Jesus is our great Savior who brings us such a great salvation. Therefore, we must pay close attention to what we have heard and cling closely to Christ. Last week we studied what the writer of Hebrews said about Jesus: He humbled Himself, He was exalted by the Father, and He always helps us. In our sermon today, we will continue to pay close attention to what we have heard by: 1) Remembering who we are, 2) Considering who Jesus is and 3) Holding fast to what we have received.
Remembering Who You Are
Chapter 3 begins with, “Therefore, holy brethren, partakers of a heavenly calling…” Look at how the writer of Hebrews describes a Christian. First, he calls us holy brethren. To be holy means to be set apart by God. In Leviticus 19:2, the Lord told the Jewish people: “You shall be holy, for I the Lord your God am holy.” The Apostle Peter quotes this verse in 1 Peter 1:15 to make sure that Christians know: “like the Holy One who called you, be holy yourselves also in all your behavior; because it is written, ‘You shall be holy, for I am holy.’” We are set apart by God to be holy through Jesus Christ and we are called to live holy lives. To live a holy life means to live for God and to have a life that is different from unbelievers. Peter said in 1 Peter 1:13, “prepare your minds for action, keep sober in spirit, fix your hope completely on the grace to be brought to you at the revelation of Jesus Christ. As obedient children, do not be conformed to the former lusts which were in your ignorance.”
Second, he calls us partakers of a heavenly calling. This refers to the origin of the call and the destination of the one who is called. For Christians, the prize/goal is eternity with Christ. It is the upward/heavenly call of God. The prize is not earthly. It is not a nicer house, boat, computer, etc. The prize is not more money, friends, prestige, etc. The prize is the “upward call of God in Christ Jesus” (3:14). The prize originates in Heaven and leads us towards Heaven. Our deepest aspiration is to know Christ, to glorify Him in all we do, and to enjoy Him forever.
Considering Who Jesus Is
As we remember who we are, let us then “consider Jesus, the Apostle and High Priest of our Confession” (Heb 3:1). We have spoken much of Jesus thus far and now we receive two more descriptions for us to consider: 1) Apostle of our confession and 2) High Priest of our Confession. Jesus is the Apostle of our confession. An apostle is one who is sent out. Jesus has been sent by the Father (John 8:42). Jesus said of Himself in John 3:34, “For He whom God has sent speaks the words of God for He gives the Spirit without measure.” An apostle is one who is designated and sent out by another to work on their behalf. Jesus is sent by the Father to work in His name and to represent Him before us.
Jesus is the High Priest of our confession. We will learn more about how Jesus is our High Priest as we progress through Hebrews. Thus far we have learned that He has “become a merciful and faithful high priest in things pertaining to God, to make propitiation for the sins of the people” (Heb 2:17). As High Priest, Jesus not only makes the sacrifice necessary on behalf of His people, but He goes further by being the sacrifice necessary for His people. Consider Jesus because He is more worthy of glory than Moses. Moses was Servant of God but Jesus is the Son of God. To help us understand this, the writer of Hebrews uses the illustration of a house. Don’t be confused, however, by this illustration. The writer is not using house to refer to a building but a family. Jesus is the One for Whom the family is created. Jesus is the most prominent member of the family and Moses was a servant in the family. Moses was faithful as a servant, Jesus is faithful as a Son.
Holding Fast to What We Have Received
As we consider Jesus, we must “hold fast to our confidence and the boast of our hope firm until the end” (Heb 3:6). Confidence in this verse means outspokenness and boldness. We have confidence because we have been reconciled to God (2 Cor 5:18) and we have been justified and now have peace with God (Rom 5:1). As a result of our salvation, we have confidence in God which results in confidence in our witness and our preaching. Confidence in belief manifests itself in confidence in witness. We are not ashamed or embarrassed of the gospel or Jesus (Rom 1:16) but we are outspoken and bold in His name. We are confident in Christ Jesus and we boast of our hope. We do not boast in ourselves but in the hope that Christ provides. The Christian hope is the cause of our confidence and boasting. Our hope is found in Jesus and He has accomplished our salvation.
Therefore, we must hold fast. Do not be confused by this. The writer of Hebrews is not saying that you are saved by holding fast or that you remain saved by holding fast. How terrible it would be to have our salvation depend upon our hold of Christ. No, the Bible tells us that our salvation depends upon Jesus. With Him holding fast to us, we can persevere in faith. Paul lays this out very well in Philippians 3:12, “I press on, that I may lay hold of that for which Christ Jesus has also laid hold of me.” Christ has claimed us for His own.
We are holy brethren with a heavenly calling, therefore; we must hold fast to our hope especially in the midst of trials. Consider closely the admonition in verse 6: we are Christ’s house if we hold fast until the end. Only those who persevere to the end are truly member’s of Christ’s house. We will pick up on this theme next Sunday as we discuss the peril of unbelief and the danger of a hardened heart. In the meantime, are we listening to God? Are we paying attention to Him and His Word? Let us be careful not to drift but to consider Jesus.