Let us take our Bibles this morning and turn to Hebrews 3 verses 1 through 6. And if you notice the theme in our singing was that Christ is greater than Moses and really, this section of Scripture has to do with Christ’s superiority to Moses. It is actually a preamble to the second warning that we are going to look at in Hebrews next week.
I want to look at the practical application of it first by asking you a few questions. Will there ever be a time when you will not want to stand firm in the face of your own trials? Will Satan come against you with a strong temptation to be disloyal to Christ? Will his demons ever try to topple your faith even to get you to consider giving up your Christian profession? To tempt you to shut up and not get too involved with it. Or will your sin in all its glamour lure you away from Christ?
The answer to all these questions is yes. When, where, how, and to what extent it will happen no one knows. It is not a matter of if, it is a matter of when. Most importantly this morning, it is a matter of being prepared and of holding fast to your confession right until the end. When Christ comes and you die, you will never give up your confession of Christ and not just theoretical, but practical confession.
The need to obey and trust God’s message rather than disobey and turn away from Him, is paramount. It is the most important consideration in light of the wilderness community in the Old Testament, which we will look at next week. Really, their demise was to rebel rather than to obey God’s Word. Their demise was to just not listen to Moses, God’s mediator. The appeal to believers is not to rebel like the wilderness community. Do not do what they did in the Old Testament.
These verses are a preamble to the second warning passage in Hebrews. The passage before us is intended to counter the propensity for deliberate unbelief and rebellion thereby preventing repeated events from past Jewish history. Therefore, you and I need to be ready! Whatever the temptation, whenever it may come we should practice holding to our confession. Which means we need to know what we believe, and that is what we are going to look at this morning. Especially what we believe about Jesus Christ.
We are called to be faithful in our calling and we are called to be in our confession. So if you are to continue to be faithful in the Christian life, then you must focus on and hold on to Christ our great superior Lord.
There are several things we need to consider very seriously and the first thing is this. Consider Jesus’ betrayal of a faithful son. What does it mean to be faithful? Look at what it says in Hebrews 3:1:
Therefore, holy brethren, partakers of a heavenly calling, consider Jesus, the Apostle and High Priest of our confession.
He is addressing in this phrase, brothers and sisters who belong to God and are partners with those who are called to heaven. He is talking to believers that are confronted with severe trials. They are confronted with being thrown out of their community. They are confronted with leaving a very influential, religious system of Judaism. These are basically Jewish believers who are right on the fence when it comes to the person of Jesus Christ.
That’s the audience, he is talking to believers. Now what is he asking them to do in this verse? He is asking them simply to do this, to consider Jesus. That might seem, to you and I, to be a given. But it really is not! The term “consider” is a command which carries the meaning of one who seriously contemplates the object in which he or she is focused.
Other translations say it differently, for example the NIV puts Hebrews 3:1 like this:
Therefore, holy brothers and sisters, who share in the heavenly calling, fix your thoughts on Jesus, whom we acknowledge as our apostle and high priest.
The NLT writes Hebrews 3:1 like this:
And so, dear brothers and sisters who belong to God and are partners with those called to heaven, think carefully about this Jesus whom we declare to be God’s messenger and High Priest.
Jesus is the subject and the object of our faith! It was already said in Hebrews 1:2:
In these last days has spoken to us in His Son.
So, think carefully on the incarnate Son and what being the sent One and the Intercessor means. Keep on applying your mind to it unceasingly and apply it to your life when you begin to meditate upon it.
One commentator gives us some help in regard and answers the question or tries to answer the question of, “how does one focus one’s mind?” We have to focus our minds on Jesus, where the assumption is that we do not as we ought to or as continually.
Many times after our initial profession, and the early parts of our Christian lives, when ten years has already come and gone, we do not focus as much in our thoughts and minds on Jesus. We should be if we have been growing in the Word of God. But how can we? Some suggestions include having the right desire for Christ. It is part of a significant indication of Christian growth.
Just like the psalmist says in Psalm 27:4:
One thing I have asked from the LORD, that I shall seek:
That I may dwell in the house of the LORD all the days of my life,
To behold the beauty of the LORD
And to meditate in His temple.
That is talking about desiring the Lord. A second thing is that fixing the mind requires concentration. Isaac Newton said that the key to understanding was to keep it before you. You and I know that the longer you look at something, especially things that are difficult, it starts to come together. But you need to concentrate for it to happen. Do we give that kind of concentration to God’s Word, and to Christ Himself.
Another said this, “if we are ever to learn Christian truth, a detached glance is never enough. But there must be a concentrated gaze in which we gird up the loins in the mind in a determined effort to see its meaning for us.”
A third thing is fixing your mind requires discipline like an athlete. In fact, turn over to Hebrews 12:1-2 where the author brings it up again. He puts athlete and fixing our eyes on Christ in the same context. Hebrews 12:1-2 says:
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, 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.
There is a lot there to think about, to focus on and to fix your eyes on! Fixing your thoughts on Jesus also requires time. Brethren, we give time to so many things. So many things require our time, but have you set aside blocks of time to think on Jesus? So that you may perceive correctly who He is and what He is. And what follows as a consequence of those things? So that you will remain faithful to Him and so that you will not get spiritually sick, dull and useless. So that you will not fall by the wayside as you move through life.
But you will persevere through the jostling tides of life without drifting away. Jesus is God. Jesus is God’s full, final, and definitive revelation. Fix your thoughts on Him. We are asked through Scripture to consider to fix our eyes, our minds attentively and actually on two designations about Christ.
If I were to ask you, “what is your homology?” You may ask what that means, I did not even know what that meant either at first. In a religious sense, I am really asking, “what is your confession?” It comes from the Greek word which means, “what is your acknowledgment when it comes to faith?”
The word means in the last part of verse 1, “our confession.” It means to say the same thing as another, or even better, to agree with God about what He revealed about Jesus His Son. That is my acknowledgment. There is my confession right there!
Now what are the two designations that we are to focus in on concerning Jesus? I have a question for you. Who is the greatest New Testament Apostle? Some may say Peter, some may say John, but most will say Paul. But did you know the fact that is often overlooked, that Jesus is the greatest Apostle? Did you know that?
Look at Hebrews 3:1:
Therefore, holy brethren, partakers of a heavenly calling, consider Jesus, the Apostle and High Priest of our confession.
There are two things that we are to consider very seriously given our mind, give time to, give energy to, and the first thing is that Jesus Christ is our Apostle. An apostle, like prophet, is someone who speaks to the people on behalf of God. The term apostle is really very rich in meaning. The basic meaning of the word means to send forth, or one who is sent.
But in Biblical times, it was used in a more technical sense to mean someone who is commissioned, or dispatched by one who is in authority. Like a king would dispatch a representative to another country, or an emperor would send someone out to represent their particular government. This means that an apostle was invested with the full measure of authority by the one who sent him.
Jesus said often to His disciples, “those who receive you receive me, those who reject you reject me.” They were rejecting the authority that they were given by Christ. The author of Hebrews wants to highlight the authority of Christ, that Jesus is first and foremost the One who is sent. Jesus said, “I speak nothing of my own authority. I speak only of the authority of the One who sent me.” God the Father sent Jesus to provide for man’s salvation.
In fact, if you did not notice we read it in our passage this morning. John 6:57 says:
As the living Father sent Me, and I live because of the Father, so he who eats Me, he also will live because of Me.
Jesus was the sent One by the Father with full authority in heaven and on earth as Matthew 28 proclaims to us. We are to think about that. This of course makes Him than Moses because Moses had the authority of God but not full authority, not the authority that Christ had.
A second thing to consider in our passage is that Jesus is not only the Apostle, but He is the High Priest of our confession. An apostle is called and sent by God invested with full authority of the Father. And Jesus Christ, we are to consider, as the High Priest of our confession. An apostle is sent to the people on behalf of God. A priest speaks to God on behalf of the people.
So Jesus the High Priest of Israel, of His people, all His people. And the High Priest we know in Israel was called by God, was anointed by God, and speaks to God for the people. In fact Scripture tells us that he prays for the people. Here is the believer’s advocate in Heaven, representing man to God before His throne as God’s Son Christ functions as a reconciler, as a mediator before God and man. Jesus knows both God and man like no one else does. Of course Moses knew, but not like Jesus knew. He is our Mediator. Moses being a mediator, but Him being our Greater Mediator.
What else does a high priest do? He goes into the Holy of Holies once a year to sprinkle the blood of the sacrifice on the mercy seat for himself and for the people so that their sins could be covered and forgiven. Jesus goes in once and for all as a final sacrifice and takes care of it completely. That is what He does. He becomes the greater High Priest, Moses not even being a high priest.
That is how he starts out this passage, these are the things we need to begin to consider for ourselves. He expands that a bit and he goes in verse 2 and gives us some of the similarities of Moses and Christ that we are to consider, and then the differences.
In Hebrews 3:2 it says:
He was faithful to Him who appointed Him, as Moses also was in all His house.
Here is the main ingredient that Moses was faithful, so was Christ faithful. They were very similar in this respect. In our passage Jesus and Moses are put side by side for the purpose of showing us that Jesus is far greater than Moses. Both were prophets, and both were God’s apostles sent to declare the divine mind and will of God.
It tells us in Acts that God sent Moses to Egypt. He commissioned him and sent him to go before Pharaoh. In that respect, he was the same kind of sent one, an apostle. He represented God with authority, and came before the king of a nation telling him what to do because God is over the Pharaoh. He is over the king and has authority over them and Moses becomes the mediator between Him and that king to tell him what God’s will is.
Both were faithful and carried out their work. In this verse, he was faithful to Him who appointed him as Moses also in all his house. Both are faithful in their high and difficult offices. In fact, look at Numbers 12:7:
Not so, with My servant Moses, He is faithful in all My household.
The Word of God proclaimed that, that Moses was appointed to deliver the Israelites from EGypt, to give them the law, to lead them to the Promise Land. And yet Jesus is still greater in faithfulness than Moses, because unlike Moses He did not falter or waver even to His death on the cross. Often Moses was commonly placed in a higher rank than angels by the Jews, and that is one of the reasons the author brings this up again.
Scripture already proved that Jesus is greater than angels, now it must prove that He is greater than Moses, who was logically for the Jews greater than angels. And why does it say that? Well if you take your Bible for a minute and turn to Numbers 12, you will see what it does say about Moses that makes him different from anyone else. In Numbers 12:6-8, it says:
“Hear now My words: if there is a prophet among you, I, the LORD, shall make Myself known to him in a vision. I shall speak with him in a dream. “Not so, with My servant Moses, He is faithful in all my household; with him I speak mouth to mouth, even openly, and not in dark sayings, and he beholds the form of the LORD. Why then were you not afraid to speak against My servant, against Moses?”
See the people revered Moses to a level above angels because God spoke face to face with him. He did not speak in visions or dark sayings with him, he spoke directly to him. That in the people’s eyes lifted Moses through the generations to a place that he ought not to have been.
And that is what the people were having trouble with here. This is not uncommon in many of the Old Testament related religions. To correct error and challenge those who had already begun to waver, not only are there two designations of Christ given, but also the similarities between Moses and Christ and their differences, all demonstrate that Christ is superior over Moses.
Now looking at Hebrews 3:3-6 reveal the differences between Moses and Christ that we are to fix our minds on. The author shows Christ’s superiority over Moses in three ways.
The first way is that Christ’s glory is more superior than Moses’ glory because Christ is the builder of the house. Look at verse 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.
It seems like he is appealing by an illustration here that he is showing that Christ is the builder of the house. He is the One who designed the house, He is the One who erected the house and made the plans for the house. Believe me, we have seen many grand houses in our day. But it is really not the glory of the building, but the one who designed it, and then built it and made it a reality.
The Bible is saying that He is superior than Moses because He is the builder of the house. In our text here where it says “the house” in verse 3, it really means “the church” or “the people of God.” Without the builder, a house does not exist. And without occupants, a house is of no use. Christ built the house and Moses was only part of the house, therefore Christ had more glory than Moses and therefore is super to Him.
A second reason why Christ is more superior than Moses is found in Hebrews 3:5 which says:
Now Moses was faithful in all His house as a servant, for a testimony of those things which were to be spoken later.
Christ’s honor is more superior than Moses because Christ is the owner of the house. I want you to notice these passages of Scriptures. Moses was a faithful servant in all his house. Moses was inside the house of God, faithfully serving God. But Christ in verse 6 was faithful as a Son over His house.
That means He is the owner of the house, He is the One who is in control over everything in the house. Not only that, Moses was a servant in the house whereas Jesus Christ is the Son in the house. Remember the Son is the One who is the Heir of all things and possesses all things. And we know Jesus is the One who created all things, designed all things, and keeps all things together. Because of that, Jesus Christ has greater honor than Moses, making Him superior to Moses.
But there is something else in verse 5 that I do not want you to miss. The last part of the verse says:
For a testimony of those things which were to be spoken later.
This is very interesting, that Moses was a faithful witness in and for God’s house because Moses wrote about Christ when he was writing in the Old Testament, in Genesis, Leviticus Numbers, and Deuteronomy, he was writing about Christ. When he was writing about the tabernacle, he was writing about Christ. When he gave us the law, he was writing about Christ. When he gave us all the laws there, he was writing about how God’s people are different than all the other nations around us because God is in their midst. That is what makes us different. He was writing about Christ.
That is what it means there, that God spoke through Moses and yet promised to send a prophet vastly greater than Moses. Even Moses was responsible for the prophecy of a coming prophet like himself, like Acts tells us. In Acts 7:37 it says:
This is the Moses who said to the sons of Israel, ‘God will raise up for you a prophet like me from your brethren.’
This was taken from Deuteronomy 18:15 and Moses was the one who wrote Deuteronomy. Some people have said that this passage of Scripture is speaking about Mohammed. But we know from the New Testament that it is speaking about Christ.
In fact, if you take your Bibles look at the gospel of John where Jesus Himself is speaking to the people. He says in John 5:46-47 about Moses:
For if you believed Moses, you would believe Me, for he wrote about Me. “But if you do not believe his writings, how will you believe My words?”
If you receive Moses and accept him as the mediator of the old covenant, you must accept Jesus who is the Apostle and High Priest and Mediator of the new covenant, “the redemption of my blood.” This forever eternal sacrifice that this High Priest offered on behalf of believers that they may come to know Him as their Lord and Savior. Moses was part of God’s plan of deliverance and salvation, not just for the people of Israel. Moses would actually be a picture of the One who would come after him and he would represent the greatest of all deliverers. Because the One who would come after him would be a spiritual deliverer, that God would provide an ideal ruler to fulfill His promise. And the man He would prepare would be an ideal redeemer, able to accomplish what He said.
What is the significance of Moses? Well Moses really was a type of Christ. Moses was pointing to the greater deliverer. God raised Moses to be the deliverer and to set the people free from the agony and suffering of harsh slavery. But Moses would only be a foreshadow of the One who would be greater than himself, that he would set the people free from the burden, the guilt, and the agony of the bondage of sin and condemnation. That God was preparing these people, the children of Israel for the tremendous deliverance that was going to be provided when God sent His Son into the world. Therefore Moses is a type of Christ.
Looking forward to what the Lord Jesus would do. Do you know what that means? That Christ owns the house. He is over it all and He is the Son in it, Heir of all things. He is the subject and object of prophecy and Moses was only a servant and a faithful witness in the house. Therefore Christ is more honorable than Moses.
The author obliterates these arguments and is convincing these Jews who are thinking about returning to Judaism and the religious system because of Moses being the prophet. It seemed like Moses was being pushed aside and this person Christ was being exalted. That is what Moses was saying all along. His whole life and ministry pointed to Christ, and that is why we need the Old Testament, brethren.
We have to be in and know the Old Testament because it combines with the New Testament to give us the full picture of what God has been doing all these years. It bolsters our faith and gives us strength to live! In fact that you are going to find out that this is the conclusion the author comes to.
There is one other thing that shows us that Christ is superior to Moses, and that is Christ’s dignity. Look at Hebrews 3:4 which says:
For every house is built by someone, but the builder of all things is God.
In other words, Christ is able to build the house because He is God. He is able to build it from the time that the trinity met together in eternity past before heaven and earth or before any man lived on the face of the earth. Christ had planned it with the Father and Spirit all along. He has been the architect and builder of our salvation, of the people of God from the beginning. No one can do that unless they are God! We cannot even get it right from day to day and from generation to generation.
We cannot pass this down but only God can keep all of this together and moving forward. God can keep the ministries of Moses and what he represented at a time when Christ would come into the world at the perfect time, be the High Priest, die on the cross, rise from the dead, and give eternal salvation for all who believe. Our salvation in Him will be and is secure, because of who He is.
So why are we to consider Jesus in this life? So that you and I can remain diligent in our faith and persevere to the end. It is about focusing on Christ. There is a second thing I want you to consider this morning. I want you to consider your own faithfulness and obedience to God. How are you doing? Look at Hebrews 3:6, it says:
But Christ was faithful as a Son over His houseÑwhose house we are.
We are part of God’s house if we know Christ. If people were to be faithful to Moses, are we to have a greater faith and faithfulness to our Lord? At the end of the verse it says:
If we hold fast our confidence and the boast of our hope firm until the end.
He is admonishing his hearers to not give in, not let someone convince them other than what the truth and Word of God says. He tells them to hold fast to their confidence and be firm until the end. We must not be timid in speaking what we believe to be true concerning Jesus.
A Christian must make their boast. It has to do with causing to boast here, the object of which one is boasting. Our boasting may be in two categories. Our boasting may be subjective, or it can be objective, or both.
Now if someone comes up to you and asks you how you know that you are a Christian. You might say to them that you feel it, that you know in your heart that you are a believer. That is a very subjective answer and hard to prove. But in a very real sense, our faith does have a subjective nature to it. Our feelings may be constantly fed by the objective foundation which informs our boast in Christ. That is why we are to fix our minds and attention on Christ. We are to get to know who He is and what He did, and what it means for our every day lives.
It is hard to hold fast to something subjective, especially if your feelings are being compromised, which they are all the time. You are human, so you feel that way.
If I feel like that, then I might also feel like I am not saved. I might say that I feel like God has forsaken me because of the way I feel. The Bible says not to stay there; your subjective feelings must be informed by objective truth. The way I feel does not change the fact that Jesus is my Apostle and my High Priest, my Redeemer, my Savior, my Intercessor, the One who is coming back and has lavished His love upon me. Me feeling like dirt does not change any of that.
The author is saying here not let the sufferings of life bring you to the place where you forsake truth or some good silver tongue preacher or speaker convince you that Jesus is not who He is because they are able to move you and get into your emotions and subconscious to bring you to the place where you start doubting and wondering.
It is always too much about what we feel, there must be that objective ground and a basis for which our boast to rest on. I am talking about a boast that embraces all that we have in Christ, something of which we love to speak as our highest and richest possession. All of the forms of the object’s content could be our boast. But when Christ becomes precious and our treasure, when He becomes the highest in our thoughts and we begin to meditate on Christ on a regular basis it transforms us and makes us bolder.
Just by a way of example, look at Hebrews 2 to see that Christ is the author of our salvation. He will bring many sons to glory, Jesus has been crowned with glory and honor and He is the heir. We are to inherit salvation as co-heirs. Jesus Christ in Hebrews 2 is our expiation, which is something done in view of the believer. For example, my sin exits from me when I come to Christ. My sin is removed from me and the punishment is removed from me and given to Jesus who offers it to God for us.
He sends our sin to the cross and sends His righteousness to us. By His incarnation, He joined us and made us His brothers. By His death and expiation, He frees us from the devil, from the might of death, from the fear of death. He brings us the help we need in time of temptation. Christ also the Apostle and High Priest, whom we confess, He fills us with assurance and the boast of hope.
It is all about Christ, He fills us with glory that awaits us at the end. Why is it that I can endure until the end? If I had to endure the Christian life until the end and there was nothing there for me, just a grave with a bunch of dirt, what would be the point? That is not what the Scriptures say, I await glory. I await the presence and the face of Christ. I await a Kingdom that is indescribable. I await a resurrected body and being free from pain and tears and crying and death. That is what I await! That is my hope! That is why I can endure to the end because this life is not the end.
I can go through a day, a week, a month, and even a year where my feelings are all over the place because the truth has never changed. I am so glad the truth does not change and that Christ does not take left turns, and we end up getting lost. This is it, this is the way it is. And because it is this way, then you see these unchanging, rock solid objective realities that enable us to hold fast to our confession, which in turn informs our feelings and enables us to feel firm and confident and assured of the realities of our faith which cause us not to waver.
These truths cause us to be discerning when it comes to false doctrine and to stand firm when we do not feel like it. These truths keep us from faithlessness which destroyed the Israelites in the time of Moses. Those who profess faith in Christ will remain faithful and they will give evidence that they are members of Christ’s house.
True believers will continue boasting of the hope in Christ. They will continue boasting of redemption and the cross until the end of their lives. The cross never becomes a past subject, it is always an ever-present subject. Give me an answer to the hope that lies in you! Of course, it is with reverence and fear and respect. Tell them that it is Christ that saved you, who is your Mediator, who died in your place, who took your condemnation, and who paid for your sins fully and offered you forgiveness, and who takes you to Heaven, and it will always be about Jesus Christ.
The Holy Spirit asks you this morning, “Are you persevering? Do you even know if you are a Christian? Or are the jostling tides of life causing you to drift away and get cold and numb?” Is Christ as dear to you today as He was the first day you met Him? Is He as sweet to you today as the day you professed Him in your new Christian faith? Are you holding firmly on to your courage in your confession? Are you firm in your confession because you do know what you believe?
Do you know what you believe so much, that you are willing to die and give up your life for it? Are you proud of the gospel? Proud enough to confess it to one who you do not think is going to believe it? Are you proud enough of the gospel to give it to someone who is in trouble, whose life is a wreck? Or do you give them every solution except for the gospel? Are you proud of the gospel?
Are you proud of the power of the gospel that can rescue someone from the bondage of their sin? Was there a time in your life perhaps with fresh glow and new faith when you were proud and courageous for Christ but now with the passing of time, your proper pride and boast and courage are gone?
Believe me, brethren, I have been through all of those phases. I have come to the place where sometimes I just want to throw in the towel. Maybe not because you do not believe it, but just because sometimes you get wrapped in the entanglement of life and your own unfaithfulness and difficulty in overcoming particular sin. Sometimes it could be a family member of friend that just do not want anything to do with Christ when one time they did. Or you could be witnessing and no one is listening to you. You can be reading the Word of God and feel like you are not moving anywhere. I feel like this a lot of times!
But you keep coming back to the Word of God and to Christ and Christ gives you the confidence to know this, that if there is any truth this is it. If you compare Him with any religious system, what will you find? You will find that that religious system is nothing but a bunch of things you have to do to get saved. When you come to Christ, you realize that it is by grace! And this grace is free!
Christ has done it all! That is why you and I need to focus on and hold on to Christ, our great Superior Apostle and High Priest. That is our calling, and when you do you will persevere. We are not even where these Hebrews were, under the pressure and the guns. We are free, but we are not free from the allurement of sin. We are not free from the crushing philosophies of the world. We are not free from demons who are commissioned by Satan to trample your faith and to get you to deny Christ, and if not by your profession, then by your life.
You know there is no other way. Christ is the answer, not only to eternal salvation but to every day living. And all God’s people said? Amen. Let’s pray.
Lord, thank You for the Word of God. Thank You, Lord Jesus, that You deemed in Your wisdom to lay it out for us just the way it is. And I pray, Lord, that You would make us people who are obedient to it, who are faithful to it, who have our objective faith so informed by truth that it affects even our feelings and emotions. It affects our plans and our goals, it affects how we live every day of our lives, what we say and how we say it. It affects the end of the story. Oh Lord, thank You. Help us to be those people who persevere to the end because we know what we believe. I thank You and I pray in Christ’s Name, Amen.