Faithlife Sermons

Hebrews 12:25-29

Sermon  •  Submitted
0 ratings


Richard Phillips wrote this-
Hebrews A Tale of Two Kingdoms

Perhaps the greatest example of the folly of placing worldly priorities ahead of spiritual ones is provided by the Roman Empire. Rome’s dominating power controlled the entire known world when this letter was written. This epistle was probably written to Jewish Christians living in Rome; the threat to them came from the Roman government with the help of the Jewish synagogue. What could have been more impressive in that day, more stable, or more lasting than the Roman Empire? If one had asked, “Which is going to last? The Roman Empire or Christianity?” people would have laughed! They would have cried, “Rome will last forever!” They would have pointed to its pomp and pageantry as mere symbols of its eternal power and glory.

But from our perspective things look quite different. In time, Rome would pit all its strength against the gospel and the followers of Jesus Christ. But in the end it was Rome that capitulated. Before long, the “eternal city” was overrun by barbarians, its statues crashed to the ground, and its buildings were looted and burned and crumbled. But the gospel of Jesus Christ, that voice that comes from heaven, has endured to this day and it shall endure forever. It endures because it is built on truth, not on worldly pretensions—because it is truth. It endures because it is the Word of God. The prophet Isaiah put it well: “All flesh is grass, and all its beauty is like the flower of the field.… The grass withers, the flower fades, but the word of our God will stand forever” (Isa. 40:6–8).

Looking around today at our world, it is pretty easy to spot what people love and live for.
But If you are a believer this morning, there ought to be a stark contrast between your way of life and the way of the world.
People in the world work really hard. Really really hard to essentially stack up firewood.
What I mean by that, is that most of what people pursue will one day burn up.
So with that in mind, how do we fight against that? What will come of all our pursuits on this earth?
I believe-This passage today speaks uniquely to answer that question.
And ultimately the answer to that stems from what we do with Jesus.
Look how he begins here in verse 25-
Hebrews 12:25 NASB95
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.
See to it that you do not refuse Him who is speaking.
Here he is referring to Jesus.
Remember he just got through saying, in verse 24, that Jesus’ blood speaks a better word than Abel.
Also, I wanted to remind you of how he started off this letter.
Hebrews 1:1–2 NASB95
God, after He spoke long ago to the fathers in the prophets in many portions and in many ways, in these last days has spoken to us in His Son, whom He appointed heir of all things, through whom also He made the world.
God has spoken most clearly in Jesus. He has spoken to us in Jesus.
So then, it is the words of Jesus. It is the person of Jesus. It is the work of Jesus that we have to deal with.
He was the great prophet that was to come in the OT.
Deuteronomy 18:18–19 NASB95
‘I will raise up a prophet from among their countrymen like you, and I will put My words in his mouth, and he shall speak to them all that I command him. ‘It shall come about that whoever will not listen to My words which he shall speak in My name, I Myself will require it of him.
So from Deut. 18, what we learn is that God is going to raise up a prophet from Israel, and if the people do not listen to Him, there will be judgment.
So then, in light of and certainly with the same heart as of Deuteronomy 18, The author of Hebrews here is issuing a warning.
Do not refuse Jesus.
Do not ignore Jesus.
I want to encourage you this morning with the same warning.
I recognize that among our gathered number this morning that there are probably some in here today that you may not take Jesus seriously.
You may think of Jesus as a passive religious teacher that only speaks of themes of love and grace.
You come to church because your family comes. Or some other reason.
You may think of Him as another man among other men.
You may consider yourself “neutral” when it comes to Jesus.
*But hear me this morning- you would be foolish to continue in that belief.*
Make no mistake- There are two options- There is no riding the fence when it comes to the person and work of Jesus Christ.
You are either for Him and he is for you.
Or you are in rebellion against Him and you stand at this moment in danger of experiencing His wrath.
And again the two options you are left with-
If you submit to Him, you are blessed with and by Him.
If you disobey Him and remain in that disobedience, you will be condemned.
Do you feel the weight of this statement?
See to it that you do not refuse Him who is speaking.
Have you submitted your life to Him?
Are you following His commands?
Have you cried out to Him for salvation, because you have come to realize your own sin is what he paid for on the cross?
If not, this passage is a gracious warning to you today.
You would do well to listen and obey.
Because there is judgment coming against those who do not listen.
Look at verse 25 again.
Hebrews 12:25 NASB95
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.
Here again, he points us back to the Old Testament and the judgment that fell on the disobedient then.
“For if those did not escape when they refused him who warned them on earth”
That is referencing the fact that God judged the people in the OT for not believing Him then.
3000 people died the day they created the Golden calf and worshipped it. You can find that in Exodus 32.
The whole exodus generation minus the grandchildren and Joshua and Caleb died in the wilderness because they refused to listen to Moses.
The people of Israel were judged continually by other nations, because of their disobedience and their idolatry.
And what you understand from the OT and what these examples teach us is that God is not passive concerning disobedience and rejection of what He has spoken.
The author of Hebrews here tells us- THEY DID NOT ESCAPE when they refused him who warned them on the earth.
I believe in keeping with the context of Hebrews 12, that the one who warned them on earth is in reference to Moses.
Moses was the mediator between the people and God.
He warned them to obey. He told them the Law.
It wasn’t that they were ignorant. They simply didn’t listen.
So they were judged.
Now he continues the argument. He will make the argument from the lesser (Moses) to the greater (Christ).
Listen to what He says.

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.

In other words, we should not expect less from disobeying Christ than what the people of Israel experienced from disobeying Moses.
In fact the implication here is that there is more accountability, and there is more accountability because there is more knowledge.
God has revealed Himself perfectly in Christ. We have seen God incarnate.
Not Moses, not a man called to be a prophet.
In Christ, we have seen and heard from God Himself.
In fact in Hebrews 1:3 he says this about Jesus.
Hebrews 1:3 NASB95
And He is the radiance of His glory and the exact representation of His nature, and upholds all things by the word of His power. When He had made purification of sins, He sat down at the right hand of the Majesty on high,
He didn’t say that about Moses. He said that of Christ.
We have been given perfect revelation in the Son of God. There is no gray area, no veils, no barriers. He has made it all abundantly clear in Jesus who He is.
And because this revelation is so much better, the punishment of rejecting Him, is much more strict.
That is what he is saying there:

much less will we escape who turn away from Him who warns from heaven.

This principle is taught in many other places as well. You will be held accountable to what you know.
In Luke 12:48
Luke 12:48 NASB95
but the one who did not know it, and committed deeds worthy of a flogging, will receive but few. From everyone who has been given much, much will be required; and to whom they entrusted much, of him they will ask all the more.
Where do we fit in this?
I believe I’m safe to say there is certainly a Bible in every Home represented here this morning. probably more. -We have been given much. Much will be required.
Jesus said that in Luke chapter 12-
Jesus also denounced entire cities for their rejection of Him in Matthew 11
Matthew 11:20–24 NASB95
Then He began to denounce the cities in which most of His miracles were done, because they did not repent. “Woe to you, Chorazin! Woe to you, Bethsaida! For if the miracles had occurred in Tyre and Sidon which occurred in you, they would have repented long ago in sackcloth and ashes. “Nevertheless I say to you, it will be more tolerable for Tyre and Sidon in the day of judgment than for you. “And you, Capernaum, will not be exalted to heaven, will you? You will descend to Hades; for if the miracles had occurred in Sodom which occurred in you, it would have remained to this day. “Nevertheless I say to you that it will be more tolerable for the land of Sodom in the day of judgment, than for you.”
In other words, the point is the same. The more you know, the more you will be held accountable for.
Judgment will be stricter on those who know Jesus, know of His Work, know of His perfections, and then turn away from Him and reject Him.
See to it that you do not refuse Him who speaks.
I have said this before, but its worth repeating.
This is why it is such a burden for me that there are people that I grew up with, and no doubt there are people that you know, and we know they know the Gospel, they were raised in church, they have sat in Sunday School. They like me were drug to church every time the doors were open and now they reject it.
Now, they live in rebellion against God.
We ought not deceive ourselves and think that those people will escape God’s wrath.
It won’t happen. They will stand before their Creator and answer for everything.
And if they have heard of Jesus’s name and His Work, and they reject Him, their judgment will be more harsh according to this passage and the others we have mentioned already.
This is why we can’t stop praying. We can’t stop evangelizing. We must call them to repent.
Because the one who sits in Heaven at the right hand of the Father will bring forth His wrath one day and as it sits, they are in the cross hairs of God’s wrath.
His wrath is coming.
Look at verse 26
Hebrews 12:26 NASB95
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.”
We spoke last time we were in Hebrews that at Sinai God’s power and majesty were displayed. He terrified the people. He shook the mountain.
And here what he is saying is that a day is coming where He will shake more than just a mountain.
In other words, at Sinai, there was a localized and concentrated display of God’s Holiness on that one particular mountain.
God was coming down on to that mountain, and it scared the people to death. But with that mountain, God was manifesting His presence in order to establish a relationship with the people. In other words, He wasn’t coming to pour our His wrath at that time.
He was establishing His covenant Law.
But one day, He will return and he will bring with him the full measure of His wrath and justice. One day, It won’t be on just one particular Mountain where they could put barricades up to protect them. No, One day, his holiness and His wrath will be manifested over all the created order and there will be no escaping.
In verse 26, he references Haggai 2 verse 6. Where God said this through Haggai the prophet
Haggai 2:6 NASB95
“For thus says the Lord of hosts, ‘Once more in a little while, I am going to shake the heavens and the earth, the sea also and the dry land.
I believe he is referencing here the last day. The Day of the Lord. In other words, The judgment of God that he will bring over this world. The Final judgment of all things.
We know that because He goes on in verse 27
Hebrews 12:27 NASB95
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.
I hope you will see the importance of what he is saying here. He is emphasizing the importance and the eternal significance of the choice they have before them.
If they reject Christ now, they will be judged by Christ then.
One day, once more, this implies finality.
Again he is speaking of the final judgment.
One day the God of creation will shake All creation, and the only thing left and saved will be those who obeyed, listened, and submitted to Jesus.
Peter says the same thing
In 2 Peter 3:10
2 Peter 3:10 NASB95
But the day of the Lord will come like a thief, in which the heavens will pass away with a roar and the elements will be destroyed with intense heat, and the earth and its works will be burned up.
John said this very thing and more in 1 John 2:17
1 John 2:17 NASB95
The world is passing away, and also its lusts; but the one who does the will of God lives forever.
God will one day judge this world, and all that will be left is those who have done the will of God.
This is a warning. Submit to Christ and live. Or reject Him and be condemned and judged by fire.
This should create in us a desire not to live for this world, but rather to live for God.
This should create in us a desire to live for more than merely the pleasures and treasures of this world.
This understanding of God’s judgment demands we evaluate the way we steward our money, our time, our talents.
Which means very clearly-
Houses aren’t worth living for.
Cars aren’t worth living for.
Popularity and prominence in this world is not worth living for.
Money isn’t worth living for.
We tend to ask this question of people-
What do you do for a living? And we mean by that- What do you do for money to buy food , clothes and shelter.
But the better question is- What are you living for?
Too often, the answer is the same.
Teachers- you ought not live for teaching.
Nurses- you ought not live for nursing.
Managers- you ought not live for managing.
Farmers- you ought not live for farming
Salesmen- You ought not live for selling
Retirees- you ought not live for retirement.
All of that will burn up. The money, the houses, the land, the equipment, and all the earthly wealth we accumulate from doing that will all eventually burn up.
This passage is teaching that.
The best investment and financial policy I can give to you is the words of Jesus.
Matthew 6:19–21 NASB95
“Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy, and where thieves break in and steal. “But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys, and where thieves do not break in or steal; for where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.
Church, believers, beloved of God, we were meant to live for so much more than things that will burn up. And he has told us here, it will eventually, burn up.
And let me be clear- If we place our hope and security and salvation in the things of this world, we will one day be burnt up with it.
So how then should we live?
Look at verse 28
Hebrews 12:28 NASB95
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;
As believers we offer our worship to God.
We have a kingdom that cannot be shaken.
So we should live for that kingdom not this one here on this earth.
We spoke last week of what that looks like.
We offer to God acceptable service and worship, with reverence and awe.
We serve Him, not this world.
And we give our lives up for Him, because he is worth and what we do for Him will stand the test of His eternal fire.
It has been said,
“Rome wasn’t built in a day, but when it was burned, it only took hours.”
It took the Romans centuries to build up their city. But it didn't take long for Alaric and the Goths to destroy it.
What was the glory of Rome, very quickly became the ruins of Rome.
I say that to say, we work so hard for things in this life, and one day it will all be destroyed very quickly.
The last verse of this passage is very clear.
Hebrews 12:29 NASB95
for our God is a consuming fire.
One day- all things will be subject to the eternal and holy fire of God who is an all consuming fire.
The only thing left standing will be Christ and His followers and what we did for eternity and for His kingdom.
And in the final analysis, the question will be- Did you listen to Jesus?
He has told us what to live for. He showed us by example how to live.
Are you living for Him? Or are you just stacking up firewood.
Related Media
Related Sermons