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065 - The City of the Living God!

More Than Ink / Pastor Jim Catlin & Dorothy Catlin
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October 23, 2021 1:00 pm

065 - The City of the Living God!

More Than Ink / Pastor Jim Catlin & Dorothy Catlin

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October 23, 2021 1:00 pm

Episode 065 - The City of the Living God! (23 Oct 2021) by A Production of Main Street Church of Brigham City

Grace To You
John MacArthur
Renewing Your Mind
R.C. Sproul
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Charles Stanley
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You pick up your Bible and wonder, is there more here than meets the eye?

Is there something here for me? I mean, it's just words printed on paper, right? Well, it may look like just print on a page, but it's more than ink. Join us for the next half hour as we explore God's Word together, as we learn how to explore it on our own, as we ask God to meet us there in its pages.

Welcome to More Than Ink. Hey, have you ever been in an earthquake where the ground is moving and you're disoriented and you don't know what's going to happen? You feel like everything is coming down around your ears? Well, the ones that I've been having really been that bad.

Well, it can be awfully disorienting. Well, there's a bigger earthquake coming. A bigger one? The final earthquake when God's going to shake everything. Wow. We're going to read that today on More Than Ink. Good morning and welcome to our dining room table. We're sitting here with our Bibles open like we always are when we come to do this program.

And usually our coffee, but I drank mine up. Uh-oh. So we're just glad you're with us this morning and we are doing the second half of Hebrews 12. Right. And last week we talked about the cloud of witnesses.

Cloud of witnesses, yeah. And where we fix our eyes. Look where you're going or you're going to be distracted and go where you're looking. That's right. So, you know, this is the kind of the wrap up of chapter 12 where he says, you know, because you haven't come to that kind of experience, that Old Testament Sinai experience, you've come to a new covenant, to a new place, to Mount Zion. Right. Go, look where you're going or you're going to go where you're looking.

Or another way of saying this is the new covenant versus the old. Right. Well, he's actually going to use that phrase toward the end here, so.

So with a view toward where you're looking. Right. He contrasts this.

What are you fixing on? Yeah, let me take us off. We're in Hebrews chapter 12, verse 18. Okay. And he's going to talk about the old in that particular, and he's going to reference back to the experience in Exodus, which we're going to be studying pretty soon. Which he has been doing all along through the book. All along.

Yeah, just because they did what they did as an example for us. Right. So we'll understand. So hearkening back to Mount Sinai in the desert in Exodus 19 and 20, around that area. This is how he picks up in verse 18. For you have not come to what may be touched, a blazing fire, a darkness and gloom and a tempest, and the sound of the trumpet and a voice whose words made the hearers beg that no further messages be spoken to them, for they could not endure the order that was given.

True. Even if a beast touches the mountain, it shall be stoned. Indeed, so terrifying was the sight that Moses said, I tremble with fear. Let's stop there.

Let's stop there. Yeah. Vivid picture of being at the base of Mount Sinai. Yeah, and if you go back and read in Exodus 19 and 20, it took me a long time to discover this, but when they first came to the mountain, the sound terrified them, the smoke and the fire terrified them, and they said, whoa, Moses, we don't want to hear the voice of this God.

Stop the voice. You go talk to him and come back and tell us what he said, because the whole experience was so overwhelming and just emphasized God is holy and separate and other than you are. Yeah, yeah. This is the same guy that was traveling with them in the desert after they crossed the Red Sea and all that kind of stuff. Yeah, but this was very early. This was right after they crossed the Red Sea. Right after that, and this is the first time that God really speaks in a way that just terrified them.

They realized they're dealing with a God who's big. And other. And who is to be feared, actually. Right.

Yeah, yeah, yeah. And so what he's saying right here is that you haven't come to that. That's not your experience now. We're past that in a way. However, I won't say that we're really past that because – It's the same God. It's the same God, and this is really a depiction in a visible existence with Israel about how God is a just, a very just God. And so out of this experience, actually, if you remember, when they're there, God doesn't rattle their cages there in Mount Sinai just to rattle their cages. This is the giving of the law. So this is a very sobering thing that this booming voice in that sense says, okay, so here's the deal, here's the contract, and there come the Ten Commandments.

So that's the before. That's the just God. That's the God who's a consuming fire. Well, and all along the writer of Hebrews has been saying, now, all of that happened to them, real place, real time people, but we have something better. We have something better. We have a better covenant. We have a better mediator. We have a better savior.

We have better promises. Right, right. So he sets up this section saying, you haven't come to that Old Testament, Old Covenant. So what have you come to?

You have come. Right. So that contrast is what's in view here.

Yeah, and that's what he starts in 22. 22 is the pivot where he talks about what you have come to. Oh, and it's so beautiful. It's a terrifying voice on Mount Sinai, 22, but you have come to Mount Zion, a different mountain, and to the city of the living God, the heavenly Jerusalem, and to innumerable angels in festal gathering, and to the assembly of the firstborn who were 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 that speaks a better word than the blood of Abel.

Mouthful. He had referred to the blood of Abel earlier in chapter 11. Yeah. If you recall, what is it? Genesis three, four, Genesis four, where after Abel's killed and his blood's on the ground, and Cain thinks he got away with it, and God says, no, no, his blood is crying from the ground.

Justice, yeah. But this is blood from Jesus, but it's crying in a different kind of way. So he's comparing two mountains. Two mountains.

Two focal places, right? So I would encourage you as good Bible students to just pick apart this comparison a little bit. Track down those Old Testament cross references, go back and read Exodus 19 and 20, and also Moses elaborates on it a little bit in Deuteronomy five. So go back and look at those things and consider their experience, and then look at the contrast with Mount Zion, the place where God touches down, where the temple was built, and where the cross happened. Right, which in the earthly manifestation of it was still to come in the nation of Israel. Their trek when they left Egypt was to go to Mount Sinai.

Mount Sinai first. Right, where the law came and a just God is there, and then a generation later they're in the promised land and they're in Zion. So both of these things coexist in their human experience, and for us from a spiritual sense, they also coexist. But focus on what we've come to. Look what he says is at this Mount Zion, and this is figurative and real in the real spiritual sense.

So he uses this word too. You come not just to Mount Zion, but you've also come to the city of the living God. And we've emphasized before about the city idea. I love the whole picture of the city idea, because back in their time, and even in the Wild West in America, a city was an uncommon place of protected order, an assembly of peace and joy and order. It was just such a contrast to the wild and wooly nature of nature outside of that. Well, and the contrast here is Sinai was in the wilderness. Wilderness, exactly. And he had told us back in chapter 11 Abraham was seeking a city.

Seeking a city. The architect and the builder was God. A place of great design for peace and joy.

People dwell together. Yeah, it's a wonderful metaphor, and I like it. He's going to use it many times before he finishes the book, because it's such a great ... This is the promise fulfilled. It's a city. A great city where God will be. The city of the living God, the heavenly Jerusalem. And guess who's there? Innumerable angels.

Wow, that's cool. Infestile gathering. I mean, it's a celebration. It's a joyful place. Boy, that sounds to me like revelation. It does.

I think especially in chapter 14, I just looked at it. But yeah, this incredible heavenly gathering. This cloud of witnesses. Not just human witnesses, but angelic witnesses.

But angelic witnesses. Yeah. Cool, cool, cool. Celebrating. Yeah. The host of heaven. Yeah. That's what he's getting at here. And to the assembly of the firstborn who were enrolled in heaven.

There's a lot right there that you should be jumping around for joy in, because even that assembly is actually two words. It means general assembly and also ecclesia. The called ones. The called ones.

So they were called out to this. And that's the assembly of the firstborn, of course we're talking about Jesus. Who was the firstborn? Christ.

Yeah, right. The inheritor. And you are those who are enrolled in heaven. That word enrolled is the same way we use for registration.

You write down something, you get your name on a list. And it's referred to other places in the Bible, like in Revelation, multiple times. This is the book of life. Do you remember when Jesus sent out the apostles the first time? And they came back crowing because they had cast out demons and done all these healings and he says, hey, don't rejoice in that, rejoice in this, that your names are written. That's in Luke 10.

Oh, you did too. Cool. 10, 20. I can't read my own writing.

10, 20. Luke 10, 20. Rejoice that your names are written in heaven.

So that's what he's saying here. This is the assembly of all those people whose names are written there. And by the way, if you're a follower of Jesus, your name is written there.

When the roll is called up yonder, I'll be there. And when you talk about a registration like that, it's signed in ink. It's written there. Your name's in the book. It's a real emphasis on the fact that your name is there and won't be erased. You're there.

You're there. So it's the assembly of all those people and then another two, to God, who is, by the way, the judge of all. The judge of all.

So he's not getting away from God's justice in that sense, the judge of all. And also too, the spirits of the righteous made perfect. I mean, the perfect, again, tells us it's the end, completed. All that they were intended to be. The collection of all those who've gotten to the end. And then finally, what a great crowning thing, 24.

It's the best. And to Jesus. Amen.

The mediator of a new covenant and to the sprinkled blood, which goes back to the temple imagery that caused us to be able to come into the presence of God and the Holy of Holies and to the sprinkled blood, which speaks much better than the blood of Abel. Wow. There it is again. The better, better, better. Better, better.

Better hope. Better ministry. Better covenant. Better promises. Better priesthood. Better sacrifice. Yes. Those are all things that the writer of Hebrews has laid out in detail for us and he's kind of summing it all up in this beautiful picture. Yeah. This is our hope. This is, you know, we talked last time about where your eyes placed, where you're looking. This is where you should be looking.

Right here. In contrast, right at Sinai, that mountain in the wilderness where it was a threat of death. If you try and come close, there was fear and keep your distance. God is not messing around. But here at Mount Zion where God has established peace through the blood of the cross of Jesus, we're drawn in. We're made holy.

We're called into fellowship with him. It's such an amazing contrast. It should give us chills. Yeah, I know. I just love this section all together and I really latch heavily on this idea of this city. Yeah. This city.

And, you know, he already talked about that, I guess it was with Abraham back in Hebrews 11 when he went through that. He was looking forward to a city that has foundations. Right. Right. That God designed and built.

That God designed and built. I mean, that's, whoa. That's, yeah, yeah. Exactly. Oh yeah, in Hebrews 11, 16 it says that, you know, therefore God's not ashamed to be called to God because he's prepared for them a city.

Yay. And Jesus said, hey, I'm going to prepare a place for you that where I am, you're going to be. Right. In a city, you live inside a bounded walled place and the king is there. And the king is there. By the way, too, when people ask me what's heaven going to be like, I'm tempted to always go back to this because this doesn't tell me anything about streets of gold. No, it doesn't. But it does tell me who's going to be there. Yes.

It tells my heart. That's what his list is. This is the city and guess who's going to be living in that city. Well, God himself is. The innumerable angels who are in celebration mode.

The assembly of the first born who've had their names written in the book. I mean, and then to Jesus, the mediator of this kind. That's who's going to be there.

That's what excites me. That's why I want heaven. And that's where my focus is aimed and not on here and now. But I'm thinking about Revelation 20, 21, 22, and it says, and the lamp is the lamb in that city, right?

The very light that comes in that city is from the lamb himself. This is where our focus ought to be. Where are you looking?

This is where I'm looking. So if you want to be encouraged, you Bible study students, look through the New Testament for this imagery of a city. You'll find it here in Hebrews and you'll find it big time in Revelation, right? So the writer of Hebrews is laying down that picture and John is given this amazing picture to write down for us in Revelation. Go and read about that city right toward the end of the book.

It's chapter 21, 22. Right. Yeah.

It's very encouraging. And again, we lose some of the imagery of how wonderful a city is. But every time you see it spoken, especially in terms of Abraham where someone is relegated to living in a tent, that means by contrast they're not living in a city.

So they're a passing through kind of get by residence in that sense. And Paul uses this imagery as well that even in our life right now I'm living in this tent. And so I'm passing through, I'm not living in a city yet. But the city is coming, the permanent dwelling place is coming.

And so that imagery is really powerful. And I'm going there. Look where you're going.

And I'm going there. Why? Because the streets are made of gold? No. No. Because of who's going to be there.

The lamb is there. Exactly. So heaven is not what it's going to be like, but who is it going to be like?

Who's going to be there? So he painted for us a great picture of where our eyes should be set. So 25. You want to pick up 25 and we'll finish the chapter. Yeah. See to it.

See to it that you do not refuse him who's speaking. Right. For if they did not escape when they refused him who warned them on earth, he's still talking about Sinai there. Much less will we escape if we reject him who warns from heaven. At that time, his voice shook the earth, but now he's promised, yet once more, I will shake not only the earth, but also the heavens.

This phrase yet once more indicates the removal of things that are shaken, that is things that have been made in order that the things that cannot be shaken may remain. Therefore, let us be grateful for receiving a kingdom that cannot be shaken. Thus let us offer to God acceptable worship with reverence and awe for our God is a consuming fire.

I'm stunned. He's hearkening back to that Old Testament idea of the consuming fire, the fire that consumes the whole burnt offering. And how does that fit in this picture of a kingdom that can't be shaken and this contrast between Mount Sinai and Mount Zion, the Old Covenant and the New Covenant? You Bible study students camp there for a little bit and track down that idea of a consuming fire. Shows up in Deuteronomy, shows up in Isaiah, shows up in a number of places, but a fire judges, it cleanses.

We have a daughter who's a sculptor and we've talked a lot about clay, she says when you fire a pot, it renders permanent the condition of that clay. So this idea that God is a consuming fire, he has the last word on the judgment. And it's a stark contrast on things that are temporary versus things that are eternal. Because again, Jesus also uses the idea of, in the Old Testament of grass, grass is consumed easily by a fire and grass is clearly a temporary thing anyway. So they use this metaphor to talk about things that are temporary versus what's gonna remain.

So like if the grass fire comes up the edge of my brick house, it's not gonna hurt my brick house, it'll take the grass around it. So temporary versus permanent, what's temporary, what's permanent? And his point he's making here is that your existence right now in this place is the temporary. And there's gonna be another shaking happening that's gonna be like a fire that's gonna take out the things that are temporary.

So are you latched on to the temporary or are you latched on to the permanent? Well and you know this book has been filled with warnings when he says in verse 25, now see to it that you don't refuse, right? Because if they didn't escape when they refused, him who warned from earth, much less will we escape if we reject him who warned from heaven. All right, takes me right back to chapter two. He's going through this book, he says now don't drift, don't doubt, don't neglect, don't turn away, don't harden your heart, don't refuse him. He's still speaking. How shall we escape if we neglect so great a salvation?

He told us that in chapter two. And this is a promise of great life, this is great benefit to us. So he's saying don't be distracted, don't be entangled here. Set your heart and your focus to what's to come.

But don't refuse him who's speaking. Because there is a shaking that's coming. There's an inevitable shaking, this final judgment. I was thinking about this shaking and the writer here is referring back to when the earth shook there in Sinai, but you know there was a shaking of the earth when Jesus died at the cross. God was shaking the earth in judgment of sin, foreshadowing that final shaking to remove all the things that are temporary. So I'm shaking the table and I see the microphones bouncing up and down while I'm doing that. It's sobering when I read that, yet once more I will shake, not only the earth but also the heavens. Everything is going to be shaken.

Like thinking about beating a rug and getting all the dirt out. And that's a loving God in a very just way is listening to our prayers, saying God when will I be in a place with you? So there will be no more sin. So don't worry about it, we're going to beat the carpet one more time and the sin is going to go away.

So what's left is enduring and positive and good and the bad will be gone, there will be no more tears. And that sets me thinking, we see that imagery in Revelation when John says I looked and the heavens were rolled up like a scroll, right? It's this picture of God just shaking out the scenery curtains, he's just rolling them up and you see the eternal things that were hidden all along.

That's referred to as the day of the Lord. And I like how he says the day of the Lord, I mean it's all through the Old Testament because it implies very strongly that there's a date predetermined on the calendar of God and it will come regardless of what you think. What do you think about that Haggai passage that he quotes there? That's Haggai 2. I looked that up because for the writer of Hebrews when he makes these, he grabs these tiny little fragments of the Old Testament knowing that his readers know the rest of the passage. But you know, I'm going to start reading for a verse before of the one he quotes because he says in Haggai 2 verse 5, as for the promise which I made you when you came out of Egypt, my spirit is abiding in your midst, do not fear, for thus says the Lord of hosts, once more in a little while I'm going to shake the heavens and the earth and the sea and the dry land and I'll shake all the nations and they'll come with the wealth of the nations and I will fill this house with glory.

What house is he talking about? Well Haggai was a prophet in Zerubbabel's time when the first wave of returnees came back to rebuild the temple in Jerusalem that had been destroyed by the Babylonians. And so Haggai is encouraging them with God saying, you know, you're going to rebuild this brick and mortar building but I'm going to fill a bigger, greater temple with glory in the future.

Even more. It says in verse 8 of Haggai 2, the silver's mine and the gold is mine declares the Lord of hosts and the latter glory of this house will be greater than the former says the Lord of hosts and in this place I shall give peace, says the Lord of hosts, right? Four or five times in these verses the Lord of hosts, who's that?

Well the one who reigns over everything, all that angelic host of angels and souls of righteous men made complete. Yep a shaking is still to come. And God has promised it and he's going to fill it with glory and in this mount, Mount Zion, he has made peace, right, Ephesians says he's made peace by the blood of his cross. So this shaking isn't just to be punitive, this shaking is to remove all the influence of sin and shake out everything that doesn't belong. Shake out all that stuff because that stuff is not permanent, it's going away and you're wise to stay under the junk that you're experiencing right now because of the proximity of sin but there's a day coming, he'll shake it yet once more, I'll shake the earth.

Because you in Christ are going to come through the shaking. If you're a follower of Christ and you're attached to his righteousness in that sense, that's permanent and that won't go away then that will be sustained through the wrath of God but all the other stuff, gone. And in fact a great picture again when you come back to Passover when they're leaving Egypt they were inside their houses with the Passover lamb at the blood of their door and the wrath of God came through and it swept through the whole area and presumably they would have been taken out too, the wrath was universal across all the people there in Goshen at the time but with their houses marked they were preserved from it. So they were still under that wrath just like us, we are under that wrath but because of the blood of the lamb we get to pass through. They were inside the houses that they had gone in, I think I said this last week, through that blood-soaked doorway and you know you said if you're a follower of Christ I would emphasize that the New Testament idea is not are you a follower of Christ but are you in Christ. Are you in Christ, yeah. I did a survey of that a couple years ago and you know like 900 times in the New Testament in Christ or Christ in you shows up. We just don't see followers except in the Gospels and there were lots of people who followed who didn't necessarily follow through the shaking, right, things got hard and they fell away.

So I would say if you are in Christ and he is in you, you will come through the shaking. That's a great study to do, it's a great study to do which it explains why when Paul says Christ in you is the hope of glory, well glory is existing past the judgment, so Christ in you that's the key, that's the permanent indelible key for you making it past judgment, Christ in you that's your hope of glory, that's your hope of being in glory, that's what he's talking about. Well what a great way for him to close down in verse 28, so you know let's be grateful. And offer to God an acceptable worship, where have we seen that phrase before, you know where it shows up, it shows up in Romans 12. Romans 12, exactly, acceptable worship, because look regardless of the junk you're going through right now, and that's the contrast we're getting, regardless of all the stuff that you need to remain under because life is suboptimal right now because of the presence of sin, we have received a kingdom which cannot be shaken, that is a reality, that's a permanent thing, we've received a kingdom that cannot be shaken and this place that we're in right now is a kingdom that will be shaken, it'll be shaken clean of all that sinfulness, but we have received a kingdom that cannot be shaken. So let's worship with reverence and awe, God is a consuming fire, that's the shaking that's to come.

So Paul says in Romans 12, I urge you therefore brethren by the mercies of God, because God is merciful, to present your body as a living and holy sacrifice acceptable to God which is your spiritual service of worship, there it is, your acceptable worship, what pleases God presenting our whole selves. So no go ahead, no I'm finished, well we're just kind of at the end of our time, I was just going to go on, don't be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind that you may prove what the will of God is, that which is good and acceptable, because we're passing through this place because this is a temporary place and it's going to be shaken awfully by the wrath and justice of God. So be thankful that you've received a kingdom that cannot be shaken and give thanks, a city that God has prepared for you to be in where you will be with him and with Jesus with all the others who are those who have been made perfect through the righteousness of Christ. Fix your eyes on that and give thanks, that's where you're going, yeah that's the goal. Well we come back next week, we start into 13 the last chapter and we're excited about that as well. He'll give us some practical tips for how you live life from here until then. So I'm Jim and I'm Dorothy and we're glad you're with us and we'll look for you next week on More Than Ink. More Than Ink is a production of Main Street Church of Brigham City and is solely responsible for its content. To contact us with your questions or comments, just go to our website, Well there's a bad one coming. That's what I was expecting you to say.
Whisper: medium.en / 2023-08-01 01:08:03 / 2023-08-01 01:20:09 / 12

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