- Sermon Notes
God Speaks Through His Son
Hebrews 1:1-4; 2:1-4
We come now to the famous book of Hebrews. It was written to strengthen our faith in Jesus, the Author and Finisher of our faith. God reveals Jesus
in this book like in no other place. It is, therefore, one of the most important books in the entire Bible, although many also find it to be one
of the most difficult books to understand. It is filled with deep theology and spiritual application.
There is a lot of spirited debate among biblical scholars as to who actually wrote this letter to the Hebrews. Personally, I believe that Paul wrote
this letter, but others have suggested that Apollos, or John, or Peter, or someone else wrote it.
As the title suggests, it is written to Hebrews, or, in other words, Jews, but in particular, it is written to Jewish believers in Jesus Christ. Many
believe this book was written to the church in Jerusalem.
They were Christians, they had taken hold of the gospel, but there was confusion in many of them. What should they do with their Judaism? What should
they do with the Old Testament laws? Should they continue going to the Temple in Jerusalem, should they keep bringing sacrifices like they did
in the past?
Hebrews was written to strengthen their faith because many in Jerusalem were being pressured to leave their Christian faith and return to Judaism.
In no uncertain terms the writer calls them out and warns them of the dangers of unbelief.
Jesus is the center of our faith and this book establishes the superiority of Christ over all things. When you understand God’s heart that He reveals
through Jesus, your faith is strengthened.
I. God Reveals Himself
- In trying to explain why there are different religions, someone came up with the analogy that God is like an elephant and four blind men, each
holding a different part of the elephant, try to define it.
- “An elephant is like a thick, strong snake,” says the one holding the trunk. “No, you’re quite wrong,” says the one holding onto the leg. An elephant
is like the trunk of a great tree.”
- “You’re both wrong,” says another blind man, “an elephant is like a great wall,” he says, touching the side of the animal. “You’re all wrong,”
says the fourth one, holding its tail, “it’s quite plain that an elephant is like a rope with a tassel on the end.”
- The point of this analogy, they say, is that in a similar way, no individual religion can absolutely define God and that all should be viewed as
equally valid. But, Houston, we have a problem.
- Here is the problem with that analogy; first, all four of the blind men were wrong; an elephant is none of those things. They are not equally valid;
they are equally invalid. Secondly, the elephant is silent. In contrast, God speaks, God reveals Himself.
- Long ago, God revealed Himself through the prophets in many portions and in many ways.
- God had a special relationship to Israel, they are His chosen people and He revealed Himself through the prophets of Israel. You can see that throughout
the entire Old Testament.
- But in these last days, God has spoken to us in His Son, whom He appointed heir of all things.
- Right out of the gate, in the very first verse, he throws a dagger in the heart of the argument. God reveals Himself through His Son, the heir of all
things and the creator of the world.
- I love this phrase that Jesus is, “The radiance of His glory and the exact representation of His nature.”
- The radiance of God’s glory – God sent His Son. Jesus said, “I am the light of the world.” He was sent by God as the radiance
of His glory… that we might know God’s heart toward us.
Colossians 1:15, He is the image of the invisible God…
- At one point as Moses was leading the people of Israel through the desert he had a request of God, “If I have found favor in Your sight, let me know
Your ways that I may know you.” God granted his request.
- Then Moses asked one more thing of astounding boldness, “Please, show me Your glory.” God responded, “You cannot see My face, for no man can see Me
and live! But I will place you in the cleft of the rock and cover you with My hand while My glory passes by.”
Illus – What follows behind you? When you come into the living room and there is an empty bag of popcorn, empty glasses and snack wrappers, you might say, “A teenager has been here.” Or if you come into a bedroom with socks, dirty clothes and a towel on the floor you might say, “A husband has passed by this way.”
- When God comes into your life, He leaves behind His glory. He sent Jesus as the radiance of His glory, and the exact representation of His nature,
so that we might know that God is good and loves us.
.App – Some people see God as a God who doesn’t care, so they don’t care. Some people see God as angry, so they become angry. Some people see God as the judge, so they become judgmental. Some people see God as the giver of laws, so they become legalistic.
Some people see God as love, and they become loving.
- At one point, one of the disciples, Philip, asked of Jesus, “Show us the Father and it is enough for us.”
John 14:9-10, Jesus said to him, “He who has seen Me has seen the Father; how do you say, ‘Show us the Father’? Do you not believe that I am in the Father, and the Father is in Me?”
B. He has a more excellent name
- Verse 4 – He has inherited a more excellent name.
- The Jews had a very high view of angels and from the earliest chapters of the Bible, God used angels to carry His message, and were seen as powerful.
- There was even a false doctrine called Gnosticism that was permeating through the early church that taught that man could only be saved from this evil,
material world through special knowledge or enlightenment.
- This doctrine also had an intricate hierarchy of powerful angelic beings.
- The writer of Hebrews speaks to the superiority of Christ over all things, including angelic beings.
Philippians 2:9-11, For this reason also, God highly exalted Him, and bestowed on Him the name which is above every name, that at the name of Jesus every knee will bow, of those who are in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and that every tongue will confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.
- The name ‘Jesus’ was actually quite common. It would be similar to Joshua today. It was the name, ‘Son of God’ that set Him apart from all others.
Matthew 16:15-17, Jesus said to them, “Who do you say that I am?” Simon Peter answered, “You are the Christ, the Son of the living God.” And Jesus said to him, “Blessed are you, Simon bar Jonah, because flesh and blood did not reveal this to you, but My Father who is in heaven.”
John 19:7, The Jews answered Pilate, “We have a law, and by that law He ought to die because He made Himself out to be the Son of God.”
II. Pay Close Attention
- Chapter 2:1 – Since God speaks in these last days through His Son, we must pay much closer attention to what we have heard, lest we drift away
- He establishes the superiority of Christ as the radiance of God’s glory and the exact representation of His nature; if God speaks, should we not
- But then he adds the warning… lest we drift away from it. In many ways, that is the theme of this entire book. God gave His Son to be the
anchor of your soul, don’t drift away. Strengthen your faith, anchor your soul to the One Whom God sent.
A. Have ears that want to hear
- The idea in the Greek is to give heed, or pay attention to the word God gave through His Son. But the term is also a boating term for anchoring
the boat to something. In other words, it’s like you’re fixing your attention, you’re anchoring your soul, you are attentive to the word.
Illus – I was taking a class at Multnomah University taught by the retired president, Willard Aldrich. He was not known as someone who could hold your attention, but he was teaching valuable truths. One day, during his lecture, something was different, I could hear it, his heart was breaking. I looked around to see if anyone else noticed. My ears became attentive; I was anchored to every word…
- Pay closer attention, he writes, be anchored to the Word God sent, lest you drift away from it.
- The Jewish believers were in danger of their faith drifting; the winds were blowing them, there was pressure from those around them to go back
to the old ways. For them that meant they were in danger of returning to Judaism and the keeping of the law instead of abiding in the Son Whom
- Today, people are in danger of their faith drifting and their lives moving toward the world because the cares, concerns, and anxieties of life,
the deceitfulness of riches, and the desire for other things, choke out the word and it bears no fruit in their lives.
- In chapter 4 he uses the comparison to Israel again and gives the warning about being attentive to the word that God sent…
Hebrews 4:2, For indeed we have had good news preached to us, just as they also; but the word they heard did not profit them because it was not united by faith in those who heard.
- Jesus said something similar many times in the gospels… “He who has ears to hear, let him hear…”
Luke 8:15, “The seed that fell in the good soil, these are the ones who have heard the word in an honest and good heart, and hold it fast, and bear fruit with perseverance.”
B. Don’t neglect so great a salvation
- Hebrews 2:2-4 – Don’t neglect so great a salvation. In other words, God expects a response when He sends His Word.
- Paul wrote in the book of Romans that God revealed Himself also through nature so that no one will have an excuse…
Romans 1:19-20, That which is known about God is evident within them; for God made it evident to them. For since the creation of the world His invisible attributes, His eternal power and divine nature have been clearly seen, being understood through what has been made, so that they are without excuse.
- God’s offer of life is the offer of a great salvation; we must be careful not to neglect so great a salvation.
- God has revealed Himself through His Son; Jesus is unique. He is the heir of all things and the creator of the world.
Illus – It’s not like God offers a spiritual buffet and we get to walk through the items choosing whatever fits our taste. I’ll take a little Allah and perhaps a bit of Joseph Smith, could you pass me a little Buddha? I’ll pass on hell… do you have any existentialism?
- He writes of the superiority of Jesus over all things because God has spoken to us in His Son…
Acts 4:12, And there is salvation in no one else; for there is no other name under heaven that has been given among men by which we must be saved.
- Anchor your soul to this Rock, pay close attention to the words of life, lest you drift away from it. Do not neglect so great a salvation.
- People neglect so great a salvation when they forget that what they have is not a religion. It’s not a set of principles. It’s not a set of standards
that judge your life.
- God sent His Son; we have so great a salvation because we now have a relationship to God as our Abba Father because He gave us His only begotten
Son as a gift.
John 14:6, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life; no one comes to the Father but through Me.”
Illus – Relationships don’t die all at once, they die from neglect. Hurts, wounds, unforgiveness, and the cares and concerns of life that choke that relationship.
In the same way, if you don’t have a personal relationship to God as your Abba Father, and allow your faith to drift into the routine of religion, the fire is that once burned bright will slowly grow dim.
Hebrews 1:1-4; 2:1-4 NASB
1 God, after He spoke long ago to the fathers in the prophets in many portions and in many ways, 2 in these last days has spoken to us in His Son, whom
He appointed heir of all things, through whom also He made the world. 3 And He is the radiance of His glory and the exact representation of His nature,
and upholds all things by the word of His power. When He had made purification of sins, He sat down at the right hand of the Majesty on high, 4 having
become as much better than the angels, as He has inherited a more excellent name than they.
1 For this reason we must pay much closer attention to what we have heard, so that we do not drift away from it. 2 For if the word spoken through angels
proved unalterable, and every transgression and disobedience received a just penalty, 3 how will we escape if we neglect so great a salvation? After
it was at the first spoken through the Lord, it was confirmed to us by those who heard, 4 God also testifying with them, both by signs and wonders
and by various miracles and by gifts of the Holy Spirit according to His own will.