Pastor Gene discusses how Jesus is better than Moses and asks the question: who are we taking directions from now?
Good morning everyone and welcome! Good morning! If you're new here among us my name is Gene and I serve here at C3 Church as your lead pastor. If you are tuning in from somewhere else, welcome to somewhere else. Speaking of somewhere else, have you ever gotten lost and found yourself arriving back at the same place over and over again? This is probably lost on some of the younger people. You're thinking Gene would you leave your phone at home? What happened? How can you possibly get lost? Well I want to rewind and think back in time to the 80s again. We did this last week. So let's hop back in the Ford Aerostar minivan, remember those, right? So my sister and I are in the back with our Sony Walkman, right? I'm waiting for that critical moment where I taped over her Debbie Gibson tape, right? So right so the heavy metal in there if you remember. So that's going on in the back seat. Dad's driving, mom's up front she's the navigator. We're on a road trip. I don't know where we're going, it doesn't really matter. But usually when we're lost mom is the first one to notice. She'll say something like "didn't we pass that publix before?" Now clearly we're not lost in southwest Florida because you pass a publix every 32 seconds, that's normal down here. But we're somewhere else and we're lost! Now dad he's not going to stop and ask for directions, that's what mom suggests. "Shouldn't we stop and ask for directions?" "No, I've got it!" Now my sister and I are in the back and things are getting crazy right? So what do the kids say? Classic "are we there yet? When are we gonna get there?" but we give my dad something without knowing it. She starts complaining, my sister always has to go to the bathroom. Dad gets all upset "didn't you go before we left the house?" Right? That's what my dad would say. "I tried" right but she always has to go to the bathroom. So I'm thirsty maybe, so he uses that as an excuse. It's not because we're lost that we're pulling over, because they have to go to the bathroom and get something to drink. So pulls over and by the way asks for some directions. Now, here's the thing, I don't know about you, but as for me I don't ask for someone's qualifications right when you get directions. But it would make sense wouldn't it, right? So just ask some simple questions like "how long have you lived here?" Right "are you good at giving directions?" Here's a tip, do not, do not ask a married couple for directions. You're going to get two or three sets of directions. Let me give you an example of how this works if you're not married. If heather and I arrive at the church building on Wednesday and we've been somewhere else all day, so we took separate cars, on our way home from the Bible study we're going to take two separate routes to secretly find out which one is better. Who has the better route? Now there's an unspoken agreement here that we shouldn't speed to cheat, but somebody doesn't always follow those rules, I'm not going to say who breaks those rules but yes. So one person has their way the other person has another way and so it gets confusing. So now this scene is really chaotic so you got the whole thing going on, right? Kids are complaining "I'm thirsty" "I just want to go home, I'm done" dad's out of his mind and here's what happens. He goes "fine! Let's just go back home" he's ready to give up. He forgot what we even set out to do in the first place. What was the purpose of this, right? And so dad gets real mad and then the kids kind of like back off right? "No, no, no, no it's okay, it's cool!" Because we're going to the mall or something like that, she's got to get another Debbie Gibson tape. So she goes "no, no I didn't mean that! I want to go, I want to go" it's chaotic. But we forgot what we set out to do in the first place. This chaotic scene of being lost. We forgot what the original purpose was for even setting out. That's how road trips can be. The book of Hebrews has a main purpose. To make it perfectly clear that Jesus is superior. No matter where we are, what we're doing, we must keep that in mind. The book of Hebrews reads or sounds like a sermon being preached to Jewish Christians who really know the old testament well. Which is why we're using this as a lens into the old testament. Today we arrive at Hebrews chapter 3. We're going to see that Jesus is better than Moses. Jesus is our superior guide. He is who we should be getting our directions from. Now those of you who are new today, I want to take you on a little tour of the old testament. So I'm always going to assume that yes there are some long time believers here, you know the Bible. But I'm always going to assume that there are first-time visitors here. You've never read the Bible, you don't know anything about it, right? So we have to remember that when we're talking to people, especially about the old testament. So I'm going to tell you about the way it kind of ish works. Moses appears in exodus chapter two. Exodus is the second book of the Bible. All the way back in the old testament. Now, a lot of you, even if you have never read it, probably know a lot of these stories. You know a lot of like the key people. So when we start at genesis, you probably know about Adam and eve. We've been talking about that, Cain and Abel you probably know about Noah, right? The big ark, the boat. You know about Abraham maybe, it gets a little more difficult. Isaac maybe, then you have Jacob who becomes Israel and this is where it gets a little harder for people. The 12 tribes of Israel, his sons. This is what is being talked about here. Now, one of those sons is talked about a little bit more than the other ones, it's Joseph. About 15ish chapters of genesis, it's really important because that leads us to Moses. That's how we get Moses, so it sets us up for that. He's in Egypt because his brothers sold him into slavery, it's kind of not good. But he's an over achiever, as I've explained in the past, he becomes the governor of Egypt so to speak, second only to pharaoh. So he can set up his family there in Egypt. He does but they forget, there's a new pharaoh, time goes by and they multiply a lot. The Egyptians get a little nervous and so they say "let's just enslave these people" and that's what happens. So in between genesis and exodus you have about 300-ish years. A lot of people don't realize this. So I'm going to talk about timelines a little bit today without getting too confusing. So 300-ish years exodus tells us what's going on and then we get Moses, and you probably know some of the stories about Moses. But what you might not know is between chapter 2 ish of exodus and 4 ish of exodus, you're dealing with about 80 years. Moses kills an Egyptian, he's mad because they're treating his people wrongly. And so he takes off, he's afraid, pharaoh is going after him, right? So he goes to Midian, he gets married, Zappora not Sephora, we're not going there. No road trips there, that place is like a Tim Burton nightmare in there with all kinds of smells, I don't like it. Anyway, Jethro his father-in-law, but then we have that burning bush account. Talked about that, we're talking about Jesus is God the "I am. The great I am" so you might know about that. And he gets set on his mission, he goes back to Egypt, because he's going to lead the people out, and this is where you probably know a lot of the different stories. You know some of the 10 plagues, that stuff. I'm going to take you right to the final one where the firstborn sons die. The passover feast is initiated, so the doorposts are covered in the blood, with the passover lamb. Those people their firstborn sons don't die. They make haste they leave Egypt. You probably know some of the stories about the parting of the red sea, right? The whole "let my people go" thing. The Egyptians getting flooded and killed. Okay, that's Moses, we're going to pick up after that in a little bit. We see here in Hebrews that Jesus is superior to Moses. The author or preacher of Hebrews was talking about Jesus being superior. We looked at this last week as our superior brother. He's God in the flesh, like us so he could die and be both the perfect high priest and sacrifice, kind of cool we'll talk about that a little bit more next week and the week after. Then he goes on to say this Hebrews 3:1 "And so, dear brothers and sisters who belong to God and our partners with those called to heaven, think carefully about this Jesus whom we declare to be god's messenger and high priest. For he was faithful to God, who appointed him, just as Moses served faithfully when he was entrusted with god's entire house. But Jesus deserves far more glory than Moses, just as a person who builds a house deserves more praise than the house itself. For every house has a builder, but the one who built everything is God. Moses was certainly faithful in god's house as a servant. His work was an illustration of the truths God would reveal later. But Christ, as the son, is in charge of god's entire house. And we are god's house, if we keep our courage and remain confident in our hope in Christ. That is why the holy spirit says, "today when you hear his voice, don't harden your hearts as Israel did when they rebelled, when they tested me in the wilderness. There your ancestors tested and tried my patience, even though they saw my miracles for 40 years. So I was angry with them, and I said 'their hearts always turn away from me. They refuse to do what I tell them' so in my anger I took an oath: they will never enter my place of rest." Now what's not obvious on the screens and in some Bible translations, is that there's something really cool going on here. There's like this three-layer scripture thing happening. What you have is the new testament scripture. In it old testament scripture is being quoted, in That scripture other old testament stuff is being talked about or quoted. It's kind of deep, so here in this case you have psalm 95 being quoted and he's talking about things that happen in Numbers. Kind of neat here. The scouting report and the rebellion. So we're going to kind of rewind again and I'm going to pick up where we left off, making the story very simple. So they cross the red sea, it's parted for them not the Egyptians. As soon as they get across pretty much, the Israelites immediately complain. They're the kids in the back of the car: "I'm thirsty! Are we there yet? I want to go back home!" That's what they're doing almost immediately. So what you see is these accounts of them being fed, getting something to drink, right? So that's what's going on here. So you have these accounts, you have the bitter water Marah, so Moses throws a piece of wood in there, it's like the world's first water filtration system and the bitter water is now drinkable. So that miracle happens. You have the manna, "what is it?" and the quail, and then you have the water from the rock at Meribah, strikes the rock. Now, aside from that there are a couple of reasons why they don't get to this promised rest, and I want to show them to you, but we have to go back and look at the timeline again. So what's interesting is, and a lot of people don't realize it's happening, I didn't realize it was happening until recently, when you really start looking into it. You have this account of them leaving, the passover here. And it continues and if you know the Bible really well, you have the book of Leviticus and then you have the book of Numbers. But what a lot of people don't realize is that from that time exodus 4 and a halfish, all the way through about numbers 14ish, it's about a year. So think about it, you have the rest of exodus and the whole book of Leviticus and the beginning of Numbers happening in just about a year's time, it's pretty quick. At the end of Leviticus it says this Leviticus 27:34 "These are the commands that the Lord gave through Moses on Mount Sinai for the Israelites." So a pretty short period of time, and if you look at Leviticus it's pretty much all laws, regulations for the priests and the people. Maybe two stories in there, so it's mostly just repetitive sounding kind of laws and things, and only two stories, kind of revolving around children and disobedience, but otherwise it's a law book really. And so that's all happening on Mount Sinai, this is what Leviticus tells us. Then after Numbers 14 ish, everything kind of slows down, it's about 40 years they say 38 to be exact, from Numbers 14 to Numbers 20. A lot of people don't realize that's what's happening there. It's not all like a perfectly parsed out timeline. So in Numbers 13 and 14, we see this report, the scouting of the land. So Moses appoints 12 people, these are representatives from the 12 tribes of Israel, going back into genesis if you remember what I just said. They go to scout out the land of Canaan and Moses says "hey check it out. Go see what's going on in their towns and their cities. Are there pomegranates and grapes and things like that? What's the food like? What are the people like? Scout it out for me." So these 12 representatives go, they scout it out for 40 days. A lot of 40 days 40 years things going on. They come back after that time and 10 of them, they don't want to go. So they start talking about the giants and things, right? The nephilim if you know your Bible. "There's giant people there! We're like grasshoppers to them, they're going to squish us!" Right? They're scared, they're not trusting the Lord. They don't want to follow these directions, so they try to get the people riled up, except Joshua and Caleb, they're cool with it. Now, you might know the book of Joshua, right? He takes them into this land eventually, spoiler alert. Anyway, two of them are going to be obedient but 10 of them not so much. So they're like these kids. Okay fine, god's really upset with them: "What? I'm giving you this land, go take it!" "We want to go back home!" They're doing that again, dad's like: "fine!" Actually puts a plague on ten of these people, it's not really good. Now they're like: "no, no, no, wait! We want to go!" They actually try to go, they can't, it's not going to happen. The Lord prevents it and they wander for 40 years and die there, except the young people, Joshua and Caleb. In exodus 17 I told you about, it's like this third thing, 15 is the water purification system, 16 quail mana, 17 water from the rock at Maraba, testing and arguing. What he does is he strikes the rock once, the water comes out. Okay, then after 40 years they wander around and they find themselves right back in the same place again. They find themselves at Meribah. It's kind of like: "hey look that publix looks familiar, let's go get something to drink." The people complain, they're thirsty. So what do we do? Well God says "speak, speak to the rock." What does Moses do? Strikes it twice, maybe he figures this is the second time I've been here, I've gonna do it two times, I don't know. One more for luck, the water does come out but he didn't follow instructions. "Because you didn't trust me, now you are not going into the land." Later on it says this Numbers 27:12 "One day the Lord said to Moses, 'Climb one of the mountains east of the river, and look out over the land I have given to the people of Israel. After you have seen it, you will die like your brother, Aaron, for you both rebelled against my instructions in the wilderness of Zin. When the people of Israel rebelled, you failed to demonstrate my holiness to them at the waters.' (These are the waters of Meribah at Kadesh in the wilderness of Zin.) Moses didn't follow directions. Here's what the preacher of Hebrews has in mind, psalm 95:7 "For he is our God. We are the people he watches over, the flock under his care. If only you would listen to his voice today! The Lord says, 'Don't harden your hearts as Israel did at Meribah, as they did at Masa in the wilderness. (same place) for there your ancestors tested and tried my patience, even though they saw everything I did. For 40 years I was angry with them, and I said, 'they are a people whose hearts turn away from me, they refuse to do what I tell them.' so in my anger I took an oath: 'they will never enter my place of rest.'" We see that sometimes Moses was bad at directions himself. Speaking of following directions, if you came here early to the church, before the worship service, you would notice something. The worship and media team here are very good at following directions. Not because I've threatened to kill them or make them wander around Naples looking for a publix for 40 years. No, it's not that. It's because they learn from their mistakes, I'm really big at making sure that there's a proper procedure. I give them good directions and then I kind of leave it alone, why? Because there's no greater teacher than embarrassment, that's what I always say. So you just kind of let it happen and then they won't forget again usually. It's a good technique. They follow directions, I'm very specific about a lot of things and those on staff, I think you can see Karalee covering her mouth trying not to laugh. I give a lot of very, very specific instructions, and I am very intentional. Everybody knows that I've thought it through, just do what I say, right. Now, I did not get this from the worship ministry, I didn't learn this in pastor school. I learned this at a very young age. If you know me, I've told these stories before, I talk about my dad a lot, funny guy. But he was a really good organist. I grew up in traditional church he was both the choir director and the organist. I was very involved in church. So we'd get to church very, very early really early and he would give me very specific instructions, and I didn't ask any questions. Kind of learned that a harder way than you guys learned it. Anyway, I followed his direction, so I go about my little tasks, right? So in a traditional church you have the hymn numbers, right? So you have those things on each side of you know the stage or the altar there with the hymn numbers. So I'd get the box of him numbers, my dad would give me the hymn list. I'm going to look up all the hymns all right? So as soon as I learned my numbers and things and I put the little things like mailbox letters or something like that, you put on the thing and you get it all right. After I did all my tasks we would reconvene at the organ bench. Why am I at the organ bench? Well because I was dad's page turner. That's what I did for him. If you've ever watched a really good organist play the organ, it's complicated. They have two keyboards and each hand is doing a different thing. It's really wild! And then there's like the foot pedal, there's like a whole other keyboard on the floor there and they're sliding along they're doing all this stuff. So it's kind of hard to like stop and turn the page. So I learned how to read music at a very, very young age. But until I could I had to follow my dad's directions, he would tell me like "turn the page" you know "hurry up!" I don't know this song really well, right? So it was really important, you don't want to mess dad up, right? And it was a really weird balancing act, a really strange thing because you had to sit on the organ bench a certain way, and my feet were like dangling off, they didn't quite touch the thing, I was really young. And I would have to reach for the page and turn it without going and landing on the pedals. It happened a few times, it's like "you ruined the worship service!" You know, so that's happened to me, been there done that. So it was like this very interesting kind of thing I'm bringing you all into, my weird life. Anyway, my dad before he got on the organ bench would do something interesting. He would change his shoes. Why? Well, because these petals are nice and wood and shiny and everything. And you wouldn't want to bring in the dirt from outside and ruin them. Also, it's kind of like this wild octopus ballet going on, that he's doing. And so the shoes have to be very smooth, and his feet kind of glided across the petals. It was this really cool thing to watch. He would change his shoes. His shoes had a purpose. And that's another thing I borrowed from my dad. If you're observant, if you've been going here a while and you watch carefully, you would notice that each week I wear the same pair of shoes. Like my dad's shoes, my shoes live here at the church. It's one less thing to think about. A key that I teach the staff all the time, make certain things automatic so that you can concentrate on what you should be concentrating on. I don't wanna think about shoes when I come here. I want to think about the message, I want to think about you. So I don't have to think about that, they just live here. Now, if you're very observant you've noticed that these shoes are not those shoes. So my shoes like my dad's shoes have a purpose. And so did these. A lot of people had told well, not a lot of people, a few people have noted the shoes. Some, with better fashion sense than me, have said "Gene, why don't you get another pair of shoes?" Because it defeats the purpose. Now I have to think about shoes. But I don't want to think about shoes on a Sunday morning. I just want to be automatic, you're not getting it, but they're like "Gene if you're going to wear pants like that you got to have not brown shoes. They should be like blue or black or something else" and I said "oh my gosh, I don't want to do that." plus I'm cheap, I don't want to buy new shoes. So I didn't. These shoes are not new shoes, I saw them in my closet. Ah, these shoes are old. They're older than some of you. I got married in these shoes almost 20 years ago. These are shoes from almost 20 years ago. They have a purpose, they've been repurposed. I can use them now. Now, here's the thing, if you know me really well, you know I do not dress like this during the week. I'm usually in shorts and flip-flops, I come in here with the flip-flops on. I get away with sometimes wearing shorts at Bible study. I can do that once in a while, although my wife does not prefer it. "I can see your hairy legs!" So can everyone on the internet. Anyway, I don't want to make you guys suffer too much with hairy legs and ugly toes and things like that. So I dress myself up a little bit, helps to be presentable sometimes whatever. But usually I'm in shorts, tank top, messy hair, flip-flops. Now, I've said this before and I'll say it again, you don't have to dress up and change your clothes to come here. It's not necessary. If you're watching online, there are people here with tank tops on, shorts it's totally cool. It's just me, right? I'm dressing up. You don't have to change anything about your appearance to come to Christ. Nothing. I always say that many churches make this a hard club to get into, so to me it's one more layer. "Really? I got to go to church, I might burn up and now I gotta get dressed up." So I'll say it again. Come as you are you! Belong here. Very important. Now a lot of people get dressed up for church and I wanna say this, which is fine. A lot of people like that, there's nothing wrong with that, it's okay, I get it. But some people are more concerned with outside appearances then what's on the inside. Jesus wants you to clean the inside of the cup, so to speak. He wants us to repurpose ourselves. These shoes are just repurposed. What's really important is the purpose of the person wearing them. That's what matters. Who are we taking directions from now? See like the shoes they have the same exterior but a new inner guide. I've walked a mile or two in these shoes. Maybe not for 40 years, not quite, but quite a few. But now, I have a new inner guide. Like Moses, the old guide didn't get me to my promised rest. But my new guide is. I'm not the person I used to be when I first wore these shoes, but I've learned from that person. Just like the preacher of Hebrews wants us to learn from the Israelites and their mistakes. Why talk about the old testament? We need to learn from our past. I walk differently now. Galatians 5 starting at verse 16 "So I say, let the holy spirit guide your lives. (in the Greek - walk in the spirit) Then you won't be doing what your sinful nature craves. The sinful nature wants you to do evil, which is just the opposite of what the spirit wants. And the spirit gives us desires that are the opposite of what the sinful nature desires. These two forces are constantly fighting each other, so you are not free to carry out your good intentions. But when you are directed by the spirit, you are not under obligation to the law of Moses." I walk differently now, directed by the spirit. I have a new inner guide. Jesus is better than Moses. If you are born again in Jesus, there's a new inner you, so to speak. Again, these shoes may look the same, maybe a little more worn out, but they have a new purpose, just like you if you are in Jesus. When you look in the mirror you may look the same, if you're me maybe not, a little more worn out maybe. The outside may look similar but you've been repurposed, you've been redeemed by Jesus. You've been purchased and repurposed, so that you can walk in Him. Colossians 2:6 "And now just as you accepted Christ Jesus as your Lord, you must continue to follow him." (Again the Greek says: walk in Him.) You don't have to get new shoes, you just have to change how you're walking in them. Now may the God of peace, who brought up from the dead our Lord Jesus, the great shepherd of the sheep, and ratified an eternal covenant with his blood. May He equip all of you with all you need for doing His will. May he produce in you through the power of Jesus Christ, every good thing that is pleasing to Him. All glory to him forever and ever, amen.