Robert Jeffress - A Savior For All Seasons
Hi, I'm Robert Jeffress. And welcome, again, to "Pathway to Victory". It's easy to talk about the joys of serving Jesus Christ, when life is easy and prosperous. But what about when the walls of your life come crumbing down around you? When there's a crisis with your health, your family, or perhaps with your finances? Today, I wanna show you what the writer of Hebrews says about maintaining a joyful spirit and a strong faith. Not only in the season of success, but also in the season of suffering. My message is titled "A Savior for all seasons", on today's edition of "Pathway to Victory".
In his book, "I Was Wrong", PTL founder Jim Baker, describes his rise to power, as perhaps the most influential televangelist of his day. He also recounts his fall, his time he spent in prison, and his restoration. But to me, what stood out most about that book was how suddenly Jim Baker's life changed. On day he was flying around on a Learjet, influencing millions of people, enjoying multi-million dollar mansions around the country, and almost overnight he found himself in a prison cell, with four other inmates, where his job was scrubbing out the toilets, and the shower stalls.
Life can change very dramatically for any of us. Truthfully, most of us here will never have the affluence or influence of a Jim Baker. And likewise, most of us here today will never experience prison. But don't miss the point. Life can change for any of us, very quickly. You know, it's one thing to talk about how great our Christian faith is, when everything is going well. But how does your faith do for you when the bottom falls out of your life?
The fact is, for every one of us, the authenticity of our faith is proven in the crucible of suffering. We need to hold onto our faith in Jesus Christ, not just in the seasons of success, but also in the seasons of suffering. Because the fact is, Jesus Christ is the perfect Savior for all seasons in our lives. And that's the theme of the passage we're going to look at today. If you have your Bibles, turn to Hebrews chapter 3, beginning at verse 1, as we discover why Jesus truly is a Savior for all seasons of life.
The letter is written to a group of Christians who were going through their own season of suffering. Their faith in Christ, having come out of Judaism, and turning to Christianity, that faith in Christ caused them to suffer at the hands of the Roman government, who was persecuting all Christians. But secondly, they were suffering at the hands of their fellow Jews, friends, family members, who couldn't understand why they would turn their back on Judaism, and embrace this seemingly new religion called Christianity.
And so because of that suffering, they were being tempted to let go of their Christian faith, and go back into their old system of belief. These professing Christians were teetering on the fence, between faith in God, and Christ, and disbelief. And before they fell away from their faith, back into Judaism, the writer had a strong exhortation for them. And we find that command, in chapter 3 verse 1, he says therefore, holy brethren, partakers of a heavenly calling, consider Jesus, the apostle and high priest of our confession.
First of all, notice who the audience is. He says therefore holy brethren. The word brethren sometimes is used in the Bible to refer to all of mankind. But the phrase holy brethren, and also partakers of the heavenly calling, makes it clear that the writer is talking to those who profess Christ as Savior. You see, you have a heavenly calling, if you are a believer. 1 John 4:10 says and herein is love, not that we loved God, but that God first loved us, and gave themselves as a propitiation as satisfaction for our sin.
Remember in 2 Timothy 1:9, Paul says God saved us, and called us with a holy calling, not according to our works, but according to his own purpose and grace, which was granted us in Christ Jesus, from all eternity. Never forget, your salvation began in heaven, with God. We have a calling from heaven, but we also have a calling to heaven. As difficult as your life might be right now, never forget, this world is not your home. What you're going through is real, it's painful, but as we saw last time, it's also temporary. Heaven is our ultimate calling. That's the audience, to believers with a heavenly calling.
Secondly, notice the connection. The connection, that word therefore is the connecting word. Therefore always points us back to what the writer has said in the first two chapters. Remember this letter is about the superiority of Jesus Christ. And he says therefore, in light of what I've said about Jesus, that he's the exact representation of God, that he is God's final word in human history, that he upholds all things by the power of his word, that he is superior to the Old Testament prophets. In light of all that I've said about Jesus, before you give up your faith, before you decide it's not what you need at the moment, I want you to do one thing, and here's the exhortation. Underline it, two words, consider Jesus. Consider Jesus.
Now I admit, that sounds pretty weak, consider Jesus. What is he talking about? Just have a little warm, fuzzy thought about Jesus? Is that what it means to consider Jesus? Now this word consider is very important. There are 11 words in the Greek language he could've used, but he word he uses, it is katanoeo. The word literally means to think deeply about, to study closely. Before you come to the conclusion that your faith is unimportant, when you are in a storm of suffering in your life, and thinking about giving up your faith, before you do that, consider, study, Jesus.
Well what am I to consider? Or to think about deeply, about Jesus? Two things, notice the reason we're to consider Jesus. First of all, Jesus was God's apostle. He was God's apostle. That word apostle, apostlus means one sent forth. Now usually when the word apostle is used in the Bible, we think about the 12 apostles, who were sent forth to be Christ's representative. Sometimes we think about Christians as a whole. We are called to be God's ambassadors, his representatives on earth. This is the only time in the Bible that Jesus was called God's apostle. He is the representation of God. He is God's representative on earth.
So before you give up your faith in Jesus, really think about who he is. He is God's representative. He is God's apostle, not only that, he is God's, he is our high priest. He is our high priest, he is the apostle, and the high priest. That word priest is the word pontifex. Literally bridge builder, mediator, the go-between. 1 Timothy 2:5 says there is one God, and one mediator, one pontifex, one bridge builder between God and men, and it is the man, Christ Jesus. Jesus Christ is the only one who can span the gulf between God and man, only he has offered the acceptable sacrifice to God. Only he can pave the way to a relationship with God. He is our high priest. Not only because he's offered the only acceptable substitute for our sin, but also he is our high priest now in heaven, who represents us before God. He is the one to whom we can go in our time of trouble, knowing that he hears us, and he understands us.
Don't miss the point here. The writer is saying if you abandon Jesus, in that season of suffering in your life, to whom else, or to what else are you going to turn? Well, somebody in the Jewish audience yells out I've got an idea, what about Moses? What about Moses? Wouldn't he be a substitute for Jesus? I could go back into Judaism, and Moses could fulfill everything you say Jesus did for me. Now you have to understand who Moses was to the Jewish people. You know Abraham was the father of the Jewish nation. He was like our George Washington. But Moses, he was the national hero. He was like Abraham Lincoln to our people, the people revered Moses. In a sense, he was an apostle from God.
I mean after all, it was Moses who went up onto the mountaintop and met with God. And received God's laws, and came back and spoke the law to the people. Moses was God's representative to the Israelites. So it was natural for the people to say well we'll just substitute the worship of Moses for the worship of Jesus Christ. But here are three ways that Jesus was superior to Moses. Look at this in verse 1, or pardon me, verse 3. Moses was a member of God's house, but Jesus is the builder of God's house. Moses was a member of God's house, but Jesus is the builder of God's house, verse 3, for he has been counted worthy of more glory than Moses, by just so much as the builder of the house has more honor than the house. For every house is built by someone, but the builder of all things is God.
Number two, Moses was a shadow of things to come, but Jesus is the substance. Moses was a shadow of things to come, but Jesus is the substance. Look at verse 5, now Moses was faithful in all of his house as a servant, for a testimony of those things which were to be spoken later. Moses wrote the first five books of the Bible. But those first five books of the Bible were pointing people, they were like a neon sign, pointing people to Jesus Christ. In fact, Jesus himself said in John 5:46, had you believed Moses, you would've believed in me. Remember when Jesus appeared after his resurrection to the two who were on the road to Amaeus, they didn't recognize him at first. They were talking about all that had happened that day, with the crucifixion, and now the resurrection of Christ, and the Bible says Jesus began with Moses, showing them in the scriptures how all things were pointing to him.
And thirdly, Moses is only a servant in God's house, but Jesus is the ruler over God's house. Look at verse 6 again, but Christ was faithful as a son, over his house, whose house we are. In Exodus 35 through chapter 40, there are 22 references to the faithfulness of Moses, and yet he was still a servant. But Jesus was the Son. Jesus said in John 8:35, the servant does not remain in the house, but the son remains forever. Now, you say well that's great, pastor, Jesus is superior to Moses, what in the world does that have to do with me? Well here's the application, it's found in form of a condition in verse 6, look at this. But Christ was faithful as a Son over his house, whose house we are.
Yes, Moses was just one stone in that massive house that God is building. What Peter calls a living temple unto the Lord. God is building a temple to himself, stone by stone, life by life, and Ephesians 2:19 says if you are a Christian, you are a part of God's house. And yes, Moses, like all of us, are subservient to Jesus, but what a marvelous thing it is to be a part of God's house. To be a part of what God is building, that will last for all eternity. And he says you're a member of this house, of which Moses is a part, of which Christ is Lord over. You are a member of this house, if, we hold fast our confidence, and the boast of our hope firm, until the end.
Remember he's writing to people who are thinking about giving up their Christian faith. They're teetering on the fence between belief and unbelief. He said you are a part of God's house, if you remain faithful, and firm in your faith, until the end. That's what he's saying, holding on to faith in all seasons of life, not just in the good times, is the proof of your faith. Not the condition, but it is the proof. If you let go of your faith, and decide this Christianity stuff is not for me, if you go into some other belief system, other than Christianity, turn your back on your faith in Christ, and become part of a cult, or some other false religion, it's not that you lose your salvation, it's simply evidence that you were never saved to begin with, because those who are really a part of God's household, will persevere until the very end. Doesn't mean you won't stumble, here and there. Doesn't mean you won't wake up like I do in the middle of the night and have a few doubts here and there. But it says in the end, you're not going to abandon your faith, you're going to persevere, until the very end.
Isn't that what John said in 1 John 2:19? They went out from us, but they were not really of us. For if they had been of us, they would've remained with us. Jesus himself said in John 8:31, "If you abide in my word, then you are truly my disciples". Certainly the best reason for remaining faithful to Christ, in seasons of suffering, is because it authenticates the reality, the authenticity, of your faith. But here's another practical reason for holding onto your faith in Christ, during those seasons of sufferings. If you let go of Jesus, what are you gonna grab hold of that's gonna see you through that storm? To what or to whom are you going to turn, if you turn away from Jesus?
This week, I listened to an old cassette tape, it's barely running anymore, it's back from 1982, I pulled it out, this old cassette tape. It had a testimony of a man, who's now in heaven, the late Joe Bailey. Joe Bailey was president of David C. Cook Publishing. He was instrumental in the formation of a Christian medical society, great speaker. But Joe Bailey and his wife watched three of their seven children die horrible, painful deaths. And in the testimony on this tape, he was talking about sitting beside his four year old son, who was dying with leukemia. He said this little boy loved Jesus with all of his heart, and so Joe began to explain to his son all the joys of heaven that he was about to experience.
And the little boy said, "Daddy, are you gonna go with me? Are you gonna go with me"? And Joe said, "No, son, I can't go with you now, but I'll be there soon". The little boy said, "If you're not going, I don't wanna go", and he began to cry. Joe said, "I wish I could say that my son died a peaceful death, full of assurance, but instead I watched him die a violent death, without the peace that I wanted him to have". Joe and his wife watched two of their other children die a similar kind of death.
Joe said people ask him all the time how in the world could you remain a Christian, after experiencing that? How can you reconcile your faith with a God who would allow something like that to happen to three of your children? And this is what Joe said, I wrote it down, he said, "We can go one of two directions, when we can't reconcile our loss with our faith in God. Either we give up that faith in God, or we realize he's in control, and working out a plan, even though in the darkness, we can't see what that plan is. Faith means something when it's exercised in the darkness".
Faith means something when it's exercised in the darkness. There are some of you right now who are in a dark tunnel, you can't see two inches in front of you. You don't know what's going to happen. You can't see God, you wonder if he's even there. What are you supposed to do? The writer says consider Jesus. Think about Jesus, remember who Jesus is. If you're overwhelmed by guilt, look back at the cross where Jesus was, and consider, think about what he did on that cross for you, how he was the only reliable payment for your sins.
If right now, you are drowning in heartache, and sorrow, and disappointment, look up to Jesus, our high priest, who was tempted in all points as we are, and yet without sin, who says come boldly before the throne of grace, that ye might receive mercy, and find my help in the time of need. If you feel pressed and bombarded with so many problems, you're not sure how you're gonna make it through the next month, or even the next week, look ahead to Jesus, the author and the finisher of our faith, who ran with endurance the race God set before him, and he completed it victoriously, and he looks back to us and he says yes, in this world you will have tribulation. But be of good cheer, for I have overcome the world, and so shall you. So shall you. That is why Jesus Christ is truly a Savior for all seasons of life.