Teaching Sermons For Pastors and Laymen

 24 October 2005

God's Final Word
  Hebrews 1:1-1:4 (NLT)


1 Long ago God spoke many times and in many ways to our ancestors through the prophets.
2 But now in these final days, he has spoken to us through his Son. God promised everything to the Son as an inheritance, and through the Son he made the universe and everything in it.
3 The Son reflects God's own glory, and everything about him represents God exactly. He sustains the universe by the mighty power of his command. After he died to cleanse us from the stain of sin, he sat down in the place of honor at the right hand of the majestic God of heaven.
4 This shows that God's Son is far greater than the angels, just as the name God gave him is far greater than their names.

One of the most difficult things for a person to endure is separation from someone they love.
That difficulty is made worse when, along with the separation, there is a break-down in communication as well.
If you are apart from someone, and have no communication with that person -- you don't know if they are healthy or happy--it's agonizing.
When my daughter Mary and her family moved here from Iowa, one of the things that I asked--knowing that we would be separated by a great distance--was that we keep in contact.
"Call us once a week," they said.
At the time it seemed like a lot to ask, since money was tight for both of us.
Call them every week? I thought, what are we going to talk about?
After doing it for a little while I realized that I didn't want a long conversation every week.
I just wanted to know they were ok.
I wanted to communicate with them.
I realized that it makes a difference.
We never want to be left without a word from those whom we love.
It's good to know that God has never left his people without a word.
He has always spoken to His people.
They have always known how He is and what he expected from them.
When Adam and Eve were in the Garden of Eden, God spoke to them.
He would fellowship with them in person.
He walked with them.
He gave them direct instruction.
That didn't last long though.
That fellowship was broken by Adam & Eve's sin.
And they were thrown out of the garden.
God still spoke to them outside of the garden, but it would never be the same.
It would not be enough.
Let's skip ahead to a time when the Hebrews were slaves.
For over 400 years they were slaves in Egypt.
God heard their cries for mercy though.
He spoke to Moses and had Moses lead them out of the bondage of Egypt.
Then He spoke to Moses again and gave him the Law, but it wouldn't be enough.
Many years later they were captives again, this time in Babylon.
Again, after over 400 years God heard their cries and led them back to the Promised Land.
In the midst of all of this He sent His prophets -- Isaiah, Jeremiah, Hosea, Daniel, Ezekiel and others.
Men called by God and spoken to by God were relaying the message of God to God's people.
The Israelites were never left without a word from God.
But it wouldn't be enough.
God spoke, but He never said all that he needed to say.
There was something lacking.
We continued to lack that something until God spoke his final word.
The Bible says, "In the past God spoke to our forefathers through the prophets at many times and in various ways, but in these last days he has spoken to us by his Son,"
Today, God speaks to us through Jesus.
There is nothing left to be said, because Jesus is God's final word.
The author of the Book of Hebrews lists what qualifies Jesus to be God's final word.
Let's look at those qualifications.
There are six of them.

First, Jesus will inherit everything.
He is the one whom God "appointed... heir of all things."
The Psalms are very important in the Book of Hebrews.
For instance, Psalm 2 is alluded to several times in Hebrews 1.
The second Psalm is a coronation Psalm.
It was used in a coronation service where a king was installed over Israel.
Some say the Psalm was written about Solomon's coronation.
He took over the kingship when there were a lot of people competing for the throne.
They conspired to get their way, but God in Heaven laughed, because his anointed--Solomon--was destined to be king.
His anointed one would inherit the Kingdom.
Philippians 2 tells us that every person--ruler or ruled--will one day worship the Son.
And the Son will inherit all the kingdoms of this world.
The writer of Hebrews takes it even a step further.
He understands the inheritance to go beyond the things of this life.
In chapter 2, it says that Jesus is the one to whom the Father has subjected "The world to come."
Jesus is worthy to be God's final word because God has chosen him to inherit all things.

Second, Jesus was the driving force of creation.
Jesus was he "Through whom {God} made the universe."
God, the Father, used Jesus, the Son, to create the universe.
God spoke the world into existence with a word.
Jesus is that word.
Proverbs 8 uses the term "wisdom," in reference to the power source of creation.
Speaking in the first person Wisdom says, "Then I was the craftsman at his side. I was filled with delight day after day, rejoicing always in his presence, rejoicing in his whole world and delighting in mankind."
I believe that Proverbs 8 was finally fulfilled in Jesus.
Jesus is God's wisdom.
John's gospel says that Jesus is the word of God and everything that has been made was made by him.
Jesus is uniquely qualified to speak to us because he created us.
He knows us from the inside out because he created us.

Third, Jesus is the radiance of the glory of God.
We are thinking in terms of the earthly Jesus here.
The One who lived and ministered in Palestine in the first century was the eternal son of God.
In his commentary F. F. Bruce writes, "Just as the radiance of the sun reaches this earth, so in Christ the glorious light of God shines into the hearts of men."
Jesus is qualified to speak to us because he comes directly from God the Father.
Jesus is the inheritor of all things.
He is the driving force of creation, and He is the radiance of God's glory.

Fourth, he is also the "exact representation of {God's} being."
God's character is completely present in the person of Jesus.
The term our author uses here is the same one that was used for an impression made on a coin.
The image left on the coin is the exact duplicate of the stamp used to make that image.
Every detail on the stamp is also on the coin.
God's character is in Jesus in the same way.
We can trust what we learn from Jesus, because everything he says comes from the Father--it's not something he has made up on his own.

Fifth, Jesus is "sustaining all things by his powerful word."
Not only is Jesus waiting for his inheritance, He is also holding all things together in the mean time.
Everything that we see around us -- all of creation is dependent upon Jesus for its existence.
Jesus is qualified to speak the final word because he is all-powerful, and He provided purification for our sins.
Jesus is not only our creator and sustainer, he is also our redeemer.

Sixth, Jesus is worthy of speaking God's word because he sacrificed himself for our sins.
Now Jesus sits "at the right hand of the Majesty in heaven."
That's the place of authority, and that's where Jesus sits.
This is a lot of information to take in; therefore it needs to be summarized.
This may help: according to Hebrews 1 Jesus is uniquely qualified to speak God's final word to us, because he is intimately related to both God the father in heaven and the creation here below.
Here's how.
His heavenliness is attested to by the fact that he reflects God's glory and is the exact representation of his character.
Now he sits at the right hand of God in heaven, and He is there to mediate for us.
It's also the case that His earthliness is attested to by the fact that he will inherit the whole earth and its kingdoms; he is the agent of creation, holding everything that he created together even now, and he has provided purification for our sins.
This is a lot of information, but even if you had never really thought about it there is really nothing here that is a surprise.

Now, we should all know that Jesus is God's final answer.
Let's think about what that means for you and me today.
Have you ever watched the TV show, "Who Wants to be a Million Heir?"
When Regis asks, "Is that your final answer?" the contestants say "Final Answer."
That means there are no more chances.
Up to that point the contestant can say anything he or she wants and it won't count.
But once the final answer is given, there is no more negotiating.

Since Jesus is God's final answer, we must respond to Him.
There are no more second opportunities to please God.
"Salvation is found in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given to men by which we must be saved." [Acts 4:12]
On judgment day there will be no "ifs, ands or butts."
The only question will be, "Did you accept the forgiveness available to you through Jesus Christ?"
We won't have the opportunity to say, "No but I was a good person."
"No but I did a lot of good things."
"No but I helped a lot of people. I made a lot of people's lives better."
It won't be enough.
Since Jesus is God's final answer, and God is a God of justice and righteousness, God will bring about righteous judgment through Jesus.

I get impatient here because unrighteousness and injustice thrives.
There are things that are happening here that just don't fit in a world that God made.
In a world that God made, there should be no killing of unborn babies let alone state-approved and state-protected killing of unborn babies.
In a world that God made we shouldn't be afraid to go anywhere.
Everywhere should be safe.
In a world that God created there shouldn't be divorce, child abuse, and the general degradation of the family.
In a world that God created I shouldn't have to worry about being cheated or robbed.
These things don't fit in a world God made.

In light of what I have just said, I have two choices.
I can conclude that God did not make this world; for if he did he would have done a better job.
Or on the other hand I can conclude that since God did make this world, He will one day bring it to the point he wants it to be.

I don't have any reason to question God when I realize that God works on his time schedule, not on mine.
Since Jesus is God's final answer, I will trust completely in him.
I will throw my whole self into him, knowing that by His grace, he will take me as I am and make me what he wants me to be.

We are not unlike the world in that there are things in us that do not fit into the picture of a person created by God & saved by Jesus.
If I am created by God & I'm saved by Jesus, then why am I so easily angered?
If I am created by God & I'm saved by Jesus, then why do I so easily hate others?
If I am created by God & I'm saved by Jesus, then I shouldn't be jealous of what other people have.
If I am created by God and I'm saved by Jesus, then I should love His word more, enjoy his people more, desire to pray more, get lost in praise more, devote myself to good works more, and just be a better person.
Things should be different, because I am created by God and saved by Jesus.

How do I deal with the fact that I am not what I should be?
I should trust in Jesus; God's final answer.
If Jesus is the last word from God, and I know that I should be different than I am, then I have to trust Jesus to complete his work in me.
Paul was confident concerning Christians in Philippi and he wrote that the God "who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus."

I am not who I want to be.
I am certainly not who God wants me to be--except in one aspect.
I am trusting in Jesus.
My hope, my desire, my need is that my trust in Jesus will increase.
I trust him to carry on his work in me to completion, so that on that day he returns I will have fewer changes to make to be who he wants me to be, than I do now.
Jesus is God's final answer.

Ben Patterson, a Christian writer, writes about a mountain climbing experience he had.
He was a novice and it got him into big trouble.
He was stuck on a glacier.
The sun was melting the ice, making it very slippery.
He was about ten feet from the safety of a rock, but one slip meant a slide down the side of the mountain with nothing to stop him until he reached the valley floor.
He was frozen with fear.
Finally one of the experienced climbers made his way to him.
Another one of the climbers made footsteps in the glacier leading from the dangerous spot to the rock.
It would only take two steps.
The instructions were "Step into the first foothold and immediately swing your other foot into the next foothold."
Then he will have gone far enough to be reached by his friend.
Sounded good, but there was one last word of instruction that was not so easy to follow.
The experienced climber said, "Don't lean into the mountain.  If you do, your feet may fly out from under you, and you will fall down the mountain.  Instead of leaning into the mountain, lean away from the mountain."
For Ben Patterson that was the final answer.
Trust the experienced climber and lean away from the mountain.
What would he do?
He did the only logical thing--he trusted the one who because of his experience knew best.

In your life and in my life, Jesus knows best.
He is intimately involved with both heaven and earth.
He is God's final answer.
If you want to get from here to there.
If you want to be who God desires you to be, then trust Jesus.
Jesus is God's final answer.

Please send your questions, comments, and prayer requests.

 The last time revival swept the United States, leaders were talking about connecting the country through railroads. The invention of air travel was a half-century away, electrical lightbulbs were just a fantasy in the mind of a ten-year-old boy named Thomas Edison, and the Civil War hadn’t yet been fought. Our last national revival occurred in 1857. Since then, people have not only prayed for revival, but occasionally tried to manufacture it. In 1996, Eric Harris was pastoring the Kentucky Missionary Baptist Church in Saline County, Arkansas. There were divisions in the church so Pastor Harris came up with a plan for revival. He set the church on fire. Instead of reviving the church, Harris ended up pleading guilty to arson charges for burning down the building. In his testimony, the former pastor said, “They needed a project to unify them.” We have too often been guilty of trying to light the fires of revival with a project rather than letting God do it through prayer.

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