Shallowford Free Will Baptist
Wednesday, July 08, 2020
For the Glory of Christ Alone

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    We are studying the Book of Hebrews on Wednesday Evening.  (Currently postponed.)  
(Study Ch. 1)    In these last days, God has spoken through His Son. The words and message, and every event of the Life of Jesus Christ is God revealing Himself to a fallen world. The message is loud and clear, Jesus Christ is the Savior of the world. His death on the cross is a once for all perfect sacrifice. There is no other provision for salvation. To believe in Him is to be saved. To reject Him is to be eternally doomed and lost.       
   Jesus Christ is superior to angels.  Angels are God's ministering spirits who minister to the heirs of salvation, believers in Jesus Christ. 
(Study Ch. 2)   First warning to the reader is given.  The final word (message) from God to humanity is spoken through His Son. This word is Salvation and Life.  “Therefore, we must give the more earnest heed to the things we have heard, lest we drift away.” God’s message of salvation is so complete and final that to believe it is to produce life, and to reject it is to bring condemnation.   
Second warning: Drifting is dangerous and deadly.  The danger before them cannot be overstated. The path these Hebrew believers are pursuing leads to total spiritual loss.   Neglect of the message is dangerous.  "How shall we escape if we neglect so great a salvation…spoken by our Lord and was confirmed by others who heard Him…God also bearing witness with signs and wonders, and gifts of the Holy Spirit.”  In effect they will be discarding the very person of Salvation, Jesus Christ.     

(Hebrews 2:9-18)  (9) But we see Jesus, who was made a little lower than the angels, for the suffering of death crowned with glory and honor, that He, by the grace of God, might taste death for everyone. (10) For it was fitting for Him, for whom are all things and by whom are all things, in bringing many sons to glory, to make the captain of their salvation perfect through sufferings. (11) For both He who sanctifies and those who are being sanctified are all of one, for which reason He is not ashamed to call them brethren,  (12) Saying: "I will declare Your name to My brethren; In the midst of the assembly I will sing praise to You."  (13) And again: "I will put My trust in Him." And again: "Here am I and the children whom God has given Me."  (14) Inasmuch then as the children have partaken of flesh and blood, He Himself likewise shared in the same, that through death He might destroy him who had the power of death, that is, the devil,  (15) And release those who through fear of death were all their lifetime subject to bondage. (16) For indeed He does not give aid to angels, but He does give aid to the seed of Abraham.  (17) Therefore, in all things He had to be made like His brethren, that He might be a merciful and faithful High Priest in things pertaining to God, to make propitiation for the sins of the people. (18) For in that He Himself has suffered, being tempted, He is able to aid those who are tempted.     

Jesus Christ becoming flesh is a great mystery and raises questions as to why?  “But we see Jesus.”  “Made lower than the angels,” In that He took upon Himself the lowliness of humanity.  Jesus is the second Adam.  Jesus faces temptation and wins.  Jesus is the perfect man.                                                                                                                          Being the perfect man, Jesus qualifies in all ways to be Redeemer.  He is truly our “Kinsman Redeemer.”  He is the God/man.  A principle of redemption is taught in the OT and is illustrated with this truth.  A near kinsman could step in and redeem a relative, or a relative’s property by paying the price of their redemption.  The Kinsman Redeemer must meet three distinct requirements.   1). He must be a near kinsman.  2). He must have the ability to redeem.  3). He must be willing to redeem.  Jesus is our Redeemer as stated in the following truths.   (v.9) He became man: “For the suffering of death.”   As God He could “taste death for every man.”  (v.14) He became man: As a perfect man He could “defeat death” and “destroy him who has the power of death, the devil.”  (v.18) He became man: As a man, He (God) could identify with suffering humanity and understand the struggle of temptation.   Jesus as a man can be our High Priest. (v.17) He became man: As a man He can be our High Priest.   The Priest had two basic duties.  He represents God to man.  And, He represents man to God.  Jesus is our High Priest and fills these two basic functions.  (Study Ch 3:1-6) 

1Therefore, holy brethren, partakers of the heavenly calling, consider the Apostle and High Priest of our confession, Christ Jesus, 2who was faithful to Him who appointed Him, as Moses also was faithful in all His house. 3For this One has been counted worthy of more glory than Moses, inasmuch as He who built the house has more honor than the house. 4For every house is built by someone, but He who built all things is God. 5And Moses indeed was faithful in all His house as a servant, for a testimony of those things which would be spoken afterward, 6but Christ as a Son over His own house, whose house we are if we hold fast the confidence and the rejoicing of the hope [a]firm to the end.

   In this chapter we see a new comparison between Christ and another OT person revered by the Jews.  This time it is Moses.  There is no doubt that Moses was a faithful servant of God in the OT.  He is primarily remembered as the Giver of the Law.  Moses led the children of Israel out of Egyptian bondage and prepared them to enter the land of promise.   Israel becomes a nation under Moses in the wilderness.   They are ready to function as a nation, chosen, and special to God.   The act of unbelief at Kadesh-Barnea caused the nation to suffer judgment for forty years, as they wandered in the wilderness.   Remember Moses is their leader during this period of wandering.  Moses is a man of supreme faith, and has absolute trust in God as their leader.  Moses is faithful.

We know Israel is a Nation, Royal or Chosen Nation for God.   The term “assembly or congregation” is also given to them in some NT references.  They were unique in that they had the only divinely ordained worship system in the world.   There is another term used here in the Book of Hebrews.  They are referred to as the “house” that Moses built.  This term connects to the fact they are the seed of Abraham, a family or a house.

Christ is superior to Moses.  Moses built a house for God.  That house is the nation of Israel.  There is a basic difference in the two houses.  The house that Moses built is founded on the Priesthood of Aaron and the Tribe of Levi, but the house Jesus builds is founded on a new Priesthood of Christ, and the new doctrine taught by the Apostles.  Hence, a reference to the NT Church as God’s house.  Moses was faithful to God in his house.   Faithful to Him who appointed him over the house.   God is the actual builder of the House; Moses is the hands-on worker.   Moses gets recognition, and rightly so, for his faithful service to his God.  Jesus Christ builds His house, the Church.  He is also faithful to Him who appointed Him, meaning the Heavenly Father.  In reality God builds both houses.   Jesus is God and therefore, must receive more glory for His house than Moses.   God is the creator and builder of all things.  Moses stands true to God in all trials and difficulties and as a faithful servant builds a remarkable house.

Jesus Christ is the Son of God and has built a superior house.   Note the next statement, “whose house we are if we hold fast the confidence and hope to the end.”   Why this warning here?  A challenge to hold firm until the end.  Some of them are willing to throw away all that they have in Christ and return to an inferior house built by Moses.   A house that served its purpose in God’s plan of redemption.   But now has been replaced by a perfect house built by the Son of God, His Church.   They are members of that house built by Christ if they by foolish decisions do not cast it aside.

Under Moses, the children of Israel made some costly decisions.   They rebelled against God and Moses at Kadesh-barnea, and failed to enter the Promised Land.  Therefore, because of unbelief they failed to enter the promised rest for the people of God.  This rest is the "Canaan Rest."  Heretofore they have been sojourners, now they can settle down in a homeland and have this rest from nomad living.       

(Study Hebrews 4:1-3, 11-16)  (1) Therefore, since a promise remains of entering His rest, let us fear lest any of you seem to have come short of it. (2) For indeed the gospel was preached to us as well as to them; but the word which they heard did not profit them, not being mixed with faith in those who heard it. (3) For we who have believed do enter that rest, as He has said: "So I swore in My wrath, 'They shall not enter My rest,' " although the works were finished from the foundation of the world.  

*(11) Let us therefore be diligent to enter that rest, lest anyone fall according to the same example of disobedience. (12) For the word of God is living and powerful, and sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing even to the division of soul and spirit, and of joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart. (13) And there is no creature hidden from His sight, but all things are naked and open to the eyes of Him to whom we must give account.  

  This warning is connected to the same example of unbelief as the first warning given by the writer of Hebrews.  The children of Israel delivered from Egypt and led by Moses to the land of Promise stood at the gateway of entering the land.  Israel, under God’s blessings, must drive the inhabitants out and take possession of the land.  At Kadesh-Barnea the nation refuses to go in and possess the land.  This action of disobedience and unbelief in God ushered in the following consequences.   A whole generation of Israelites who came out of Egypt perished in the wilderness.  A whole generation failed to enter God’s Rest because of the sin of UNBELIEF.

*Note v.1: “There remains a “Rest” to the people of God…let us fear lest any of you seem to have come short of it.”

Perhaps the best commentary on the word of God is found within God’s word.  Note, Paul said this in 1 Corinthians, “All came out of Egypt, all passed through the sea, all were baptized in Moses, all ate the same spiritual food, all drank from the same spiritual rock, that rock was Christ, but with most of them God was not pleased and scattered their bodies in the wilderness.”  A generation died because of Unbelief.  A new generation went in and conquered the land of promise because they Believed God.   GOD HONORS OUR FAITH WITH HIS BLESSINGS; GOD WILL NOT HONOR OUR DISOBEDIENCE. (v.2)   They all heard the same Gospel message.   They all saw God’s work. (Heb 3:9)  They had equal opportunity to success in their walk with God…by faith.   What made the difference in their success or failure?   Only one thing.   Either FAITH was in their hearts, or UNBELIEF resided there.

*Note: The warning concerning unbelief is followed by words of encouragement.  We are warned not to follow their example of disobedience. (v.11)  They failed by disobeying God’s word, our success depends on believing and obeying God’s word.  At this point the writer lays down another Bible truth.  Obeying God’s Word encourages our Faith.  (Hebrews 4:12)  “For the word of God is living and powerful, and sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing even to the division of soul and spirit, and of joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart.”  God’s word is a “Living Word.”  God’s word is a “Powerful Word."  God’s word is designed to speak to every part of man, to our Spiritual life, to our Physical life, and to Conscience: “thoughts and intents.”

    How different the history of Israel would have been if they had responded with faith, and gone into the promised land.   That generation would not have perished in the wilderness.   The rest of God would have been realized.  Their trust in God would have grown.  They would have received Blessings for obedience rather than punishment for unbelief.  The Rest of God for us is an "Eternal Rest" promised to all true believers.   We must not let "Unbelief" rob us of that Rest.