JohnSWilson3 Blog


“…since we are receiving a kingdom that cannot be shaken…”
June 27, 2012, 2:42 pm
Filed under: Q - Letter to Hebrews

The author to the Letter to the Hebrews consistently has warned the brothers and sisters in not so many words to put off the flesh and to put on Christ, to not live by the flesh but to live by His life using Old Testament imagery that would relate to their Jewish teaching. In this last section of Chapter 13 the author makes some striking contrasts.

The author has gone to a great depth to help the ekklesia to see how their moving forward in their life in Christ is related to the suffering and struggles that they have been going through. God is after only one thing, the expression of His Son and that only comes when we see the flesh is dead and has been nailed to the cross. Paul to the Philippian ekklesia describes this as entering into “the fellowship of sharing in his sufferings becoming like him in his death.” When we take our eyes off of our circumstances and fix them on to Jesus our perspective changes from our flesh to Christ. Christ wants to give us eyes to see that He is our life and we “share in his holiness.” As we learn Christ His life of peace is expressed, a life that it “other” than this world, and our family, friends, and neighbors “will see the Lord.”

If we focus on ourselves, on our circumstances, however awful we think they are, and not on Christ in us then we miss seeing “the grace of God” not only in our lives but in the lives of others and this has a subtle way of affecting the ekklesia. How often have you found some, because of their circumstances, have become bitter at life? But if we are living by Christ, by faith loving others, loving our brothers and sisters who are down because of their circumstances they will see the Lord expressed. But if we get caught up with the troubles and the material things of this world with the brothers and sisters we are acting more like Esau, “who for a single meal sold his inheritance rights as the oldest son.” Esau lacked “any sense of spiritual values…(and) whose chief concerns are the material interests of the moment.” (1) It is difficult if altogether impossible for an ekklesia once it falls into this trap when it gathers to regain sight of the Lord in their midst. It is a “bitter root” that “grows up to cause trouble and defile many.” It is a spiritual struggle to keep Christ as Head. Haven’t you seen this as you have gathered together when the group loses the headship of Christ in your midst? May we have spiritual sight to hear our Lord and not refuse what He is saying in the moment, but love by faith. How important it is “to detect and nip in the bud (with love) any tendency that would” cause us to focus on the flesh and not on Christ. (2)

The author then gives two great pictures which is the climax of his entire letter to this ekklesia. Two great pictures which describes two different ways that we can gather as a body of Christ. The first describes a picture of the old children of Israel at Mount Sinai in the wilderness; the second describes a picture of the new children of Israel at Mount Zion in the promise land. When we gather together in Christ we do not gather as the old children of Israel did who focused on the outward things of this world, the old creation of the flesh. Because they focused on themselves they saw only condemnation: “fire,” “darkness, gloom and storm; to a trumpet blast,” a terrifying sight, causing them to fear God’s voice. When we gather together as the new creation, His body, our focus is on Christ, His spiritual life that dwells within us. He is Head. In Christ there is no condemnation, only the flesh condemns. Listen to the author:

“But you have come to Mount Zion, to the heavenly Jerusalem, the city of the living God. You have come to thousands upon thousands of angels in joyful assembly, to the [ekklesia] of the firstborn, whose names are written in heaven. You have come to God, the judge of all men, to the spirits of righteous men made perfect, to Jesus the mediator of a new covenant, and to the sprinkled blood that speaks a better word than the blood of Abel.”

Wow, what a description of the gathering of the ekklesia! Could we have spiritual sight to see this as we gather together! As we gather together brothers and sisters we are called to live by Christ’s life which means we respond to the Head, what He tells us in and to and through one another. “See to it that you do not refuse him who speaks.” As we hear Him we are called to respond with love each by the measure of faith and gift we have been given. When “we turn away from him who warns us from heaven” we will only gather as the old children of Israel did in fear and condemnation and act out of our flesh like Esau. When this happens the body of Christ becomes another religion and God does not get what He desires the most, the expression of His Son through a people who He deeply loves, God does not get a witness of His life to the world.

We must see our sufferings for what they are, the sufferings of Christ, it is the way of the cross, it is the way of fellowship. Though they are difficult at times we have One who has been through them all yet did not sin, who did not lose sight of the Father in Him, He is the One we are to go to as a body, Him who dwells and lives within us. “My son, do not make light of the Lord’s discipline, and do not lose heart when he rebukes you, because the Lord disciplines those he loves, and he punishes everyone he accepts as a son.” These sufferings, these trials, these difficult circumstances are meant to help remove “what can be shaken,” what does not last, “so that what cannot be shaken may remain,” the expression of His Son, the life of His Spirit, the grace of God. His life is our life. This is how true fellowship is born within the body of Christ, this is how, as Paul told the Ephesian ekklesia, “the whole building is joined together and rises to become a holy temple in the Lord. And in him you too are being built together to become a dwelling in which God lives by his Spirit.” Perhaps what God is really trying to show us is that in fact on the cross the flesh was truly nailed and taken away and Christ is really now our life. It is perhaps the shaking of our lives and trusting in Him together in the process that we really see this truth. “Therefore, since we are receiving a kingdom that cannot be shaken, let us be thankful, and so worship God acceptably with reverence and awe, for our ‘God is a consuming fire.’”

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4 Comments so far
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The Word, my dear brother! Yes, He is indeed a consuming Fire. The Fire of Life, for from the heat of the flames rises the sweet aroma of Christ. There will be suffering and there will be struggles that at times we feel as though we cannot endure it. We thank Father for those extensive happenings of the fire. He is the Fire of Love. How brilliantly green the Life is that grows from ashes after the fire has consumed the old life. I read sometimes online that Christ is not all about relationship, but to me this is the same as saying Christ is not all about Love. There is no possible way to be Light, Love and Life in this world and to this world, neighbors, friends and family if we are not filled with Light, Love and Life. Can we express Who we do not experience greatly? Will the world see Him in and through us if we do not know Him in the depths of relationship, this means also in the depths of His fullness in His dwelling, which is His body? It is not the suffering that matters, but the Life we gain though that suffering. It is a very great struggle at times, but the suffering truly matters not, not in the least, but only the Life gained through the Fire. John, this article is an excellent expression of the Son of Love. Thank you for sharing Christ in you with us. Actually, you are sharing Christ with the other parts of you! 😉

Comment by Kat Huff

amen sis, your comment blessed me greatly. “It is not the suffering that matters, but the Life we gain though that suffering.” Yes.

Comment by John Wilson

1 Corinthians 2

PROCLAIMING CHRIST CRUCIFIED

And I, when I came to you, brothers, did not come proclaiming to you the testimony of God with lofty speech or wisdom. For I decided to know nothing among you except Jesus Christ and him crucified. And I was with you in weakness and in fear and much trembling, and my speech and my message were not in plausible words of wisdom, but in demonstration of the Spirit and of power, that your faith might not rest in the wisdom of men but in the power of God.

WISDOM FROM THE SPIRIT

Yet among the mature we do impart wisdom, although it is not a wisdom of this age or of the rulers of this age, who are doomed to pass away. But we impart a secret and hidden wisdom of God, which God decreed before the ages for our glory. None of the rulers of this age understood this, for if they had, they would not have crucified the Lord of glory.

But, as it is written, “What no eye has seen, nor ear heard,
nor the heart of man imagined,
what God has prepared for those who love him” –

these things God has revealed to us through the Spirit. For the Spirit searches everything, even the depths of God. For who knows a person’s thoughts except the spirit of that person, which is in him? So also no one comprehends the thoughts of God except the Spirit of God. Now we have received not the spirit of the world, but the Spirit who is from God, that we might understand the things freely given us by God. And we impart this in words not taught by human wisdom but taught by the Spirit, interpreting spiritual truths to those who are spiritual.

The natural person does not accept the things of the Spirit of God, for they are folly to him, and w he is not able to understand them because they are spiritually discerned. The spiritual person judges all things, but is himself to be judged by no one. “For who has understood the mind of the Lord so as to instruct him?” But we have the mind of Christ.

Comment by jimpuntney

[…] so loved by God. His name is John Wilson and he blogs at JohnSWilson3. His most recent post “…SINCE WE ARE RECEIVING A KINGDOM THAT CANNOT BE SHAKEN…” is a great encouragement to all of us who are […]

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