AMP. "In many separate revelations--each of which set forth a portion of the Truth--and in different ways God spoke of old to our forefathers in and by the prophets.
But in the last of these days He has spoken to us in the person of a Son, Whom He appointed Heir and lawful Owner of all things, also by and through Whom He created the worlds and the reaches of space and the ages of time--(that is) He made, produced, built, operated, and arranged them in order.
"He is the sole expression of the glory of God--the Light-being, the out-raying of the divine--and He is the perfect imprint and very image of God's nature, upholding and maintaining and guiding and propelling the universe by His mighty word of power. When He had by offering Himself accomplished our cleansing of sins and riddance of guilt, He sat down at the right hand of the divine Majesty on high,"
When I sit down to write a letter, I am thinking of certain things that I want to communicate to a certain person or group of people. We have before us a letter written to Jewish or Hebrew Christians. The writers one supreme goal is to communicate the awesome superiority of Jesus over everything and anything they had ever known under the old covenant. In Jesus they have a Superior Person, a Superior Sacrifice, and a Superior New Way of Life! They cannot go back to the old, now that they have found the new.
This letter is written to speak to all Christians exhorting us to not conform to the spirit of the world around us thus losing the boldness and brightness of our relationship with Jesus. We cannot go back to the old life, the old ways of living for self, the old ways of coping now that we have found in Jesus the new and living way.
From the beginning of the letter and all through it, Jesus is exalted. His forgiveness, His salvation, His strength, His love and joy, His workings in our lives, His new and living way of living our lives, etc. is exalted as being superior to anything human systems of religion or life can offer. When we look elsewhere for help...rather than to Jesus...then we open our lives to despair and hopelessness. Our best efforts to live a good life in our own strength will fail. Only when we know Jesus as the secret of strength can we keep from losing heart and going back to old patterns of dependency.
When we look elsewhere and put our faith elsewhere then the Christian life becomes burdensome. But when we have a vital, living, powerful, personal attachment to Jesus Christ, then we have a living faith in the invisible...a faith evidenced by a lifestyle which says we walk with God.
When we get a glimpse of the glory of Jesus seated on His heavenly throne, then we realize that all our efforts to save and change ourselves are in vain. Then we see a power that can make our heart and life heavenly.
What the Hebrews needed, we need also. To see Jesus, to consider Him, to look to Him, to trust in Him. It is Jesus Christ we must know better!
I think that the majority of us believe that. However, after we have given lip-service to the truth...we often live our lives with an absence of the love, power, joy and presence of Jesus. And instead of looking for satisfaction and contentment in Jesus...we try to find it in the world we live in, or in church programs, or charismatic leaders/speakers, etc. They all have their function in the Body, but only Jesus satisfies!
READ: Hebrews 1:1-3
How did God speak to our ancestors?
Well, God did not reveal all of Himself at any one time. He taught our Old Testament ancestors about Himself a little at a time.
It is somewhat like the way we teach our children. When your three year old asks: "Daddy, what makes the car run?" You probably give a simple answer like, "The gas I buy at the gas station makes it run." You would not launch into a two hour lecture on the function of an internal combustion engine connected to a drive train which transforms a certain amount of horsepower into torque which propels the car down the road.
However, as the years go by...the questions become more specific and you add more and more information. This is progressive learning.
In learning about God, we are the little children. We come into the Kingdom as little children...eager to learn, full of questions. And God teaches us about Himself, a little at a time.
This is what God did in Old Testament days. In bits and pieces through different methods, God revealed Himself.
In this process God was preparing mankind for a full revelation of Himself. So that verse two introduces us to God's fullness revealed to us and spoken to us in Jesus.
In Jesus, God completes the revelation of Himself. The process is finished. The revelation of Jesus is a completed action, done with, finished, sufficient, never to be added to.
This truth is emphasized in the word "spoke" in verse one, and the word "has spoken" in verse two.
The word "spoke" is in the Greek form indicating a progressive past. A speaking that happened over and over again.
Illus.-- Children: "I spoke to you last week about your room, I spoke to you yesterday about your room, etc. Ongoing conversation. This is what God did in times past.
The words "has spoken" are in the Greek form that indicates that the process is finished, not to continue.
EX.- "I have told you everything I know about that subject and I have nothing more to say."
The scripture is not saying that God no longer speaks to us today. The scripture is saying that everything we need to know about God has been revealed to us and spoken to us in Jesus and nothing can be added to the revelation. It is an all sufficient revelation.
OK...so what. What does that mean for my life? Why is it important to understand this truth?
Our world is constantly at work to deny the reality of who Jesus is. We constantly try to create God in our own images.
Pgh. Post Gazette Art. ; Sun., Mar. 6, 1994
Re-imaging of Jesus. Prayers to the goddess "Sophia" our Maker and Creator God.
Such teaching is probably recognized as the heresy it is by most born again believers.
But we have our own ways of creating God in our own images. We create Him as a God who thinks like us, who wants for us what we want for us, who understands why we cannot obey Him and makes exceptions for us, who only wants us to be happy, etc.
This is not the revelation of God in Jesus!
We have people who try to add to this Word with their own revelations of what God is like and what He is saying.
However, what we need to know about God has already been said and been revealed to us in Jesus.
Our need: To get to know Jesus better and to open our lives to the entrance of this superior supernatural Person!
ILLUS.- We live in this natural world. It is like living in a box closed in by walls made of time and space. Outside of this box is the supernatural, and somewhere deep within our spirits we know that the supernatural world does exist.
But in ourselves we do not know anything for certain about the supernatural. In ourselves, all we have are human ideas and theories. So someone comes along and says: "We must find a way to get out of ourselves, out of the limitations of the natural and into the supernatural world out there."
And they know just how it can and must and should be done. And for an offering of a certain amount you can join their "made in man's image" religion. So you hand your life, your children, and your future over to them.
And they give you a hammer and chisel and with these imaginative hammers and chisels you start trying to chip a hole through the natural so you can get through to and discover the secrets of the supernatural world.
Figuratively, that is what we humans are always doing. The Buddhist says that when you have worked and thought yourself into Nirvana, all of a sudden you are out of the box and into the supernatural. The Muslim says basically the same thing only in different words. So do all the other world religions.
They are all attempts to escape the natural and find our way into the supernatural. But, the problem is...we cannot help ourselves. We cannot through our efforts get in touch with the supernatural. We cannot go into a religious phone booth and change into supernatural man!
We cannot in ourselves or by ourselves rise above the fallen natural existence that we know. If we are to know God, it will not be by escaping, or climbing, or thinking, or working our way to Him...it will only by by His coming to us and speaking to us.
This is what God did. He became a man and entered our world...our box...bringing the supernatural into our natural worlds. He came to seek and save the lost. He came showing us the way...being the way. And the name of the human form of God is Jesus Christ.
That is the difference between Christianity and religion...no matter what world religion you want to compare. That is why it is foolishness for people to say, "It doesn't make any difference what you believe or what religion you follow as long as you are sincere."
It makes every difference!
Don't jump off the U.S. Steel building and tell me you'll be OK because you sincerely do not believe in gravity! That's not belief...that's foolishness! Every religion is but mankind's foolish attempts to discover God.
Christianity is God bursting into our human existence and showing and telling us what He is like.
And through the prophets and in many other ways God told us that He would be coming. Now He has revealed Himself fully. Jesus not only brought to us complete revelation about God...Jesus was Himself God...the full and final revelation of all God was and is.
In Jesus everything is full and complete. And since it is full and complete, to add anything else is blasphemous. To add our own works, our own ideas about God, our own opinions...OR...to add our writings like "The Book of Mormon", "Science and Health", "The Watchtower", etc. TO ADD ANYTHING IS BLASPHEMOUS!
In Jesus we finally see God's glory, God's person, and God's power.
These scriptures call us to look at who Jesus is. He is: The Son of God vs. 2a
The Heir of All Things: vs. 2b - Did you know that you and I have no eternal inheritance apart from Jesus Christ. There is no meaning to this life...for you or your children...and no meaning or anything to look forward to beyond this life apart from Jesus Christ. There is no meaning and there can be no meaning to material things (money, possessions, etc.) apart from Jesus Christ.
WHY? Because He is the Lawful Owner! Thus if He is not first in your budget, material things cannot be enjoyed as God's blessings. They sour and lose their meaning. They become a product of our grasping for more of this world. A product of seeing ourselves as provider and owner rather than Jesus Christ the Lawful Owner!
Also, there is no spiritual inheritance in this life apart from Jesus Christ. Without Jesus we are powerless to face a world in which the enemies power daily threatens us. Without Jesus we are but pawns of satanic principalities.
To Christ alone belongs the ultimate power, dominion, possession, and authority. All of that He shares as an inheritance with those who belong to Him!
He is the Creator of the World. vs. 2c
A. K. Morrison, a brilliant scientist...who has more faith in the natural world than in the supernatural...tells us that conditions for life to happen and go on existing on this planet demand that millions of minute interrelated circumstances appear simultaneously. He says that this is beyond belief and beyond possibility.
Yet it has happened, never to happen again...only here on this planet and all quite by accident.
We all have minds which have great potential and ability...yet we are told that there is no divine mind or supernatural mind behind it all.
The Amplified Bible renders verse two, "He made, produced, built, operated and arranged the worlds in order."
Scientists know that things left to themselves fall into disorder and disarray. (This is also true relationally and spiritually.) Yet we are to believe that without any power or mind to order it, the universe and creation became orderly and arranged itself in a way that works. That goes against every known principle of how this universe functions.
Evolution is simply another of mankind's attempts to rob Jesus of His glory and to exalt man's wisdom as the final word.
God says that Jesus is the final Word and that Jesus is the Creator of the World.
He is the Radiant Light. vs. 3a - All the brilliance and radiance of God is revealed in Jesus.
ILLUS.-- In our present day atomic laboratories an atomic reactor must have a shield around it to protect bystanders. Yet to gain access to the atomic mass, a small door may be provided through the shielding through which instruments for experimentation may be inserted.
Humorously and accurately the scientists call this the "glory hole".
In a sense...Old Testaments saints were shielded from the glory of God. They could only see a little of His radiance and glory through the "glory hole".
But then Jesus came and the shield is removed and the character and radiance of God shines forth from Jesus. He radiates the glory of God. And He shields us now from the darkness of the world. (See 2 Cor. 3:17-18 which contrasts the glory of the Old Covenant with the glory of the New Covenant.)
He is the Image of God. vs. 3b -
J.B. Phillips puts it: "Jesus is God in focus."
The greek word says that Jesus is the exact representation or the mirror image of God. Jesus said it: "If you have seen me...you have seen the Father".
He is the Sustainer of the Universe. vs. 3c - We sing it: "For you are glorious...shining victorious...upholding all things by His Word alone."
His is the power that holds the internal functioning of the cosmos together. Scientists know that it is energy that keeps our universe running...a great amount of energy. Without this energy...without this force the universe and its elements would disengage and a sudden collapse would occur. Scientists know this. This is where the doomsday stories come from with superman showing up at the last minute to save us all.
They even have theories about the source of that energy. We KNOW the source of that energy...upholding and sustaining all things by the word of His power.
Hed also holds all things together in His Church (Eph. 1:18-23). It isn't the pastor who hold the church together. It's Jesus!
He is the High Priest of Perfection vs. 3d -
Certain titles belong to Christ because of who He is; other titles belong to Him because of His redeeming work.
He is our High Priest of Perfection because of His redeeming work on our behalf.
Where can you find perfection in this world?
ILLUS.-- If you believe the P.R.; An Audi, Lexus, BMW ? Is there a church family that displays it? Is there a school, a marriage, a product, a hospital, a company, etc.?
Perfection is found at the throne of God. If I want my life changed. If I want to grow and become more like God...this will not happen through education (reading a book)...this will not happen through effort (good works)....this will not happen through mind over matter (will power) etc.
This can only happen at the throne of God. I need a way for my sins, my imperfection, my lack of holiness, my impurities, my wrong attitudes and motives, my sinful and carnal behaviors...etc......I need a way for all of this to be dealt with.
I need a cleansing, a purging, a washing away of impurities. I need a divine freshness that brings the smell of life to my being.
ILLUS.- Sometimes we say to a person: "Your attitude stinks. Your behavior stinks."
In other words it has the smell of death to it. I need a cleansing...a cleaning...a washing...a freshness.
I can't find this in another person. They stink as much as I do. Even the High Priest of Israel stank. That's why he had to go through all those washings and rites of purification before he could enter God's presence....and God still had to hold His nose!
Sometimes people will stand in the shower for a long time trying to wash away the dirtiness that they feel within their soul, trying to rid themselves of guilt. The Word says, "He accomplished our cleansing of sins and riddance of guilt."
Bring it to Jesus. Bring it to Jesus!
He made perfect cleansing for us with the sacrifice of Himself. Then He sat down at the right hand of God. Taking the position of Executive Power over the cosmos.
Let me say this. Jesus is not fretting, fussing, and pacing the streets of heaven worrying about your sin problem. He is not wringing His hands in despair over the situations you consider hopeless.
He sat down. He has already provided for your need. Any and all sin must be purged away. Jesus made provision for that and then He sat down. It is finished. It is done!
And now the Holy Spirit is speaking to our hearts offering to us all that Jesus is and all that Jesus has done.
To reject Him is to walk in darkness and to someday be shut out of His presence forever.
But to receive Jesus is to enter into all that He is and has. There are no other choices.
The Son is the heir of all things. He offers Himself now to you. I need Jesus. I need to know Him better. So do you.
Only in Jesus will you find the longings of your soul satisfied!
Other sermons by Pastor John.