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Consider - Christ Jesus

Scripture: Hebrews 3:1-6; Text: Hebrews 3:19

Let me begin by establishing the importance of this verse of scripture. Its importance cannot be over stated because of the subjects that are dealt with here. In its most basic division, it conveys two essential ideas. First, the verse tells WHO AND WHAT we are because of WHAT AND WHO Jesus Christ is. Notice that I have traversed the words WHO AND WHAT. That is not accidential but intentional. WHO are we? We are "holy brethren." WHAT are we? We are "partakers of the heavenly calling." Then we may ask WHAT is Jesus? He is "the Apostle and High Priest of our profession." WHO is He? He is "Christ Jesus." If the contemplation of such glorious truths does not excite us, then we have obviously lost sight of Him.

The word WHEREFORE like the word THEREFORE, is a HINGE word. It is a point at which truth swings from one place to another. In this case, the truth swings from the preceeding chapter to this one, just as a door may swing open to expose yet another room.

The writer, whom I believe to be Paul, then addresses those to whom he is speaking. Obviously he is not addressing every human who lives on planet earth. He has special individuals in mind. He addresses them and us as "holy brethren." Thus he links the READER (us - them) to the WRITER (Paul). But it is intended to do much more. He designs that we understand the holy brethren to be synonymous with SAINTS (Colossians 1:2). In my opinion, he is not addressing two different groups, but is using two ideas to describe the same group of saved people.

We are HOLY because we are separated by God through the work of Divine election. The word "holy" here means - separate, set apart. Thus we refer to a church building as a holy place, because it is set apart from other buildings because of its purpose, a meeting place for the church. We also refer to the Bible as the "Holy Bible" because it is set apart from the books of men, because it is the word of God. Then we speak of God's people as holy because in salvation, they are distinctly different from the world. The truth that Paul sets forth here is that we are holy because God chose us. Thus He set us apart from fallen humanity and saved us through the sacrifical death and shed blood of His Son. God said those who are chosen are indeed holy (Deuteronomy 7:6). So we are holy as being sanctified by God (Jude 1).

We are BRETHREN too. This word is often used in our society to denote a fellowship or bond that exists within an ethnic or work force. That is not the way this writer intended it. He evidentally had in mind the idea of FAMILY. The family of God, the elect, are bound by a fraternal relationship. It is far more than to be bound by the ties of the flesh. It means that we are bound together in the Spirit's work of the new birth. All who were predestinated to be adopted into the family of Chrst, are eventually born of the Holy Spirit (Ephesians 1:5 and John 3:6-7). Therefore, God is our Father. Matthew 6:9 (Hebrews 2:11). We are brethren by being related to Christ.

Now notice that the WHO of the "holy brethren" are not identified by the WHAT as "partakers of the heavenly calling." I truly wish I had time here to go into all the details of this thought. However, in the essence of time, I will try to be brief. The word PARTAKERS is as I understand it, somewhat different from TAKING PART. If we take part in something, then we are an active participant. We have willingly put forth the necessary effort to participate. Yet, as partakers, we have been acted upon by God as a work of grace. In the use of this word, we are to understand that it means - holding along with. We have received and are holding or possessing, along with others, a incredible blessing. We (all God's elect) possess a "heavenly calling." The word "partakers" comes from the Greek word "Metochos" and means 1. fellow, 2. partaker, and 3. partner. Can you see that all who are saved by God's amazing grace, are holding in common the blessing of a "heavenly calling"? Please notice Hebrews 3:14. It does not mean that we gain the position in Christ by holding fast, but by doing so, we are identified as those who are in Him. Look also at Hebrews 6:4 and here you will see that we partake of the Holy Ghost and we did nothing to gain Him, rather He came to us to impart life in Christ. It might help to remember that the synonym for partake is SHARE. (A stingy or greedy person is naturally going to dislike this idea.)

We share or partake, holding together as holy brethren, "the heavenly calling". It is a HEAVENLY calling, because it came from heaven. God on His lofty throne in heaven, sent it or gave it to us as His children. But what is the CALLING under consideration? We have received basically two kinds of calls. As the children of God, we have received a "Gospel Call." That is we have been called by God by the means of the preaching and teachings of the gospel (2 Thessalonians 2:14). The gospel is the good news of the Bible. We see this illustrated when Jesus told His disciples to call a blind man to come to Him (Mark 10:49). However, there is an even greater call. It is the EFFECTUAL CALL of the Holy Spirit. It is what we call the new birth or being born again and it is irrestible, because the Holy Spirit is God and we are powerless to effectively resist Him. He comes as God, sovereignly touching our lives and quickening us from death in sin to life in Christ (Ephesians 2:1). We see this call as a marvelous work of grace, having been divinely listed as such in Romans 8:30.

While all this is and by rights should be of vital interest to us, I did not want to spend all my preaching time, dwelling on it. We have now come to the second division of the test, which lends itself to WHAT IS JESUS AND WHO IS HE? There is something here of even greater importance than the first part. It is of paramont importance, because it deals with One of unquestionalble importance- Jesus Christ. For that reason, he said to CONSIDER the truths that follow. Jesus is here described as "the Apostle and High Priest of our profession." To consider it means that we fix our attention on it. Notice Matthew 6:28-29. Therefore, we need to understand why He is called by these names and what they mean. Let us give them careful and serious thought.

How is He our Apostle? We might first ask what an apostle is? The word "apostle" here means - one sent forth. Does that describe Christ? It certainly does according to Galatians 4:4. To the Jews, an envoy of the Sanhedrin was considered an apostle sent forth and clothed with authority. Paul often referred to himself as an apostle (Ephesians 1:2). In Ephesians 4:11 we are told that one gift of the ministry is an apostle. Basically the early apostleship involved two things. First, they must be called of God and sent forth to preach His word. Second, they must have seen Jesus personally. For that reason Paul stresses that he had seen Jesus too (1 Corinthians 15:7-8). Ministers today who have not seen Jesus personally are not apostles, even though they have been called of God and sent to preach His word.

However, in the text, Jesus is called our Apostle, primarily because of the fact that He was sent. He came as the Apostle of the gospel (Hebrews 1:2). God sent Him with the truth of God and therefore He was called our Apostle. While that is true, Jesus was sent by the Father for a far greater purpose. He came to save His people from their sins (Matthew 1:21). He took our sins upon Himself and died on the cross of Calvary to pay the sin debt of all God's elect (John 6:38-39). Jesus fulfilled that for which He was sent as our Apostle. Thank God for such a Messenger of His love and grace.

How is He our High Priest? To understand this we must first understand the role of the ancient high priest. There were many priests but only one high priest. He was the only one allowed to minister in the most holy of holies. There he represented to people and carried blood to present before God. In like manner Christ was able to enter the presence of the heavenly Father and with His own blood, He atoned for the sins of all God's people (Hebrews 9:11-12). He did not enter into an earthly holy place but into heaven itself (Hebrews 9:24). He gave not the flesh of animals but gave Himself as our sacrifice (Hebrews 7:26-27). What a great High Priest we have in Jesus.

Yet there is something else we need to understand about a high priest. The name "high priest" meant a "bridge builder." The ancient high priest was building a bridge between the people and the God they worshipped. In much the same way Jesus became the bridge between God and men. Because of that mediatorial work of Christ, we have the privilege of prayer (Hebrews 4:15-16). As our HIgh priest, He is our Mediator between us and God whom we worship (1 Timothy 2:5). Thank God for a perfect High Priest, Jesus our Lord.

Before leaving these two statements about Christ and What He is, let me make a final observation. There is a noticable difference between the "apostle's" and "high priest's" work. The work of the two were in opposite directions. The APOSTLE went in one direction, that like a prophet he might carry the message from God to man. The HIGH PRIEST went in the opposite direction to carry the sacrifice for man to God. Jesus went in both directions. He brought salvation from God to man and as our sacrifice He went from man to God. Oh how richly we are blessed by WHAT HE IS.

Yet we are also called upon to view WHO HE IS. That is also easy. He is Christ Jesus. Christ is the Messiah, the anointed of God. Andrew saw Him that way according to John 1:41. The name Jesus means Saviour. He is the only Saviour of sinners acording to Acts 4:12. Therefore, sometimes He is called Jesus, sometimes Christ, at other times He is Jesus Christ, while still others call Him Christ Jesus as did Paul here. He is all that and much more. He is our Lord and our God (John 20:28).

In conclusion, let us notice that we are to simply CONSIDER - CHRIST JESUS. All that has been said is intended to help us in this most important task. We are to consider Him, which means that we are to focus our hearts and attention upon Him. Paul said consider Him, but for what purpose? (1). When we consider Him as we should, we will understand Him better. Consider means that we are to understand (Matthew 6:28-29). (2). When we consider Him, we will rightly conclude what Paul observed in this passage, that Jesus is indeed greater than Moses (Philippians 2:9-10). (3). When we consider Him, we will be better qualified to PROFESS Him. After all He is the Christ of our profession. Some like to think of that as how we confess our faith in Him. We are to make an open and public profession of our faith and love for Him (Hebrews 10:23).

To do so means we profess that we believe He is the Son of God. It means that we profess we are saved by Him and His grace through His death on the cross. It means that we profess to be His children and live like we are. The idea imbedded in the word "profession" is to say the same thing. Think about it, when we profess Him, we are all saying the same thing. But think about this too, if we make a profession of Him, we are to say the same thing with our LIPS and with our LIVES. In other words, if we talk the talk, we should walk the walk. Only then will our profession be what it should.

If we do so, we cannot be careless, indifferent and apathetic. How can we consider Him and not love Him with all our heart, mind and soul? Those who truly see Him with the eye of the soul, will no doubt want to commit their very lives to him in service and live for His glory and praise. Do you feel that way today? If not, it may well be that you have not considered Him as you should. Pray for grace to do so and do all you can to understand how eternally dependant you are upon the Son of God, Jesus Christ our Lord. Then as you live for Him, you will become more and more like Him through the years. That my friends is what it really means to be a Christian. How can you be like Him, if you do not even understand Him. It would be impossible! So consider the Apostle and High Priest of our profession, Christ Jesus.

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This page last updated on June 7, 2014