8th September 2022
Read (Hebrews 1v1-4)
Message (Scott Woodburn)
God is not like us. We imagine Him in certain ways and in sinful arrogance we think that we've mastered Him but we are fools. One of Job's friends was called Zophar and he said “Can you find out the deep things of God? Can you find out the limit of the Almighty?” (Job 11v7) Well, no. We can't master God and even if He had limits we certainly couldn't find them out. The Lord God Almighty is beyond our comprehension and yet, by His grace, He is knowable.
We know God because His fingerprints are all over creation. Psalm 19v2 says "The heavens declare the glory of God, and the sky above proclaims his handiwork. Day to day pours out speech, and night to night reveals knowledge." Paul would tell the Romans that humanity is without excuse before God because "his invisible attributes, namely, his eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly perceived, ever since the creation of the world, in the things that have been made. So they are without excuse." (Romans 1v19-20) We call this knowledge "general revelation" because God has made Himself known to everyone.
Yet we also speak of "special revelation" wherein God makes Himself known only to some. The theologian B.B. Warfield put it this way “General revelation is addressed generally to all intelligent creatures, and is therefore accessible to all men; special revelation is addressed to a special class of sinners, to whom God would make known His salvation.” So God has spoken to everyone in creation so that all are without excuse but God has also spoken to His people whose eyes have been opened by faith.
Long ago God's special revelation came by way of the prophets (v1). Their message came directly from God but was still rejected by a multitude and received by only a few. The prophets challenged the people of the day to repent and they pointed forward to Christ. Jesus experienced the same rejection as the prophets. He was shunned by the majority and received by the few. But Christ is not just another prophet. He is the true prophet and God's final word.
In these days God has spoken to us by His Son (v2) and Jesus is greater than any other previous prophet. Elijah was a remarkable man and Daniel was a man of prayer but neither one of them could claim to be "the heir of all things" (v2). You might one day inherit your Grandmother's bungalow but the inheritance of Christ will be a people gathered from the nations with the ends of the earth as His possession (Psalm 2v8).
The same earth that is Christ's inheritance is the one that He was instrumental in creating (v2). In the beginning all things were created by Jesus and for Jesus (Colossians 1v16) and if we want to know what God is like, we only have to look to Jesus. He radiates the glory of God (v3) and when He walked upon this earth the light of God dwelt among darkness. Christ was certainly a good man, indeed it is true to say that He was the best man to ever live. He was the second Adam and the true man but He was also fully God. The Apostle tells us that Jesus is "the exact imprint" of God's nature.
What does this mean? Jesus isn't a wee bit like God, Jesus is God. He is the only begotten Son of God who came and took on flesh without sin and remarkably, even when Christ nursed at Mary's breast or wept outside the tomb of Lazarus or even when He stood before Pilate, Christ at every moment was upholding and sustaining the universe that He created (v3). How do we know that Christ continues to reign? Because this world continues to exist. Nothing in the universe could last without Christ.
This same Jesus came and once and for all paid the price of sin. His life was sinless and His obedience was perfect and He laid down His life to wipe away the sins of His people. After making purification for sin, He sat down at the right hand of God the Father and He remains there to this very day. It's hard to imagine what heaven is like but we can say for sure that Christ isn't sidelined. He is the focus of angelic praise for He is by far superior even to God's angels (v4).
Hebrews may lack the usual greeting of Paul's other letters but it proceeds rapidly into a wonderful description of Christ. He is the superior one who has made God known. He is the last word of God. He is the great prophet and the creator of the universe. He is true God and true man and without sin. His sacrifice at the cross was sufficient and today He reigns in glory where even the angels fall before Him.
God once spoke by His prophets but today He has spoken by His magnificent Son. We would do well to listen.
Q47 What is forbidden in the first commandment? The first commandment forbiddeth the denying, or not worshipping and glorifying, the true God as God, and our God; and the giving of that worship and glory to any other, which is due to him alone.