The New Life Mission

Sermons

Subject 23 : The Epistle to the HEBREWS

[Chapter 3-1] (Hebrews 3:1-4) Ruminate That You Have Been Saved Thanks to The Lord’s Faithfulness

(Hebrews 3:1-4)
“Therefore, holy brethren, partakers of the heavenly calling, consider the Apostle and High Priest of our confession, Christ Jesus, who was faithful to Him who appointed Him, as Moses also was faithful in all His house. For this One has been counted worthy of more glory than Moses, inasmuch as He who built the house has more honor than the house. For every house is built by someone, but He who built all things is God.”
 
 
Our God said in Hebrews chapter 3, “Therefore, holy brethren, partakers of the heavenly calling, consider the Apostle and High Priest of our confession, Christ Jesus.” If you were drowning helplessly, and someone came along and saved you just in time, you would obviously be extremely grateful to that person for saving your life. Likewise, you would not forget those who helped you in your times of struggles but always remember them and be grateful to them. In a similar vein, all of us ought to ruminate on Jesus, who is our Apostle and our High Priest. As you and I know very well that the Lord has saved us from the destruction that we were facing for our sins, we cannot help but ruminate on the grace of this Lord. When we think about the grace of our Lord, we can see just how faithfully our Lord has fulfilled His work of salvation in complete obedience to the will of God the Father. As we consider how the Lord has saved us from all our sins, we are once again reminded just how grateful we all are.
Hebrews 3:2 says that our Lord “was faithful to Him who appointed Him, as Moses also was faithful in all His house.” This passage teaches us that Jesus Christ was faithful to the will of God the Father. Having appointed His Son as the High Priest of the Kingdom of Heaven, God the Father demanded His Son to be faithful to His duty. Jesus, in turn, fulfilled His ministry as the High Priest to save us sinners from all our sins and enable us to enter the Kingdom of Heaven, and the Bible says here in today’s Scripture reading that the Lord was faithful to this duty as Moses was faithful in all the House of God. As we all know, Moses was a remarkably faithful servant of God. He served God with exceptional devotion. Likewise, even though Jesus was the Son of God, He was also faithful to the will of God the Father as Moses was. That’s why the Bible admonishes us to consider Jesus Christ carefully here.
 
 
Jesus Labored to Blot out All Our Sins as the Master of the Entire Universe
 
The key passage in today’s Scripture reading that we should all bear in mind is Hebrews 3:3-4. Even though Jesus Christ is the Creator who made the whole universe and all its hosts, He fulfilled His duties faithfully in obedience to the will of God His Father. He was so obedient to the will of God the Father that He even laid down His life to deliver us from all the sins of the world and become our Savior. When we look at what the Lord has done for us, we can see that He obeyed the will of God the Father who appointed Him so completely that He not only came to this earth incarnated in the flesh of man, but He also bore all our sins by being baptized by John the Baptist and even laid down His own life. This is something no weak creature like us could have ever done. We all know just how hard it is for us to risk our lives to fulfill our ministry. Yet, even though the Lord is far more precious than anything in the whole universe as the Maker of this world, He still obeyed the will of God the Father faithfully, and through this obedience He has saved us from all our sins. It’s for this reason that the Bible admonishes us the saved to ruminate on Jesus Christ who saved us.
The Lord lived on this earth for 33 years and saved us from all our sins by laying down His life. This shows us what a remarkable ministry He fulfilled. If you and I were entrusted with such a ministry of the Lord, would we be able to fulfill it? No, we could never carry out this ministry, for we are not God. As mere creatures, it’s impossible for us to save even ourselves. Only the Lord could save the entire human race once and for all. As our Master and our Savior, the Lord laid down even His own life in order to save us His creatures from all our sins. It’s by obeying the will of His Father that the Lord has saved us. And it’s because He fulfilled this work of salvation faithfully that we are so grateful to Him.
It’s written in Hebrews 3:3-4: “For this One has been counted worthy of more glory than Moses, inasmuch as He who built the house has more honor than the house. For every house is built by someone, but He who built all things is God.” As this passage says, Jesus Christ the Creator of all things is God Himself. Given the fact that Jesus is God Himself who is far more honorable than anything in this whole universe, how could this God be so obedient to the will of His Father that He saved us from all the sins of the world? How could He be so faithful to His Father that He laid down His own life to deliver us from all the sins of the world? These are some of the questions that come to our minds as we read this passage.
All this came about by the grace of God, but our first reaction is that of astonishment and utter gratefulness, for it’s so amazing that Jesus was faithful to the will of the Father even unto laying down His own life. So we can’t help but thank the Lord. In this world it’s nearly impossible to see any sons or daughters being so faithful to their parents that they would lay down their own lives. It’s much more common to hear about parents sacrificing themselves unconditionally for their children. These days are so evil that we sometimes hear about some despicable sons beating and even murdering their own parents who love them dearly. So, in this light, we can see just how difficult it is for any son to be so faithful to his father that he would even lay down his own life as the Lord did. It is indeed an exceptional feat.
It’s true that in the realm of faith, some martyrs could lay down their lives in obedience to the will of God. Even these martyrs could do this only because they were strengthened by God. In contrast, Jesus Christ is God Himself who created the whole universe and all its hosts, yet despite this He still sacrificed Himself in obedience to the will of God the Father to save us all. This is so astonishing to us that we can’t help but thank the Lord with all our hearts, for Jesus was so faithful to God the Father that He even laid down His own life to deliver us.
  
 
We Ought to Ruminate on the Grace of God until the Day We Go to the Kingdom of the Lord
 
How about us then? Are you, the saints and workers, carrying out God’s work faithfully even unto death? I am not suggesting here that you should literally lay down your lives, but I’m raising this question to ask if you really have such obedient hearts before God. Of course, if God gives us the strength, we could obey Him even unto death, but there are many among us who can’t do this. Some people even have left God’s Church to follow the world, while others have given up serving the gospel of the water and the Spirit, saying, “I don’t care about anyone else now that I myself have been saved.” So, to avoid this sorry outcome, it’s very important for all of us to consider carefully just how faithful Jesus was to His Father.
We need to ruminate even more deeply on how Jesus came to this earth as the Apostle sent by God the Father and saved us through the gospel Truth of the water and the Spirit. How hard did the Lord work to fulfill our salvation for us? How much suffering did He endure? How faithfully did the Lord fulfill His duties? Despite being God Himself deserving all glory, just how faithfully did Jesus obey the will of His Father to save us from all our sins and destruction? These are some of the questions that we ought to consider carefully before we set out to follow the Lord.
Since our Lord is our God and Savior, it is all the more important for us to think about what He has done for us. It is written in today’s Scripture passage that every house is built by someone, but He who built all things is God, that is, Jesus Christ. Jesus Christ is the Creator who made all things, and He is the Savior who has delivered us from all our sins. Jesus Christ is God Himself, yet this God had come to this earth incarnated in the flesh of man in order to save us from all our sins. Moreover, God had not come to save just a few, but to deliver the entire human race from all its sins. When we think about this grace of God, we can all appreciate just how great His love is and how we ought to be all grateful for it.
 
 
How Could the Lord Forsake His Exalted Honor and Humble Himself to Save His People?
 
The Lord laid down His life and carried out His work of salvation for everyone, even including the very sinners standing against Him. Forsaking His divine status and honor, He humbled Himself to be as lowly as us humans to save us from all the sins of the world. Why did our Creator then save us even as He endured far more suffering and insult than any of His creatures have ever endured? Let’s consider this question carefully here.
There are many things in the realm of God that we can’t express with words. In the human world, it’s rare to see anyone who has the courage to willingly forsake his high social status and bring himself down to a lowly state for others. Yet Jesus did for us what is impossible for any human being to do, and when we think about how He has thus saved us from all the sins of the world, we feel overwhelmingly grateful. All of us ought to consider this deeply.
We should not be shallow-minded. What sacrifice did the Lord make to save us from all the sins of the world? Who really is Jesus who forsook His everything for us? All too often we think of the status of Jesus too lowly. We sometimes think of Him just as the Son of God. There are three Persons in God—God the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit—and Jesus Christ is the true God who created the whole universe and all things in it. It is this God who had come to this earth as the Savior of humanity. And He has saved us from all the sins of the world. Then, just how faithful was Jesus Christ? He was so faithful that when He came to this earth, He shouldered all the sins of the world, endured indescribable suffering, and sacrificed Himself for us; and for this, the Bible writes that God the Father has exalted Him above all things.
 
 
How about You Then? Do You Want to Lead a Life of Lukewarm Faith?
 
There are many brothers and sisters who have given up serving the Lord for whatever reason, saying, “Since I have been saved, I’ll just live as a layperson.” To such people, Jesus said in Hebrews 3:1, “Therefore, holy brethren, partakers of the heavenly calling, consider the Apostle and High Priest of our confession, Christ Jesus.” The word “Apostle” here means someone sent by God. It means, in other words, that the Son of God was sent by God the Father and fulfilled His ministry as our Savior.
On the other hand, the Bible says that we also are the apostles of Christ. An apostle of Christ is someone who preaches, “As the Lord was sent by God the Father, He faithfully fulfilled His work of salvation and saved us through the gospel of the water and the Spirit.” You should remember here that every apostle has the duty to preach this true gospel, saying, “It’s because Jesus has saved us by laying down His life that we could be delivered from all our sins.” We, too, have received the remission of sins on this earth by believing in the gospel of the water and the Spirit, and at the same time, we are also preaching this gospel. Put differently, we are also God’s apostles sent by Him. It is we who have been sent by God to preach the gospel of the water and the Spirit to all who still do not know it.
To give up this ministry is therefore extremely wicked. It’s not just a slight offence in God’s sight. As we have received the remission of sins by believing in the gospel of the water and the Spirit, God has given us faith and power. Yet despite this, if any of us is living just for the sake of his own flesh rather than preaching the gospel of the water and the Spirit, then this person is evil. It would have been better for such people not to be born in this world in the first place.
As we have been saved from all our sins and are now living out our faith, we are compelled to serve the gospel of the water and the Spirit. When we see our predecessors of faith running for the gospel to achieve what is pleasing to the Lord, we are also drawn into this race to run along with them.
However, while running our spiritual race, fleshly thoughts sometimes pop up in our minds, making us wonder in doubt, “Why am I living like this?” As a result, some of us may even end up turning into skeptics, willing to compromise with just about anyone. Those who are leading such a life are actually rejecting the very God who has saved them from all the sins of the world and appointed them as the witnesses of the gospel. They are disobeying the will of God, who has clearly told them to live for the gospel of the water and the Spirit and the righteousness of God until they stand before Him. What’s clear is that now that we have been saved from all our sins, all of us must serve the righteousness of the Lord regardless of how great or small our individual faith is, and this is the right life for each and every one of us. And this life is what God has set out for all of us.
 
 
Jesus Christ Was Sent to This Earth as the Apostle with the Ministry of the High Priest of the Kingdom of God
 
Jesus was born on this earth to save us from all the sins of the world; He bore all our sins once and for all by being baptized by John the Baptist; He laid down His life on the Cross; He rose from the dead again; and He thereby completed His work of salvation to deliver us all.
Then, if Jesus Christ had not worked faithfully like this, could any of us ever have been saved? Satan had tempted Jesus with all kinds of enticements, saying to Him, “If You will fall down and worship me; I will give all the glory on this earth. Turn this stone into bread and eat it. If You really are the Son of God, throw Yourself down the Temple. The angels will surely catch You.” But Jesus said to the Devil, “Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every Word proceeding from the mouth of God. Do not tempt God. Who does not know that the angels would catch Me if I jump off the Temple? Why are you then telling me to jump? Why are you tempting God?” With this answer Jesus defeated Satan.
Jesus came to this earth as our Savior incarnated in the flesh of man. As the High Priest of Heaven and the Apostle sent by God the Father, He fulfilled all His duties. He was completely faithful to His ministry. That is how the Lord has delivered us from our seat of condemnation, of weaknesses, and of utter hopelessness in which our souls could not help but be enslaved by the Devil under the oppression of sin. And that’s why you and I must ruminate on the righteousness of God deeply. We ought to ruminate on our Savior because that’s only fitting.
You and I are all defective beings full of countless shortcomings. However, no matter how insufficient we all are, since we believe in the righteousness of Jesus Christ, it is incumbent upon us to ruminate deeply on the Lord who has saved us from all the sins of the world, trust in Him, glorify Him, and faithfully carry out every task God has entrusted to us, just as Jesus Christ has saved us by coming to this earth, laying down His own life in obedience to the will of His Father and by faithfully fulfilling His ministry. Even though none of us is even remotely as faithful as Jesus Christ, at least our hearts ought to side with God. As Our Lord faithfully obeyed the will of God the Father, He has saved us from all our sins and judgment and made us God’s own people and workers. It’s true that we are all full of shortcomings even though we are carrying out God’s work. But given the fact that Jesus Christ has sent us to this world and commanded us to preach the gospel of the water and the Spirit, how could we not fulfill this duty? Just as Jesus Christ was faithfully obedient to the will of God the Father, so must we resolve ourselves to obey the will of the Lord faithfully.
 
 
We Ought to Follow Our Predecessors of Faith
 
When we look at our predecessors of faith, we see that they often endured suffering for preaching the gospel of the water and the Spirit. When we look at how our predecessors of faith such as the Apostle Paul and the saints of the Early Church served the Lord quietly with longsuffering despite facing so much suffering, we are compelled to thank the Lord for their example. Therefore, rather than being so preoccupied with our own desires, we ought to care about our fellow brothers and sisters, serve the gospel together with them, and strengthen one another in times of struggle. Examining our hearts’ faith to ensure that it has the right disposition, each of us must run the race of faith ceaselessly before the Lord. If we fail to run this race of faith, we, too, will end up falling into the world. If we live just for ourselves, we will perish both in body and spirit. Far from saving anyone else, we ourselves will face destruction.
Does this then mean that unless you serve the gospel, your salvation would be annulled? Yes, this is quite possible. John Calvin claimed that once saved always saved. Some Christians may ask, “Do you mean then Calvin was wrong?” Yes, he was wrong. Even the born-again can go to hell in the end. Now, you may wonder how such a thing could happen. But there is no reason why it can’t happen. There are more than enough possibilities. So many Bible passages clearly show us that such a thing will happen to unfaithful saints. Even among the righteous who have been born again through the gospel of the water and the Spirit, those who are not faithful to the righteous work of serving and preaching the gospel of the water and the Spirit, who fail to support the ministry of God’s gospel, and who do not unite their hearts with God’s Church and their predecessors of faith will be appointed their portions with the hypocrites (Matthew 24:51). Such people will be forsaken by the Lord, in other words. Jesus said in one of His parables that when a fisherman pulls in the net, he keeps only the good fish and throws away the bad. Like this, at the end of the age, the Lord will separate the wicked from among the just, and cast them into hell (Matthew 13:49-50). Who are the wicked among the righteous? They are those who believe in the gospel of the water and the Spirit but do not serve it voluntarily being drowned in their own fleshly desires. Such a saint will be appointed his portion with the hypocrites and forsaken by God if he stands against God’s Church and gives up serving the gospel.
Some of you may know General Naaman who appears in 2 Kings Chapter 5. General Naaman was healed from his leprosy when he met Elisha and dipped his body in the Jordan River seven times just as the servant of God had said. This is the power of the gospel of the water and the Spirit. The very fact that Naaman was completely healed from leprosy by dipping his body seven times in the Jordan River illustrates the power of the gospel the water and the Spirit that we believe in now. The Bible says that when Naaman believed in what the servant of God had said and did as he was instructed, his leprosy was healed. But what did he do afterwards? Even though he took a chariot full of the earth of Israel to his home country, he ended up worshipping the gods that his king was worshipping. And with this act of idolatry Naaman went astray from the Lord right away.
For another example, consider the Ethiopian eunuch in charge of the treasury whose encounter with Deacon Philip is described in Acts chapter 8. This man had come to Israel to worship God, and on his way back home, he had met Philip and thanks to him realized the Truth of salvation. This eunuch was so grateful for his salvation that he asked to be baptized right away whilst travelling on the road, saying to Philip, “See, here is water. What hinders me from being baptized?” (Acts 8:36) He was baptized as a sign of his faith, to indicate that he now believed in the gospel of the water and the Spirit. When we are baptized in the name of the Triune God, we are confessing and testifying our faith to let everyone know that we really believe in the gospel of the water and the Spirit. But what did the eunuch do afterwards? He did not obey God even though he should have served the will of the Lord in unity with God’s Church. He simply disappeared from the Biblical account once he returned home. There is no record of what he did afterwards in the Scriptures. What does this imply then? It implies that the eunuch ultimately perished despite tasting of God’s grace.
You and I have been sent to this earth as the apostles. God told all of us to consider Jesus deeply. If you really believe in the gospel of the water and the Spirit, then at least you should live the rest of your life for the preaching of the gospel. Even though we are all weak in our flesh, as long as we are abiding in the realm of this genuine gospel, it is most fitting for us to be faithful to the Lord. It’s precisely for this reason that today we are sharing the Word of God admonishing us to ruminate deeply on Jesus, who is God’s Apostle and our everlasting High Priest.
Jesus is the High Priest of the Kingdom of Heaven. He has saved all of us who believe in the gospel of the water and the Spirit from all the sins of the world, not by offering the blood of any earthly animal, but by personally bearing all our sins on His own body and laying down His life on the Cross in our place. This is such an amazing achievement. Thanks to this work of salvation He has achieved, whoever now believes in the righteousness of Jesus can now enter the Kingdom of Heaven and receive everlasting life.
It’s written in Psalm 19:1-2:
“The heavens declare the glory of God;
And the firmament shows His handiwork.
Day unto day utters speech,
And night unto night reveals knowledge.”
What is God saying to us here? He is telling us that we ought to fulfill our duties in our lives as the righteous. Everything in nature, from the stars to the winds and the rivers, all reveals what God is saying to us. Natural disasters remind us just how terrifying God’s judgment is and they show us that all can be destroyed suddenly on any given day. On the other hand, the wondrous beauty of nature reveals just how beautiful and marvelous this God-given dominion is. When we see death, death in itself shows us how wonderful it is to have everlasting life, while when we look at the natural beauty that surrounds us, we can realize just how beautiful God’s world really is. In short, everything in nature reveals the knowledge of God to us, just as the Bible says:
“The heavens declare the glory of God;
And the firmament shows His handiwork.
Day unto day utters speech,
And night unto night reveals knowledge” (Psalm 19:1-2).
 
 
We Must Fulfill Our Duties by Faith
 
There is no one in this world who is not struggling with life. I am not saying this to suggest that you are somehow not laboring for God’s work. Rather, I’m pointing out that no matter how much you might be struggling, once you have been entrusted with the Lord’s work, you have the duty to carry it out faithfully just like Jesus Christ and Moses. Slaves work because they have no choice, and even the master’s sons rarely work faithfully in obedience to the will of their father. But Jesus worked faithfully. And since Jesus has placed us in this world for a great cause, we ought to be faithful to Him in our lives. Indeed, once we take up God’s work, we must unite our hearts together to carry it out flawlessly.
We can follow the Lord only if we obey the will of God our Father in serving the gospel of the water and the Spirit. Otherwise we can never follow the Lord. If we are straddling the fence with one foot in the world and the other foot in God’s work, then we can never be faithful to the Kingdom of Heaven. Far from it, we will be hated by both the world and God. We need approval from at least one side to be happy in our lives. Of course, I am not suggesting here that you should seek the approval of the world. On the contrary, God said clearly that those who are commended by everyone will be cursed. It’s actually a serious sin for our saints to be approved by the people of the world and praised for being so nice. Why? This is because it can only mean that such saints are acting in a way that is pleasing to worldly people. Those who are approved by God, on the other hand, are hated by the world, but they are praised by the Church and the Lord.
Today’s Christian leaders say that they should be the salt of the world, and this means that they ought to be indispensable to the world. Such leaders encourage their followers to dispense charity to the needy so that people of the world may praise their virtuous deeds and become believers. Does this Bible passage say so? It does not mean that we should seek the approval of the world. What the world needs so desperately is not charity but someone who serves and preaches the gospel of the water and the Spirit. Anyone can donate money to a charity, even if it’s a large sum of money. This is not what’s really important, anyone can do this, but what’s absolutely indispensable to this world is someone who serves the gospel of the water and the Spirit faithfully. Just as without salt no preserved food can last, unless we the righteous preach the gospel of the water and the Spirit, this world will rot away.
You and I must listen attentively to the Word of the water and the Spirit that God is saying to us, believe in it with all our hearts, and practice it by faith. We must resolve our hearts to trust in the Lord and live out our faith before God. If we fall only into worldly affairs, it’s only natural that we would not do God’s work. But it’s actually very hard on us once we fall into the world and fail to carry out God’s work like this. For the righteous, it’s far more difficult to devote ourselves to the worldly affairs than doing the Lord’s work. Some of our saints are also working in this world to make a living, and we all know just how tough it is. Like this, trying to make a living in this world is so tough that one can barely make ends meet. I’m saying this because our hearts are shaken all too often even while abiding in God’s Church.
Even out in the world, one has to work very hard and diligently to be approved, and this is also true in God’s Church, one must serve the gospel faithfully for the will of God to be fulfilled. Given this, it’s obviously far better for you to stand on the right side. If you stand on the right side, you will not only be blessed, but your future will also be guaranteed and you will prosper in all things.
If however, you stand in the wrong line, then everything will be ruined. Since you have to choose between one of the two lines, you ought to stand in the line of blessings. The Bible says that everyone born in this world is appointed to die once, and then face judgment. You were already born on this earth; therefore you might as well stand in the right line. Even after believing in the gospel of the water and the Spirit, you have to make sure that you are standing in the right line. You yourself have to decide whether you will stand in the wrong line to oppose the gospel of the water and the Spirit and follow the world, or in right line to set your heart on the gospel of the water and the Spirit alone and devote all your time and effort to it regardless of your shortcomings. I am sure that you are leaning towards either one of these two lines, even if not by a hundred percent. It’s absolutely critical for you and me to stand in the right line. If we stand in the wrong line, we will be ruined without even realizing it. The right choice to make is therefore very obvious: We ought to stand in the spiritual line to unite our hearts with God’s Church and dedicate ourselves to His work.
We also need to examine ourselves to see if we have really stood at God’s side and faithfully carried out the work that Jesus Christ has entrusted to us. Indeed, every Christian ought to ruminate deeply on Jesus’ righteous life. Going beyond just thinking of Jesus as our Savior vaguely, we ought to appreciate in concrete terms just how much suffering Jesus Christ endured in order to save us from all our sins. Just how faithfully did Jesus obey the will of His Father? How well did He fulfill His duties as the Apostle? As the disciples of this Savior, and as the saints who believe in the Lord and as His workers, how faithfully are we carrying out the tasks that have been entrusted to us? Are we standing in the right line? Which line should we choose to lead an upright life? These are some of the key questions that all of us ought to consider carefully. And this is what today’s Scripture reading is teaching us is.
The Bible says that every house is built by someone, and He who built the house has more honor than the house itself. It is Jesus Christ who built all things, and He is indeed our glorious Savior. Today’s Scripture passage admonishes us to ruminate on Jesus deeply because He is the Master and Creator of all things. And He is our Savior. Despite His unsurpassed honor as God Himself and the Son of God, Jesus still obeyed the will of His Father and labored hard to blot out all the sins of the world. He has thereby saved us perfectly. He is indeed glorious.
Although you and I have been faithful to God’s work to this day, from time to time we may still face various adverse circumstances in which our hearts are shaken by being indulged in worldly lusts, or weakened as the result of this. In times like this, we must ruminate on Jesus Christ deeply, remember His faithfulness, renew our strength with such reminders, and fortify our hearts to live by faith.
By ourselves we cannot hold our hearts steadfastly. If we abide in God’s Church, loyally, the Church will hold our hearts steadfast so that we may all live an upright life. All of us can rule over our hearts if we live for the spreading of the gospel of the water and the Spirit and serve the righteousness of the Lord in unity with God’s Church. Even though each one of us is full of shortcomings, as long as we unite ourselves with God’s Church, we can all live by faith and lead a righteous life. But unless we are united with God’s Church, we cannot live righteously before the Lord, nor can we be faithful to Him in our lives. So I ask each and every one of us to unite yourself with the Church and live by trusting in the Lord.
May the Lord bless us all always!