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Bible Commentaries

Spurgeon's Verse Expositions of the Bible
Hebrews 3

 

 

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Verse 1

Hebrews 3:1. Wherefore, holy brethren, partakers of the heavenly calling, consider the Apostle and High Priest of our profession, Christ Jesus;

“Wherefore, holy brethren, partakers of the heavenly calling.” What wonderful titles! “Holy brethren,” made brethren in holiness and made holy in our brotherhood, -- “partakers of the heavenly calling” — called of God from among the worlds. Our occupation and our calling henceforth is to serve the Lord. Well, if you be holy brethren, partakers of the heavenly calling, “Consider the Apostle and High Priest of our profession, Christ Jesus.” Think much of Him. Remember who it is you follow, with whom you are brethren. If you think little of your Leader you will live but poor lives. Consider him, often think of him, try to copy him. With such a Leader what manner of people ought we to be?

Hebrews 3:2-3. Who was faithful to him that appointed him, as also Moses was faithful in all his house. For this man was counted worthy of more glory than Moses, inasmuch as he who hath builded the house hath more honour than the house.

Moses was but a part of the house after all, a prominent stone in the building, but Christ is the builder, builder of the house, foundation, topstone of it. Think then much of him. Get an high idea of him as faithful unto God in everything. Moses kept the law and was a good example to Israel save in some point of weakness, but Christ perfectly carried out his Father’s commission, and he is worthy of more honour than Moses.

Hebrews 3:4-6. For every house is builded by some man but he that built all things is God. And Moses verily was faithful in all his house, as a servant, for a testimony of those things which were to be spoken after; but Christ as a son over his own house; whose house are we, if we hold fast the confidence and the rejoicing of the hope firm unto the end.

“But Christ as a Son” — far higher degree -- “Christ as a son over his own house,” of which he is the heir, of which he is even now the sole proprietor -- “whose house are we, if we hold fast the confidence and the rejoicing of the hope firm unto the end.” None are truly Christ’s but those who persevere in grace. Men may be nominally Christ’s, but they are not Christ’s house unless they hold fast to the confidence and the rejoicing of the hope firm unto the end. Temporary Christians are not really Christians.

Hebrews 3:7-8. Wherefore (as the Holy Ghost saith, Today if ye will hear his voice, harden not your hearts, as in the provocation, in the day of temptation in the wilderness:

You are his house, give him rest, do not provoke him. If you belong to him be holy, do not grieve him. If you are his house be not defiled: surely he should dwell in a holy place.

Hebrews 3:9. When your fathers tempted me, proved me, and saw my works forty years.

Oh, children of God, you have some of you been more than forty years now in the Lord’s service: do not vex him. You have been long called out of Egypt and brought into the separate place in this wilderness world: be careful to be fit for the Divine indwelling.

Hebrews 3:10-11. Wherefore I was grieved with that generation, and said, They do alway err in their heart; and they have not known my ways. So I sware in my wrath, They shall not enter into my rest.)

God grant that none of this congregation may be of that mind, who having named the name of Christ and being known as his people, continue to grieve him one way and another, to put him to the test by their doubts to make him angry by their sins. No, God grant we may be of another sort lest he should lift his hand and swear, “They shall not enter into my rest.”

Hebrews 3:12. Take heed, brethren, lest there be in any of you an evil heart of unbelief, in departing from the living God.

Here the charge is not to the outside world but to those whom he had called “holy brethren.” He drops the word “holy” for there are some brethren so called who would not deserve that name, and to them he speaks very pointedly, “Take heed, take heed, lest there be in any of you an evil heart of unbelief.” And how will that be shown? By wandering off, one way or another, away from the living God. If your God is not a living God to you in whom you live and move and have your being, if he does not come into your daily life, but if your religion is a dead and formal thing, then you will soon depart.

Hebrews 3:13-14. But exhort one another daily, while it is called Today; lest any of you be hardened through the deceitfulness of sin. For we are made partakers of Christ, if we hold the beginning of our confidence steadfast unto the end;

Not otherwise. Again I say they who do not hold on and hold out are not really partakers of Christ, but we are made partakers of Christ if we hold the beginning of our confidence steadfast unto the end. Those that fly to this doctrine and that, unsettled spirits, wandering stars, mere meteors of the night, these are not Christ’s, but we must hold the beginning of our faith steadfast unto the end.

Hebrews 3:15. While it is said, today if ye will hear his voice, harden not your hearts, as in the provocation.

Twice over we are warned of this, to avoid hardness of heart. God save us from ossification of heart, petrifaction of heart, till we get a heart of love or a heart of stone-may God save us from this.

Hebrews 3:16. For some, when they had heard, did provoke: howbeit not all that came out of Egypt by Moses.

There were two; it was a slender remnant that were faithful.

Hebrews 3:17. But with whom was he grieved forty years? was it not with them that had sinned, whose carcases fell in the wilderness?

God speaks very lovingly of the bodies of his saints but see how he speaks of the bodies of apostates, “whose carcases” as if they were no better than so many brute beasts, “whose carcases fell in the wilderness.”

Hebrews 3:18. And to whom sware he that they should not enter into his rest, but to them that believed not?

Sinning and not believing seem to go together. The 17th verse asks the same question as the 18th, but the answer is different. “With them that had sinned” says the 17th verse, “to them that believed not” says the 18th verse. Want of faith brings want of holiness, and when we abide in the faith we abide in obedience.

Hebrews 3:19. So we see that they could not enter in because of unbelief.

4:1. Let us therefore fear, lest, a promise being left of entering into his rest, any of you should seem to come short of it.

I left out the “us” because that is inserted by the translators and should not be there. The promise is left to somebody, it does not say to us -- “a promise being left of entering into his rest, any of you should seem to come short of it.” Not come short of it but even seem to do so. God keep us from the very shadow of sin, from the very appearance of evil. “For unto us was the gospel preached as well as unto them.” In the old time that gospel which was preached to them was preached to us -- “but the word preached did not profit them, not being mixed with faith in them that heard it.” God send us this holy mixture of the hearing and the believing, to our hour’s salvation, to his glory. Amen.


Verses 1-16

Hebrews 3:1. Wherefore, holy brethren, partakers of the heavenly calling, consider the Apostle and High Priest of our profession, Christ Jesus: —

Oh, that he had more consideration at our hands! Consider him; you cannot know all his excellence, all his value to you, except he is the subject of your constant meditation. Consider him; think of his nature, his offices, his work, his promises, his relation to you: “Consider the Apostle and High Priest of our profession, Christ Jesus;” —

Hebrews 3:2. Who was faithful to him that appointed him, as also Moses was faithful in all his house.

See how our Lord Jesus Christ condescended to be appointed of the Father. In coming as a Mediator, taking upon himself our humanity, he “made himself of no reputation, and took upon him the form of a servant,” and being found in fashion as a servant, we find that he was faithful; to every jot and tittle, he carried out his charge.

Hebrews 3:3. For this man was counted worthy of more glory than Moses, inasmuch as he who hath builded the house hath more honour than the house.

And Moses was but one stone in the house. Though in a certain sense he was a servant in it, yet in another, and, for him, a happier sense, he was only a stone in the house which the Lord Jesus Christ had builded. Let us think of our Lord as the Architect and Builder of his own Church, and let our hearts count him worthy of more glory than Moses; let us give him glory in the highest. However highly a Jew may think of Moses, — and he ought to think highly of him, and so ought we, — yet infinitely higher than Moses must ever rise the incarnate Son of God.

Hebrews 3:4. For every house is builded by some; —

By someone or other; —

Hebrews 3:4. But he that built all things is God.

And Christ is God; and he is the Builder of all things in the spiritual realm, — ay, and in the natural kingdom, too, for “without him was not anything made that was made.” So he is to have eternal honour and glory as the one great Master-builder.

Hebrews 3:5-6. And Moses verily was faithful in all his house, as a servant, for a testimony of those things which were to be spoken after; but Christ as a son over his own house; whose house are we, if we hold fast the confidence and the rejoicing of the hope firm unto the end.

You see, then, that the apostle had first made a distinction between Christ and Moses on the ground of, the Builder being greater than the house he builds; now, in the second place, he shows Christ’s superiority to Moses on the ground that a son in his own house is greater than a servant in the house of his master. How sweetly he introduces the truth that we are the house of Christ! Do we realize that the Lord Jesus Christ dwells in the midst of us? How clean we ought to be, how holy, how heavenly! How we should seek to rise above earth, and keep ourselves reserved for the Crucified! In this house, no rival should be permitted ever to dwell; but the great Lord should have every chamber of it entirely to himself. Oh, that he may take his rest within our hearts as his holy habitation; and may there be nothing in our church life that shall grieve the Son of God, and cause him even for a moment to be withdrawn from us: “whose house are we, if we hold fast the confidence and the rejoicing of the hope firm unto the end.” Perseverance — final perseverance — is the test of election. He whom God has chosen holds on and holds out even to the end, while temporary professors make only a fair show in the flesh, but, by-and-by, their faith vanishes away.

Hebrews 3:7. Wherefore —

Now comes a long parenthesis: —

Hebrews 3:7-11. (As the Holy Ghost saith, Today if ye will hear his voice, Harden not your hearts, as in the provocation, in the day of temptation in the wilderness: When your fathers tempted me, proved me, and saw my works forty years. Wherefore I was grieved with that generation, and said, They do alway err in their heart; and they have not known my ways. So I swore in my wrath, They shalt not enter into my rest.)

Oh, that none of us, as professors of the faith of Christ, may be like Israel in the wilderness! I fear there is too much likeness; God grant that it may be carried no further! May we hear the voice of God, as they did not hear it, for their ears were dull of hearing! May we never harden our hear as they did, for they kicked against the command of God, and rebelled against the thunders of Sinai! May God grant that we may never tempt him, as they did, when they were continually proposing to God to do other than he willed to do, — something for their gratification which would not have been right, and which therefore he did not do! Oh, that we might never grieve him as they did, for they grieved him forty years! He bore with them, and yet they bored him. He forgave and overlooked their errors only to be provoked by the repetition of them, for they would not know what God made very plain. His works were such that, the wayfaring men might have read them; but they did not know God’s ways, and at last he banished them from all participation in His rest. Their carcasses fell in the wilderness, and they entered not into the land of promise. “Wherefore” —

Hebrews 3:12-13. Take heed, brethren, lest there be in any of you an evil heart of unbelief, in departing from the living God. But exhort one another daily, while it is called Today; lest any of you be hardened through the deceitfulness of sin.

Watch over each other as well as over yourselves. Take heed lest sin hardens you before you are aware of it; even while you fancy that you have wiped it out by repentance, petrifaction will remain upon your heart “through the deceitfulness of sin.”

Hebrews 3:14-16. For we are made partakers of Christ, if we hold the beginning of our confidence stedfast unto the end; while it is said, Today if ye will hear his voice, harden not your hearts, as in the provocation. For some, when they had heard, did provoke: howbeit not all that came out of Egypt by Moses.

Not all, for there were two faithful ones. See how the Spirit of God gathers up the fragments that remain. If there are but two faithful ones out of two million, he knows it, and he records it.


Verses 1-19

Hebrews 3:1. Wherefore, holy brethren, partakers of the heavenly calling consider the Apostle and High Priest of our profession, Christ Jesus;

Think of him, think how great he is, think what attention he deserves from all who believe in him.

Hebrews 3:2-6. Who was faithful to him that appointed him, as also Moses was faithful in all his house. For this man was counted worthy of more glory than Moses, inasmuch as he who hath builded the house hath more honour than the house. For every house is builded by some man; but he that built all things is God. And Moses verily was faithful in all his house, as a servant, for a testimony of those things which were to be spoken after; but Christ as a son over his own house;

See the superiority of Christ to Moses; Moses is honoured by being called the servant of God, but Jesus is the Son of God, and as Son, Master over his own house.

Hebrews 3:6. Whose house are we,

Christ built the house; he laid us together like stones upon the great foundation, Moses is but a caretaker in the house.

Hebrews 3:6. If we hold fast the confidence and the rejoicing of the hope from unto the end.

Final perseverance is an absolute necessity of a child of God. We do not prove ourselves to be a part of the house if we move about like loose stones.

Hebrews 3:7-10. Wherefore (as the Holy Ghost saith, Today if ye will hear his voice, harden not your hearts, as in the provocation, in the day of temptation in the wilderness: when your fathers tempted me, proved me, and saw my works forty years. Wherefore I was grieved with that generation, and said, They do alway err in their heart; and they have not known my ways.

Do not provoke your God by your quibbling, or your murmuring, or your idolatry; act not as those unbelievers did who died in the wilderness.

Hebrews 3:11-12. So I sware in my wrath, They shall not enter into my rest.) Take heed, brethren, lest there be in any of you an evil heart of unbelief, in departing from the living God.

There was that “evil heart” in the Israelites, is there not a danger that it may be in you also who are partakers of the like nature?

Hebrews 3:13. But exhort one another daily, while it is called Today; lest any of you be hardened through the deceitfulness of sin.

If sin came to you openly proclaiming itself as sin, you would fight against it; but it is very cunning and deceitful and it gradually petrifies the heart and especially the heart of those who think that they will never provoke God by their sin. Pride has already begun to work in them; and where pride can work, every other sin finds elbow-room. God save us from the deceitfulness of sin!

Hebrews 3:14. For we are made partakers of Christ, if we hold the beginning of our confidence stedfast unto the end.

You are to hold fast, to hold on, and to hold out to the end; and the grace you need in order to do this is waiting for you if you will but look for it and daily live under the power of it.

Hebrews 3:15-16. While it is said, Today if ye will hear his voice, harden not your hearts as in the provocation. For some, when they had heard, did provoke: howbeit not all that came out of Egypt by Moses.

All but two that came out of Egypt died in the wilderness; only Joshua and Caleb were faithful among the faithless found.

Hebrews 3:17. But with whom was he grieved forty years? Was it not with them that had sinned, whose carcases fell in the wilderness?

See how the apostle speaks of them; he does not say that their bodies were buried, but that their carcases fell, in the wilderness. Unbelief degrades us into beasts whose carcases fall beneath the poleaxe of judgment. Oh, that we might all be rid of unbelief, that degrading, desecrating, defiling,

destroying thing!

Hebrews 3:18-19. And to whom sware he that they should not enter into his rest but to them that believed not? So we see that they could not enter in because of unbelief.

It was not the sons of Anak that kept them out, it was not the waste howling wilderness; it was nothing but their own unbelief.

This exposition consisted of readings from Hebrews 2, 3.

 


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Bibliography Information
Spurgeon, Charle Haddon. "Commentary on Hebrews 3:4". "Spurgeon's Verse Expositions of the Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/spe/hebrews-3.html. 2011.

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Sunday, December 15th, 2019
the Third Week of Advent
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