Choose your Mountain Hebrews 12:18-24
Chapter 12 gives us a list of people (Great crowd of witnesses) who had great faith and that we ought to learn from
Jesus Himself being one of the main examples, that He endured, torture and shame and now at the Right Hand of God, He has His reward
Despite the many trials, these great men of Faith endured
That we can overcome and be victorious if we lay down things that easily fools us and lead us away from Christ, those that lead us away from our goals, the race that is set before us.
We learnt from Pastor Crystal that the suffering we receive is supposed to strengthen us, if we can’t run with the foot man, how can we run with the horses
Pastor Jeremy last Wednesday reminded us that we need to pursue peace with all people and not only that but also pursue Holiness – without Holiness we cannot see God!
This are all encouragement, it is possible to overcome, it’s possible to live a Holy life, it’s possible to worship and praise God in the middle of any circumstance because, He endured, and we too can/will endure
The Hebrew writer continues to encourage us with this:
Hebrews 12:18-24 (NLT) You have not come to a physical mountain,[a] to a place of flaming fire, darkness, gloom, and whirlwind, as the Israelites did at Mount Sinai. 19 For they heard an awesome trumpet blast and a voice so terrible that they begged God to stop speaking. 20 They staggered back under God’s command: “If even an animal touches the mountain, it must be stoned to death.”[b] 21 Moses himself was so frightened at the sight that he said, “I am terrified and trembling.”[c]
No, you have come to Mount Zion, to the city of the living God, the heavenly Jerusalem, and to countless thousands of angels in a joyful gathering. 23 You have come to the assembly of God’s firstborn children, whose names are written in heaven. You have come to God himself, who is the judge over all things. You have come to the spirits of the righteous ones in heaven who have now been made perfect. 24 You have come to Jesus, the one who mediates the new covenant between God and people, and to the sprinkled blood, which speaks of forgiveness instead of crying out for vengeance like the blood of Abel.
What is the writer talking about?
- The Past (Mt Sinai)
Mt Sinai, represents separation from God
- A God who spoke from a distance – They were not allowed to touch the mountain
Exodus 19:10-13 – 10 Then the Lord said to Moses, “Go to the people and consecrate them today and tomorrow, and let them wash their clothes. 11 And let them be ready for the third day. For on the third day the Lord will come down upon Mount Sinai in the sight of all the people. 12 You shall set bounds for the people all around, saying, ‘Take heed to yourselves that you do not go up to the mountain or touch its base. Whoever touches the mountain shall surely be put to death. 13 Not a hand shall touch him, but he shall surely be stoned or shot with an arrow; whether man or beast, he shall not live.’ When the trumpet sounds long, they shall come near the mountain.”
The writer is saying, do not forget how it used to be:
- On Mt Sinai, you were not allowed to even touch the mountain, animals as well
- The relationship with you and God was very far apart
- And if they tried to approach God, they wound die
- There was clear separation between God and man. God only appeared from a distance. No Holy Spirit in the people – No comforter, protector , companion
Exodus 20: 18-19 – 18 Now all the people witnessed the thundering, the lightning flashes, the sound of the trumpet, and the mountain smoking; and when the people saw it, they trembled and stood afar off. 19 Then they said to Moses, “You speak with us, and we will hear; but let not God speak with us, lest we die.”
- There was fear, people were afraid, that God would destroy them. Moses was afraid for them
Deuteronomy 9: 18-19 – 18 And I fell[a] down before the Lord, as at the first, forty days and forty nights; I neither ate bread nor drank water, because of all your sin which you committed in doing wickedly in the sight of the Lord, to provoke Him to anger. 19 For I was afraid of the anger and hot displeasure with which the Lord was angry with you, to destroy you. But the Lord listened to me at that time also.
By looking back at Mt Sinai, the writer of Hebrew is encouraging the believer to see that there is a better relationship with God now – Jesus made it possible
- We are too quick to forget the old and on to the new
- Old house, old car – But we treat the things of God the same way
- The old things remind us who we used to be, where God had saved us from and they ought to be remembered
- If you don’t remember, what God had saved you from, it’s really hard to appreciate Him today
- Romans 5:8 – But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.
- Christ did not save us because we had it all together ..
Today you are in a different place …You have not come to a physical mountain,[a] to a place of flaming fire, darkness, gloom, and whirlwind, as the Israelites did at Mount Sinai.
Someone needs to be reminded of this today – That you are no who you used to be
He is telling the believers that they are no longer where they used to be, that it’s time to walk in that freedom
Do you remember where God had saved you from? Are you walking in that new freedom glorifying Him?
This evening, I want to remind you that you don’t have to stay on Mount Sinai,
Yes, that was the past and yes, we all made mistakes, but a new covenant has been negotiated on your behalf and you too can walk in God’s freedom
The Israelites didn’t have a choice at first, their only option was Mt Zion but today we get to choose our Mountain, Mt Sinai awaits
- The future (Mt Zion)
The writer having reminded them where they came from, he draws a contrast
Now you are on a different mountain, Mount Zion,
Here you get Jesus, and Jesus fills the gap
A new covenant is negotiated, one that sets us free, one that’s price is the blood of Jesus and we get to have freedom because the Price that was paid
Matthew 27:50-51(Ampc) And Jesus cried again with a loud voice and gave up His spirit. And at once the curtain of the [b]sanctuary of the temple was torn in two from top to bottom; the earth shook and the rocks were split.
We can now go into the Holies of Holies – We can speak to God, we can have a personal relationship with Him
That we can assemble as first born’s of Christ, And not only are we children of God but our names are written in the book of life
That this blood that was shed offers forgiveness and not unlike when Cain killed his brother Abel and Abel blood cried for vengeance
The writer wants the believers to change their mind and live like people whose freedom has been paid for.
I wonder what the Hebrew writer would say to us today? Looking at how we live our lives?
- Do we live like we are still on Mt Sinai or have we not yet come to a realization that we at Mt Zion
- Are you walking in confidence of who God has called you and the place He has placed you or are you still being held prisoner by your thoughts?
- Rise up, look up and recognize where you are …if you find yourself on Mt Sinai, its time to start walking towards Mt Zion
- And if you find yourself on Mt Zion and your life is not different, it’s time to cry out to God and ask Him to search you heart and reveal the reason why you still the same
- Why are you in prison while your freedom has been paid for
Today, now is when we make the change
- Now what?
Stop relying on Moses
The Israelites asked Moses to speak to God on their behalf. How does that play out today?
- We encourage you to read your Bible, more than just what is preached
- We push you to Pray, that the only time that you praying is not just a church
- Seek a deep relationship with God
- Self-motivation is a thing – Not just in the world /business
- Isaiah 52:1-3 Awake, awake!
Put on your strength, O Zion; Put on your beautiful garments,
O Jerusalem, the holy city! For the uncircumcised and the unclean
Shall no longer come to you. Shake yourself from the dust, arise;
Sit down, O Jerusalem, Loose yourself from the bonds of your neck,
O captive daughter of Zion! For thus says the Lord:
- Awake – Wake up
- Awake – Remember the Lord’s judgement and promises
- Awake – Tell Zion to put on strength
- David endured – He encouraged himself
- No one will carry you all the way – Spartan race
- Encourage yourself Holding on to the promises of God!
- Isaiah 43:1-3 But now, thus says the LORD, who created you, O Jacob, And He who formed you, O Israel: “Fear not, for I have redeemed you; I have called you by your name; You are Mine. When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; And through the rivers, they shall not overflow you. When you walk through the fire, you shall not be burned, Nor shall the flame scorch you. For I am the LORD your God, The Holy One of Israel, your Savior; I gave Egypt for your ransom, Ethiopia and Seba in your place.
This evening am challenging you to choose your mountain
Mt Sinai – Fear and Terror Mt Zion – Love and forgives
Mt Sinai – a desert Mt Zion – A city of the living God
Mt Sinai – Spoke of earthly things Mt Zion – Speaks of Heavenly things
Mt Sinai – Characterized by guilty men Mt Zion – Features Men made Perfect
Mt Sinai – Moses was the mediator Mt Zion – Jesus is the mediator
Mt Sinai – Old covenant/Animal blood Mt Zion – New covenant/Jesus
Mt Sinai – Exclusive/ Stay away Mt Zion – Brings people to Christ
Do NOT go back to where you have been saved from, let us live in remembrance
Today you get to choose your Mountain!
Song at the end – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=APEQ8lsrY0c ( Remembrance Lyric Video – Hillsong Worship)
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