Today we reflect on the various letters that talk about worship. In this last week there was a news article bringing to light a number of atheist mega-churches being created. It is a strange mixture of people who deny God but realize inside them a desire to worship.
We look at Hebrews that talks about all the shadows in the world and the Word that points to Jesus. But we cannot just try to hold onto the shadow, because it is nothing in itself. But we need to hold onto what the shadow points to, the person of Jesus.
The author compares that blood of Jesus to the blood of Abel. In we learn that Abel was a faithful, righteous man. That somehow Cain was not in relationship even though he might have provided a sacrifice. Maybe he was just going through the motions. Abel was then killed by his brother Cain. That Abel’s blood cried out for justice. But the blood of Jesus cries out with justice served! That salvation relies on the blood of Jesus.
As we read this chapter, we can hear the audience saying, “Why can’t we just figure out our own way? What if we become outcasts? What if it is uncomfortable to say this to other people? Maybe we can make this better?” But there are only two options. You will either be a part of the kingdom, or you will be judged.
But our God is a consuming fire. Not to burn us up, but to fill us up. That what He says goes. That His word is final. When He says that through Jesus we receive salvation, grace, and mercy, He means it! And we need to react to that offering of God. In worship, reverence, and awe! Not just to go through the motions once a week. A reflection of the truth of what God has done for us. That his consuming fire is cleansing me.
We have all these distractions. People who will try to confuse by saying God didn’t mean what he said. But we know that God shook the mountain and said he meant what he meant! God might meet me where I am, and you where you are, but it is guaranteed he will meet us in the person and promise of Jesus Christ.
22 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, 23 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, 24 and to Jesus, the mediator of a new covenant, and to the sprinkled blood that speaks a better word than the blood of Abel. (ESV)
4 By faith Abel offered to God a more acceptable sacrifice than Cain, through which he was commended as righteous, God commending him by accepting his gifts. And through his faith, though he died, he still speaks. (ESV)
25 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. 26 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.” 27 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. 28 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, 29 for our God is a consuming fire. (ESV)