This morning is the fourth installment of our verse-by-verse look at the book of Hebrews.
Last week, we saw how Jesus is an amazing counselor for our sufferings because He became like us in every way.
In every kind of suffering and every kind of temptation we can face, Jesus has faced it already, and He emerged on the other side victorious.
Because of His victory, the Bible promises that we have an eternal home in Heaven, where there will be no more suffering, and there will be no more temptation.
Jesus is truly the Savior that understands our struggles.
But before we get started with Hebrews three, imagine with me the greatest gym in the world.
This gym has absolutely state-of-the-art equipment machines.
It has those fancy ellipticals.
It has the most extensive weight set you’ve ever seen.
It’s got turbo kick and cycling machines.
It’s got classes hosted by outstanding instructors.
You can learn how to stretch, how to dance, even learn how to breathe like a pro.
But even better, this gym has an Olympic-sized swimming pool, ten racquet ball courts, and five NBA regulation-sized basketball courts.
But even if you’re the kind of exerciser that likes to live a little, this gym is even equipped with a food court that has some of the finest foods from around the world.
And as amazing as all of that is, it gets even better.
The best part about this gym is that you won a life-time membership free in one of those radio call-in contests.
This is the kind of gym that only millionaires can afford, but now you get to go in for free.
So you drive to this fancy gym, and you park your ’93 Camry right between a Mercedes and a Bentley, and you think to yourself, “This is the best day of my life.”
When you walk up to the front door, you are cordially welcomed by the greeter, and you go in to enjoy this amazing gym.
Now, fast forward about three hours, and you have just finished the best work out of your life, followed by a free combo at Chick-fil-a in the food court.
You walk back to the front door, and the attendant stops you and says, “Where are you going?”
You politely say, “I think I’ve had enough for today, thanks.”
The attendant says, “Um, sir, did no one tell you that you aren’t allowed to leave this place?”
“Excuse me?” “Sir, I’m sorry, but a part of your special life-time membership is that you are required to stay here for the rest of your life.
You can never leave.”
Suddenly, what seemed like the best gym in the world has turned into a prison.
Now obviously that illustration is far-fetched, but did you realize that many people believe that Christianity is the exact same way as this gym?
Any Christian would tell you that trusting in Christ was an absolutely amazing decision, but did you know that many Christians believe that once you choose Christ, you can never undo your choice.
And obviously, who would ever want to leave Christ?
I know I would never want to.
But that’s not the point.
The point is that many Christians believe that it isn’t an option.
For these well-meaning Christians, Hebrews chapter three is a sore thorn in their foot.
To see what I’m talking about, I ask you to turn in your Bibles to Hebrews chapter three, and we’ll be reading the entire chapter.
“Wherefore, holy brethren, partakers of the heavenly calling, consider the Apostle and High Priest of our profession, Christ Jesus; who was faithful to Him that appointed Him, as also Moses was faithful in all his house.
For this man was counted worthy of more glory than Moses, inasmuch as He who hath builded the house hath more honour than the house.
For every house is builded by some man; but He that built all things is God.
And Moses verily was faithful in all his house, as a servant, for a testimony of those things which were to be spoken after; but Christ as a Son over His own house; whose house are we, if we hold fast the confidence and the rejoicing of the hope firm unto the end.
Wherefore as the Holy Ghost saith, ‘Today if ye will hear His voice, harden not your hearts, as in the provocation, in the day of temptation in the wilderness: when your fathers tempted Me, proved Me, and saw My works forty years.
Wherefore I was grieved with that generation, and said, “They do always err in their heart; and they have not known My ways.”
So I sware in my wrath, “They shall not enter into my rest.”’
Take heed, brethren, lest there be in any of you an evil heart of unbelief, in departing from the living God.
But exhort one another daily, while it is called “today;” lest any of you be hardened through the deceitfulness of sin.
For we are made partakers of Christ, if we hold the beginning of our confidence stedfast unto the end; while it is said, ‘Today if ye will hear His voice, harden not your hearts, as in the provocation.’
For some, when they had heard, did provoke: howbeit not all that came out of Egypt by Moses.
But with whom was He grieved forty years?
Was it not with them that had sinned, whose carcasses fell in the wilderness?
And to whom sware He that they should not enter into His rest, but to them that believed not?
So we see that they could not enter in because of unbelief.”
Let’s pray before we try to tackle this.
The title of this morning’s passage is “Warning: Do Not Leave the Faith!”
Because of the complexity of this topic, and because of the length of this chapter, we are going to have to keep a brisk pace this morning.
This chapter about leaving the faith breaks down into four main points.
And because of the topic we’re studying, I think it would be very beneficial for you to take notes.
So, with your Bibles open, and your pencils and paper ready, let’s begin our study of God’s word.
Point #1: Our Ideal
To see Who I’m calling “our ideal,” please look at verse one of this passage again.
“Wherefore, holy brethren, partakers of the heavenly calling, consider the Apostle and High Priest of our profession, Christ Jesus.”
There are a couple things to notice about this verse.
The first thing is to notice who this chapter is written to.
The theme of this morning’s sermon is leaving the faith, and our starting point for that is realizing that the writer is talking to born-again Christians here.
The writer doesn’t say, “Wherefore, you heathens.”
He doesn’t say, “Wherefore, you Jews.”
He says, “Wherefore, holy brethren, partakers of the heavenly calling.”
He is talking to all of us who have trusted in Jesus Christ.
The second thing I want you to notice is the two titles given to Jesus in this verse.
This verse calls Jesus the Apostle and High Priest.
Now, these are two titles that I’m sure you have heard many times in your life.
Last week we spent a few minutes looking at how Jesus is our High Priest.
But what is an Apostle?
We know that Peter, Paul, John, James, and those guys were apostles, but what is an Apostle?
Well, the word “apostle” literally means “one who is sent.”
Jesus sent John to preach the gospel, so John was an “apostle.”
But this verse says that Jesus is an Apostle of God.
This makes sense if you realize that Jesus was sent by God.
And remember, Jesus is our High Priest because He is our representative before God.
So to sum that up, Jesus is God’s representative before man, and He is man’s representative before God.
Pretty cool, huh?
But verse two shows us something very important we can learn from Jesus.
Look at what verse two says.
“Who was faithful to Him that appointed Him, as also Moses was faithful in all his house.”
What does this verse say these two people were?
It says they were faithful!
This chapter deals with some really, really tough stuff; but the writer introduces it all by reminding us that our ideal in life is faithfulness.
So what does that mean for us?
It means that as we are thinking about the grim possibility of losing our salvation, we have to understand that the writer is not trying to scare us, he is trying to spur us on in the faith.
He tells us, his brothers and sisters, that the ideal set forth by Jesus, and even by Moses, is that we must be faithful to God.
So point number one, our ideal is to be faithful, just as Jesus is faithful.
Point #2: Our Identity
After the writer of Hebrews reminds us that faithfulness is our ideal, he reminds us our identity in Christ.
To see what I’m talking about, we need to read verses three through six again.
“For this man was counted worthy of more glory than Moses, inasmuch as He who hath builded the house hath more honour than the house.
For every house is builded by some man; but He that built all things is God.
And Moses verily was faithful in all his house, as a servant, for a testimony of those things which were to be spoken after; but Christ as a Son over His own house; whose house are we, if we hold fast the confidence and the rejoicing of the hope firm unto the end.”
I love what verses three and four say.
This verse talks about how Jesus is superior to Moses in the same way that an architect is better than the house itself.
The implication is that Moses is the house, and Jesus is the builder.
This is another one of those verses that show that Jesus is God in the flesh.
Because verse three says that Jesus is the builder, and verse four says that the builder is God!
But the key to understanding our identity in Christ is seen in verse six.