Jesus' Superiority over Moses | Hebrews 3:1-6 | Dr. David Harrell
Each transcript is a rough approximation of the message preached and may occasionally misstate certain portions of the sermon and even misspell certain words. It should in no way be considered an edited document ready for print. Moreover, as in any transcription of the spoken word, the full intention and passion of the speaker cannot be fully captured and will in no way reflect the same style of a written document.
Will you take your Bibles and turn to Hebrews 3 this morning. We will be looking at verses 1 through 6. We return to this epistle, this great study, a letter that speaks so directly to our hearts concerning the surpassing glory and greatness of our precious Savior and Lord. As I contemplate these magnificent realities and lay hold afresh of the wondrous promises that are mine by grace alone, I find my heart being elevated above the difficult valleys of ministry and the inevitable pain of life in general. What a joy it is to be able to contemplate Christ rather than politics, right? To get away from all of that stuff, all of the things of the earth, and what a privilege to consider the unfathomable riches of Christ in his kingdom rather than the things of earth and to be sure this was the heart of the writer to the Hebrews. The Spirit inspired him to speak to them concerning the superiority of Christ over all things and I want to say that I pray that this exposition will especially speak to our Jewish listeners around the world. I am deeply burdened for you.
I want you to think what an encouragement this letter must have been to those early Jewish believers. Think about their situation for a moment. They are Jewish people who have come to know the Messiah and they have therefore been ostracized from their families, they were ridiculed and scorned by their friends, many of them would meet in caves and they would hide in homes and gather in private places out in the forest. I've been to some of the underground churches in Israel. I know what it is to be told the secret ways to get to them in the forest and to go through the woods, through the mountains, and eventually you will find a guide and they lead you to a group of people typically much smaller than we have here. But that's what was going on for these dear saints. Prior to all of this, they worshiped in a magnificent temple. They fellowshiped with all of their families. They enjoyed all of the social benefits of the Jewish community. In fact, their lives orbited around all of the feasts and convocations and festivals, ceremonies, rituals. Their priests were adorned in magnificent robes and vestments and the music of their temple choir and the orchestra, it might not have been as good as what we've had this morning but it was fabulous. Don't you know they must've been saying to themselves, "Look at all that we have given up. We look around at the elders that are leading us and address us every day and they're just ordinary men. And here we are worshiping with former slaves. We are slipping around trying to avoid detection, avoid further persecution. And as we look at our little group gathered together, there is nothing impressive about us, nothing impressive about our little church. People are not knocking down our door to come and worship with us, they're trying to knock down our door to persecute us. Is it possible that we have all made some colossal mistake?" My friends, when we think this way, we have lost perspective of who Christ is and who we are in him.
So, beginning in chapters 1 and 2, the Spirit of God inspires his author to remind these dear people of the excellencies of Christ, to extol his character, to remind them of his person and of his work. You will recall that he reminded them that Christ is superior to the prophets. In fact, he is the fulfillment of all that was prophesied, the full and final and perfect revelation; that he is the Son of God, the radiance of the glory of God; that he is the Creator, the Sustainer, the Redeemer, and the Consummater of all things; that he is the one who made purification of sins and now sits at the right hand of the Father; that he is superior to the angels, indeed, all things are subject to him; that he is the unchangeable, everlasting God; that he is going to return again and establish his glorious kingdom; and then he is going to un-create the heavens and the earth and he's going to roll them up like a garment and he's going to create a new heaven and a new earth where righteousness alone will dwell. And in verse 1 of chapter 2, he says for this reason we must pay much closer attention to what we have heard so that we do not drift away from it. He's telling them, "You must pay closer attention to the realities of the Gospel and its implication on your life and your eternal soul." Then he went on to remind them how Jesus is the supreme representative of all mankind; that he alone has fulfilled man's original purpose. Being fully God and fully man, he has secured for us an eternal salvation and has entered into the destiny that one day we will share with him. He is reminding them of these great truths. He went on to speak of how those great promises belong to all of the redeemed; that Christ was made like us so that we can be made like him. He reminds them that, yes, today for a little while we are lower than the angels but a day is coming when we are going to be conformed into the likeness of Christ and rule with him over his glorious kingdom on earth, that this is our dominion destiny.
That brings us to where we are at in chapter 3, verse 1. He says this, "Therefore," in other words, "In light of all of these fabulous truths,
1 Therefore, holy brethren, partakers of a heavenly calling, consider Jesus, the Apostle and High Priest of our confession; 2 He was faithful to Him who appointed Him, as Moses also was in all His house. 3 For He has been counted worthy of more glory than Moses, by just so much as the builder of the house has more honor than the house. 4 For every house is built by someone, but the builder of all things is God. 5 Now Moses was faithful in all His house as a servant, for a testimony of those things which were to be spoken later; 6 but Christ was faithful as a Son over His house--whose house we are, if we hold fast our confidence and the boast of our hope firm until the end.
These six verses not only brought great encouragement to those beleaguered and sometimes confused baby Christians, baby believers, but you must understand that these six verses really lay the foundation for the exhortation that is going to follow beginning in verse 7 through verse 11 of chapter 4 that we'll be looking at in weeks to come. But in order for us to better understand the text that we have before us this morning, I have divided it into three very easy to understand sections and I believe we will benefit greatly by examining: 1. the audience; 2. the admonition; 3. the affirmation.
Now, before we look at the text, may I remind you how important it is to follow the argument and the intention of the author otherwise we cease to be biblical. Just because a man preaches from the Bible doesn't mean he is biblical. Do you understand that? Many preachers ignore the authorial intent of the passage and they read into it all kinds of things that it does not say, things that it was not intended to say, and then they strut around like a banty rooster crowing about how they have proved their point from Scripture and how they preach right from the Bible. Well, do you know what? Hitler did the same thing and many false teachers do that. They are notoriously skilled at such deception. So we must follow the argument and the intentions of the author so that we understand what he is saying, to whom he is saying it, and why he is saying what he is saying. Then having done so, it's very appropriate to look closely at some of the rich terms and concepts that the Spirit uses and apply them to our lives. And as we will see, he is building his case, once again, for the supremacy of Jesus over all things, even Moses, the prophet who was held in almost godlike esteem, even higher than the angels. And he will do this by using some comparisons and we're going to see why this comparison between Jesus and Moses is so very important.
So, first of all, let's examine 1: the audience. Notice verse 1 of chapter 3, he calls him "holy brethren, partakers of a heavenly calling." What precious and encouraging appellations. You are holy brethren. "Holy" means "you are set apart to me: you are consecrated to God; you are spiritual brothers made holy by Christ; you're in this family relationship with each other." Not only are you sons and daughters of your heavenly Father, but also brothers and sisters of our great High Priest, Jesus Christ. In fact, the writer summarized this earlier in chapter 2 in verse 11, remember there he said, "For both He who sanctifies and those who are sanctified are all from one Father; for which reason He is not ashamed to call them brethren." So what an encouraging reminder this would have been to them. Think about it, what he is basically saying is, "Look, you are brothers and sisters in Christ whom God has called to a life and to an eternal destination that is radically different than those who have not been set apart." By the way, this is why we think as believers and why we act so differently from the people of the world. Moreover he's saying that, "You also have something else in common with one another, you are partakers of a heavenly calling." I mean, think about it, God himself has called you from heaven and he is eventually going to call you to heaven. This is what Paul called the upward call of God. Remember in Philippians 3:14, Paul says, "I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus." And then later in verse 20 he went on to say, "For our citizenship is in heaven, from which also we eagerly wait for a Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ."
As I was meditating upon this passage, it dawned on me, you know, they didn't have Bibles in those days. They didn't say, "Hey, take your Bible and turn to whatever." They didn't have that and so what they would do is make personal copies of the letters and in most cases they would memorize the letter and I'm sure they would often remind themselves of these two descriptors right here: we are holy brethren, we are partakers of a heavenly calling. They would probably say to each other, "Yeah, when we look around at each other, none of us are very impressive. Here we are hiding. We are struggling at times even to get along with each other. We are sneaking around trying to worship Christ and fellowship with one another. No temple. No priests. No magnificent ceremonies. No fabulous music. Just unimpressive us. But remember, we are holy brethren. We are partakers of a heavenly calling. By the regenerating power of the Holy Spirit we have been born again. We have not only been forgiven, we have been transformed in the inner man and we have become the undeserved recipients of a legal transaction from God's holy bar of justice. He has transferred the righteousness of Christ into our account. And now God sees us as righteous, not because we're sinless, but because we have been covered and clothed by the righteousness of his beloved Son, the Lord Jesus. We are holy brethren. We have been set apart not by man but by God himself. We have been rescued from this world and from the wrath of God that our sin deserves. Moreover, as we think about it, unlike Judaism which was an earthly calling with an earthly inheritance, we are all partakers of a heavenly calling which will result in a heavenly inheritance."
So we move from the audience, secondly, to the admonition. Again, verse 1, "Therefore, holy brethren, partakers of a heavenly calling, consider Jesus." The grammar in the original language helps us understand what he's saying here and it's essentially this: make it a habit to continuously focus your mind on the person and the work of the Lord Jesus Christ. "Consider Jesus, the Apostle," which means the sent one from God, "and High Priest of our confession." It's fascinating, isn't it, that he would use these terms? Consider the one who is an apostle, the one who is sent from God to be his messenger. An apostle would be one who would carry the rights and the authorities of the one that sent him, but also he's a High Priest of our confession. By the way, that's an office that Moses never had, again emphasizing the fact that Christ is superior to Moses. Now, we must understand that the title "High Priest" would be a supreme honor given to Jesus because the High Priest was chosen by God to provide access to him for humanity and also to represent God to humanity. Jesus' superiority over Moses and the establishment of his high priesthood points us, therefore, to some stunning conclusions that we are going to see as the author continues to build his case throughout this epistle. Jesus is superior to Moses and the new covenant has superseded the old. And again, the author is going to continue to elaborate on this.
I want to have you think with me just for a moment the parallels between Jesus and Moses. Moses divided the Israelites, chapter 2 tells us, from the, I shouldn't say divided, he delivered the Israelites from the bondage of slavery in Egypt. Do you remember that in chapter 2? Well, what did Jesus do? Well, Jesus delivers all who trust in him from the bondage of sin and damnation, chapter 2, verses 14 and 15. Through Moses, God instituted the Israelites as the people of God. What does Jesus do? He institutes and constitutes all believers as the sons of God, chapter 2 in verse 10. Moses brought the Israelites the old covenant whereas Jesus brings all believers into the new covenant, providing even greater access to God for them as we are going to see in chapter 4, which had been only for Israel until Jesus came. So in Jesus' superiority, he replaced and exceeded all Moses did. Now, it's important for us to understand he's not in any way trying to denigrate Moses or the old covenant, rather he is exalting Jesus and the new covenant, the Gospel of grace.
Notice again, he is the "High Priest of our confession," in other words, that which we have gathered together as a body to profess: our faith, the Gospel, all of the truths of the Lord Jesus Christ. Now, remember to confess Jesus as Lord in that day could have gotten you killed, right? Because Caesar is Lord. So this is the background with all of this. He is basically saying to them, "Consider the one who is our Creator, who came to fulfill the law of God and die in our stead, and this is our confession, that he came, that he died, he rose again from the grave, that we abide in him, that our very life is derived from him. He is the Author. He is the Finisher of our faith, the one who is coming again to take us unto himself," etc. etc. etc. I mean, folks, you could never plumb the depths of his person and work.
Let me pause for a moment. What happens in your life when you lose focus of who Christ is? When you're not considering Jesus? When you fail to consider Christ and the glory of his kingdom? What happens? Well, we start considering ourselves. We start focusing on ourselves and the world around us. "Woe is me!" Complain. Whine. Pout. Criticize. Condemn. It's not a pretty sight. So we exhaust ourselves to find ways to make ourselves attractive, get people to like us, to get people to praise us. We become self-promoting people pleasers posting our selfies on Facebook and waiting anxiously to read all of the flattering comments. Oh boy, that makes our day, doesn't it? But the problem is it's never enough, is it? There is no lasting joy in any of that. Do you know why? Because there is no soul-satisfying happiness in anything in this life save one thing and that is an intimate relationship with the Triune God through faith in the Lord Jesus Christ. That's it. Nothing else will bring you life. And when we stop considering Jesus, we start considering all the things that would bring us pleasure, that will make us happy because, after all, Christ isn't enough. He isn't sufficient. And the list of stuff that we can come up with to somehow make ourselves feel better about life and about ourselves, it's endless.
And when it comes to religion and spirituality, the first century Jews that were tempted to lose sight of Jesus would have said, "Oh, I need all of the stuff that I'm forfeiting with the temple and with the priests and with the feasts. I need the external trappings of religion found in Judaism and I feel better about myself when I keep the law." At least it would give one an illusion of spirituality even though there is no substance there. Or like professing Christians today, many will say, "Oh, I need more than Jesus. I need a more exciting church. I want that Disney World atmosphere. I want to go to a place where the masses are flocking, where my kids can be entertained, where we can have fun and feel good about ourselves." Or others will say, "No, no, no, what I need to make myself feel better spiritually is liturgy and robes and candles and incense and cathedrals and stained-glass windows and a pipe organ," or whatever, right?
My friend, when you stop considering Jesus, when he is no longer the supreme object of your affection, your heart will go in secret search of other lovers and they will never satisfy. Worse yet, Paul says in Galatians 5:14 and following that when you stop loving God supremely and stop loving your neighbor as yourself, you will bite and devour one another until you literally consume one another. Haven't you seen that happen in families and in churches? You'll become self-centered, self absorbed, self-promoting. You will feel sorry for yourself. You'll become jealous, covetous, envious, angry, critical, controlling, condescending because, "This world and all of the people in it simply aren't fulfilling, meeting my felt needs, and I'm upset about it. I'm frustrated with my marriage, my family, my community, my church. My life stinks and it's everybody's fault." That's the attitude.
Beloved, when you stop walking in intimate fellowship with Jesus, you will develop a microscopic vision that will enable you to see the most minute splinter in your neighbor's eye and you will not be able to see the redwood that is coming out of your own. You will no longer walk by the Spirit. You will carry out the deeds of the flesh. You will be ruled by the flesh. Remember Galatians 5:19, the deeds of the flesh are evident. Let me give you the list that he gives, this is the list that happens when you no longer consider Jesus: "immorality, impurity, sensuality, idolatry, sorcery, enmities, strife, jealousy, outbursts of anger, disputes, dissensions, factions, envying, drunkenness, carousing, and things like these, of which I forewarn you, just as I have forewarned you, that those who practice such things will not inherit the kingdom of God." Is that not a perfect characterization of the world in which we live? Especially the current political divide that continues to rip our family apart? Folks, this is what happens when you fail to consider Jesus, meaning when you fail to continuously habitually make him the object of your affection; when you fail to enjoy rich fellowship with him. Remember Jesus said in Matthew 11, "Come to me. Take my yoke upon you," which was a metaphor for submission. And he said, "and learn from me. Submit to my lordship and I will teach you through my word."
What was the most passionate longing of the Apostle Paul, do you remember that? Philippians 3:10, "to know Him," which literally means to gain a more intimate knowledge of him. "To know Him," he said, "and the power of His resurrection and the fellowship of His sufferings, being conformed to His death." You remember when young Pastor Timothy was about to collapse under the weight of shepherding and the relentless criticism by some of the members of the Ephesian church, what did Paul instruct him to do? 2 Corinthians 2:8, "remember Jesus Christ." It's very simple. "Timothy, here's what I want you to do, I want you to remember Jesus Christ risen from the dead, descended of David, according to my Gospel for which I am suffering bound with chains as a criminal." You see, Paul understood how crucial this is, especially when faced with unimaginable hardship. He gave Timothy that advice while he was awaiting execution, chained in a Roman dungeon, which by the way, was basically a septic tank filled with sewage.
Remember Jesus. That's what the writer of Hebrews is saying here. Consider Jesus. Later in Hebrews 12, beginning in verse 1, "Therefore, since we have so great a cloud of witnesses surrounding us, let us also lay aside every encumbrance and the sin which so easily entangles us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us," here it is, "fixing our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of faith, who for the joy set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. For consider Him who has endured such hostility by sinners against Himself," here's why, "so that you will not grow weary and lose heart." The writer of Hebrews is telling them, "Yes, holy brethren, partakers of this heavenly calling, things are tough right now, things are hard. You're afraid. You're discouraged. You're prone to doubt and depression. There is a great temptation to compromise and to fall back into Judaism but remember you are adopted children of the heavenly Father. You have been set apart unto him through faith in Christ. You are citizens of a heavenly kingdom. Consider Jesus, not yourself, not your circumstances. Keep your focus on who is, what he has done for you, what he is going to do. Let the majesty of his person and the glory of his sovereign grace be the center of gravity around which your thoughts and your actions orbit." That's the admonition.
Thirdly, let's look at the affirmation, in other words, the declaration, the confirmation of the superiority of Jesus over all things, even Moses. He first uses a comparison between a house and the builder of a house. Notice in verse 2, "He was faithful to Him who appointed Him." In other was, Jesus was solely committed to do the will of his Father. "As Moses also was in all His house." By the way, "His house," God's house that he's speaking of here with respect to Moses, would have been the Old Testament believers of Israel; the sphere of stewardship; the household comprising in this case the whole family of Israel. Then in verse 3, "For He," referring to Jesus, "has been counted worthy of more glory than Moses, by just so much as the builder of the house has more honor than the house. For every house is built by someone, but the builder of all things is God." You see, what he's saying here is, "Yes, Moses was a faithful part of the house of Israel and he was a tool that God used to build that house, but God is the builder of the house." Practically speaking, when we present the Gospel and lead others to Christ, we are faithful tools that God uses to build his house, the church, but Christ alone is the builder. We're just a tool. He is the one deserving of honor. So we worship the builder, not one of the tools he used. That was the point with Moses to the Jewish people.
He then uses another comparison between a servant of the house versus a son of the owner of the house, that's over the house. He says in verse 5, "Now Moses was faithful in all His house as a servant, for a testimony of those things which were to be spoken later." Now, it's interesting the term "servant" used here is not the common Greek term for slave but rather a ministering attendant, denoting a higher office; a kind of steward, if you will. That Moses was faithful in God's house alludes to Numbers 12:7 where God said, "My servant Moses is faithful in all My household."
But notice the comparison then in verse 6, "but Christ was faithful as a Son over His house," over the Father's house, "whose house we are." Now, the point is simply this: obviously the son over the house is superior to a servant in the house and here "house" refers to the church. We see this all through the New Testament, Ephesians 2:19 for example, Paul tells us we are fellow citizens with the saints and are of God's household. In 1 Peter 2:4-5, we are living stones being built up as a spiritual house. And so forth. So Moses was a faithful steward and he cared for the Old Testament saints, those who were of the house of Moses, but Jesus is the faithful Son and Steward of the New Testament saints, the heavenly household of Christ. That's the point.
Now, we've got to understand this would have been absolutely earth-shattering to Jewish thought. I mean, after all, rabbinic tradition provides ample evidence for the belief that Moses was held in higher esteem than the angels. It's interesting, the name Moses appears more times in the Old Testament and in fact in all of the Bible, than any other proper name except David and Jesus. To the Jews, Moses was just absolutely the greatest man that ever lived. I mean, think about the history here. God miraculously preserved him as a little baby and then God personally provided for his burial, protected his body. God spoke to Moses face-to-face. Moses came closer than any man to the Shekinah glory of the living God, to the point where, according to Exodus 34:29, "the skin of his face shone because of his speaking with Him." Remember, God chose and empowered Moses to deliver Israel from Egypt. God chose him to constitute Israel as a nation to give them the law, to write the entire Pentateuch, which provided for them every aspect of spiritual living, including the plans for the tabernacle and the ark of the covenant.
I was thinking about this and I read a Hellenistic Jewish scribe named Ben Sira who lived a couple hundred years before Christ was born. Around 180 BC he wrote of Moses' celebrated honor in the eyes of those living in the first century and he described Moses as, quote, "favored in the eyes of all." His being beloved by all humanity and by God and people and that he was made equal of the holy ones in glory, that is the angels. So Moses was way up there. I mean, he was like top guy. Many years later the Jewish historian Josephus wrote, quote, "The wisest of the Greeks learned to adopt the conception of God from the principles with which Moses supplied them." And the writer to the Hebrews is telling the Jews Jesus is superior to Moses. Moses was a servant in God's house but Jesus Christ is the Son over the house.
And once again, I want to reemphasize this: in these first six verses, the author is laying the groundwork for all of the rich theology that's going to follow. If you don't get this here, it's like algebra. I had a hard time with algebra when I was a kid because I didn't get the groundwork very well and if you don't do that, then later on it's going to be tough, right? Well, you're not going to understand Hebrews unless you get the groundwork here and that's what he's doing here. He is reassuring them not only of the superiority of Jesus over Moses, but also the superiority of the new covenant over the old and we can see how he uses the rhetorical device of comparison to present at least three essential truths. First, the old covenant has been surpassed and superseded by the new covenant. That's where he's going here. That's what he's saying. Second, the limited access to God through a human mediator, remember only Moses was given face-to-face access to God, but that limited access to God through a human mediator has been surpassed. How? By the provision of direct access to God for all of his people because of Christ's high priestly work. That's the point. And then thirdly, though both Moses and Jesus were faithful in their positions, the access secured by Moses as a faithful servant of God has been far surpassed by the access to God enjoyed by Jesus, God's very Son. You see, Moses' intimacy with the law, the old covenant, and his face-to-face access to God and his position as a faithful servant in God's house served as a type of Christ. It pointed to Christ who would be greater in all these areas.
So back to verse 5, "Moses was faithful in all His house as a servant." By the way, why? Why was he faithful? What was he up to? Well, he answers it here, "for a testimony of those things which were to be spoken later." In other words, he was faithful that he might give testimony to Israel of the things pertaining to the Gospel which were to be spoken afterwards by Christ. He was setting the groundwork for all of that. Later on in Hebrews 8:5 we read how the law of Moses served as a "copy and shadow of the heavenly things, just as Moses was warned by God when he was about to erect the tabernacle; for, 'See,' God says, 'that you make all things according to the pattern which was shown you on the mountain.'" Remember, every detail of the tabernacle, everything in it, the way it was arranged, the way it was constructed, everything pointed to some aspect of the person and the work of Christ so you had to attend to every detail precisely to get it right. Then he went on to say in Hebrews 8:6, "But now He has obtained a more excellent ministry, by as much as He is also," referring to Christ, "is also the mediator of a better covenant, which has been enacted on better promises."
Well, then finally the writer concludes this wonderful section of encouragement with a warning. He says, "but Christ was faithful as a Son over His house--whose house we are, if we hold fast our confidence and the boast of our hope firm until the end." He's basically saying this, "Just because you're excluded from the temple and rejected by your family, by your kinsman, folks, you are a part of the household of Christ, a faithful son over the Father's house, if you persevere in the faith which validates the genuineness of your faith." The point is if you truly are a part of that household, you will by God's grace and power persevere in the faith.
Unfortunately, many of the Jews professed Christ as Savior and Lord but like many so-called Christians today, their profession was phony because they fell away from the church. They didn't lose their salvation. That is an unbiblical, frankly heretical concept. That's impossible. Salvation is eternal. It is a gift of grace from a sovereign God. Jesus said in John 6:39, "all that the Father has given Me, I lose nothing but raise it up on the last day." But rather what they fell away from with full revelation, the Jews collapsed under the weight of persecution and they rejected the truth. They began to conclude things that were actually the opposite of who Christ was. By the way, in Hebrews 6 he will go into much greater detail. We'll look at that later. And all of this proved that they were never saved to begin with because true genuine saints will persevere. Jesus said in John 8:31, "If you abide in My word, then you are truly disciples of Mine." But some of these dear folks failed to hold fast to their confidence and the boast of our hope firm until the end. Why? Because they were never truly born again.
And what is that hope? What is the hope that they are to celebrate? Well, we could look back in chapter 2 and get a whole list. There he promised them that God will bring many sons to glory. He reminded them that you are co-heirs with Jesus who has already been crowned with glory and honor. He reminded them that by his incarnation, you have been joined to him and you have been made his brothers and by his death he has freed you from the devil, freed you from the paralyzing fear of death and therefore through Christ you have help in times of temptation. You see, true believers will be confident of these great truths. They will even boast in them and of them, which means to trust in them, celebrate them, rejoice in them. How sad it is and I run across this a lot, how sad it is to be around people that call themselves Christians and yet they never talk about Christ. They never enter into a Gospel conversation. It's as if they're uncomfortable with that. They certainly never initiate a Gospel conversation. Folks, this is proof positive that there is something terribly wrong with their profession. If that is you, you need to as Paul said in 2 Corinthians 13:5, test yourself to see if you are in the faith. Examine yourself.
Well, now that we understand what the Holy Spirit was communicating to these first century brothers and sisters in Christ, let's apply some of these profound truths just briefly here for a few minutes as I close. Here's what I would like for you to apply to your life. 1. May I encourage you to learn to contemplate and celebrate who you are in Christ. Learn to contemplate and celebrate who you are in Christ. The New English Version says, you are holy brothers who share in a heavenly calling. Isn't that amazing? We're going to share heaven together. Amazing thought. You need to understand, folks, what that means, that you are a holy, first that you have been separated unto God, that you have this heavenly calling. You want people to somehow ask you, "What does that mean?" "Oh, I'm so glad you asked," and then wax eloquent on what Christ has done for you. You know, it's like asking a young mother, "Tell me about your children," and then you get a two hour sentence with pictures. You know how that works. I mean, that's what needs to happen. Worse yet, ask a grandparent, "Tell me about..." "Oh, I'm so glad you asked." Oh, child of God, contemplate and celebrate the realities of what it means to be set apart unto God and how we should live with others who share in that heavenly calling.
Secondly, learn to consider Jesus. Let your mind habitually focus on who he is, what he has done, what he is up to in your life today, what he has promised to do, what it's going to be like to see him face-to-face. You know, Paul was so deeply burdened for the early church. In Colossians 2, beginning in verse 2 we have a description of that. He was burdened, "that their hearts may be encouraged, having been knit together in love, and attaining to all the wealth that comes from the full assurance of understanding, resulting in a true knowledge of God's mystery, that is, Christ Himself, in whom are hidden all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge." He therefore went on to admonish them in chapter 3, verse 16, "Let the word of Christ richly dwell within you."
And then finally, learn the lesson of faithfulness. Moses was faithful to commit himself to the stewardship God had given him. Jesus was faithful even unto death to do the will of the Father. Are you faithful to your calling? Do you even know what it is? Are you using the spiritual gifts that God has given you? God has given each of us spiritual abilities and unique opportunities. Are you a faithful steward to what God has entrusted you with or do you just live for yourself, for this life alone, wasting your life away on things that are eternally insignificant? If so, you rob God of his glory, you forfeit blessing in your life and reward in heaven. But think of the reward that belongs to those who take full advantage of the opportunities the Lord gives them. Jesus said, "If you are faithful with a few things, I will put you in charge of many things." You see, faithful service on earth is the basis for kingdom rewards. Are you a faithful steward of what God has given you? Making the best of your gifts, maximizing your talents?
You know, as I think about it, probably about 50%, maybe 60%, I'm not sure, of the folks at Calvary Bible Church are actively involved in some kind of ministry within the context of the church. Think what it would be like if everyone got involved, if we were all faithful to that end. We have all been given a sacred trust and I hope you can define yours. You want to ask yourself: is my current labor worthy of the Master's praise or am I living beneath my potential and rendering only a token service? Or worse yet, is my service virtually nonexistent betraying my indifference toward the Master? Well, these matters are central when it comes to celebrating who we are in Christ and considering Jesus and I pray that you will all respond in humble obedience.
Let's pray together.
Father, thank you for these eternal truths. My, how they speak so directly to our heart. And thank you for sending the Lord Jesus Christ for the hope that is ours in him and the help that we enjoy when we walk faithfully in intimate relationship with him. Use the truths of these words to impact every heart and bring conviction to those who simply do not know you. May today they be so overwhelmed with the wretchedness of their own sin that they will run to the cross and fall on their face in genuine repentance and be saved. That is our prayer. We thank you. We give you praise in Jesus' name. Amen.