Warning Signs | Don't Reject the Heavenly Voice, Day 1
When God speaks, we must listen and obey.
Verse of the Day
'Therefore we also, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which so easily ensnares us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, ' Hebrews 12:1 NKJV
Describe a time you knew God was speaking to you and you obeyed.
Describe a time you knew God was speaking to you and you did not obey.
In both cases, how did this impact your faith and relationship with God? How did it impact your relationship with others?
Read Hebrews 12:25-29
'See that you do not refuse him who is speaking. For if they did not escape when they refused him who warned them on earth, much less will we escape if we reject him who warns from heaven. At that time his voice shook the earth, but now he has 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, and thus let us offer to God acceptable worship, with reverence and awe, for our God is a consuming fire.' Hebrews 12:25-29 ESV
Who are we warned not to refuse, and why is this warning so important?
“Him who is speaking” refers to Jesus who is now in Heaven at the right hand of God after dwelling among us on Earth.
Relates back to Hebrews 2:2-3;
'For if the word spoken through angels proved steadfast, and every transgression and disobedience received a just reward, how shall we escape if we neglect so great a salvation, which at the first began to be spoken by the Lord, and was confirmed to us by those who heard Him, ' Hebrews 2:2-3 NKJV
Strong’s G3056, logos; Doctrine, the Word of God, i.e. Christ
It is vital that we obey the Word of God, placing Christ as the cornerstone of our faith and life, so that we will not be shaken by temptations and things of the world.
“Everyone then who hears these words of mine and does them will be like a wise man who built his house on the rock. And the rain fell, and the floods came, and the winds blew and beat on that house, but it did not fall, because it had been founded on the rock. And everyone who hears these words of mine and does not do them will be like a foolish man who built his house on the sand. And the rain fell, and the floods came, and the winds blew and beat against that house, and it fell, and great was the fall of it.” Matthew 2:24-27 ESV
What does it mean to “be shaken”?
Things of this world have a shelf-life; they are not eternal, but God and His Word are eternal.
When we place our trust in this world, or listen to the culture, people, or our own desires we are not building our lives on the Rock that is Christ, and the Word of God.
When we trust the world over Jesus, we then are essentially entrusting our salvation to earthly things instead of Christ, who is the only Way to true salvation.
Through our salvation in Christ we find peace and stability, but through worldly things we will easily become unstable when life gets difficult.
What is the kingdom that “cannot be shaken” and why should we be grateful for it?
The Kingdom of God cannot be shaken. Christ has made Himself the cornerstone that we can all rest on and trust in. He is eternal, constant, and trustworthy through anything we may face.
We should be grateful that He has given Himself to us so that we can enter the Kingdom of God that is eternal and unshakable, and be strengthened by His power through His salvation.
I have set the Lord always before me; because he is at my right hand, I shall not be shaken. Psalm 16:8 ESV
For David says concerning him, “‘I saw the Lord always before me, for he is at my right hand that I may not be shaken; Acts 2:25
Why should we “offer to God acceptable worship”?
God has given us an eternal and unshakable cornerstone to rest upon through the blood of Jesus so that we can be blessed by His power.
God is worthy of all praise and worship because He is the only one who is trustworthy, constant and unshakable.
We have everything we have because He chose to make it so. We cannot earn any of it, and He does not want us to try to earn it, but instead to just live with gratitude to Him through worship, praise and obedience to Him and His Word.
What does it mean that “our God is a consuming fire”?
God, as a consuming fire, is a jealous God and a righteous judge of all mankind and our sins
God wants us to understand the consequences of disobeying His voice and His Word are eternal; He has the power to cast us into the eternal fires if we choose to reject His offer of salvation through the blood of Jesus
For the Lord your God is a consuming fire, a jealous God. Deuteronomy 4:24 ESV
And do not fear those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul. Rather fear him who can destroy both soul and body in hell. Matthew 10:28 ESV
And the devil who had deceived them was thrown into the lake of fire and sulfur where the beast and the false prophet were, and they will be tormented day and night forever and ever. Revelation 20:10 ESV
Read Hebrews 12:18-24
'For you have not come to what may be touched, a blazing fire and darkness and gloom and a tempest and the sound of a 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, “If even a beast touches the mountain, it shall be stoned.” Indeed, so terrifying was the sight that Moses said, “I tremble with fear.” But you have come to Mount Zion 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 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 that speaks a better word than the blood of Abel. ' Hebrews 12:18-24 ESV
This contrasts the Old Testament (Mosaic) and New Testament (Christ) covenants.
The Israelites received the Mosaic Law at Mt. Sinai with “fear and trembling” because of the incredible power God had displayed to them.
'On the morning of the third day there were thunders and lightnings and a thick cloud on the mountain and a very loud trumpet blast, so that all the people in the camp trembled. Then Moses brought the people out of the camp to meet God, and they took their stand at the foot of the mountain. Now Mount Sinai was wrapped in smoke because the Lord had descended on it in fire. The smoke of it went up like the smoke of a kiln, and the whole mountain trembled greatly. And as the sound of the trumpet grew louder and louder, Moses spoke, and God answered him in thunder. The Lord came down on Mount Sinai, to the top of the mountain. And the Lord called Moses to the top of the mountain, and Moses went up. ' Exodus 19:16-20 ESV
The New Covenant received by Christians through the blood of Christ is represented by the Heavenly Jerusalem on Mt. Zion, which is a celebration of God by angels, believers and the righteous.
Remember your congregation, which you have purchased of old, which you have redeemed to be the tribe of your heritage! Remember Mount Zion, where you have dwelt. Psalm 74:2 ESV
For out of Jerusalem shall go a remnant, and out of Mount Zion a band of survivors. The zeal of the Lord will do this. 2 Kings 19:31 ESV
Read Hebrews 12:12-17
'Therefore strengthen the hands which hang down, and the feeble knees, and make straight paths for your feet, so that what is lame may not be dislocated, but rather be healed. Pursue peace with all people, and holiness, without which no one will see the Lord: looking carefully lest anyone fall short of the grace of God; lest any root of bitterness springing up cause trouble, and by this many become defiled; lest there be any fornicator or profane person like Esau, who for one morsel of food sold his birthright. For you know that afterward, when he wanted to inherit the blessing, he was rejected, for he found no place for repentance, though he sought it diligently with tears.' Hebrews 12:12-17 NKJV
How should we “strengthen the hands” and “make straight paths”?
Through constantly strengthening our knowledge of and relationship with God we will grow stronger in faith and see the paths which God has called us to.
We must spend constant time in prayer and scripture, as well as in fellowship with God’s people, so that we may discern the voice of God and remain on His path.
We must learn to discern between the voice of God and the things of this world, our culture, our own desires, and the evil that tempts us to sin.
How does this passage tell us to “pursue peace with all people”?
We are called to “look carefully”, watching out for sin and bitterness
Strong’s G1515: eirēnē - Security, safety, prosperity;
Of the Messiah’s peace
The way that leads to peace (salvation)
This peace is referring to the security, safety and prosperity found through Christ’s salvation.
We must not neglect our salvation and therefore fail to produce the fruits of the Spirit which occur naturally as a result of actively living out our saving faith in Jesus
How do “many become defiled”?
Strong’s G5302: hystereō - to be later; to be inferior; to fall short; be behind, want, come short, come behind, be destitute, suffer need, be the worse.
To become defiled is to be found in sin; to fall short of the glory of God
The warning in this passage is for those who become defiled and fail to repent
When we fall short we must repent in order to make straight our paths once again
If you are not actively bearing good fruit (the fruit of the Spirit), pursuing peace with all people, you not only defile yourselves but those whom you fail to have peace with.
Is it ever too late for repentance?
Eventually, yes. We never know when it will be too late which is why we must repent constantly and immediately when we fall short, even if we don’t know how or when we have fallen short; we constantly fall short and constantly need repentance.
Do we find ourselves trying to take shortcuts toward salvation? What may that look like?
When God sets the path before us, we seem to stray off the path trying to find a “quicker solution” than what God has intended.
We try to take shortcuts when we fail to heed God’s instruction and give Him the control.
What are the consequences of looking for these shortcuts?
When we look for shortcuts we will mess things up every single time and fail to see God’s plan and receive the blessings God has for us.
Read Hebrews 12:3-8
Consider him who endured from sinners such hostility against himself, so that you may not grow weary or fainthearted. In your struggle against sin you have not yet resisted to the point of shedding your blood. And have you forgotten the exhortation that addresses you as sons? “My son, do not regard lightly the discipline of the Lord, nor be weary when reproved by him. For the Lord disciplines the one he loves, and chastises every son whom he receives.” It is for discipline that you have to endure. God is treating you as sons. For what son is there whom his father does not discipline? If you are left without discipline, in which all have participated, then you are illegitimate children and not sons. Besides this, we have had earthly fathers who disciplined us and we respected them. Shall we not much more be subject to the Father of spirits and live? For they disciplined us for a short time as it seemed best to them, but he disciplines us for our good, that we may share his holiness. For the moment all discipline seems painful rather than pleasant, but later it yields the peaceful fruit of righteousness to those who have been trained by it. Hebrews 12:3-11 ESV
Why would “considering him who endured” help us to “not grow weary or fainthearted” in our struggle against sin?
God has shown us His ultimate power in the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus.
We should be encouraged by the fact that when we come into a salvation relationship with Him that same power dwells in us to help and guide us through life.
What does this passage teach us about discipline from the Lord?
His discipline is because He loves us as His children.
Discipline from God is always for our good; to teach and correct us to live by His will and plan, and cling to Him and His salvation through Jesus.
What happens when we are not disciplined by the Lord?
If He does not discipline us, then we are not counted as His children.
When we are not disciplined we continue in our sinful ways, which has eternal consequences.
Read Hebrews 12:1-2
'Therefore, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us also lay aside every weight, and sin which clings so closely, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, looking to Jesus, the founder and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is seated at the right hand of the throne of God. ' Hebrews 12:1-2 ESV
What does it mean that we are “surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses”?
The cloud of witnesses were the faithful Old Testament heroes found in scripture (ref. Heb. 11)
Knowing about people of faith from the OT should be an incredible encouragement to us as clouds of witnesses, cheering us on from Heaven.
Now faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen. For by it the people of old received their commendation. Hebrews 11:1-2 ESV
These all died in faith, not having received the things promised, but having seen them and greeted them from afar, and having acknowledged that they were strangers and exiles on the earth. Hebrews 11:13 ESV
How can we “lay aside every weight, and sin” and “run with endurance”? Why is this so important?
Heed the voice of God by spending time in prayer, scripture and fellowship every day.
Keep our eyes on Christ, our Lord and Saviour, and follow His lead at all costs.
Do you find yourself heeding God’s voice more, or the voice of the world, culture, and yourself more?
How can you refocus on the Heavenly voice this week, and how can our community encourage you?
Thank God for His love, sacrifice, and power in your life and ask Him to help you seek peace and repentance in all areas of your life.