God's Provision to Come into His Presence
Jesus – A Faithful One Greater Than Moses
– Hebrews 3
In chapter one of Hebrews we saw that Jesus is the Supreme Revelation of God. In chapter two we saw that Jesus is the Great Savior of God. In chapter three we will see that Jesus is A Faithful One greater than Moses. Why is this an important point to make? Because, remember, this book is written to Jews who have received Jesus as their Messiah. Moses was arguably their greatest figure in history (other than maybe Abraham). He was their lawgiver, prophet and priest. Who could be greater than him?
In chapters one and two we have seen that Jesus, in becoming human, became a little lower than the angels. We know also that while Jesus emptied Himself of His position of authority for a season it was only for a season. When Jesus became lower than angels in becoming a Man, He completed His redemptive mission of a perfect sinless life, sacrificial Lamb of Man, death and resurrection. He then returned to the right hand of God Most High. Jesus is greater than angels. Jesus as Creator created the angels. The Creator is greater than the creation. However, to remove all doubt about the supremacy and deity of Jesus, chapter three addresses those Jews still not be getting it about Jesus, who may say, "Well, Jesus was a Man, but was He greater than our greatest prophet and priest Moses?" And in the process of addressing this point we will see one of the most important truths concerning how we relate to and live with God in our lives.
Hebrews 3 (NKJV)
3 Therefore, holy brethren, partakers of the heavenly calling, consider the Apostle and High Priest of our confession, Christ Jesus,
Paul (if he is the human writer of this book) addresses "holy brethren" or "holy" (Greek hagioi) those consecrated and set apart by God for His use and devotion to Him. These are "brethren" (Greek adelphos) brothers, mutual members in the family of God. He can address the readership as "holy brethren" by virtue of their having been "partakers" (Greek metochos) or participants, ones who share in something, an associate of, partner, fellow of the "heavenly calling." The "heavenly calling" is to receive God's gracious offer of salvation in Christ by accepting by faith as Savior. These "holy brethren" were holy as a benefit of having been made holy through their relationship with Jesus. All those who partake of Jesus are seen as holy by God justified righteous through faith in Jesus (Rom. 5:1ff; 8:1ff.; 2 Cor. 5:21; Titus 3:4-7).
Jesus is "the Apostle" in that apostle means one sent, a messenger (Greek apostolos). He is "High Priest" in that He is Mediator between God and humanity; He intercedes before God on behalf of humanity (cf. also Heb. 7:25), and goes to humanity as God. He is "of our confession" because "Christ Jesus," or Messiah Jesus (Greek christos - anointed one) is the One whom we confess as the Messiah Christ Jesus of our saving faith. "Confession" (Greek homologia means profession, what we profess or proclaim or confess as ours.)
2 who was faithful to Him who appointed Him, as Moses also was faithful in all His house.
Christ Jesus is described as "faithful to Him who appointed Him." "Faithful" (Greek piston) means trustworthy, credible, reliable, trusting, believing. Then a connection is made "as Moses also was faithful in all His house." Moses was viewed as having been faithful in all his house or in all the family of God ("House" - Greek oikos - a dwelling or by implication a family; cf. e.g. 2 Sam. 7).
The faithfulness or faith of Jesus (and Moses) is emphasized in this reference to Jesus. This is to introduce a major theme of Hebrews - faith. Later in chapter eleven we will see the great Hall of Faith and a list of the many who are exemplary of pleasing God by faith. All that God offers and all that God does in and through us is contingent on our faith appropriation and cooperation with God. Keep this emphasis on faith in mind as we continue our study through this great book.
In Hebrews 2:1-3 when Paul states the salvation of Jesus is greater than the Law which was delivered by angels. The Law was given by God through angelic messengers to the human messenger Moses. Moses had been faithful to deliver the Law of God to His people. No one was greater than Moses through whom God made covenant with His people to be a nation of priests (Exodus 19:1-9). Moses is associated with the creation of the nation of Israel. Therefore Paul now picks up the question of Moses the Lawgiver and whether or not Jesus is greater than him.
Moses was the human author God used to pen the first five books of the Bible; the Pentateuch. He was the chosen one called by God to be instrumental in the deliverance of His people. It was through Moses that God, in the great exodus, defeated Egypt to force the deliverance of His people. It was through Moses that God parted the Red Sea, made a way through the wilderness and brought the people to the precipice of the Promised Land. It was through Moses that God brought water from the rock to drink and quail each day to eat. It was through Moses that God wrought victory and blessing. It was through Moses that God gave a covenant Law and His word. It was through Moses that God blessed and disciplined and led His people. Moses was seen by many Jews as the greatest historical figure in their heritage. Moses was famous; prominent; he was glorified by God and amongst God's people.
3 For this One has been counted worthy of more glory than Moses, inasmuch as He who built the house has more honor than the house. 4 For every house is built by someone, but He who built all things is God.
As great as Moses was, Jesus is greater. Jesus is the greatest. Jesus is "He who built the house" and therefore "has more honor than the house." The Creator is greater than the created. "For every house is built by someone." A house has a builder a designer. We see this in creation where the fingerprints and order of God are everywhere. Offspring have a father. A family has a head. But while there are builders there is truly only One Builder, God. "But He who built all things is God." A direct association between Jesus and God is made here. And Jesus as God the Builder is greater than Moses who was part of the house and creation He created.
The Creator is greater than His creation. Human beings don't always remember that, don't always appreciate or respect that, but it is true. Human beings try to deny God, denounce God, blame God and blaspheme God. They use evolution, or simply live in a willfully sinful denial and ignorance of God the Builder of all. This doesn't change the truth that God is, always has been, and always will be, as our Creator, greater than the human race He created.
5 And Moses indeed was faithful in all His house as a servant, for a testimony of those things which would be spoken afterward, 6 but Christ as a Son over His own house, whose house we are if we hold fast the confidence and the rejoicing of the hope firm to the end.
Moses was indeed faithful. He stumbled in angry disobedience in the wilderness and was disciplined by God and barred from leading the people of God into the Promised Land (compare Exodus 17:5-6 with Numbers 20:1-13). But overall Moses was faithful to God; He never stopped believing in God and serving Him. But Jesus is greater. He is the "Son over His own house." Jesus is over all His people and there is none greater than Him in His house.
Don't glance over a couple of really important aspects of verse 6. Paul is inspired to write, "whose house we are." Now think of that, Jesus, the Creator and Builder of this broad vast universe, where does He choose to dwell? He chooses to dwell in and with us; those who make up His house or family. Jesus loves family and He loves us. We are the house of Jesus. And Jesus dwells in His house. I can imagine Him at the head of a long table in His house. We will see that one day at the Marriage Supper of the Lamb (cf. Rev. 19:7). Can't wait!
But also notice the qualifying words, "whose house we are if we hold fast the confidence and the rejoicing of the hope firm to the end." To the Jew who had received Jesus as Messiah this would be a warning against returning to traditions, ceremonies, regulations and human efforts at keeping sacrifices and relying on them for salvation and righteousness. There is confidence through faith in Jesus because Jesus has fulfilled the requirements of the Law (Mat. 5:17). "For Christ is the end of the law for righteousness to everyone who believes" (Romans 10:4).
Therefore, since our righteousness and what is necessary to secure our eternal life and salvation from sin has been accomplished by Jesus in His atoning death and resurrection, when we trust in Him by faith as our Savior and means of salvation we can be secure and confident that we are suited for eternal life. Through Jesus their needs be no more fear of dying and judgment (cf. Heb. 2:14-18).
"Therefore" introduces now a causal connection. It introduces what the appropriate response is to that which has preceded to this point.
as the Holy Spirit says:
There are words inspired by the Holy Spirit. They now refer to the Old Testament passage found in Numbers. Therefore we have evidence for the inspiration or Holy Spirit directed divine Authorship of part of the Old Testament and of the New Testament where this assertion is being made. "The Holy Spirit says," points us to the incredible inspiration and authority of God's word. When you read God's word, YOU READ THE WORDS OF GOD!
“Today, if you will hear His voice,
8 Do not harden your hearts as in the rebellion,
In the day of trial in the wilderness,
Hebrews 3:7-11 are quoted from Psalm 95:7-11. It is a reference to the broader Old Testament account given in Numbers 13-14. Moses had led the people of God to the outskirts of the Promised Land. The Lord directed Moses to choose a spy from each of the twelve tribes and send them to check out the Promised Land. Moses did this. And when the spies returned they agreed this Land flowed with mild and honey. They brought back a cluster of grapes the size of bowling balls! But there was a problem.
The spies also reported that the Land was occupied by formidably strong people in fortified cities. The people had a choice to make. They could cower in fear and faithlessly refuse to follow God's plans to go in, trust Him, and take the Promised Land. Or they could trust God and His promise to deliver the Land to them. Two of the twelve spies, Joshua and Caleb, exhorted the people to have faith and trust God and go for it. The other ten discouraged the people and emphasized fear. Unfortunately it states, they chose the former. What would you choose? How's your heart?
Their hearts were said to "harden" (Greek skleruno) means to make hard, stubborn, obstinate. This is a willful action. "Do not harden your hearts." The hardening of the heart is something the people both then and now are exhorted to not do. The subjunctive case of the verb to harden expressed possibility involved; choice to be made. It is possible to not harden your heart. But it is also possible to harden your heart.
The hardening of the heart is associated with "rebellion" (Greek parapikrasmos) or embitterment, to provoke by rebelling. When we do not trust God and follow His promises it is a provocation to Him. This is because inherent in all lack of faith is a mistrust of God. The person who chooses to not trust God is in reality saying, "God, I don't believe what You've said or what You've claimed or promised. I don't believe You're stated concern and care for Me. I don't believe You're assessment of life. I trust more in my perspective and understanding than Yours." This is provocative to God. It's an affront to His nature as God who is all knowing and all powerful.
9 Where your fathers tested Me, tried Me,
And saw My works forty years.
It's provocative and an affront to God because He has shown us His capabilities and abilities and good gracious intentions toward us. He demonstrated in the wilderness on the way to the Promised Land to the people. God provided for their every need. All the people did was continue to test God and doubt Him and His abilities. God demonstrated restraint and patience.
Today we have the fulfillment of nearly 300 prophecies of the Old Testament in the incarnation, atoning death and resurrection of Jesus Christ. We have the miracles of the Bible and the miracles in human history. And certainly we see God's patience as humanity has persistently provoked Him with disobedience. Humanity in our day provokes God with doubt of Jesus' return. And if it weren't for God's heart and desire to see people saved He could easily wipe us all out and start anew (cf. 2 Peter 3:1ff.). Unfortunately, humanity has chosen to be just as hard hearted as their predecessors. And because they have the benefit of two thousand years more of the God's work in history, they are all the more culpable and guilty. And yet God is patient. Thank You Lord.
How's your heart? Is there a "Promised Land" before you, something God has promised, but it involves obstacles which require we trust Him? Is your heart soft and open to Him or have you chosen to harden and close your heart to Him?
10 Therefore I was angry with that generation,
And said, ‘They always go astray in their heart,
And they have not known My ways.’
11 So I swore in My wrath,
But a time came when God did discipline. And yes, it states God said, "So I swore in My wrath, 'They shall not enter My rest.'" It angers God and leads to His wrath when people don't trust Him. His anger is aroused not only because faithlessness in the face of so much evidence of God's faithfulness is so foolish. And there is definitely a righteous anger and wrath that God has for the wicked (cf. Psalm 7:11). But I think the anger and wrath of God here is different than that. I think to understand we need to look at these words about God's anger and wrath through the lens of a parents relationship with their child. God becomes angry and even wrathful because of what His people, His children, are missing out on!
Like a parent who instructs their child in love and wants the best for them and then has the child persistently reject their instruction and consequently miss out on the best intentions of the parent, like the anger that comes from seeing your child miss out. That is the anger of God here. When possibilities and blessings are within the grasp of the child and the parent is steering that child toward them and the child, out of fear, but more so a lack of faith in the parent, recoils, resists and rebels against the parent resulting in the missed opportunity. That parent is angry at the loss of what might have been. That parent is angry that all the parenting leading up to that critical time of opportunity is cast away and ignored by the child. I'm not talking about the parent trying to live vicariously through their children. I'm not talking about sin tainted anger and wrath. I'm talking about the anger that flows from love and a deep desire for the best for the ones you love. That is the anger and wrath God had hear.
He did remove the blessing of entrance into the Promised Land from His people and even from Moses. Someone has commented, "And the longest death march in world history ensued as the Israelites wandered around for thirty-eight years until an entire generation died—including Moses." 
‘They shall not enter My rest.’ ”
The Promised Land is spoken of as a place of "rest." "Rest" (Greek katapausis ) means a place of reposing, a calming of the winds, a place of resting. It is a place of security and confidence. It is a place of rest while in storms not rest from storms. It is a place when the battles of the Canaan Land may be raging around you but you are still at peace. It is not a cessation of war and battles, but a place of peace in such storms. Jesus was able to sleep in the storm because He lived in such a restful position with His Father (cf. Mark 4:37-38). Jesus is our example for a place of rest in this life filled with storms, wars, and battles.
It's important to make the proper association with what the Promised Land means here. For the first fathers of Israel who hardened their hearts it meant the loss of attaining the promise of God. It did not mean the loss of their salvation. Moses interceded on behalf of the rebels and God heard and "pardoned" (cf. Numbers 14:20). What they did forfeit was the promise of God. Because of their lack of faith, they would not see the fulfillment of God's promise in their lives (cf. Numbers 14:22-23). Joshua and Caleb, men of faith who exhorted the people to trust God, they would enter in (Numbers 14:24). But the faithless people would not go in.
The Promised Land is not a symbol or type for heaven. There were adversaries in the Promised Land. The Promised Land had to be conquered. There were wars and battles to be fought. There were continued tests in the conquest of the Promised Land. In heaven there is only peace in the presence of the LORD. There are no wars in heaven. When we get to heaven the war will be over.
The Promised Land is a symbol or type of the place of promise and blessing in life. It is the place of the close presence of God. It is the place of abundant life Jesus spoke of (John 10:10). It is life in the Spirit. It is as Paul was inspired to describe, "For all the promises of God in Him are Yes, and in Him Amen, to the glory of God through us" (2 Cor. 1:20).
The Promised Land is a place that, while it has been given to us, promised to us by God, must be taken by us in the strength and wisdom God provides. To enter the Promised Land requires we trust in God to bring it to pass in and through us. There is a Promised Land of walking in victory with the Lord. There is a place of resisting temptations, of victory over sin. It is a state of being here and now where we are following our Forerunner Jesus in victory. It is a place where we walk as He walked and follow in His steps (1 John 2:6; 1 Peter 2:21). It is a state of being, a condition of the heart, an attitude, a mindset, where we trust Jesus to bring it to pass. Faithlessness is the only thing keeping us from this "Promised Land."
12 Beware, brethren, lest there be in any of you an evil heart of unbelief in departing from the living God;
Paul drives his point home now. He speaks to "brethren," those who are part of the family of Jesus; who have received Him as Savior and trusted Him as Lord. He says, "beware" (Greek blepo) or watch out, look and see, perceive, beware. What are they to look at and pay attention to? "Lest there be in any of you an evil heart of unbelief in departing from the living God."
The heart that is unbelieving is "evil" (Greek poneros) or hurtful, evil, a heart of degeneracy, a sick or ill a diseased, morally guilty or culpable, derelict, vicious, wicked, lewd, devilish. This heart of mistrust and heart of unbelief is devilish because while the devil and his minions believe in God they do not trust and obey Him as God. How would you describe your faith, restful in Jesus or restlessly under the influence of the devil.
Such a heart is characterized as "departing" (Greek aphistemi) or revolting, deserting, departing, withdrawing itself, willfully removing oneself. And that departing is "from the living God." The evil of an unbelieving heart is that the culprit departs or acts as if divorced from the living God. That is a serious fall into evil. That is terribly hurtful toward God who loves us. That is tremendously foolish, negligent, unappreciative and unloving. That is at the heart, evil.
Just as Satan was in the presence of God and forsook Him and rebelled against Him, so too there is a little bit (or a whole lot) of the devil in the heart of unbelief. Can a Christian have such a heart? A Christian can be influenced to disbelieve and distrust God. The enemy of our souls is always trying to put a wedge or barrier between us and God. The enemy of our souls is always trying to get us to lag behind or lunge ahead faithlessly. The enemy is always trying to minimize and lessen the faith that keeps the believer attached and abiding in Jesus. The enemy has lost the believer, but if he can't have the believer eternally in his hell fiery abode, he will settle for robbing the believer of the rest they might experience as long as they remain in this life.
Bible teacher Jon Courson states the practical importance of what Paul is inspired to share about here. There is a reason why the enemy wants to discourage trust in God. Read what Jon states:
This is critically important theology, for the singular sin that kept them from blessing was simply thinking God’s promise was just too good to be true. Precious people, you can live the abundant, Spirit-filled, successful, exciting, thrilling Christian life if, instead of thinking that God can’t bless you because you haven’t been to Bible study, because you’ve been yelling at your husband, or because you haven’t had morning devotions regularly, you say, “I’m a spiritual grasshopper, Lord. But if You want to bring me into this great land of blessing, I’ll gladly go in!” The sin of Hebrews 3 is singular. It’s not fornication, as destructive as that sin may be. It’s not idolatry, as sad as that sin is. Rather, it’s simply not believing how good God is.
Jon Courson illustrates and explains further:
When he came home from Bible School, my son Peter-John shared with me how passionate he and his friends were about seeing their generation brought into the kingdom. “So I get up early in the morning and pray and spend time in the Word. I do so well for about three or four days,” he said. “But then I get tired. I sleep in. I miss my devotional time. And I don’t go to prayer meeting.” With tears running down his cheeks, this football-playing son of mine said, “Dad, I want to do so well. But I’m not.”
“Peter,” I said, “when you learn the lesson that took me years and years to understand, you’ll be on your way. And that lesson is simply this: Blessing, anointing, ministry, fruitfulness, and victory are not about you. It’s not about the work you do for the Lord; it’s about the work He did for you. It’s not about your prayer to the Lord; it’s about His intercession for you. It’s not about your faith in the Lord; it’s about His being faithful when you falter. It’s all about Him being the hero, the prayer warrior, the victor, the friend, the faithful One.”. . .
Happy is the day when a woman grasps the fact that spiritual life has nothing to do with her and everything to do with God. Happy the day when a man finally realizes all he has to say is, “I don’t know why You put up with a grasshopper like me, but, Lord, if You want to allow me to be in ministry, if You want to give me a family, if You want to bless me in countless ways—that’s okay with me!”
Don’t let anyone sell you a bill of goods, saying, “The reason I’m so successful is because I pray night and day. And the reason you will never be part of the chosen few is because you don’t.”
Any man or woman can leave here tonight to be used mightily and blessed exceedingly beyond anything they could ask or even think if they would just learn to say, “I believe You, Lord.”
Contrary to many sermons, the deceitfulness of sin is one thing. It’s saying, “I’ve got to do more. I’ve got to be bigger, stronger, better in my spiritual walk so that I can battle the giants ahead of me.” God says that’s the very sin that will keep you out.
Dear saint, it’s all about God’s work for you, not your work for Him. Fix your eyes on Jesus. Be blown away by Him. Behold the Lamb!
Therefore, Paul warns these Jews who have accepted and trusted entirely on Jesus as Savior and who are now in the living eternal relationship with the Living God, to not allow their hearts to become devilishly evil in not trusting God to help them live in life in a place or condition of rest. The devil wants you focused on and reliant upon you. God wants us to look away from ourselves, away from our problems, deficiencies, limitations and look to and trust Him. That is the key to victory. That is the key to blessing. That is the key to living in the Promised Land of God.
13 but exhort one another daily, while it is called “Today,” lest any of you be hardened through the deceitfulness of sin.
God has provided a safeguard against slipping into this devilish state of unbelief. That safe guard is fellowship! It is in fellowship in the friendships we have in Jesus and fellow Christians that we can "exhort one another daily." "Exhort" (Greek parakaleo ) means to call near, invite, invoke, beseech, encourage, comfort, implore. Our responsibility as fellow Christians is to consciously exhort and encourage other believers daily to trust the Lord and not harden our hearts.
This is important because hard faithless hearts are the product of "the deceitfulness of sin." "Deceitfulness" (Greek apate) means deceivableness, treachery, cheat, trick. Sin is deceitful. To degenerate into such evil and sin by departing from the living God is to be deceived by and in sin. The evil departure from God is evidence of having willfully succumbed to the deceptive temptations of sin.
Satan is the father of lies (cf. John 8:44). Wherever lies are found, the serpent Satan will not be far behind. And sin is deceitful. The nature of sin is to get a person to trust themselves, to see things only from their own limited life perspective and most devastatingly to mistrust God. Sin will try to get a person to focus on the giants or obstacles of life rather than the God who gives life (cf. Numbers 13-14). Sin will tempt you to fear instead of have faith in God. Remind your fellow Christians about that the next time they fear their obstacles instead of trusting in God's promises.
14 For we have become partakers of Christ if we hold the beginning of our confidence steadfast to the end,
Paul then identifies what is the reality of a genuinely saved person. The phrase "for we have become partakers" is the translation of a single Greek term gegonamen which is the Perfect/Active/Indicative of metochos which means a participant, a sharer in, an associate of, partner, partaker, fellow, companion. The grammar conveys the idea of you have in the past become a partner and companion of Christ and continue to do so.
And then this is further strengthened with the conditional clause "if we hold the beginning of our confidence steadfast to the end." What are we told is the evidence of being a partaker of Jesus?
First, we are a partaker of Jesus if we hold on in faith. We are indeed partners of Jesus and a part of His family if we "hold" (Greek kataschomen - Aorist/Active/Subjunctive of katecho) which when the grammar of the verb is considered means may hold fast, keep in memory, retain, seize on, stay with, take, withhold, hold down. Of course this is something we do by faith. It's also something God provides us grace to do (e.g. Eph. 2:8-9; Rom. 10:17; 1 Cor. 15:10).
Second, we are a partaker of Jesus if we hold on in faith the beginning of our confidence. In other words we need to hold on in faith to the truth of the gospel and word of God. The Jewish believers could not return to their old under the law ways and traditions. They had to trust Jesus and cross into the Promised Land of rest in Him. "Confidence" (Greek hupostaseos) means assurance, underlying essence, nature, reality, confidence, conviction, steadfastness. When we trust in what we have to do to be saved and please God we never know how much is enough. It is only when we trust in the completed work of Jesus that we can know for sure that our eternal security is secure.
Third, we are a partaker of Jesus if we hold on in faith firm until the end of our lives. "Steadfast" (Greek babaios) means firm, stable, steadfast, surely, secure, reliably, constant. A genuine partaker of Jesus is a companion of Him for life. In the parable of the Sower (Matthew 13; Mark 4; Luke 8) Jesus spoke of those who reject the gospel outright because their heart is hardened against it from the start. He then said there is a shallow soil heart that takes the seed of the gospel eagerly at first but because its shallow heart soil it never gets rooted in and when the trials of life burn on it like the hot sun it wilts away. Then there is the thorny cluttered heart soil of the person who makes just a little room for the gospel and Jesus. Their heart is too busy to pay much attention to spiritual growth and so the life of the gospel seed is choked off by the things of this world and it is fruitless. The fourth soil is good soil. The seed of the gospel word of God is implanted, grows, gets rooted and produces spiritual fruit. This fourth soil is the soil alluded to here in Hebrews.
15 while it is said:
“Today, if you will hear His voice,
Do not harden your hearts as in the rebellion.”
16 For who, having heard, rebelled? Indeed, was it not all who came out of Egypt, led by Moses? 17 Now with whom was He angry forty years? Was it not with those who sinned, whose corpses fell in the wilderness? 18 And to whom did He swear that they would not enter His rest, but to those who did not obey? 19 So we see that they could not enter in because of unbelief.
Again Psalm 95:7-8 is quoted. Three times for emphasis these verses are quoted warning against hardening one's heart. The danger is further emphasized by recollecting it was those who saw the incredible deliverance of the exodus out of Egypt who rebelled. It was those led personally by Moses who rebelled. They hardened their hearts! Who was it who rebelled against the promise of God? Those who were punished with being barred from the Promised Land and who wandered for forty years in the wilderness. And these were those who "sinned" (Greek hamartano) who missed the mark and therefore did not win the prize. Their dead bodies fell in the wilderness, short of the rest and blessings of God promised in this life available in the Promised Land. It was "those who did not obey" or did not believe, willfully, perversely, disobediently refused to obey (Greek apeitheo).
Then it concludes, " So we see that they could not enter in because of unbelief." "Unbelief" (Greek apistia) faithlessness, disbelief, unfaithfulness is what kept these children of God from receiving God's promise. And lack of faith is what can keep us from experiencing God's promises in our day.
Here is an important measure of life meaning. Faith is the means by which God delivers His promises and blessings. Faith is the means by which God works in and through us. Faith or faithfulness is the true measure of success for the Christian. Size of ministry may be a measure of success from a worldly perspective. But since all increase is from God no human should be taking any credit for ministry accomplishments large or small (cf. 1 Cor. 3:7-9). Success in life is not measured by accumulated wealth, size of family, ambitions attained, or degrees earned or any other thing. Success in life is a matter of our faithfulness in life. The outcomes to all our life circumstances are up to God. He has a plan. He will work it out (e.g. Jer. 29:11-13; Eph. 2:10). Our calling is to faithfulness. We are to do our best in faith and then trust God for the rest in faith. Do that and your life will be successful as far as God is concerned.
All that we do and all that we are and all that we will ever become is credited to God's ledger not ours. All we can do is remain faithful where God puts us for however long He puts us there. All we can do is be faithful to obey His instructions and follow His directions. All we can do is walk with Him by faith. If we do that, in the end, we will hear "Well done good and faithful servant" (Mat. 25:21). Faithful is the measure of success.
So for those who are exhausted from chasing "success" in life, for those guilt ridden over the what-might-have-beens in their live, for those anxious and overwrought and overwhelmed with expectations and delusions of grandeur, I say to you, rest. Rest in the Lord and His plan for your life. Rest that where you are just very well may be where the Lord wants you. Serve faithfully. Life faithfully. If He wants you elsewhere or doing something else, as you serve faithfully He will get you where He wants you. Trust Him. Have faith. Be faithful. Relax. Rest in Him.
Please don't misunderstand. I am not encouraging sloth. I am encouraging service by faith. I am not encouraging presumption I am encouraging peace by faith. I am not encouraging indulgence, I am encouraging full surrender, abandonment to God, rest by faith in Him. The only way to find truth and perfect balance in all of this is by walking with Jesus by faith.
Jesus is our pattern of faithfulness to the end. Moses was faithful. But no one was as Faithful as Jesus. He is greater even than Moses. It always comes back to Jesus. He faithfully descended and became a Man. he lived a faithful holy life. He faithfully went to the cross. And He faithfully rose from the dead and now we are able to share in all the rich blessings from HIs work because of His faithfulness. And all we need to experience His rest and blessing is to trust Him for it. Will you do that, will you trust Jesus and receive His promises (e.g. Ephesians 1:3ff.).
Abundant life? Victory over sin? Assurance? Contentment? Fulfillment? Courage? Strength? All of these things are promised to us in Christ. The only thing that will keep us from enjoying them to the fullest is an evil devilish rebellious sinful heart of unbelief. How's your heart?
 Courson, J. (2003). Jon Courson’s Application Commentary (p. 1461). Nashville, TN: Thomas Nelson.
 Courson, J. (2003). Jon Courson’s Application Commentary (p. 1461). Nashville, TN: Thomas Nelson.
 Courson, J. (2003). Jon Courson’s Application Commentary (pp. 1461–1462). Nashville, TN: Thomas Nelson.