4. Jesus Christ's addres, you, TEMC, Jan 28, 07
God’s address; You.
TEMC, Jan 28, 07
Intro: There are places in life we go once and we decide we will go there again. I have been to places where I have been and want to return to some day. The experience was so good, I wanted to return. Other places are just the opposite. I go once and I don’t want to go again.
In our travels we have at times seen advertisings: “ So and so was here.” For some reason it makes a difference in how people think of a place or the interest they express in a place simply by who used to be there. I am a history fan, and in our travels through the states we once stopped at some caverns where Jesse James and his gang supposedly hung out. Those places tell some interesting stories. That is all history.
Personally I like to see places where famous people have been – to study what they did, and why. But again, that is all history.
What about now? Things, and places somehow tend to be valued by who was there, or who owned it. It is amazing the value that is attached to some things simply by who had it. I read that a piece of gum allegedly chewed by Britney Spears brought 250 dollars on ebay. Some of the stuff that goes on is just silly.
But there is a truth to it. Does something gain in value by who owned it? Or by who built it? Or by who lived there?
God too has made things, he owns things. Does it matter to us that God made us? Do we see ourselves in that light? God made us, he owns us for a specific purpose. And he wants us to live in a way that will bring him glory. That is his goal.
The end result of all that God wants to do in this world is to bring glory to himself through what he has created
1. Therefore fix your thoughts on Jesus.
Why? Review ch 2.
Because Everything will be subjected to Jesus Christ one day. It is in our best interest to follow the one who will win in the end. Good will prevail, and evil will lose.
Because Jesus became a humble man who went through the sufferings of life just like us, he was tempted like us.
Because Jesus was victorious and will one day rule the world.
To drive home a point, it is often helpful to use an illustration which the people will understand. The readers of this letter had high respect for Moses. They had grown up with his teachings, with the laws. When someone spoke to them of Moses, they all knew who was being talked about.
The point of using Moses as an illustration here is to point out to them the significance that Jesus carries. Moses deserves high regard – the people know that. Well, Jesus deserves more - because of the higher position that he holds.
Moses gave them the tabernacle, the place of worship and the laws. It was a complicated and rigorous system. It took a lot of knowledge, and energy just to keep up with that system of laws and rituals. But the laws didn’t save them. They only told them what God wanted from them. Salvation still had to come from God himself.
Jesus gave them what the laws pointed to. The laws pointed to God and what God wanted of them. Jesus came and in his grace gave them what the needed to meet what God required. The laws didn’t bring them back into a relationship with God. Jesus came and gave them that relationship as a gift to all who believed in him.
The laws gives us instructions what to do. Jesus gave us the Spirit to do it.
In light of what God performed through Jesus, we owe it to Christ to give him attention.
Many people today are more comfortable with a system that they have control over, where it is in their power to do certain things and if they do them, then they are good. It was a tempting thing for the Jewish Christians to go back to making rules and rituals the guideline under which they would serve Jesus. The problem with that was that they would then go back into the old ways, and it would not be salvation by faith anymore. It was a risk that they would go back to trying to earn God’s favour by their own works.
But the writer is telling that the law can’t save, that Jesus is greater than Moses, even though Moses was a faithful servant, he was not as great as Jesus was.
2. Jesus deserves more honour than Moses.
The writer is again pointing to Jesus as the better way. Moses was a good comparison to use to make Jesus all the more attractive.
Moses was faithful in all God’s house. What did Moses do? If we read in the book of Exodus, we find that Moses was given instructions by God to do many things. He was first told to set the people free from slavery from the king of Egypt. Then he was to build a meeting place for the people of Israel to meet God. And he was also to teach them the laws of God.
The earthly, physical tabernacle that Moses was told to build, was a very carefully designed and measured thing. There was the outside of the place, the walls. Exact descriptions are given how high, how long and of what kind of material the walls were to be made. I would encourage you to read Exodus 25-30. (read a few short passages to illustrate the detail) Read it and pay careful attention to the intricate detail given in how Moses was to make everything.
We may ask; why was it so important that God himself gave the exact material description, the exact measurements, the exact details in how EVERYTHING was to be carried out?
God is a God who leaves nothing to chance. He is in control of everything. The bible tells us that not even a sparrow falls to the ground without the Father knowing.
When God commanded Moses to get the people to build the tabernacle, God wanted to communicate something to the people. He was telling them something by what he was telling them to do.
Of all the commands, the sacrifices and all the laws they were given, they were to do mainly one thing – Communicate to the people that God is a God of glory, he deserves honour, and he deserves our respect.
The people were to give their very best, do their very best and focus on God when they built that place of worship and when the worshipped in that place.
The place was made of the most costly materials. No expense was spared. The people went all out with everything they had. The place was made of the best quality materials. No poor quality was allowed.
The things were made by skilled people – it had to look good too. God was not about to take second place when it came to what the wanted the people of Israel to remember him by.
Later in the life of the people of Israel, they had kings. The third king they had built a big temple in which to worship God. This time God didn’t specify the measurements or anything. But God still was honoured and worshipped in this place. When Solomon finished building the temple he said in I Kings 8:27 that the world and the heavens cannot contain God, how much less the temple that he had built. And yet for hundreds of years the Jews considered Jerusalem the place where God lived. It is not too difficult to see why they believed that. God had in the first place given them a material physical place where they should meet to worship him. Now they connected the place with God himself. And God has in the past and even today, used the physical material of this world to point us to him.
In the O.T. when God revealed himself to Moses and had him write the laws and build the tabernacle, God wanted to show the people what kind of a God he was.
The bible tells us that Jesus is God. Jesus tells us as much in various places in the bible.
If the builder of God’s house – the tabernacle with all of its laws and regulations, if that deserved so much attention, and so much detail, then how about the engineer of it all? The one who had the original idea? How much attention does he deserve?
Moses was a respected and revered prophet and rightly so. He was a man of God and deserved a high recognition. Now the writer tells us in the book of Hebrews, that as high as Moses was, a faithful servant in God’s house, Jesus surpasses that level.
And that is the difference between Moses and Jesus. Moses was a servant in God’s house. He only did what he was told to do. Jesus was the son. He was the one who gave the instructions on what should be done. Even though God had not come to earth as a human being, Moses was serving Jesus in a way because God and Jesus are one.
Here is where it gets interesting.
Imagine in heaven, God, Jesus and the Holy Spirit are talking. God says to his son Jesus. Son, now it is time for you to go to earth, to take on their humanity, to suffer the curse of sin with them – and for them, and to give your life for them. Then he turns to the Holy Spirit and says, after that, you will be us, living in them – just like I designed it in the first place.
I don’t know how God communicates among himself, the son and the Holy Spirit. But I do know that there is communication, and that they work together. The writer of the Hebrews tells us that we are God’s house.
Remember now the intricate detail, the expensive material and how exact God was in telling the people of Israel how to build him a place to worship – now we are that dwelling place.
In a number of places we find that we are the dwelling of the Holy Spirit. We are called the temple of God.
3. We are the true dwelling of God.
V 6. Christ is faithful over God’s house, and we are God’s house.
Any house that is ever built is not built for the sake of the house. Any house that is ever built is built for someone to occupy and live in. The tent of meeting, the tabernacle that Moses built was built as a meeting place where the people would meet with God.
Now in the N.T, We are God’s house for his son Jesus to live in.
What is Jesus trying to do in us, through us? Here is where it becomes a very challenging thing. We are God’s house, but we also have a choice to make in how we are going to allow Jesus to deal with God’s house.
You and I are Christ’s address. Think about that for a minute. Lets just let that sink in for a minute. Everything we do we are to do in the name of Jesus with thanksgiving. Imagine Jesus name on your social insurance card. Imagine his signature on your health card. Imagine his signature on your driver’s license.
When you do your tax return, would you want Jesus to sign his name to it? When you buy a car, would you want Jesus to sign the ownership? When you sign your marriage certificate, would you be comfortable with Jesus’ signature on it? When you go to work, would you be comfortable with Jesus signing off on your work?
Imagine doing something wrong, and you are investigated, they read your id, and see his signature on it. You might say – ‘no, never’, if this is to reflect off on Jesus, then I want to do it differently. If you carry the name of Christ, ask yourself, what kind of house is carrying his address?
I am not saying this to lay a guilt trip on us. I am saying this to encourage us to live up to our calling and not let Christ down in our lives. We owe it to him because we are his.
He has done for us so much more than we can understand. To save us would be one thing, but now he also wants a relationship with us – no, he wants even more – he just wants to possess us like a marriage partner possess a spouse. There is no closer relationship than the relationship of Jesus Christ. Not even in marriage. The only way a marriage could be closer would be if a person could create their own spouse.
We are HIS house. If we are his house, he is the owner. If he is the owner we are accountable to him how we keep his house. Lets keep God’s house in a way that honours him.
We are his house if we don’t let go, and if we hold on to our hope in him. I find it very encouraging to read about people and to see people who are remaining faithful and who have remained faithful.
The difference the early church made.
The early church was a very powerful instrument in making a difference in the world. It happened in two ways. The teaching of the apostles was a powerful message. Many people came under conviction under the teaching and preaching of the apostles. But there was another thing, that just gave it a lot more power. The messages that were preached and taught, were applied, lived out among the members of the early church.
On top of that yet, the lives of the people were not easy. The early church grew and expanded under severe trials and circumstances. It was in that setting that the book of Hebrews was written. There was the temptation to go back to the old ways. The writer is pointing out to the readers why they should continue to hold on.
I want to close with a story that pictures what it looks like when Jesus has taken up residence in a person’s life. This is a story about a woman named Deb.
Deb grew up in a comfortable home, attended private schools, toured Europe, and vacationed on Martha’s Vineyard. After high school, she attended Smith, an exclusive college for women near Boston. But if her childhood was synonymous with privilege, her adult life was not.
At forty-three, Deb, who was by now married with six children, began to experience numbness in her hands and feet. No medical explanation could be found. Not one to complain, she quietly bore the bothersome problem as it slowly worsened. Soon she began to grow weak and unsteady as well. “Mom can’t even help me zipper my jacket,” her son Tommy told a classmate. Nor was she able to lift a milk carton off the table without great effort, by clasping it with both hands. Still, she bravely insisted on fulfilling her motherly tasks.
Early in 1969 a lump was found in the back of Deb’s neck, and she was hospitalized. An emergency operation removed the tumor, but the surgery left her totally paralyzed below the neck. Almost completely helpless, she could communicate only with her eyes.
But where others saw a ruined body as the main outcome of her ordeal, Deb concentrated on the fact that her life had been spared. Adamant that she would learn to become fully functional again, she saw a physical therapist several times a week, and at home she strained daily to re-teach her muscles to do what she
wanted them to do. Part of it was her personality – she had always been a fighter – but there was also another incentive for regaining strength and mobility: she was expecting a child.
Six months after her operation, Deb gave birth to a boy. Miraculously, Mark was strong and healthy, despite all his mother had been through in the previous months. Deb, for her part, was too weak to care for him, or even to hold him for any length of time. But she did what little she could: by propping her arms up with pillows, she fed him by tipping his bottle toward him sideways.
When Mark was six weeks old, Deb entered a rehab program to re-learn the daily activities and skills she had taken for granted all her life, but could no longer perform: walking, writing, tying her shoes, buttoning her blouse, combing her hair, cracking an egg. Despite the tremendous efforts she made, her recovery was only partial: walking proved difficult, her hands shook so that her writing scrawled all over the page, and she remained extremely frail.
For the next several years Deb courageously fought her way back toward normalcy, one painful step after the next. Then, almost imperceptibly, she began to lose ground. Surgery was advised, and she underwent two operations, but neither helped in the long run. For the last five years of her life she was confined to a
reclining wheelchair, her body so weak that she could not support the weight of her own head and arms.
Even then, however, she refused to give up. Debilitated as she was physically, she remained mentally and spiritually alert. Refusing to play the part of a helpless invalid, she insisted instead on contributing something in return for the nursing care she received, and put in several hours a day – until a week before her death in 1982 – proofreading manuscripts for a local publishing house.
Coming from a large family and a close-knit community, Deb enjoyed a security and comfort that many do not have – especially nowadays, when loneliness, neglect, and poverty make untold numbers of the disabled and elderly feel that they are a burden, and the once unthinkable idea of a “right to die” has become an attractive, if morbid, dream for thousands of them.
But quite apart from everything that was done for Deb, there was her own attitude: her resilience in the face of infirmity, her awareness of others who didn’t have the care she received, and last but not least, her humble acceptance of her dependence on others – which did not come without struggle.
Deb’s view of her suffering is summed up in her reply to a well-meaning visitor who told her, near the end of her life, “If you ask Jesus, he can make you well again.”
“I know,” Deb said. “But he has given me something much more wonderful – my family, and the love of brothers and sisters.” At her memorial service, her neurosurgeon said that of all his thousands of patients, he felt most privileged to care for Deb. He always felt as if he was ministering to Christ, because Christ lived in her so visibly.
ebook - “Be Not Afraid” page 118 - 121
That for me – “ as if he was ministering to Christ” – that statement touched me. Do people feel like that when they are dealing with us?
Are people on pins and needles around me, or around you? Can people feel free and completely open and be receptive with us around? I want to encourage us to make that our goal. Lets live such lives that we truly are the house of Jesus Christ. Lets live so that people will be proud of us to be called their friends.
The letter the Hebrew Christians was written to point out to the readers that Jesus was better than anyone or anything that. In their struggles they were reminded of whom they belonged to, and who they should trust.
It is up to us to live up to our reputation of the calling we possess.