The "Let Us" Series From The Book Of Hebrews #10




TEXT:        Hebrews 12:28-29


INTRO:      This invitation is pregnant with powerful thanksgiving!  It is a call to be thankful AND worship God, for He alone has an eternal Kingdom and He is forever the eternal King!  When we live thankful it affects others as well as ourselves!


ILLUS:      A mother took her three children to a restaurant to eat breakfast one morning.  The smallest of the three children sat at the very end of the row.  She saw other people being served and eating right away without stopping to say thanks.  It surprised her.  When the food was served to her, she shouted out to her mother: "Mommy, don't people ask the blessing in this place?" You can well imagine the embarrassment of those present.  Her mother tried to hush her.  But, the waitress said to little Mary, "Yes, we do, sister!  You give thanks!"  Amazingly, at that very moment everybody else also bowed their heads and offered thanks.  Embarrass them and maybe you will bring them to their senses to say "Thank you, God." – Source Unknown


With this in mind the writer of Hebrews is communicating that the believer can be in a state of joy and thanksgiving even when the worst of things seem to be happening around them.  Our identity and future is not hinged on what this temporary world is able to provide.  It is not based on the hope of things here and now.  Our thankfulness and worship is possible because of a truth that God will supplant anything this world now knows – we are members of a Kingdom that cannot fail, and a King that will not be overthrown!


So, we can be thankful, and worship God in the very midst of a nightmare reality on this planet!  Our praise to God is not based on this current world and its hopes.  Our praise to God is based on the fact that His kingdom is never failing, and our King will never fail – and that we are members of that Kingdom forever!  We have a guaranteed future!


PROP. SENT:     The Bible teaches us that our stability, our joy, our hope is based on a reality greater than this current world with all its empires and promises!  Our hope is a blessed hope on being members of a Kingdom that will never fail, and a King that will rule triumphantly forever!


I.   UNSHAKEN KINGDOM!    Heb. 12:28a,b


A.   Promise!     Heb. 12:28a

1.   The word “Therefore…” introduces the conclusions to follow.  It is a safe conclusion drawn by the facts that the God who worked in the Old Covenant has a better promise in mind in the New Covenant.

a.   “since we are receiving…” – here the writer is referencing something real, and something already happening that will continue to unfold.

b.   The good news here is that we are already benefiting from the future – we are already receiving a more permanent Kingdom!

(1.  Sinners always have their pasts catching up to them!

(2.  Believers always have their futures catching up to them!

c.   No wonder the writer is able to talk about giving thanks and worship to God – the future is secure for those who are members of His kingdom!

d.   Even if things here and now are not so good, if kingdoms here are collapsing and failing; we have a solid future!

e.   We need to live in such a way that others see we believe in tomorrow, that there is more to come!


ILLUS:        A man was watching his eighty-year-old neighbor planting a small peach tree. He inquired of him as follows: "You don't expect to eat peaches from that tree, do you?" The old man rested on his spade. He said, "No, at my age I know I won't. But all my life I've enjoyed peaches--never from a tree I planted myself. I'm just trying to pay the other fellows who planted the trees for me." -- James S. Hewett, Illustrations Unlimited (Wheaton: Tyndale House Publishers, Inc, 1988) p. 259.


2.   God has promised His people a permanent future kingdom!

a.   And in real ways we are already receiving it.

b.   So many things in this world are temporary, but not His kingdom!

c.   Even great nations collapse in time, and kings have to be replaced, but Jesus’ kingdom and His rule will have no end!

d.   Our future is secure!

3.   No current or future power will cause its collapse.

a.   Abraham and others journeyed through this life and its difficulties knowing that there was a better city, a better country coming.

b.   This hope has been the basis for saints of all time to endure whatever suffering this world has caused.

c.   We are on unshakeable ground in His kingdom!


B.   Permanence!    Heb. 12:28b

1.   Everything prior had only been shadows of greater realities, even Israel’s old kingdom and all its glory.

a.   God has always had something better in mind for His people.

b.   Even Abraham understood this truth:  Heb. 11:10 says, “For he was looking forward to the city with foundations, whose architect and builder is God.”

2.   Others also grasped this more permanent promise:  Heb. 10:34 “You sympathized with those in prison and joyfully accepted the confiscation of your property, because you knew that you yourselves had better and lasting possessions.”

3.   Because of this truth of a future and a more permanent kingdom the writer to the Hebrews wrote this earlier: Heb. 10:35 “So do not throw away your confidence; it will be richly rewarded.”


ILLUS:       While on a short-term mission’s trip, Pastor Jack Hinton was leading worship at a leper colony on the island of Tobago. A woman who had been facing away from the pulpit turned around.  "It was the most hideous face I had ever seen," Hinton said. "The woman's nose and ears were entirely gone. She lifted a fingerless hand in the air and asked, 'Can we sing Count Your Many Blessings?'  Overcome with emotion, Hinton left the service. He was followed by a team member who said, "I guess you'll never be able to sing that song again."  "Yes I will," he replied, "but I'll never sing it the same way." -- The Pastor's Update (5/96).  Fresh Illustrations for Preaching & Teaching (Baker), from the editors of Leadership.


4.   It is precisely this truth that enabled the early saints, even those under the Old Covenant, to endure unbelievable things.  They were never focused only on the here and now!

5.   How many of us have forgotten the importance of believing in this “Blessed Hope” of Jesus’ coming again, and of a kingdom that will never fade or pass away?

6.   The measure of our confidence in God’s promise of the future will determine the measure of our ability to endure the present difficulties!

a.   Every time Israel lost sight of God’s future promises they wanted to go back, and they complained!

b.   What about us, do we get angry with God for the current conditions of this life, do we feel cheated, etc.? 

c.   If our confidence and hope is NOT on this stuff here and now our faith cannot be shaken, because as the writer says in our text, “we are receiving a kingdom that cannot be shaken…”  Heb. 12:28a

d.   This is all meant to be much more than a theological or theoretical truth, it is meant to be the foundation of our hope, our worship, and our trust in God.


II.  UNSHAKEN KING!     Heb. 12:28c-29


A.   Privilege!    Heb. 12:28c

1.   The confidence of this permanent Kingdom and King should provoke a response from those who belong to it, and it is stated in Heb. 12:28c “let us be thankful, and so worship God acceptably with reverence and awe”

a.    While we face this world we never face it alone!

b.   And God should always be the focal point for the direction of our life!

c.    Remember, it is the King in Heaven that is our focus, not the kings or kingdoms of this earth!


ILLUS:       A small rural Church in Sweden years ago had an unexpected event take place.  The King of Sweden showed up unannounced in their worship service one Sunday morning.  The Pastor, seeing the presence of the King in the congregation and overwhelmed with the presence of royalty put aside his prepared text for that day and talked about the virtues of the King of Sweden.  Following the service the King greeted the Pastor at the door, thanked him, and told him that he would be receiving a gift from the King.  The Pastor was thrilled with this news.  He thought it was evidence that the King liked what he had said.  A few weeks passed and a large box arrived at the Church.  The Pastor opened it anxiously.  Inside was a full size statue of Jesus hanging on a cross, attached was a note with the following on it;  "hang this image of Jesus on the pillar opposite the pulpit so you will always be reminded of your proper subject when preaching!"  -- Source Unknown


2.   Failure to be thankful and worship God is a good indicator that we have not taken seriously these future realities and promises.

a.   Either we don’t believe them truly …

b.   Or, we are not reflecting on them and grasping them correctly.

c.   Thankfulness and worship should be the “natural” outflow from a heart that is confident about the privilege of beings sons and daughters of the Most High God!

3.   To all of us who belong to this permanent kingdom – we are a privileged people!

a.   There is no greater privilege than being part of God’s unending kingdom!

b.   People of privilege usually rejoice over their exalted status, how about us?

4.   Great promise, great permanence, great privilege leads to great PRAISE!

a.   This is the idea of the word “acceptably” in the text!

b.   Acceptable worship is praise, 1 Pet. 2:9 states, “But you are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people belonging to God, that you may declare the praises of him who called you out of darkness into his wonderful light.”

c.   When we are given a great gift it is natural to express praise!

d.   Therefore when we are not praising God we have lost sight of the great gifts and promises that are ours!

5.   Praise should be natural for the believer.


B.   Powerful!     Heb. 12:29

1.   This final verse at first appears out of context to the previous one, but it not!  “For our "God is a consuming fire!”

2.   What was the writer’s point amidst all the joy and praise at saying this?

3.   It was akin to saying “God is all powerful!”

a.   This was a throwback reference to the Old Covenant when Israel came to the mountain and was fearful of God’s presence.  There was lightening, thunder, and fire … they were scared!  Under the Old Covenant they pulled back out of fear, God’s power was overwhelming to them!

b.   But under the New Covenant we need NOT be afraid, in fact – it is His power that guarantees the future!

c.   We serve a King that shall never be dethroned!  We serve a King that we can approach without fear!

4.   It is important to understand that God is all powerful!  Yet, Jesus’ conquering death proved that nothing can collapse God’s power!


ILLUS:       In 1983, the U.S.A. issued a postage stamp commemorating the building of the first steel bridge in America. It was built across the Mississippi River at St. Louis. Many said it could not be built. They said it would never support its own weight. So James Eads, the builder, ordered fourteen locomotives to stop on the bridge at once. Then people trusted the bridge. They called it the eighth wonder of the world. The Lord Jesus Christ is the bridge between sinning man and a sinless God. We must trust him in order to cross it. -- Robert C. Shannon, 1000 Windows, (Cincinnati, Ohio: Standard Publishing Company, 1997).


a.   How else can we have confidence in the future?

b.   God is a consuming fire in the sense that there is nothing that is greater than Him!

c.   It wasn’t meant here as a negative, it was meant to cause reverence and awe! 

5.   The New Testament saint can come boldly into His presence, with reverence and awe, and praise and worship!

6.   However, for the unbeliever, God’s presence may still inspire fear!

7.   The invitation is for us to “come.”

8.   We stand on the promise assured that there is a permanent Kingdom! And we stand on the promise that we have an everlasting King – “Let us be thankful and worship!”


CONCLUSION:   The promise is a great one.  No matter what the kingdoms of this world do, how many of them collapse, how many kings rule over them – our future is not dependent on these current kingdoms and kings!  Our hope is built on the sure promise of a kingdom that will never end, and a King that will never cease from ruling!  And, for all those who know Him, who have believed in Him we will forever rule and reign with Him.  Heb. 12:28 “Therefore, since we are receiving a kingdom that cannot be shaken, let us be thankful, and so worship God acceptably with reverence and awe.”  Amen!