Title: Confidence on the Firey Path
Purpose: To inspire confidence in the midst of struggle

Intro:	1.  Grassfires scary, swift, destroy.  Hebrews facing all consuming fires of persecution
	2.  Context:
		a.  Last part of Chap 12 & 13 ends what began in 10:19
		b.  10:19ff
			1) Confidence to enter holy place by 
				-Because Jesus blood and merciful High Priest
				-LET US Draw near, Hold fast confession, Consider one another
			2) (10:35) Do not throw away confidence which has great reward
				-Righteous live by faith
				-Examples of faith in chapter 11
			3) (Chap 12) Lay aside encumberance, run w/endurance, fix eyes on Jesus
				-Recognize hardships as disciplin/ Training (12:11)
				-Support One Another in facing discipline
	3.  Text:  Heb 12:18-24  Adds more words of encouragement
	4.  We can come to God in full assurance of Faith
		a.  Draw near throne of Grace (4:14-16)
		b.  Because of Confidence, draw near in full assurance (10:22)
		c.  Because of great cloud of witnesses - run/ struggle (12:1ff) focusing on Jesus
	5.  Now he gives more reasons WHY we can have this confidence:

I.  Because our beginning did not come from Sinai (18-21)
	A.  Sinai represents the OLD covenant (Exodus 19)
	B.  Have not come to a mountain which may be touched
		1.  Sinai was a physical mountain (not spiritual one)
			a.  Read Ex 19:7-13 - It was Holy, not to be touched
			b.  The idea in the Old Testament was one of separation
		2.  Not come to blazing fire, darkness, gloom, whirlwind  Ex 19:18
		3.  Not to the blast of a trumpet Ex 19:16-17
		4.  Something MOST TERRIFYING than all the rest
			a.  Ex 19:19-25 - Then afterwards give 10 commands
			b.  Ex 20:18-20 - They were terrified at God’s voice
		5.  Could not bear command, even if beast touches the mountain, it was to be stoned
		6.  Moses himself was full of fear and trembling
	C.  Storms in the Mid-West
		1.  Talking to Donna about storms. 
		2.  Love to watch electric storms
		3.  Storms make you feel small
		4.  Imagine the Voice of God booming through all that as well
	D.  But that is NOT what we’ve come to
		1.  God demonstrated several things at Sinai
			a.  Holiness (He was YHWH - The great I am, self existent one)
			b.  Demonstrated Justice - Demands righteousness (sin is punished)
		2.  There is more to God that this picture we get here
			a.  This is seen in Jesus, who is better (than Moses, Priesthood, sacrifice, covenant)
			b.  Author now sums this up in the following way:

II.  OUR beginning comes from Zion.  This is what we have come to
	A.  ZION is rich with meaning
	B.  What this passage means
		1.  We have not come to Sinai but Zion
			a.  Originally stronghold of Jebusites (2 Same 5:6-10)
				-Captured by David, became City of David (Jerusalem)
				-Later, Ark was brought to City, temple built
			b.  Ps 76:1-3 - 
				-Dwelling place of God is in Zion
				-Brought peace (Jeru= city   ,   Shalom=peace) Jerusalem
				-Go to Zion meant Go to God
				-This became to Israel what the Alamo is to Texans
			c.  Ps 125:1-3 - Inhabitants of Zion are those who trust in God (his people)
			d.  Zech 2:10-12 - 
				-Description of the NEW Jerusalem
				-Would include “the nations”
				-Same though echoed in Heb 11:40 - Something better for us 
			e.  So we are in the NEW JERUSALEM, the church
				-Calls it the city of the living God
				-Heavenly (spiritual) Jerusalem
		2.  We have come to myriads of Angels in joyful assembly
			a.  Rev 4:11-14 - We get to join in on that worship
			b.  We are not worthy, but the lamb is Rev 5:9-10
		3.  Have come to the church of the firstborn
			a.  Who is “firstborn” referring to? (Hint:  it is plural- it is us, the church)
			b.  Significance of “firstborn” - 
				Oldest son gets inheritance and special honor!
			c.  As part of assembly of firstborn, you are enrolled Rev 20:11-15
		4.  Have come to God, judge of all, which is shown in Revelation
		5.  Have come to the Spirits of the righteous, made perfect
			a.  Rev. 14:13
			b.  Rev. 7:9-17
		6.  Have come to Jesus
			a.  Mediator of New Covenant (go-between, will maker)
			b.  His sprinkled blood speaks better than the blood of Abel
				-Abel’s voice is like the voice at Sinai
					-Speaks of justice
					-Some say all I want from God is justice.  NO!
				-All you want is the blood of Jesus
					-It speaks grace and mercy
					-Because of that Blood
						-God is now OUR FATHER
						-In the Old Testament, God is not known as Father,
						  yet now, we call him our Father!
	C.  While Sinai emphasizes Justice, Zion emphasizes mercy
	D.  Look at what you have going:
		1.  Jesus, speaking mercy on your behalf (High Priest)
		2.  Spirits of righteous Dead (cloud of witnesses witnessing to you)
		3.  Assembly of first born ones (for support on earth)
		4.  On top of that, you are in Zion - you are saved and receiving the promises

1.  So, you’re in pretty good shape for this race
2.  What is this text rying to get across?
	a.  Since our beginning is not in Sinai, but in Zion
	b.  Since we are heirs of the promises and have something better for us.....
3.  Don’t run from the fire!!
	a.  Do you know how to keep from being burned by a grass fire?
	b.  You burn the grass around you.
	c.  Jesus did this for you -- he blazed a trail for you to follow
	d.  The fire of temptation will not touch you, unless you just give up and leave the course
4.  Remember the odds are stacked in your favor
	a.  The flames may look scary
	b.  The heat may get unbearable
	c.  Don’t give up, victory has already been proclaimed for you.  IT IS NOW UP TO YOU