(A Series on Hebrews)
Westgate Chapel 1/29/89a.m. (6/22/97) Hebrews 3:1-6
PROPOSITION: Every born again believer must hold on to his/her courage and faith because we are being built into the house of God, with specific plans for construction given by the Spirit, with a master builder worthy of all honor and praise, and a house whose owner and ruler is Christ.
- I READ a story the other day of an accident report, turned in to an insurance office, by an injured, discouraged bricklayer, that would be funny if it was not so close to reality for many of us here this morning.
- THIS is the material discouragement is made of:
* Dear Sirs:
I am writing this letter in response to your request for additional information on my insurance claim form. In block #3 of the accident report form, entitled "Cause of the accident", I put, "trying to do the job alone." You said in your letter that I should explain more fully, and I trust that the following details will be sufficient.
I am a bricklayer by trade. On the date of the accident, I was working alone on the roof of the new six story building. When I completed my work, I discovered that I had about 500 pounds of bricks left over. Rather than carry the bricks by hand, I decided to lower them in a barrel by using a pulley which fortunately attached to the side of the building, at the sixth floor.
Securing the rope at ground level, I went up to the roof, swung the barrel out, and loaded the brick into it. Then I went back to the ground and untied the rope, holding it tightly to insure a slow descent of the 500 pounds of brick.........You will note in block #11 of the accident report form that I weigh 135 pounds.
Due to my surprise of being jerked off the ground so suddenly, I lost my presence of mind and forgot to let go of the rope. Needless to say, I proceeded at a rather rapid rate up the side of the building.
In the vicinity of the third floor, I met the barrel coming down. This explains the fractured skull and broken collar bone.
Slowed only slightly, I continued my rapid ascent, not stopping until the fingers of my right hand were two knuckles deep into the pulley.
Fortunately I had regained my presence of mind and was able to hold tightly to the rope in spite of the pain.
At approximately the same time, however, the barrel of bricks hit the ground.....and the bottom fell out of the barrel. Devoid of the weight of the bricks, the barrel now weighs approximately fifty pounds.
I refer you again to my weight in block #11. I began a rapid descent down the side of the building.
In the vicinity of the third floor, I met the barrel coming up. This accounts for the two fractured ankles and the lacerations of my legs and lower body.
The encounter with the barrel slowed me enough to lessen my injuries when I fell onto the pile of bricks and, fortunately, only three vertebrae were cracked.
I am sorry to report, however, that as I lay there on the bricks......in pain, unable to stand, and watching the empty barrel six stories above me......I again lost my presence of mind....and...I....let go of the rope. The empty barrel weighed more than the rope so it came down on me and broke both legs.
I hope I have furnished the information you require.
- ANYONE here ever known a day in your life that?
- DISCOURAGEMENT comes in many ways and often leaves deep scars on our lives.
- OUR world is full of discouraged people......disillusioned with their careers, disillusioned with their marriages, disillusioned with their private hopes and dreams, disillusioned with life.
- AND the look of discouragement can be seen all over them, in their countenance, in the way they walk, in the way they dress, the way they talk......they have given up hope.
- IF you are looking, you can find them in every neighborhood, every office or factory, every church, and every socio-economic level of life.
- NEXT time you go to the shopping malls, the Kingdome, here at Westgate Chapel or some of the other places that people congregate and look in their faces and you will see many discouraged people.......and many of them with good reason.
- NO one is immune.....not even believers.
- PERHAPS some of you this morning are covering over a deep ache in your heart....and the despair of discouraging events in your life.
* Nothing seems to be going right.
* Crises mount on top of one another.
* There seems to be no light at the end of the tunnel......no hope of any change in sight.
- AND discouragement has set in.....and right now you are ready to give up.
- ONE of the biggest deterrents to the Christian life is discouragement. It immobilizes you. It robs you of faith. It steals your joy. It diverts your focus.
- ONE of satan's #1 weapons used against the believer is discouragement.
- HE is the source of discouragement.
- AND the reason that he delights in our discouragement is because he knows that it will rob us of our confidence in the Father........that it will rob us of faith.......
* .......of faith in God.
* .......of faith in ourselves.
* .......of faith in each other.
- AND the curse of it all is that it is only by faith that God can work in our lives....so he effectively robs us of the intervention of God when we suffer from discouragement.
- HE will isolate you from the only One who can bring you through victoriously.
- SO we need a strategy against discouragement.
- AND I am going to give you one from Hebrews 3:1-6 this morning.
ii. our plans (vs. 1)
- FIRST, there is "The Plan".
- THE book of Hebrews is written to a group of believers who are discouraged and considering quitting it all.
* They have been driven from their homeland because of their faith.
* Living in a strange and foreign land.
* They have been cut off from their families.
* Lost most of their possessions.
* Deprived of food and shelter.
* Failing in health.
* Hunted by the authorities.
* Rejected by their synagogues and religious leaders.
* Branded as heretic followers of the cult figure, Jesus.
- WOULDN'T you be discouraged?
- THIS word from the Lord to them really needs to be effective. They are hurting.
- SO the Holy Spirit, writing in 3:1, gives us God's plan for us. He says:
"Therefore, holy brothers, who share in the heavenly calling, fix your thoughts on Jesus, the apostle and high priest whom we confess."
- HERE is God's plan for how we live our lives in the nitty gritty of a fallen, sinful, suffering world.
- HERE is the Spirit's antidote for discouragement.
- "FIX your thoughts on Jesus"
- VERY simply this means "Apply your minds to Jesus."
- THIS means "Look very closely......think about Jesus."
- THE encouragement of discouraged believers is not accomplished by,
* Changing your circumstances.
* Or thinking positively about your surroundings.
* Or vainly confessing health, wealth or prosperity.
- THE encouragement of discouraged believers, according to Hebrews 3:1, comes ONLY as we "fix our thoughts on......as we apply our minds to Jesus."
- THIS is God's plan for the Christian life.......your determined, personal and up-close encounter with Jesus.
- UNTIL He fills all the horizon of your vision.
- YOU see there is a tension in these verses.
- IT is the tension between who we are in Christ.....and where we live right now.
- AND it is in this tension that most of our discouragement is experienced.
* The writer of Hebrews calls us "brothers" because we share in the heavenly calling.......but we are still in this world that is torn apart by sin and hatred and strife.
* He calls us "holy brothers" because of the righteousness of Christ that is our covering.......but the temptations of sin crash over us every day like the waves of a stormy sea.
* He says that we share in a "heavenly calling", to an inheritance stored up for us in heaven and eternal life in the presence of God. It is an upward call. In Philippians 3:14 Paul says, "I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus."........but pulling us down every day are the weights and bondages of this world.
- WE need someone sent by God to deliver us from this tension......someone who understands what we are going through, but with the power to do something about it.....to give us victory in the middle of difficult times......to make us like Himself.
- WE need something altogether different from what this world has to offer, to spur us on and on and on.....freeing us from the earthly distractions and weights that slow us down.
- THE writer of Hebrews says, "Here is the plan!"
- "FIX your thoughts on Jesus!"
- HE is the apostle.....the One sent from God.
- HE is your high priest who has gone through everything that is causing you pain.......only He does more than sympathize, this priest has the power to deliver you and set you free......to give you His joy in the middle of difficulty.
- SET your mind on Jesus.
- MEDITATE on Jesus. Don't just read about Him in the Word. Meditate on passages of scripture that describe your Jesus.......allow the revelation of Him to sink into your inner man.
- FIX your confidence on the One that we confess as Lord.
- LET'S face it, what your spiritual eyes see will make a vast difference to how you live.
* In II Kings 6 the enraged king of Aram sent horses and chariots to capture Elisha....because God was using him to thwart the kings plans to destroy Israel.
* So they arrive by night and completely surround the city of Dothan, where Elisha and his servant were staying.
* The servant was the first one up that morning, and when he opened the drapes his eyes saw the enemy. He came running in to wake up the prophet Elisha. He cried "O, my lord, what shall we do?" (A discouraged man).
* Elisha said, "Don't be afraid."
* Don't be afraid? Can't Elisha see the trouble he was in?
* NO! Elisha's eyes were seeing something entirely different than his servant.
* In verse 17 Elisha prays for his servant, "Lord open his eyes so he can see."
* And when the Lord corrects the servant's vision, he looks through the same window again....only this time verse 17 says that "he saw the hills full of horses and chariots of fire all around Elisha."
- THAT would change your whole perspective, wouldn't it?
- FIX your thoughts on Jesus.
- WE fix out thoughts on so many things nowadays.....even good things....but that is not what God says will bring us through.
- FIXING your thoughts on Jesus is God's plan, His blueprint for your life.
iii. our builder
- WELL, what is it that we are going to discover, fixing our thoughts on Jesus, that is going to change our confidence.....and dispel discouragement?
- VERSES 2-4 tell us.
"He was faithful to the one who appointed him, just as Moses was faithful in all God's house. Jesus has been found worthy of greater honor than Moses, just as the builder of a house has greater honor than the house itself. For every house is built by someone, but God is the builder of everything."
- HERE is what we find as we fix our thoughts on Jesus.........He is the faithful builder of our lives.
- HE has given us the plans......and He is the builder.
- THE writer compares His faithfulness in our lives to the faithfulness of Moses amongst God's people.
* Moses turned down the chance to be known as the son of Pharaoh's daughter.......choosing to suffer with his people instead.
* By faith he left the security of Egypt.......scorning the wrath of Pharaoh..... for a land he had never seen.
* By faith he led Israel across the Red Sea.
* Watch him climb up the mountain to talk with God.
* And when he came down and God was ready to wipe Israel out because of their idolatry, it was Moses who cried, "No Lord, remember your covenant with Abraham, Isaac and Jacob."
* He was some special kind of a man.
* After more rebellion, when the Lord wanted to wipe our Israel again, and start over with Moses......he said "No Lord, remember your covenant.....don't start something new with me."
- HOW faithful a servant Moses was!
- BUT how much more faithful is the Son!
- HE is not just faithful in God's house, He is the builder of God's house!
* Listen to Him speak.....the words of authority that He hears from the Father.
* See the compassion with which He moves amongst the people and heals their diseases.
* Hear Him pray in Gethsemane, "Nevertheless, not my will but Thy will be done."
* Watch Him on the cross, as He paves the way for all mankind to be delivered from the bondage and slavery of sin.
* Step into the tomb and hear the angels say, "He is not here, He is risen!"
* See Him ascended and seated in majesty at the right hand of the Father......interceding for each one of us.....and pouring out the Holy Spirit in baptizing power.
* See, with John, the day when men and women from every tribe and every nation gather, ten thousand times then thousand around the throne, and hear them sing....."Hallelujah! For our Lord God Almighty reigns. Let us rejoice and be glad and give Him glory."
- THIS is our faithful builder.
* He will not forsake you.
* He will never forget you.
* He will not give up on you.
* He has proven Himself to be faithful and He will be faithful still.
- SO don't lose your confidence.
- DON'T quit! Look who is building you!
- FIX your thoughts on your faithful builder.
iv. our house
- "THOSE are great thoughts", you say, "Pastor, but I just can't hold on. It is too tough. You don't understand."
- WELL, the writer of Hebrews says that we MUST hold on because that is the only way that we will remain God's house.
- VERSES 5&6 say,
"Moses was faithful as a servant in all God's house, testifying to what would be said in the future. But Christ is faithful as a son over God's house. And we are his house, if we hold on to our courage and the hope of which we boast."
- IN John 8:31, Jesus put it this way,
"If you hold to My teaching, you are really My disciples."
- YOU are God's house. He took up residence in your life when you were born again.
- PETER says that you are "living stones, being built into a spiritual house."
- THE writer of Hebrews says, "We are His house!"
* IF WE HOLD ONTO OUR COURAGE.
* IF WE HOLD ONTO THE HOPE OF WHICH WE BOAST.
- YOU are IN.......if you hold on.
- THIS is not the time for giving up....it's time for holding on.
- DON'T quit now! Fix your thoughts on Jesus......He is the faithful builder over God's house....who will bring you safely through.
- REMEMBER THE PLAN......it is fixing your thoughts on Jesus.
- REMEMBER THE BUILDER....it is the faithful apostle and priest...worthy of greater honor than Moses.
- REMEMBER THE HOUSE.....and you are the house IF you hold on.
THERE'S NO ONE LIKE JESUS