we are, yet without sin.”
IX. The Blood Of Jesus 24b
The list of helps for repentance concludes with “to the blood of sprinkling, that speaks better things than that of Abel.” The blood Abel shed brought about retribution for Cain. The blood Christ shed for our sins brings about restoration as we surrender to Him. Unlike Cain who was condemned to be a “fugitive and vagabond” on the earth (Genesis 4:12), upon our true repentance we are assured a continued walk in Christ, remaining citizens of the Heavenly Jerusalem and loving subjects unto Christ our King in His dominion.
This article is a form of a message (sermon) outline. God willing, you will find links to the actual message (sermon) sometime hopefully by March 19, 2013 at http://www.sapphirestreams.com/life/audioM.html#M237.
Unless otherwise noted, Holy Scripture is from the 1769 Authorized Version, but modified in some cases to update the language (e.g., “has” was “hath”) and to restore the Tetragrammaton in the OT as indicated.
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