Looking for a City (Hebrews #49)

Text: Hebrews 12:12-29

Paul says and has said repeatedly there is a need to look ahead past the temporary chastening and temporary problems of this life.  To look ahead and grab hold of the grace of God, follow peace and holiness while wading through this life. The problem anyone has with that is that things far away look smaller than things up close.  The Sun is massively more large and glorious than the earth. But I can hold my thumb up to my eye, and because it’s closer to my eye, I can block out the sun with such a small thing. That’s the way our problems seem.

The instruction over and over is to look ahead toward the future kingdom, focus on the future, and walk toward that goal.

Motivation when there is light at the end of the tunnel

  • Wherefore lift up the hands which hang down…
  • It’s easier for you to be motivated when there is a clear end in sight.

Focus on the end in sight

  • And make straight paths for your feet…
  • The path is made straight when you have a fixed point you’re going towards.
  • Looking down you end up crooked or going in circles.

Learn to follow peace and holiness

  • Follow some things.  Follow peace. Follow holiness.
    • Remember that Jesus Christ is the author and finisher of our faith.  He established the path.
    • Peace and holiness are guides heading to the inheritance in the kingdom.  You follow them.
  • Follow peace as peacemakers
    • Because Jesus Christ makes peace with his enemies if he can – Romans 5:10
    • Matthew 5:9 Blessed are the peacemakers: for they shall be called the children of God.
    • Romans 12:17-21 Recompense to no man evil for evil. Provide things honest in the sight of all men. 18 If it be possible, as much as lieth in you, live peaceably with all men. 19 Dearly beloved, avenge not yourselves, but rather give place unto wrath: for it is written, Vengeance is mine; I will repay, saith the Lord. 20 Therefore if thine enemy hunger, feed him; if he thirst, give him drink: for in so doing thou shalt heap coals of fire on his head. 21 Be not overcome of evil, but overcome evil with good.
  • Follow holiness
    • Without which no man shall see the Lord, so this is a requirement of seeing the Lord.
    • Here’s a problem to consider.  When Jesus Christ returns every eye shall see him.  So it’s not talking about that.
    • Here’s another problem to consider.  When Jesus Christ was on this earth many unholy people saw him.
    • So it’s not a matter of physically seeing THE LORD.
    • Luke 8:10 And he said, Unto you it is given to know the mysteries of the kingdom of God: but to others in parables; that seeing they might not see, and hearing they might not understand.
    • John 3:3 Jesus answered and said unto him, Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God.
    • 1 Corinthians 12:3 Wherefore I give you to understand, that no man speaking by the Spirit of God calleth Jesus accursed: and that no man can say that Jesus is the Lord, but by the Holy Ghost.
    • Holiness isn’t God’s responsibility, it is the individual’s responsibility.

Failure to follow leads to bitterness, fornication, profane life

  • Bitterness, which is the opposite of grace
    • Some bitter folks are like porcupines or cacti.  May have a lot of good points, but too hard to be around.  They are harsh, critical, judgmental and filled with anger.  Very willing to criticize, but unable to take criticism.
    • Other folks are like ice.  Just cold, aloof, and indifferent toward others.  Much like an iceberg much of the problem is beneath the surface.
    • And still other folks are like cry babies.  Sullen, wallow in self pity and eaten up with selfishness.
    • Notice bitterness is a root.
      • It starts as a seed and needs soil to grow.
      • The seed of bitterness is pain, but a seed needs soil to grow
      • Sometimes real pain someone did something intentional
      • Sometimes the pain is accidental where you were wounded and the other person had no idea – Marybeth and ??? and her bitterness
      • sometimes the pain is imagined
    • If you are a bitter person, it is very difficult to see the fact that bitterness is a burden carried by choice.  No one handed you the burden and said take this. You are the soil growing the seed.
    • Bitterness troubles you AND defiles many
  • Fornication and profane (profanity)
    • Esau is the example.
    • While the son of Isaac, he lost his inheritance because he stopped looking ahead.
    • No place of repentance.

Looking for a city

  • Paul illustrates the children of Israel coming to Mt. Sinai versus coming to Mt. Zion, New Jerusalem.  Looking for a city whose builder and maker is God.
  • So the trouble and “shaking” is necessary to break loose all the moveable and corruptible things in order to reveal the things that will remain.
  • Hebrews are the audience here.  So the specific application is to the national chastisement of Israel in order to bring in righteousness and all those things laid out in Daniel 9:24-27.