Jesus’ superiority to Moses gives Christians a basis on which to live confidently in a world where we are challenged, sometimes persecuted, and tempted to turn away. Listen to Pastor Dan as he continues his series in Hebrews.
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Hebrews 3:1-6 (ESV) Therefore, holy brothers, you who share in a heavenly calling, consider Jesus, the apostle and high priest of our confession, 2 who was faithful to him who appointed him, just as Moses also was faithful in all God’s house. 3 For Jesus has been counted worthy of more glory than Moses–as much more glory as the builder of a house has more honor than the house itself. 4 (For every house is built by someone, but the builder of all things is God.) 5 Now Moses was faithful in all God’s house as a servant, to testify to the things that were to be spoken later, 6 but Christ is faithful over God’s house as a son. And we are his house if indeed we hold fast our confidence and our boasting in our hope.
What does it take to stand up for Christ to the end under fire?
Chuck Swindoll writes: “Chuck McIllhenny, pastor of the Orthodox Presbyterian Church in the Sunset District of San Francisco for over twenty years, has written a book titled When the Wicked Seize the City. When I first met him, I expected to find the man in a chrome helmet with loaded weapons all around him and double bars on the door. Here’s a man whose home has been fire-bombed, whose bedroom for the children is built like a bunker (it’s so fireproof) so his children can survive as he stands actively for Christ. He is now ministering a great deal in the hospitals to those dying of AIDS, but standing firm for the truth, that the only hope beyond this life is a faith in the Lord Jesus Christ.
He told a wonderful story of how he was sitting, reading the newspaper one day. And there was a council meeting being held the next day in San Francisco, and he thought he’d go to the city council and hear this particular issue. It was a homosexual rights issue. He thought, I can’t just sit here and let that pass . . .
He sat there and heard the legislation. The council was about to take a vote. The chairman said, ‘Is there anyone who has anything to say?’ No one moved. Then he stood up and said, ‘I would like to say something.’ He walked to the platform, stated his name, that he was a citizen residing in the Sunset District, San Francisco. ‘What would you like to say?’ He replied, ‘Well, I would like to say nothing for myself, but I would like to quote three individuals that I’ve respected for years.’ And he read to them from Moses in Leviticus, from one of the psalms by David, and from Paul in Romans 1. Didn’t preach, didn’t scream, didn’t sermonize––just closed it. They said, ‘Wait. Before you sit down, who are those people––Moses and David and Paul?’ And someone said, ‘You’re reading from the Bible, aren’t you?’ ‘Yes,’ he said, ‘I am.’ And one of the council members then said, ‘I vote no,’ and another and another. And it didn’t pass. He sat down. That is straight thinking and courage.” (Swindoll’s Ultimate Book of Illustrations & Quotations, page 121)
How can we stand up for Christ under fire? There are three ways found in today’s text:
- Knowing who you are in Christ
- Considering who Christ is
- Holding onto Christ who holds onto you
Let’s look first at
1. Knowing who you are in Christ
1a Therefore, holy brothers, you who share in a heavenly calling
a. Holy – in Christ, set apart for God.
b. Brothers (and sisters) – in Christ, members of God’s adopted family.
c. Share in a heavenly calling – in Christ, we are participants, not just observers, in a calling that comes from God, not from ourselves, not from the world. We are sharers in what God is doing in the earth.
You can stand up for Christ under fire, second, by
2. Considering who Jesus is
1b consider Jesus…
This is the same word we see in…
Luke 12:24 Consider the ravens: they neither sow nor reap, they have neither storehouse nor barn, and yet God feeds them. Of how much more value are you than the birds!
Luke 12:27-28 Consider the lilies, how they grow… how much more will he clothe you…
Heb 10:24 and let us consider how to stimulate one another to love and good deeds
Heb 12:3 For consider Him who has endured such hostility by sinners against Himself, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart.
It means to think deeply about Jesus, to mull over in your mind who he is and what he has done, to ponder it long. Not to just skim over it. It’s the difference between, perhaps reading poetry and reading a novel. With a great poem you consider each line, each word, because you know the writer did so – he had to condense his thoughts into just a few choice words.
Consider Jesus in the same way, taking the time to think about where he came from, what he said, what he did, where he is now and what he’s doing. It will make all the difference.
What should we consider about him?
First, we should consider that
a. He is the apostle and high priest of our confession
1b the apostle and high priest of our confession,
He is the one who we confess as our apostle. An apostle is one who is sent, usually to deliver a message. So Jesus is a prophet sent from God to deliver a message, the good news of salvation.
Second, he is the one we confess as our high priest. The high priest under the old covenant presented himself once a year on the Day of Atonement before God in the holy of holies to bring a sacrificial blood offering of an animal for his own sins and the sins of the people. He represented the people to God and he represented God to the people.
Jesus presented himself in his death as both the high priest and the sacrificial blood offering to make atonement once for all for our sins. And today in heaven, as our great high priest, he ever lives to make intercession for us.
Second, we should consider that
b. Christ was faithful just as Moses was faithful
2 who was faithful to him who appointed him, just as Moses also was faithful in all God’s house.
We are told that Christ was at least as great as Moses. But who was Moses?
- Considered greatest man that ever lived by the Jews
- Saved from death by Egyptian mid-wives
- Raised in Pharoah’s court as the son of P’s daughter
- Was a great administrator and leader among the Egyptians
- Defended a fellow Israelite by killing an Egyptian soldier
- Therefore, forced to flee to the desert
- Spent 40 years in the Midian desert tending sheep, found a wife and raised children
- Called by God in the burning bush in the desert
- Was initially rejected by his own people when he went back to Egypt
- Stood up to Pharaoh, telling him to “Let my people go”
- Administered the first Passover, protecting the Jews from the death angel
- Delivered Israel through the Red Sea
- Received the 10 commandments on Mt Sinai
- Led Israel through the desert 40 years
- Spoke with God face to face
- Led them to the edge of the Promised Land
- Prepared them to enter in with a covenant renewal in Deut
So Jesus is at least as great as the greatest man who ever lived. When we see Moses we should see Jesus.
Like Moses, Jesus was rescued from death as an infant; like Moses, Jesus was prepared for his subsequent ministry in the desert; like Moses, Jesus delivered his people from bondage; as the living Word, like Moses, Jesus brings the Word to guide his people; like Moses, Jesus contends with his people in the desert of their unbelief; like Moses, Jesus leads his people to the promised land; like Moses, Jesus is a great deliverer and prophet.
But third, we are told that not only is Jesus just as faithful as Moses, we should consider that
c. Jesus is greater than Moses just as the builder of a house is greater than the house, and just as God is greater than the creation
3 For Jesus has been counted worthy of more glory than Moses–as much more glory as the builder of a house has more honor than the house itself.
Simply a logical argument. A builder is greater than the house he builds. Then he extends the comparison a little further. Christ is greater than Moses, just as a builder is greater than the house he builds, just as
4 (For every house is built by someone, but the builder of all things is God.)
Another simple logical argument. He is not trying to say that Jesus is God here. He says that elsewhere. Simply drawing a comparison between Jesus and Moses.
Jesus is greater than Moses, as builder is greater than his house, just as God is greater than his creation.
Fourth, we should consider that
d. Jesus is greater than Moses as a son who presides over the household is greater than the servant who serves in the household
5 Now Moses was faithful in all God’s house as a servant, to testify to the things that were to be spoken later,
6 but Christ is faithful over God’s house as a son.
Notice two comparisons here.
First we see a comparison between the son and the servant. Jesus the son and Moses the servant. A son has greater status than a servant and greater privileges. The son, as the administrator or steward of the house sits while the servant stands. The son is served first, then the servant has his meal. The son will inherit the house, while the servant is simply a member of the household.
Second a comparison between over the house and in the house. Jesus presides over the household, while Moses, serves in the household. The one who presides over the household is greater than the one who serves in the household. The son decides how things will be done, the servant simply does what he is told.
Therefore, though they are both faithful to God, Jesus, the son who presides over God’s household, is greater than Moses the servant who serves in God’s household.
How can you stand up for Christ under fire?
You can stand up, not only knowing who you are in Christ and by knowing who Christ is, but third, by
3. Holding onto Christ who holds onto you
We do this in two ways.
Verse 6 says, “And we are his house if indeed we hold fast our confidence and our boasting in our hope.
Like Moses, we are members of God’s household, by grace through faith, not of our own works lest we should boast in ourselves. We are his house, members of the family of God, even stones in the house as we saw in 1 Peter.
We can KNOW, we can be assured of our salvation, that we are members of his house if we continue to hold onto Christ to the end. And we will hold onto Christ if he his holding onto us.
This is what we call the doctrine of perseverance. Wayne Grudem says it this way, “The perseverance of the saints means that all those who are truly born again will be kept by God’s power and will persevere as Christians until the end of their lives, and that only those who persevere until the end have been truly born again.” –Wayne Grudem from Systematic Theology (pg. 788)
Another writer says, The doctrine of the perseverance of the saints does not [say] that all those who profess the Christian faith are certain of heaven. It is saints – those who are set apart by the Spirit – who persevere to the end.
It is believers – those who are given true, living faith in Christ – who are secure and safe in Him.
Many who profess to believe fall away, but they do not fall from grace for they were never in grace.
True believers do fall into temptations, and they do commit grievous sins, but these sins do not cause them to lose their salvation or separate them from Christ.
The Westminster Confession of Faith says it this way:
“Those whom God has accepted in his Son and has effectually called and sanctified by his Spirit can never completely or finally fall out of their state of grace. Rather, they shall definitely continue in that state to the end and are eternally saved.” (17.1)
So Christ holds onto us to the end, but in the process we are commanded to hold onto him, not because it is finally up to us, but because that is the way we express our faith in him.
It’s like a child holding onto his mom or dad while in their arms. Mom or dad are not going to drop you, but you hold on anyway.
How do you hold onto Christ who holds onto you?
First, it tells us, you
a. Hold onto your confidence in Christ
This word in the original refers to our access to God. In Eph 3:11-12 “in Christ Jesus our Lord, in whom we have boldness and confident access through faith in Him.”
And in Heb 4:16, we find the invitation, “let us draw near with confidence to the throne of grace.”
It literally means “freedom of speech.” We have freedom of speech before God. Scripture says we can come boldly before the throne of grace. We have direct access to God in Christ that in the old covenant was granted only once a year to the high priest on the Day of Atonement.
He entered into the holy of holies, into the presence of God, but not without blood. The people did not enter the presence of God at all. They did not have access.
However, in Christ, we have direct access to the throne. Because, he entered once for all shedding his own blood on behalf of our sins, we have access to God in and through Christ.
That’s why we pray in the name of Jesus – because we can’t enter God’s presence or ask for what we need on our own.
We hold onto Christ by holding onto the access, the freedom of speech we have before the throne to receive what we need to continue in trials.
Second, and finally, you are to hold fast not only to your confidence but also you are to
b. Hold onto your boasting in Christ
You hold fast to boasting, not in your own works, but in Christ’s work on your behalf. Eph 2:8-9 “for by grace are you saved through faith, not of works lest any man should boast.”
If we do any boasting, if we have any pride, it should be boasting or pride in what God has done in Christ for us.
Maybe you’re here today and you’ve never grasped ahold of Christ by placing your faith in him. When asked on the day of Pentecost what his audience should do in response to his preaching Christ, 38 Peter said to them, “Repent, and each of you be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins; and you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. “For the promise is for you and your children and for all who are far off, as many as the Lord our God will call to Himself.” (Act 2:38-39 NAU)
Summary: How can you stand up for Christ to the end even under fire? By…
- Knowing who you are in Christ
- Considering who Christ is
- Holding onto Christ who holds onto you