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The God of the Universe! – Colossians 1:15-16

The God of the Universe! – Colossians 1:15-16
By Pastor Lee Hemen
July 16, 2017

We know that God in his natural state, for lack of a better phrase, “is spirit, and his worshipers must worship in spirit and in truth” (John 4:24 NIV) and “God is not a man, that he should lie, nor a son of man, that he should change his mind” (Numbers 23:19 NIV) contrary to several heresies. However, folks have wondered for ages just what God might look like if one could see him and because of this he came in the form of Jesus to show himself to all mankind.

Paul teaches us about God through Jesus Christ. He wanted his readers to be enlightened to who exactly Jesus was and is. Recently I read an article that twisted the use of Lifeway’s VBS literature to teach Modalism where the persons of the Trinity represent only three modes or aspects of the divine revelation, not distinct and coexisting persons in the divine nature; Lifeway uses three states of being in an illustration of ice, liquid, and gas for water to help children understand the concept better. The author truly stretched his argument to fit his paradigm; a tomayto, tomahto kind of argument. Let’s discover for ourselves what Paul teaches us about the God of the universe…

READ: Colossians 1:15-16

There are certain characteristics concerning God that many believers fail to understand. Paul desired that the early church fully understand who God was and what that meant. The Israelites often failed to seek God as he truly is and were easily pulled into paganism. So Paul begins by teaching that…

I. Jesus is the God of the universe! (v. 15)

He is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn over all creation.

1. Paul begins by relating that Jesus “is the image of the invisible God.” Paul had written that “The god of this age has blinded the minds of unbelievers, so that they cannot see the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ, who is the image of God.” (2 Corinthians 4:4 NIV) The word “image” implies representation and expression. Like the head of a sovereign imprinted on a coin, so Christ is like the writer of Hebrews related, “The Son is the radiance of God’s glory and the exact representation of his being, sustaining all things by his powerful word. After he had provided purification for sins, he sat down at the right hand of the Majesty in heaven.” (Hebrews 1:3 NIV) Jesus is both Creator and receiver who is also the perfect picture of God. As Jesus said, “Anyone who has seen me has seen the Father”. (John 14:9 NIV) The Bible Knowledge Commentary states that “Anyone who saw Christ, the visible manifestation of the invisible God, has thereby ‘seen’ God indirectly.” This is why John wrote in his gospel that “No one has ever seen God, but God the One and Only, who is at the Father’s side, has made him known.” (John 1:18 NIV) Jesus who is the exact representation of the invisible God, because he is God, made him visible when he came as a baby grew to be a man and died for our sins. As Paul would write, “Who, being in very nature God, did not consider equality with God something to be grasped, but made himself nothing, taking the very nature of a servant, being made in human likeness. And being found in appearance as a man, he humbled himself and became obedient to death– even death on a cross! Therefore God exalted him to the highest place and gave him the name that is above every name”! (Philippians 2:6-9 NIV) Therefore, Jesus is “the firstborn of all creation”! Jesus being “firstborn” signifies two very important things concerning who he is: 1) he existed before all of creation, and 2) he is ruler over all creation! The wording here for “firstborn” does not mean as Jehovah’s Witnesses or other heretical groups would have you believe that Jesus was the first created being, but rather he has always existed and since he has he cannot be part of creation if Jesus created “all things.” Paul is establishing that Jesus is the God of the universe!

EXAMPLE: There can be only one God. Now I know there are those who claim there is no God and it is all a myth but have a tough time explaining away his footprint in all of creation. But more than this, if Jesus was before all things and if you see Jesus you see God then Jesus is God! After all he did emphatically state, “I and the Father are one.” (John 10:30 NIV) “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was with God in the beginning.” (John 1:1-2 NIV) “‘I tell you the truth’ Jesus answered, ‘before Abraham was born, I am!’”(John 8:58 NIV) “Anyone who has seen me has seen the Father.” (John 14:9 NIV) and when Jesus prayed to God the Father he prayed that “All I have is yours, and all you have is mine.” (John 17:10 NIV) If Jesus is God then his willingness to go and die and rise again is tremendous! Jesus is the God of the universe!

Since Jesus is God who came and died for our sins we cannot and dare not worship anyone else. It is not only sheer folly but extremely dangerous to do so. As Jesus would state to the disbelieving Jews of his day, “I told you that you would die in your sins; if you do not believe that I am the one I claim to be, you will indeed die in your sins.” (John 8:24 NIV) From what Paul wrote we also know that…

II. Jesus is Creator God! (v. 16)

For by him all things were created: things in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or powers or rulers or authorities; all things were created by him and for him.

1. Paul reaffirms his statement that Jesus existed before all things and therefore since he did Paul knew that “For by him all things were created”! Now this is fundamentally of great importance to our theology. Our doctrine and teaching as believers. From this we know certain things concerning Jesus and because of this we are to live our lives accordingly. Here is why: If “all things were created” by Jesus that means us as well. And Paul immediately puts this into perspective by reiterating that “all things” means “things in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or powers or rulers or authorities”! This means we follow the one who created the stars, planets, galaxies, moons, sun, birds of the air, beasts of the field, creatures in the waters, and all of nature! Contrary to those who would worship the earth or Mother Nature, Jesus created it himself! He created the tiniest microbe to the largest animal walking or swimming. God tells the Israelites that he was not satisfied with their worship or sacrifices because they were superficial and phony and he reminds them that “for every animal of the forest is mine, and the cattle on a thousand hills. I know every bird in the mountains, and the creatures of the field are mine. If I were hungry I would not tell you, for the world is mine, and all that is in it.” (Psalms 50:10-12 NIV) While we are to recognize our stewardship of nature, we are commanded not to worship it; instead we are to give glory to the one who truly did create it in the first place! But notice that Paul continued by writing that Jesus also created that which was “visible and invisible, whether thrones or powers or rulers or authorities”. He meant that all spiritual beings, including all angels fallen or not, and all pontiffs, potentates, politicians, and presidents! It is truly sad when human beings think they are above God who created them. Succinctly Paul would write, “For in Christ all the fullness of the Deity lives in bodily form, and you have been given fullness in Christ, who is the head over every power and authority.” (Colossians 2:9-10 NIV) And again Paul would proclaim in his letter to the Romans, “For from him and through him and to him are all things. To him be the glory forever! Amen.” (Romans 11:36 NIV) Paul therefore finishes his statement by reiterating “all things were created by him and for him”! Jesus is Creator God!

EXAMPLE: There are a lot of folks in our day and age who think they are God, that they can dictate what to believe about their fellow man, their sin condition, or how they worship God or not. At their core they are hedonists because they put themselves and their emotions before anyone or anything. For them love is the measurement of what is godly. What they believe has no eternal consequence for them because they live for the here and now. For those who transparently say they believe in Jesus do not give him the honor he is due by their acceptance of immorality and idolatry. They have forgotten that Jesus is Creator God!

Conclusion:

Jesus is the God of the universe and Jesus is Creator God!
—-
This article is copyrighted © 2017 by Lee Hemen and is the sole property of Lee Hemen, and may not be used unless you quote the entire article and have my permission.

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The Way of the Lord! – Psalm 19

The Way of the Lord! – Psalm 19
By Pastor Lee Hemen
June 25, 2017

In Disney’s “Alice in Wonderland” the Queen of Hearts asks Alice where she comes from, Alice tries to explain that she is trying to find her way home. The Queen retorts, “Your way? All ways here are my ways!” We have all known folks who radiate the notion that “It’s my way or the highway!” And this might pass muster if you are an infant, toddler, or preschooler but it gets old and very tiring from an adult. Yet many live their lives this way. Perhaps they need to reconsider their way of life and consider the way of the Lord instead?

Here in this Psalm we discover the ways of the Lord are truly magnificent. In fact in many ways they are quite indescribable and incomprehensible. The Psalmist David tries his best to describe for his listeners the way of the Lord. Let’s discover what he sings…

READ: Psalm 19

As amazing as some of things mankind has created none of it compares to the creation of God. The Psalmist David teaches us that…

I. The way of the Lord is found in the works of his hands! (Vv. 1-6)

The heavens declare the glory of God; the skies proclaim the work of his hands. Day after day they pour forth speech; night after night they display knowledge. There is no speech or language where their voice is not heard. Their voice goes out into all the earth, their words to the ends of the world. In the heavens he has pitched a tent for the sun, which is like a bridegroom coming forth from his pavilion, like a champion rejoicing to run his course. It rises at one end of the heavens and makes its circuit to the other; nothing is hidden from its heat.

1. Within the next couple of months, our area will experience a total solar eclipse; a heavenly event only seen a few times in a person’s lifetime and extremely rare. When the ancients saw such phenomenon some thought some evil disaster would occur, however, others like the Hebrews saw it as a manifestation of the creative wonders of God. This is why the Psalmist David writes that “The heavens declare the glory of God; the skies proclaim the work of his hands.” Both the starry skies at night and sunlit days declared and proclaimed God’s creative work because “Day after day they pour forth speech; night after night they display knowledge.” In fact the writer understood that the whole world experienced God’s handiwork, “There is no speech or language where their voice is not heard. Their voice goes out into all the earth, their words to the ends of the world.” Therefore in his understanding there was no excuse for people not knowing there was a Creator; a God who made everything they saw in the heavens at night or saw in the sunlight by day! All they had to do was look up! From dawn till dusk a person could see God’s creative work for “In the heavens he has pitched a tent for the sun, which is like a bridegroom coming forth from his pavilion, like a champion rejoicing to run his course.” Just as the sun burst forth in the morning and seemed to all of sudden appear like a rejoicing bridegroom or a runner ready to run his race we can see the work of God in the sun running its race across the sky each day! All of creation, all mankind had a front row seat to this heavenly spectacle as “It rises at one end of the heavens and makes its circuit to the other; nothing is hidden from its heat.”  Truly for the Psalmist David the way of the Lord is found in the works of his hands!

EXAMPLE: Just as artists sign their works, use the same brushstrokes, or leave their fingerprints in the paint; or as sculptures that use certain chisels or polishing techniques that leave telltale marks on the statues they carve, we can see the signature of God in the things he has made. From the atoms that are the building blocks of everything there is to the most complex life form we see the signature of God in his creation. The Psalmist David simply looked to the heavens and saw that they declared God. The way of the Lord is found in the works of his hands!

In a world where so many are searching for something and often finding they have not been told the truth it is refreshing to find that God’s words are steadfast and true. The Psalmist David writes that…

II. The way of the Lord is discovered in his directions! (Vv. 7-11)

The law of the LORD is perfect, reviving the soul. The statutes of the LORD are trustworthy, making wise the simple. The precepts of the LORD are right, giving joy to the heart. The commands of the LORD are radiant, giving light to the eyes. The fear of the LORD is pure, enduring forever. The ordinances of the LORD are sure and altogether righteous. They are more precious than gold, than much pure gold; they are sweeter than honey, than honey from the comb. By them is your servant warned; in keeping them there is great reward.

1. Not every child is perfect but almost every mother sees their newborn as such. Why is that? I believe it is simply because most every mother instantly falls in love with their child. By their sheer devotion they accept their child completely, utterly, and without hesitation. Faith is a bit like this. It is the individual’s willingness to utterly accept what God has revealed to them. Until one does, they can never ever fully understand or know God’s word. This is why the Psalmist David wrote that “The law of the LORD is perfect, reviving the soul.” We are imperfect but God’s law is and can restore us completely when we follow its ways. In fact, “The statutes of the LORD are trustworthy, making wise the simple.” God’s laws, his ways are not complex, confusing, or hard to understand; one simply follows God wholeheartedly and loves others as he loves himself! “The precepts of the LORD are right, giving joy to the heart.” Some of the simplest folks I have known have been truly the wisest and happiest because they adhere to this one godly precept. For the Psalmist David God was not unknowable or a concept and neither were his laws; they gave him insight, light in a sin-darkened world, and a way to view reality as it truly was and so “The commands of the LORD are radiant, giving light to the eyes.” He knew that when one drew near to God they would be awed by his presence and humbled by the experience because “The fear (the awe) of the LORD is pure, enduring forever.” This is what reminds us who we are and whom we are to worship and is why there was no question of doubt in his mind that “The ordinances of the LORD are sure and altogether righteous.” David could absolutely trust in the law of God, his statues, precepts, commands, and ordinances. And as he did they became “more precious than gold, than much pure gold; they [were] sweeter than honey, than honey from the comb.” The Psalmist David had come to know God intimately by walking with him moment by moment in following his ways and in doing so he had learned that “By them is your servant warned; in keeping them there is great reward.” The way of the Lord is discovered in his directions!

EXAMPLE: I have found a wondrous consistency in the Bible from Genesis to Revelation that I did not find in any other spiritual work I ever read. The Koran, the Vedas, Book of Mormon, or other works seemed shallow, simplistic, disjointed, and totally fabricated. While there are those who will declare that there are also inconsistencies within Scriptures it is usually because they are like someone who looks at a sweet little child’s work of art and can only see the mistakes instead of the heartfelt joy, the beauty of creation, or its simple reliability. No wonder so many folks have not discovered what the Psalmist David did, that the way of the Lord is discovered in his directions!

Much of the psychological, emotional, and spiritual problems the world faces are because the world’s view of morality has been drastically skewed. The Psalmist teaches us that…

III. The way of the Lord is understood when we confess our sin! (Vv. 12-14)

Who can determine his errors? Forgive my hidden faults. Keep your servant also from willful sins; may they not rule over me. Then will I be blameless, innocent of great transgression. May the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be pleasing in your sight, O LORD, my Rock and my Redeemer.

1. Unless a person is willing to look at and acknowledge their own imperfections they are not being honest with themselves or others and certainly not with God. It can be difficult to do. This is why the Psalmist David asks, “Who can determine his errors?” And if course the answer is “no one can.” We are to narrow in our view of ourselves. Yet if we are willing to honestly look at ourselves and truthfully admit our sins we can be the people God desires. This is why the Apostle John would write, “If we claim to be without sin, we deceive ourselves and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness. If we claim we have not sinned, we make him out to be a liar and his word has no place in our lives.” (1 John 1:8-10 NIV) So the Psalmist David immediately confesses, “Forgive my hidden faults.” These were the sins he tried to hide from God but knew he could not yet he had deceived himself into thinking he could! Kind of like we do. Yet he took his condition one step further by requesting, “Keep your servant also from willful sins” because his whole desire was that “they not rule over me.” He did not want his headstrong nature and stubborn sin or anything that was unconfessed to rule or reign in his life! We often try to make excuses for our ungodly actions but this man wanted to be fully free from any guilt in order to follow God. He knew that if he was honest about his ungodliness then he would “be blameless, innocent of great transgression.” In thinking about the wondrous works of God and his simple yet beautiful precepts the Psalmist David realized his own evil nature. He would write in another Psalm, “Have mercy on me, O God, according to your unfailing love; according to your great compassion blot out my transgressions. Wash away all my iniquity and cleanse me from my sin. For I know my transgressions, and my sin is always before me. Against you, you only, have I sinned and done what is evil in your sight, so that you are proved right when you speak and justified when you judge.” (Psalms 51:1-4 NIV) And so it is here we find him praying, “May the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be pleasing in your sight, O LORD, my Rock and my Redeemer.” Because like Paul, David knew that “it is with your heart that you believe and are justified, and it is with your mouth that you confess and are saved.” (Romans 10:10 NIV) The way of the Lord is understood when we confess our sin!

EXAMPLE: I find it humorous when a believer is caught in their sin and they blame circumstances, others, or try to justify their actions in that they deserved to commit this sin in this instance! I often want to blurt out, “Don’t you hear yourself?” For all of his faults David was willing to do whatever it took to restore his relationship with the Lord. And here in this wonderful Psalm about God’s creation David teaches us that the way of the Lord is understood when we confess our sin!

Conclusion:

The way of the Lord is found in the works of his hands! The way of the Lord is discovered in his directions! The way of the Lord is understood when we confess our sin!
—-
This article is copyrighted © 2017 by Lee Hemen and is the sole property of Lee Hemen, and may not be used unless you quote the entire article and have my permission.

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The kingdom strikes back! – Ephesians 1:15-23

The kingdom strikes back! – Ephesians 1:15-23
By Pastor Lee Hemen
January 8, 2017

Kingdoms come and kingdoms go and the idea of colonialism is nothing new. We find it in the kingdoms of the Vikings, Celts, Saxons, Incas, Aztecs, Sioux, Shoshone, Egyptians, Zulus, Ethiopians, Romans, Greeks, Assyrians, Babylonians, Muslims, Russians, Mongols, Chinese, Japanese, Koreans, Great Britain, and the United States. Any group of people, tribe, city state, or nation has always wanted to exert their influence on others whether they like it or not. It is part and parcel of our fallen human nature and Israel was no different.

However, what all of these “kingdoms” forget is that the only kingdom that truly matters is the Kingdom of God. It has no boarders, boundaries, or political persuasion. It is founded in the very nature of God and those who are willing to enter into his kingdom become his children. And Paul’s message is one of where God’s kingdom has been established and citizenship brings about beautiful wondrous things. Paul teaches us that the kingdom strikes back; let’s discover what this means for mankind today.

READ: Ephesians 1:15-23

The Ephesians, like many believers, were suffering from not fully understanding what their citizenship in God’s kingdom meant for their lives and future. Paul related that…

I. Kingdom kids enjoy the power of prayer! (Vv. 15-17)

For this reason, ever since I heard about your faith in the Lord Jesus and your love for all the saints, I have not stopped giving thanks for you, remembering you in my prayers. I keep asking that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the glorious Father, may give you the Spirit of wisdom and revelation, so that you may know him better.

1. Because God predestined us for salvation since the creation of all things, lavished us with all wonderful things in him, and has sealed us with his presence Paul continues by writing the Ephesians that “For this reason” he continued to remember them in his prayers, his conversations with God! For Paul it was a natural thing to do and he relates that “ever since I heard about your faith in the Lord Jesus and your love for all the saints, I have not stopped giving thanks for you, remembering you in my prayers.” Paul kept talking to God about them in order that they would become all that God desired! Paul now prayed that his readers might know God personally and intimately. He writes that he kept “asking that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the glorious Father, may give (them) the Spirit of wisdom and revelation, so that (they) may know him (God in Jesus) better.” Wisdom? Revelation? Yes! So that we know God better! Jesus taught by his example the importance of prayer, of conversing with God regularly. Luke related that “Jesus often withdrew to lonely places and prayed.” (Luke 5:16 NIV) We are to pray for our enemies, those who persecute us, curse us, mistreat us, and for one another because “The prayer of a righteous man is powerful and effective.” (James 5:16 NIV) From the time that Jesus’ disciples asked Jesus to teach them how to pray to the encouragement of Paul and others for believers to pray we discover that kingdom kids enjoy the power of prayer!

EXAMPLE: Prayers had been reserved for those who could enter into the presence of God, priests, or those who were chosen to do so. Prayers were often by route; mindless repetitions and the recitations of formulas. But now because of what God had done through Jesus and by his permanent presence in his children, they now enjoy a moment by moment intimate conversation with him! Paul teaches us that Kingdom kids enjoy the power of prayer!

Far too many Christians walk around as spiritual weaklings constantly wondering if God truly loves them, cares for them, or if in fact if he is involved in their lives at all! Paul teaches us that…

II. Kingdom kids have a grand inheritance! (Vv. 18-21)

I pray also that the eyes of your heart may be enlightened in order that you may know the hope to which he has called you, the riches of his glorious inheritance in the saints, and his incomparably great power for us who believe. That power is like the working of his mighty strength, which he exerted in Christ when he raised him from the dead and seated him at his right hand in the heavenly realms, far above all rule and authority, power and dominion, and every title that can be given, not only in the present age but also in the one to come.

1. Paul continued by telling his readers that “I pray also that the eyes of your heart may be enlightened”. This is an interesting phrase by Paul because when he writes “the eyes of your heart” he means their entire being might know and be “enlightened” and it is a continuation of his preceding statement! Paul was continually asking God for them to have Spiritual wisdom, revelation, and that they would be completely enlightened! Why? Because Paul understood that new believers need to fully understand the presence and power of God in their lives. He continued by writing that they “may know the hope to which he has called you”! This is not some I wish I may I wish I might kind of hope against hope concept or feeling but rather a certainty and total assurance of the presence of Jesus! In fact it understands “the riches of his glorious inheritance in the saints, and his incomparably great power for us who believe.” And Paul knew exactly where this force came from and writes “That power is like the working of his mighty strength, which he exerted in Christ when he raised him from the dead and seated him at his right hand in the heavenly realms”! What has not set into the minds of some believers is the fact that we have all the power of the resurrection and on that final day Jesus will turn to us as his own and declare, “Come, you who are blessed by my Father; take your inheritance, the kingdom prepared for you since the creation of the world.” (Matthew 25:34 NIV) The reason this is so powerful and so incredibly awesome of an inheritance is because Jesus is “far above all rule and authority, power and dominion, and every title that can be given, not only in the present age but also in the one to come.” Kingdom kids have a grand inheritance!

EXAMPLE: Why do people think they deserve some things? And why do people fight over things they did not earn or even care about until they think someone else may end up with it? Some of the stupidest things have caused some of the worst actions in people. There’s an old joke about two friends who meet at lunch and one is all sad. His friend asks why he is so sad. He relates that his uncle died and left him $40,000! Then the following week his aunt dies and leaves him $250,000! And then last week his grandmother dies and leaves him $500,000! Incredulous his friend wonders why he is so sad and he remarks, “This week… I got nothing!” Paul related that our hope is not in earthly things; instead, Kingdom kids have a grand inheritance!

Paul finishes this section with two powerful verses.

III. Kingdom kids have a powerful king! (Vv. 22-23)

And God placed all things under his feet and appointed him to be head over everything for the church, which is his body, the fullness of him who fills everything in every way.

1. God’s “incomparably great power for us who believe” is displayed for us in Jesus’ resurrection and when he ascended to heaven to sit in authority. This spiritually dynamic force is given to those who believe and sealed in us by the same power in the Holy Spirit! God is the creator of all things, predestined all things, and knows all things. And this is why Jesus is “far above all rule and authority, power and dominion, and every title that can be given” by men! And so Paul declares that “God placed all things under his feet”. Jesus therefore has total authority because of who he is and what he did for us! He gave it to himself and “appointed (himself) to be head over everything for the church”! The word for church means those who are specifically called for a purpose united in him! Jesus is the church’s king. He earned the right to rule over it by his selfless act. His church “which is his body” is to be doing his work and will in the world he died for. It is built upon the truth that Jesus is “the Christ, the Son of the living God” (Matthew 16:16) and it is upon this truth Jesus built his body the church! Paul would tell the Corinthians that this church his “body is a unit, though it is made up of many parts; and though all its parts are many, they form one body.” (1 Corinthians 12:12) Believers are part of God’s kingdom, his church, his body and as Kingdom kids we have a powerful king!

EXAMPLE: The old playground threat of “My Dad is bigger than your Dad!” can carry with it nowadays the intent of violence and the child who says it can be expelled from school. While bullying should not be tolerated sometimes parents need to allow their children to work things out. Not every childish taunt is bullying it is just being childish. Sometimes we want to protect our children so much it can be detrimental to their maturity and how they handle life’s difficulties. However in a world where there is so much hatred, violence, and uncertainty it is good to know and understand that Kingdom kids have a powerful king!

Conclusion:

Kingdom kids enjoy the power of prayer! Kingdom kids have a grand inheritance! Kingdom kids have a powerful king!
—-
This article is copyrighted © 2017 by Lee Hemen and is the sole property of Lee Hemen, and may not be used unless you quote the entire article and have my permission.

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The way, the truth, the life! – John 14:1-6

The way, the truth, the life! – John 14:1-6
By Pastor Lee Hemen
September 20, 2015

In the book Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy, a “trilogy” of five books published between 1979 and 1992, relates the story of a race of hyper-intelligent pan-dimensional beings who built a computer named Deep Thought to calculate the Answer to the Ultimate Question of Life, the Universe, and Everything. When the answer was revealed to be 42, Deep Thought explained that the answer was incomprehensible because the beings it was speaking to didn’t know what they were asking. Of course this was nonsensical science fiction, but the question of what the secret to life has often been discussed. There are those who look for some secret or mystical sign from God or anywhere in order to discover for themselves what this might be.

There are folks who think that the secret to life is in unwrapping the hidden god in you, finding some esoteric teaching that will bring everything together in one cosmic consciousness, some believe it is a yearning programmed into us by aliens from another galaxy, and then there are those who claim not to care at all thinking there is no meaning to life whatsoever. We find in John’s gospel that the secret of life has been revealed in Jesus. Let’s discover what Jesus teaches us concerning the way, the truth and the life…

READ: John 14:1-6

According to Jesus we discover that the way, the truth, and the life…

I. Gives us a future hope and a present comfort! (Vv. 1-3)

“Do not let your hearts be troubled. Trust in God; trust also in me. In my Father’s house are many rooms; if it were not so, I would have told you. I am going there to prepare a place for you. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come back and take you to be with me that you also may be where I am.”

1. Knowing what was going to happen to him soon and knowing what would happen to his followers, Jesus teaches them to not let their “hearts be troubled.” The word “troubled” here in this verse means agitated or shaken and whether we are shaken or troubled in this world, we can find comfort in Jesus. So whatever concerns us, we absolutely have comfort in Jesus. Why? Jesus’ reasoning is based on the fact that if we can “Trust in God” we can also “trust” in him. After all he is God and trusting in one is trusting in the other! If you think your problems in life are harsh, remember Jesus is addressing those who would have to struggle with the fact one of their own just left to betray Jesus, another would deny him three times, and the rest would run away as fast they could when confronted with the armed guards arresting Jesus! They would feel like frightened, hunted orphans, left on their own. Jesus continues to comfort them by telling them, “In my Father’s house are many rooms; if it were not so, I would have told you.” Much has been written about this. Some believe it is actual houses, others special rooms, while the wording suggests the place where God has prepared places for his disciples to abide. God’s kingdom, where he is, is a big big house with lots and lots of room for all of those who have trusted in him! In fact it is a certainty because otherwise Jesus would have told us so! And, in fact, he is “going there to prepare a place” for them! His death, burial, and resurrection followed by his ascension provided a place for us in his kingdom! Yet the wonderful promise Jesus tells them, “And if I go and prepare a place for you,” which he definitely did, then “I will come back and take you to be with me that you also may be where I am.” We discover that the way, the truth, and the life gives us a future hope and a present comfort!

EXAMPLE: Our hope and comfort in Jesus is more than pie in the sky when we die, it is for the here and now as well. However, the truth that Jesus just taught his disciples is reinforced when he returned to his throne in heaven. The Book of Acts relates that after Jesus finished speaking to his disciples, “he was taken up before their very eyes, and a cloud hid him from their sight. They were looking intently up into the sky as he was going, when suddenly two men dressed in white stood beside them. ‘Men of Galilee,’ they said, ‘why do you stand here looking into the sky? This same Jesus, who has been taken from you into heaven, will come back in the same way you have seen him go into heaven.'” (Acts 1:9-11 NIV) Jesus comforts us now and he is coming back, this truth gives us a future hope and a present comfort!

According to Jesus we discover that…

II. The way, the truth, and the life are found in him alone! (Vv. 4-6)

“You know the way to the place where I am going.” Thomas said to him, “Lord, we don’t know where you are going, so how can we know the way?” Jesus answered, “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.”

1. Jesus does not leave them guessing about what he just told them and in fact we too know where he went. We know that Stephen, the first martyr for Jesus while he was being stoned to death, “full of the Holy Spirit, looked up to heaven and saw the glory of God, and Jesus standing at the right hand of God.” (Acts 7:55 NIV) Peter told the crowd at Pentecost, “God exalted him to his own right hand as Prince and Savior that he might give repentance and forgiveness of sins to Israel.” (Acts 5:31 NIV)  Paul would say that God’s mighty power was “exerted in Christ when he raised him from the dead and seated him at his right hand in the heavenly realms, far above all rule and authority, power and dominion, and every title that can be given, not only in the present age but also in the one to come. (Ephesians 1:20-21 NIV) However, Thomas, the one who often wants proof, said to him, “Lord, we don’t know where you are going, so how can we know the way?” Throughout his three years with them Jesus had told them over and over where he was headed and why, but they did not completely understand it. Some believe Jesus is simply a “way shower,” in that he just shows us the way to God, but Jesus is far more than that. Jesus tells them bluntly, “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.” This is a forceful statement, meaning it is kind of like your parents telling you, “No you cannot set your little brother on fire!” Jesus is the only way, the only truth, and the only life; there is no other way to God, no other truth of God, and no other life besides that with God. The way, the truth, and the life are found in him alone!

EXAMPLE: It baffles me how some folks think it is intelligent not to believe there is a God when there is so much proof that there is indeed a Creator. The genetic code, the workings of the universe, microbiology, and even mathematics point to a logical and consistent creation. In fact, we have more evidence that Jesus lived, died, and was resurrected than we have for the existence of George Washington, Plato, or that Julius Caesar existed. Why would I say this? Simply because Jesus has more contemporaneous evidences, historians, and folks who wrote eye-witness accounts than Plato, Washington, or Caesar had. So when Jesus says what he does about himself, we had better pay attention, and after all Washington, Plato, or Caesar did not rise from the dead and ascend into heaven! The way, the truth, and the life are found in him alone!

Conclusion:

The way, the truth, and the life give us a future hope and a present comfort! The way, the truth, and the life are found in him alone! Do you know the way, the truth, and the life?

This article is copyrighted © 2015 by Lee Hemen and is the sole property of Lee Hemen, and may not be used unless you quote the entire article and have my permission.

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The Light! — John 1:1-5

The Light! — John 1:1-5
By Pastor Lee Hemen
August 31, 2014

In the strictest sense this Gospel has no author named like Paul’s letters do. It is anonymous. In fact, none of the four Gospel authors identify themselves by name. There is a good reason for this, they are not meant to be private letters to specific churches or individuals, except perhaps Luke’s Gospel. Yet we discover that often the writer reveals himself through his writing and we discover that church history can often reveal who the authors were. Putting all of these facts together makes a good case for the author of the Fourth Gospel having been John, one of the sons of a fisherman named Zebedee.

The date for the writing of the Gospel of John was probably between 85 and 95 AD, however, there is good evidence that it could have been written as early as 45 and 65 AD before the destruction of the Temple. And, John himself tells us why he wrote his gospel, “But these are written that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that by believing you may have life in his name. (John 20:31 NIV)” Matthew’s gospel begins with a genealogy, Luke is dedicated to his friend Theophilus, Mark begins with the preaching of John the Baptist, but John’s gospel begins with Jesus the Light! Let’s discover why…

READ: John 1:1-5

John Wayne in the movie The Cowboys asks Jebediah Nightlinger, Rosco Lee Brown, about his bona fides as a cook and Nightlinger then remarks how he can cook and cook well by reciting his cooking credentials. A person’s bona fides serves to guarantee a person’s good faith, standing, and reputation; authentic credentials. John begins his gospel in reciting Jesus’ bona fides as the Light. John writes that first of all…

I. The Light is God! (Vv. 1-2)

In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was with God in the beginning.

  1. John immediately establishes Jesus’ credentials, his bona fides, as being God by giving him a new moniker. John addresses Jesus as the Word, logos. It was a common Greek philosophical term which had become the rage of the day for even the religious leaders of the Jews. Like the Greeks, they loved to debate. So it was a common term in Jewish wisdom literature and philosophy as well and it was familiar to his readers. John’s usage becomes quite clear when he writes, “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God.” The “logos”, Jesus, was with God in full fellowship in the very beginning of all things. But more than that, “the Word was God.” John states, “logos en Theos”, and so his meaning is very clear. The Light, Jesus, is God! He existed from the very beginning, he was and is in complete total fellowship with God, and the Light is God himself! Not “a god” as the heresies of the Jehovah’s Witnesses or Latter Day Saints teaches. John is clearly setting up the doctrine of the Trinity, whereby the Father, Son, and the Spirit are one; coequal in power, authority, and nature. This is very important because we discover Jesus teaching later, “I and the Father are one. (John 10:30 NIV)” and “I came from the Father and entered the world; now I am leaving the world and going back to the Father. (John 16:28 NIV)” He also affirmed, “I tell you the truth, before Abraham was born, I am! (John 8:58 NIV)” and finally, “All that belongs to the Father is mine. That is why I said the Spirit will take from what is mine and make it known to you. (John 16:15 NIV)” When we look at Jesus, we see God Himself! (John 12:45) John begins by teaching, “He was with God in the beginning.” It is the divine nature of who Jesus is; that namely the Light is God!

  EXAMPLE: There is a whole lot of confusion in our world today concerning what it means to believe in Jesus as Savior and Lord. Many readily say “I believe in God.” But what they mean by that usually means they believe in some kind of higher power than themselves. Jesus is more than just a wise holy man, he is more than a nice guy who taught great things, he is the Logos, the Word; God himself! If Jesus is not God then what he was sent to teach us about God and what he eventually did, die on a cross and come back to life, means nothing! In J. R. R. Tolkien’s book The Hobbit, the wizard Gandalf explains why he has selected a small hobbit to fight the enemy. He says, “Saruman believes it is only great power that can hold evil in check, but that is not what I have found. I found it is the small everyday deeds of ordinary folk that keep the darkness at bay. Small acts of kindness and love.” As nice as that sounds, it was the Light who did that greatest act of kindness ever in order to pierce the darkness of sin! The Light for John is God!

The Light for John is God; he is foundational to all things ever taught to the Hebrew people. He is the hoped for Messiah, but he was much more. For John…

II. The Light is the Creator! (v. 3)

Through him all things were made; without him nothing was made that has been made.

  1. Like bullets in a PowerPoint presentation Johns immediately establishes for his readers exactly who Jesus is. However, for John it was important that we understand what he meant that Jesus is God and that he was in the beginning of all things. “Through him all things were made” is a statement for the power and authority of Jesus as well. While the Word has always been in a relationship with God the Father, we discover that Jesus did not at some point in time come into existence or begin a relationship with the Father. From eternity past the Father and the Son have always existed together; both are God, not two Gods. Jesus is Creator God. This is why Paul would affirm, “yet for us there is but one God, the Father, from whom all things came and for whom we live; and there is but one Lord, Jesus Christ, through whom all things came and through whom we live. (1 Corinthians 8:6 NIV)” And he would reiterate that in fact Jesus “is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn over all creation. For by him all things were created: things in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or powers or rulers or authorities; all things were created by him and for him. He is before all things, and in him all things hold together. (Colossians 1:15-17 NIV)” This is why John would teach us that “without him nothing was made that has been made.” Why is this so important? Simply because there are those who would have you believe that everything came into being, BANG, on its own or that some pantheistic god holds everything together and we just have to tune into the vibe of it. Nothing could be further from the truth! We are not part of the amoebic whole nor were we some blob that finally crawled up on a beach somewhere and evolved into the image of our creator! The mere existence of Jesus disproves all of these false teachings! The Light is the Creator!

  EXAMPLE: The Bible teaches us that God spoke and everything came into being, some call this ex nihilo, meaning out of nothing something. Why is this important for us to know? Paul wrote the Corinthian church, “Do you not know that the wicked will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived: Neither the sexually immoral nor idolaters nor adulterers nor male prostitutes nor homosexual offenders nor thieves nor the greedy nor drunkards nor slanderers nor swindlers will inherit the kingdom of God. And that is what some of you were. But you were washed, you were sanctified, you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and by the Spirit of our God. (1 Corinthians 6:9-11 NIV)” Here is a beautiful truth that while we were once just as Paul describes us, the new reality is that “if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has gone, the new has come! (2 Corinthians 5:17 NIV)” The Light, for John, created all things proving he is indeed God, but he also created us in him! The Light is the Creator!

The reason I say this is because of what John writes next about the Light. John knew that Jesus was more than some unreachable deity; he was just like us without sin. However his whole life reflected who he was. For John…

III. The Light is life! (Vv. 4-5)

In him was life, and that life was the light of men. The light shines in the darkness, but the darkness has not understood it.

  1. Life is sacred and it is the most important benefit of who we are as sinful humanity. God granted and gave us life. God gave us Jesus the life of all mankind. We all understand that to lose a loved one is a tragedy and to lose someone we love without them knowing the love of God is truly heartbreaking! Yet what John writes gives us hope. In Jesus “was life, and life was the light of all men”! Jesus is the Creator and he is the source of all life, especially eternal life! We know “that everyone who believes in him may have eternal life. For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. (John 3:15-16 NIV)” Jesus would affirm, “I am the way and the truth and the life. (John 14:6 NIV)” And, he would teach, “I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness, but will have the light of life. (John 8:12 NIV)” Jesus is the Light of the world! He is the one who gives us eternal life and a hope in the darkness of sin and death! This world is full of evil, violence, and death. None of us can say how long we will live or when we will die, however, if we know the Light of the world to live is Christ and to die is gain! Jesus would lovingly tell his disciples, “I have come into the world as a light, so that no one who believes in me should stay in darkness. (John 12:46 NIV)” In Jesus we have wonderful hope in a sin-darkened world! “The light shines in the darkness, but the darkness has not understood it.” That which is sinful and ungodly does not recognize the light of life! Jesus came to rescue us from the darkness of spiritual ignorance, death, and the sin condition of our lives. Paul would ask, “Where, O death, is your victory? Where, O death, is your sting? The sting of death is sin, and the power of sin is the law. But thanks be to God! He gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ! (1 Corinthians 15:55-57 NIV)” Matthew would write that “the people living in darkness have seen a great light; on those living in the land of the shadow of death a light has dawned. (Matthew 4:16 NIV)” John knew that Jesus the Light is life!

  EXAMPLE: When comedian Robin Williams recently committed suicide people were shocked, dismayed, and hurt. Yet we soon discovered his life was full of personal demons of self-doubt, drugs, and alcohol. While much of Hollywood embraces all things weird, odd, or strange what a difference it could have made if even one of Williams’ friends would have shared Christ with him. I have known others who suffered some of the very same doubts, used drugs and alcohol to try to sooth their darkened souls, but found hope, personal peace, and light in darkness because of Jesus Christ. Life is sacred and we only have one to live on this earth. God granted and gave us life in Jesus. For John, Jesus the Light is life!

Conclusion:

Jesus the Light is God, Jesus the Light is the Creator, and Jesus the Light is life!

This article is copyrighted © 2014 by Lee Hemen and is the sole property of Lee Hemen, and may not be used unless you quote the entire article and have my permission.

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Worship is, “loving” God! – Psalm 18:1-3; Psalm 8:1, 3-4; Psalm 144:3-4

Worship is, “loving” God! – Psalm 18:1-3; Psalm 8:1, 3-4; Psalm 144:3-4
By Pastor Lee Hemen
November 24, 2013 AM

How often do you tell the person you care about most in life that you love them? There’s an old joke where on their 50th wedding anniversary a farmer’s wife said she was leaving him. He asked her,
“Why?” She replied, “Because you don’t love me.” He responded, “Why in the world would you say that?” She said, “Because you never say that you love me!” He immediately replied, “I told you that I love you on our wedding day; if I ever change my mind, I’ll let you know!” Sadly, for some this is exactly how they treat their relationship with God! Our worship is, “loving” God!

Perhaps some of us have forgotten what our worship is to be. The Bible reminds us over and over that His people are to “love” Him. Jesus related that the greatest thing we can do as God’s children is to “Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.” In fact, worship is, “loving” God! Let’s take a closer look at Scripture and discover what this truly means.

READ: Psalm 18:1-3; Psalm 8:1, 3-4; Psalm 144:3-4

When is the last time you told God you loved Him for who He is instead of what He has done or is doing in your life? How would that fly with someone you cared for? You only say you love them for the things they do for you or have done for you. We are reminded that…

I. Worship is loving God, when we tell Him so! (Psalms 18:1-3 NIV)

I love you, O LORD, my strength. The LORD is my rock, my fortress and my deliverer; my God is my rock, in whom I take refuge. He is my shield and the horn of my salvation, my stronghold. I call to the LORD, who is worthy of praise, and I am saved from my enemies. (Psalms 18:1-3 NIV)
1. The intro to this Psalm states, “For the director of music. Of David the servant of the LORD. He sang to the LORD the words of this song when the LORD delivered him from the hand of all his enemies and from the hand of Saul.” David is praising God for his deliverance and for the peace, he was finally experiencing as King of Israel. King David understood what some in power do not, namely that God is the one who is the rock, and He brings stability and security, in which we can take “refuge”! God tells us that He does not change. He is the same yesterday, today, and forever. David loved God for the constant refuge He provided, the shield and stronghold He was in life. In his vow to praise God, David piled military metaphor after military metaphor to describe all that the Lord was and had been to him. Why would a military King care one hoot how he felt about God let alone express his feeling to the Lord? I believe that David expressed his love for the Lord who had shown mercy to him throughout his many struggles. Even when he had been wrongly accused by Saul, had to wage a long drawn out campaign to bring his nation under control, family infighting, and his own sinful condition! David could call on the Lord who loved him, and love Him in return, because the Lord had defended and delivered David from all his enemies, He was worthy of David’s praise. David was not ashamed to let God know how much he loved Him! In our lives, especially as we approach Thanksgiving, we should also remind ourselves just what God has done for us and express our love for Him. Like David, we need to realize that worship is loving God, when we tell Him so!
EXAMPLE: David shared during a time of great distress that God is, “enthroned as the Holy One; you are the praise of Israel.” (Psalms 22:3 NIV) Literally, God “inhabits” the praise of the Israelite people! God does indeed inhabit the praise or worship of His people. We often forget that our worship is never about us, it is always to be focused on God alone or it is not worship! I can love my wife, but if I never tell her so, my feelings mean nothing. This is why we are told to “confess” with our mouths and “believe” in our hearts. It is also, why Scripture reminds us to “Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.” (Mark 12:30 NIV) And remember, according to the Word of God, our words are always to be in conjunction with actions! Like David, we need to realize that worship is loving God, when we tell Him so!

It truly baffles me is when folks go through life without ever noticing that everything they enjoy was created by God. Paul writes, “For since the creation of the world God’s invisible qualities–his eternal power and divine nature–have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made, so that men are without excuse.” (Romans 1:20 NIV) We are reminded that…

II. Worship is loving God, when we remember His creation! (Psalms 8:1-4 NIV)
O LORD, our Lord, how majestic is your name in all the earth! You have set your glory above the heavens. From the lips of children and infants, you have ordained praise because of your enemies, to silence the foe and the avenger. When I consider your heavens, the work of your fingers, the moon and the stars, which you have set in place, what is man that you are mindful of him, the son of man that you care for him? (Psalms 8:1-4 NIV)
1. Notice how David begins this psalm by relating, “O Lord, our Lord.” It is a personal reference for David that relates just how much David viewed his relationship with God. He believed God was his Lord always. And, isn’t that great to know during this time of thanksgiving? David was addressing God by His personal name Yahweh (“Lord”), David then identified Him as “our Lord” (’ăḏōnay), his Sovereign or Master. “Lord” stresses David’s recognition of God’s authority over His Creation. So majestic is God’s nature for David that he cries, “You have set your glory above the heavens!” God alone can do this. While pagan cultures worship the created things rather than the Creator, David acknowledges the magnificent nature of God! It is a direct slam to the manmade deities that others worshiped. In fact, David realized that even the innocent knew who God truly was, for, “From the lips of children and infants, you have ordained praise because of your enemies, to silence the foe and the avenger.” Isn’t it interesting, children never have a problem believing there is a God. Adults are the ones that instill distrust and doubt into young minds. Why is that? I believe it is because of the embarrassment and consciousness of sin. David knew that when one just looks up into the night sky, there was no doubt God existed! Instead of worshipping the planets or stars as pagans did, David worships the One who made them! “When I consider your heavens, the work of your fingers, the moon and the stars, which you have set in place, what is man that you are mindful of him, the son of man that you care for him?” Compared to the majesty of God and the awesome panoply of the universe spread out in the night sky, how could a mere tiny man match up to that? David teaches us that worship is loving God, when we remember His creation!
EXAMPLE: Did you know that 80 percent of all life on Earth is found in the oceans of the world? That staggering number can be difficult to process, largely because most of that life is out of sight. Knowing this should remind you of how much greater God’s creation is than we typically appreciate. While we can easily have our breath taken away by a majestic mountain range or a panoramic sunset, we sometimes fail to see His extraordinary work in the details that require more careful study and examination. Not only is much of God’s creation hidden by the oceans but also other parts are too small for our eyes to see! From the microscopically small to the unsearched reaches of the universe, it is all the work of our Creator. In these magnificent structures, seen and unseen, God’s creative glory is revealed! However, compared to all the magnificence of the inner or outer universe, God’s majesty is greater because He is Creator! David teaches us that worship is loving God, when we remember His creation!

Paul warned that when the creature demands worship that is due the Creator, we are in serious trouble, “Although they claimed to be wise, they became fools and exchanged the glory of the immortal God for images made to look like mortal man… They exchanged the truth of God for a lie, and worshiped and served created things rather than the Creator–who is forever praised. Amen.” (Romans 1:22-23, 25 NIV) We are reminded that…

III. Worship is loving God, when we remember who we are! (Psalms 144:3-4 NIV)

O LORD, what is man that you care for him, the son of man that you think of him? Man is like a breath; his days are like a fleeting shadow. (Psalms 144:3-4 NIV)
1. We find David acknowledging God for His power and protection, but then he reminds himself, “O LORD, what is man that you care for him, the son of man that you think of him?” These are questions every human being has asked. Why would a great God care for a sinful person? As the theologist Gill would ponder, “Man, that is at most and best but a creature, made of the dust of the earth, is but dust and ashes; yes, a sinful creature, that drinks up iniquity like water!” David would cry, “Wash away all my iniquity and cleanse me from my sin. For I know my transgressions, and my sin is always before me. Against you, you only, have I sinned and done what is evil in your sight… Surely I was sinful at birth, sinful from the time my mother conceived me.” (Psalms 51:2-5 NIV) David held no illusions to what he really was and what he was guilty of doing. Most folks know and yet are afraid to admit it to the One who can cleanse us completely! Gill continues, “Yet the Lord not only knows him, as he is the omniscient God, but takes notice of him in a way of providence, and in a way of grace!” Perhaps, like David, during this season of thanksgiving we need to remind ourselves not only of what we are, sinful, but that “Man is like a breath; his days are like a fleeting shadow.” Life is short, a mere breath, as compared to an eternal God! What impact will your short-lived life have? Man lives either for himself or for the Lord. David wrote, “Show me, O LORD, my life’s end and the number of my days; let me know how fleeting is my life. You have made my days a mere handbreadth; the span of my years is as nothing before you. Each man’s life is but a breath!” (Psalms 39:4-6 NIV) Shouldn’t we be thankful for an everlasting God who imparts eternal life to sinful mortal man when we confess His Son as Savior and Lord? David teaches us that worship is loving God, when we remember who we are!
EXAMPLE: James would admonish us to, “Humble yourselves before the Lord, and he will lift you up.” (James 4:10 NIV) and then he would inquire, “What is your life? You are a mist that appears for a little while and then vanishes.” (v. 14) this is why Jesus’ words speak to the eternal nature of our lives when we trust in Him, “For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.” (John 3:16 NIV) Paul would confess, “Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners–of whom I am the worst. But for that very reason I was shown mercy so that in me, the worst of sinners, Christ Jesus might display his unlimited patience as an example for those who would believe on him and receive eternal life.” (1 Timothy 1:15-16 NIV) David teaches us that worship is loving God, when we remember who we are!

Conclusion:
Like David, we need to realize that worship is loving God, when we tell Him so!
David teaches us that worship is loving God, when we remember His creation!
David teaches us that worship is loving God, when we remember who we are!

This article is copyrighted © 2013 by Lee Hemen and is the sole property of Lee Hemen, and may not be used unless you quote the entire article and have my permission.

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Hebrews 3:1-6 Moses vs. Jesus: Smack Down!

Hebrews 3:1-6 Moses vs. Jesus: Smack Down!
By Pastor Lee Hemen
July 15, 2012 AM

There are some things in life that are better than other things. Peanut butter and jelly is better than plain bread and butter; homemade cookies are better than cheap store-bought ones and college football is better than pro football any day of the week! Of course some may disagree with my assessments, but there is one arena where we cannot disagree as to what is better and that is in the spiritual assessment between God’s Messiah and God’s Messenger. That is between Moses the messenger and Jesus the Messiah.

The writer of Hebrews continues in his evaluation of just how much grandeur Jesus is than people’s old views of spirituality. The old contract was finished and the new one has come into service. In his assessment between Moses and Jesus the author of Hebrews makes it very plain that there simply is no contest between the two individuals. It is almost like watching a boxing match or smack down wrestling. Let’s discover for ourselves just why Jesus is better than Moses is as we look at “Moses vs. Jesus: Smack Down!”

READ: Hebrews 3:1-6

My father and I used to sit and watch the old professional wrestling shows on TV when I was a kid. Guys like Gorgeous George and the Masked Marvel were the stars of the era. The author of Hebrews gives us a blow-by-blow assessment between Moses and Jesus. It almost is like a Smack Down wrestling match. It’s “Moses vs. Jesus: Smack Down!” The bell rings and we discover that…

I. Jesus Is the Builder! (Vv. 1-3)

“Therefore, holy brothers, who share in the heavenly calling, fix your thoughts on Jesus, the apostle and high priest whom we confess. He was faithful to the one who appointed him, just as Moses was faithful in all God’s house. Jesus has been found worthy of greater honor than Moses, just as the builder of a house has greater honor than the house itself.” (Hebrews 3:1-3 NIV)

1. Notice we are called “Holy brothers” and all people are considered such “who share in the heavenly calling” of Jesus Christ! In fact, we are admonished to “fix your thoughts on Jesus.” Why would the author tell us that? Because Jesus is the main messenger “apostle” of God’s gospel to mankind and he is the “high priest whom we confess!” Both Moses and Jesus were faithful to God, but only one was both “the apostle and high priest whom we confess!” We can never confess Moses only Jesus! But also notice that verse 3 says that Jesus is worthy of more glory than Moses in relation to God’s house. And the answer is obvious: Jesus is the builder of the house and Moses is only a part of the house! Look at what he writes in verse 3: “Jesus has been found worthy of greater honor than Moses, just as the builder of a house has greater honor than the house itself.” In other words he is saying: Jesus is to the people of God as a builder is to a house. Moses is simply one of members of God’s household. Therefore Jesus built everything Moses based his life’s purpose on! Jesus built the Law of Moses in the first place! Now think about that for a moment. Certainly “Moses was faithful in all God’s house” but Jesus was the Heavenly high priest and apostle who made the house! Before Moses was born Jesus was with God in the beginning and when Moses hiked up the hill to receive the Law of God, Jesus had already written it! But more than this: Jesus is the one who brought us a heavenly calling from God and made us a way to God that is far better than the temple or the law! On him hangs all our hope of heaven. If we have any confidence this morning that our sins are forgiven and that we will persevere in faith and attain heaven, this confidence depends on Jesus who is the builder of the house of God!

EXAMPLE: As the Olympics are about to begin, we don’t have any difficulty realizing that only one person is worthy of more glory than all the others in their perspective competitions. There’s more glory in gold than in silver, and more honor in silver than in bronze. Jesus is worthy of as much more glory than Moses as the builder of a house is worthy of more glory than the house. Jesus is worthy of as much more glory than every gold medal winner of the Olympics as the builder of a house is worthy of more glory than the house. Jesus as God’s apostle and high priest made the gold, the competitors, and the house! Jesus is the builder of the house! Round one goes to Jesus!

But more than that, like a wrestler pinned to the mat and as the hand of the referee comes smacking down in the final count we quickly learn that…

II. Jesus Made Moses! (Vv. 3-4)

“Jesus has been found worthy of greater honor than Moses, just as the builder of a house has greater honor than the house itself. For every house is built by someone, but God is the builder of everything.” (Hebrews 3:3-4 NIV)

1. We learned above that “Jesus has been found worthy of greater honor than Moses” because “just as the builder of a house has greater honor than the house itself.” The inference here is also to be a transition into the next point the author is making, namely that Jesus made Moses! In fact, as we resume we discover that verse 4 continues this notion by stating, “For every house is built by someone, but God is the builder of everything.” And since Jesus is God, he made everything including Moses! Make no mistake about this theological fact, Jesus is God and not some other god in embryo or little created god-man. Jesus related, “I and the Father are one.” (John 10:30 NIV) “I tell you the truth, before Abraham was born, I am!” (John 8:58 NIV) “Anyone who has seen me has seen the Father.” (John 14:9 NIV) And both Paul and John referred to Jesus as “God and Savior” and “true God and eternal life”! (Titus 2:13 & 1 John 5:20) Jesus is the builder of the house because he is God! Now stand back and again consider the ramifications for our lives. If Jesus made Moses, the temple, and the Law of God, that means he made you and he made me! If this is true, then Jesus wins this bout with Moses simply because he made it all possible in the first place!

EXAMPLE: It would be as if the Olympic decathlon athletes were all gathered together in the locker room bragging about which one was the greatest, and Jesus comes in and quietly listens. One brags, “I threw the javelin farther than anyone else. I’m the greatest!” Another says, “I put the shot farther than anyone else. I’m the greatest!” Still another boasts, “I jumped higher than anyone else. I’m the greatest!” And then Jesus standing in the corner calmly states, “I made wood for the javelin, the minerals for the shot put, and the field you practiced on. In fact, and I made all of you. I made your arms, your legs, and your hearts and therefore I am the greatest.” Just as the author of Hebrews writes that Jesus made Moses and therefore Jesus is greater than Moses. Round two goes to Jesus!

The match is almost over. The crowd is in anticipation of who will win the bout. And as if hurdled to the ropes of the ring, the opponent learns…

III. Jesus Is the Son; Moses Is Only A Servant! (Vv. 5-6)

“Moses was faithful as a servant in all God’s house, testifying to what would be said in the future. But Christ is faithful as a son over God’s house. And we are his house, if we hold on to our courage and the hope of which we boast.” (Hebrews 3:5-6 NIV)

1. There is a difference if you are an employee of the boss or the boss’ son! Here we learn this truth anew. Moses was a servant in the house of God and Jesus is the Son over the house of God. The difference between a servant and a son is that the son, by inheritance, owns the house, and is Lord over the house, and provides for those in the house out of his wealth. But a servant doesn’t own anything in the house, and the servant obeys the word of the owner! The servant receives his provision from the owner. So again, Jesus, as a son, is superior to Moses in these three ways: 1) he owns the house of God; 2) he rules the house of God and 3) he provides for the house of God! By contrast Moses is just hired help in the house of God! He doesn’t own it; he doesn’t rule it; and he doesn’t provide for it from his wealth. He only sweeps the floor if asked to do so! So consider Jesus in relation to Moses. The writer of Hebrews wants us to apply this superiority of Jesus to ourselves! He relates, “And we are his house, if we hold on to our courage and the hope of which we boast.” The church is the house of God today! The redeemed members are the church and Jesus is the owner, the ruler, and the provider of his church, his household! He’s the son; we are the servants. He is our title-holder, our Master, and our source for all things! We are his house, his people, and partakers of a heavenly calling “if we hold on to our courage and the hope of which we boast.” Jesus is the son and Moses was only a servant, round three goes to Jesus!

EXAMPLE: Wouldn’t it be surprising for all of us as we watched the Olympics and during the medal ceremony the person who won the gold medal Greco-Roman Wrestling did not show up for the presentation but instead someone else took their place? They dramatically announce, “Ladies and gentlemen, I worked hard, followed all the rules, and I am a nice guy so I deserve the gold medal!” We would demand the medal got to the one who actually won it! This is what the readers of Hebrews were struggling with concerning their faith. They thought they deserved their salvation because they followed Moses and all the laws, but like being placed on the ropes in a wrestling match they discovered Jesus is the son and Moses was only a servant!

Conclusion:
Moses hoped in the law of God. Many in Jesus’ day hoped it was sufficient to save them if they routinely followed it to the letter. Let me ask you, “What are you hoping in this morning?” We discovered Jesus is the builder, Jesus made Moses, and Jesus is the son; Moses was only a servant!

Scripture taken from the HOLY BIBLE, NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION®. Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984 Biblica. Used by permission of Zondervan. All rights reserved.

Pastor Lee Hemen has been the outspoken pastor of the same church for 27 years in Vancouver, WA. He writes regularly on spirituality and conservative causes and maintains several web blogs. This article is copyrighted © 2012 by Lee Hemen and is the sole property of Lee Hemen, and may not be used unless you quote the entire article and have my permission.

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