Setting

In our last study, we learned that Jesus became our perfect Redeemer and High Priest through His sufferings and death. This lesson follows up on that thought and calls us to act upon what we have learned. The author asks us to “consider the Apostle and High Priest of our confession, Christ Jesus,” and he urges us to hold fast our confidence to the end in order to become partakers of Christ.

Key Verse

(3:14)

Did You Know...?

1. Apostle (3:1) means “one who is sent.”
2. “So I swore in My wrath…” (3:11): This is in reference to the historical event recorded in Numbers 14.

Outline

  • Jesus Superior to Moses
    (3:1-6)
  • Warning against Unbelief
    (3:7-15)
  • Israel’s Unbelief and Failure to Enter Rest
    (3:16-19)

Segment Analysis

  • 3:1-6

    1a.

    What does the author command us to do? Elaborate on the meaning of this command based on this paragraph.

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    The author commands us to consider Christ Jesus. The NIV translates “consider” as “fix your thoughts on.” This means that we need to pay serious attention to who Jesus is and what He has done. We also need to persist in our faith in Him and never lose sight of Him (cf. Heb 12:2).

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  • 1b.

    The word “therefore” indicates that the reason(s) for the command is found in the previous passage. What is (are) the reason(s)?

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    Our Lord Jesus Christ is the Son of God, through whom God has spoken to us. The great salvation spoken by our Lord was confirmed by His witnesses and testified to by God Himself. Jesus Christ has died to release us from bondage. He, having suffered Himself, is our merciful High Priest. For all of these reasons, we ought to consider Christ Jesus.

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  • 2.

    What does the term “partaker of the heavenly calling” mean to you? Do you view yourself as a partaker of the heavenly calling?

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  • 3.

    What does it mean that Jesus is the Apostle of our confession?

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    Jesus was sent by the Father to this world for a mission, which was to bring eternal life to those who would believe in Him (Jn 6:38-40; 17:3).

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  • 4a.

    How was Jesus like Moses?

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    Verse 2.

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  • 4b.

    In what two ways was Jesus greater than Moses?

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    He is the Builder of the house, whereas Moses was a member of the house (3). He is the Son over His own house, whereas Moses was a servant in His house (6).

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  • 5a.

    What does “the house” refer to?

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    The believers in Christ (6), i.e. the household of God, the church.

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  • 5b.

    How is Christ “a Son over His own house” (6)?

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    He is the Savior and head of the church (Eph 5:23). He is our Lord who is sovereign over us and who cares for us as His very own.

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  • 5c.

    How does the fact that Christ is the Son over His house apply to us? In other words, what is the author’s message to us?

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    Since Christ is the glorious Lord and Savior, we must put our faith in Him and heed His words.

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  • 6a.

    What is the condition for being the house of God?

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    We are God’s house if we “hold fast the confidence and the rejoicing of the hope firm to the end” (6).

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  • 6b.

    Explain the meaning of this condition.

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    Our confidence in our Lord Jesus should persist to the very end, knowing that those who trust in Him will never be put to shame (2Tim 1:12; 4:18; 1Pet 2:6). We cannot falter under trials or be lured away by the love of the world. Instead, we need to “be steadfast, immovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord…” (1Cor 15:58).

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  • 3:7-15

    7.

    What are the commands in this paragraph?

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    1. “Do not harden your hearts…” (8,15);
    2. “Beware, brethren, lest there be in any of you an evil heart of unbelief in departing from the living God” (12);
    3. “…exhort one another daily, while it is called ‘Today’… (3:13).

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  • 8.

    What does it mean to test God? How did the Israelites test and try God?

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    The reference of testing God is to the incident at Massah, where the Israelites complained to Moses because there was no water (Ex 17:1-7). The book of Exodus tells us that there they put the Lord to the test: “So he called the name of the place Massah and Meribah, because of the contention of the children of Israel, and because they tempted the LORD, saying, ‘Is the LORD among us or not?’” (Exodus 17:7).
    By grumbling against Moses, the Israelites were testing and trying the Lord. They would not believe that the Lord was among them despite the miraculous deeds they had witnessed.
    Today, if we do not have faith in God and rebel against Him, then we are testing the Lord and trying His patience, just as the Israelites did.
    Another example of testing God is demanding God to prove Himself because we do not believe in Him or His words. The devil asked Jesus to put the Lord God to the test by throwing Himself down from the pinnacle of the temple in order to deliberately bring about God’s protection (Mt 4:5-7). Similarly, some of the people who had just witnessed how Jesus cast out demons tested Jesus by demanding a sign from heaven (Lk 11:14-16). They would not believe in Jesus although they had just seen His miraculous power.
    In conclusion, if we have already experienced God’s grace and power but still deliberately fail to keep God’s word, then our action of unbelief would constitute testing the Lord.

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  • 9a.

    What was the root of the problem with the Israelites?

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    They had hardened their hearts (8) and always went astray in their heart (10). In other words, they refused to believe in the Lord (4:2).

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  • 9b.

    What was their consequence?

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    They provoked God’s wrath and could not enter His rest (11).

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  • 10a.

    What does it mean to depart from the living God (12)?

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    Departing from the living God means rejecting God and His commands. The rebellion of the Israelites serves as an example.

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  • 10b.

    What may make a believer eventually depart from the living God?

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    A believer will depart from God if he becomes hardened through the deceitfulness of sin (13). If we do not always draw close to the Lord and examine our faith, the lifestyle of sinful pleasure or material pursuits may become increasingly appealing to us. As a result, we are slowly led away by sin, until “an evil heart of unbelief” takes control in us, causing us to forsake God (12).

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  • 10c.

    How can we prevent ourselves from going down that path?

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    We ought to “beware” (12), and “exhort one another daily, while it is called ‘Today’” (13).

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  • 11.

    Why does the author add “while it is called “Today” in verse 13? What does it teach us?

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    The word “Today” is taken from the quotation in Psalm 95, “Today, if you will hear His voice, do not harden your hearts….” The point is that we need to be quick to respond to God’s word. Don’t wait until tomorrow, but let God’s word bear fruit in our hearts today. Another meaning is that we should continually submit to God’s word. Past obedience is not good enough. We must renew our commitment to God everyday.

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  • 3:16-19

    12a.

    According to this paragraph, how did the Israelites show their unbelief?

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    They sinned (17) and disobeyed (18).

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  • 12b.

    What does this teach you about what it means to be a believer?

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    Being a true believer is not just a confession of our lips, but it involves putting God’s command into practice in our daily walk.

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