This Week's Gospel Sermons
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May 5, 2013
For you have not come to a mountain that can be touched and to a blazing fire, and to darkness and gloom and whirlwind, and to the blast of a trumpet and the sound of words which sound was such that those who heard begged that no further word be spoken to them … And so terrible was the sight, that Moses said, “I AM FULL OF FEAR and trembling.” But you have come to Mount Zion and to the city of the living God, the heavenly Jerusalem, and to myriads of angels, to the general assembly and church of the firstborn who are enrolled in heaven, and to God, the Judge of all, and to the spirits of the righteous made perfect, and to Jesus, the mediator of a new covenant, and to the sprinkled blood … 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. And His voice shook the earth then, but nowHe has promised, saying, “YET ONCE MORE I WILL SHAKE NOT ONLY THE EARTH, BUT ALSO THE HEAVEN.” 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. 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; for our God is a consuming fire. (Hebrews 12:18-29)
The world, and everything in it, is shaking. Something that shakes is unstable. Something that shakes is something that will not stand. The above text from the letter to the Hebrews points out that the things which shake are the things that are “created.” These are the things of the physical realm—they are temporary.
God is certainly not temporary. He is unshaken (see The Admonisher, April 7, 2013). Since God is unshaken, what He says is, also. The Bible, His word and His plan, is unshaken in a shaking world (see The Admonisher, April 14, 2013). God, in His word and plan, requires the Anointed One, the Christ. That King and Savior cannot be shaken, either. Jesus, the Christ, is unshaken in a shaking world (see The Admonisher, April 21, 2013). The King must have a kingdom. Indeed our text declares that we have received “a kingdom which cannot be shaken.” The church, or kingdom, is unshaken in a shaking world (see The Admonisher, April 28, 2013). The unshaken God, with His unshaken plan of the unshaken King and unshaken kingdom has promised that all of these things will be so. What is a promise? It is “a declaration or assurance that one will do a particular thing or that guarantees that a particular thing will happen” (Oxford New American Dictionary). God’s promise is unshaken in a shaking world.
God’s promise of salvation in Jesus is sure
“From the descendants of this man, according to promise, God has brought to Israel a Savior, Jesus … And we preach to you the good news of the promise made to the fathers, that God has fulfilled this promise to our children in that He raised up Jesus, as it is also written in the second Psalm, ‘YOU ARE MY SON; TODAY I HAVE BEGOTTEN YOU.’” (Acts 13:23,32-33)
This was the promise to Abraham (Genesis 12:3; Acts 3:25-26; Galatians 3:8,16). It was “the hope of Israel” (Acts 28:20; 26:6‑7). It is to everyone by faith (Acts 13:38-39; Romans 4:13-16; Galatians 3:11-14,22-29).
God’s promise of eternal life in Christ is true
“In the hope of eternal life, which God, who cannot lie, promised long ages ago …” “This is the promise which He Himself made to us: eternal life.” (Titus 1:2; 1John 2:25)
Eternal life is in God’ Son (1John 5:11-13; compare also 1John 1:1‑2; 4:9; John 1:4; 2Timothy 1:1). It is conditional (1John 5:11‑13; John 3:15-16; 4:36; 6:54; 12:25; 17:3; compare also Matthew 19:16‑17). It is in the end (Romans 6:22-23; 1Peter 1:9; Mark 10:30; Matthew 25:46; compare also Titus 3:7).
God’s promise of providential care is real
“And we know that God causes all things to work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose.” “Casting all your anxiety on Him, because He cares for you.” (Romans 8:28; 1Peter 5:7)
He will provide for our physical needs (Matthew 6:25-34; Philippians 4:6,19; compare also Psalm 37:25). He will deliver us from harm (Psalm 3:7; 46:1-3; Matthew 10:28; compare also 1Corinthians 10:13). He will give us comfort (Matthew 5:4; John 16:33; 1John 4:4; 2Corinthians 1:3-7).
God’s promise of Christ’s return is certain
“If I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and receive you to Myself, that where I am, there you may be also.” “But according to His promise we are looking for new heavens and a new earth, in which righteousness dwells.” (John 14:3; 2Peter 3:13)
He is “coming on the clouds ...” (Matthew 26:64; Acts 1:11; Revelation 1:7). He is coming to raise the dead (John 5:28‑29; 1Thessalonians 4:13-17; 1Corinthians 15:20,23; 6:14; Acts 24:15; 26:8). He is coming to judge all men (Matthew 16:27; 25:31-46; 2Thessaoinians 1:7-10; compare also Acts 17:31; Romans 2:16; 2Corinthians 5:10).
Our original text references the dealing of God with Israel. Did God keep His promises to them? “Blessed be the LORD, who has given rest to His people Israel, according to all that He promised; not one word has failed of all His good promise, which He promised through Moses His servant.” (1Kings 8:56). Would we think that He cares any less for people today? “Grace and peace be multiplied to you in the knowledge of God and of Jesus our Lord; seeing that His divine power has granted to us everything pertaining to life and godliness, through the true knowledge of Him who called us by His own glory and excellence. For by these He has granted to us His precious and magnificent promises, so that by them you may become partakers of the divine nature, having escaped the corruption that is in the world by lust.” (2Peter 1:2-4).
The promises of God remain unshaken. “Let us hold fast the confession of our hope without wavering, for He who promised is faithful; and let us consider how to stimulate one another to love and good deeds, not forsaking our own assembling together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another; and all the more as you see the day drawing near. For if we go on sinning willfully after receiving the knowledge of the truth, there no longer remains a sacrifice for sins, but a terrifying expectation of judgment and THE FURY OF A FIRE WHICH WILL CONSUME THE ADVERSARIES.” (Hebrews 10:23-27).
—S. Scott Richardson Sr.