THE BORN SUPREMACY — Episode 5
by Pastor Mike Fortune
October 15, 2011
Vimeo: But Now I'm Found
- Jesus makes us holy (Hebrews 3:1; Revelation 14:4-5)
- Jesus finishes the work (Hebrews 3:2-4; Deuteronomy 32:51; John 17:4; Romans 9:28)
- We should share our hope in Him (Hebrews 3:5-6; Ephesians 2:19)
Hebrews 4:15 says Jesus did not sin. But could have. And knows we did. And still do according to Romans 3:23. This doesn’t surprise Jesus. It doesn’t embarrass Him for us to be found by Him as our intro video explains and as we discovered last time in our Born Supremacy of Jesus series. Today in episode 5, we’ll learn why it pleases Him that we trust Him to make us holy. Let’s read Hebrews 3:1-6 which says, “1And so, dear brothers and sisters who belong to God and are partners with those called to heaven, think carefully about this Jesus whom we declare to be God's messenger and High Priest. 2For he was faithful to God, who appointed him, just as Moses served faithfully when he was entrusted with God's entire house. 3But Jesus deserves far more glory than Moses, just as a person who builds a house deserves more praise than the house itself. 4For every house has a builder, but the one who built everything is God. 5Moses was certainly faithful in God's house as a servant. His work was an illustration of the truths God would reveal later. 6But Christ, as the Son, is in charge of God's entire house. And we are God's house, if we keep our courage and remain confident in our hope in Christ.”
Aren’t you glad we don’t embarrass Jesus? We are His family. We’ve been bought with a price! Grace is not cheap. It cost the Son of God His life. That’s why we belong to God. Our passage this morning in just a few short verses says so much! Maybe that’s why Paul asks us to “think carefully about this Jesus.” And that’s what we’re going to do today through His Word and then through the acted out word of communion that we His “holy brothers and sisters” get to experience.
The NLT we’re using today says in verse 1 that we are Jesus’ “dear brothers and sisters” and I love that term of endearment. It accurately captures the warmth and love Jesus has for us. But the Greek word for that phrase really means “Holy brothers” and if we miss that, we’ll miss point number one: Jesus is supreme because He makes us holy. He’s the one who is holy. We are not holy. Not even our prayers are holy. I like the way Ellen White elaborates on this. “The religious services, the prayers, the praise, the penitent confession of sin ascend from true believers as incense to the heavenly sanctuary, but passing through the corrupt channels of humanity, they are so defiled that unless purified by blood, they can never be of value with God. They ascend not in spotless purity, and unless the Intercessor, who is at God's right hand, presents and purifies all by His righteousness, it is not acceptable to God...Oh, that all may see that everything in obedience, in penitence, in praise and thanksgiving, must he placed upon the glowing fire of the righteousness of Christ” (Selected Messages, 1:344, 345).
I was reminded of this truth this week when we were reading revelation this Wednesday with the community. We came across the verse in Revelation 14:4-5 which says of the righteous, “4They have kept themselves as pure as virgins, following the Lamb wherever he goes. They have been purchased from among the people on the earth as a special offering to God and to the Lamb. 5They have told no lies; they are without blame.” Some people when they read an isolated verse like this come to some very bad conclusions. They turn this verse into behavior modification. They say, see, before Jesus comes again, God is waiting for a church that stops sinning who are blameless and tells no lies. But if you keep reading Revelation, and come to Revelation 15:4, where this same group of lost but found followers of the Lamb start talking, what they say about themselves is that they by themselves are not holy because they say in Revelation 15:4 that the Lord “alone is holy.” That’s why all nations will come and worship before you, for the LORD’s righteous deeds have been revealed.
So how are they pure like virgins telling no lies and without blame if God alone is holy? Because they have conquered through the blood of the Lamb (cf. Revelation 12:11)! They trust what Jesus has done rather than trying to perfectly do what He has done. They fix their thoughts on Jesus and carefully think about His mission as God’s apostle and High Priest. Then they accept both. In Old Testament days, before battle, soldiers didn’t spend the night with their wives. They were on a mission and stayed focused on that mission. Dave tells a priest in 1 Samuel 21:4-5 that he never allows his men to be with women when they’re on a mission and later Uriah, Bathsheeba’s husband, says the same thing to David temporarily foiling David’s plan to trick Uriah into thinking Bathsheeba’s unborn child was his. Maybe you remember that story detail. I think that’s the background to that phrase “they have kept themselves pure as virgins” in Revelation 14:4. Why? Because the righteous are on a mission to proclaim God’s mission! What makes them blameless is because Hebrews 4:15 says Jesus never lied. What makes them worthy is because Jesus is worthy. They are on a mission because Jesus is God’s apostle and He was on a mission and they have chosen to accept it. But their mission is not to replace Jesus’ mission. Their mission is to testify to the success of Jesus’ mission. We’ll come back to that.
But to make sure his audience understands that Jesus makes us holy (Hebrews 3:1; Revelation 14:4-5), Paul ratchets up the tension with point number two: Jesus finishes the work. He does so by comparing the holiness and faithfulness of Jesus with the holiness and faithfulness of their hero and idol Moses—whom Jews in that day held in high esteem. Proof of this can be heard in the pride they had in describing themselves. “You are Jesus disciple”, they accused the healed blind man in John 9:28-29, “But we are disciples of Moses!”
So to completely destroy their argument and to prove that Jesus is equal with the Father (Hebrews 1:8), superior to the angels (Hebrews 1:4), and yes, even holier and more faithful than Moses, Paul says in Hebrews 3:2-4, “Moses served faithfully when he was entrusted with God's entire house. 3But Jesus deserves far more glory than Moses, just as a person who builds a house deserves more praise than the house itself. 4For every house has a builder, but the one who built everything is God.” But even this statement about Moses’ faithfulness is correct only seen through the lens of God’s grace. Because Deuteronomy 32:51-52 tells us why God didn’t allow Moses (or Aaron) to lead the children of Israel into the Promised Land of Canaan. “51For both of you betrayed me with the Israelites at the waters of Meribah at Kadesh in the wilderness of Zin. You failed to demonstrate my holiness to the people of Israel there. 52So you will see the land from a distance, but you may not enter the land I am giving to the people of Israel.”
Numbers 20 explains how in response to the need for water in the wilderness, right before they were to enter Canaan, God specifically said to Moses and Aaron, “You and Aaron must take the staff and assemble the entire community. As the people watch, speak to the rock over there, and it will pour out its water. You will provide enough water from the rock to satisfy the whole community and their livestock." 9 So Moses did as he was told. He took the staff from the place where it was kept before the LORD.10 Then he and Aaron summoned the people to come and gather at the rock. "Listen, you rebels!" he shouted. "Must we bring you water from this rock?"11 Then Moses raised his hand and struck the rock twice with the staff, and water gushed out. So the entire community and their livestock drank their fill. 12 But the LORD said to Moses and Aaron, "Because you did not trust me enough to demonstrate my holiness to the people of Israel, you will not lead them into the land I am giving them!"
What is going on here? Point number two: Jesus is supreme because rightly understood, He always finishes the work. God told Moses to speak to the rock but Moses in his anger and pride strikes the rock instead. And who does Paul say in 1 Corinthians 10:4 was the rock they drank from? Christ! So here you have Moses striking Jesus the rock and commanding Jesus to bring forth water. But are we saved and sanctified and ultimately led into the Promised Land because of what Moses does? No! Moses does not start or finish the work. Ellen White does not start or finish the work. Ted Wilson does not start or finish the work. We do not start or finish the work. Only Jesus does that. Jesus Himself said in John 17:4, “I brought glory to you here on earth by completing the work you gave me to do.”
That’s why God took so seriously this pre-incarnate attack on the Gospel that is still repeated today in various churches, even our own, when we imply or say otherwise. Read our journals. Listen to the sermons being preached by our elected leaders. How many times do you still see in print the evangelistic call to “finish the work?” Whenever you see that statement, ask yourself, how did that work for Moses when he tried? Romans 9:28 (KJV) clearly says, “For the LORD will finish the work.”
It’s not semantics. God’s apostle and our heavenly High Priest is not asking us to finish the work. He wants us to proclaim the finished work! He wants us to share our hope in Him. Which is point number three. Hebrews 3:6 says, “But Christ, as the Son, is in charge of God's entire house. And we are God's house, if we keep our courage and remain confident in our hope in Christ.” Like Moses should have done, we should speak to people about the Rock of Ages Jesus Christ. Who brings hope from hopelessness and deliverance from bondage and life from death and joy from mourning and unity from chaos and families from brokenness and freedom from slavery. The church may leave the building but when they return, God's house is in the house! And Jesus brings them because He is “Our message, our argument, our doctrine, our warning to the impenitent, our encouragement for the sorrowing, the hope for every believer” (Manuscript 49, 1898, SDA Bible Commentary Volume 6 p.1113).
But honestly, He literally doesn’t even need us to do that. For Jesus said in Luke 19:40 that if we don’t, “The rocks would cry out.” So Jesus makes us holy (Hebrews 3:1; Revelation 14:4-5) point number one and finishes the work (Hebrews 3:2-4; Deuteronomy 32:51; John 17:4; Romans 9:28) point number two and doesn’t even need us to share our hope in Him (Hebrews 3:5-6; Ephesians 2:19) but has asked us to do so which is point number three. Why? I think one reason is so that we don’t lose our hope in him. So we "keep our courage and remain confident in our hope in Christ." Though some of the believers in Hebrews did not. As we’ll see next time. But for now, let’s close with this powerful promise that so wonderfully prepares our hearts for communion found in Ephesians 2:19,21. “19 So now you are no longer strangers and foreigners. You are citizens along with all of God's holy people. You are members of God's family. 21 We are carefully joined together in him, becoming a holy temple for the Lord.”
God wanted everyone, even the people living before the cross, to know beyond a shadow of a doubt, that only Jesus makes men holy and only Jesus finishes the work. Our job, like Moses’, is to as faithfully as we can, speak or proclaim these wonderful truths. Your mission, should you choose to accept it, is to proclaim God’s mission. Fulfilled by God’s apostle and our heavenly high priest, Jesus Christ. Like the righteous in Revelation, one day we too will sing His praises because Jesus is worthy, was born supreme, and is making us holy. But why wait until then? Let's start now. What we do next, we do in remembrance of Him.