Forward in Faith #5
Leader of the Final Exodus
We have looked at the Greatest Voice of God, the Greatest Messenger of God, the Greatest Man, and today at the Greatest Leader.
Fix your thoughts on Jesus …
Think about Jesus with me will you?
à Song – “Think about his love, think about his goodness, think about his grace that brought us through. For as high as the heavens above, so great is the measure of the Father’s love, great is the measure of our Father’s Love”
If you polled these Hebrews and asked, name the 5 Greatest Leaders in Jewish History … Their lists probably wouldn’t have been very diverse. In some order they would have included men like
Judas Maccabeus – who led them to freedom from Roman and Syrian domination in 160 B.C. – who experienced the miracle that today is celebrated in the Festival of Lights known Hanukkah
Hezekiah – led them to rebuild the walls of the city following their return from Exile
David – was undoubtedly the greatest King they ever knew in the history of Israel and the one that every other King was compared to. Every King either “walked in the steps of his father David” or “failed to walk in the steps of his father David”
Joshua – of course led them into the promised land, across the Jordan, began the submission of the Promised Land as he saw the walls of Jericho fall
But undoubtedly the top of their list would be
MOSES – he came from humble beginnings, born when all newborn males were under a death order by the Pharaoh to be killed. Hidden by his mother, revealed to Pharaoh’s daughter, raised in Pharaoh’s house, given the greatest opportunities and education. Then he killed an Egyptian soldier for atrocities committed against a Hebrew slave, he fled for his life into the desert. In the desert he met a sheepherder and his daughters, one of whom was his future wife. Most importantly he had a real and personal encounter with Yahweh, I AM who I AM, who had chosen the descendants of Abraham as his special people to be a light to the world of the wonderful love of God.
He returned to Egypt and became the vehicle by which God displayed his glory. He was used by God to lead his people from slavery and leaving Egypt with riches and freedom. God delivered his people from a last attack by the Egyptian army at the Red Sea. Moses raised his arms and God blew across that sea and parted it, drying the ground for his people to walk across and then closing the sea on their attackers. Then the Lord gave them the greatest thing they had ever known. God gave them his law and provision for dealing with sin through a sacrificial system by which God would allow temporary atonement to be made for iniquity.
Moses delivered the law to the people and led them to Canaan. The people were faithless and refused to follow God into the Promise, but instead to remain in the wilderness in fear and disobedience. But Moses led the people, faithfully, for 40 years of “wandering” in disbelief and ultimately in judgment. He led them until all the accountable adults had passed away and a new generation, ready to follow, was raised up. It was then, at 120 years of age, that Moses died, passing the baton of leadership on for Joshua to finish the journey into the promised land.
He was 40 years in Pharaoh’s house, 40 years in the desert being prepared, and 40 years leading God’s people toward the Promises of God …
Moses stood at the top of the mountain of the leaders of Jewish History. He was a great man, a faithful man, a respected man, an honored man, and worthy of honor received … but does he stand alone?
Read with me as we compare the greatest leader they had ever known … with the greatest leader who has or will ever be known.
We will refer to verses throughout this chapter this week and next week we will focus on the last 13 verses particularly … but as we begin let me Read 3:1-6
Who is our writer talking to?
He’s talking to Believers “who share in the heavenly calling” … as well as to Professing believers who perhaps have not truly trusted Christ
You know sometimes even as believers we take our gaze off Jesus. Our eyes wander, our affections wane.
When we first came to Jesus it was Jesus and Jesus alone.
We couldn’t get enough of him and his Word
But our gaze wanders
We turn toward what we had known before
We turn to some new teacher who is going to reveal more of Jesus to us.
Now there’s nothing wrong with a faithful and enthusiastic teacher.
But the even with the great teacher, our focus should be on Jesus.
So, my fellow partakers in the Heavenly Calling, …
Fix your thoughts on Jesus with me today
Refocus your gaze on the Author of our faith
Look longingly and lovingly at the rightful object of our affection.
The story goes that two men went to hear two famous preachers preach.
They left the first preacher who had masterfully preached the gospel, and on the way home, one asked the other, “what did you think?” And the other said “what a preacher, what a preacher.” And they both agreed.
The next week they saw the other famous preacher, again on the way home, the question, “what did you think?” And the reply this time was “what a Savior, what a Savior!”
And our text in the NIV says “FIX YOUR THOUGHTS on Jesus”
It is rendered in some translations
“Think Carefully about Jesus”
“Consider Attentively and Thoughtfully … Jesus”
Well let us fix our thoughts carefully as we consider Jesus …
The Apostle and High Priest we Confess
Apostolos – delegate, messenger, one sent forth with orders
Jesus Christ was sent FOR God, a delegate
Jesus Christ was sent WITH a Message, a messenger
Jesus was sent with ORDERS, BUILDING Instructions
Our Greatest Apostle, Jesus
And High Priest – now there will be time in the coming messages to examine Jesus as High Priest in greater detail
But the HIGH Priest was leader over all of the priesthood. He could do what any priest could do, but his primary duty happened once a year on the Day of Atonement, which was just last month, by the way. He would enter the Holy of Holies with the Blood of the Sacrifice to atone for ALL of the sins of the people for the previous year. Inside the Tabernacle, or the Temple was an inner room called the Holy of Holies. Inside the Holy of Holies was one thing, the Ark of the Covenant. ON the top of the Ark of the Covenant were two Angels on either side of a golden seat called the Mercy Seat. The priest would take the blood of the sacrifice it and sprinkle it on the mercy seat asking God to forgive the sins of the People. He was the ONLY priest that could complete that task and go behind the veil before the Mercy Seat of God and intercede for the people.
Jesus our Apostle, delegated by God, with the Message of God, with the Orders of God
Who alone can go before the Throne of God on behalf of us
But I think that perhaps these believers were allowing their gaze to drift so our writer Paul, Barnabas, Apollos, whoever he may be says … “ok, let’s compare the Great Moses … with Jesus”
Because we have Confessed JESUS
Confessed – meaning the one whom we profess to be OURS …
HE IS Supremely 3 things …
1st he Is Supremely
1. Faithful to the Lord’s House (vv1-6)
Moses was, without a doubt FAITHFUL to God’s House, that is, his People.
But sometimes he was treated like the BUILDER … but when in actuality he was just a member of the House.
He was definitely a father of Sorts
He delivered the Law to the People but he didn’t CREATE the Law
He delivered the Message
He was a Servant
But ultimately he was part of the House
And our Writer poses the question, “which is worthy of the greatest honor, the House or the Builder/Architect of the House?”
Obviously the builder is worthy of a greater honor. The house didn’t just happen it was designed and built by someone.
Folks we need to honor and care for this world, but this world didn’t just Happen it had a Creator and he is worthy of a greater honor. That is why those who reject God want to shove their views of Creation down our throats because they don’t want to honor the possibility, let alone the reality, of a Creator God to whom we are accountable to Honor
Every house is built by someone. And the Builder has greater honor than the house
Is Moses worthy of Honor? Of Course
1. Moses emptied himself of the pleasures and privilege of Pharaoh’s House. He acquainted himself with the sufferings of his people.
2. He served his people faithfully, leading them out of oppression, slavery, a society dominated by idols
3. He became the voice of God for the people
4. he delivered to them God’s Plan for a new order of things. He gave them the Law of God. He gave them the Sacrificial System from God to deal with their sin.
5. Moses served God’s People, the House of God. God Tabernacled among his people. They were his House. But Moses, also, had to follow the Law. Moses, also, had to take advantage of the sacrifices. Moses had sins too. God tabernacled with Moses as well …
6. Moses wasn’t building he was being built …
But Consider Jesus
1. Moses was worthy of honor but Jesus was worthy of a greater honor
2. Moses was a faithful servant, and so was Jesus, a faithful servant, but more than that, a faithful son OVER … God’s House. How was he over us? Moses was part of the house being Built, but Jesus was the BUILDER … kataskeuazo /kat-ask-yoo-ad-zo/ to furnish, equip, prepare, make ready, one who builds, constructs, with the idea of adorning and equipping with all things necessary
3. Jesus Christ is worthy of greater honor than Moses because Moses simply delivered what God provided, but Jesus provided what he delivered. He himself equips us, prepares us, makes us ready for God. He himself adorns us equipping us with all things necessary
Jesus was the fulfillment of the things that Moses promised
Jesus Christ was the substance of the shadow of the Law
Jesus was worthy of a Greater Honor Faithful over God’s House
2nd Jesus was supremely
2. Leading in the Midst of Rebellion (vv7-16)
Now we will look at these verses again next week but let’s pick a few things out of here in comparing these two leaders
1. stayed with them in the wilderness. V8 instructs us … do not harden your heart as they did in the rebellion during the time in the desert.
Moses was a faithful servant, he led them through the Red Sea, past their sin at Mt Sinai when they worshipped an idol. He gave them the law. He followed the Lord, leading them to the Land God had Promised.
But when they got there, they sent in spies, they found out it was filled with powerful people and they got scared and they wouldn’t follow the Lord. They walked by Sight not by Faith … But Moses, faithfully continued to lead. For forty years, during the period Judgment, Moses continued to lead faithfully
2. Moses kept leading them until the Promise came. – in the physical he kept leading them until the TIME of Promise came and time to enter the land then he turned over to Joshua (the Hebrew for Joshua is Yeshua) …
3. so Moses’ legacy, the Law, according to the letter to Galatians, was a tutor continuing to lead us until the time of Promise came and then the Law turned it over to Yeshua
Just as it was with Moses who served until the time of promise then passing to Joshua –
The name, “JESUS” is the English rendering of the Greek Iesous … Iesous is the Greek Rendering of the Hebrew Yeshua - the name Iesous and Joshua were the same name from Hebrew to the Greek …
So, Moses led faithfully even in Rebellion leading to the Promise those who would be willing to enter in …
1. But Jesus is an Even Greater Leader in the midst of Rebellion. While we were in Rebellion Jesus was there. While we were in unbelief Jesus was there.
2. While we weren’t following he was loving – God demonstrated his love in this while we were still sinners Christ died for us. Romans 5:8
3. While we weren’t following he was still leading – Do you show contempt for the riches of his kindness, tolerance and patience, not realizing that God’s kindness leads you toward repentance? Romans 2:4
Do you see it, that Moses led his people during their rebellion and then at the end at the time of the Promise he handed them over to Yeshua, Joshua
But God was leading us in the midst of Rebellion, Jesus Christ was Present in the sacrifices
Jesus Christ was Present in the Temple, the elements, the symbolism, the meaning, the purpose was leading a rebellious people
And when the time of Promise was fulfilled God’s tool, the Law passed it off to Yeshua ha Mashiyach – Jesus the Messiah
Long before you ever thought of Jesus, he was leading you to himself even in the midst of your rebellion.
Some of you went a long way before you got to Jesus didn’t you?
Some of you ran hard from Jesus didn’t you?
Some of you kept saying “No!”, kept hardening your heart
But he was leading you carefully, tenderly, back to himself.
The Supremely Faithful One, Builder of God’s House;
The Supreme One, Leading even in the Midst of our Rebellion;
And finally He is Supremely
3. Offering the Greatest Rest
1. Moses offered them the “Promise of God”. God called Canaan a Land flowing with “Milk and Honey”. All they had ever known was slavery. All they had ever known was being strangers in someone else’s land.
2. Moses offered them a great gift, a Promise, from God. But some wouldn’t enter the Rest because of Stubborn Disbelief – they died in their disbelief – does that mean that none of those in the wilderness went to Heaven? No, absolutely not. We confuse the temporal punishment of a loving father, i.e. the consequences of disobedience, with the keeping of the law. God took away from them the earthly blessing of the “Rest”, the Promised Land, because they failed to obey him and move in
3. But even in the “wilderness” there were still sacrifices, affording grace and mercy to those who believed and obeyed. Did everyone who went through the motions of sacrifice go to Heaven? I don’t think so. Cain and Able BOTH brought sacrifices to God but only Able’s was acceptable. It was about the attitude as well as the obedience
4. Moses offered the “rest” of law and it’s system of forbearance. But that “rest” was temporary. That “rest” required the constant renewal of the sacrifices. The “rest” was only as long as the law was kept.
5. Even the Physical “rest” that he led them to was also only temporary as their lives were temporary so living in the Promised Land was only for THIS Life.
But there is a Greater Rest Offered by
1. Hebrews 4:1 says “the offer still stands” – The Word of God Still Speaks, as our writer quotes from Psalm 95:7,8 “today if you hear his voice, don’t harden your hearts” – Jesus Christ offers us the Greatest Rest and if you don’t enter in you will have no one to blame but yourself. – v18 says to whom did God swear that they would never enter his rest if not to those who disobeyed? And v19 says so we see that they were not able to enter, because of their unbelief
3. the Physical Rest that Moses offered was temporary and for this life only. The address in the “land flowing with milk and honey” was wonderful but limited. But the Rest that Jesus offers is eternal. Jesus offers us rest from our sin, he offers us rest from our struggle for righteousness, One day he will offer us rest from the suffering of our physical existence he will wipe away ever tear from our eyes. There will be no more pain, there will be no more strife
4. the Rest that Moses offered from sin was temporary and only as good as the one who obeyed it and kept the provisions in the midst of sin. The sacrifices had to be offered over and over … But Consider JESUS! His rest is greater, his Exodus is higher, his hope is secure … once forgiven, we are forgiven. His forbearance is forever, there is a fullness to his grace none other can provide for us
Why would we go on trying to follow Moses when we consider Jesus
Why would we go on trying to be good when we consider Jesus
Why would we go on working for acceptance when we consider Jesus
And when we consider Jesus, when we fix our thoughts on Jesus, when I think of what Jesus has done, what Jesus has said, what Jesus has provided, when I think about the life we live, when I think about how hard it is to be what I believe God wants us to be …
Consider Jesus The Apostle, sent by God with a Message and building instructions
Consider Jesus the High Priest who has gone behind the veil presenting our Sacrifice to God
As my mind goes to Jesus
I hear Jesus saying
Come to me,
All you who are weary and burdened,
and I will give you rest
Take my yoke upon you and learn from me,
For I am gentle and humble in heart,
And you will find rest for your souls
For my yoke is easy and my burden is light
Come to Jesus
The Builder of the Greatest Life
Come to Jesus
The Loving one who has led you, even in rebellion to this moment of decision
Come to Jesus
The Only One who can offer you Rest that is Truly Rest
Come to Jesus