Consider Jesus

October 29, 2023 ()

Bible Text: Hebrews 3:1-6 |


Consider Jesus | Hebrews 3:1-6
Brian Hedges | October 29, 2023

I want to invite you to turn in your Bibles this morning to the book of Hebrews. We’re going to be in Hebrews 3:1-6.

While you’re turning there, let me ask you, what dominates your mind? What do you think about in your free time? Are you happy and content with your interior life, the world inside your head? When you think about your use of time, think about your self-talk, the running monologue going on in your head, what are you telling yourself? What are the kinds of thoughts that run through your mind hour by hour throughout the day? What are your free-floating thoughts like, your daydreams? What is your devotional life like this morning?

Ask yourself some questions. These are questions all of us should ask ourselves. “What’s going on in my inner world?” What’s going on in your inner world—your thought life, the life of the heart and the mind and thoughts and affections—is probably the clearest indicator of where you really are spiritually in your relationship with God. Our thoughts reveal what’s going on in our hearts.

I begin with this series of questions this morning because the passage that we’re going to study together has one central exhortation, and it’s an exhortation that has to do with our thoughts, with the way we think. This whole message is really about that; it is to think in a certain kind of way, as we’re going to see in the passage this morning.

We’re going to begin by reading Hebrews 3:1-6. This, of course, is part of our ongoing series through the letter to the Hebrews called “Jesus Is Better.” Let’s hear what God’s word says in Hebrews 3:1-6.

“Therefore, holy brothers, you who share in a heavenly calling, consider Jesus, the apostle and high priest of our confession, who was faithful to him who appointed him, just as Moses also was faithful in all God's house. For Jesus has been counted worthy of more glory than Moses—as much more glory as the builder of a house has more honor than the house itself. (For every house is built by someone, but the builder of all things is God.) Now Moses was faithful in all God's house as a servant, to testify to the things that were to be spoken later, but Christ is faithful over God's house as a son. And we are his house, if indeed we hold fast our confidence and our boasting in our hope.”

This is God’s word.

The central command in this passage is in verse 1: “Consider Jesus.” I simply want to ask three questions of the text. This is a simple “what, why, and how” sermon. What does it mean to consider Jesus? Why should we do it? How do we do this?

1. What

The first question is what: what does it mean when this passage says to “consider Jesus”? You can see some of the synonyms here on the screen. To consider means to notice or perceive or to look intently; it means to contemplate or study. Those are all from the most common Greek lexicon of the New Testament. That’s what this word means; it carries the idea of noticing or looking intently. The NIV translates the word in this way: “Fix your thoughts on Jesus.” I like that translation; that’s helpful.

It’s a word that’s used a number of times in the New Testament. When Jesus talks about considering the birds of the air and the lilies of the field, this is the word he uses. It’s the word that’s used in Hebrews 10:24, where the author tells us to consider one another, to stir up one another to love and good deeds. It’s the word that James uses when he talks about those who are hearers of the word but not doers of the world, and he says they’re like people who look at their face in a mirror, they look intently at their face in a mirror, but then they forget what they’re like. But that phrase “look intently” is the word that’s used here.

It’s the word that’s used of Moses in Acts 7, when Stephen is preaching, and he talks about when Moses saw the burning bush and he drew near to the bush and looked. Can you imagine how his interest was captured by this amazing sight of a bush that burned but was not consumed?

You might think of any activity that absorbs a person’s interest, that demands their most intense concentration, and that consumes their thoughts. Think of an artist who is poring over a painting or a drawing, spending hours focused on this work of art, trying to get every single detail right.

Think of a musician, where all the powers of concentration are focused on playing this instrument and striking every note just right, getting it perfect, nailing it.

Think of a student who studies not as a chore, not just cramming for a test, but a student who is really absorbed in her work and who wants to master this material, and so spends hours and hours pouring herself into her studies. That’s what it means to consider.

William Lane in his commentary says, “The compelling force of this imperative demands the hearers’ immediate attention and sharply focuses that attention on Jesus.”

It’s similar to the command given to us in Hebrews 2:1: “Therefore we must pay much closer attention to what we have heard.” Pay attention! Consider Jesus. Fix your thoughts on Jesus. That’s the answer to the “what” question.

2. Why?

So, why should we do this? Why should we fix our thoughts on Jesus? The simple answer of this passage and of the whole letter to the Hebrews is because Jesus is better. Look at Hebrews 3:1. “Therefore, holy brothers, you who share in a heavenly calling, consider Jesus, the apostle and high priest of our confession . . .”

The text gives two titles for Jesus: apostle and high priest. This word “apostle” is used only here of Jesus in the New Testament, though many times the verb form of this word is used, as it speaks of the Father sending Jesus into the world. That’s what “apostle” means; it means someone who is sent, and sent with a mission, sent with a message. Probably the word is used here to summarize what has already been said about Jesus the Son, through whom God has now spoken his fullest and final and most complete word of revelation. God has spoken through the Son, and therefore the Son, Jesus Christ, is called the apostle of our confession.

He’s also called the high priest of our confession. We’ve already seen in Hebrews 2:17-18 the first time in the New Testament that Jesus is directly called a high priest, and he is a high priest who made an atoning sacrifice for the sins of the people. He is the one who bore our sins on the cross, and through that sacrifice removed our sins and satisfied the wrath and judgment of God against our sins, and through his suffering and because of his suffering he is able to help us when we suffer in temptation.

These two titles, apostle and high priest, really sum up everything that is already said about Jesus and also preview what is still to be said about Jesus, especially as Hebrews 5, 7, 9, and 10 expound on the priestly work of Jesus Christ.

The passage then goes on to say that Jesus, as our apostle and high priest, was both faithful and that he is worthy. You see this in verse 2. He was “faithful to him who appointed him, just as Moses also was faithful in all God's house.” And then verse 3 says that “Jesus has been counted worthy of more glory than Moses.”

He is faithful and worthy, and here we have a new comparison of Jesus with Moses. We’ve already seen in Hebrews that Jesus is better than the angels, greater than the angels, and now the focus shifts to say that Jesus is greater than Moses.

It might be helpful for us to understand briefly the Old Testament background to this, alluded to in these verses. Numbers 12:7 said that God’s servant Moses was “faithful in all [God’s] house.” So Moses was held up in honor. He was the prophet through whom God had given the Mosaic covenant.

But there was a prophecy in the Old Testament—in fact, you find a couple of prophecies that are alluded to here, one in 1 Samuel 2:35, where the Lord said he would raise up for himself a faithful priest, and that he would build him a sure house. It was looking immediately to a new priest who would replace the priest Eli, but ultimately it was looking to a priest that would be better than any of the Old Testament priests. That priest, of course, is Jesus, who has just been named our high priest.

Then there’s 1 Chronicles 7:11-14, where God delivered an oracle to King David through the prophet Nathan, telling him that he would “raise up your offspring after you, one of your own sons, and I will establish his kingdom, and he shall build a house for me.” Of course, “house” there carries the idea of the temple. It was Solomon who built the temple, but this covenant also promised that there would be an heir of David who would sit on the throne forever, that his house would be established forever. The author of Hebrews now is showing us that Jesus is the builder of this house, and his faithfulness is even greater than the faithfulness of Moses.

The simple logic of this passage can be seen in a simple chart. Jesus is greater than Moses as a builder is greater than the house which is being built, and he is greater because he’s the Son, and a son is greater than a servant. This is the Son who is faithful over God’s house, whereas the servant Moses was faithful in God’s house.

It’s the argument that is made over and over again throughout this letter, that Jesus is better, Jesus is greater. Here he’s seen to be greater than Moses.

One more thing to note quickly: verse 5 tells us something about Moses. It says that Moses was “faithful in all God’s house as a servant to testify to the things that were to be spoken later.” In no way is the author to the Hebrews denigrating Moses. He’s not casting any contempt on Moses. But he reminds us that Moses spoke and testified to that which was to be spoken later. His role was pointing forward to something greater, to something beyond himself. We might compare this with Hebrews 10:1, which says that “the law was but a shadow of the good things to come instead of the true form of these realities.”

Think about the difference between a shadow and that which casts the shadow. There’s a similarity; the shadow has the same basic shape as the substance, as the solid thing that casts the shadow, but the shadow is immaterial, it’s insubstantial.

In the same way, we could say that the Old Testament has the structure, it has the shape that shows us something about God’s revelation, that shows us something about salvation, shows us something about the gospel. We see it, but we see it in shadowy form. But the substance is found in Jesus Christ.

It reminds us once again, as this letter does over and over again, that the key to understanding the Old Testament Scriptures is to read the Old Testament through the Jesus lens, to read it through the lens of the person and the work of Jesus Christ.

I love the words of Martin Luther. He called the Old Testament “the swaddling clothes in the manger in which Christ lies.” He says if you take Christ out of the Scriptures, what will you find left in them? The answer is you’ll find a lot of information, but you won’t find anything of real value if you don’t have Jesus.

So, in answer to this why question, “Why should we consider Jesus?” the author to the Hebrews is saying consider Jesus because is better, better than Moses.

You might nod and say, “Yes, Jesus is better than the angels, he’s better than Moses, he’s better than the old covenant; yes, yes, I get that. This is all vitally important stuff. But how does this really apply to my life?”

The simple answer is that Jesus is not only better than the angels and better than Moses, Jesus is better than anything. Jesus is better than—fill-in-the-blank. Fill in the blank right now. Think for a moment about what it is in your life that might compete with Jesus. There are a lot of good things that compete for our time, compete for our attention, compete for our affection. But the letter to the Hebrews and the Scriptures themselves proclaim to us again and again and again that Jesus is better than them all.

For many of us, maybe the greatest competition is our family. We rightly love our family; these are precious gifts from God, our family members. But Jesus is better than family. Listen to what the New England Puritan Jonathan Edwards one time said. He said,

“The enjoyment of God is the only happiness with which our souls can be satisfied. To go to heaven to fully enjoy God is infinitely better than the most pleasant accommodations here. Fathers and mothers, and husbands, wives, or children, or the company of earthly friends, are but shadows; but the enjoyment of God is the substance. These are but scattered beams, but God is the sun. These are but streams, but God is the fountain. These are but drops, but God is the ocean.”

If you love your family and you’re thankful for your family, and you think about these precious gifts of God, just think how much greater must be the hand which has given these gifts to us. The giver is greater than the gifts. Jesus is better than family.

Jesus is also better than health. I know that there are many in our congregation that struggle with ongoing health problems. Perhaps if you’re growing older you live daily with aches and pains. Maybe sometimes you even feel a little frightened as you think about what may be coming down the road in your final twilight years.

I want to read something to you that I read this week that ministered to me. This is from a man named Edward Payson. You’ve probably never heard of him before. Edward Payson was a Congregationalist minister in Portland, Maine, a couple of hundred years ago. I’m reading his memoirs right now; that’s one reason I share this. Towards the end of his life, Edward Payson became an invalid. He lost pretty much all of his mobility and everything, and yet he was able to still write letters. This is what he said in one of his letters. He said,

“Christians might avoid much trouble and inconvenience if they would only believe what they profess: that God is able to make them happy without anything else. They imagine that if such a dear friend were to die or such and such blessings to be removed they should be miserable, whereas God can make them a thousand times happier without them. To mention my own case, God has been depriving me of one blessing after another, but as every one was removed he has come in and filled up its place. And now, when I am a cripple and not able to move, I am happier than ever I was in my life before or ever expected to be. If I had believed this twenty years ago, I might have been spared much anxiety.”

Jesus is better than every earthly good that you can imagine. He’s better than sports, including my favorite sport, golf. He’s better than Netflix, he’s better than the most engrossing mystery novel you’ve ever read. He’s not only better than the big things we love, he’s also better than the driving motivations in our lives that sometimes can become really insidious and lead us into sin. Jesus is better than money. He is better than financial security and all that money can buy. Jesus is better than sexual fulfillment, including the purest and best sexual fulfillment in marriage, but of course much better than sinful pursuits of sexual fulfillment through pornography or promiscuity. Jesus is better than power and influence. He’s better than knowledge and expertise, he’s better than success. He’s better than any accomplishment you could ever have and the esteem of peers and colleagues that would come from that. Jesus is better than the approval of your parents or the love of a spouse.

Of course, these created goods are rightly to be received with thanksgiving from the Lord if they are kept in their place and used as God has intended, but we can make idols of these gifts, and we do that if we forget that Jesus is better than them all.

Why should you fix your thoughts on Jesus? Because he’s better than anything else you could fix your mind and your heart and your affections upon.

Some of you may recognize these words from Bernard of Clairveaux from over a thousand years ago. He said,

“Jesus, Thou joy of loving hearts,
Thou fount of life, Thou light of men,
From the best bliss that earth imparts,
We turn unfilled to Thee again.

“We taste Thee, O Thou living Bread,
And long to feast upon Thee still;
We drink of Thee, the Fountain-head,
And thirst our souls from Thee to fill.”

Bernard is saying, “Jesus, you’re the joy of loving hearts. You’re better than anything else! We turn from the best that earth can give us and we turn to you.”

“Whom have I in heaven but you? And there is nothing on earth that I desire besides you. My flesh and my heart may fail, but God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever.” So said the psalmist Asaph in Psalm 73.

Why fix your mind on Jesus? Because he’s better.

3. How?

That leaves one more question, the how question. I want to be as practical as I can and move logically through six things that I think will help us to fix our minds and our hearts on Jesus.

(1) How do we do it? Number one: desire. You have to desire this. I mean, it all starts there. You have to want this. What I’ve been trying to do for the last five minutes is make you want this, to stir up some appetite in your heart and persuade you that Jesus really is better, and he’s worth devoting time and attention to. But I want to ask you right now to be really honest. What do you think about Jesus? Do you really love Jesus?

Kris Lundgaard in one of his books talks about when his five-year-old son was about to begin school, and he was so eager to start school. He just couldn’t wait to get to school. He imagined himself getting on the bus, going to this big building with all these other kids. It was his dream. He was in love with the idea of going to school. But Lundgaard said he was really in love with a figment of his imagination, because he had no idea what school was really like.

He said some people who claim to love Jesus are like that. They claim to love Jesus, but they couldn’t tell you the first thing about him. They imagine they love Jesus, but they don’t think about Jesus. He said, and I quote, “Those who say they long for Christ yet never gaze on his beauty by faith in this life are only kidding themselves.”

You have to desire this. You might ask, “Where does this desire come from?” Look at Hebrews 3:1. It says, “Therefore, holy brothers—” you might read that “holy brothers and sisters”; the Greek word adelphoi implies both men and women. “Therefore, holy brothers [and sisters], you who share in a heavenly calling, consider Jesus.”

Here’s the first thing that has to happen: you have to share in the heavenly calling. What is that? This heavenly calling is the divine summons that wakes up the dead and brings them to life in Jesus Christ.

Maybe the closest parallel to this language we have anywhere in Scripture is Paul in Philippians 3:14, where he says, “I press on towards the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus.” What is that prize? He’s told us it is to know him. He speaks of the surpassing value of “knowing Christ Jesus my Lord, for whom I count the loss of all things.” It’s to know Christ!

Have you been called? Have you experienced this arresting, compelling, transforming call of God, something that happens in your heart and in your life, that summons you into a new relationship with God? It’s a work of God’s grace in our lives that gives us the desire. You have to desire this if you’re going to really set your heart on Jesus.

If you don’t desire it this morning—maybe there’s no desire at all, or maybe, probably most of us would say, “You know, I kind of desire it. Sometimes I desire it. I don’t desire it as much as I should.” If that’s where you are, then here’s what you can do. You mourn the lack of desire—“God, forgive me that I don’t want this more”—and you ask him to create the desire in your heart. “Lord, give me passion to know Christ.”

You might pray these words of the poet Christina Rosetti. Poetry moves me, and that’s why sometimes I use it, sometimes I quote. And Christina Rosetti in one of her poems said,

“I have no wit, no words, no tears;
My heart within me like a stone
Is numb'd too much for hopes or fears;
Look right, look left, I dwell alone;
I lift mine eyes, but dimm'd with grief
No everlasting hills I see;
My life is in the falling leaf:
O Jesus, quicken me.”

“My heart within me like a stone.” It’s hard, it’s unmoving, unfeeling. “My life is like a falling leaf.” It’s dead, it’s dying, it’s decaying. “O Jesus, quicken me.” Make me alive. Give me the desire. Pray for it. You need desire; that’s first.

(2) If you have the desire, you will need time. It takes time to fix your thoughts on Jesus. Of course, what we want is throughout the day for our minds to go to Christ, to go to Jesus. But that’s going to take some extended time where you’re storing your mind with the thoughts, with the meditations, with the images, with the truths, that you can recall throughout the day as you go about your work and so on.

I know this is the main objection that most Christians make. We’re talking about a devotional life. This is the main thing that comes up. “I’m just so busy. I just don’t have time anymore.”

I want to challenge that thinking. Now, there may be a few of you who are working 80-plus hours a week; you’re effectively working two full-time jobs, and then on top of that with kids and other responsibilities. Maybe you don’t have time. If that’s the case, I would say it’s time for you to start rethinking priorities and try to pull back from so much work and create the space.

But most of us I think have time. Most of us have time. I did a little research on the kinds of time that people spend on extracurricular things such as social media. These are just averages. For some people it’s much more. The average amount of time that people spend on Facebook is thirty-three minutes a day. The average amount of time spent on Instagram is twenty-nine minutes a day; on YouTube, watching cat videos I guess, nineteen minutes a day.

If that’s not your social media app—maybe it’s TikTok or maybe it’s Pinterest or something else, fill in the blank, but we’re spending time on social media. And get this: in the course of a lifetime, the average person will spend six years and eight months of his life on social media! And eight years and four months of his life watching TV.

You have time. Time is not the issue. The issue is desire, intentionality, and discipline.

Take inventory of how you’re spending your time, and if you don’t know, here’s an idea for you. For just one week, track what you do for every half hour of your day. Write it down. I’m serious. Write it down. Get a journal, write it down, tally it up at the end of the week, and see how much time you’re spending on extracurricular things. You have the time. What we need is intentionality and discipline.

(3) That leads us to number three, practices. By practices I have in mind the spiritual disciplines, or what David Mathis calls the habits of grace. There are many different kinds of spiritual disciplines, but essentially I have in mind these two broad categories. There are private disciplines—these are things that you do alone—and there are public disciplines or practices, things that you do with others. Every single one of us needs some mix of those two.

The private habits and practices are things like reading your Bible, prayer, meditation, studying Scriptures, maybe writing in a journal. All of us need something like that regularly in our lives. If you’ve never had that, if you’ve never done that, my advice would be start small. Start with something very simple. Take a book of the Bible, such as the Gospel of Mark or the Gospel of John, and read one chapter a day. Just read one chapter a day and then write down an observation or two about that chapter and pray. Start with that. Some of you are way beyond that, but start with that if you’ve never done anything, and just start working through books of the Bible. Begin with the New Testament; eventually you’ll get to the Old.

We also need public spiritual practices, and this is what we’re doing right now. It’s studying the word together. It’s listening to a message. It’s coming to the Lord’s table. It’s gathering with a smaller group of people to study the Bible together or to share your needs and prayers with one another and encourage one another. We need some mix of that; we need these practices.

Here’s the thing about the practices: we have to understand what they are for so that we don’t make them an end in and of themselves. The practices themselves are not what make you holy, they’re not what give you grace. The practices are means through which Christ works.

I’ve quoted many times here before the Puritan Isaac Ambrose. Ambrose wrote a whole book on this. Ambrose was described in this way: he was “holy in his life, happy in his death, honored by God and by all good men.” Ambrose used an illustration that I think is helpful. I’ll just paraphrase him here.

He said that Christ is the one who brings grace to the heart, it’s the blood of Christ, the intercession of Christ that actually heals us and ministers to us and restores us. He said these, the grace that comes from Christ, this is the salve, the medical ointment that is applied to our wounds. But he said these duties—the means of grace, the spiritual disciplines—that’s like the cloth which rubs the salve into the wound.

Or you might think of it like this. Christ is the fountain of living waters, but to drink from the fountain you need a cup, a chalice. You need some kind of container to take the water to your lips and to drink.

Or you might think of it this way: Christ is the glorious object of our sight, but we are so blinded by sin that we need glasses, corrective lenses, to help us see Christ. The means, the disciplines, the practices are the corrective lenses that help us see Christ clearly.

The goal is to get to Jesus, but we use the word and prayer and meditation and all the other spiritual practices to help us do that. You need desire, you need time, you need practices.

(4) Fourth, I would suggest helps. By helps I mean those additional tools, outside of Scripture and prayer, that will just help fuel the fire. If you want to keep a fire burning you need to put wood on the fire. If you want to keep your car running you have to keep gasoline and oil in the car. There are helps for that.

I have in mind things like books that you might read outside of Scripture, music that you might listen to, maybe a helpful podcast; these kinds of things. Can I just share two of my favorite things right now? These are things that have helped me and I think will help you.

The music from the group City Alight. We sing some of their songs here in our church. This is wonderful music. Just follow City Alight on Spotify and listen to that. That will do you more good than most news stations will.

Then, books by this man Kris Lundgaard. I quoted him a few minutes ago. He’s written a trilogy of books. What Lundgaard has done is taken the Puritan John Owen and he’s essentially taken Owen’s thoughts and he’s put them in a modern form. He’s an elegant, beautiful writer. The books are full of illustrations, full of helpful questions that help you really dig into the application of these things to your life. These books will help you and minister to you. Find the helps and use them.

Have you ever tried to start a lawnmower? You know there’s that red button on the side of the lawnmower that you have to use to prime the pump? That’s what these things do. They help get your soul ready for the more spiritual work of prayer and of reading the Scriptures. These tools will help you.

(5) Number five, we also need perseverance. Look at Hebrews 3:6. We’ll talk more about this next week, but in verse 6 says, “We are his house, if indeed we hold fast our confidence and our boasting in our hope.”

This is a running thread through Hebrews. We need to hold fast! It means to hold onto something. It’s the idea of a ship that holds to its course, or the idea of possessing something or keeping something in one’s memory. “Hold fast,” he says, “to our confidence and our boasting in our hope.”

Hebrews says this kind of thing over and over again. “Let us hold fast our confession,” Hebrews 4:14. “Hold fast to the hope set before us,” Hebrews 6:18. “Let us hold fast the confession of our hope,” Hebrews 10:23. Perseverance. That means you keep on considering Christ.

Perseverance essentially means that when you stumble and fall you get up again and you keep walking. That’s what it is.

This is what the Christian life is like. I have to do this all the time, just having to confess, “Yes, Lord, please forgive me for that. Yes, I should have done this and neglected this. Lord, restore me. Work in my heart again. Give me a desire for this again. Help me get back into these regular rhythms of taking in the word.”

I think in the Christian life, essentially this is what maturity is. Instead of there being days and days or even weeks and months between beginning and then you fall and it’s months later before you take it up again—instead of that, it becomes a daily thing, so that every day when you fall down you get yourself back up. You get back into the means of grace. You get your heart oriented towards Jesus again. You start thinking about Jesus again. You recognize that you’ve begun to stray in your heart from the Lord and you confess it and you return again and again and again. You do this daily. When you begin to do this daily, you are actually maturing. You’re beginning to recognize your absolute, daily dependence on Jesus. You can’t do this on your own. You need the work of Christ through his Spirit in your heart and life, and that’s how we hold fast. It’s recognizing that.

(6) I’m almost done; here’s the final thing. You also need friends. You need friends, people who will help you with this. If you have Hebrews 3 open, look at verses 12-13.

“Take care, brothers, lest there be in any of you an evil, unbelieving heart, leading you to fall away from the living God. 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.”

That’s a call on the church. Exhort one another every day so that your heart’s not hardened. This is how we help one another in the Christian life.

Do you have somebody like that? I feel very thankful. I’ve had a friend in this church—many of you Tim Smith—who for twenty years has been a person who’s done this for me. I was just looking back through texts last night that Tim has sent me just over the last few months. I’ll reach out to Tim sometimes I say, “Hey, brother, pray for me. I’m struggling today. Pray for me, I feel a need in some way or another.” Tim always responds, “Brother, I’m praying for you. I’m praying for your heart. Look to Jesus. Jesus is beautiful, Jesus is good. Don’t forget how wonderful Jesus is.” You need somebody to do that in your life, a friend who helps you fix your thoughts on Jesus.

Consider Jesus. What does it mean? It means to fix your thoughts on him. Why should you do it? Because Jesus is better than anything you could ever desire. And how do you do it? If you want this, you develop a plan and you use every means at your disposal to set your heart on Christ.

Let me end with one more illustration. This is from John Newton. Our church staff has been working through a book together on John Newton; it’s called Newton on the Christian Life: To Live Is Christ. This is the whole book. John Newton, this Christ-centered man, was the man who wrote “Amazing grace! how sweet the sound / That saved a wretch like me.”

I could give innumerable quotes from Newton that are like this. Newton had kind of adopted as his motto this Latin phrase In uno Jesu omnia, which means, “In Jesus alone is my everything.” He said,

“To view him by faith as living, dying, rising, reigning, interceding, and governing for us will furnish us with such views, prospects, motives, and encouragements as will enable us to endure any cross, to overcome all opposition, to withstand temptation, and to run in the way of his commandments with an enlarged heart. Jesus alone is my everything.”

If you can say that this morning, here’s the exhortation for you. This week, from now on, consider Jesus. Let’s pray.

God our Father, we ask you now to graciously work in our hearts to apply this word to us by the Holy Spirit. We ask you to do what mere words of a human being cannot do and to burn this so deeply into us that we actually take it to heart and begin to restructure our schedules to take account of our inner lives, the way we think, and to intentionally fix our minds and our hearts on Jesus. Help us, Lord. May we as the body of Christ this week, scattered into our own homes and workplaces, may we look different and be different over the next seven days because of the time that we have spent fixing our minds and our hearts on Jesus.

As we come to the Lord’s table, we ask you, Lord, to draw near to us as we draw near to you, and let the table be for us a means of grace by which we feast on Jesus Christ, who gave his life for the life of the world, Christ our living Bread. We pray for your Spirit to work. We pray that our affections and the desires of our hearts would be directed towards Christ, that you would work in us what is pleasing in your sight, work in us to will and to work for your good pleasure. Lord, do in us what we cannot do for ourselves. May you be glorified as we continue in our worship this morning. We pray this in the strong and mighty name of Jesus Christ, our great High Priest, amen.