“Now Moses was faithful in all God’s house as a servant, to testify to the things that were to be spoken later, but Christ is faithful over God’s house as a son. And we are his house, if indeed we hold fast our confidence and our boasting in our hope.” – Hebrews 3:5-6 (ESV)
There are many pictures in the Bible to represent our relation to our God and also to His Son our Savior. The phrase “we are His house” uses the word ‘house’ in a way similar to ruling aristocratic houses. A close example: Queen Elizabeth II is in the line of The House of Windsor. Our verse today paints a mental picture of a household – of a family. It says that we are God’s house. This doesn’t mean a physical building. It includes the people who have been born spiritually into God’s family. It is also a picture of a household in which a father placed his son in charge of things. We are God’s house, adopted as full sons and daughters into His family, and His Son Jesus Christ is in charge. Let’s not forget that Jesus is watching over us, praying for us, mindful of our needs and meeting our needs each day. This is the way it really is, let’s rejoice in the knowledge that we are a part of this family and this household today. Let’s hold firmly to our confidence in that hope of the glory of God.
“Now the God of peace, who brought up from the dead the great Shepherd of the sheep through the blood of the eternal covenant, even Jesus our Lord, equip you in every good thing to do His will, working in us that which is pleasing in His sight, through Jesus Christ, to whom be the glory forever and ever. Amen.” Hebrews 13:20-21 (NASB)
The selected verses for today’s promises are so often used as a benediction they may be familiar to some. They are packed with so much we will highlight just a few. Does it sometimes seem difficult to live the Christian Life in such a way that we will please God? The very long sentence begins with six words of the statement and then at the ending promise. We learn that it is the God of peace who raised Christ – our great Shepherd – from the dead. The power to do that is the power we have to live a life pleasing to God. We cannot and shouldn’t try to live such a life by our own effort. We will never make it on our own. We do not have the ability. God knows that we do not possess what we need within ourselves. God doesn’t expect it of us so He equips us with what we need. Our God makes us complete and He wants us to recognize that He will bring the changes in our lives to live godly lives. This is a promise and the result brings glory to God – it’s our reason for our existence.
“For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but one who in every respect has been tempted as we are, yet without sin. Let us then with confidence draw near to the throne of grace, that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need.” – Hebrews 4:15-16 (ESV)
As we look at the promises in today’s passage, let’s glance back just a bit at our promises from yesterday and remember our sleeping savior. On the stormy sea, the disciples were fearing for their lives. Experienced fishermen had to have been in storms before so to frighten them this had to be a really serious storm. Jesus needed sleep, he finds a cushion for comfort and goes to sleep unbothered by the storm. The very fact that Jesus needed to sleep reveals that He had a real human body that knew the feelings of fatigue and thirst and hunger. Hebrews tells us our high priest, is able to sympathize with human weaknesses. If Jesus had not known the weaknesses and temptations of humanity, He would not be a sympathetic High Priest, capable of offering us mercy and grace from the heavenly throne. But He does know our weaknesses because His experienced weaknesses too. He knew the pain of rejection: “He came to his own, and his own people did not receive him” (John 1:11) There’s no pain or insult we might know that Christ hasn’t had—and because He knows such struggles, He invites us to come to Him.
“Keep your life free from love of money, and be content with what you have, for he has said, “I will never leave you nor forsake you.” ” – Hebrews 13:5 (ESV)
The author of Hebrews drew this promise from God’s words in Deuteronomy 31:6 or Joshua 1:5. Charles Spurgeon, preached to thousands in England in the 19th Century. He wrote something similar to this*. “Have courage to believe, for God has said, “I will never leave you, nor forsake you.” In this promise, God gives to his people, faith believers, everything. “The LORD who is I AM promises us. Then no attribute of God can cease to be engaged for us. Is He mighty? He will show himself strong on the behalf of them that trust him. Is He love? Then with lovingkindness God will have mercy upon us. Whatever attributes may compose the character of God, every one of them to its fullest extent will be engaged on our side. We can trust that there is nothing we can want, there is nothing we can ask for, there is nothing we can need in time or in eternity, there is nothing living, nothing dying, there is nothing in this world, nothing in the next world, there is nothing now, nothing on resurrection-morning, nothing in heaven which is not included in this promise—“I will never leave thee, nor forsake thee.”
*C. H. Spurgeon, Morning and Evening: Daily Readings, (London: Passmore & Alabaster, 1896).
“So there remains a Sabbath rest for the people of God. For the one who has entered His rest has himself also rested from his works, as God did from His.” Hebrews 4:9-10 (NASB)
Resting is trusting in the midst of trials and testing. It’s well for us to be aware of the benefits Christian faith which God gives us to experience. In these days as attacks on our faith by the enemy grow more and more overt, we can find a promise of rest in today’s verse. This concept of resting began a long time ago. God rested after the creation of the universe. In the Old Testament God wanted His people to rest on His promise to take care of them. They often disappointed Him by trying to work things out their own way. God is still eager for us to rest upon His promises. We rest on His promise to give us eternal life when we believed on Jesus as our Savior. He wants us to know that our ultimate promised rest is not realized fully during this life on Earth. That rest is ours today and it will be fully realized in the Messiah’s Kingdom. Now we hold an earnest of the promise. Instead of worrying about things, let’s rest on God goodness and love today and remember the promise that has been given to each of us.
“Therefore do not throw away your confidence, which has a great reward. For you have need of endurance, so that when you have done the will of God you may receive what is promised.” Hebrews 10:35-36 (ESV)
The promises God has made us and blessings He’s given us in these promises will never fail. We are reminded in today’s verses that we need to continue to believe and have faith in what God has promised. Hold on to our confidence in the face of whatever God allows to be put in our path of our lives. Due to persecutions, the recipients of this letter to the Hebrews were tempted to run away from their outward identification with Christ and Christians and to apostatize. His promise in the Bible is that He gives us the confidence and the endurance we need each day. It is His will for us to not lose the reward He’s promised. Each day we come closer than ever to our promised eternal reward. It’s no time to turn back. We don’t receive the great reward through our own effort of being good enough but by trusting each day in what God has promised. Our promise today is that we will receive what is promised by doing the will of God — which is to trust in Christ fully by living daily in the will of the Father.
“Since therefore the children share in flesh and blood, he himself likewise partook of the same things, that through death he might destroy the one who has the power of death, that is, the devil, and deliver all those who through fear of death were subject to lifelong slavery.” – Hebrews 2:14-15 (ESV)
What do we fear the most in our lives? There is no need because there really is for us a state of NO Fear! However, most people have a certain level of fear of death. Maybe for no other reason than the fact that we don’t know exactly what’s next. We who by faith believe because of the gift of God can rest with assurance that God will fulfill the promises regarding our life with Him after we die. But that doesn’t always come without questions and even doubts. For the believer, “death is swallowed up in victory,” (1 Corinthians 15:54). What Jesus Christ did as the Founder of Salvation, was to bring an end to the fear of death and its spiritual bondage. That’s a promise we can trust and which can change our lives. This is the ultimate purpose of the incarnation: Jesus came to earth to die. By dying, He was able to conquer death in His resurrection (John 14:19). By conquering death, He rendered Satan powerless against all who are saved. Are you saved by grace through faith that God has given to you? Your death holds no mysteries that cause you to fear.
“Through Him then, let us continually offer up a sacrifice of praise to God, that is, the fruit of lips that give thanks to His name. And do not neglect doing good and sharing, for with such sacrifices God is pleased.” – Hebrews 13:15-16 (NASB)
During the days of observing Christ’s birth which we call Christmas we hear about the angels who sang praises to God when Jesus was born. It was a multitude of angels (we don’t know exactly how many but Revelation 5:11 suggests that the number of the angelic host may be too large for the human mind to fathom.). We know that angels do sing praises to God in heaven and the Bible urges us to sing His praises too. That is the message of our verse today. The reason the angels keep singing praises to God is because they know how great and wonderful He is. The more we know about our Lord, the more we will want to praise Him. Let’s be watchful during these days of activity before Christmas that we do not let the lights and the beauty of decorations and the crush of commercialism distract us and cause us to forget God’s greatness and His love for us. As we sing carols let’s be sure to remember to really pour out praise to our God with all our hearts. Let’s make it a time of truly praising and thanking God.
“For consider Him who has endured such hostility by sinners against Himself, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart.” Hebrews 12:3 (NASB)
Our verse today follows two other very strong verses for a Christian’s life. The admonish us to fix our eyes on Jesus because He is the author and the perfecter of faith. He gives to us that faith and that faith is what saves us. Jesus did all things required in the Law without sin and was killed because of that. Jesus is the supreme example of willingness to suffer in obedience to God. He faced “hostility” and endured even the cruel cross. The same opposition is faced by all who follow Him. These words were written to encourage Christians when they are tempted to give up. Sometimes we may be tempted to think that it is not worth all the trouble involved in following close to the Lord Jesus. Then we should remember that Jesus came to earth to do his Father’s will and He encountered a lot of suffering. Believers’ pressures, exhaustion, and persecutions are as nothing compared to Christ’s. He endured it all for us, in order to receive the joy that was set before Him. We too are promised that same joy with Jesus in heaven. Let’s fix our eyes on Him today.
“God, after He spoke long ago to the fathers in the prophets in many portions and in many ways, in these last days has spoken to us in His Son, whom He appointed heir of all things, through whom also He made the world.” – Hebrews 1:1–2 (NASB)
The promises we consider each day come from the Word of God and are God’s inspired words. The Bible is trustworthy as the God’s word to us. While the literary form and style of the Bible varies as it was scribed by different people, it was and is always God’s revelation of what He wanted us to know. The Old Testament was written over a span of as many as 1,800 years.* Many portions: there are 39 different books during different historical times, locations, cultures, and situations. Many ways: included visions, symbols, and parables using both poetry and prose styles. Last days: Jews in the first century understood the reference to “last days” to mean the time when Messiah (Christ) would come. The messianic prophecies fulfillment began with the arrival of the Messiah in Bethlehem and was revealed by Jesus during his ministry on the earth. Since then, that is since He came until this day, it has been the “last days.” God’s message of redemption was spoken through the Messiah, His Son who is heir of all things. So, everything that exists will eventually come under the control of the Son of God.
*(from Job to Nehemiah, circa 2200 – 400 B.C.)