The State of the House - March 13, 2016 --------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Pastor Dale Lloyd
Scripture Reading: Hebrews 12: 25 – 29
Theme: The State of the House
If you look at the larger context of this portion of scripture it is clear that the writer is addressing and comparing two covenants: The old covenant of law and the new covenant of grace; the old covenant of legal works and the new covenant of life in the Spirit; the old covenant of external visibilities and the new order of internal spiritual realities; the old order of shadows, and the new order of substance, the old way of walking by sight and the new way of walking by faith.
The shaking he refers to applies to everything from a slight agitation of mind, to physical tremors, to cataclysmic events in nature such as earthquakes. In the book of Revelations there are several references to the cataclysmic aspect of the meaning of this word ‘shaken.’ It also applies to the event recorded in Matt.27: 51 – 53: And behold, the veil of the temple was torn in two from top to bottom; and the earth shook and the rocks were split. The tombs were opened, and many bodies of the saints who had fallen asleep were raised; and coming out of the tombs after His resurrection they entered the holy city and appeared to many.
Christ cried out: “It is finished.” And the shaking instantly began; it was violent in nature, and it was far more than physical in nature. The ultimate end of this shaking is what Paul had in mind when he wrote: Rom.8: 19 – 23 For the anxious longing of the creation waits eagerly for the revealing of the sons of God. For the creation was subjected to futility, not willingly, but because of Him who subjected it, in hope that the creation itself also will be set free from its slavery to corruption into the freedom of the glory of the children of God. For we know that the whole creation groans and suffers the pains of childbirth together until now. And not only this, but also we ourselves, having the first fruits of the Spirit, even we ourselves groan within ourselves, waiting eagerly for our adoption as sons, the redemption of our body.
I discovered this simple but wonderful note in my reading this week. [the present universe under the curse of sin changed/transformed to the perfect universe of the eternal conditions and order]. Once this is established experientially (not just positionally) the shaking will be over.
His voice that time shook the earth to its foundations; this time—he’s told us this quite plainly—he’ll also rock the heavens: “One last shaking, from top to bottom, stem to stern.” The phrase “one last shaking” means a thorough housecleaning, getting rid of all the historical and religious junk so that the unshakable essentials stand clear and uncluttered.
The apostle Paul used the analogy of a house in describing the nature of the church. The church is not a physical building. The church is not the structures, systems, and programs we create in the exercise of ministry and mission. All of these things have their place in the missional function of the church, but the church is never anything other than or more than people: people who have been brought to faith in the Lord Jesus Christ; a redeemed, reconciled, and restored people of God.
As such the church is presently on the earth and in the heavens. Those who have gone to be with the Lord have not left the church. They are in a different position, but they are still one with the church here on earth. We are eternally joined/united in the S/spirit. Individually and corporately we are universally the house of God.
According to the scripture we read God knows something about this house He is building, and if we are wise we will learn and accept what He knows. In the words of the text we discover that every house needs “a thorough housecleaning.” Keeping with the analogy of the house illustration we all know why “a thorough housecleaning” is necessary. We tend to gather, horde, and accumulate until we can’t distinguish between the clutter and the essentials. The danger in this is that the clutter takes the place of the essentials.
“A thorough housecleaning” has to be more than merely rearranging the clutter. At some point there has to be a sifting, sorting, separation, and removal of nonessentials. In the very powerful words of the text it comes down to this: all the historical and religious junk. Those are hard-hitting words and for good reason. They challenge that inherent propensity in all of us to constantly back up to what God did and what God used yesterday; that core propensity to then bring all of that into the house presently where it begins to shape the identity of the house rather than what God has presently established as the essentials of the house.
In the context of Hebrews chapter twelve this is exactly what the writer is addressing; the constant temptation to back up to Mount Sinai and the Law, rather than defining the house entirely and absolutely by Mount Zion, the new
covenant of grace based entirely on the finished work of Christ who eternally and infinitely fulfilled every jot and tittle of the old.
In keeping with the text there are only two choices when it comes to the question of what defines the house. They are: (1) historical and religious junk, or (2) unshakable essentials.
Every house has some historical and religious junk mixed in and among the unshakable essentials. So the question is: How am I going to know the difference; how are they to be separated and sorted out? There is only one answer to that question. It consists of a single word in the text: “shaking.”
Let me finish this message by considering this “shaking phenomena.”
The first thing to understand is that we are not called to be “house shakers.” I am not appointed to shake your house, nor are you appointed to shake mine. I am not even appointed to shake the house of this local fellowship – and furthermore, you’re not either.
Secondly, this biblical shaking of the house is not the devil. He wants us to think it is him because that shifts our focus away from Christ to the enemy.
In the words of the text here is the explanation of the shaking: ‘His voice that time shook the earth to its foundations...’ Nothing will shake the house like the voice – the spoken WORD – of God. And here’s the essential point in this: If it’s the voice of the Lord that is shaking the house then we need not fear the shaking; we can rest and be at peace because we know He is not against us; He is for us. He has not come to destroy the house. He has come to perfect the house as a proper dwelling place for Himself.
It’s His word that judges the contents of the house. The only way I will ever know what is historical and religious junk, and what is unshakable essentials in my own house is by regarding His voice of His word. And this is where (if I may backup to Pastor Adam’s message last week) we must avoid consulting that tree of the knowledge of good and evil and live entirely from the tree of life and S/spirit.
Finally, what is the purpose of this God ordained, heaven inspired shaking? First what the purpose is not; it is not to reveal and draw our attention to what falls down in the shaking. Its purpose is to reveal and fix our focus upon what is still standing because the only thing that is going to be standing after the shaking is the “unshakable essentials.”
There is nothing in this text we need to be afraid of, not even the following: He’s actively cleaning house, torching all that needs to burn, and he won’t quit until it’s all cleansed. God himself is Fire!
I have heard and read many sermons and studies on this verse. Almost all of them were negative and inspired fear. This is the verse we used when trying to scare people into loving God. The truth is this is wonderful and freeing news. I call this “friendly fire” – the red hot, fiery seal of God’s love that cares infinitely more about the perfection of the house than about any temporary discomfort involved in the burning up and removal of the clutter that keeps us from seeing and experiencing the unshakable kingdom.