Grab your Bible, and let’s go deeper into Hebrews 3.
I am stoked that we are in Hebrews for the next three weeks. It is packed with so much good insight and counsel for our souls. May we grow in Christ and fall more in love with Him.
Hebrews 3:1 Therefore, holy brothers, you who share in a heavenly calling, consider Jesus …
This whole book of Hebrews is written to help us “consider” Jesus. There is more to consider about Jesus than you could ever exhaust in this life. Consider Jesus! Ponder Him. Fix your eyes on Him.
This is the focus of one of my all-time favorite Scriptures in Hebrews 12:1-2: “Therefore, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us also lay aside every weight, and sin which clings so closely, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, looking to Jesus, the founder and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is seated at the right hand of the throne of God.”
If your mind is like a compass moving through a world of magnets, making it spin this way and that, make Jesus the North Pole of your mental life and your heart’s affections so that your mind and heart come back to Him again and again throughout the day.
This very priority of fixing ourselves to Jesus is one of the reasons we study God’s word every day and why I prepare this weekly study. It is so we can CONTINUE to consider Jesus. We do this to reorient our minds and our hearts’ affections to Him as we study His living word. In this, we see every story whispering His name—pointing us to Him, to consider Him, to fix our eyes on Him.
Hebrews 3:1-2 Therefore, holy brothers, you who share in a heavenly calling, consider Jesus, the apostle and high priest of our confession, who was faithful to him who appointed him, just as Moses also was faithful in all God's house.
An apostle is “one who is sent.” So Jesus is the One sent from God the Father to earth with a heavenly calling. A high priest is the one who goes between us and God to offer sacrifice for reconciliation.
Jump back to chapter two for a moment:
Hebrews 2:17 Therefore he [Jesus] had to be made like his brothers in every respect, so that he might become a merciful and faithful high priest in the service of God, to make propitiation for the sins of the people.
That great phrase "make propitiation" means Jesus took God's perfect wrath upon Himself, taking it off of us, so we can be pardoned and saved.
Verse 2 says “who was faithful to him who appointed him, just as Moses also was faithful in all God's house.” Moses was faithful in the household of God. The writer is quoting here from Numbers 12:6–8. Now let this sink in. "Consider" this!
Jesus is our faithful apostle and high priest. He is the One who brought you a heavenly calling from God and made you a way to God.
🡪 On Him hangs all your hope of life here and for eternity.
If you have any confidence this morning that your sins are forgiven and that you will persevere in faith through your struggles to attain your heavenly calling, this confidence depends on Jesus.
Hebrews 3:3-6 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. (For every house is built by someone, but the builder of all things is God.) Now Moses was faithful in all God's house as a servant, to testify to the things that were to be spoken later, 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.
Jesus is our Maker, our Owner, our Ruler, and our Provider. He's the Son; we are the servants. We are the household of God. Moses is one with us in this household, and he is our fellow servant through his prophetic ministry.
God has ordained us as men to lead our households well and to be champions of the faith to our wives and kids. Just like Moses led his household well, we need to remember we are not the owner of our household; God is! He has entrusted us with all of it, to manage it and lead it well, for His glory. How do we do this? We “consider.” We “fix our eyes on Jesus,” who is the owner, the author, the perfecter of our life and faith.
He is the One for whom it all exists. Just as Jesus is superior in every way to Moses, He is superior to us men, too. This is something we need to be reoriented to often, because one of our great sins of the flesh is to try to be on top of our worlds. We want to be always right, always having the answer, always charging ahead. But what if our families, our marriages, our work associates began to see a different leadership out of us? What if they see a humility—a grace that loves being led by One who has been counted worthy of more glory than Moses.
We need this reminder! We need each other in our lives to remind us of this often, lest we drift from it as Hebrews 2:1 warns us.
Back to Hebrews 3: Verse 6 concludes by saying we are His house; we are His people, we are partakers of a heavenly calling, “If indeed we hold fast our confidence and our boasting in our hope.”
Now notice the evidence that we are part of the household of God is that we don't throw away our hope! We don't drift into indifference and unbelief. Becoming a Christian and being a Christian happens in the same way: by hoping in Jesus. This is a kind of hoping that produces confidence and boasting in Jesus and not in you or your stuff.
Make it personal: What are you hoping in today? Where are you looking for confidence? Is it in yourself? In your job? In hard work? In luck? In love?
"Consider Jesus" and hope in Him. Then you will be part of His house, and He will be your Maker, your Owner, your Ruler, and your Provider.
Now because He is our apostle and high priest; because He is the owner of the house, and we are the house; because our hope and our confidence is in Jesus; verse 7 says “therefore”:
Hebrews 3:7-11 Therefore, as the Holy Spirit says, “Today, if you hear his voice, do not harden your hearts as in the rebellion, on the day of testing in the wilderness, where your fathers put me to the test and saw my works for forty years. Therefore I was provoked with that generation, and said, ‘They always go astray in their heart; they have not known my ways.’ As I swore in my wrath, they shall not enter my rest.’”
A warning comes in verses 7-11 not to harden our hearts and look to, consider, or hope in other things. If we do this, it is evidence we were never saved, and God’s perfect wrath sits on us like it did for the rebellious Israelites in the wilderness who denied God and worshipped and hoped in man-made idols.
Then a charge comes in verse 12:
Hebrews 3:12 Take care, brothers, lest there be in any of you an evil, unbelieving heart, leading you to fall away from the living God.
Take care means to be attentive, to address it. Do not let evil or unbelief fester, as it will prove your unbelieving heart and cause you to walk away from the living God and His people. Later in Hebrews, it speaks of those who looked like they were one of us but in the end revealed they were not. This is why the counsel is still the same: CONSIDER JESUS! Take care; be attentive to the gospel truth. Because if you are saved, it keeps you centered on what matters most, and if you are not saved, it makes the most of your time with us to potentially be saved in God’s perfect time.
To fall away from God and His people, from the testimony of the gospel and the Fruit of the Spirit is to turn your back on the only Light that will lead you to life.
Our need for community is so important. For those of us who are saved, it keeps us fixed on Jesus to thrive in our growth and testimony. For those who are still not saved among us, the gospel community that surrounds you is the beacon of light God uses to awaken your dead heart. This is where the author of Hebrews goes next:
Hebrews 3:13 But exhort one another every day, as long as it is called “today,” that none of you may be hardened by the deceitfulness of sin.
What: Exhort or encourage
Who: One another
When: Every day
Why: Because it is God’s design that we would be the family of God—the house of God. Loving each other, doing life together, pressing each other into Christ always—each day. Reorienting each other.
Why? Because this is how we grow instead of wither; remain moldable instead of becoming hard.
Now, read Hebrews 3:14-19: “For we have come to share in Christ, if indeed we hold our original confidence firm to the end. As it is said, ‘Today, if you hear his voice, do not harden your hearts as in the rebellion.’ For who were those who heard and yet rebelled? Was it not all those who left Egypt led by Moses? And with whom was he provoked for forty years? Was it not with those who sinned, whose bodies fell in the wilderness? And to whom did he swear that they would not enter his rest, but to those who were disobedient? So we see that they were unable to enter because of unbelief.”
In this passage, we have two pictures of belief and what that belief means for perseverance. Let’s look at the second part first:
Verses 15-19 are talking about a group of people (the Exodus Israelites) who heard God’s voice, witnessed great signs and wonders, and yet were unconverted, as evidenced by their disobedience against God. They remained in unrepentant sin, and as a result, God’s wrath was upon them. Why didn't the people get to enter the Promised Land? You could say, “They sinned, and they rebelled, and they murmured.” Yes. But look at how this writer ends the chapter:
Hebrews 3:19 So we see that they were unable to enter because of unbelief.
Look at verse 10: “Therefore I was provoked with that generation, and said, ‘They always go astray in their heart.’”
The issue of perseverance is not first an issue of behavior. When you are in hard times, the first question should not be, “What actions does God want me to do?” The issue in this text is one of the heart. It is a matter of believing or trusting or hoping in God.
How do we have perseverance then? Jesus! We need to believe and rest in Christ. Look back at verse 14:
Hebrews 3:14 For we have come to share in Christ, if indeed we hold our original confidence firm to the end.
Verse 14 is a crucial and often complicated verse for us to understand. What the Hebrews author is not saying here is that if you do not stay confident in Christ, you will lose your salvation. That would mean that our being saved is then dependent on us, which is not true! “Salvation belongs to the LORD” (Psalm 3:8 and Jonah 2:9).
If our salvation was up to us, we would have something to boast in ourselves, and we would have no rest as we all struggle with sin, fear, and doubt. This verse instead is highlighting the evidence of perseverance in one who is in Christ. The key phrase here is “original confidence.” This original confidence refers to one’s original trusting his life to Jesus—the confidence found in Christ becoming Lord and Savior of his life.
A great evidence that you “have come to share in Christ” is that you hold your “original confidence” to the end. This doesn’t mean you won’t find yourself in a day or week or season struggling with worry, fear, doubt, and sin. We will all battle sin along the way, but for the saved, the sin never overcomes us. The saved always eventually repent and endure to the end.
The disobedient people of Israel are given as a great example of people who witnessed great signs and wonders and the word of God but remained disobedient. They had unbelief in their hearts, and as a result, did not persevere.
We who have found faith in Christ, who have trusted Christ and leaned our life on Him, we have a confidence in Him that gives us perseverance to the end even in great struggles. This is the foundation of our hope!
Even though the Israelites saw the waters of the Red Sea divide and they walked over on dry ground, the moment they got thirsty along the dry road, their hearts were hard against God, and they did not trust Him to take care of them. They cried out against Him and said life in Egypt was better.
It is a terrifying condition to find yourself in—to find yourself no longer interested in Christ and His word, in prayer, worship, missions, and living for the glory of God. And to find all fleeting pleasures of this world more attractive than the things of the Spirit. If that is your situation this morning, then I plead with you to listen to the Holy Spirit speaking in this text.
Consider Jesus, the apostle and high priest of our great confession (3:1).
Do not harden your heart (3:8).
Ask others to encourage and reorient you to Jesus as you wake up to the deceitfulness of sin (3:13).
Share in Christ and hold your original confidence firm to the end (3:14).
Hold fast to your confidence and your hope in God (3:6).
Salvation belongs to the Lord. Consider Jesus in all things!