Los Alamos Church of Christ

Let the Word Dwell

#29 Hebrews 1:2

Listen…

 

--In the beginning, God walked with Adam and Eve in the cool of the day and called, “Where are you?”

--To Noah, God “said” build an ark.

--To Abram, God appeared along with two angels in human form and told Abram, “Sarah will soon have a son”.

--To Samuel, God stood next to him and called his name. When Samuel replied “Here am I”, The LORD told Samuel he was about to do a thing in Israel that would cause people’s ears to tingle.

--The Word of the LORD came to Saul from the mouth of a witch.

--Out of the whirlwind, the LORD answered Job’s questions, “Who are you to speak about me?”

--From a burning bush, the LORD called, “Moses, Moses take off your sandals”.

--From the mouth of a donkey, the LORD rebuked Balaam.

--On the mountain, the LORD was not in the strong wind, or the earthquake or the fire… but in a low whisper, the LORD asked Elijah, “What are you doing here?”

--The word of the LORD came to Isaiah, Jeremiah, Ezekiel, Hosea, Joel, Amos and the prophets…

 

God speaks to his people.  Throughout history, in a variety of ways and through a variety of people and a variety of things and animals, God actively communicates with his people.  In the beginning of the sermon we call Hebrews, we find…

 

ESV Hebrews 1:1-4 Long ago, at many times and in many ways, God spoke to our fathers by the prophets, but in these last days he has spoken to us by his Son, whom he appointed the heir of all things, through whom also he created the world.  He is the radiance of the glory of God and the exact imprint of his nature, and he upholds the universe by the word of his power. After making purification for sins, he sat down at the right hand of the Majesty on high, having become as much superior to angels as the name he has inherited is more excellent than theirs.

 

Wow, what an amazing introduction to a sermon!  God speaks through his Son!  In these last days, the spectacular ways in which God speaks to his people are… magnified in his Son, whose name is above all names!

 

This has to be on our memory verse list, and in fact it is…

 

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#29 Hebrews 1:2a But in these last days he has spoken to us by his Son.

 

 

 

 

 

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Last week Bill Redmond challenged us with the most important question we could ask… “Who is Jesus?”  Last week we memorized…

 

#28 Colossians 1:15 He is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of all creation. 

 

 

 

This morning we are going to continue to work on this most important question… Who is Jesus?  Let’s break it down from Hebrews 1.

 

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ESV Hebrews 1:1-4 Long ago, at many times and in many ways, God spoke to our fathers by the prophets, but in these last days he has spoken to us by his Son, whom he appointed the heir of all things, through whom also he created the world.  He is the radiance of the glory of God and the exact imprint of his nature, and he upholds the universe by the word of his power. After making purification for sins, he sat down at the right hand of the Majesty on high, having become as much superior to angels as the name he has inherited is more excellent than theirs.

 

Jesus…

--Is heir of all things...  God the Father has granted all to his Son.  Because of his servant-obedience in becoming one of us, Jesus is the one to inherit the entire Universe!  (Secret… we are joint-heirs of all things.)

--Created the world...  When the Spirit moved across the face of the deep… God the Father and God the Son joined God the Spirit to speak the world into existence.  Everything created is through the power of the Son!

--Is the radiance of the glory, the imprint of his nature… The picture here is a laser 3d printer creating the copy of who God is… with his glory beaming out.  Jesus is God, the exact duplicate.  Jesus told Thomas, “If you have seen me, you have seen the Father.” 

--Upholds the universe… By the power flowing from his being, Jesus keeps the universe running.  Why doesn’t the universe just blow apart or run down or implode?  Because of the constant power flowing from the Son the universe functions!

--Made purification for sins… on the cross, for our sins in according to the Scriptures.

--Now, sits at the right hand… after the ascension in his human-restored body, Jesus sits ruling!

--Consequently, Jesus is given the name above the angels; the name above all.  The name Jesus carries the power of the throne! 

 

Christianity is not about morals or helping others or making the world a better place or going to church or being nice… Christianity, at its core, at the point of faith is… Jesus.  Christianity is the worship of Jesus as… the Heir of all, Creator of all, Exact glory of the Father, Upholder of the Universe, Purifier of sins, Throne-sitter, with the Highest Name!  That is what we believe.  That is the Truth.  That is the answer to the most important question… That is who Jesus Is!

 

Any religion that denies who Jesus is… any belief system which marginalizes Jesus… any doctrine that diminishes Jesus… is not Christian.  Jesus is all in all!

 

But all of that is not the point of our memory verse.  This is the “why” of our memory verse.  Why did God speak through his Son?  Because of who he is.  But we need to look at the “what” of our memory verse… and then the “how”.

 

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#29 Hebrews 1:2a But in these last days he has spoken to us by his Son.

 

What?  God speaks to us by his Son!  In these “last days” when the power of the Holy Spirit has been unleashed into the world, we must listen to the Son because of who he is! Because Jesus is the Heir of all, Creator of all, Exact glory of the Father, Upholder of the Universe, Purifier of sins, Throne-sitter, with the Highest Name… we must listen!  This is the what of the passage.  God speaks through his Son. 

 

Let’s think about what this means.  I like things kind of neat.  Let me restate that.  I like my theology neat; organized, memorable.   So, I have categorized how we are to listen to Jesus. 

--We know the why… the Heir of all, Creator of all, Exact glory of the Father, Upholder of the Universe, Purifier of sins, Throne-sitter, with the Highest Name! 

--We know the what… you have to listen because in these last days God has spoken to US by his Son.

--Now, look at the categories of how we listen.  Understand these are my categories, not Jesus’s.   I suspect the reality is more complicated or maybe, simpler than this.  4 categories of how Jesus speaks to us. 

 

1) Jesus speaks to us through the Spirit in the spectacular.

As the church began, as recorded in the book of Acts, Jesus spoke through the Spirit all over the place.

 

On the Day of Pentecost Peter announced how it is to be in the last days..

 

ESV Acts 2:16-18 But this is what was uttered through the prophet Joel:  "'And in the last days it shall be, God declares, that I will pour out my Spirit on all flesh, and your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, and your young men shall see visions, and your old men shall dream dreams; even on my male servants and female servants in those days I will pour out my Spirit, and they shall prophesy.

 

Listen to how this happens in the book of Acts…

--An angel tells Philip, “Rise and go to the south road.  You will meet someone there”.

--Suddenly a light from heaven flashed around Saul, “Saul, Saul why are you persecuting me”.

--“Ananias” the Lord said in a vision, “Go, speak to Saul of Tarsus.”

--A centurion named Cornelius saw an angel.  The angel said, “Send for a guy named Peter”.

-- Peter, in a trance, is told to eat all kinds of unclean animals.

--Later, an angel rescues Peter from prison.

--In Antioch while worshipping Barnabas and Saul are set aside by the word of the Spirit.

--In a vision in the night Paul sees a man of Macedonia asking for help.

--After 2 weeks of a storm an angel tells Paul, “Do not be afraid, Paul; you must stand before Caesar”.

 

All through the book of Acts Jesus speaks in spectacular ways. We must listen for Jesus in the spectacular.  Perhaps, not frequently, maybe not to you, but we must be open and ready to respond to the voice of Jesus in the spectacular.

 

2) Jesus speaks to us through circumstances, coincidences, providence…prodding.

 

When Paul was blinded on the road Jesus said something insightful…

 

ESV Acts 26:14-15 And when we had all fallen to the ground, I heard a voice saying to me in the Hebrew language, 'Saul, Saul, why are you persecuting me? It is hard for you to kick against the goads.' And I said, 'Who are you, Lord?' And the Lord said, 'I am Jesus whom you are persecuting.”

 

What?  “Kick against the goads?”  It is a cowboy thing.  Cowboys have prods.  Cowboys encourage cows to move where they want.  As long as the cows are moving in the right direction everything works for the cow.   It is smooth.  It is in the flow.  Outside the will of the cowboy there is goading.  Jesus told Paul he was kicking against the cattle prods.  So, Jesus prodded him to the ground with a bright light.  Jesus moved Paul in the direction Jesus wanted!

 

God has a movement we need to be in.  When we are in the movement of God coincidences occur, circumstances workout, providence happens, other people confirm our path.  In the will of God we do not kick against the goads.  Jesus speaks to us through the flow of life. 

 

We learn to hear the voice of Jesus in the flow. 

 

3) Jesus speaks to us through the Spirit in our minds.

Continuing to move from the spectacular to the everyday, we learn to listen to the voice of Jesus in our minds. We learn to hear the still, small voice of Jesus in our thoughts.  These are not the shouts of the spectacular, nor the prods of the cowboy, but the subtle voice of the Spirit in our thoughts.  Thoughts pop into our heads that are not our thoughts.  Ideas, people, good things to go do, solutions to problems, concepts to teach, words to preach, messages to deliver… come to our minds in the whispers of the Spirit.  Through experience we learn to distinguish Jesus’s words from our own thoughts and, importantly, from the harsh thoughts of the devil. 

 

In these last days, according to Joel and Peter, there is the outpouring of the Spirit with each of us.  Or do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit within in you?  The Spirit is within us to whisper to us.  We have access to the guidance of Jesus through the Spirit within.

 

We learn to listen to the voice of Jesus. 

 

4) Jesus speaks through the Bible.

I place this one last, not first, because it is the checkpoint of theology.  Jesus is never going to speak in any way that contradicts his written word.  Each of the writers of the New Testament was guided by the same Spirit of Jesus which speaks to us, today.  There will be no contradiction.  Scriptures keep us in line.

 

We delve into the Scriptures to learn of Jesus.  We see Jesus more clearly. We discern the voice of Jesus more precisely.  We work our theology more accurately.  The words of Jesus spoken in his Word become the anchor point of our faith.  It is the spellchecker of our actions.  That is why Bible study is important… it keeps us from spinning off in some wild direction.  It is the gravity that keeps the rest of God’s communication to us in orbit.  We get our theology from the Word. We get our missions from the spectacular, from the prodding, and from the small voice within. 

 

We need to be in the Word… like memorizing 50 verses, that would be a great idea. 

 

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Why?  Because Jesus is the Heir of all, Creator of all, Exact glory of the Father, Upholder of the Universe, Purifier of sins, Throne-sitter, with the Highest Name! 

 

What? God speaks through his Son!  We listen.

 

How? Through the spectacular, with prods, in the small voice, grounded in His written word… we do our job… we listen.

 

#29 Hebrews 1:2a But in these last days he has spoken to us by his Son.

 

 

Tim Stidham

August 2, 2015

Los Alamos Church of Christ