Hebrews 3: Consequence of Unbelief

What does it mean to be “called from above”?

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Matthew 20:16 “So it is with the Kingdom of Heaven. Those who were thought to be least important are first, and the first are last. Many are called, and few are chosen.”
Hebrews 3:1–2 Therefore my friends, if you are called from above, focus on Jesus, the messenger and High Priest of our faith, who was faithful to his calling just as Moses steadfastly served his people.
King James
Matthew 20:16 So the last shall be first, and the first last: for many be called, but few chosen.
Hebrews 3:1–2 Wherefore, holy brethren, partakers of the heavenly calling, consider the Apostle and High Priest of our profession, Christ Jesus; Who was faithful to him that appointed him, as also Moses was faithful in all his house.

What might happen if we fail to focus on Jesus?

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1 Corinthians 9:27 but I surrender my body, making myself a captive to Christ, lest I should miss the truth of my own preaching.
Philippians 3:14 I focus entirely on the heavenly reward that comes in following Jesus Christ.
1 Timothy 6:9 The desire to be rich is a terrible trap, leading to many foolish and dangerous desires that result in death and destruction.
Hebrews 3:1–2 Therefore my friends, if you are called from above, focus on Jesus, the messenger and High Priest of our faith, who was faithful to his calling just as Moses steadfastly served his people.
King James
1 Corinthians 9:27 But I keep under my body, and bring it into subjection: lest that by any means, when I have preached to others, I myself should be a castaway.
Philippians 3:14 I press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus.
1 Timothy 6:9 But they that will be rich fall into temptation and a snare, and into many foolish and hurtful lusts, which drown men in destruction and perdition.
Hebrews 3:1–2 Wherefore, holy brethren, partakers of the heavenly calling, consider the Apostle and High Priest of our profession, Christ Jesus; Who was faithful to him that appointed him, as also Moses was faithful in all his house.

If the Creator is greater than all he has created, how well can we perceive his greatness?

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Isaiah 55:8–9 The Lord says, “I don’t think the way you think, and my methods are different from yours. As the stars are so distant from Earth, so are my thoughts and methods far above yours.”
John 14:9 “Philip! Have I been with you so long and you still do not recognize who I am? Anyone who has seen me has seen the Father. So why do you ask me to show him to you?”
John 14:17 the Spirit of Truth. The world cannot receive him, because it neither sees him nor knows who he is. But you know, because he lives with you and shall be in you.
Hebrews 3:3–4 Just as the builder of a house has greater honor than the house, Jesus deserves the greatest glory, for someone has built every house, but God is the master contractor of all that is made.
King James
Isaiah 55:8–9 For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, saith the Lord. For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways, and my thoughts than your thoughts.
John 14:9 Jesus saith unto him, Have I been so long time with you, and yet hast thou not known me, Philip? he that hath seen me hath seen the Father; and how sayest thou then, Shew us the Father?”
John 14:17 Even the Spirit of truth; whom the world cannot receive, because it seeth him not, neither knoweth him: but ye know him; for he dwelleth with you, and shall be in you.
Hebrews 3:3–4 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.

How did Moses know that a greater messenger would follow?

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Deuteronomy 34:10 Never again was there a prophet in Israel like Moses, for God spoke to him face-to-face.
Hebrews 3:5 Indeed, Moses served his people faithfully, giving testimony that a greater messenger would follow.
King James
Deuteronomy 34:10 And there arose not a prophet since in Israel like unto Moses, whom the Lord knew face to face
Hebrews 3:5 And Moses verily was faithful in all his house, as a servant, for a testimony of those things which were to be spoken after;

What does it mean to “stand firm in the faith”?

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Ephesians 6:13 That’s why you need every piece of God’s armor to stand strong in the battle and protect yourself from the evil.
Hebrews 3:6 As the Son, Christ has oversight of the entire family of God. For we are of his household if we stand firm in the faith, unwavering in our hope and trust in Jesus.
King James
Ephesians 6:13 Wherefore take unto you the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand.
Hebrews 3:6 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.

How are we included or excluded from God’s family?

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John 15:2–4 “He cuts off every branch of mine that does not produce fruit. He prunes the branches that bear fruit so they will produce more. You are pruned by the words I have spoken to you. Remain attached to me, and I will live in you. As the branch must be on the vine to bear fruit, so must you stay joined to me.”
Romans 8:14–16 All those who are guided by the Holy Spirit are God’s children, but not as slaves obeying out of fear. You are God’s adopted children, who seek to please him. God’s Spirit confirms in our human spirit that we are his children.
Romans 11:22–23 Pay attention to both the kindness and the judgment of God. Remain in his kindness and avoid being cut off. If those discarded branches were to turn from their unbelief, God is able to graft them back onto the tree.
Hebrews 3:6 As the Son, Christ has oversight of the entire family of God. For we are of his household if we stand firm in the faith, unwavering in our hope and trust in Jesus.
King James
John 15:2–4 Every branch in me that beareth not fruit he taketh away: and every branch that beareth fruit, he purgeth it, that it may bring forth more fruit. Now ye are clean through the word which I have spoken unto you. Abide in me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself, except it abide in the vine; no more can ye, except ye abide in me.
Romans 8:14–16 For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, they are the sons of God. For ye have not received the spirit of bondage again to fear; but ye have received the Spirit of adoption, whereby we cry, Abba, Father. The Spirit itself beareth witness with our spirit, that we are the children of God:
Romans 11:22–23 Behold therefore the goodness and severity of God: on them which fell, severity; but toward thee, goodness, if thou continue in his goodness: otherwise thou also shalt be cut off. And they also, if they abide not still in unbelief, shall be graffed in: for God is able to graff them in again.
Hebrews 3:6 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.

What was the Israelites greatest problem while wandering in the wilderness for forty years?

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Hebrews 3:7–11 That’s why the Holy Spirit says, “Today, listen to God’s voice. Don’t close your ears and rebel as the Israelites did during their trying times in the wilderness. When your ancestors tested and examined me, seeing my hand at work for forty years, I was disgusted with them because their motives were never right. They never understood my ways. In my anger, I swore that they would never enter my place of rest.”
King James
Hebrews 3:7–11 Wherefore (as the Holy Ghost saith, To day 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 sware in my wrath, They shall not enter into my rest.)

How might we miss God’s direction?

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Proverbs 3:6 Let the Lord guide everything you do, and he will keep you on the right path.
Proverbs 16:25 There is a way that seems right but ends in death.
1 Thessalonians 5:19 Do not resist what the Holy Spirit wants to work in your lives.
Hebrews 3:12 Watch your step, my friends. Don’t be like those who have an evil heart, refusing to believe, unwilling to walk with the living God.
King James
Proverbs 3:6 n all thy ways acknowledge him, and he shall direct thy paths.
Proverbs 16:25 There is a way that seemeth right unto a man, but the end thereof are the ways of death.
1 Thessalonians 5:19 Quench not the Spirit.
Hebrews 3:12 Take heed, brethren, lest there be in any of you an evil heart of unbelief, in departing from the living God.

What are some of the pleasures of sin? Why are they more inviting than the rewards of righteousness?

Author’s Thoughts
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Hebrews 3:13–14 Encourage one another every day while you can, lest any of you be deceived into thinking the pleasures of sin have any lasting reward. We will share everything with Christ only if we stand firm to the end in our trust in him. (Heb. 3:13 EWS)
King James
Hebrews 3:13–14 But exhort one another daily, while it is called To day; 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 stedfast unto the end;

After being delivered from Egyptian persecution, why weren’t the Israelites grateful and willing to follow?

Author’s Thoughts
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Hebrews 3:15–16 Remember what Scripture says: “If only we would hear his voice. Don’t resist God like your ancestors did when they rebelled.” Who heard God’s voice but refused to listen? Weren’t they the people who followed Moses out of Egypt?
King James
Hebrews 3:15–16 While it is said, To day 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.

If God was so disgusted with the Israelites, why did he put up with them for forty years?

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Exodus 32:10–12 “Now leave me alone so I can burn them up with the heat of my anger. Then I will make a great nation from your descendants.”
But Moses did not leave. “Lord,” he said, “why are you so angry with the the people you brought out of Egypt with your miraculous power?
Won’t the Egyptians say you brought them out to slaughter them in the mountains, to wipe them off the face of the earth? Let your anger cool so your people will not be destroyed.”
Hebrews 3:17–19 For forty years, God was disgusted with them. Why? Because of their sin—so they died in the wilderness. Who did God swear would never enter his place of rest? Those who would not listen and believe. So we see that unbelief slammed the door so they could not enter.
2 Peter 3:9 The Lord isn’t slow in keeping his promise, not like some people think. He is patient, not wanting anyone to perish, giving time for everyone to repent.
King James
Exodus 32:10–12 Now therefore let me alone, that my wrath may wax hot against them, and that I may consume them: and I will make of thee a great nation. And Moses besought the Lord his God, and said, Lord, why doth thy wrath wax hot against thy people, which thou hast brought forth out of the land of Egypt with great power, and with a mighty hand? Wherefore should the Egyptians speak, and say, For mischief did he bring them out, to slay them in the mountains, and to consume them from the face of the earth? Turn from thy fierce wrath, and repent of this evil against thy people.
Hebrews 3:17–19 But with whom was he grieved forty years? was it not with them that had sinned, whose carcases fell in the wilderness? 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.
2 Peter 3:9 The Lord is not slack concerning his promise, as some men count slackness; but is longsuffering to us-ward, not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance.