Hebrews: The God who speaks: 01/17/21

Series Title: Jesus is GREATER than…

Message: ‘The God who speaks’

Text: Hebrews 1:1-3

 Introduction: PP: When we all dated, I remember spending a lot of time, hours, talking to each other; either in person to the wee hours of the morning, or on the phone when we were apart. And as the relationship developed into a romance, talking also developed to include more personal, intimate areas of our lives and dreams for our future…. Perhaps together.

We get married and continue to talk about what we want in our future as husband and wife. Then children come and we talk about how to raise them and all the issues that come with actually raising them.

  • But somewhere in that process, our talking to each other often turns to talking at each other. PP:

What I’m saying is…

  • we’re no longer trying to express a thought that requires the input from our spouse.
  • We’re stating what we think, which is more like what we want… regardless of how our spouse responds.
  • Rather than being a conversation, it becomes a speech.

And… we’re no longer communicating

One of the reasons that happens is because we’ve begun to listen to the voices of others… PP: and we’ve allowed those ‘other’ voices to dominate our thoughts.

  • Celebrities, friends, relatives, acquaintances, co-workers and those who similar interests
  • flood our lives with their thoughts on.. well, everything.

And we listen.

Well, I want you to listen to what God has to say about marriage…PP:

Husbands, love your wives, as Christ loved the church and gave Himself up for her, that He might sanctify her, having cleansed her by the washing of water with the word, so that He might present the church to Himself in splendor, without spot or wrinkle or any such thing, that she might be holy and without blemish.

In the same way husbands should love their wives as their own bodies. He who loves his wife loves himself. For no one ever hated his own flesh, but nourishes and cherishes it, just as Christ does the church, because we are members of His body. “Therefore a man shall leave his father and mother and hold fast to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh.”

PP: This mystery is profound, and I am saying that it refers to Christ and the church. (Ephesians 5:25–32)

The Holy Spirit, through the pen of the Apostle Paul, is telling us that in many ways, marriage, as God has designed it, is a reflection of the relationship between God and His people.

  • Church… do you hear me?

Communication, effective communication is God’s idea and is central to living in community with others. But… it’s also essential, to our relationship with God.

  • Like couples who lose interest in each other and drift apart, often for a lack of communication,
  • So we, Christians, lose interest in God and drift apart from Him, often due to a lack of, communication on our part.

The biggest reason? We just stop listening to Him.  And the longer that goes on, the less we believe that God still speaks.

That’s what was happening in the lives of many of the Christians in the church, the Book of Hebrews was written to.

  • They were listening to the voices of the Judaizes who were telling them to go back to the Law, and to Moses.
  • Not so much to leave their first love, Jesus,
  • but to stop listening to what He had to say and start listening to some of the old ‘loves’ from their past.

PP: Well, that has ‘Danger Will Robinson’ written all over it.

So, the writer of the Book of Hebrews, wanted to show those Christians struggling with their faith,

  • that God speaks PP:
  • and that Jesus is worthy of our praise, our worship, our love, our obedience and our devotion.

Transition: So… let’s open our Bibles to Hebrews 1:1 and let’s listen to God speak to us about His Son, Jesus. 

  1. Hebrews 1:1 God spoke in the past

PP: Long ago, at many times and in many ways, God spoke to our fathers by the prophets

God spoke… let that sink in for a moment.

That means:

  • When no one can give us a straight answer.
  • When no one can speak with authority in a given situation (like during COVID)
  • When truth, real truth is nowhere to be found.
  • When our marriages are falling apart, and our children are walking away from their faith.

We can hand on tightly to that one singular reality

  • GOD SPEAKS!

When God speaks, let me tell you a little of that that means:

  • When God speaks, it’s because He has something to say to us… and being God.. we ought to listen.
  • When God speaks, He reveals something about Himself to us.
  • When God speaks, He often makes us promises… all for our good. That He might be a blessing to us. And listen, because He’s God, He keeps His promises.
  • When God speaks, He’s communicating with us. That means God is initiating a relationship with us. God wants to be in relationship with you.

Hebrews 1:1 tells us that God, in the past, spoke, communicated to humanity, many times and in many different ways…

  • Through visions, dreams, a still small voice,
  • through miraculous events, angels and even a donkey.

One of the most personal ways at that time, was through prophets, people God called to speak on His behalf.

When you think of a prophet in the OT you think of:

  • Moses, Elijah, Jeremiah, Ezekiel, Daniel, even Habakkuk, Hosea, Joel; and Amos.
  • In the NT you think of John the Baptist.

It was the prophets who lived lives that revealed God to the people. When they spoke for God they were teaching, judging, encouraging, guiding, loving God’s people on God’s behalf.

  • And one of the central things they said… concerned the Messiah, who would come and deliver God’s people from their sin and bring them into a forever relationship with Him.

Listen, had God chosen not to speak at that time.. the people would have lived lives of hopelessness. But… With God there is HOPE!

  • Because… God speaks.

Transition: And be assured… God still speaks.

  1. Hebrews 1:2a God still speaks today

PP: but in these last days He has spoken to us by His Son…

In the OT God spoke though intermediaries…

  • Visions, dreams, a still small voice, miraculous events, angels, a donkey and prophets.

BUT… God is doing something different, better, more complete… He speaks to us… in person, through His Son, Jesus.

  • Yes… I am saying that Jesus is God… oh and God’s saying it too as we’ll shortly see.

Contrary to many politicians and merchandisers, that’s what Christmas is actually about… the incarnation (becoming flesh) of Almighty God, in the person of Jesus who God calls throughout the NT, His Son.

God promised to send the Messiah and He kept that promise. He sent… Himself.

  • God speaks to humanity… personally, relationally, fully, in Jesus.

The Apostle John put it this way in John 1 PP: In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God…And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we have seen His glory, glory as of the only Son from the Father, full of grace and truth. (John 1:1, 14)

What the writer of the Book of Hebrews is telling us is this:

  • That God speaking now, through Jesus, is greater than all the other ways He has spoken in the past… including the prophets.
  • The reason is, He has no intermediary, He’s speaking to us Himself.

PP: Next Slide

Friends let’s not forget this book was written to Christians who had started to place

  • the prophets ahead of Jesus, Moses ahead of Jesus and the Law, ahead of what Jesus said.

But God wants them and us to know that He speaks most clearly, most completely, most personally… through Jesus.

Who is the only one left of the three? Jesus

  • God was telling us that Jesus is greater than Moses (the Law) and Elijah (the prophets)

I know there are many of you listening who know about God… but have you heard God speak… through the life and words of Jesus?

Transition: In the rest of our text this morning we’ll see 7 short, quick phrases, that show us what God has to say about His Son, Jesus.

3.Hebrews 1:2b-3 God speaks about Jesus

  1. Jesus is the heir to all things

PP:… Whom He appointed the Heir of all things

Heir alludes to the promise God made Abraham. Here’s the idea:

  • All that God promised Abraham, will be fulfilled in Jesus.
  • Abraham died before he could receive his inheritance. Jesus is greater than Abraham because Jesus lives forever.

 

But how is that telling us of His deity, how Jesus is God in the flesh? Well, let look:

  • He’s heir to all kingdoms, all nations, all power, all worth and all glory.
  • All that God ‘has’ if you will, is shared with
  • To share all things with God is to make Jesus His equal.
  • PP: Worthy are You, our Lord and God, to receive glory and honor and power, for you created all things, and by Your will they existed and were created. (Revelation 4:11)

Jesus is greater than Abraham and the prophets because He is heir to all things.

Transition: God speaks, and he tells us that Jesus is the creator of all things 

  1. Jesus is the creator of all things

PP: through Whom also He created the world.

A few Bible verses are all we need here to see that Jesus is God and is greater than any OT prophet.

  • PP: In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was in the beginning with God. All things were made through Him, and without Him was not any thing made that was made. (John 1:1–3)
  • PP:For by Him all things were created, in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or rulers or authorities—all things were created through Him and for Him. (Colossians 1:16)

Jesus created all things with the Father and is God in the flesh. He is greater than all the prophets.

Transition: God speaks, and he tells us that Jesus radiates the glory of God 

  1. Jesus radiates the glory of God

PP: He is the radiance of the glory of God

What does that mean? Think about light. You can do 3 things with light.

  • You can cover it up.
  • You can reflect it.
  • You can radiate it… in other words, be the source of that light.

Jesus radiates the light of God’s glory, because as John 1:3ff and John 8:12 tells us, Jesus is light and we have beheld His glory. In John 17 Jesus talks about His glory returning when He goes to the Father.

  • Jesus is God in all of His glory.

Transition: God speaks, and he tells us that Jesus is the exact image of God 

  1. Jesus is the exact image of God

PP: and the exact imprint of His nature,

In John 14:8-9 we read this:

PP: Philip said to him, “Lord, show us the Father, and it is enough for us.” Jesus said to Him, “Have I been with you so long, and you still do not know Me, Philip? Whoever has seen Me has seen the Father.

In other words, Jesus and the Father are one… are the same.

In John 10:30 Jesus makes it very clear: PP: I and the Father are one.

They share the same nature. What ever it is that makes God, God, it also makes Jesus… God.

To say Jesus is the exact image of His nature is to assert that they were cut from the same piece of cloth, forged from the same piece of steel.

God speaks, and he tells us that Jesus holds all things together.

  1. Jesus is the one who holds all things together

PP: and He upholds the universe by the word of His power.

This verse goes along with 2b through Whom also He created the world.

The word upholds means to carry along. It speaks of movement or progress towards a predestined end.  Jesus manages or oversees all things in God’s program to its intended end.

Think about it, if Jesus were to take His eyes or thoughts from us for a split second, we would cease to exist.

Colossians 1:17 says And He is before all things, and in Him all things hold together.

Only God could do that. Jesus is God and greater than the prophets.

 

Transition: God speaks, and he tells us that Jesus is the source of forgiveness. 

  1. Jesus is the source of forgiveness for sin

PP: After making purification for sins,

Those who were considering going back to Judaism would have caught the importance of this immediately.

  • In the OT sin was atoned for, God’s wrath for sin was appeased, through animal sacrifice by the priests.

They would have seen that the only way Jesus could have made purification for sin (brought forgiveness for sin) was if He was a priest and shed His blood… died for sinners.

Later, Hebrews 7:27 we’ll see this more clearly.

PP: He has no need, like those high priests, to offer sacrifices daily, first for his own sins and then for those of the people, since He did this once for all when He offered up Himself.

Jesus dying on the cross to pay our sin debt to God is a major theme throughout the NT.

The Apostle Peter put it this way in 1 Peter 2:24:

  • He Himself bore our sins in His body on the tree, that we might die to sin and live to righteousness.

Not only is Jesus greater than the prophets but also greater than the priests, the Temple, the animal sacrifices, and the religious holidays.

A perfect sacrifice for sin comes only from a perfect God, Jesus.

Transition: God speaks, and he tells us that Jesus is seated at God’s right hand. 

  1. Jesus is seated at God’s right hand

PP: He sat down at the right hand of the Majesty on high

This is the writer of the Book of Hebrews way of declaring… IT IS FINISHED! as Jesus did on the cross.

Jesus is greater than the priests and prophets because their work was never finished.

Jesus came to earth and completed the work of salvation. And when He finished, He returned to Heaven to sit beside the Father. So, what’s He doing now?

  • Jesus intercedes for us 24/7 365 days a year, every year, until we’re in His presence in Heaven.

Later in Hebrews 7:25 we’ll read: PP: Consequently, He is able to save to the uttermost those who draw near to God through Him, since He always lives to make intercession for them.

The prophets all died. The priests all died. But Jesus always lives AND He always makes intercession to the Father for those who are His by faith.

  • We are not alone down here.
  • There is someone who cares for us.
  • There is someone who is on our side.
  • There is someone who will never stop working for us.

That someone… is Jesus!  And He is high and lifted up, seated at the right hand of Almighty God!

PP: Next Slide

 Conclusion: God has spoken some wonderful and truly amazing truths about Jesus through the writer of the Book of Hebrews.

He has communicated all this to us to build and deepen our relationship with Him.

  • Truths about Jesus we all must remember.
  • Truths about Jesus we all need to hold on to.
  • Truth about Jesus that must shape our thoughts and actions.
  • Truths about Jesus that ought to bring us to our knees in humility.
  • Truths about Jesus that are meant to give us hope, to bring us peace and to give us

Friends,

  • When we KNOW in our hearts that Jesus reigns on the throne in heaven, then we’ll also KNOW that we have a Savior who is greater than the circumstances that challenge our faith.

Followers of Jesus Christ,

  • When we KNOW in our hearts that Jesus reigns on the throne in heaven, then we’ll also KNOW that He is greater than all the ‘other voices’ that work to distract us for listening to Him.

Brother & sisters in Christ,

  • When we KNOW in our hearts that God still speaks, then we’ll also KNOW we can call out to Him in those difficult times for help.
  • And He will answer us!!

Friends… God still speaks… are you listening?