See that ye refuse not him that speaketh!
Shared by Jeff Rowland.
I have been preaching now for 27 years. I have Pastored churches for over 20 years, and there is urgency growing in my spirit like never before. The things I’m going to share with you have captivated my heart in such an unusual way that I feel like purpose is surging through me to get some information out to as many people as I possibly can. I do believe that for such a time as this, this message is to be proclaimed.
With the recent earthquakes in Japan and in other parts of the world my mind began to go to a passage of scripture and has swallowed up my entire being. I understand that earthquakes have been happening since the dawn of time. However, Jesus told us how that earthquakes would be a sign of His soon return and that always triggers something in people when a sign in the bible is being fulfilled before their very eyes. I had the same response when I read this passage that I have read many times before, but now it seemed like I was reading it for the very first time.
Heb 12:25-29 See that ye refuse not him that speaketh. For if they escaped not who refused him that spake on earth, much more shall not we escape, if we turn away from him that speaketh from heaven: Whose voice then shook the earth: but now he hath promised, saying, Yet once more I shake not the earth only, but also heaven. And this word, Yet once more, signifieth the removing of those things that are shaken, as of things that are made, that those things which cannot be shaken may remain. Wherefore we receiving a kingdom which cannot be moved, let us have grace, whereby we may serve God acceptably with reverence and godly fear: For our God is a consuming fire.
From a literal standpoint we must always be reminded of what the book of Hebrews is about. This book in the bible is teaching us how much better the new covenant is to the old covenant. It teaches us how much better Jesus is to the angels or to Moses. These things and many more things must be kept in our mind in looking at this or any other text in this book. The comparison is being drawn here between Mount Sinai and Mount Zion. In the Spirit I have to say that I’m convinced that this passage represents exactly where we are in God’s time.
The writer begins by saying, “See that ye refuse not him that speaketh.” This warning is critical and is also an indictment against the church today. It reminds me of the writings to the seven churches of Revelation and the end of each discourse to them; “he that hath an ear let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches.”
I don’t remember a time when people’s response to the word of God has been so relaxed. It’s as if the Word of God no longer carries any real meaning or power in people’s lives. One could almost draw the conclusion that no one really believes what the bible is saying. We may agree with it in word but if we don’t allow it to motivate us to action then I’m not sure if we really believe it from our heart?
There are some in the church that can only hear or obey the Word if it comes to us in the package we can receive it in. For years I’ve been preaching that we are more hung up on style than we are substance. No one cares what the preacher is saying as long as he says it in the way we want him to. Time after time in my life I’ve heard people say, “Man that preacher really preached today”, but no one can tell you what he said. Some people want the preacher to preach until he has no voice left. Others want their preacher to talk softly and teach. Whether the man of God speaks with great passion or talks softly, we need to hear what he is saying and apply that to our lives.
Paul the apostle told the Corinthian Church that they were divided over personalities and that is exactly what we are doing today. Our cultures and traditions have created certain personality in our worship services and in our ability to receive what God wants to tell us. When personality dictates how we receive from God, then we begin to concentrate more on style than we do substance. You also limit God as to how He can speak to you. Does God only speak in the style you can receive? Certainly God uses all things to accomplish His mission in our lives. Whether someone just reads to you a message from God or they passionately with great oration preach to you the message, it is the same words and it is those words that are God ordained that should change your life.
In this day we are also hung up more on methods than we are message. Most will not allow themselves to hear unless the methods being used are what they want. Churches today spend money and countless hours on the methods they use to deliver God’s message. I do believe we need to offer our best, however the methods are second to the message itself. Sometimes people are so mesmerized by the methods that the message loses its power in the ears and eyes of those who hear it. I know people that will look for a church that has the big media presentations with all the bells and whistles and that seems to have replaced the power of the Holy Spirit in their discernment. There is absolutely nothing wrong with using these tools, but if that method overtakes the message then people will not be prepared for what is ahead.
We are also in a day when we look at the things God uses instead of the God that uses them. I’ve watched churches and individuals make idols out of the things God uses before. They become more attached to the building we meet in instead of the God we are to worship. They become more attached to the preacher instead of the one he is preaching about. They become more attached to the singer than the one we are singing about. God uses people. But the people God uses are people. If we get our eyes on the people of God more than the God of the people, we will end up discouraged, disappointed, and disillusioned.
Down through the years we have seen these things in so many different ways. The big controversy over styles of music in the church is an illustration of these very truths. Instead of being able to hear the message we are listening for the style. We are more caught up in the method of the music than the message of the music. We have even made idols out of the style of the music and that does nothing but rob the power away from the very style you prefer the most.
We also seem to be more hung up on the appearance of things instead of the power of things. It’s as if no one cares if the presence of God is in the house as long as the house looks like His presence is there. More time is spent on the cleaning or beautification of the buildings than on real intercession that the presence of God would be manifest in our midst. If the vessel were as important as what went inside the vessel, no one could ever be used of God. Don’t look at the way something appears but look for the real power of God.
These things will cause us to refuse Him that speaks. Every time we tune out those of a different style, we could be refusing Jesus. Every time we look more at the methods than we do the message we could be refusing Jesus. Every time we look only at the appearance of things and denying the real power, we could be refusing Jesus. I wonder how many times Jesus has passed by our way and we refused Him and didn’t even realize it.
The record in John’s Gospel of the resurrection gives us a great illustration of this, (John 20:14-15) And when she had thus said, she turned herself back, and saw Jesus standing, and knew not that it was Jesus. Jesus saith unto her, Woman, why weepest thou? whom seekest thou? She, supposing him to be the gardener, saith unto him, Sir, if thou have borne him hence, tell me where thou hast laid him, and I will take him away. Mary did not even realize who it was. Is Jesus standing at the door knocking and we are not letting Him in because we don’t recognize who it is? Just as she thought He was the gardener many today miss the fact that Jesus is standing right beside of Him but their eyes are only seeing how everything appears, or they are waiting for a personality, or a certain methodology. How sad it is that we seem to be searching for the presence of Christ and He promised us that He would never leave us or forsake us.
A friend of mine told me one time that the awesome blessings of God even to include His presence in our lives was like Christmas presents around a tree. We look at the packages; we pick them up and shake them to see if we can guess what’s in them but we never open them because we don’t like the wrapping paper. I wonder if this Sunday when congregations get together how many will refuse Jesus because we don’t like the package He comes in. That’s the very reason He was rejected when He came to earth the first time. The world was looking for a king to come riding in with scepter in hand, but Jesus came as babe in a stable wrapped in rags. Please don’t refuse Him, don’t turn Him away because of style, or method, or the appearance of things.
The fundamental truth of the beginning statement of this text is simple obedience. Again it says, “see that ye refuse not him that speaketh.” There is consequence to our disobedience. There is consequence to refusing Him. We would understand that Moses was speaking the law of God and now Christ is proclaiming the Gospel. The consequence of refusing Him that speaketh is enormous. The latter part of verse 25 says, “For if they escaped not who refused him that spake on earth, much more shall not we escape, if we turn away from him that speaketh from heaven.” In the old covenant there was a consequence of not hearing Moses. Hebrews 10:28 says, “He that despised Moses’ law died without mercy under two or three witnesses.” This verse indicates that if they did not hear the words of the Law of Moses or went apostate from the Jewish religion then there was no pardon. The illustration is being drawn in like manner to the message of the gospel. If there was no pardon under the law to those who refused, then much more there can be no pardon if we refuse the message of salvation. The consequence of refusing what Christ says from heaven is swift and sure.
The scriptures teach us that today is the day of salvation now is the accepted time. What will we do if we refuse Him that speaks today? For the unbeliever there is penalty of unrest and hell to those who refuse Him. For those who have been saved and refuse His voice to their life what is left for them? Is it possible to wander in life without peace, joy, or the contentment of purpose by neglecting His voice to our life?
I’m convinced that many churches and individuals are not hearing what the Spirit is saying to them even now. We see it our actions, priorities, thoughts, and our emotional attachments, that were not hearing what He is saying. Were filled with activities, we are going from one teaching to another teaching trying to become better people, yet we neglect the urgency of this hour and the voice of God that could bring perspective and direction to a wandering people.
The wrath and judgment of God is not talked about much but is very much seen in this passage of scripture. The warning given here is to instruct us to flee from the wrath of God into his mercy and grace, however if we neglect His voice all that is left is His wrath.
In these last days we have the teaching of scripture and the voice of the Holy Spirit bringing testimony of Jesus to guide us through the things that we will face. Paul described these days as dangerous days and indeed they are. The warfare is mounting at a rapid rate of speed and the adversities that we are seeing around the world are the fulfillments of scripture in so many ways. If we have ever needed the voice of God and the leadership of the Holy Spirit it is now.
Many times in Jesus ministry He told the listeners, “he that hath an ear, let him hear.” John the Revelator wrote seven letters to seven churches in chapters 2 and 3, and at the end of these letters it was said, “He that hath an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches.” These statements points out the significance and importance of what is being said. I believe that God is speaking to the earth now and I believe that the statement needs to be made again; he that hath an ear let him hear what the Spirit says to the church.
It seems that we are standing at the valley of decision now. Will we refuse Him that speaks and listen to His voice, or will we listen and obey what He is saying to earth now?