I really am enjoying preaching to my new congregation. They are loving my sermons and so am I. But allow me to give credit where credit is due: The Holy Spirit receives all the glory. Without His power, my sermons are nothing at all. Thankfully, the Lord gave Him to us in full-measure.
My sermon this morning was taken from Hebrews 3:7-15, one of my favorite passages.
7 Therefore, as the Holy Spirit says:
“ Today, if you will hear His voice,
8 Do not harden your hearts as in the rebellion,
In the day of trial in the wilderness,
9 Where your fathers tested Me, tried Me,
And saw My works forty years.
10 Therefore I was angry with that generation,
And said, ‘They always go astray in their heart,
And they have not known My ways.’
11 So I swore in My wrath,
‘ They shall not enter My rest.’”
12 Beware, brethren, lest there be in any of you an evil heart of unbelief in departing from the living God; 13 but exhort one another daily, while it is called “Today,” lest any of you be hardened through the deceitfulness of sin. 14 For we have become partakers of Christ if we hold the beginning of our confidence steadfast to the end, 15 while it is said:
“ Today, if you will hear His voice,
Do not harden your hearts as in the rebellion.”
The following is part of my sermon… BTW, the Spirit really got me preaching this morning, I never finished this sermon.
This is where we come to our text. The writer is trying to help us see that we need to stay true to the Faithful Son. He has just told us that Jesus Christ, the Apostle and High Priest of our confession, is greater than Moses, and that we will be partakers in the House of God if we hold steadfast to the end.
In fact, He writes: …consider the Apostle and High Priest of our confession, Christ Jesus. The idea is that we re to fix our eyes upon Jesus Christ. We are to consider and ponder on him, to thoroughly and carefully take note of Him.
It is the idea that we are to fill our minds with the thoughts of Christ Jesus. If there was someone of greatness we are ever to ponder, it should be Jesus Christ.
It is in this setting that we pick up the warning.
Therefore, as the Holy Spirit says: “Today, if you will hear His voice, do not harden your hearts as in the rebellion, in the day of trial in the wilderness, where your fathers tested Me, tried Me, and saw My works forty years.”
Here is our first point, that as believers, we must listen to the voice of God.
The writer of the Hebrews says that the Holy Spirit says these things. This is important, for it shows us that the Third Person of the Trinity is involved in our lives and in speaking to us. Part of the inauguration of Christ’s Kingdom was confirmed by the outpouring of the Holy Spirit on the Day of Pentecost.
While that day was very special, we must acknowledge that this type of movement by the Holy Spirit is not normative for the Christian life. Just as the death and resurrection of Christ were one-time events, so too is the pouring out of the Spirit in abundance on the Day of Pentecost.
Yet, this does not mean that the Holy Spirit is not involved in our lives.
Many will say that they hear from the Holy Spirit all the time. But rarely do they mean through the words of Scripture.
One commentator put it this way: “Everyone is always looking to see what the Holy Spirit says. What the Holy Spirit says is right here in the Bible.”
His point is that there are no further “words from the Lord” to be had. They have all been given. If someone says that they have a “word from the Lord” for you, you might simply ask them what the Scripture reference is for that word. For if that “word” cannot be found in the Bible, then we should not listen to it. And if it can be found in the Bible, then there is no need to listen to the person with the “word.” Go straight to the source.
Authority… we must understand that what we know is from the Scripture alone. The Spirit testifies to our spirit, and we hear the voice of Christ.
So let us listen to what the Holy Spirit says, for He is giving us a warning and reminding us of the dangers of our own hearts. Where do we hear the voice of God? We hear the voice of God through the word of God when it is faithfully preached.
What is God trying to do through the writer of Hebrews, and Psalm 95? He is trying to warn us and in doing so, He gives us an example of those who did not heed the warning.
“Today, if you will hear His voice, do not harden your hearts as in the rebellion, in the day of trial in the wilderness, where your fathers tested Me, tried Me, and saw My works forty years.”
The voice of God says: “Today.” Whenever it comes to faith, the admonition is for it to happened Today. This is for two reasons: first, the word of God is always appropriate. It never stales or gets old or outdate. So often in seminary the professors were always trying to stress that we needed to make God’s word relevant for today. That is a ridiculous notion. God’s word is relevant for “today” and always because it IS God’s word. Relevancy of the word is not something the pastor does, it is something the word is by its nature. Because God has spoken these words, makes it relevant for all times. It is as Hebrews 4:12 reminds us, sharper than any two edged sword.
The second reason we need to be reminded to act “today” is because to put it off until tomorrow is to buy into the lie of Satan. (Elaborate)
That is what Satan wants us to do when it comes to the things of God: put off studying the Bible tomorrow. Pray about it tomorrow. Forgive that person tomorrow. Believe on Christ tomorrow. Wait until tomorrow.
The admonition in Scripture, especially the one we are looking this morning, it to do these things today. Never put off the things of faith for another day, for you may not have another day after this one. James 4:13ff Come now, you who say, “Today or tomorrow we will go to such and such a city, spend a year there, buy and sell, and make a profit”; whereas you do not know what will happen tomorrow. For what is your life? It is even a vapor that appears for a little time and then vanishes away.
Therefore we should act to the admonition of scripture “Today.” And it is always “Today.”
What should we do “Today?”
Hear His voice.
We should listen to the voice of God “Today” and every day. This is where we go for wisdom and understanding. This is where we go to be rebuked and corrected. This is where we go to know the Mind of God, not the mind of the world. We listen to Him “Today” and everyday.
John Brown writes: “The prophet calls on his countrymen not to be inattentive, unbelieving, impenitent, and disobedient, as their ancestors were.”
God is saying, “Don’t be like your ancestors were, who were rebellious against Me. Instead, listen to My voice.”
The Scripture is constantly filled with admonitions to listen to the voice of God, to hear and obey.
John 10:16 “And other sheep I have which are not of this fold; them also I must bring, and they will hear My voice.”
It does us no good whatsoever if we hear about God and hear about His word, but do not listen to it. If we do not put it into practice, it is useless to us. James 1:22 But be doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving yourselves.
OTHERWISE we will be just like those who hardened their hearts. They refused to believe God and what He said He would do.