Sunday School Material 9-23-12: Faith Inspires Gratitude

(Hebrews 12:18-29; 9/23/12)

Introduction: A key idea in today’s Sunday School material is that the people of God are to live like they fear and appreciate God. Prayerfully, we will be challenged to live like we fear and appreciate God.

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Body:

Read Hebrews 12:18-21

I. Mountain of Terror. In our Sunday School material the writer talks about Moses at Mount Sinia. It was an untouchable mountain when God was present. Fire, trumpets, and prohibitions are mentioned. Moses is said to be trembling with fear.

Applications -

- Fear and obedience. Notice in vss. 18-21 of the Sunday School material that God is still worthy of our fear and obedience. Granted, “fearing God” in our text was more like being terrorized. However, if we don’t obey God, God is still able to provide enough punishment to nurture a healthy amount of being afraid of further punishment.

There are too many who behave as if God will not punish His people in the New Testament. Let’s live like God is still worthy of fear and obedience. Such living is known for obeying God’s will for us to love Him with all that we have and to love our neighbors, as we love ourselves.

Read Hebrews 12:22-24

II. Mountain of Hope. The writer changes scenes. From Mt. Sinia, he turns to Mt. Zion. At Mt. Zion, there is the accessible living God, a multitude of angels in joyful assembly, the church of the first born, God the judge, and Jesus. The spirits of the righteous and perfect is probably a reference to believers.

Applications -

- Looking to the future. Notice in vs. 22 of the Sunday School material that the author’s hope is in the future, not the past. There are too many people who behave as if the best is behind them. It may be true that their best days of physical health and maybe relational bliss are behind them.

However, as believers, we look forward to a state of spiritual blessings that make whatever we experienced on Earth of smaller value. Let’s live like we believe that the best is yet to come. Such living is noted for obeying God with a hopeful and expectant spirit that overrides our negative circumstances.

- Perfection and righteousness. Notice in vss. 23-24 that the people are described as perfect and righteous. This status is the product of accepting Jesus as one’s savior by faith. It is not the product of living so aligned with God’s word and will. There is still none righteous; “no,” not even one.

Let’s demonstrate our appreciation for the status that Jesus has purchased for us with His sacrificial death. A great way to demonstrate our appreciation is to obey Him and worship God for His sovereign plan.

Obedience should include evangelism – helping people get saved or obtain perfect righteous status through faith in Christ.

Read Hebrews 12:25-29

III. Consuming Fire. In our Sunday School material the author now urges the reader not to refuse essentially the Gospel of Jesus. There are terrible consequences for not accepting Jesus. Thankfulness is urged.

Applications –

- The danger of refusing the Gospel. Notice in vss. 25-27 the danger of refusing the Gospel. There are too many who behave as if they have all of the time in the world to decide to accept Jesus. They further behave as if their refusal to accept Christ is no big deal.

However, the truth is Hell is eternally hot. Those without Christ are condemned to eternal doom (see Jn. 3:18). Let’s work on evangelizing our loved ones and those we meet, as if we believe in the danger of refusing the Gospel.

Living by this application should move us to invite and bring loved ones with us on a regular bases to church, follow-up on them joining church, and follow-up on them being disciples Christ.

- Our unshakable kingdom. Notice in vs. 28 of the Sunday School material the kingdom of God is unshakable. This is marvelous news. The things of this world are so shakable. The economic stability of our country, community, and household are shakable.

The stability of our relationships can be shaken by infidelity, self-centeredness, and death. The stability of our health can be shaken by disease and injury. The stability of our churches can be shaken by the flawed Christians and non-Christians that make up its membership and perhaps leadership.

But the kingdom that we await is unshakeable. Let’s live like we believe that we have an unshakable kingdom. This kind of living looks beyond the frustrations and disappointments with the things of this world to hope in the unshakable kingdom.

- Acceptable and reverent worship. Notice in vs. 28-29 the urging to be thankful and to worship God acceptably and with reverence. There may be too many who confuse worship attendance with acceptable worship.

The truth is God is looking for His people to worship Him in spirit and truth. He wants His people to worship Him with enthusiasm and with a commitment to obey Him, before, during, and after the worship service.

Let’s worship God acceptably and with reverence. The measure of reverence is obedience, not dress code, tradition, or the like.

Conclusion: Let’s live like we fear and appreciate God. God has much for those who obey His will.

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