(HEBREWS 12:18-29)

The Book of Hebrews was written to Christians from a Jewish background, who were wavering in their commitment to the Christian Gospel of grace and tempted to place themselves once more under the strictures of obedience to the requirements of the Jewish Law.
A major theme of the book is the contrasting of the elements and provisions of the Old Covenant with those of the New (e.g. Jesus contrasted with Moses or angelic messengers; Jesus expressing a superior priesthood; the superior covenant; the superior sanctuary; the superior sacrifice). This thread of comparing and contrasting reaches its culmination in chapter 12 with the contrasting of Mount Sinai where the First Covenant was ratified and the Law given, and Mount Zion which is a picture of the heavenly City of God and the fulfilment of the New Covenant
We are always susceptible to living under various forms of “Law” and prone to turn our faith in the Gospel of Grace into one or another form of religious obligation. As such we need to take a good look at these two mountains, especially Mount Zion which summons us into our true citizenship as members of the household of God.

Sermon text here

The impossibility of pleasing God through our own efforts and self- righteousness.
  1. What effect did the sight of Mt. Sinai have on the Hebrews and why?
  2. How did their experience of Sinai make the people feel in respect of their standing with God?
  3. In your church experience have you sometimes felt unworthy of God? What factors contribute to your feeling this way?
  4. The author of Hebrews makes it clear that, awesome as it may be, Sinai is not our mountain! Why is this such a vital truth, and how can we help each other deeply imbibe it in our understanding of the Christian Faith? 
The community of redemption
  1. Think of your best experience of a mountain holiday. What were the ingredients that combined to make it so special?
  2. What do you find most attractive in this description of Mt. Zion?
  3. In your experience of faith, what do the following words or phrases mean to you: “You have come…”; “heaven”; “the living God”; “joyful assembly”; “names written in heaven”; “righteousness”?
  4. Both Mt. Sinai and Mt. Zion are places of God’s awesome presence, what is the fundamental reason why they are so very different?
Security in grace
  1. How does what Paul has to say in Galatians 4:21-31 shed further light on this picture of the two mountains?
  2. “You have come to the church of the firstborn whose names are written in heaven.” There are other texts that speak of the record of the names of the citizens of heaven (Luke 10:20, Philippians 4:3, revelation 21:27); what encouragement does this have for us?
  3. Look at 1 Peter 1:3-5, how does this add further dimensions to this picture of our being secure in our citizenship of the heavenly city?
  4. What do you think this passage means when it speaks of the blood of Jesus speaking a better word than the blood of Abel? What does the blood of Jesus mean for you, personally? 
NO CHEAP GRACE (Verses 25, 28-29)
Living out the “therefore”
  1. As you look at these verses, how do we hold in balance the message of our security in Jesus’ grace and the responsibility on us to remain faithful?
  2. Dietrich Bonhoeffer speaks about “cheap grace” which is presumptuous and complacent, how does true grace differ from this?
  3. How does the assurance that we “are receiving a kingdom that cannot be shaken”, motivate us to “worship God acceptably with reverence and awe”?
  4. How do you respond to the statement, “our God is a consuming fire”?

Christ Church Kenilworth  |  Cnr Summerley & Richmond Road  |  Tel: +27 (021) 797 6332  | E-mail:
Service Times: Sunday Worship  8.00am, 10.00am & 6.30pm  |  Wednesday Service: 10am   | Tuesday Quiet Service: 6.30pm (fortnightly)

Taryn Galloway, 06/05/2015