The Gospel Observer
"Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations...teaching them
to observe all that I commanded you, and lo, I am with you always,
even to the end of the age" (Matt. 28:19,20).
April 22, 2012
1) "Consider Jesus" (Tom Edwards)
2) News & Notes
by Tom Edwards
In Hebrews 3:1, the following exhortation is given that is just as
important for Christians today as for those whom the Hebrew writer
was addressing about 1,945 years ago: "Therefore, holy brethren,
partakers of a heavenly calling, consider Jesus, the Apostle and
High Priest of our confession[.]"
Of all people or things to consider, what could be more important
and lead to greater benefits than to give thought to who Jesus is,
to what He has done, to what He continues to do -- and, in view of
that, to hearken to what He requires of us? For to think on
Jesus is to think on God, since Christ is the "exact representation"
of God the Father's nature (Heb. 1:3); and in Christ, "all the
fullness of Deity dwells in bodily form" (Col. 2:9).
Therefore, to know Jesus is to know God (Jn. 14:7; Jn. 1:1-3,
14). In view of this, we should give serious intent toward
focusing on Jesus. For the Greek word for "consider"
(katanoeo) not only means to "observe" and "understand," but also
"to consider attentively, fix one's eyes or mind upon"
(Thayer). Of course, even the English word primarily means "to
think carefully about...contemplate, ponder" (Random House Webster's
Electronic Dictionary and Thesaurus). So it denotes much more
than to merely give a cursory glance to. Rather, we are to
look wholeheartedly to the Lord. And though this is always
important, it was especially needful for the Hebrew writer's
readership to see of all the greater and better things of the New
Covenant that Christ has made possible; and that they would,
therefore, also realize the futility and senselessness in going back
to the Old Covenant and its "shadows" (which would cause one to be
"severed from Christ" and fall from grace, according to Galatians
In considering Jesus as our great "High Priest," we don't think of a
lamb that He offered on our behalf; but, instead, His own life,
which was necessary toward atoning for sin and enabling Him to be
our High Priest in heaven. Now, because He has accomplished
that, we can also do as the Hebrews were instructed: "Therefore,
since we have a great high priest who has passed through the
heavens, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold fast our
confession. For we do not have a high priest who cannot
sympathize with our weaknesses, but One who has been tempted in all
things as we are, yet without sin. Therefore let us draw near
with confidence to the throne of grace, so that we may receive mercy
and find grace to help in time of need" (Heb. 4:14-16).
William Barclay points out that "The Latin for a priest is pontifex,
which means a Bridge-builder. The priest built a bridge
between man and God." How true this is of Jesus Christ who has
become that metaphorical bridge that can link humanity with Deity;
and the only One who can do so, according to 1 Timothy 2:5: "For
there is one God, and one mediator also between God and men, the man
Christ Jesus." Going along with this, Jesus declares,
"...'I am the way, and the truth, and the life; no one comes to the
Father but through Me'" (Jn. 14:6).
The Hebrew writer had also exhorted the brethren to consider Jesus
as "the Apostle." Simply put, the term "apostle" means "one
sent." So just as Jesus had selected those twelve (and later a
couple more) to send into the world as His apostles, even so, the
Father had carried out the same with Jesus, which the Lord has
expressed in His prayer in John 17:18: "As Thou didst send Me into
the world, I also have sent them into the world." And not only
did the Lord pray specifically for the apostles (vv. 15-19), but,
afterwards, for "...those also who believe in Me through their [the
apostles'] word" (vv. 20-21). Being a witness for Jesus
Christ, the apostle John also acknowledges, in referring to himself
and the other apostles, "We have seen and testify that the Father
has sent the Son to be the Savior of the world" (1 Jn. 4:14).
In Jewish terminology, "apostle" was used to describe envoys
(messengers) of the Sanhedrin. They were granted the
Sanhedrin's authority and were bearers of their commands. In
the Greek world, it can often mean an "ambassador," which is also
the term (though from a different Greek word) that is used in
referring to the role of the apostles in 2 Corinthians 5:20:
"Therefore, we are ambassadors for Christ, as though God were making
an appeal through us; we beg you on behalf of Christ, be reconciled
The Hebrew writer then continues with setting forth something else
to also consider about Jesus: "He was faithful to Him who appointed
Him, as Moses also was in all His house" (Heb. 3:2). Never was
one more faithful than the Lord. For who among men could also
say as Jesus does in John 8:29, "And He who sent Me is with Me; He
has not left Me alone, for I always do the things that are pleasing
to Him"? Note the word "always." The Lord never failed
to obey -- and even to the point of intense suffering and death.
Consider, for instance, these following passages:
"I gave My back to those who strike Me, And My cheeks to those who
pluck out the beard; I did not cover My face from humiliation and
spitting" (Isa. 50:6).
Also, Hebrews 12:1-4, where again instruction is given to focus on
Jesus: "Therefore, since we have so great a cloud of witnesses
surrounding us, let us also lay aside every encumbrance, and the sin
which so easily entangles us, and let us run with endurance the race
that is set before us, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the author and
perfecter of faith, who for the joy set before Him endured the
cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of
the throne of God. For consider Him who has endured such
hostility by sinners against Himself, so that you may not grow weary
and lose heart. You have not yet resisted to the point of shedding
blood in your striving against sin[.]"
And Philippians 2:5-11: "Have this attitude in yourselves which was
also in Christ Jesus, who, although He existed in the form of God,
did not regard equality with God a thing to be grasped, but emptied
Himself, taking the form of a bond-servant, and being made in the
likeness of men. And being found in appearance as a man, He
humbled Himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even
death on a cross. Therefore also God highly exalted Him, and
bestowed on Him the name which is above every name, that at the name
of Jesus EVERY KNEE SHOULD BOW, of those who are in heaven, and on
earth, and under the earth, and that every tongue should confess
that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father."
Though likened to Moses, the Lord, of course, was far superior to
him -- just as a builder is viewed as being greater than what he
builds. Going back to Hebrews 3, the writer then states: "For
He has been counted worthy of more glory than Moses, by just so much
as the builder of the house has more honor than the house. For
every house is built by someone, but the builder of all things is
God" (vv. 3,4).
Jesus truly is the builder in the sense of being the Creator.
And, therefore, even that which man can make, none of that would be
possible had it not been for the Lord: For "All things came into
being by Him, and apart from Him nothing came into being that has
come into being" (Jn. 1:3).
However, not only creation, but what about God's house today?
Jesus has built that, too; and it is the church (cf. Matt.
16:18). For example, in explaining one of the reasons for his
epistle to Timothy, Paul declares, "but if I am delayed, I write so
that you may know how you ought to conduct yourself in the house of
God, which is the church of the living God, the pillar and ground of
the truth" (1 Tim. 3:15).
Note, too, the connection we now see between this house and Jesus
being the great High Priest: "Since therefore, brethren, we have
confidence to enter the holy place by the blood of Jesus, by a new
and living way which He inaugurated for us through the veil, that
is, His flesh, and since we have a great priest over the house of
God, let us draw near with a sincere heart in full assurance of
faith, having our hearts sprinkled clean from an evil conscience and
our bodies washed with pure water" (Heb. 10:19-22). And, of
course, in Christ being a High Priest "over the house of God," that
is referring to the people of God. For, according to 1 Peter
2:5, "you also, as living stones, are being built up as a spiritual
house for a holy priesthood, to offer up spiritual sacrifices
acceptable to God through Jesus Christ." Paul expresses it
this way: "So then you are no longer strangers and aliens, but you
are fellow citizens with the saints, and are of God's household,
having been built upon the foundation of the apostles and prophets,
Christ Jesus Himself being the corner stone, in whom the whole
building, being fitted together is growing into a holy temple in the
Lord; in whom you also are being built together into a dwelling of
God in the Spirit" (Eph. 2:19-22). It is not the apostles and
prophets themselves; but, rather, their message of Jesus that
the church is built upon. For no other foundation could meet
God's requirements (1 Cor. 3:11).
In 1 Corinthians 3:16,17, Paul also speaks of the church as being a
"temple." For he says, "Do you not know that you are a temple
of God, and that the Spirit of God dwells in you? If any man
destroys the temple of God, God will destroy him, for the temple of
God is holy, and that is what you are." The "you" in this
passage is in the plural. So Paul is referring to the
church. Though in 1 Corinthians 6:19, he also speaks of the
Christian's body as being a "temple of the Holy Spirit." I
also find it interesting to note that there are two different Greek
words that are both translated as "temple" in the New Testament
("hieros" and "naos"). "Hieros" can include the frequented
outer courts of the temple (and seen in distinction from "naos"),
while "naos" refers to "the most holy place" of the temple, also
known as "the holy of holies," which the high priest entered only
one day out of the entire year, the Day of Atonement, and where God
is said to have dwelt above the mercy seat. It is this word
"naos" that is used to refer to the church and the Christian's body
as being a "temple" of God and, therefore, expresses a very intimate
relationship that the Lord has with His people. It is holy and
spiritual and needs to be maintained. Consider, for instance,
the warning in Hebrews 12:14,15: "Follow peace with all men, and
holiness, without which no man shall see the Lord: Looking
diligently lest any man fail of the grace of God; lest any root of
bitterness springing up trouble you, and thereby many be
defiled...." Though we are in the world, we are not to
be given over to the sinful things of the world. Notice how
this is expressed in 2 Corinthians 6:14-18: "Be ye not unequally
yoked together with unbelievers: for what fellowship hath
righteousness with unrighteousness? and what communion hath light
with darkness? And what concord hath Christ with Belial? or what
part hath he that believeth with an infidel? And what agreement hath
the temple of God with idols? for ye are the temple of the living
God; as God hath said, I will dwell in them, and walk in them; and I
will be their God, and they shall be my people. Wherefore come
out from among them, and be ye separate, saith the Lord, and touch
not the unclean thing; and I will receive you, And will be a Father
unto you, and ye shall be my sons and daughters, saith the Lord
So rather than being influenced by the world toward evil, let us
"consider Jesus" and be motivated to live a life of righteousness
and find encouragement through the knowledge of Him to overcome the
sinful allurements of this world, the trials that test our faith,
and to keep on that narrow path that leads to heaven above.
News & Notes
The Southside church of Christ in Gonzales, Louisiana, will be
having a gospel meeting April 27-29 with Chris Reeves as the guest
speaker. The church meets at 405 W. Orice Roth Road. The
Friday and Saturday services will begin at 7 PM; and the Sunday
services will start at 9:30 AM, 10:30 AM, and 6 PM.
The Steps That Lead to Eternal Salvation
1) Hear the gospel,
for that is how faith comes (Rom. 10:17; John 20:30,31).
2) Believe in the
deity of Christ (John 8:24; John 3:18).
3) Repent of sins
(Luke 13:5; Acts 17:30).
4) Confess faith in
Christ (Rom. 10:9,10; Acts 8:36-38).
5) Be baptized in water
for the remission of sins (Mark 16:16; Acts 2:38; 22:16; Rom. 6:3,4;
Gal. 3:26,27; 1 Pet. 3:21).
6) Continue in the faith;
for, if not, salvation can be lost (Heb. 10:36-39; Rev. 2:10; 2 Pet.
CHURCH OF CHRIST
9923 Sunny Cline Dr., Baton Rouge, LA 70817
Sunday services: 9:00 AM (Bible class); 10 AM & 6 PM (worship)
Tuesday: 7 PM (Bible class)
evangelist/editor: Tom Edwards (225) 667-4520
http://ThomasTEdwards.com/go (Gospel Observer website)
http://ThomasTEdwards.com/audioser.html (audio sermons)