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Worship Theme: The Savior Calls Us to Hear and Believe His Powerful Word
Sermon Theme: Whose House? God’s House
There is a cheer that is popular in sports circles. It goes like this, “Whose house is this? Our house! Whose house is this? Our house! Whose house? Our house!”… and so on until the team is properly pumped up to go out and defend their home court or field and come away victorious. This typically only works as a chant for the home team. It’s their turf. It’s their home. They aren’t going to let the visiting team come in and bully them around or let them win.
I wonder if you don’t sometimes find yourself using a similar chant when it comes to your own life. Whose house? My house! My rules! Whose life? My life! Not yours! My life! My choices! My life! I’m right, you’re wrong! You probably don’t stand in the middle of your bedroom or in front of your mirror chanting this out loud and getting yourself fired up for your day, but this line of chanting has probably has found its way into your heart and thinking. While this chant might work for winning a sports event, it does not work so well at winning in life, at least not in having a winning and successful marriage, or good friends, or a fulfilling work life, or most importantly a relationship with God and the ultimate victory of eternal life. Why doesn’t the “my house, my life, my rules, my way” mentality work? It’s because it doesn’t recognize whose house it really is.
I’m going to go backwards a bit and start from the end of today’s reading from Hebrews chapter 3. It says this, “And we are his house, if indeed we hold firmly to our confidence and the hope in which we glory.” The picture that the Lord uses to draw us near to him today is the picture of being a house. Let’s explore that for a moment. This isn’t a picture that is unique to the book of Hebrews. The disciple Peter said in his first letter, “You also, like living stones, are being built into a spiritual house” (1 Peter 2:5). The great missionary, the apostle Paul, said this in the book of Ephesians, “You are fellow citizens with God’s people and also members of his household, built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, with Christ Jesus himself as the chief cornerstone. In him the whole building is joined together and rises to become a holy temple in the Lord. And in him you too are being built together to become a dwelling in which God lives by his Spirit” (Ephesians 2:19-22).
God builds believers into a spiritual house. Each of you as a uniquely shaped and sized stone are built together upon the foundation of God’s gospel promises as a place for God to dwell and interact and influence our lives. For as much as we sometimes strive for or praise a person for their rugged individualism, God tells us that believers are built together into a house. So, throw out this idea that your relationship with God is just an individual matter. As a Christian, a Christ-follower, you are a part of something bigger. We are built together, connected to one another by a common faith in Jesus to support and encourage and strengthen one another to trust in God’s Word. You are built into God’s house. Whose house? God’s house!
A teenaged daughter wanted to use the family vehicle to go out with friends. Her father was willing to allow this, but there were stipulations attached: text where she’s going, make sure to put some gas in the tank, no more than two friends in the car, and home by her 11 pm curfew. She rolled her eyes and huffed, “I hate all these rules.” The father responded, “My house, my rules.”
Isn’t that true? The owner of the house is the one in charge and you have to adhere to their rules or requests. If your friend doesn’t want shoes on in their house, you take them off by the door. If your brother keeps the temperature in his house set at 63 degrees during the winter, you better remember your sweater.
When we understand that believers are built into a spiritual house, we need to identify who’s in charge. The reading from Hebrews sets two options in front of us – Moses or Jesus. For the early Christian church, this was a real struggle. The early Christians were very familiar with Moses, who he was and what he represented. Moses was a special leader over Israel, appointed by God to lead God’s people from bondage in Egypt to freedom in the Promised Land. God spoke to the people of Israel through Moses, most importantly bringing to them his commandments and laws, how they were to live in a relationship with God. And Moses was a faithful leader both to God and to the people of Israel. Yet as time went on, people saw Moses and the laws as the way to get to God and have eternal life. It was all about what they had to do. Whose house? A Jewish believer would be tempted to respond, “Moses’ house!”
But then you have Jesus. Jesus too was appointed and sent by God, like Moses. Jesus too came to lead people from bondage to the Promised Land, but this time from the bondage of sin and death and lead to the Promised Land of heaven and eternal life. And Jesus didn’t come to give you more laws, but to fulfill all of the laws God gave through Moses and to fulfill them for you so that he could give to you an eternal relationship with the Lord.
The point? Jesus is greater than Moses. Why? Jesus has been found worthy of greater honor than Moses, just as the builder of a house has greater honor than the house itself. For every house is built by someone, but God is the builder of everything. When magnificent award-winning homes are built, who gets the praise? The house itself, or is that praise directed at the architects and builders? Of course, the ones who designed and built the house get the praise. Jesus is the builder of everything. As both God and man, Jesus is the almighty Creator. The opening verses of the book of Hebrews attests to this truth, “In these last days [God] has spoken to us by his Son…through whom also he made the universe” (Hebrews 1:2). Not only did Jesus create the world, he builds the house of God as he gathers together souls bought with his own life and blood. Whose house? God’s house!
Another reason why Jesus is greater than Moses comes out in the comparison between a servant and a son. Moses was faithful as a servant in all God’s house, testifying to what would be said in the future. But Christ is faithful as a son over God’s house. There is a servant and a son. Who’s in charge? The son of course. Who will inherit the house? The son will, not the servant. A servant may be faithful, dutiful, and a blessing to a house, but the son ultimately has a higher standing and is over the house. Moses was a faithful servant in God’s house, to God’s people, but Jesus as the very Son of God, is over the entire house. Whose house? God’s house!
So as Christians, we are built into a spiritual house of which Jesus is in charge. But what’s that really mean? Let’s go now to the first verse of today’s reading. “Holy brothers and sisters, who share in the heavenly calling, fix your thoughts on Jesus.” You have been called through the promises of God found in his Word to be a part of God’s heavenly house. Fix your eyes, your heart, your mind, your life on Jesus.
But how often do you find your eyes fixed on things other than Jesus? How often do you like a rebellious teen, question or even accuse the master of the house, the Lord Jesus, of being unfair? How often do you not claim that it is your house and you’ll live by your rules? How often don’t your eyes land on a neighboring house, on another way to live life that seems more pleasurable? You don’t need to be a part of God’s house to enjoy life. Does the lawn look better over in someone else’s yard?
Or how often aren’t you tempted to think there is a greater way? Moses and keeping God’s law on my own is a better way. The way of the world and everyone is in charge of their own lives is a better way. But you see, those houses crumble and fall. They cannot stand before the perfect and almighty God. Don’t dwell in a house built by man. Rather dwell in the house built by the master builder, Jesus Christ.
Fix your thoughts on the greatest, Jesus. Fix your thoughts on the one in charge, who is sent by God, who has all authority as seen by his preaching and miracles, his power over all things, including Satan. Don’t find yourself standing on the outside refusing to come in, or turning away from the Lord in unbelief and doubt and being driven out.
Instead hold firmly to the confidence and hope of faith in which you glory. My wife and I enjoy watching fix-it up or remodeling shows on TV, the kind you would find on HGTV. It is amazing to the see the creativity and the transformation that can take place in a house from something that’s pretty dumpy to a luxurious home. In the same way, because of our sin we are pretty gross and dumpy. But Jesus comes in and washes away all of your sins and kicks out the sinful nature making you new and forgiven. In those shows the remodeled homes are professionally decorated or staged with beautiful furniture, finishes, decorations, and art work. Jesus decorates your life with even greater furnishings. In his house is overflowing forgiveness, glory, comfort, peace, eternal joy and eternal life. They are yours to enjoy as a part of God’s house. Whose house? God’s house!
When your life is rocked, when you are faced with persecutions, temptations, or problems, you need not give up. In those moments, fix your thoughts on Jesus. Hold firmly with confidence to his promises of his eternal presence and blessings for your welfare. Because in God’s house, you can’t be defeated. Christ has won the eternal victory over sin and death. Satan cannot come in and defeat you on God’s home turf. So, we chant, “Whose house? God’s house!” Amen!
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