Through the Bible with Les Feldick
LESSON 3 * PART 3 * BOOK 47
Hebrews chapter 3 verse 4. Remember, we showed in our last lesson, how that Jesus the Christ, Jesus of Nazareth (so we are sure you know Who we are talking about) was the Creator of everything! He is the Creator, the Sustainer of the universe. Now this verse just substantiates that:
“For every house is builded by some man; (Nothing happens without man putting his works of hands and fingers to whatever needs to be done.) but he that built all things is God.”Remember, the God that we are speaking of here is the Man, Christ Jesus. Now verse 5.
“And Moses verily was faithful in all his house, (I think I made that point in the last lesson – how that Moses never failed his commission. He was faithful in all that God has entrusted to him.) as a servant, (He was not the main player. He was simply a person that God saw fit to use, so as a servant) for a testimony of those things which were to be spoken after;”
Let’s go back to Deuteronomy 18 and we can see how this was all foretold way back in Israel’s beginning years as Moses is writing the Torah or the first five books. The same verses that we looked at before, I think are appropriate. Verse 15.
“The LORD thy God will raise up unto thee a Prophet from the midst of thee, of thy brethren, like unto me; unto him ye shall hearken;” Moses is writing from his own position as the leader of Israel, but he is speaking of this future One.
“According to all that thou desiredst of the LORD thy God in Horeb in the day of the assembly, saying, Let me not hear again the voice of the LORD my God, neither let me see this great fire any more, that I die not. 17. And the LORD (Moses said) said unto me, They have well spoken that which they have spoken. 18. I will raise them up a Prophet from among their brethren, (That’s why Jesus had to come from the line of David and from the home of Joseph and Mary as He was born in Bethlehem.) like unto thee and will put my words in his mouth; and he shall speak unto them all that I shall command him.”
Come back to Hebrews chapter 3. So, Moses was a faithful servant in everything that God had committed unto him.
“But Christ (See the comparison, over and over. Moses on the one hand and Christ on the other and how Moses just pales by comparison to the role of God the Son) as a son over his own house; (Moses was a servant of the Almighty Creator, so he couldn’t say that this is “my” house. He was merely the servant, but Christ as a Son over His own house, He is the owner! He is the total proprietor of this spiritual house that we are going to be looking at) whose house (Paul says) are we,…” What is the lesson? What kind of a house are we talking about? We are not talking about wood and stone and concrete. We are talking about something Spiritual. We are talking about a house being built in the heavens, for eternity! So as ason over his own house, whose house we are! Let’s pick this up in I Corinthians chapter 3.
Like I have said over and over, I feel the Apostle Paul wrote this letter to the Hebrews and he is admonishing the Hebrews with the same basic doctrines that he has given to us. We cannot just separate the book of Hebrews and say well, that has nothing to do with me because that was written to the Hebrews. No, the Book of Hebrews is full of information for us as Gentile Grace Age Believers.
I Corinthians 3:9
“For we are labourers together with God: (See that? We are a part and parcel of God’s building, the rest of the verse says it!) ye are God’s husbandry, ye are God’s building.”
We are a part of that which God is building for eternity! And, it is not wood, hay and stubble or gold, silver and precious stones, although those are used as examples of our building materials only to show that as we are laboring in this process of building the building that our labor is set up for rewards. So we are God’s husbandry, we are God’s building, but only in the effect that as a part of this building, we are now contributing to it with our works. Then you come down to verse 12. We taught this clearly when we were in I Corinthians.
I Corinthians 3:12
“Now if any man build upon this foundation gold, silver, precious stones, wood, hay, stubble;”
I always divide those three elements as the first three cannot be touched by fire. If anything fire would enhance it. But, the last three would go up in a puff of smoke! That’s what Paul is saying, that as believers, as we are building in this spiritual building, over which God is the Master and Paul is the contractor, who laid the foundation, which is Christ Jesus, then, as we labor, our works will be manifest! Are we putting in wood, hay and stubble that will disappear in a puff of smoke? Or, are we putting in gold, silver and precious stones? That boils down to several factors, most of which, I think, is motivation.
Why do you do the so-called good works that you do? To get the acclaim of men? Whenever I think of this verse, and Iris has probably heard me tell it a “zillion” times but it says it all! I was teaching in a place one time and we were in a home Bible study and I was pointing out the fact that our good works mean absolutely nothing if the motivation for doing them is wrong! You can do ever so much and if your motivation is wrong it counts but wood, hay and stubble.
This dear young lady was sitting over there. She was a young mother and I’m sure she had her hands full just raising her kids but she was going to contribute pies to their denominational convention, which was coming to her local church in the next couple of weeks. And, she said, “My, am I glad I heard this! I was going to try to bake 25 apple pies for our convention just to prove that I could bake more than anybody else in church!” Then she said, “It would count for nothing, wouldn’t it?” That’s right! Nothing!
Why? The motivation is wrong! Now, if she was going to bake these pies to bring glory to the Lord! Yeah, it would count for glory! And, this is the way we have to look at what we say, think or do. Why? Why are we doing it? Why do you give? If you give just so you can impress somebody how much you have given. I have to go back to my childhood, but I can remember when the treasurer of our church at the end of the year would read off the contributions of all the various church members. What was the motivation for his doing that? To get people to give! After all, it would sound awful if you only had a record of giving $5.00!
But, you see, if all you are going to give for is to impress your fellow church members, forget it! It’s going to be nothing but wood, hay and stubble! It will go up in a puff of smoke! If you give to whatever it is, your church or anything else, and you are doing it to bring God the glory, then yes, it will be gold, silver and precious stones! Everything is based on motivation!
Same way with any other good works that you can do. Why are you doing it? What’s your purpose? And, if your purpose is honorable in bringing glory to the Lord, it is gold, silver and precious stones. If the only reason you are doing it is to impress somebody else, it’s nothing but wood, hay and stubble! Well, I didn’t intend to put that in this lesson, so I guess you got that for free today! But, maybe it will save you some sweat or tears knowing that there is no use doing something if you are only going to do it to impress others.
That’s the building of which we are a part. It counts for nothing unless we are first and foremost based on the salvation around Christ’s death, burial and resurrection. Our confession is as it should be, we saw some time ago, then as verse 6 makes it so plain:
“But Christ as a son (or THE Son, the Preeminent One) over his own house; (that He’s building for eternity) whose house are we, (Now, I know that a lot of people like to take a verse like this and say IF we hang on. Well, I don’t think Paul ever uses that kind of language to impart that thinking, that IF we hang on and IF we have done enough. Rather it is a word of warning not to take these things flippantly. These things are graphic. They are important, but we are not going to lose our eternal salvation if we do not measure up to how we are building in this Spiritual house. Nevertheless, we have this admonition that) if we hold fast the confidence and the rejoicing of the hope firm unto the end.”
I wish I could have just ended this lesson there and started the next one in verse 7 but I can never preplan these programs that closely, so we are going to have to go in the verse 7 in this lesson. And, it is dealing with that gross time of unbelief in the life of Israel when they failed to go in and take the Promised Land. Scripture refers to it over and over and it is a constant reminder to us today, that there is nothing that God detests more than unbelief! Unbelief! It is awful and I don’t want you to leave this lesson without realizing that it is the worst possible offense against God.
I can bring it into the life of everyone. I have used the example more than once. If you know that you are saying something that is absolute truth. and there is not a hint of anything false about what you have said, how would you feel if somebody would come up and say to your face, “I don’t believe a word of it? You are lying!” Just think for a moment. How would you feel if anybody, I don’t care who it is, after you have said something that you know is absolute truth with no hint of error – doesn’t have to be spiritual, it could be anything. A witness to a car wreck at an intersection. Or it can be anything else that you can think of and you KNOW that you have spoken truth. How would you feel if someone would just come up and call you a liar? If you are human, it’s going to make you almost mad enough to do something drastic! Isn’t that right? Of course it is! Because nobody wants their honor impugned in that way.
Think! When the God of Glory, the God of Creation, the God Who knows nothing BUT Truth has said something in His Word and puny men come along and say, “I don’t believe it.” Do you think God’s going to take that lightly? I know that His Grace is greater than all sin, don’t get me wrong. But, this whole idea of the rest of this chapter is to impress on us how God detests unbelief! Let’s go back and read Hebrews chapter 3, verse 7 on down.
“Wherefore ( as the Holy Ghost (Spirit) saith, Today if ye will hear his voice, (If we are going to hear what God says, what is He going to expect? He expects us to believe it! So here is the warning.) 8. Harden not your hearts, as in the provocation, in the day of temptation (testing) in the wilderness: 9. When your fathers (remember, Paul is addressing Hebrews, so he’s going back to Israel coming out of the land of Egypt around Sinai and getting ready for the Promised Land. So when your fathers tested) tempted me, proved me, and saw my works forty years. 10. Wherefore I was grieved with that generation,…”
Now, let’s go back to see what the Apostle is talking about. Go to Exodus chapter 23 and I am going to assume that most of you have got a pretty good handle on Israel coming out of Egypt under Moses and Aaron. How they went straight to Mt. Sinai. There at Mt. Sinai God gave Moses the Law. The Ten Commandments. Gave him all the instructions for building that beautiful little tabernacle out there in the desert, gold like you wouldn’t believe! And then, after they had received the instructions and had built the tabernacle they are ready to head up to the Promised Land.
Here is a shocking thought! From Sinai to Kadesh-Barnea which was the border of the Promised Land was eleven days. Eleven days. How long did it take Israel to get there? Forty years and eleven days! They had a forty year detour. Why? Unbelief! Isn’t that sad? Just because of their unbelief instead of getting in and enjoying it after eleven days, they had to wait forty years.
Well, here it goes, Exodus chapter 23 verse 20. The Lord is speaking to Moses. This is back when they are encamped around Sinai and in chapter 25 He is going to give the instructions for building the tabernacle, so this is just shortly before they begin the work. God is already telling them what is waiting for them!
“Behold, I send an Angel…”
Now, that is capitalized! So Who is the Angel when it is capitalized? It’s God the Son again! It’s the Lord. The Angel that redeemed me is the way Jacob puts it and there is only one Redeemer in scripture. So, it has to be God the Son! Here is another good example. Who is speaking? God the Son! Who is He going to send? God the Son! You have to remember that all through Scripture, God the Son can speak to God the Father but what are they? They are one and the same so far as all practical purposes are concerned.
The only difference that you have is in Christ’s earthly ministry when He speaks from the flesh and now He addresses or prays to the Father, what makes the difference? Well, now he is speaking from His humanity and indeed He can address God the Father as His Father. But, when he speaks from His position as Deity, then I think it was Martin Luther who came to the tremendous conclusion that it was God speaking to whom? To God!! So, don’t let that throw you – sometimes God the Son speaks concerning Himself.
So, here is another good one. Exodus 23 where God the Son is speaking to Moses and He says I send an Angel:
“…before thee, to keep thee in the way, and to bring thee into the place which I have prepared.”
What’s He talking about? Canaan! The Promised Land! How long has He been preparing it? Four hundred and thirty years! How do I know? Because that’s what He told Abraham when He called Abraham out of Ur of the Chaldees. He said, “in 430 years I am going to bring you back to this land.” He couldn’t do it any sooner. He couldn’t do it in 300 years or 200, He had to wait the whole 400 years for what purpose? The iniquity of the Canaanites had to be filled full. Then after that 400-year hiatus, the Canaanites had gotten so filthy, rotten, wicked that God could just push them out and let Israel enjoy the works of their 400 years of getting the land ready. I hope you understand that.
It’s the Canaanites who had those grapevines that could grow those clusters of grapes that took two men to hold! The Canaanites did all of that. They had everything ready. I imagine they had some beautiful vineyards. They had some beautiful homes, beautiful pastures and places for cattle. They had it all! But now God is going to take it away from them because of their wickedness. Their iniquity had now hit the full mark. Let’s read on in Exodus.
“Beware of him, and obey his voice, provoke him not; for he will not pardon your transgressions: for my name is in him.” In other words, it is speaking of how they were to respect the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. Verse 22.
“But if thou shalt indeed obey his voice, and do all that I speak; then I will be an enemy unto thine enemies, and an adversary unto thine adversaries.”
Israel is God’s earthly people! They enjoy what kind of blessings? Earthly! Here’s a good example. God’s earthly people are being told that their earthly enemies would be driven away and that they could have everything for their own good. How’s God going to do it?
“For mine Angel (He’s speaking of Himself) shall go before thee, and bring thee in unto the Amorites, and the Hittites, and the Perizzites, and the Canaanites, the Hivites, and the Jebusites: and I will cut them off.” God says, I will destroy them! I will move them out! Verse 24 is giving them warning. When you get there, they are going to leave some of their idols behind and some of their high places so He said:
“Thou shalt not bow down to their gods, nor serve them, nor do after their works: but thou shalt utterly overthrow them, and quite break down their images.” Verse 25.
“And ye shall serve the LORD your God, and he shall bless they bread, and thy water; (What does that speak of? Material blessings! He’s not promising them eternal blessings in the heavenlies, like we are. They are being told that if they are obedient, they will immediately have material blessings. This is what you have to understand. All the material blessings that were common to Israel have no validity for us because we are not an earthly people. We are a heavenly people! I wish I could get that through people’s heads!) and I will take sickness away from the midst of thee.” Now, what is that? That’s material blessing!
“There shall nothing cast their young, nor be barren, in they land; the number of they days I will fulfil.”