Hebrews #3: Faith in Christ challenges reveal the follower’s true believer

Hebrews #3: Faith in Christ challenges reveal the follower’s true believer

prédication Hébreux 3 : Patrice Berger, 2023_05_31, église AB Lausanne

titre : Hebrews #3: Faith in Christ challenges reveal the follower’s true believer

Résumé : The journey of the Hebrews for 40 years in the desert revealed those who were really attached to God and those who did not adhere (yet they heard everything and lived like the others). It is the same for the recipients of the epistle to the Hebrews: the circumstances they go through reveal those who are attached to Christ and those who follow the movement and ask themselves the question if Judaism was not better… And we , do the challenges on faith in Christ reveal if we are true believers or if we have followed the movement, the atmosphere, the friends, the family, the tradition?

Hebrews #3: Faith in Christ challenges reveal the follower’s true believer 

An Epistle for Jews

The epistle addressed to a community bathed in Jewish culture in the grip of

  • less spectacular growth
  • and persecution.

These two aspects give some people the idea of ​​being tempted to return to Judaism…

Fool to go back to Judaism

The author of the epistle shows the stupidity of such reasoning.

Angels, chapters 1 and 2

If Judaism extols angels, Jesus is far superior to angels, He does not even suffer comparison, He is God!

And at the same time, He is near and adapted to men to really perform the perfect and acceptable sacrifice by God, to solve sin once and for all.

Specificity of this community

The community to which this epistle is addressed is ultimately like ours, made up of disciples of Christ truly attached to Him through the work of the cross. They are faithful, obedient and in hope and also of people who follow; they are there, experiencing the ups and downs of the community: a prosperous period of beginnings with miracles and almost exponential growth. They like the context and also experience the difficulties and oppositions.

But these people have not taken the step with Christ, they have not lived the true heart to heart with Christ in salvation, the external intentions may be sincere but the hardness, the pride make it impossible there are no decisions for Jesus, they are always lost…

Just like the majority of the Hebrew people with Moses who followed without being wholeheartedly with the Eternal!

So why not a return?

And the less « fun » circumstances of the beginnings of the Church, such as persecutions or more classic life of assembly, push them to ask themselves the question and if they would not be better off returning to Judaism, as if the Christian parenthesis was a good time, but now…

Just as the Hebrews of Moses’ time regretted the vegetables and meat they ate in Egypt!


Not only is it madness for them but above all an affront to greatness

  • of Jesus and
  • of His Salvation.

But these ideas can also pollute the whole community, destabilize it…

reason for the epistle

Hence the Epistle to the Hebrews which shows the total superiority of Jesus and Salvation.

  • The TA was preparatory,
  • a draft,
  • a prototype.

Jesus is the perfect realization of this; Judaism does not play in the same division!


Chapter 3 continues with the same intention. Reading it, I thought

at Fada, at La Maison du Fada, in Marseille! Yes, the housing unit that Charles-Édouard Jeanneret-Gris had built between 1947 and 1952 in Marseille! I mean Le Corbusier (1887-1965) and the Cité radieuse.

The architect with all the honors

All that to say that the architect, Le Corbusier, is more famous than the constructions he made!

And it is with the same idea that begins chapter 3, not the Cité radieuse, but the renown of the architect; and to do this, the writer of the epistle will take Moses to compare him to Christ and show that the fame of Christ, as builder of the house of God (His people), is greater than Moses who was a super steward.

Moses _

Indeed, Moses had, at the time of the epistle, an important and truly special place in the hearts of the Jews. In the 1st century, in Jewish thought, Moses was esteemed almost like God and superior to the angels!

far superior jesus

The author of the epistle will show that Jesus is far above.

Jesus is far superior to Moses

If Moses was trustworthy, credible and reliable, in the house of God (ie for the people of Hebrews) when there was the Tabernacle, Jesus is now much more.

It is no longer the past, it is current now with Jesus.

If Moses was a good ruler and steward of the house of God, the Hebrew people at that time,

Superior Glory

Jesus is clothed in a higher glory!

  • Jesus, as God, is the builder, not just a good steward…

Even more honor than the house, Jesus is Son, and not just a good steward, Jesus is the head of His house and not a subordinate.

Moses did not deserve

It is not that Moses was unworthy, he was a faithful servant, a model announcing what God was going to do perfect for His own through Jesus.

people’s house

We understood it well, the image of the house is used to designate not bricks but people.

The people of God in the OT are the Hebrews.

Currently, the people of God are the believers, the disciples in Christ.

Let’s read the text:

Hebrews 3:1-6 / 

NBS211. So then, holy brothers and sisters, you who have part in the heavenly calling, turn your thoughts to the apostle and high priest of the faith that we profess, Jesus [Christ].2. He remained faithful to him who established him just as Moses was in [all] his house.3. Indeed, he was judged worthy of greater glory than that of Moses, inasmuch as he who built a house receives more honor than the house itself.4. Every house is built by someone, but the one who built everything is God.5. Moses was faithful in all the house of God as a servant, to testify of what was to be said,6. but Christ is as Son at the head of his house. But his house is us, provided that we retain [firmly to the end] the confidence and the hope from which we draw our pride.


At the moment when the epistle is written, the Jews exalt Moses to the skies; but in the time of Moses, the Hebrew people revolted several times and did not listen to what the Eternal was saying through Moses; yet God had revealed himself spectacularly for 40 years!


Problem of hardness of heart that is hermetic even in the face of spectacular demonstrations of God.


The writer of the epistle is led by the Holy Spirit to admonish his readers with the same type of similes.

They are now the house of God through Christ; so that there is not the same hardness of heart…

You too have witnessed the hand

  • powerful and
  • extraordinary

of God through Jesus, at the beginning of the Church.

Motivate us

So let us encourage ourselves in the community not to feed ourselves with deceptions which would only harden the hearts of those who must lay hold of Christ.

But, even more important, to understand that now is the time to decide for Christ.

If it is the time of salvation, it is also now that we must respond to it…

Be careful not to harden yourself: indeed, sin tends to harden us, to freeze us in a status quo, by taking refuge in the “Glorious History of the past, the History of the Hebrews in the time of Moses”.

Make up your mind

But if the gospel is so compelling, you must respond to it.

  • NOW,
  • right away !!!

Do not harden your heart!

Revolt of the Hebrews

Do you dream of the people of the Hebrews of the time of Moses?

But, at the time, the rebels against God were among the people of Israel, yet they had heard Moses, they had seen the spectacular acts of the Eternal!

But their incredulity, their hardness of heart, their sins caused them to wander for 40 years, the time that all these people (except two) did not all die… They did not return to the rest that awaited them, it i.e. Canaan.

And you ?

Will you do the same? Today ? We, readers of the letter to the Hebrews who read it after them, will we do the same? –

Exactly, let’s read it:

Hebrews 3:7-18 / 

NIV7. Therefore, as the Holy Spirit says, today, if you hear his voice,8. harden not your heart as in the rebellion, as the day of temptation in the desert:9. there your ancestors provoked me, they put me to the test and they saw me act for 40 years.10. That’s why I was angry with this generation and said, ‘They always have a straying heart, they have not known my ways.’11. Also, I swore in my anger: ‘They shall not enter into my rest!’12. Be careful, brothers and sisters: that none of you13. On the contrary, encourage one another daily, as long as it is possible to say, “Today,” so that none of you will be hardened, deceived by sin.14. Indeed, we have become the companions of Christ, provided we hold fast to the end our first position,15. as long as it is said: Today, if you hear his voice, do not harden not your heart like during the revolt.16. Who indeed revolted after hearing? Isn’t it all those who came out of Egypt under the leadership of Moses?17. With whom was God angry for 40 years? NOT’18. And to whom did he swear that they would not enter into his rest, if not those who had disobeyed?

Rest ?

Twice we have just read that the unbelievers of the time of Moses did not return to rest.

No holidays


No way

  • Saturday mornings,
  • lazy mornings,
  • public holidays,
  • leave,
  • vacation
  • or retirement…

A space where God is

Schematic equivalents would be

  • the end of creation – Eden in the perfect of the Eternal,
  • the Land of Canaan – territory under the leadership of Joshua, David and Solomon, representatives of God,
  • Paradise-Eternity with Christ.

More precisely

Rest is a state (space and attitude) of divine plenitude.

Perfect and not static

There where everything is perfect and completed following the mission, God’s project, not an arrival without any more goal, but precisely, as everything is ok, it is alive and active. In the Garden of Eden, after creation was complete and perfect, Adam and Eve were active there!

The Joy of God

The rest of God is the joy of God on the morning of the 7th day .

It is the joy of the Creator who rejoices in what He has done and sees

  • that all is good, that is to say
  • that all things are fit to fulfill in the world the function for which they were created.

It is the joy of God who finds in creation a reflection of His glory.

It is the joy of God who rejoices in having called into existence something other than Himself: a creation that He calls to the happiness of participating in His glory.

This rest is not inaction.

God keeps on moving

Life and action in Eden: God gives orders in this direction.

Canaan well image the idea of ​​rest

Canaan well image the idea of ​​rest

Land of Canaan

It takes place after the exodus from Egypt, the crossing of the desert, the beginning of the conquest by Joshua and the end of the conquest by David and Solomon.

The goal was not to « loose » once arrived but to make this magnificent space bear fruit!

Eternity with Christ

Paradise Eternity with Christ

After our faithful and obedient walk of believers, forever with Christ, not blissful but active contemplatives.

solemn appeal

Hence the author’s injunction: « Now make the right choice, it is now that it is played, do not take refuge in what happened, in the « rest » of the time of Joshua or David, but in that which concerns you now through Christ. So if you hear his voice, don’t be tough! »

David says there’s a sequel

Moreover, very subtly, the author of the epistle will take texts from David ( Psalm 95. 11 , for example) which show that there is indeed a sequel – after Canaan, the promised land, Israel of the time magnificent of David – another rest, since the same David speaks of it!

Cling to Christ

So, let us hasten to return to it, that is to say to seize Christ, to really attach ourselves to him as Savior and Lord of our life.

Let’s not imitate what has been done

Let’s not imitate the bad example of the time of Moses

  • two only in rest Caleb and Joshua
  • and a whole people outside…

God knows exactly. So no figures

Also be careful, it is useless to say “like I am like the other believers”, God knows all things and besides, He will reveal what is hidden in hearts.

The Word of God

Just as a double-edged sword penetrates

  • outside 
  • and the interior

of a body, nothing can stop its action.

Likewise, God, by His Word, clearly reveals what is in us, what we might hide outwardly; she who gauges and reveals

  • the reality of feelings 
  • and the inclinations of the heart,
  • thoughts 
  • and the most secret intentions.

And besides God knows all things

Note that before God, nothing is hidden and we will all have to justify ourselves for everything we think and do!

So really cling to Him

It’s really useless to do “style”, take advantage, it’s the moment, it’s “today”, to really attach yourself to Him.

Why are we playing hypocrites?

Why does a man style in front of others?

  • To be accepted – problem of pride – and to be reassured.

Simpler and less energy consuming

But isn’t it easier to have certainty by surrendering to Christ?

Admittedly, our pride takes a hit, but fortunately because it leads us to do anything.

God by His Word acts as a revealer

How does the Word of God act as a revealer of what is in the heart?

God communicates God’s perfect desire for our lives:

  • When we bypass them,
  • when we minimize them,
  • when we do not live them voluntarily,

it really shows what we have in the heart; even if for a while we can hide our real identity from other believers by putting on a good show…

But in this case, the reality of their hearts was being unmasked. 

The minimum

  • loyalty,
  • obedience

to which Christ calls us, leaves room for the desire to return to Judaism!

Hebrews 4:1-13 / 

NBS211. So let us fear, while the promise to enter into his rest remains valid, that one of you seems to have fallen behind.2. Indeed this good news was declared to us as well as to them, but the word which they heard availed them nothing because they were not united in faith with those who listened .3. As for us who have believed, we enter into rest, inasmuch as God said: I have sworn in my anger, ‘They shall not enter into my rest!’ Yet his work was done since the creation of the world.4. Indeed, he spoke somewhere thus about the seventh day: And God rested from all his activity on the seventh day.5. And in this passage he says again: They shall not enter into my rest!6. Thus, some still have the possibility of entering it, and the first to receive this good news did not enter into rest because of their disobedience.7. This is why God sets a new day – today – by saying long after David this word already quoted: Today, if you hear his voice, do not harden your heart.8. If Joshua had indeed given them rest, God would not speak after that of another day.9. There therefore remains a Sabbath rest for the people of God.10. Indeed, he who enters into God’s rest also rests from his activity, just as God rested from his.11. Let us therefore hasten to enter into this rest so that no one falls giving the same example of disobedience.12. Indeed, the word of God is alive and effective, sharper than any two-edged sword, penetrating to separate soul and spirit, joints and marrow; it judges the feelings and thoughts of the heart.13. No creature is hidden before him: all is naked and uncovered in the sight of him to whom we are accountable.

Two thoughts

Two remarks concern us following the reading of these passages:

– we could, while reading the Epistle to the Hebrews, be seized with anxiety

“If I was not faithful, would I not enter into the Rest, into the Salvation of Christ? »

– the return to Judaism is perhaps not our news.

But we are confronted with the same mechanism on other subjects which can attract us.


All believers are pardoned sinners, so necessarily they are unfaithful and disobedient.

So if everything was based on faithfulness and obedience, no one would enter into Christ’s Rest.

If we have a fear

  • to know
  • or not to know

if we are in the nails, it’s simple, let’s aim for obedience and fidelity with the help of Christ, in the image of the salvation He has acquired for us, by recognition and by identity as children of God.

And the beginning of obedience and faithfulness to God is to cleave to Christ.

Verses in question

Hebrews 3 / NJV21 6. but Christ is as Son at the head of his house. But his house is us, provided that we retain [firmly to the end] the confidence and the hope from which we draw our pride.

Hebrews 3 / NJV21 14. Indeed we have become companions of Christ, provided we hold fast to the end our first position,

Other verses will also raise the same type of question:

Hebrews 6. 4-8

Hebrews 10.26-31

Easy to understand

When we are confronted with a verse that questions us, we must always try with the Holy Spirit and Christ to understand it in the light of the hyper-clear texts…

Could this verse evoke uncertainty about my eternity, if I am a follower of Christ?

No !

For what ?

It all depends on Christ

Who did it all?

100% it’s Christ!

These are the texts of the crucifixion that we read at Easter.

Nothing in salvation depends on me.

I have no part,

  • no merit,
  • no obedience,
  • no loyalty.

Nothing depends on the obedience or faithfulness of men, everything depends on Jesus!

Salvation, a new identity

Salvation is a change of spiritual sovereignty over our life

There are two :

  • either from the enemy of God, the initial condition of every man;
  • be of Christ, by surrendering to Jesus.

No sovereignty independent of man!

If I’ve surrendered to Christ, I’m changing

  • identity,
  • of Father,
  • family: I am a child of God, co-heir with Christ!

I no longer depend on the enemy of God…

When I sin, it’s like a child who disobeys his parents, but he remains their child!

It has consequences since it alters

  • relationships
  • and communion with God,
  • it saddens the Spirit of God, Christ and the Father.

But I am not fired from the family as soon as I sin or reinstated as soon as I judge that there I assured…

In the heart of sin

Even though sin can make me

  • let go of the hand of Christ (or have that feeling),
  • sadden the Holy Spirit,

it’s not me holding Christ’s hand, it’s Him holding my hand.

Even a verse addressed to believers who have not valued their identity in Christ

1 Corinthians 3 / NJV21 15. If his work burns, he will lose his reward; he himself will be saved, but as through a fire.

Nothing separates us from Christ

Nothing can separate me.

Romans 8:38-39

NJEB2138. Indeed I am confident that neither death nor life, neither angels nor dominions, neither present nor future, nor powers, 39.nor neither height nor depth nor any other creature can separate us from the love of God manifested in Jesus Christ our Lord.

Understanding Hebrews 3.6

How, then, should we understand the verse that was questioning us?

It is more « identitarian » than conditional, the meaning of this verse is more to encourage

  • keep the believer’s normal faithfulness and obedience as the goal,
  • be « focused »,
  • keep in sight the hope of salvation

to look to Christ

  • unlike
  • and in opposition,

to look at a hypothetical return to Judaism as if it were going to be better.

Not tempted by Judaism

So maybe we don’t all have the temptation to go back to Judaism, because it’s not our environment and our culture.

But by other more current

On the other hand, we can just like the recipients of this epistle, be tempted by other reflections, perhaps spiritual or religious.

And much more on intellectual ethics, on the way of life.

The Word of God a Revealer

And there, as we have read, the Word of God is an excellent revealer of what we could have hidden in our heart, secretly hoping to do so “style: I am a believer”.

As in the time of the epistle

Just as the Word of God has been a revealer of those who are truly committed to Christ in the face of

  • to difficulties,
  • routine,
  • to tension,
  • to persecution,

when they receive the letter to the Hebrews, showing their attachment to Jesus whatever the circumstances.

The Word remains a revealer for us

It is the same for us, the Word of God is a revealer of those who are really attached to Christ, certainly in the search for other beliefs but rather in the face of our way of life.

Am I in tune with the Word of God on the plan

  • ideological,
  • sentimental,
  • family,
  • philosophical,
  • financial,
  • hobbies,
  • ethics ?

Or would the Word of God reveal the true state of my heart, which would be more inclined to conform to the thoughts, to the ways of doing things of the current ideas of our society to be found in it, rather than to the

fidelity and obedience?


No, it’s not a subject that affects me!!

Look at the time and concern that the financial field takes in our daily life

Incidentally, Switzerland is the 4th richest country per capita!


Waste of time on numerical trivialities,

waste of money doing what absolutely must be done…

But who put it into your head that you absolutely had to do it?

What is the place of leisure in the Word?

What does my true attachment to the Word of Christ reveal on the

ethics ?

life control,

control of my life,

as if life came from us…

  • « Right » to stop With or Without your consent!
    • Rights at the beginning of life With or Without your consent!

What does my true attachment to the Word of Christ reveal on the


  • Eco,
    • vegan,
      • ultra-feminism,
        • renewable,
          • gluten free,
          • lactose free,
          • no added sugar…

Are these proposals my new life ethics grid?

What does my true attachment to the Word of Christ reveal on the

single vision of a facet of ecology?

What does my true attachment to the Word of Christ reveal on the

the dictatorial vision of gender?

What does my true attachment to the Word of Christ reveal on the

the imposed distortion of the understanding of secularism?

What does my true attachment to the Word of Christ reveal on the

ultra egocentrism, mixed with relativism?

I am the moderator of the world around me,


it is I who am the reference on sexuality and for my sexuality;

it is I who am the reference for the life of 2 and for my life of 2!

In fact, it’s an illusion of independence because it’s just a copy/paste of what surrounds me, thinking to silence my conscience.

It’s me, it’s not the Word;

would that reveal my real attachment to Christ?


It’s me who decides to do what I hear to manage my time,

when i’m just answering

  • expectations to,
    • to the proposals

who constantly attack me.

Finally, what is really you and not continuous conditioning?

My attachment to Christ shows itself

Is it that

  • my obedience,
  • my hope,
  • my loyalty

to Christ are obvious in the face of these subjects and way of life?

Does the evaluation of what the Word of God says show itself in my life?

Or is it the other way around?

My way of life reveals my hidden thoughts which are not in tune with the word of God.

Is Jesus enough?

Finally, is Jesus’ guidance on our life sufficient and rejoicing for us?

Much bigger

Do we see it as vastly above all that is possible and what is on offer around us?


Do we find in the propositions of the Word of God what delights and loves Christ?

Have we understood that the rest of the proposals that are around us do not play in the same division?

We started our reading with

Hebrews 3 / Segond211. So then, holy brothers and sisters, you who have part in the heavenly calling, turn your thoughts to the apostle and high priest of the faith that we profess, Jesus [Christ].

Bible Passages

Romans 8:38-39/ ASV

38. For I am persuaded, that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor things present, nor things to come, nor powers,
39. nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature, shall be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.
1 Corinthians 3:15 / ASV
15. If any man's work shall be burned, he shall suffer loss: but he himself shall be saved; yet so as through fire.

Hebrews 3:1-2/ ASV

1. Wherefore, holy brethren, partakers of a heavenly calling, consider the Apostle and High Priest of our confession, [even] Jesus;
2. who was faithful to him that appointed him, as also was Moses in all his house.
Hebrews 3:6 / ASV
6. but Christ as a son, over his house; whose house are we, if we hold fast our boldness and the glorying of our hope firm unto the end.

Hebrews 3:7-18/ ASV

7. Wherefore, even as the Holy Spirit saith, To-day if ye shall hear his voice,
8. Harden not your hearts, as in the provocation, Like as in the day of the trial in the wilderness,
9. Where your fathers tried [me] by proving [me,] And saw my works forty years.
10. Wherefore I was displeased with this generation, And said, They do always err in their heart: But they did not know my ways;
11. As I sware in my wrath, They shall not enter into my rest.
12. Take heed, brethren, lest haply there shall be in any one of you an evil heart of unbelief, in falling away from the living God:
13. but exhort one another day by day, so long as it is called To-day; lest any one of you be hardened by the deceitfulness of sin:
14. for we are become partakers of Christ, if we hold fast the beginning of our confidence firm unto the end:
15. while it is said, To-day if ye shall hear his voice, Harden not your hearts, as in the provocation.
16. For who, when they heard, did provoke? nay, did not all they that came out of Egypt by Moses?
17. And with whom was he displeased forty years? was it not with them that sinned, whose bodies fell in the wilderness?
18. And to whom sware he that they should not enter into his rest, but to them that were disobedient?
Hebrews 3:14 / ASV
14. for we are become partakers of Christ, if we hold fast the beginning of our confidence firm unto the end:
Hebrews 4:11 / ASV
11. Let us therefore give diligence to enter into that rest, that no man fall after the same example of disobedience.
Hebrews 4:12 / ASV
12. For the word of God is living, and active, and sharper than any two-edged sword, and piercing even to the dividing of soul and spirit, of both joints and marrow, and quick to discern the thoughts and intents of the heart.

Related Links / Notes

Hebrews Sermon Series

Study Notes are translated from the original French version prepared by the pastor Patrice Berger. The orginal French notes are in « note » form, and are not a direct transcription of the video, however they are quite close the original text preached at the church. The sermon notes provided here can be used as a helpful study guide/commentary.

All services as well as some of the bible studies are streamed on the channel  YouTube église AB Renens-Lausanne.  Also visit the You Tube channel of the Swiss Action Biblique Youth Groups (JAB Suisse Romande)/ Facebook.

The King James Version is available as an audio bible Podcast which can be accessed below.

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