(A Message from Hebrews)
Westgate Chapel 8/17/03 Hebrews 1:1-3
PROPOSITION: God is speaking to our hearts in His Son as His prophetic voice, His own Son, the heir of all things, His creative agent, His personified glory, His perfect revelation, His cosmic sustainer, and His unique sacrifice...it’s Jesus.
- RESEARCHERS tell us that you and I receive approximately 2,000 persuasion messages per day that our brains have to process.
- EVERYBODY wants to communicate with us;
* The politicians want you to know how much better they will do, with the problems of our society, than their opponent.
* The tobacco industry wants you to know that smoking will not harm your health.
* The automobile industry wants to convince you that you need two doors, stick shift, a sunroof, a V6 and a pinstripe......if you are going to be anybody.
* Your boss wants you to understand that he wants the report on his desk ten days before the next Directors meeting.
* Your wife wants you to talk to her.....but she won't tell you what she wants you to say.
* Your children just want the keys to the car.
* Your creditors want you to know that one and a half percent will be added monthly to your balance if you do not pay what you owe......in thirty days.
- SO, swirling around the recesses of your mind, during the waking hours of your day, are over two thousand persuasion messages.
- NO wonder we have difficulty hearing what God is saying to us.
- THERE were a lot of voices to listen to for the New Testament Christians also.
* The Roman empire....demanding that they worship Caesar and support the state.
* Greek voices…arguing for the supremacy of human reasoning.
* The call of their Jewish friends and family members.....to follow the rituals and practices of the Old Testament if they wanted to be saved.
* The screams of angry mobs, as the homes and possessions of Christians were looted and burned.
* The sounds of prison doors slammed shut behind them....or the roar of the lions in the coliseums of the world.
- BUT just like us, those first century Christians needed to hear what God was saying most of all.
- LISTEN to what God said to them through the epistle to the Hebrews.
- LISTEN to the voice of God!
ii. god spoke
- HEBREWS 1:1,
"In the past God spoke......" (Hebrews 1:1)
- DOWN through the ages of time.......from the very beginning of time itself......God has always communicated with humankind.
- HE has never hidden Himself from His creation.
* In the cool of the evening, He came to the garden of Eden and walked and talked with Adam and Eve and revealed Himself to them.
* He talked with His servant Enoch from time to time until one day the conversation got so intense....Enoch had no more use for mother earth....and he just walked off into the very presence of God and was never heard from or seen again.
* He talked with Abraham....and called him out of the Chaldees to follow Him.
* He talked with Jacob, even wrestled with him at the Jabbok River.
* He talked with Moses from the burning bush, and on top of Mount Sinai.
* He talked to Joshua in the form of the Commander in Chief of the army of the Lord of Hosts.
* He talked to Ezekiel in a vision of a wheel within a wheel.
* He told Jeremiah that before he was formed in his mother’s womb…God knew him and set him apart for ministry.
- WE serve a God who speaks and does not hide Himself from us.
- VERSE 1 goes on to say that in the past God spoke....
“ ......to our forefathers through the prophets at many times and in various ways
- AND all these men did their best to tell us what they saw and what God had said to them.
- BUT they didn’t always understand all they heard, nor did they always arrive at the right conclusions about what they heard.
- GOD was speaking to and through them, but it was like there was always a communication gap.
- THERE was no way for us to fully comprehend the plan of God.....it was too majestic, too grand, too beautiful to understand, simply conveyed in human language.
- THE prophets were ridiculed......and many of God's messengers were even killed for speaking the words of God.
- ULTIMATELY God’s voice through the prophets was rejected.
- SO God stopped speaking through the prophets.
iii. god speaking
- AND in verse 2 of Hebrews 1, the writer says;
"......but in these last days he has spoken to us by his Son...."
- WE are in the last days.
- WE can be confident of that because on the Day of Pentecost, when He was explaining what had just happened, in Acts 2:15, Peter says,
“…this is what was spoken by the prophet Joel: (17) ‘In the last days, God says, I will pour out my Spirit on all people.’”
- IN the last days God has…
“…spoken to us by his Son”
- NO longer is the message hard to understand, couched in symbolic prophetic language.
- NO more difficulty in knowing what God means.
- THE communication gap is forever closed between God and Man.
- GOD has spoken His ultimate word......His complete communication.....and His Word to us is JESUS!
- FORGET the angels, says Hebrews 1...worship JESUS.
- FORGET Moses and the feast days, and the priests and sacrifices, says the Book of Hebrews...look to JESUS.
- THAT is what God is saying then and now.
- THEN in Hebrews 1:2 and 3 the writer tells us why Jesus is the main thing.
1. JESUS is now God's prophetic voice
- JESUS is now God’s prophetic voice.
“…in these last days he has spoken to us by his Son..”
- WITHOUT Jesus, the message of the prophets is incomplete.
- PUT Jesus into Isaiah and the Old Testament book makes sense...and Ezekiel and Zechariah and all the rest of the Old Testament.
- NOW God's communication to us is final...complete, perfect. Nothing needs to be added. Nothing should be added.
- THE voice of God has been heard!
- GOD has spoken one final word...and He is Jesus!
* Moses was the first prophet to be given God's name as the "I AM".........Jesus was the I AM, the Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the end.
* Ezekiel saw the glory of the Lord.......Jesus was the glory of God.
* Isaiah told us that God was holy, righteous, merciful......Jesus came without sin and healed the sick, mended the wounded, and made broken lives whole again.
* Jeremiah described the power of God......Jesus said "Lazarus, come forth!" and the grave could no longer contain his remains.
- JESUS is the prophetic voice of God.....still speaking today.
- GET to know Him. Follow after Him. Worship Him. Become enthralled with Him.
2. JESUS is God's Son
- VERSE 2 tells us that God has spoken to us.....
".....by his Son...."
- THIS is the Son of God!
- THIS is no ordinary man, or just a good teacher.
- DO not let your faith be shaken by the competing voices of our pluralistic society!
- ON the day that John baptized Jesus in the River Jordan,
“… the heaven was opened (22) and the Holy Spirit descended on him [Jesus] in bodily form like a dove. And a voice came from heaven: ‘You are my Son, whom I love; with you I am well pleased.’”
- IN Colossians 2:9, Paul describes the same truth in this way,
“For in Christ all the fullness of the Deity lives in bodily form, (10) and you have been given fullness in Christ, who is the head over every power and authority.”
- THERE is no salvation without Him.
- THERE is no forgiveness of sin without Him.
- THERE is no future without Him.
- THERE is no hope without Him.
- YOU will have no confidence in this life without Him.
- THERE is no eternal life without Him.
- THE main point is Jesus...He is God’s Son!
3. JESUS is God's appointed heir
- THE writer said, concerning this Jesus, in verse 2, that God has;
".......appointed Him heir of all things....."
- EVERYTHING that you see around you in Edmonds. Everything you see in the USA. Everything you see......and what you cannot see, at the farthest end of the universe.......God has given to Jesus.
* Mnt Rainier...belongs to Him.
* Mars....belongs to Him.
* The wood that your pew was made from...belongs to Him.
* Downtown Seattle...belongs to Him.
- HE is God's heir.
- IN Ephesians 1:20 Paul describes it this way. Speaking of Jesus Paul says that God…
“….raised him from the dead and seated him at his right hand in the heavenly realms, (21) far above all rule and authority, power and dominion, and every title that can be given, not only in the present age but also in the one to come. (22) And God placed all things under his feet and appointed him to be head over everything for the church.”
- AND He has made you to be heirs with God and joint heirs with Jesus...if you belong to Him.
“Now if we are children, then we are heirs--heirs of God and co-heirs with Christ, if indeed we share in his sufferings in order that we may also share in his glory.” (Romans 8:17)
- SO it doesn't matter how much or how little you have of material things now.......you will get it all, with Christ, at the time when it really counts anyhow.
- AND even now....He is not going to fail you. He will not let you down.
- HE will never forsake you, that is His promise.
- HE is God’s Heir of ALL things.
4. JESUS is God's creative agent
- THE author now takes his readers from the future, back to the beginning of time for our earth in verse 2, and says that it was Jesus....
"......through whom he made the universe."
- HE made everything that you and I can see.
* Mount Rainier? He made it.
* The iron ore from which your car was made? He made it.
* The carbon that turned to diamond under the earth...that is now in your ring? He made it.
* The complex eco-systems with all of their interrelationships and beauty? He made it.
* The human body and its amazing capabilities? He made them.
* The farthest galaxy that even the Hubbell telescope has not yet seen? He made it!
- SO if the chaos that existed on the planet, before Genesis 1:1, can be made into order by His power, then surely He can take care of the chaos that exists in your life and mine.
5. JESUS is God's personified glory
- VERSE 3 says that;
"The Son is the radiance of God's glory...."
- THE Jews had been accustomed to seeing the glory coming down on the Tabernacle when God met with Moses there. They had seen the cloud by day and the pillar of fire by night.
- THEY had seen the shekinah cloud of glory come down on the ark.
- IN fact, when the ark had once been stolen, they cried, "The glory is departed."
- BUT now, the writer says that the glory.....IS Jesus.
- GOD'S glory still shines through Him today.
- YOU don’t have to go anywhere to find it.
- YOU just have to get to know Him...and you can see in Him more glory than Moses saw when God passed by him on the mountain that day.
6. JESUS is God's perfect revelation
- IN verse 3, the writer says that Jesus is;
".......the exact representation of God's being..."
- IN other words, if you want to know what God is like, look at Jesus.
- WHEN you see Jesus love sinners like the woman caught in adultery, or the rich young ruler.......that's God.
- WHEN you see Jesus have compassion for the sick....that's God.
- WHEN you see Jesus resist the proud and arrogant religious leaders.....that's God.
- WHEN you see Him take little children on His lap....that’s God.
- WHEN you hear Jesus say to a repentant, convicted thief, "This day you will be with me in paradise.".....that's God.
- THE prophets longed to see that day and never did....but now we see Him and can know Him intimately. It is Jesus....the exact representation of God’s being.
- NO wonder the apostle Paul spurned all of his successes, his experiences, his trip to the seventh heaven and said one thing,
“I want to know Christ....” (Philippians 3:10)
7. JESUS is the sustainer of the universe
- THE writer goes on, in verse 3, and says that Jesus is;
".......sustaining all things by his powerful word."
- WHATEVER He commands is done...just by the power of His word.
- HE keeps the planets in orbit by the power of His word.
- WHEN He removes the power of His word they will be rolled up like a scroll.
- HE keeps nations in their boundaries by the power of His word.
- HE heals by the power of His word.
- HE saves by the power of His word.
- HE keeps us by the power of His word.
- WE have life by the power of His word.
- NOTHING can happen that escapes His knowledge and power....even satan must have permission before he makes one move.
8. JESUS is God's unique sacrifice
- BUT, look at how the writer wraps up the end of verse 3, writing about Jesus that....
"After he had provided purification for sins, he sat down at the right hand of the Majesty in heaven."
- HE completely satisfied the penalty of your sin and mine before the Father.......and with that task completed Jesus;
* sits..........denoting authority.
* at the right hand...........denoting equality.
* of the Majesty in heaven........denoting relationship with the Father.
- ARE you listening to what the Father is saying today...it’s Jesus?
- WE have had a hard time learning this and living it in American Pentecostal Christianity in the last 90 years.
* It started as a good thing....the outpouring of the Spirit in 1905. When you read some of their original publications as I have....1905, 06, 07, through 1914...it was all Jesus.
• Even though people were being baptised in the Spirit and speaking in tongues...when you read men like William Seymour, from Azusa Street, he hardly ever mentions tongues or the baptism..it is Jesus.
* Then 50 years ago a number of faith healers emerged.....criss-crossing the country in healing crusades.
• It started as a good thing, but before long healing became THE MAIN THING.
• The ministries of men like AA Allen, William Branham, Oral Roberts...and a host of others whose names never made it into the headlines.
• Pastor Bob remembers that local churches closed down for good and groups built huge wooden tabernacles in towns all over the country...and the only time that the believers of that area would show up to anything would be when a healing evangelist came to town.
• It became “the healing movement.”
• And in the heat of it all Jesus got pushed off to one side....and the people forgot that Jesus was THE MAIN THING.
• And today there are a few wooden tabernacles left.....and the movement is long forgotten.
* Then 40 years ago it was the Latter Rain movement.
• And it started as a good thing, with wonderful worship and anointing on the services.
• But it wasn’t long before prophesy became THE MAIN THING.
• You weren’t really walking with God unless you were into prophesy.
• And then “words from the Lord” got so weird that most Pentecostal believers drifted away...and today the Latter Rain movement is simply an entry in the history book.
• They forgot that Jesus was THE MAIN THING.
- YOU know, I think that the minute something God does gets a name or becomes a movement...we are in trouble because, in spite of all of our protests to the contrary, when something gets a name or becomes a movement Jesus gets pushed to the outside and eventually it gets weird or dies.
* 30 years ago it was the Charismatic Movement.
• It started as a good thing, bringing refreshing to many churches and denominations.
• But it wasn’t long before tongues became THE MAIN THING.
• And if you were anybody in Christ you spoke in several tongues.
• And some people spoke in tongues who weren’t even saved.
• But today the movement is all but dead...and organizations that sprang up to feed the movement are dead or have lost their way.
• They forgot that Jesus was THE MAIN THING.
* 20 years ago it was the Shepherding Movement that was THE MAIN THING.
• And if you were going to go on with God you had to be in a small group with fierce accountability.
• It started as a good thing....but went sour and hurt a lot of people...because they forgot that Jesus was THE MAIN THING.
• Today the movement is all but gone.
* 10 years ago the PROSPERITY/DOMINION movement became THE MAIN THING.
• It started with some wonderful insights on faith...things the church had let go of.
• If you were going to get anywhere in the Christian life you had to go to all sorts of conferences and learn how to claim stuff.
• But it wasn’t long before they forgot that Jesus was THE MAIN THING.
• And they were confessing Cadillacs and writing checks they couldn’t cover. It got weird in many places.
• And today what was a roar is now a whimper.
* 5 years ago a prophesy movement got started in Kansas City.....where hearing from God today became THE MAIN THING
• And God had told some people that He was going to raise up 72 prophets who would govern and direct the church of Jesus in the nation.
• Prophets ran all over the country to special meetings to teach people how they could prophecy....and to tell them what God was saying.
• And we forgot that Jesus was THE MAIN THING.
• And you hardly ever hear about Kansas City any more.
- WHEN are we going to learn that Jesus is THE MAIN THING and not get ourselves diverted from His presence, and His voice and His Word...into things that He might do for a moment but we are intent to make them THE MAIN THING because it feels good and is exciting.
- I DON’T doubt that God is doing some wonderful things around the country in these days...but please let’s be careful to keep Jesus THE MAIN THING.
* If we don’t we are heading for some real weirdness.
* You don’t have to go any place to get Him...He is there with you.
* You don’t have to have a certain experience to get near Him...the only way to approach Him is by faith.
- GOD’S final word to the world was JESUS.
- HOW about in your life? Is Jesus the main thing?
- IS He Lord of your life....the center of your existence?