Believers receive an unshakable kingdom. This great future grace should motivate us to offer grateful service to the King. An exposition of Hebrews 12:28.
Hebrews chapter 12. We’re going to read together verses 25 through the end of the chapter. Hebrews chapter 12:
25 See to it that you do not refuse Him who is speaking. For if those did not escape when they refused him who warned them on earth, much less will we escape who turn away from Him who warns from heaven.
26 And His voice shook the earth then, but now He has promised, saying, “Yet once more I will shake not only the earth, but also the heaven.”
27 This expression, “Yet once more,” denotes the removing of those things which can be shaken, as of created things, so that those things which cannot be shaken may remain.
28 Therefore, since we receive a kingdom which cannot be shaken, let us show gratitude, by which we may offer to God an acceptable service with reverence and awe;
29 for our God is a consuming fire. (Heb. 12:25–29 NASB)
It seems to me that every subject that we encounter as we’re working our way through the book of Hebrews has been timely. We are now in the fifth passage that deals with apostasy, and it seems as if every time we come to a passage on apostasy in Hebrews, there is some figure in Christian circles who decides to deconstruct their faith and leave Christianity and second-guess everything they were raised to believe, and that makes headlines. And then going through the passage on discipline earlier in Hebrews chapter 12, I found that very timely, as many in our congregation were going through afflictions and difficulties and sicknesses and suffering, all kinds of discouragements of one sort or another. And now here we are in a passage that describes the entire world being shaken in judgment. It describes the judgments of God and the reality that all of creation is temporary, that nothing is certain, and that sometimes it feels as if the ground underneath of our very feet is shaking. And while we’ve been considering this for the last couple of weeks, we’ve watched nations go to war against nations and war break out in the Middle East, and the largest ethnic group, the largest country on the planet, is licking its chops at the possibility of invading Taiwan, and everything is up in the air in the world, and it seems as if nothing is solid and nothing is sure and nothing is certain. And all this is taking place right before our eyes as we’re studying this passage that describes all of creation being shaken. [jokingly] So I’ve decided that as soon as we’re done with Hebrews chapter 12, I’m going to preach a series of messages on the rapture. Just in case on the off chance there is some mysterious connection between what I’m preaching on and what’s going on in the world, I figured we might as well roll our dice and see what happens.
But while the nations rage and while the Lord in judgment pits nation against nation and while people are attacking one another and everything feels so uncertain, God is working out His sovereign purposes, all of His redemptive plans. And as I’ve said before—and this is not unique to me; I borrowed this from somebody else—everything is falling apart right on schedule, exactly as God would have it to be. He’s sovereign over all of these events. Nothing that is happening is escaping His notice, and it is certainly not outside of His plan or what He has ordained or what He intends. He is not running around Heaven, pulling out His hair, trying to figure out how to fix the issues in the Middle East, how to get Russia to stop invading Ukraine and going to war with those people, how to keep China from invading Taiwan. He’s not anxious over any of those things. Everything is happening on schedule, everything is happening according to His promises, and everything is unfolding according to His purposes. And you and I, in the midst of that, are called to fix our gaze upon Christ and to run the race that is set before us with diligence and faithfulness, and to serve our King in gratitude and reverence and awe. That is what He has called us to do. No matter what else happens in the culture, in the government, in politics, in international affairs, among the nations, no matter what else transpires, our duty is the same, our calling is the same: fix our eyes on Jesus, run the race set before us, serve our King with gratitude because of all that He has given to us.
And our passage today is Hebrews 12:28–29: “Therefore, since we receive a kingdom which cannot be shaken, let us show gratitude, by which we may offer to God an acceptable service with reverence and awe; for our God is a consuming fire.” These closing verses, verses 25–29 of Hebrews chapter 12, they give to us four very great motivations for serving God and loving God and obeying Him. We’ve looked at two of them so far, the first in verse 25—the past acts of God’s judgment against disobedience. God has a great track record, and we can look back at how He has handled those who will not repent, will not obey, will not come to Him for forgiveness. And you can see how God judges disobedience all the way through Scripture. Second, we looked at God’s promise of future judgment upon all of creation. That’s verses 26 and 27, His promise to shake the heavens and the earth, and eventually everything is coming undone, everything will be destroyed. The third reason is because of the pledge of an unshakable kingdom. That’s verse 28: “Therefore, since you receive a kingdom which cannot be shaken.” And the fourth motive for obedience is the perfection of an unchanging God, verse 29. The perfection of an unchanging God.
I want you to notice that verse 28 begins with a therefore, because the author is drawing us to a conclusion. He is fixing before our minds and our hearts some concluding exhortations, some concluding ideas that we are to have fixed in our hearts and in our minds, things that we are to act upon. He is now, for the rest of this Epistle, going to enjoin us to obey God, to serve Him with reverence and with awe, for, verse 29 says, “our God is a consuming fire.” So even though we have been given a kingdom and even though we have been blessed with all of the spiritual blessings that are entailed in the new covenant that come to us completely by grace, though that is true, the nature of God has not changed. He is the same God that He was under the law. In verse 29, it says He is a consuming fire. He is the same God who is angry toward the wicked each and every day, who will not leave the guilty unpunished, who will justly execute His wrath upon every sin that has ever been committed. That is the same God. He is the same yesterday, today, and forever. His nature does not change. His standards do not change. Why is it then that you and I are not consumed? For one reason and one reason only. Another has borne that wrath, that consuming fire, on our behalf. So that you and I can stand righteous in His presence, forgiven of our sin, showered with mercy and grace, not because of anything we’ve done, but only because of what another has done in our place. That is Jesus Christ and His death on the cross. But God is the same consuming fire that He has always been.
We’re going to look today at verse 28, this grand blessing of the kingdom. We have been given the pledge of an unshakable kingdom and we’ve—I’ve been going through this and kind of talked a little bit about this kingdom, and some of this is going to overlap with what we have dealt with previously, but I want you to fix your mind and your heart and your meditation upon this reality that God has pledged to you an unshakable kingdom. If you’re in Christ, He has pledged to you an unshakable kingdom. And because it is unshakable, it is an inevitable and unalterable promise that He has given to you, the blessing of a kingdom that is to come, an unshakable one in an unshakable creation.
So verse 28, you’ll notice again the therefore signals a conclusion. And really, the therefore at the beginning of verse 28 is the gateway—listen carefully—it is the gateway to the rest of the Epistle, not just the rest of the sentence or the rest of the chapter, but the rest of the Epistle. The therefore is the concluding sort of summary statement where he is going to say, “Therefore you have been given this unshakable kingdom, and since you have been given this unshakable kingdom, you are therefore to do certain things.” And then he gives us a list of moral commands, moral commands that are incumbent upon those who have been given this unshakable kingdom. It starts in verse 28: “Since we receive a kingdom which cannot be shaken, let us show gratitude.” There’s the impetus. There’s the statement of “Here’s what you are therefore to do.” Let yourself show gratitude. Show gratitude as you serve Him with reverence and awe, remembering that our God is a consuming fire. That’s the first moral imperative that you and I have in light of the fact that we have been given this unshakable kingdom. But that is not the only moral imperative that we have. All of chapter 13 is the continuation of that idea. So look at verse 1 of chapter 13. I’ve said this before, and I want to impress it upon you again: ignore the chapter break. It wasn’t there in the mind of the writer when he wrote the book. It wasn’t there in the minds of the recipients when they originally read the book. It wasn’t there in the minds of anybody for seven centuries after Scripture was written. It was added much later. So ignore the chapter break, and now read with me the first few verses of chapter 13 in light of that statement in verse 28.
Since you have received a kingdom which cannot be shaken, (chapter 13, verse 1) “let love of the brethren continue.” Since you have received a kingdom that cannot be shaken, “do not neglect to show hospitality to strangers, for by this some have entertained angels without knowing it” (v. 2). Since you have received a kingdom which cannot be shaken, “remember the prisoners, as though in prison with them, and those who are ill-treated, since you yourself also are in the body” (v. 3). Since you have received a kingdom which cannot be shaken, “marriage is to be held in honor among all, and the marriage bed is to be undefiled; for fornicators and adulterers God will judge” (v. 4). Since you have received an unshakable kingdom, “make sure that your character is free from the love of money, being content with what you have; for He Himself has said, ‘I will never desert you, nor will I forsake you’” (v. 5). Listen, you can read verse 5 again, at least consider verse 5 for a moment again. Since you have received an unshakable kingdom, be free from the love of money. Do you see the connection between those two things? You’ve received everything that is unshakable and eternal. So what are you striving after in this world for then?
Verse 6: “So that we may confidently say, ‘The Lord is my helper, I will not be afraid. What will man do to me?’” Since you have received an unshakable kingdom, “Remember those who led you, who spoke the word of God to you; and considering the result of their conduct, imitate their faith. Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever” (vv. 7–8). Since you have received an unshakable kingdom,
9 Do not be carried away by varied and strange teachings; for it is good for the heart to be strengthened by grace, not by foods, through which those who were so occupied were not benefited.
10 We have an altar from which those who serve the tabernacle have no right to eat.
11 For the bodies of those animals whose blood is brought into the holy place by the high priest as an offering for sin, are burned outside the camp.
12 Therefore Jesus also, that He might sanctify the people through His own blood, suffered outside the gate.
13 So, [since you have received an unshakable kingdom] let us go out to Him outside the camp, bearing His reproach. (Heb. 13:9–13 NASB)
Look at verse 14: “For here we do not have a lasting city, [now, we don’t have a kingdom here] but we are seeking the city which is to come.” We haven’t received it yet. We haven’t enjoyed it yet, but there is a kingdom, a city that is to come. And since that is vouchsafed to you, since that is promised to you, He has pledged this to you, verse 15: “Through Him then, let us continually offer up a sacrifice of praise to God, that is, the fruit of lips that give thanks to His name.”
Since you’ve received an unshakable kingdom, verse 16, “Do not neglect doing good and sharing, for with such sacrifices God is pleased.” Since you’ve received an unshakable kingdom, “Obey your leaders and submit to them, for they keep watch over your souls as those who will give an account. Let them do this with joy and not with grief, for this would be unprofitable for you” (v. 17). Since you’ve received an unshakable kingdom, “Pray for us, for we are sure that we have a good conscience, desiring to conduct ourselves honorably in all things. And I urge you all the more to do this, so that I may be restored to you the sooner” (vv. 18–19).
See how all of those moral commands in chapter 13 flow out of this truth? God does not command us to do things in a vacuum—in other words, without any other considerations. We always have before us one or two or both of these things: the truth of what He has done to us and for us through the gospel, the theology that underlays all of what is true regarding God and redemption and salvation—we have that upon which we build our obedience to His commands—and then we also have the looking forward to the reward that is to come, what He has promised us that is yet future. So considering everything that He has done in the past and considering everything that is to come in the future, we are therefore to offer to Him praise and to obey all of these moral commands. We’re not commanded to obey these things and to live a righteous life, pursuing holiness without which no one will see the Lord—we’re not commanded to do that in a vacuum, as if there’s nothing else to consider. All of our acts of obedience come first of all out of a heart that is overcome with gratitude for all that He has done for us, looking forward to the reward with the confidence that we will receive what He has promised to us.
Just as in a family, family members have obligations to other members of the family, so you and I have been adopted into the family of God, and we have obligations one to another. And we have obligations to the Father who has adopted us into His family. Just as in a marriage relationship, spouses have obligations to one another, so it is that you and I as members of the bride of Christ have obligations to serve and to honor Him and the Father who sent the Bridegroom to redeem His bride. We have obligations. As citizens of this country, we have certain obligations to our government. As citizens of the kingdom of Heaven, you and I have obligations to the One who is the King of that domain and the One who will bring that kingdom to pass. So all of our obligations that we have to obey, to praise, to honor, to glorify Him, and to live righteous lives are based upon what He has done, what He will do, and the reality of our relationship to Him in various capacities.
So we receive a kingdom, verse 28. This is already mentioned back in verse 22: “You have come to Mount Zion and to the city of the living God, the heavenly Jerusalem, and to myriads of angels.” There it’s past tense, “you have come,” because it is appropriate to speak of coming to this kingdom as something that has already happened to us in the sense that we have already been positionally made partakers of that kingdom. So there is a reality there that is fixed and unalterable. But it is also appropriate to speak of this in the present tense, which the author does here: “Since [you] receive.” And that is a present participle; you receive or are receiving this kingdom. It is not that you have already fully received it. The kingdom is not here. If it were, the entire world situation that I started talking about at the beginning would look a lot different. Look a lot different. But the kingdom is not here. So we haven’t received it fully, we don’t participate in it fully, we don’t enjoy all of the benefits of it yet, but we are—present tense—receiving. We receive this kingdom, and it is so certain for us that we can speak of it as something that we currently have and possess by virtue of our position and what Christ has done. It is also possible to speak of it as something that has already been given to us. If your parents give you an inheritance before they die, it might be locked up in estates and accounts and different investments, and you don’t receive it until they actually die, but it’s already been given to you. It’s already yours. Your name is on it, but until they die, you can’t really access it or use it. It’s the same thing with the kingdom. Until it actually comes, we are not going to enjoy all of the fruit and the experience of that, but it is ours. Our name is written in the book in that kingdom. Our name is written down, and we get to enjoy it. It is ours.
By faith—by faith—we treat the kingdom which we do not yet enjoy as having already received it. This is treating with substance something that is merely hoped for in the moment. By faith, we apprehend these things. And Christian, your life will be transformed. Your life will be transformed if you can fix your mind on what is to come. And if you can live every moment of every day in this world in light of what is promised to you to come, your life will change. Your perspective will change. Your battle against sin will change. Your priorities will change. The way you spend your time will change. The way you think about others will change. The way you view everything will change. You and I are to live our lives in light of the fact that we receive a kingdom.
And by saying that we receive a kingdom, the author is encompassing all of the blessings that attend that kingdom. See, the kingdom is the thing that comes for us in terms of—from where we’re at in the time line of events, the kingdom is something that is yet future to us. So that is something that is future. We would almost consider the acquisition and the being given and enjoying that kingdom as sort of the last thing to happen on God’s redemptive calendar. In a sense, it is, in terms of this world and this time line. But when we receive that kingdom, it’s only the beginning of a whole other era of our history and our lives together. But the kingdom, because it is future, sort of is that thing that is toward the end of the way that we see our time line in life. And so the author is asking us to look forward to that. And those who receive that kingdom are the ones who have been blessed with every spiritual blessing in Christ. So when you think, when you read about, you’re going to receive the kingdom, you ought to, in your mind, understand that receiving that kingdom, that idea encompasses everything else that God has given to you. Who gets to enjoy that kingdom? Only those who have been granted repentance, granted the faith to believe, who have been chosen in Christ before the foundation of the world, adopted into His family by a work of sovereign grace, who have been sealed by the Holy Spirit, indwelt by the Holy Spirit, justified, sanctified, and eventually glorified, resurrected, and given new life and new bodies. Those are the ones who receive that kingdom.
And if you are not in that grace, if you have not trusted in Christ in that way, you are outside of that grace, there is no kingdom for you. The kingdoms of this world are all that you get. But those who receive the kingdom, we must be fully redeemed, fully transformed, fully changed before we can inherit that kingdom. Because 1 Corinthians 15 (v. 50) says that flesh and blood will not inherit the kingdom of God. So if God is going to give you the kingdom, He has to take you from being a child of Satan to being a child of God, take you out of the kingdom of darkness and put you in the kingdom of light. He has to turn you from being an unbeliever to a believer, a citizen of this world to a citizen of the next. He has to make you a citizen of Heaven and transfer you from the domain of darkness and Hell to the domain of light and of Heaven and of His dear Son. This kingdom is not just the possession of some of the redeemed, as if it just belongs to pastors, missionaries, super spiritual people who know a lot. The kingdom is the possession of every last believer. It is my conviction that every Old Testament saint, every Old Testament righteous person from the time of Adam and Eve until the kingdom is established, every last one of them will enjoy every promise and every blessing that was pledged to them in the Old Testament. Not only that, but every believer who has trusted in Christ in the church age will also enjoy that kingdom. And every believer who is in the millennial age will enjoy that kingdom. So that every righteous person who is saved by faith will enjoy the kingdom that is to come in some measure, either as a glorified person in their eternal and glorified bodies or as those who are saved later on after the coming of Christ and end up living and residing in that kingdom with the King Himself. Every righteous person gets to enjoy it.
And then when all of this creation is consumed by fire and judged by fire and everything is destroyed and undone and the new creation is made and the new Jerusalem, the heavenly Jerusalem, comes down out of heaven and sits on that new creation and all of the saints are there with God and there is no unrighteous and none of the unrighteous enter into it and there is no sin and no death and nothing to ever pollute it or destroy it or pervert it ever, forever and ever and ever, we will enjoy that new creation with all of the blessings of that and that kingdom and that King in a new creation forevermore. Get your mind around that. Fix that in your heart. That is a tremendous motivation for purity. Peter gives us that. First Peter chapter 3: Seeing that all these things are going to come to pass, what manner of persons ought we to be in holiness and conducting ourselves in this world? What type of person should we be in light of what is to come? You fix that in your mind. Transform your life.
Therefore there is an immeasurable obligation that is upon us. Because you and I are given not some earthly inheritance, not a parcel or a piece of land in this world which will be consumed and burnt up. We’re not just given a bank account with some numbers attached at the end of it or a bunch of riches that are going to perish with the using or with inflation. We’re not given just a portion of the Father’s domain. Every individual believer receives the kingdom, the entire kingdom. I don’t know how it’s going to work out that I get all of it and you get all of it. I don’t know how that’s gonna unfold, but I believe that it will. Jesus said in Luke chapter 12, verse 32, “Do not be afraid, little flock, for your Father has chosen gladly to give you the kingdom.”
Matthew 25, verse 34: “The King [that is, Christ] will say to those on His right, ‘Come, you who are blessed of My Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world.’”
James 2:5: “Listen, my beloved brethren: did not God choose the poor of this world to be rich in faith and heirs of the kingdom which He promised to those who love Him?”
1 Peter 1:4 describes that inheritance as being “imperishable and undefiled,” one that “will not fade away.”
Revelation 1:6 says, “He has made us to be a kingdom, priest to His God and Father.”
Daniel 7:18 says, “The saints of the Highest One will receive the kingdom and possess the kingdom forever, for all ages to come.”
Daniel 7:27: “Then the sovereignty, the dominion and the greatness of all the kingdoms under the whole heaven will be given to the people of the saints of the Highest One; His kingdom will be an everlasting kingdom, and all the dominions will serve and obey Him.”
Every believer receives the entire kingdom. So now I ask you this: what does it matter what a pagan thinks of you? Why do you care what somebody destined to destruction thinks about your conviction, your testimony, your gospel, or the way you live your life, or what you say? Why does that matter to you? Why would it matter to any of us? You’re going to receive the kingdom. Can you see why it is then that Moses chose rather to endure ill-treatment with the people of God than to enjoy the passing pleasures of sin, since he regarded the reproach of Christ as being greater riches than the treasures of Egypt (Heb. 11:25–26)? Moses made that equation, that transaction, in his own mind—“I can have all of Egypt or the kingdom to come.” You know how many people there are in our world that would choose the kingdom that is, and trade that for the kingdom that is to come? They’re the Esaus. They’re the Esaus who trade away their birthright for a bowl of soup. Would it matter if you spent eighty years in a prison in this life, owning nothing, receiving nothing, but spend eighty years of your life in a prison here, if you received the kingdom that is to come? Or would you rather live eighty years as a king in this world and perish everlastingly? Which one of those would you choose? Does it matter how short your stay here is? Does it matter how much of your time here is filled with sorrow and affliction and poverty if the kingdom is yours? If the Father is pleased to give you everything in the new heavens and the new earth, does it matter what passes away here, what is taken from us, what is inflated away, what is destroyed by bad management, by others? Do those things matter if indeed it is the Father’s good pleasure to give you the kingdom that is to come?
Haggai 2 describes the coming of this kingdom, and because it is unshakable, because it is a kingdom that is unshakable, cannot be shaken, it is therefore a kingdom that will destroy and supplant every other kingdom on the planet. Haggai 2:21–22: “I am going to shake the heavens and the earth. I will overthrow the thrones of kingdoms and destroy the power of the kingdoms of the nations; and I will overthrow the chariots and their riders, and the horses and their riders will go down, everyone by the sword of another.” That is God’s promise. This is what He is going to do to all of the power of all of the kingdoms of the world.
Psalm 2, verse 4:
4 He who sits in the heavens laughs, the Lord scoffs at them.
5 Then He will speak to them in His anger and terrify them in His fury, saying,
6 “But as for Me, I have installed My King upon Zion, My holy mountain.”
7 “I will surely tell of the decree of the Lord: He said to Me, ‘You are My Son, today I have begotten You.
8 Ask of Me, and I will surely give the nations as Your inheritance, and the very ends of the earth as Your possession.
9 You shall break them with a rod of iron, You shall shatter them like earthenware.’”
10 Now therefore, O kings, show discernment; take warning, O judges of the earth.
11 Worship the Lord with reverence and rejoice with trembling.
12 Do homage to the Son, that He not become angry, and you perish in the way, for His wrath may soon be kindled. How blessed are all who take refuge in Him! (Ps. 2:4–12 NASB)
1 The Lord says to my Lord: “Sit at My right hand until I make Your enemies a footstool for Your feet.”
2 The Lord will stretch forth Your strong scepter from Zion, saying, “Rule in the midst of Your enemies.”
5 The Lord is at Your right hand; He will shatter kings in the day of His wrath. He will judge among the nations, He will fill them with corpses, He will shatter the chief men over a broad country. (Ps. 110:1–2, 5 NASB)
Revelation describes the return of Christ prior to the establishment of this kingdom. And when He comes back, He will come back with a flaming sword in His hand, and His word will deal out retribution in flaming wrath to all of His enemies, and every country, every nation, every king, every judge, every potentate, every system on this planet will be instantly destroyed and annihilated. It will not be reformed. It will not be Christianized. It will be supplanted. He will destroy all of it and establish His King from Mount Zion who will rule even over His enemies and every corner of this globe, every tribe, every tongue, every kindred, every parcel of land in this creation will worship and serve that King forevermore. At the end of that, there will be a war, there will be a rebellion which He will put down, and then there will be a great white throne judgment when He will resurrect all the Old Testament wicked and they will stand before Him and they will receive their just judgment according to the deeds that are written in the books. And they will be judged according to all that they have done, and then they and death and all of Satan and his angels will be thrown into the lake that burns everlastingly. And the end of Isaiah says that the righteous in the new creation will look upon the corpses and the punishment of God’s enemies and we will rejoice and delight in that forevermore. That, my friends, is your God. This is what He has promised. If you’re not in Christ, that is a warning to you of what is to come. I promise you it is to come. I will bet my life it is to come. But if you are in Christ, what a glorious future you have. New creation, new heavens, and a new earth.
Daniel 2 describes the statue that Nebuchadnezzar saw in his vision. Verse 35: “Then the iron, the clay, the bronze, the silver and the gold were crushed.” And all of those, you remember, represent various kingdoms throughout time, from the time of Daniel all the way through to the end of time. It says that they are “crushed all at the same time and become like chaff from the summer threshing floors; and the wind carried them away so that not a trace of them was found.” After the re-creation, all of creation will belong to the people of God. We will reign as kings in the new earth. Our inheritance will never be threatened. No usurper will ever rise. No army will ever invade. No foundation will ever be shaken. There will be no turmoil, no uprisings, no revolutions, no usurpations, no disobedience. Nothing wicked will enter into it forever and ever and ever.
Daniel 2, verse 44: “In the days of those kings the God of heaven will set up a kingdom which will never be destroyed. and that kingdom will not be left for another people; it will crush and put an end to all these kingdoms, but it will itself endure forever.” That is the promise. That is the pledge of an everlasting kingdom. That is a grand motivation for you and I. You and I have received the greatest motivation possible in the gift and the pledge of this kingdom.
Notice the order of events. Verse 28 says, “We receive a kingdom which cannot be shaken.” Therefore what? “Let us show gratitude.” One of these things comes before the other. We receive first, then we show gratitude and offer to God service. The receiving of something must come first. You must first receive from Him before you can serve Him acceptably. The service that is offered to God, though maybe motivated as far as the person who offers it as purely as possible—the service that is offered to God from outside of Christ by people who are not in covenant relationship with Him, who have not been blessed by salvation, repenting of their sin and placing faith in Christ, those who have not been born again . . . Service that is offered to God by those who are outside of Christ is unacceptable to God at its very beginning because it comes from an unacceptable source. So no matter what you sing, no matter what you give, no matter what you offer, no matter how you strive, no matter how much you work, it is unacceptable to God. What must come first is that we have received a kingdom. Then we show gratitude and offer to Him sacrifices of praise. Then we show gratitude and offer to Him acceptable service with reverence and awe. But we must receive grace before we are ever enabled and strengthened to serve Him in an acceptable way with reverence and awe. We do not get the kingdom because we serve for it. It doesn’t say, therefore, having worked for the kingdom, or having earned the kingdom, or having warranted the kingdom, or deserved the kingdom, or merited the kingdom. It doesn’t say any of that. It says you and I have received the kingdom. How do we receive that kingdom? The same way we receive all the blessings that God has given to us in Christ: by grace alone through faith alone in Christ alone.
And there is no greater motivation for acceptable service than this reality. Fear of hell is not as great of a motive for gratitude and service. Fear of loss, even the fear of God as a consuming fire is not as great of a motive for gratitude and service as the realization that we have been gifted with all of this grace and the promise of every good thing that is to come belongs to us. But when you and I consider that God has taken worms that are fit for destruction and turned us into heirs of the kingdom, that He has taken those who are under His wrath and placed us with seats at His table so that we may rejoice with Him forevermore, that He has plucked from the ruined heap and dunghill of humanity men and women from every tribe and tongue and nation on the face of the planet and appointed us to serve and to honor and to glorify Him and made us His sons, that is a motivation for service, knowing that we deserve none of that and that we have been given all of that.
And there is no possibility, friend, that you can miss this. Because it is unshakable, it is inevitable. His purposes cannot be thwarted. He who promised is faithful. He is true. He cannot fail. He cannot be overthrown. His purposes will not change. His plans for you will not be altered. His design for you will not fail. It’s an unshakable kingdom. It’s an unshakable gift. None can question any of His ways. None can hold Him—that is, our God—to account. Nobody can alter His plan. Nobody can say of that coming kingdom, “No, I have a better idea. In wisdom I have crafted a better design.” Everything that He has planned for the future of His people is infinitely wise, infinitely good, and infinitely glorious. And He has pledged this to you who are in Christ. He will establish His unshakable King on an unshakable throne to rule in an unshakable kingdom in an unshakable new heavens and new earth. You and I, a million years from now, we will marvel at this time in our lives and in the history of creation when everything seems so uncertain. When everything seems so unclear.
Now this truth, I want you to notice how contrary it is to everything that you and I are told by the world. By the world we are told that the only things that last forever, the only things of enduring nature, are the solid things of this world. Cash, investments, the stock market, the US dollar, the American government, the US military, NATO, the UN, all of these things. It’s the things that we see, the things that we touch, the things that we handle, the things that we experience. These are the lasting things. These are the enduring things. All of your wishes, your affections, your desire for holiness and righteousness, your ideas about spiritual things, these ideas that you have of the future, those are all passing fancies. Those are the myths. Those are the things that are shakeable, that may come or may not come, we don’t know, or thus says the world. Have you ever wondered why it is that we are governed by a geriatric class of power-hungry narcissists? Have you ever wondered why that is? Why all three branches of government look like a bunch of escapees from a nursing home? Now I’ve nothing against old people, but all of these people could have retired twenty, thirty years ago and gone off and sat on a beach somewhere in Hawaii and lived off the wealth that they have amassed by plundering the public treasury. They could have done that and lived lives of ease. Why will they not give up power? Why will they not give up influence? Why will they not give up that position? Part of it, not all of it, but part of it is because that class of power-hungry narcissists believes that what is lasting, what is enduring, and what is unshakable and eternal are the things that they do in this life. So they have to have a bridge named after them, a school named after them. They have to have their name on streets and on signs and on buildings in the nation’s capital, some law named after them, some act, some principle, something that they have done so that it might endure forever. That’s what they are living for. That’s why they can’t give it up. Everything that the world says is lasting is actually passing away and faster than we realize. Faster than we realize. And everything that the world says is uncertain and flaky is actually unshakable.
You and I have to fight the battle of the mind and of the heart each and every day to remind ourselves of what is true and lasting and unshakable. It is not what this world offers. It is not what this world does. A million years from now, the act, the law, the bill, the school named after some politician is gonna be nothing to us. It will mean nothing to anyone. Because all that they have and all that they have worked for that is outside of Jesus Christ will vanish in an instant. It will all be undone. It will all be like a mist blown away by a breeze. What you and I believe in, what we have trusted in, what we have set our affections upon is that which is truly unshakable, and this is what God has pledged to you, brethren.