2) Hath in these last days spoken unto us by his Son, whom he hath appointed heir of all things, by whom also he made the worlds;
3) Who being the brightness of his glory, and the express image of his person, and upholding all things by the word of his power, when he had by himself purged our sins, sat down on the right hand of the Majesty on high:
4) Being made so much better than the angels, as he hath by inheritance obtained a more excellent name than they.Hebrews 1:1-4 (KJV)
Hebrews was written by a Jewish Christian, most likely either Barnabas or Apollos though we are not 100% certain. It was also likely written before the destruction of Jerusalem in 70 AD.
Aimed toward Jewish audiences, it contains links to the Old Testament with Jesus being the primary theme of the book. It is an astonishingly rich book and in this lesson we will be looking at Hebrews 1:1-4.
Before we begin I have two questions for the reader. To those who claim to know Jesus as their savior, ask yourself before we begin “Has God spoken to me?” Ponder that for a moment.
Now for those who do not have a knowledge of God as their savior this evening please ask yourself this question, “Does God speak?”
I want both sides to ask questions in their minds tonight, to the saved Christian ask so that you may be sure of your salvation, to the lost unbeliever ask yourself purely out of exploration and for the sake of the questioning for discovery’s sake.
For your being here tonight unbeliever first is no accident and second it is healthy to freely question these sorts of things to learn about what Christianity is all about. You see Christianity is a reasonable religion; we have great reasons as Christians to believe and know that it is true.
Jesus often reasoned with people by asking questions and others asked them back, such as Nicodemus for example. Therefore questions are always welcomed and encouraged, and that stands for both those who do not know Jesus as their savior and those that do. “Jesus is the ultimate way by which God speaks to us and it is for a very specific purpose— for our salvation and redemption.”
Christian, never let the fear of questioning what you believe or peer pressure from other Christians keep you from asking questions, for God welcomes them all and often it is the way by which we strengthen our faith in Him and our beliefs.
Now then the third and final question before the message this evening is also for you, Christian. For I have already asked it to the lost tonight: “Does God speak?” What is more, if He does what are some ways in which He communicates to us?
I posit at the start here that yes, God does speak. He speaks in many ways with an ultimate purpose through Jesus and the gospel message. Jesus is the ultimate way by which God speaks to us and it is for a very specific purpose— for our salvation and redemption.
A quick note, does God speak through the Holy Spirit? Certainly but for tonight’s lesson we will be focusing on God’s speaking to us through Jesus and His message.
Let us look at Hebrews 1:1-2 again for the first part of our lesson.
1) God, who at sundry times and in divers manners spake in time past unto the fathers by the prophets,
2) Hath in these last days spoken unto us by his Son, whom he hath appointed heir of all things, by whom also he made the worlds;Hebrews 1:1-2 (KJV)
The first thing that is striking about this passage is that in it we can discern two contrasts: the old and the new, the Old Testament and the New Testament, the old revelation of Jesus to the fathers by the prophets and the new revelation of Jesus through His earthly ministry and death on the cross for our sins.
Revelation has come from third parties (prophets speaking for Jesus) to Jesus Himself.
While the New and Old Testaments are different in terms of how Jesus spoke and revealed Himself to us, they contain the same thread that runs throughout all of the Bible, that of Jesus Christ Himself.
The Bible is His story. God is always revealing Jesus and Himself to us, through Jesus Himself, whether it is through the prophets in the Old Testament, by Jesus Himself or by that of natural revelation. You see God speaks about Jesus to us in many different ways.
What is most important for the modern Christian (that is as I define it the Christian who lives after Jesus’ ascension into heaven) is that these two verses present continuity within their contrasts. That continuity is Jesus and His message.
We see that “at sundry times and in divers manners spake in time past.” I find it comforting that God has spoken in many ways to the world, through miracles, dreams, prophets, creation and so on.
However things changed for “in these last days” refers to the time when Jesus was on Earth in the flesh. At that time and going forward to today and for forever, God chooses to speak to us through Jesus Himself. Why?
Because there is something we need to hear. The reason for Jesus coming to Earth as 100% man and 100% God divine, was to finish revealing God’s purpose for man’s redemption. “Jesus communicated many vital lessons during His earthly ministry, ultimately though He was (and still is) the message, and not just His words but His actions are the message as well.”
It is a magnificent thing that God chooses to communicate to us through His Son; there is gravity to this. Not only has God communicated in many ways to us, but chiefly He has spoken to us through His Son. It’s magnificent!
It shows the magnitude of our situation and also the great care that God has for His creation and people. He wants to get our attention— He cares. Has He gotten your attention?
Back to our first questions: Christian, has God spoken to you before, has He called you? Non-Christian, is He speaking to you? Has he gotten everyone’s attention here tonight?
Jesus communicated many vital lessons during His earthly ministry, ultimately though He was (and still is) the message, and not just His words but His actions are the message as well.
Paramount to the greatest action in human history, His death on the cross is the greatest message; this is the Gospel, the “good news” for us. You see ultimately God had to speak to us through His Son because that was and still is the only way to get our attention and to save us from our sins.
You see God appointed Him (Jesus) heir of all things. Jesus received the inheritance of God’s estate (all things) through his work of redemption (His death and sacrifice for us and our sins on the cross).
When someone asks you who Jesus was, the very way in which you describe Him, the Redeemer, indicates His message. No matter how you approach Jesus you cannot avoid the fact that He had and still has a purpose; to save that which is lost. That is why He came.
11) For the Son of man is come to save that which was lost.Matthew 18:11 (KJV)
Jesus was and is God’s way of speaking to us in the most direct manner possible. You cannot study Jesus or attempt to by avoiding this critical component; Jesus’ message is to save the lost and that is what God wants us all to know. He wants you to know that.
Some say Jesus was just a man who taught good things. Others acknowledge that He was a great thinker or a mystic. Some say He was just a great leader, but all of these overlook, and many times intentionally so, the reality of who Jesus was.“We should not just talk about Jesus with facts, philosophy or miracles. While all of these are good we must be His ambassadors and speak the gospel message; the why of it all.”
Jesus was God’s Son, sent for an express purpose to save the lost and to provide the way by which we can be redeemed from our sins through His sacrifice on the cross for us.
He is the very way by which God tells us of our fatal condition and the way of escape from that condition through salvation everlasting and freedom from sin’s bondage of our life.
Any attempt to portray Jesus without this critical component (His message) is not just giving an incomplete picture of Jesus but a false one.
Do not forget, when you present the message of Jesus you are communicating for God because God speaks through Jesus.
Therefore you must incorporate the redemption message into your conversations with others about Jesus.
20) Now then we are ambassadors for Christ, as though God did beseech you by us: we pray you in Christ’s stead, be ye reconciled to God.2 Corinthians 5:20 (KJV)
We should not just talk about Jesus with facts, philosophy or miracles. While all of these are good we must be His ambassadors and speak the gospel message; the why of it all.
Do you know why Jesus came? To save the lost. God spoke through Him and through His actions that very message and that is the message to share with others.
This message will be continued next time in God Speaks (Part 2).