Consider Jesus

Date:
April 27, 2014
Text:
Hebrews 3:1 Therefore, holy brothers, you who share in a heavenly calling, consider Jesus, the apostle and high priest of our confession,

Intro

  1. How do we comply with the command to consider Jesus?
    1. Not by learning the command very well, but by doing it.
  2. Last week we focused on obeying this command by complying with what it says, considering Christ. This week, we will study the verse that led us to do that.
  3. May we always come to the scriptures for this reason, to be conformed to them, not only to know, but also to do and apply.
  4. What we want to be conformed unto in this verse is to become people whose eyes are fixed on Christ. That we think of him, know him consider him as always set before us. God grant that this sermon would be a means of that in our lives.

The text explained

Therefore

  1. The first word ties our verse with what came before. "Therefore"
  2. The author is building a case, a grand conclusion of how the Christian life is to be lived. Along the way he comes to intermediate conclusions that he would press on us and also use to further build this case. This is one such conclusion. Therefore, because of what has come before, consider Jesus, the apostle and high priest of our confession.
    1. What I mean by intermediate is this: this point is a conclusion based upon what comes before, but this conclusion is not the final conclusion, this conclusion will fit into the structure of the argument and other points and conclusions will be built on top of it, like all the points that have come before, until the author finally reaches his ultimate conclusion.
  3. As if to say; "seeing things are as I have shown,—namely, that Jesus Christ of whom I have been speaking unto you is so excellent and so highly exalted above all, and that he was humbled for a season for the benefit and advantage of his church,—it cannot but be your duty to consider him; that is, both what he is in himself, and what he is unto us."

Holy brothers

  1. Believers are all related one unto another in the nearest and strictest bond of an equal relation. They are all brethren,
  2. One Father, One elder brother, one Spirit, joint heirs with Christ,
  3. Ephesians 4:4–6 4There is one body and one Spirit—just as you were called to the one hope that belongs to your call— 5one Lord, one faith, one baptism, 6one God and Father of all, who is over all and through all and in all. ESV
  4. Of old, indeed, the Pagans spake proverbially of the Christians, “See how they love one another!” in a way of admiration. The contrary observation hath now prevailed, to the shame and stain of the profession of these latter days.
  5. How far it seems are we from those days. May it be different among us.
  6. We are called holy brethren. Holy both in our washdness, holy in our separatedness unto God's purposes
  7. Practical Point Many who read Hebrews conclude that it was written to unbelieving Hebrews. We can see plainly here that this is not true. Paul is not only writing this to his countrymen who might be considered his brothers by respect of their shared nationality but to his holy brothers, those who share in a heavenly calling, those who have been set apart by God and thus denominated holy. Those who have been washed with the blood of Christ and of whom he is confident that the things that pertain to salvation are theirs Heb 6:9.

Who share in a heavenly calling

  1. In the 2nd book of Pilgrim's progress Christiana living in the city of destruction receives a letter which is a summons to come and join her husband in heaven. And so she began her journey heavenward.
    1. This visitorSecret proceeded, and said, “Christiana, here is also a letter for thee, which I have brought from thy husband’s King.” So she took it, and opened it, but it smelt after the manner of the best perfumeSong 1:3. Also it was written in letters of gold. The contents of the letter were these, That the King would have her to do as did Christian her husband; for that was the way to come to his city, and to dwell in his presence with joy for ever. At this the good woman was quite overcome.
  2. We are the people who have been thus summoned. We have all received a summons from the King bidding us to come join him in heaven forever.
  3. No man comes unto a useful, saving knowledge of Jesus Christ in the gospel, but by virtue of such an effectual heavenly calling as this.
  4. To have received such an effectual calling is our great honor. And to be thus employed in our heavenly journey in answer to this call is our great privilege. God has called us from darkness into light. We are now heaven bound.
  5. The Jews, to whom this was written, had set their sights on an earthly calling forgetting this heavenly calling.
  6. Dear brothers and sisters. Remember your heavenly calling. Remember to set your sights on heavenly things where Jesus is, sitting at the right hand of God. Remember that we have here no lasting city Heb 13:14
    1. Philippians 3:20 20But our citizenship is in heaven, and from it we await a Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ, ESV

Consider Jesus

  1. From this privilege, he reminds them of their duty. Being partakers of this calling unto Christ, it must be their duty diligently to consider him

The Apostle and High Priest of our Confession

Apostle

  1. Jesus is called an apostle. And though this term is used of Jesus only here, the concept behind it is spread throughout the scriptures.
  2. An apostle is one sent, an ambassador, or a public messenger. And this is one of the characteristic notes of the Messiah. He is one sent of God upon his great errand unto the children of men
  3. Isaiah 48:16 16Draw near to me, hear this: from the beginning I have not spoken in secret, from the time it came to be I have been there.” And now the Lord GOD has sent me, and his Spirit. ESV
  4. Isaiah 61:1 1The Spirit of the Lord GOD is upon me, because the LORD has anointed me to bring good news to the poor; he has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim liberty to the captives, and the opening of the prison to those who are bound; ESV
  5. Isaiah 19:20 20It will be a sign and a witness to the LORD of hosts in the land of Egypt. When they cry to the LORD because of oppressors, he will send them a savior and defender, and deliver them. ESV
  6. And because God had promised from the foundation of the world thus to send him, this became a principal notation of him, “He whom God would send;” "The one who is to come"
  7. Matthew 11:3 3and said to him, “Are you the one who is to come, or shall we look for another?” ESV
  8. John 11:27 27She said to him, “Yes, Lord; I believe that you are the Christ, the Son of God, who is coming into the world.” ESV
  9. Exceedingly common in John
    1. For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but in order that the world might be saved through him
    2. For he whom God has sent utters the words of God
    3. My food is to do the will of him who sent me
    4. Whoever does not honor the Son does not honor the Father who sent him
    5. whoever hears my word and believes him who sent me has eternal life
    6. I seek not my own will but the will of him who sent me
    7. the very works that I am doing, bear witness about me that the Father has sent me
    8. This is the work of God, that you believe in him whom he has sent
    9. this is the will of him who sent me, that I should lose nothing of all that he has given me
    10. John 20:21 21Jesus said to them again, “Peace be with you. As the Father has sent me, even so I am sending you.” ESV
  10. In this sense, then, is the Lord Christ called “The apostle of our profession,” in that he was sent of God to declare his person and his name, his mind and his will, in his name and with his authority
  11. God commits his message unto his Son, his only Son, makes him his apostle, sends him with these tidings, that they may be believed and accepted
    1. 1 John 5:20 20And we know that the Son of God has come and has given us understanding, so that we may know him who is true; and we are in him who is true, in his Son Jesus Christ. He is the true God and eternal life. ESV
  12. The grace of this message was too great for sinners to receive, without the immediate effectual testimony of the Son of God.
  13. As the ambassador or apostle of the Father, he was perfectly and effectually to represent the person of the Father unto us.
  14. It is impossible for any man to at once hold in his mind the will of God towards sinners and thus represent God to man. Jesus does this. We must therefore consider him. As the Father says of Jesus, listen carefully to what he says. "This is my Son, listen to him!" Luk 9:35
  15. The end of this message, Christ fulfilling his role as ambassador and apostle is no less than this; to proclaim and establish peace between God and man.
  16. He alone who made this peace was meet to declare it. “He is our peace;Eph 2:14” and he “came and preached peace,Eph 2:17

Priest

  1. Zechariah 6:13 13It is he who shall build the temple of the LORD and shall bear royal honor, and shall sit and rule on his throne. And there shall be a priest on his throne, and the counsel of peace shall be between them both.” ’ ESV

Our profession

  1. That is to say, of our faith
  2. Our profession is the faith and worship of God which we profess
  3. We profess the faith and he is the apostle and high priest of that faith. He is the author of that faith, he is the guardian of that faith. He died to bring that faith, he came to preach that faith. In this way, he is the apostle and high priest of our profession.
  4. He is also also the apostle and high priest of our profession in that he is the apostle and high priest whom we profess.

All in all

  1. Whatever any one stood in need of in the commonwealth of Israel, he might have it fully answered either by king, priest, or prophet
  2. Jesus is all of this in one man.
  3. These offices of old were in several persons. Moses was the apostle, or ambassador of God, to declare his will and law unto the people; and Aaron was the high priest, to administer the holy things in the worship of God.
  4. David as well could be mentioned as a king to rule and administer justice.
  5. The Lord Christ is all in all in and unto his church,—the king, priest, and apostle or prophet of it, all in one. That we should seek for all in him
  6. What does this phrase all in all mean?
    1. It means that Jesus is to be everything to you always. He is your portion. Whom have I in heaven but you and there is nothing I desire besides you Psalm 73:25.
    2. What is Jesus to be to you? He is to be your everything.
    3. When is he to be this to you? Always, in all times and in all situations he is to be your everything.
    4. He is to be your all, always.
    5. In everything he is to be your all.
    6. He is your all in all
  7. Yea, all our defects, weaknesses, and troubles, arise from here, that we make not our applications unto him for that assistance which he is able, ready, and willing to give unto us.

Consider Jesus

  1. Therefore, holy brethren, keep your eyes fixed on Jesus
  2. Would that we would consider Jesus.
    1. How our lives would be different if we maintained our consideration of Jesus.
    2. Our apostle here is calling us to a diligent, attentive consideration of the person, offices, and work of Jesus Christ. This is the most effectual means to free the souls of men from all entanglements of errors and darkness, and to keep them constant in the profession of the truth.
    3. All the treasures of wisdom and knowledge are hid in Christ,” Col. 2:3 and therefore from him alone are they to be received, and in him alone to be learned
    4. In the due consideration of the Lord Christ are these treasures opened unto us.
    5. He is the great treasure house. If we would receive any good and perfect gift from the Father of lights we must consider Jesus. No eternally good blessing will flow from the Father to us but by this conduit and mediator for all grace has been stored up in him and in him alone.
  3. Consider him as to his person. Consider him as to his offices.
  4. Consider his:
    1. authority as a king
    2. mercifulness as our high priest
    3. faithfulness as a prophet

See him in his word

  1. To this end, search the word diligently. The world is starved for men who will search the scriptures for Jesus Christ.
  2. This ought be our aim in the word: to know Jesus
  3. Jesus said to the Pharisees:
    1. John 5:39 39You search the Scriptures because you think that in them you have eternal life; and it is they that bear witness about me, ESV
  4. The Scriptures reveal him, declare him, testify of him. To this end are they to be searched, that we may learn and know what they declare and testify about the Messiah.
  5. This was done by the prophets of old,
    1. 1 Peter 1:10–11 10Concerning this salvation, the prophets who prophesied about the grace that was to be yours searched and inquired carefully, 11inquiring what person or time the Spirit of Christ in them was indicating when he predicted the sufferings of Christ and the subsequent glories. ESV
    2. They “searched diligently” into the revelation to made by them. You would think if anyone would be spared searching scripture it would be the men who wrote it, but even they had to search to discover Jesus therein.
      1. How much more must we.
  6. Herein, then, consists the first part of this great duty. “SEARCH the Scriptures,” with all the advantage of help afforded, that you may find out, discern, and understand, what is revealed concerning him in them, as he is the end of the law and the fulness of the gospel, the centre in whom all the prophecies, promises, rules, and precepts of them do meet. Without this aim in our reading, hearing, searching the word, we labour in vain, and contend uncertainly, as men beating the air. Unto him, and the knowledge of him, is all our study of the Scripture to be referred

This is our means of preservation

  1. This is a means of preservation.
  1. Our faith and our obedience is our walking with God,
    1. Genesis 17:1 1When Abram was ninety-nine years old the LORD appeared to Abram and said to him, “I am God Almighty; walk before me, and be blameless, ESV
  2. This is also called walking in the truth,
    1. 2 John 4 4I rejoiced greatly to find some of your children walking in the truth, just as we were commanded by the Father. ESV
    2. 3 John 4 4I have no greater joy than to hear that my children are walking in the truth. ESV
  3. and that which is principally incumbent on us if we would walk aright, is to have a due regard unto our way. This way is Christ,
    1. John 14:6 6Jesus said to him, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me. ESV
  4. such a way as traveling pilgrims shall not err in,
    1. Isaiah 35:8 8And a highway shall be there, and it shall be called the Way of Holiness; the unclean shall not pass over it. It shall belong to those who walk on the way; even if they are fools, they shall not go astray. ESV
  5. In attendance, therefore, unto him (who is our way), we shall neither err nor miscarry. And as all mistakes in faith arise from a want of a due respect unto him as the real way of going unto God, so all aberrations in doctrine or worship spring out of a neglect of a due consideration of his person and offices, wherein all truths do centre, and whereby they are made effectual and powerful.
  6. If we err this is where the error began, if we are to succeed this is what will be the root of it. Consider Christ. Never stop considering Christ.
  7. This duty we have at the from the mouth of God,
    1. Matthew 17:5 5He was still speaking when, behold, a bright cloud overshadowed them, and a voice from the cloud said, “This is my beloved Son, with whom I am well pleased; listen to him.” ESV
    2. Hear Him. Listen to him. He is your guide Isa 55:4, your light Isa 51:4, your shepherd Isa 40:11, the captain of your salvation Heb ?, your head ?, your way ?. He is to be your all in all.
    3. All of this and more will he be to the one who considers him diligently. He is a rewarder of those who diligently seek him.
  8. But here lies the root of men’s failings in this matter, they seek for truth of themselves and of other men, but not of Christ. [x2]
    1. Is this true of you. Where?
  9. Few have that faith, love, and humility, and are given up unto that diligent contemplation of the Lord Christ and his excellencies, which are required in those who really wait for his law so as to learn the truth from him.
  10. The right performance of this duty enlivens, excites, and acts all those graces and gracious affections, which are effectual to preserve us in the truth, and to keep us from decays in our profession.
    1. Do you want to be preserved as a saint, then desire to be preserved in this as well, strive to be preserved in the meditation of Jesus, his person, his character, his attributes, his offices
    2. John 15:5 5I am the vine; you are the branches. Whoever abides in me and I in him, he it is that bears much fruit, for apart from me you can do nothing. ESV
  11. Now, this is no otherwise done but when the soul is enabled graciously to ponder on the person and offices of Christ. There it finds all that is needful unto it to make it happy and blessed,—to procure pardon, peace, righteousness, and glory for it.
  12. By this means, also, a fountain of godly sorrow is opened in the hearts of believers; which is a precious grace,
    1. Zechariah 12:10 10“And I will pour out on the house of David and the inhabitants of Jerusalem a spirit of grace and pleas for mercy, so that, when they look on me, on him whom they have pierced, they shall mourn for him, as one mourns for an only child, and weep bitterly over him, as one weeps over a firstborn. ESV
    2. The consideration of the Lord Christ as pierced for us, and pierced by us, will melt and humble the soul, or it will never yield unto any ordinance of God.
  13. We may see here the reason why so many turn aside, and fall off from the truth and ways of the gospel. They have given over a due consideration of Jesus Christ, his person, offices, and mediation, and so have lost the means of their preservation. They have been weary of him, not seeing form or comeliness in him for which he should be desired.
    1. Isaiah 43:22 22“Yet you did not call upon me, O Jacob; but you have been weary of me, O Israel! ESV
  14. Indeed, the ordinances of the gospel, its worship and institutions, have no excellency, no beauty in them, but what ariseth from their relation unto the person and offices of Christ; and if they are neglected, these must needs be burdensome and grievous
    1. 1 Corinthians 2:2 2For I decided to know nothing among you except Jesus Christ and him crucified. ESV
  15. And as it is with gospel worship, so it is with all the articles of faith, or important truths that we are to believe. The centre and knot of them all is in the person of Christ. If they are once loosed from thence, if their union in him be dissolved, if men no more endeavour to learn “the truth as it is in Jesus,” or to acquaint themselves with the will of God, as he hath “gathered all things unto a head in him,” they scatter, as it were, of their own accord from their minds; so that it may be they retain no one of them, or if they do so, yet not in a right manner, so as to have an experience of the power of them in obedience. This says Owen is the cause of the apostasies among us; Christ is neglected,—not considered, not improved.
    1. in vain is it to dispute with men about the streams whilst they despise the fountain
  16. I want to strive, like Paul, to know nothing but Jesus Christ and him crucified. Who cares about the soereigty of God, or the importance of the Lord's supper, the importance of virtue, or any other doctrine or matter whatsoever if it be separated from Christ who is my all in all. If Christ be lost, if the meditation and hearts gladness in him be lost, all else will eventually be lost as well. Men will not hold onto and cherish and strive to keep that which they do not love. Without Christ at the center, everything else will eventually unravel, whether quickly or slowly.
  17. The apostle gives us a threefold miscarriage in religion,
    1. Colossians 2:18 18Let no one disqualify you, insisting on asceticism and worship of angels, going on in detail about visions, puffed up without reason by his sensuous mind, ESV
    2. What is in you, that may seem correct but is not from Christ, not grounded and rooted in him. What is it that pretends onto the righteousness of God but is like this asceticism, worship of angels, puffed up with visions and supposed knowledge that isn't knowledge grounded on the Lord.
    3. Colossians 2:8 8See to it that no one takes you captive by philosophy and empty deceit, according to human tradition, and not according to Christ. ESV
    4. Colossians 2:16 16Therefore let no one pass judgment on you in questions of food and drink. ESV
    5. Colossians 2:20–23 20If with Christ you died ... why, as if you were still alive, do you submit to regulations— 21“Do not handle, Do not taste, Do not touch” 22... [all] according to human precepts and teachings? 23These have indeed an appearance of wisdom ... but they are of no value in stopping the indulgence of the flesh. ESV
    6. What is the problem in all of this? vs 19, the next verse:
      1. Colossians 2:19 19and not holding fast to the Head, from whom the whole body, nourished and knit together through its joints and ligaments, grows with a growth that is from God. ESV
      2. they have let go the Lord Christ, from whom all truths are to be derived
      3. I would ask each of you again as I ask myself, where have you, in pretense onto what is good proper and right, not held fast to the head?
      4. Instead of all of this, consider Jesus. If Jesus is not enough for you, what will be? If Jesus will not help you, say to yourself I would rather have no help at all than to have help from some other source than from him. Him who is my merciful priest. Him who is my faithful prophet. Him who as my king ordains every molecule of existence for my good and for his glory. I will wait for him.
  18. Holding fast to Christ in this manner makes the ordinances of God a joy.
    1. We may hereby examine and try ourselves. Do we at any time find any of the ways, institutions, or ordinances of Christ grievous or burdensome unto us? do we find a secret dislike of them, or not that delight in them which we have formerly enjoyed?
    2. If we search into the root of our distempers, we shall find that our hearts and spirits have not been exercised with that consideration of the person and offices of Christ which our duty calls for. We have not been kept in a constant adoration of his majesty, admiration of his excellency, delight in his beauty, joy in his undertaking, holy thoughtfulness of his whole mediation. This hath betrayed us into our lukewarmness and indifferency, and made us faint and weary in his ways
    3. Hence also all endeavours for a recovery from such a frame, that regard only the particular instances that we are sensible of, are languid and successless. He that finds himself faint in or weary of any of the ways of Christ or any duties of obedience unto him, or that discovers an undervaluation of any of the truths of the gospel, as to their use or importance, and thinks to recover himself and retrieve his spirit only by applying himself unto that particular wherein he is sensible of his failure, will labour in the fire and to no purpose. It may be that after some days, or months, or years, he will find himself more at a loss than ever; and that because although he striveth, yet he striveth not lawfully. If we would recover ourselves, we must go to the source and beginning of our decays.
    4. This tends directly unto our instruction in these perilous days, such as the latter days are foretold to be. All means that ever the devil made use of from the foundation of the world, to draw off or deter men from gospel obedience, are at this day displayed. The world smiles upon apostates, and promiseth them a plentiful supply of such things as the corrupt nature of man esteems desirable. Errors and false worship, with temptations from them, spread themselves with wings of glorious pretences over the face of the whole earth. Trials, troubles, storms, persecutions, attend and threaten on every hand; and “he only that endureth unto the end shall be savedMat 24:13.” He that, like Jonah, is asleep in this tempest, is at the door of ruin; he that is secure in himself from danger, is in the greatest danger of falling by security.
    5. This is so difference than the message we hear so often in modern churches. It is said over and over, have faith that if you have prayed the sinners prayer that you are going to heaven. If Satan comes knocking at your door, show him the date that you wrote down in your bible of the day when you first prayed that God would enter into your heart.
    6. God says differently. He says, "examine yourself" to see if you be in the faith. Test yourself. Try yourself. 2 Cor 13:5.
    7. Matthew 10:28 28And do not fear those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul. Rather fear him who can destroy both soul and body in hell. ESV From the sending of the 12
    8. But here lies the root of men’s failings in this matter, they seek for truth of themselves and of other men, but not of Christ.
    9. Let God be true, but every man a liar. Rom 3:4
  19. What, then, shall we do? what means shall we use for our preservation?
    1. “Holy brethren, partakers of the heavenly calling, consider the apostle and high priest of our profession;
    2. Be much in the consideration of the person, offices, and work of Christ. This will conform you unto him, derive strength from him, arm you with the same mind that was in him, increase all your graces, keep you from being weary, and give you assured victory. He deserves it, you need it; let it not be omitted.