Jesus: The One Who Makes Sense
Hebrews 13. The final instruction of all the epistles in the Bible, as you look through them the ones that Paul wrote in this particular one to whomever the author was. They all kind end the same way. There are snippets of instruction that pertain to those particular churches. And they are the instruction, of course, to the church at large. This morning we're going to look at verses 4 through 6 which reads this way.
You have heard Pastor Alex and myself repeat this to you throughout this study of this epistles that Hebrews, as an epistle, reads as an expository sermon. Whose central main theme is "Jesus is better." This particular instruction, as Hebrews is written, it's also written as an exhortation and an exhortation is encouragement and yet is encouragement also that is provided with a warning, to this particular church which would be true of course at the church at large. Do not fall away from Jesus. We've seen this consistently because those who would fall away from Jesus would just prove consistent that their profession was really apostasy.
Rather we're called upon to persevere and endure through the trials of life and through the persecutions that we, and they, suffered as becoming a Christian is sticking out in the world at large. Yet Hebrews also, as we have seen, is written as an incredible encouragement itself because it exalts in high praise. That fact that Jesus is better. He is better than everything and Jesus is seen as the High Priest who mediates what now is the new and final and eternal covenant, who brings us his people into the presence of God. Jesus is the fulfillment we have saw as we've looked through this whole 13 chapters of all the old covenant symbols and shadows and types.
Let me give you a few illustrations. Jesus is the true prophet that is greater than Moses. Jesus is the true priest that is better than any high priest before him. Jesus is the true king, greater than David and he uses this of course to this Jewish church to tell them, do not turn back and away from Jesus rather embrace him, Jesus alone by faith.
I kind of love what NT Wright says about this 13th chapter that we're looking into now. He says Hebrews 13 reads like an everyday modern day news story. Talks about sex, it talks about power, it talks about money, and it talks about suffering. That's what we hear virtually every day watching a newscast or reading it in the paper or some form of media. And yet Hebrews 13 is different for that because for us Jesus fits in in the middle of all of it. Jesus is the one who who makes sense to all the things that are going on so that we have understanding and here's why this is true friends: Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, during this time today, and forever. And so now we're meeting as His church and he sets as our High Priest. And we want to fall under the instruction that is given from Hebrews Chapter 13, just as this pastor writer was giving this as counsel to this particular church.
So the text though it's very small and there's so much beautiful truth, I hope you'll be with us every week for Hebrews 13. We're going to narrow in this morning on the council in three different areas. He gives counsel number one on marriage. Number two he gives counsel on money. And number three then he gives counsel on marriage. And because we believe that the Bible is an expository sermon, and that's why we we preach through books because it is the Word of God, and as we believe in scripture alone we believe that when God's people hear God's Word through the instruction that being God's word we then know how to act and behave and believe of course in the day and age that we live. The first part of this, though, the pastor writer gives us some instruction, some counsel, on marriage. Notice with me at verse 4 again he says, "Let marriage be held in honor among all and let the marriage bed be undefiled for God will judge the sexually immoral and adulterous." You'll notice with me that he says that marriage is honorable. He rather commands us that the command is to honor marriage.
And the dishonor to marriage in this particular church had come to them in two different ways. One that we're going to kind of be very familiar with. But the first one perhaps, we may not be familiar with, but there was a group of people, in a legalistic way, that kind of attached itself to this local body, and we'll see in other portions that this is true. They kind of plague the early church. And kind of what's called asceticism, which is mean to "put yourself under like a severe discipline." Meaning if I severely discipline myself that will make me holier. In this case this group of people would move around saying people should not have sex. People should be celibate. And in fact, some in the effects of this group, people would castrate themselves. Because they fell under the intention or instruction that to achieve perfection one should be a virgin. We know this would affect the early church in second century the monastics were a part of this. Marriage was found to be an inferior spirituality, and of course we know this goes on today. There is an attack, in the early church, upon marriage. And so to see this in another text flip back the 1 Timothy 4, because this was something that plagued many areas of the early church that, sexual intimacy was seen, itself, as evil.
Paul would warn of this, as he tells Timothy, in this personal letter. Notice this with me in chapter 4 verse 3. There are groups that go out and they forbid marriage and require abstinence from foods, that God created to be received with thanksgiving by those who believe and know the truth and a part of that food requirement we're going to kind of look at next week. But for now the text tells us, "Let marriage be held in honor among all and let the marriage bed be undefiled for God's will judge the sexually immoral adulterous."
There was a group of people that was adding to, to obtain a higher level of holiness that people should abstain from sexual relations. Now that would seem pretty odd to us, for the most part. There is a flip side of that because the text reveals this as well, is there were these Libertines. The Libertines affected the world as it was known because it was really a part of the Roman Empire and certainly was more prevalent than the first group that I just described to you. And they viewed this: that marriage was irrelevant, that you could in fact pursue, in an unbridled way, any form of sexual fulfillment. Thus in this case would hold a contempt for God's view, singular view, I should say of marriage. This contempt for marriage is seen where he says, the pastor writer says, "Let marriage be held in honor among law and let the married bed be undefiled." The word "married bed" has to do with sexual relations that God designed in and for marriage.
The world then, as it does in many cases now, viewed marriage only in a provisional agreement that you can choose to check in and out of. Could be heterosexual, could be homosexual, it could be whatever you want depending on your own personal satisfactions. Me is god, personal gratification, sexual fulfillment, living to your own lust. It's basically whatever you want goes. And you may pretty much rub shoulder to shoulder everyday with those who have this type of view. Now we know this to be true and we won't spend much time with this. We certainly won't turn to the text themselves, but God, obviously, designed marriage. Genesis 2:24.
He created marriage, in a complimentary way, between a male and female, Adam and Eve. And that their marital intimacy was pleasing to God. So when the text tells us here in Hebrews 13 that the marriage bed is undefiled, what the pastor writer is saying is it is not sinful in that context. Rather, it is something that God deems as beautiful. As Christians, and we've had several here recently and more that will be married, as Christians we celebrate marriage. We celebrate marriage because it's been created by God, in that relationship male and female. And according to Matthew 19, by Jesus himself the design was for a lifetime. Jesus himself celebrates marriage. His very first miracle of turning the water into wine, was a picture of not only his ministry bursting forth on the scene but that in fact Jesus celebrated, because friends, he's the one that designed it, marriage, in John 2. Marriage of course is a signpost to the future. Paul would lead us in this. In Ephesians 5 to tell us that the marital relationship is a picture, in a mystery way, of Christ's relationship to his church to when you get to the new creation Jesus has obtained in his final way and will in fact consummate the marriage to his bride. Marriage is used by God to help you and I understand God's love. It gives us an understanding. Your marriage is a gospel witness to the world. Now let me just say this, for those of you are single, because we spent a lot of time in this, that's okay as well. God gifts, according to 1 Corinthians 7, some with the gift of singleness. That is there not so overwhelmed by sexual tensions that they can live in singleness. God calls it through the Apostle Paul and 1 Corinthians 7 a gift from God. Yet for those who desire to have those types of relationships they are deemed as pure and undefiled by God, listen to me, within the context of marriage. Sexual relations, an act of devoted love within God's intention called marriage. Well of course the pagan world held this way: adultery was irrelevant and that's what was affecting this group of people, they knew those who said basically adultery is irrelevant it doesn't matter. Purity was seen in the New Testament world as abnormal, sex rather was a free right. And here's how they saw it, see if this sounds familiar to you, however with whomever wherever. Things don't change much do they.
I read this from one particular instruction owes the church as it became such a distinct group of people as as to how the world viewed the Christians. Pliny, who was a Roman philosopher and governor. He was sent by Trajan, the Roman emperor, to govern Bithynia to research Christianity in part. That's why I sent him there and in his writings, here's one part of what he revealed about Christians, "They are bound in their minds to avoid adultery." It became a distinction of their society. Christians in that day were viewed outrageously, outrageously pure because they did not indulge themselves like everybody else was doing in the world. Purity in marriage for them marked Christianity, just as for us purity in marriage makes us distinct from the world. Now the pastor writer in giving this counsel and identifying these two groups of people, I want you to notice this with me again in verse 4 he says this. He says, "Let marriage be held in honor among all and let the marriage that be undefiled." Now notice this, "For God will judge the sexually immoral and adulterous."
Now we've already identified that in the New Testament world it's very similar to the world we live in because there's a complete disregard for marriage and sexual relations. It's basically however, whomever, wherever. But I want you to see, not only the instruction that's given here in Hebrews, but that we might fall under and embrace God's ideal and what he deems to be appropriate and right and pure by looking at just a few texts, because I think they're worthy of reading and for you to take get your mind with a firm conviction, and given the kind of world we live in now. Even this afternoon through various forms of media we're going to see Hebrews 13 played out without Jesus. Where for us, Jesus is the one who helps us to make sense of everything in life. We hear these truths and we agree with them and we believe him why? because God's the one that has established them. So hold your spot here in Hebrews 13 because I do think this is worthy, turn back the 1 Corinthians 6 I'm just going to read in a few spots so we can see God's thought when he says he's going to bring under judgment those who are sexually immoral and adulterous. 1 Corinthians 6:9-10.
Now every place that we go to, every epistle that we're going to go to, the set of circumstances were the same. If you read the New Testament and you know the epistles dealing with sexual sin is a consistent thing that Paul had to do. Just as any faithful pastor is not going to bypass this passage, but we're going to deal with the text faithfully because we want to fall under the instruction of what God says about sexual immorality and adulterous relationships. Look with me at verse 9.
Turn to Ephesians with me chapter 5. Ephesians 5: 5 You know what that means. Don't worry about it. You're saved. Don't worry about it. You can do what you want. Let no one deceive you with empty words for because of these things the wrath of God comes upon the sons of disobedience.
Turn with me to 1 Thessalonians 4. 1 Thessalonians 4:3 When it says abstain from sexual immorality, just so were perfectly clear. That means sex outside of the context of marriage. The Gentiles, there is a reference to those who are without Christ who do not know God. What's he talking about there in Hebrews 13, and 1 Corinthians 6, in Ephesians 5, and 1 Thessalonians 4? What does that mean that they're going to fall under the judgment? Obviously they're going to be condemned as the text says that they won't be a part of the kingdom of Christ. But this is who it's referring to, those people who embrace adulterous lifestyles, serial fornicators, who remain as unrepentant. Some of us, maybe even among us, have fallen into this type of sin. I would want you to know that the tenses there have to do with the consistency of our lifestyle because we do know this don't we. That believers can and do sometimes fall into a grievous sin. Aka David. Those who remain unrepentant. That's what he's talking about those who will not acknowledge their sin. They fall under judgment. And what literally is going on there is that they are sacrificing, this is what the pastor writers giving them counsel for about marriage and sexual relationships. They are sacrificing this group of people eternal joy with Jesus for instant momentary lustful gratification. Dear friends that's not a win win.
So he gives them a type of counsel on marriage. Secondly as you look at verse 5 he says this. He gives them counsel on money. Keep your life free from the love of money and be content with what you have for he has said I'll never leave you nor forsake you. The pastor writer now begins to deal with covetousness and he gives them what is called a negative command. Keep free from a love for money, covetousness of course is plainly forbidden. A desire for wealth is dangerous. Mark 10:23 - 27 the rich young ruler it kept him from heaven. Why? Because he loved his money more than he wanted Jesus. And Jesus points this out here in this example, which was obviously a real example of the rich young ruler coming to him. It's impossible for one to trust their riches and to get to heaven. Why? Because a rich man trust himself. He doesn't think he has need of anything. And the place where someone becomes a Christian first and foremost is that I have a need. I have a need that is desperate.
How can someone then who has money become a part of the kingdom? By the grace of God. By the grace of God it's possible because God's grace changes hearts. Jesus begins to deal with in Matthew 6. Jesus is teaching on money and those who embrace a type of love of money. Now listen, I better show this to you now. It won't last long in my pocket. It's $50. Money is all moral. Money doesn't sin. Its my heart toward money that makes for sin.
Solomon tells us that money answers all matters. So we're trying to check ourselves what does God expect. Well Jesus says in Matthew 6:19-24. He talks about those who miserably hoard actually show a heart that is lifeless, that wealth itself can have its disadvantages. Don't get that wrong. It's just a responsibility because it can be difficult to have. So much so that Jesus steps back and says you cannot serve God and money. Because you will either love the one and hate the other. Or you'll love the other and hate the previous. Now we know this to be true. God is dealing with heart issues covetousness. This has to do with the heart. He says, the pastor writer is giving counsel here, do not love money. And it doesn't just apply, of course, to someone who has great wealth. A poor man can covet and a rich man can live free. It's all of what they done with Jesus but a love for money creates problems because God has given us riches. Deuteronomy 8:8 it is God who has given man the power to have wealth as a responsibility. Now again you can think well this is just kind of a closing term. You know this is maybe something that those people had a problem with. Well let's look at this a little bit. Real quick we're going to do this kind of quick. We're going to stay move along.
Go back to 1 Timothy 6. It is the love of money that is sinful because God has given each of us whatever degree of wealth that we have as a tool of responsibility. Now this is the lengthiest passage that, well I take that back I'm going to cut in verse 6, because he's dealing with false teachers and contentment. Paul is to Timothy just as the text we just read it says keep your life free from the love of money and be content with what you have. Knowing that Jesus says I'll never leave you nor forsake you. 1 Timothy 6:6. We cannot take anything out of the world. That's God's design. But those who desire to be rich. Notice this with me because it's a careful exhortation. It's an encouragement with a warning. False teachers taught that wealth was a sign of godliness. Paul deals with that here.
Now I want to look at a couple more spots because I think they're important go to Ecclesiastes. Back in the old testament the book of Ecclesiastes these turn with me to Chapter 5 in dealing with money. Solomon who was the wisest man on the face of the earth. The ,Bible tells us at one point was the richest man on the face of the earth and he sums up life in a Vanity of vanities describing money in this way. Look with me. Chapter 5 of Ecclesiastes. Verse 5. That's the nature of sinful appetites, whether they're sexual or whether they're a love for money. They can't be gratified. They can't be satisfied. Sin that begins in the heart inwardly. Because this doesn't go to sin, you know just fleeting. It begins in a heart where things in the heart have been nurtured. the command, of course, here is to not love it.
Now here's another very important text. Look at 1 Timothy 3. This is a criteria for those who are going to be in the ministry as a pastor, I want you to notice this it's very important. False teachers taught it. Solomon said it hurts and destroys the life. Paul will tell Timothy here in his instruction for those. I'll just read verse 1 This saying is trustworthy. If anyone aspires the office of an overseer that is he's given a Holy Spirit that word aspire means a Holy Spirit driven compulsion that he wants to preach and teach. We're not talking about selfish ambition because let's be honest right there's carpet baggers out there. There were then there are now. There's carpet baggers out there that use ministry thinking for gain. if any aspires the office of an overseer he desires a noble task. Because it's intrinsically valuable because it's the gospel it's handling eternal matters and the things to do with Christ and salvation. Therefore an overseer must be above reproach. The husband of one wife, sober minded, self-controlled, respectable, hospitable, able to teach, not a drunkard, not violent, but not violent but gentle and not quarrelsome. Notice this with me. Not a lover of money. Why. Because he'll destroy his life.
Jesus said you can't serve me and your money so Council on money is a serious issue because God's given all of us money that to whatever degree as a responsibility, a tool, that we're to be stewards over all of it. It comes from God. And then the pastor right here as we close turns his attention to counsel about the Master Jesus himself. He says this he says to be content with what you have from never leave you nor forsake you. Man do we take that promise lightly. I am going to be honest with you, I do. But man is that precious. Jesus will never leave you nor forsake you. He's giving them counsel to be content with Jesus because, in fact, let's be honest there are sinful sinful very difficult life's circumstance and simple pain for those who have fallen into various forms of sexual sin or for a pursuit of a love for money. The pastor writer says in this text some have fallen away from Jesus entirely. Their faith wasn't apostasy. They chose to pursue their own sexual sin over Jesus. They chose to chase after money over Jesus, both which brought pain. Church, for all of us, sin begins in the heart.
It's wrong thinking on sex and money when you're sitting there and you're home alone and then you can't pull up pornography and thinking you're going to get away with it, you are dying. It's literally what you are doing, you're killing yourself. Because those roots that we think we have balance, this what sin does it deceives us. Now I can handle this. Nobody else knows. Do we really think that David ended up with Beth Sheba in bed over seeing her one time. No, he knew where she went to bathe. There were things that he began to nurture and he began to balance his life. Nobody else was going to know. Sin has a way for all of us, to deceiving us. Are you killing yourself on the inside? Do you possess a wrong thinking on sex or money? It may cost you your life. The pastor writer here says this. Be content in your marriage. Be content with your life. How? Because you must be content with Jesus. Because Jesus will never leave you or forsake you. You must rest yourself in the Gospel. True contentment rest in God's care and it learns to be content that Jesus is the most precious thing that you have in this life. Knowing this to be true I will never leave you nor will I forsake you. God has promised this across the board in Scripture.
For his people he tells Jacob this when he's fleeing Esau and Genesis 28:15. He tells Moses this to Israel in Deuteronomy 31: 6 - 8. God tells Joshua this when Moses dies in Joshua 1:5. And this beck and call that we who are His church has called us to turn to Matthew 28. I know this is familiar but Pastor Alex quoted from this cause wearing engaged in gospel ministry. Things that will matter for eternity in this regard and at some times a promise that is that is missed out on us. We of overlooked this great commission text because we're called upon to make disciples of all nations, to build churches. That's God's design. Verse 17. That's what we do since that instruction to this point that's what we're participating in. But here's the blessed promise of this. This age that will end when he returns so that we will experience the next day. We have the promise of Jesus that he's never going to leave us, he's never going to forsake us. Be content with your marriage. Be content with the wealth that God has given. And know this, in no situation will God ever leave you. Not for any reason none. He'll never leave you. Not even for a moment. And though at times maybe in your life and perhaps that's even true now he seems hidden, Jesus has promised he will never leave you nor forsake you. Do not pursue the idols that are popping up in your mind and in your heart. Learn to be content.
When we lovingly embraced Jesus we find that Jesus really is the one that makes sense in every avenue of life. And that really there is nothing better than Jesus, especially any lustful desires which will only lead to heartbreak. Now friends, I give you this as he did for all of us. Difficult days will be ahead. They are part of being a Christian, any faithful reading of the word understands that. So we need a confidence right? Here's our confidence look at verse 6. That is a quote from Psalm, "The Lord is our helper. I will not fear what man can do to me." The Lord is my helper. I will not fear when you find yourselves letting their guard down with fear and anxiety. Understand that the Lord is your helper. We're not to fear who can come against us is the mindset will get through trials. Sin destroys lives doesn't it. It offers a check that will not cash.
It was about 15 years ago when the Lord of the Rings trilogy came out. For those of you that either read the books or saw the movies that ring that needs to be destroyed is a picture of sin. People lusted for it didn't they. You think all the various scenes. And yet when they got it, it killed them. When you are getting these sinful impulses in your lives these are checked guards. These are safeguards for us to identify. I don't want my faith destroyed over my own sexual sin or desire of love for money.
Dear Friend Are you dying inside? Are you battling well with sexual sin? Are you warring with over a covetous desire for love for money, hoarding? Let me degree just a couple of things in closing this and they are. These are heart things. I just want to sum this up. These are heart things because every one of us are engaged in this or any other form of sin where we are trying to kill mortify the flesh to kill our sin that we are embattled with.
How do we check ourselves? Well first of all we know that Jesus alone is the only one that satisfies. So let me give you seven quick things. Real quickly just in closing this, because all of these start on the inside that will guard your heart from sin. Admire the greatness of God. Admire the greatness of God. Praise the power of God. Praise the power of God. Seek the truth of God. This goes beyond just checking off a list, I read my Bible that day. Rather we read with intent to seek truth to guard my mind and protect my life. Treasure the beauty of God. Cherish the grace of God. Trust the promises of God. Friends. Listen to me. Fear the wrath of God. That's healthy for all of us. And God help all of us to love Jesus more than we love our sin.