January 30-Feb. 1, 2021
Pastor Timothy J. Spaude
Text: Hebrews 3:1-6
“JESUS IS BETTER!”
1. Better than Moses.
2. Better than ______.
3. Better for you!
Hebrews 3:1-6 (EHV) “Therefore, holy brothers, who share in the heavenly calling, focus your attention on Jesus, the apostle and high priest whom we confess. 2He was faithful to the one who appointed him, as also Moses was faithful in God’s whole house. 3In fact, Jesus is worthy of greater glory than Moses, in the same way that the builder of a house has more honor than the house. 4For every house is built by someone, and God is the one who built everything. 5Moses was faithful as a servant within God’s whole house by testifying to the things that would be spoken. 6But Christ is faithful as a Son over God’s house. We are his house, if we hold on firmly to our confidence and the hope about which we boast until the end.”
So there is this thing called “Mission Creep.” It’s when an organization, or a person, loses sight of their main goal or purpose in life by slowly focusing on other goals that aren’t their real purpose so that over time they go off mission and eventually become what they are not. An obvious example might be if a hospital emergency room department would say, “You know it’s good that we provide emergency medical care for people. They need that. But you know what they also need? A good oil change for their cars. So let’s put up an oil change shop and when people drive up we can ask what they are here for, direct them the right way. Who knows? Maybe they can come for one and stay for the other!” I think you can see that you probably don’t want to go there for medical care or an oil change. Mission creep has set in. They lost their focus.
It gets a little more insidious if you have an enemy trying to help you lose focus. One of the silly kids’ movies my girls and I liked to watch and re watch when they were young, and still now, is called Labyrinth. For a teaser to lead you to watch it I’ll just throw out there it has a “Bog of Eternal Stench” in it. In that movie a girl needs to find her lost baby brother. But someone does not want her to. So this enemy keeps trying to divert her attention to her old favorite doll or teddy bear, anything but her baby brother. And friends we have an enemy who has been trying hard to get us to lose focus and I fear he has had some success.
I’m talking about the Devil and of course this is nothing new. The Word of God we are looking at comes from the letter written to the Hebrews, specifically to Jewish Christians who were living sometime before 70 AD. They were experiencing mission creep, loss of focus, helped along by the Devil who was using government persecution of Christians to try to get believers to give up on Jesus. Just in this section of the letter look at the appeal to every Christian to avoid mission creep and to stay focused. “Therefore, holy brothers, who share in the heavenly calling, focus your attention on Jesus, the apostle and high priest whom we confess. 6But Christ is faithful as a Son over God’s house. We are his house, if we hold on firmly to our confidence and the hope about which we boast until the end.” The words are addressed to the believers individually.
They were tending to focus more on Moses. Now if you were an Old Testament believer Moses was your hero and for good reason. You read about his leadership of Israel out of slavery. You heard how God used him to establish the nation of Israel. You know how God used him to give the Old Testament law. How could Moses not be your hero? But God had the writer make it clear. Jesus is better, better than Moses. “He (Jesus) was faithful to the one who appointed him, as also Moses was faithful in God’s whole house. 3In fact, Jesus is worthy of greater glory than Moses, in the same way that the builder of a house has more honor than the house. 4For every house is built by someone, and God is the one who built everything. 5Moses was faithful as a servant within God’s whole house by testifying to the things that would be spoken. 6But Christ is faithful as a Son over God’s house.” It wasn’t that their passion for Moses was bad or wrong. It’s just Jesus is better! Moses faithfully served God. He did his job. God used him as a servant. He pointed to what was coming. Bu the greater prophet he spoke of was Jesus. The one the Law of Moses showed was necessary and pictured was Jesus. Moses was a servant. Jesus is the Son. Moses gave the Law. Jesus gave salvation. Watch out for mission creep, Hebrews. Don’t be more passionate about Moses than you are Jesus. Keep your focus on Jesus. Jesus is better.
Now I seriously doubt that any of us have Moses as our hero or that we are so enamored with the Old Testament laws we want to go back to living like that. And yet the enemy, the Devil is still working in our hearts and lives to lead us off mission, to get us to lose our focus. Please don’t misunderstand me with what we talk about next. I’m not saying it is wrong to rally around other people or to have causes that are important to us for one reason or another. It’s just that those we rally around or the mission we take up dare not, can not, better not have a bigger place in our hearts and lives than Jesus and the mission He laid out for us. To do so is idolatry. And we are letting the Devil lead us around by the nose.
Just consider this past year. Was President Trump your hero or President Biden? Depending on what issues were most important to you one or the other may have been. And it is good for Christians to care about politics and to serve our country by being active and informed voters but if our passion for a man is greater than our passion for Jesus that is a problem. It is sin. “No one can serve two masters,” Jesus said. Whose mission gets the lead story on your social media? Or how about social issues like feeding the poor or that all people be treated as people with respect and not prejudged by a skin tone or the job they do? It’s great for us to care about the physical well being of others and to do something about it if we can, but we have lost focus, we are off mission, if we let those causes supersede people’s real need for Jesus and the mission Jesus gave us. “Be my witnesses,” Jesus told you. I was reminded of that recently when I heard a quote from atheist entertainer Penn Jillete of the famous illusionist duo Penn and Teller. He has no time for the Bible and Christians. But you know what he said? He said, “How much do you have to hate somebody to believe that everlasting life is possible and not tell them that?” So if some social issue is getting all your attention and time and money and you are not doing more to warn sinners against Hell and to tell them about Jesus don’t sit there thinking you are such a loving person. You are not. You are a hater. Even an avowed atheist recognizes that.
Again, do not misunderstand. It’s great for us to have passion for helping others in all sorts of ways. It just cannot be greater than our passion for Jesus and His mission because Jesus is better. And he told us “Where your treasure is, there your heart will be.” Where is your treasure? What does God see as he looks at your money budget, your time budget, the content of your social media? Think about all the talk time and money that has been spent on Coronavirus. What if the good God intended this virus to be a worldwide call to repentance before the end comes? Makes you think. Repentance is sorely needed. It was nice to see at the Presidential Inauguration a moment of silence taken to remember the some 400,000 lives of mostly elderly Americans whose deaths are listed as Covid related. But you know what I missed? A moment of silence for estimated 600,000 American babies who were murdered through abortion last year. I say estimated. You know why? Because while you can fairly easily find on the CDC website the number of deaths that are Covid related in 2020 you know what you can’t find? Abortion deaths. Their last estimate was 620,000 abortion deaths in 2018. Apparently those deaths are not important enough to be tracked. What does that say about a society and a government that does not actively protect its youngest and most vulnerable citizens? It needs to repent.
You know a good example of how to be involved socially and stay on mission is WELS Lutherans for Life. Several Jacobi ladies volunteer there. In our school that is the 3rd quarter mission project. This group not only provides pregnancy counseling and physical support for women who are in such desperate straits that they are contemplating abortion but they also do what they can to tell them about Jesus. They get it! They are on mission. Both/and but most importantly Jesus. For if we save a life for earth that is great. But to save one for eternity is better! Or don’t we believe what Jesus said, “What does it profit a man to gain the whole world and lose his own soul?”
Jesus is better! Better for you. Because only Jesus takes you to heaven. You know those babies we save from the abortionist’s knife? Eventually they will die from something. If you get Covid and recover, you’re still going to die from something. Those whose earthly lives we make better by fighting poverty or hatred? Still going to die. Because the wages of sin is death and all have sinned. Only Jesus takes away sin so whatever you come up with to fill your heart, Jesus is better. He’s better for you because He takes you to heaven. He’s better for everyone else as well. He’s their only way to heaven. You know that. Others need to know that. You are a walking talking witness for Jesus. No wonder the Devil works so hard to distract us with lesser good causes and to lose focus1. No wonder the Holy Spirit warned against mission creep. “Therefore, holy brothers, who share in the heavenly calling, focus your attention on Jesus, the apostle and high priest whom we confess.” Amen.