Rev. Jeff Hemmer, pastor at Bethany Lutheran Church in Fairview Heights, IL, and assistant to the president of the Lutheran Church—Missouri Synod, joins host Rev. Timothy Appel to study Hebrews 3:7-19.
The author of Hebrews reminds his congregation what the Holy Spirit says to them in Psalm 95. As they come into God’s presence in the Divine Service, they dare not do so lightly. As unbelief attacked the people of Israel in the wilderness, so it would attack the congregation if they do not take care to hold onto the confidence they share in Christ. God has appointed “today” as the day to listen to His Word in faith, lest the deceitfulness of sin gradually harden the hearts of Christians. The Israelites wandering in the wilderness serve as the warning of those who failed to enter God’s rest; the preacher of Hebrews calls his congregation to receive rest from God who is present among them now so that they will have rest in His presence eternally.
“The New Covenant in Christ” is a series on Sharper Iron that goes through the book of Hebrews. The book of Hebrews is best understood as a sermon preached to those who have gathered for the Divine Service, exhorting them to continued faithfulness to Jesus. As the Son of God and our Brother, Jesus is both our exalted King and faithful High Priest who is truly present with us so that we might fix our eyes on Him.
Sharper Iron, hosted by Rev. Timothy Appel, looks at the text of Holy Scripture both in its broad context and its narrow detail, all for the sake of proclaiming Christ crucified and risen for sinners. Two pastors engage with God’s Word to sharpen not only their own faith and knowledge, but the faith and knowledge of all who listen.
Sharper Iron is underwritten by Lutheran Church Extension Fund, where your investments help support the work of The Lutheran Church—Missouri Synod. Visit lcef.org.
A Rest for the People of God
7 Therefore, as the Holy Spirit says,
“Today, if you hear his voice,
8 do not harden your hearts as in the rebellion,
on the day of testing in the wilderness,
9 where your fathers put me to the test
and saw my works for forty years.
10 Therefore I was provoked with that generation,
and said, ‘They always go astray in their heart;
they have not known my ways.’
11 As I swore in my wrath,
‘They shall not enter my rest.’”
12 Take care, brothers, lest there be in any of you an evil, unbelieving heart, leading you to fall away from the living God. 13 But exhort one another every day, as long as it is called “today,” that none of you may be hardened by the deceitfulness of sin. 14 For we have come to share in Christ, if indeed we hold our original confidence firm to the end. 15 As it is said,
“Today, if you hear his voice,
do not harden your hearts as in the rebellion.”
16 For who were those who heard and yet rebelled? Was it not all those who left Egypt led by Moses? 17 And with whom was he provoked for forty years? Was it not with those who sinned, whose bodies fell in the wilderness? 18 And to whom did he swear that they would not enter his rest, but to those who were disobedient? 19 So we see that they were unable to enter because of unbelief.
English Standard Version (ESV) The Holy Bible, English Standard Version. ESV® Text Edition: 2016. Copyright © 2001 by Crossway Bibles, a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers. esv.org