October 19, 2015

October 18, 2015 - Hebrews 3:1-6

Podcast: http://redemption-clc.podomatic.com/entry/2015-10-19T15_10_20-07_00

Theme: Welcome to God’s Home
1) The Inheritance
2) The Son’s Blood

It’s often customary for Christians to take a few moments in prayer to the Lord at night. Evenings are a typical time of prayer because it marks the end of the day’s events. The most logical prayer at the end of a day would be one of thanksgiving. Certainly, we have more than enough reasons to thank God. But the end of the day provides more than just reflection on the blessings of the day. It also provides us some quiet time to think about the needs of others and to seek guidance and help from the Lord for our own struggles. It affords us the opportunity to see a much broader picture of life if you will.

These things are all true about the evening, but there is another important reason for prayer and reflection at night that is often overlooked. The evening is also the time that we lay our heads down to rest. At times of rest, the gift of a home is a true blessing. Without a home, nights are much more restless and sleep is harder to get. I remember back in the Midwest I would think often about the blessing of my home, especially at night, and especially in the winter. When it comes to winter in the Midwest, a good home is not only nice, it’s absolutely necessary. On the coldest winter nights, exposure to the elements for only a few minutes can mean permanent danger or even death. Yet, in our homes we have comfort, food, protection, and warmth. We can sleep peacefully, no matter the temperature outside, because we are safe. What a blessing, especially to consider on a cold evening as you prepare for bed!

But a home is much more than just the walls around you or the roof over your head. In order for a home to be complete, it needs people. Your family is even more vital to your home than a fireplace or bed covers on a cold winter night. In this section of Hebrews, the writer talks about the blessing being in God’s home. Hebrews 3:1-6: Therefore, holy brothers and companions in a heavenly calling, consider Jesus, the apostle and high priest of our confession; 2 He was faithful to the One who appointed Him, just as Moses was in all God's household. 3 For Jesus is considered worthy of more glory than Moses, just as the builder has more honor than the house. 4 Now every house is built by someone, but the One who built everything is God. 5 Moses was faithful as a servant in all God's household, as a testimony to what would be said in the future. 6 But Christ was faithful as a Son over His household. And we are that household if we hold on to the courage and the confidence of our hope.

Remember why this is called the book of Hebrews. It has this title because it was written specifically for Christians who were familiar with the Old Testament. Most of these people at the time of the early church were Jews, or those of the Hebrew nation. Who better to use as an example to the Hebrews than Moses, the great leader of the Jewish exiles in Egypt? Many Jews around the time of Jesus considered Moses to be the most significant figure in the entire Old Testament. As the writer says here, Moses indeed was an example of faithfulness to the Lord. But don’t miss the most important point, Moses was a member of God’s household.

But even as faithful as Moses was, he was still a sinner who fell short of God’s holiness. There is one who was even more faithful than Moses – Jesus Christ. Jesus not only was faithful to God’s will, He was the perfect fulfillment and example of that will. He came on behalf of sinful mankind and did what no other person could or has been able to do since – He lived a perfect life as a human who was subjected to temptation just as much as the rest of us. The intent of this section is clear. It’s okay to give Moses honor. But Jesus deserves much more, because He did a lot more. For the Jewish individual who might be led astray to honor Moses but reject Jesus, he or she needed to wake up to reality. And to drive this point home, the Holy Spirit emphasizes the aspect of our home.  

To recognize the main difference between Moses and Jesus, you don’t have to look far. Our text says it plainly in the last two verses: Moses was faithful as a servant in all God's household, as a testimony to what would be said in the future. 6 But Christ was faithful as a Son over His household. The difference between a servant and a son may not seem that great when it comes to the home. In that day, servants were granted the right to live in the home. In many ways, they grew up in the home just as any son or daughter would. But when it came to rights, there was a big difference. Remember that a home is more than just the location where we live or the things we do there. A home is what that dwelling represents and the significance it has in our lives.

Children in the home have a right to the household by blood. They are the ones who inherit the home; who continue the family name and legacy into the future. A servant is there for a time, but then gone. There is no continuity among servants. They provide a need or fulfill a purpose and then they are done; not to remembered. But children are the bearers of the home for the next generation. They are meant to continue and to be in the forefront.

It’s no strange mystery that Jesus is God’s Son. But do we always consider everything that means? As the Son, Jesus has access to God’s home. He is the most important figure. And as the One who came to earth, He is the One who shares that home with others. Not just the promise of eternal life in heaven; that certainly is God’s home and definitely a great enough gift. But a home is not just the location. Jesus shares the blessings of God’s household. Gifts we have today like: peace, joy, happiness, forgiveness, and contentment. Some of the very gifts that should be at the top of our lists every night for thanking and praising God.

As the Son, Jesus alone has the right to distribute these gifts; because as the Son He alone earned them in our stead. Later on in this book, the Spirit would go onto to explain why: Hebrews 9:15 And for this reason He is the Mediator of the new covenant, by means of death, for the redemption of the transgressions under the first covenant, that those who are called may receive the promise of the eternal inheritance. An inheritance is a special thing; something that is largely lost on our modern culture. You can think of the inheritance as the continuation of the family home. Think of everything that your home means to you today. Think of both the material and intangible blessings that come from the home. That is the inheritance, and it is passed on from one generation to the next; and only the legal, blood heirs have access to that right.

God tells us that through His only begotten Son, the inheritance of His home is passed on to us. What connects us to that gift is faith in Jesus, the one Mediator of God’s forgiveness. Moses was a faithful and a good leader for God’s people. But the highest level he ever reached on his own was that of servant. Yes, a member of the house in some sense, but one with no real claim to any blessings; certainly not to any inheritance. That too, is the highest level you can reach in life in your own. The best you can strive to be is one that serves the almighty God.

That’s where the young man in our Gospel lesson found himself. He was zealous for the Lord, even recognizing something special about Jesus. He obviously strove to keep God’s Word or else he never would have asked the question that he did. And clearly he tried to keep God’s commandments. But he got off the track when he started thinking that he could earn God’s inheritance. Not only is that impossible because of sin, it also runs contrary to sound reason. God’s specifically calls heaven an “inheritance,” something that we know is clearly not earned by works or effort. An inheritance is given freely to children. The man didn’t realize the truth that no matter how hard he tried, he could never be greater than a servant, and a very flawed servant at that.

This prospect obviously leads many into despair. If we can’t be anything greater than servants, then what’s the point? If our works, no matter how good we feel about them, never measure up perfectly, then what can we do? Well, remember what it takes to be a child. A child is an heir by blood. As hopeless as we are on our own, we do have access to God’s home, as children. Not because of our blood, but because of another’s.

When Jesus shed His perfect blood on the cross, as true man (one of us) and true God (the very Son) he paid the price that was needed for us to receive the inheritance. Paul wrote to the Galatians: “You are all sons of God through faith in Christ Jesus.” The blessings of God’s home are given to you through Jesus. And later Paul would write this: “Therefore you are no longer a slave but a son, and if a son, then an heir of God through Christ.”

As our text says, God builds the house. He sets the rules. He determines the truth. And the truth is this: We are helpless on our own. Like prodigal sons, we sacrificed our original inheritance of righteousness on the altars of self-satisfaction and temptation. We chose other ways to prosperity and protection and we fell from the path of God’s Word. We are thoroughly corrupted and wicked; and on our own we have no inkling to seek God. But the Father had a plan in place. He brought you back from the dead by His own Son, the only rightful Heir that was left once sin entered the scene.

Even with the advent of Jesus we were still lost. Something more needed to be done. The Son also needed to bleed. He needed to bleed so that we could be purified. That blood of Jesus cleanses us from all unrighteousness. His blood paid the way for us to have the status as sons and daughters again; rightful heirs of the inheritance of God’s kingdom. Where we were faithless; stuck only as servants of the most high God; Jesus came and made us children in the home.

Therefore we have the warmth of His love and the comfort of His forgiveness amidst the cold nights of this sinful life. We have the true treasure of His Word as a means to build and strengthen His will in our lives; so that we take time to pray to Him in thankfulness and humility. We have answers to the lingering doubts and concerns about being a sinful person living in a world full of evidence for a righteous and holy God. That’s what being part of the household means. Yes, ultimately we have hope for heaven; a city that needs no protection from pain and sorrow, because those things have passed away.

But even before we think of heaven, and well before we get there, we are in God’s home today. Because a home is more than we end our days and where we rest our heads. A home is the day-to-day blessings, the joy and peace that need not be explained or reasoned, and the presence of fellow family members. I pray for your courage and confidence through faith in Jesus Christ. You are His child. You are a member of God’s household; a blood-bought heir of eternal life. Amen.

The peace of God which surpasses all understanding will keep your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus. Amen. 

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