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TPC - CD 03(N014) - Better Than Moses

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BETTER! Hebrews Series Part 3 “Better Than Moses” By Pastor Jeff Wickwire

Last time we ended with the glorious news that our Great High Priest, the Lord Jesus Christ, is compassionate in our struggles, and faithful to fulfill all His good promises. Because He’s been there and felt our pain, He is able to empathize and help us through all our trials!

The writer of Hebrews has also spent a lot of time explaining how Jesus is superior to the angels. Now in chapter 3 we’re going to see that He’s also superior to Moses.

3:1 “Therefore, holy brethren, partakers of the heavenly calling, consider the Apostle and High Priest of our confession, Christ Jesus,”

Notice how Jesus is called both “Apostle” and “High Priest.” As our Apostle, Jesus speaks to us on behalf of God. As our High Priest He speaks to God on behalf of us. We’re to consider that by giving it serious thought.

3:2 “who (Jesus) was faithful to Him who appointed Him, as Moses also was faithful in all His house.”

This references 2 verses in Numbers regarding Moses. God said, “Listen to my words: ‘When there is a prophet among you, I, the LORD, reveal myself to them in visions, I speak to them in dreams. But this is not true of my servant Moses; he is faithful in all my house” (Numbers 12:6-7 NIV).

The “house” was God’s OT household, the Israelites, and also included Moses’s faithfulness to deliver to them all that God told him, including the 10 commandments, the ceremonial law, the moral laws, and the construction of the Tabernacle.

So the writer says that, like Moses, Jesus was faithful in all of God’s house, all that God sent Him to do—the things He taught, the working of the miracles, and His sacrificial death on the Cross. But there is a difference between the two. Whereas Moses was faithful IN God’s house, Jesus is OVER God’s house.

3:3 “For this One has been counted worthy of more glory than Moses, inasmuch as He who built the house has more honor than the house.”

Jesus is greater because He is Lord OVER the house that Moses was faithful IN. In the next verse we will see that God built the house. Jesus as the Son was OVER the house. And Moses was a faithful servant IN the house. Thus, Jesus is greater than Moses and counted worthy of more glory.

3:4-5 “For every house is built by someone, but He who built all things is God. 5 And Moses indeed was faithful in all His house as a servant, for a testimony of those things which would be spoken afterward,”

The writer knows how much Moses is revered by his readers, so is careful to give credit where it is due. “Moses indeed was faithful in all his house...”

And through his faithfulness, he testified of those things that would later be confirmed by Jesus Christ. Jesus spoke about this saying: “If you believed Moses, you would believe me, for he wrote about me” (John 5:46 NIV).

Jesus was the fulfillment of everything Moses predicted as a prophet. The Tabernacle he was instructed to build in the wilderness was a type and shadow of Jesus’ redemptive work. Everything in the tabernacle pointed to His coming ministry and sacrificial death on the Cross.

As a prophet, Moses predicted the coming of Messiah Jesus:

Deuteronomy 18:15-19 “Moses continued, “The Lord your God will raise up for you a prophet like me from among your fellow Israelites. You must listen to him. 16 For this is what you yourselves requested of the Lord your God when you were assembled at Mount Sinai. You said, ‘Don’t let us hear the voice

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of the Lord our God anymore or see this blazing fire, for we will die. 17 Then the Lord said to me, ‘What they have said is right. 18 I will raise up a prophet like you from among their fellow Israelites. I will put my words in his mouth, and he will tell the people everything I command him. 19 I will personally deal with anyone who will not listen to the messages the prophet proclaims on my behalf.”

Jesus was the fulfillment of this prophecy!

Next, the writer further distinguishes between Moses and Jesus...

3:6a “but Christ as a Son over His own house...”

Moses was the Father’s servant in the Father’s house, but Jesus is the Father’s Son who, due to his position of Sonship, is OVER the house.

And whereas Moses led Israel, God’s people, through the wilderness to the Promised Land, Jesus is over the NT house, the Church of the living God, purchased by His shed blood. And He will lead us into the ultimate Promised Land—heaven, the home of the redeemed!

3:6b “whose house we are if we hold fast the confidence and the rejoicing of the hope firm to the end.”

Now, some people interpret this verse to suggest that you can lose your salvation...IF you don’t hold fast your profession to the end. But it actually means that, if you are truly saved, you will persevere to the end. This is called “the perseverance of the saints.” And if you aren’t truly saved, only then can you renounce what you once learned about Christ, but having never truly been born again.

I like to say, “Faith that fizzles at the finish was faulty at the first.”

Remember, one main motive of the writer is to address the Jews that were considering forsaking the Old Covenant under Moses in order to come to Christ. He’s saying, “Don’t go back to the Mosaic religious system that has been replaced by the New Covenant under Christ!”

In verse 7 he quotes the Psalms 95:7-11 to warn them of the folly of doing so:

3:7-8 “Therefore, as the Holy Spirit says: ‘Today, if you will hear His voice, 8 Do not harden your hearts as in the rebellion, in the day of trial in the wilderness,’”

Note now the writer attributes this Psalm to the Holy Spirit speaking, not to a man. And so it is with all the Word of God!

The writer is saying that, when we hear God’s voice, particularly the call to His Son for salvation, we are not to harden our hearts to the call. We are not to resist His grace when extended to us.

This is how Israel behaved in the wilderness, which the writer calls “the rebellion.” Over and over again, Israel refused to believe God, to obey Him, and to trust Him.

The writer goes on to describe Israel’s rebellion:

3:9-11 “Where your fathers tested Me, tried Me, and saw My works forty years. 10 Therefore I was angry with that

‘They shall not enter My rest.” ’

Israel rebelled so long that God finally said, “That’s it. You won’t enter my rest.” Now, the “rest” he speaks of was Canaan, the Promised Land. And the first generation never did enter the land due to their rebellion—except for Joshua and Caleb.

But the Promised Land is also a type of heaven. Heaven is the Promised Land promised to all those that place their faith in Christ. Jesus promised, “I go to prepare a place for you, that

generation, and said, ‘

They always go astray in their heart, and

they have not known My ways.’

11 So I swore in My wrath,

where I am, there you may be also” (John 14:3). And the message of the writer is that, if one hardens his heart to the gospel message, neither will he enter the rest found in heaven.

3:12 “Beware, brethren, lest there be in any of you an evil heart of unbelief in departing from the living God;”

The writer here calls the heart “evil” that departs from the living God. He again is warning the Jews that were so acclimated to the Mosaic Old Covenant they would be tempted, during great persecution and trials, to apostatize and depart from the true faith found in Christ.

He next gives a remedy to help prevent this kind of departure from the true faith:

3:13 “but exhort one another daily, while it is called “Today,” lest any of you be hardened through the deceitfulness of sin.”

One of the great reasons for the church is to provide a place of encouragement and exhortation to continue on in the faith. Notice he says that we should encourage one another “daily.”

Why so often? “Lest any of you be hardened thru sin’s deceitful ness.” This seems to suggest that when a person departs from the living God, they have been involved in sin that has

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hardened their heart. The writer calls sin “deceitful.” And it is. It is deceitful in how it promises what it can never deliver. It lures its victims into a trap with empty promise of happiness, fulfillment, and peace when it ALWAYS delivers the opposite— regret, sorrow, and destruction.

Sin’s deadly power is in how it hardens our hearts toward God. We depart from Him slowly in incremental stages as we continue in sin. Finally we wake up to the reality of having fully walked away from our communion with Him.

So the writer next encourages us to be steadfast in our confession to the end:

3:14 “For we have become partakers of Christ if we hold the beginning of our confidence steadfast to the end,”

The word “hold” means that we are to take a firm stand when attacked, and stand firmly under whatever pressure comes our way. Keep a tight grip on your faith and profession to the day we see His face!

Next, the writer returns to the same quote from Psalm 95:7 he used earlier to hammer home the warning to not ignore the Lord’s offer of salvation:

3:15 “while it is said: “Today, if you will hear His voice, Do not harden your hearts as in the rebellion.”

The phrase “while it is said: ‘Today’ means as long as you are alive, don’t harden your heart to God’s voice. He points again to Israel’s rebellion in the wilderness:

3:16 “For who, having heard, rebelled? Indeed, was it not all who came out of Egypt, led by Moses?”

Every one of God’s people so mightily delivered by God’s miracles from slavery to Egypt turned their hearts away from Him and rebelled against His voice. The consequences were severe:

3:17 “Now with whom was He angry forty years? Was it not with those who sinned, whose corpses fell in the wilderness?”

Their unbelief brought about their loss of everything, even their lives. Not only did they forfeit entering the Promised Land, they died in the wilderness. God’s will and purpose for them was lost due to “evil hearts of unbelief.”

3:18-19 “And to whom did He swear that they would not enter His rest, but to those who did not obey? 19 So we see that they could not enter in because of unbelief.”

God finally reached the place where he vowed they would never taste the fruit of the Promised Land. Notice the danger of unbelief. Whereas faith carries us into God’s promises, unbelief robs them from us. The bottom line of chapter 3 is, “Saving faith is the faith that perseveres to the end!”

Next Time: More exhortations to remain faithful!