LIVING WITH A CONFIDENT FAITH IN CHRIST
Warnings From The Wilderness
Jerry A. Collins
?How is Christ greater than Moses?
Why does unbelief provoke Godís anger?
How do we avoid being hardened by unbelief?
Everyone one of us is motivated by profit. We are motivated to do what we believe is in our best interests. Everything done by everyone, including God, is done for personal advantage. No one, including God, is altruistic. Jesus...for the joy set before him endured the cross Heb 12:2. Christian self-denial of old sinful self not new spiritual self teaches give and it will be given to you Mark 6:38. For what profit and store up treasure in heaven and if no love profits me nothing clearly show that a profit motive is a virtue. Selflessness is pantheistic not biblical because we are to seek a profit for ourselves. Selfishness is a sin not a virtue because it says I get my profit at the expense of others or looking for it in short-term earthly values. But when we avoid these two perversions, self profit is good, natural, basic to our autonomous creation motive. When God tests us, He has our best interests at heart. When we test God we have our bests interests at heart. The conflict comes in deciding who best knows what we need when tested. This is where we are tempted by unbelief. Unbelief says that what I think is in my best interests supercedes what God says is in my best interests. It is like worrying instead of trusting. When I put myself in charge of meeting my needs instead of accepting that God does, then I worry and become anxious about tomorrow. Jesus tells us that it is God who meets our needs. But if we refuse to believe that, when we have a need which must be met, then unbelief will tempt us to pursue what we believe is best for us and not Godís, and the consequences we set in motion are Godís judgment of our unbelief. In Hebrews 3 God warns us of unbelief and illustrates itís process and consequences.
1. AS GODíS SON, JESUS IS SUPERIOR TO MOSES 1-6
Judaism says that Moses is greater than Jesus. But the writer of Hebrews says Christ is greater than Moses. So he begins by telling us to consider Jesus vs 1. Give serious attention to, make careful study of Him. He is called the Apostle and High priest of our confession vs 1. We already know of His Priesthood from 2:17 and even more will be said of this throughout the book. Here alone in scripture He is called Apostle and that He was. As Godís highest messenger to men Jn 3:34 says he whom God has sent and Jn 5:36-37 the Father has sent me. So Christ was sent out by God to administer the benefit of His death as our High Priest. While Moses and Jesus have similarities, Jesus provision is greater than Moses.
(1) Both Moses and Christ have faithfulness vs 2. Moses was faithful in his house and Jesus in His house. House is used six times in this section and it can refer to a family or people. Similar to saying the house of Windsor. Moses house were the OT believers and Jesus house are the NT believers. Both houses are the people of God and both were faithful in executing the will of God to the people of God.
(2) In contrast to Moses, the architect is worthy of more honor than the building he designs vs 3. Christ sent Moses to build his house that Moses became part of himself. So the contrast is not in faithfulness but in their positions. Vs 4 drives home the point that this Jesus we are considering is God. Moses cannot be superior.
(3) In contrast to Moses, the son has more honor than the servant vs 5. Moses was part of Godís house as a servant. Christ is ruler over Godís house as a Son.
We have a responsibility to hold to the work and words of Jesus Christ vs 6. The Old Testament is valuable because it is the expression of the mind of God to the nation of Israel. But the Words of Christ are more valuable because they are the explanation of the mind of God to the church. The age in which we are living. So we should not be looking for other words or additional words but hold fast to the words and believing theses words that we have already been given because Christ was faithful to give Godís Word to us.
2. OUR UNBELIEF PROVOKES GODíS ANGER 7-11
In light of the Sonís greatness do not disobey His Word because of your unbelief. That will only get you in trouble with God. It would be as tragic a mistake to do this as Israel made when she turned back on Moses at Kadesh Barnea. Numbers 13-14 Israel had completed an arduous 2 yr trek and encamped on outskirts of the Promised Land at this place. After a reconnaissance team returned the majority report filled the people with fear because they had encountered unexpected giants in the land. The minority report acknowledge the difficulty but with Godís help noted it could be done. The damage had been done and the people were unwilling to act on Godís promise to give them that land. Their unbelief prolonged their journey in the wilderness by 40 yrs. A whole generation was wasted by their unbelief vs 11.
(1) Unbelief is disagreeing with God about what is in my bests interests. They could hardly believe that fighting giants was in their bests interests so they refused to enter the promised land. We meet giants when we have a bad marriage, our children rebel, cannot afford our bills, bodies unhealthy. We are tempted to ask how can this possibly benefit me? You have to answer that by trusting that that situation is Godís way of bringing about your greater good.
(2) God can only take you as far as your faith takes you. Peter suggested walking on the water and Jesus said go ahead until he noticed the wind and waves. Then he needed Jesus to step in. When Peter was stretched out as far as his faith could take him Christ calmed the sea. But not before. Your limit is your faith. Doubt will take your focus off of Christ.
(3) God tests our faith so we can fall back on His promises rather than our abilities. God wants to develop our dependence upon Him. He wanted to do the same thing for Israel. We fear dependence on God so when tested we are tempted to depend on ourselves. We abort the very process God is using to strengthen our faith.
3. UNBELIEF BREAKS OUR FELLOWSHIP WITH GOD 12-19
The nation heard 16, sinned 17, unbelief 19. God provoked 16, grieved 17, swore vengeance 18. How? Num 14:2 they wished to perish in the desert and God let the wander there until they did. Nun 14:3 they requested why the Lord brot them here only for wives/children to perish? Afraid of what mite happen to wives/children God assumed responsibility for them (Ps 106:13-15). Do you see yourself like Israel wandering in he wilderness of Life? You can experience nothing worse than to get what you want when what youwant is not the same as Godís perfect will 12-15.
(1) Great faith comes from position of humility not pride. Pride says there is value independent of God. Humility says no value apart from God.
(2) Great faith focused on applying words of Christ. All of them day after day, hardship after hardship, situation after situation vs 13.
(3) Great faith perseveres in obedience to Christís words even tho barriers seem to be in the way of God working.