Jesus is God’s Ultimate Word To You
Series: Advent 2020
Our big idea this morning: Jesus is God’s ultimate word to you. Sometimes when we are weary and discouraged, we wish God would just speak to us. That would fix everything. He has! Jesus is everything God wants to say to you in a person. So, what should we do with Jesus? We’ll explore two answers this morning: 1. Know Jesus. 2. Pay close attention to Jesus.
Citylight Manayunk | December 6, 2020 from Citylight Church on Vimeo.
Hebrews 1:1-4 ESV Study Bible
Merry Christmas! Today marks the beginning of Citylight’s Advent celebration as we prepare for Christmas. Advent is a Latin word that refers to the arrival of someone or something significant. Throughout Advent we celebrate the first arrival of Christ, born as a baby in a manger to save us from our sins, and we look forward with longing and anticipation for the day when he will arrive in his second coming to banish sin, death, discouragement and sickness forever and bring his heavenly kingdom to earth forever. I love Advent! But, I admit, this is not the way that I hoped it would be. I’m sure it’s not the way that you hoped you’d be celebrating Advent either; at home under strict COVID-19 restrictions again, perhaps separated from friends and family that you love, and participating in a live stream.
Who of us doesn’t need the peace, perspective, and perseverance of experiencing more of Jesus this Advent season?! That longing to experience more of Jesus is at the heart of our Advent series entitled Who Is the King of Glory? This title, Who Is the King of Glory, is taken from Psalm 24:8 and it was a phrase that God’s people would shout as a cry for more, to know more of the King of Glory. We want more of Him this Advent. But who is the king of glory. When my daughter Sage was younger and I would read to her from The Jesus Story Book Bible, she only wanted baby Jesus. I’d try to read to her about Jesus walking on water or healing the sick, no! “I want baby Jesus.” What my Sage didn’t understand is that to experience the wonder of Christ born as a baby, we have to press into all of who this king of glory is, we need to see his glory and humility, his divinity and humanity in one person. That’s what this Advent is all about; beholding the king of glory who was born as a baby. Who of us doesn’t need the peace, perspective, and perseverance of experiencing more of the King of Glory?
This morning we will begin the Advent by experiencing the King of Glory in Hebrews 1:1-4. We are starting here on purpose. No one knows who wrote the letter to the Hebrews, but we do know exactly why the letter was written: to help weary Christians see that Jesus is better than anything we could possible turn to, so that we will joyfully persevere in following him, rather than drifting away. That’s just what we need!
Let’s begin with Hebrews 1:1-2: Long ago, at many times and in many ways, God spoke to our fathers by the prophets, 2 but in these last days he has spoken to us by his Son, Notice the contrast! Throughout the Old Testament, from Genesis to Malachi, through visions, revelations, and dreams, God spoke to our spiritual ancestors through mouthpieces called prophets. But in these last days, these days between Jesus’ first and second coming, God has spoken fully and finally and ultimately by His Son! God spoke through prophets, but in these last days he has ultimately spoken in and by his Son – Jesus is everything that God wants to say to us in a person, His Son. Who is the King of Glory? Our big idea this morning: Jesus is God’s ultimate word to you. Sometimes when we are weary and discouraged, we wish God would just speak to us. That would fix everything. He has! Jesus is everything God wants to say to you in a person. So, what should we do with Jesus? We’ll explore two answers this morning: 1. Know Jesus. 2. Pay close attention to Jesus.
Everything in Hebrews 1:1-4 turns on one word. Long ago, at many times and in many ways, God spoke to our fathers by the prophets, 2 but in these last days he has spoken to us by his Son, whom… Whom! The author wants his weary readers to know who Jesus, who the Son, who this king of glory is! There is nothing more perspective-inducing for weary Christians than knowing Jesus afresh. The author provides us with seven stunning descriptions in verses 2-3…
The Son is the appointed heir of all things. God the father has appointed His Son to inherit all things; nothing material of spiritual will be excluded. Why does God want us weary people to know the Son as the heir of all things? This phrase “heir of all things” makes me think of how I would feel if I was utterly poor and destitute. My greatest concern would be for my wife and children; their future, their provision and their survival. Now imagine that in my incredible poverty, I come into a billion-dollar inheritance. What would I do? I would share it with my wife and children, of course! I’d provide for their every need and secure their future. That’s what Jesus is like for us! Because Jesus obeyed the Father to the point of death for us, the Father has appointed him heir of everything and he loves to share his inheritance with us! He owns everything and he shares it with us by using all of his resources to fulfill his every promise to us. Weary friend – Jesus is the heir of all things and he’s loves to share his inheritance with us in joyous generosity. Is that the Jesus you know? That’s the king of glory. He’s God’s ultimate message to you.
The Son is the one through whom the Father created the world. The author of Hebrews now moves from the end of all things – the Son as heir of all creation – back to the beginning of all things – The Son is the agent of all creation. Lest we believe that the Son is an adopted heir, the author clarifies that the Father created the universe through His eternally preexistent Son. Why does God want us to know this? In a passage parallel to this one in Colossians, Paul writes that everything was created through and for the Son. Think about this very imperfect analogy. Each month my kids get these Kiwi Crate projects in the mail. In the crate are the building materials for a bird feeder or something like that for my kids to create. In reality, my wife creates that bird feeder through my daughter. I know this is an imperfect analogy, but since my wife makes the bird feeder through my three-year-old doing the assembly, the bird feeder belongs to my daughter. It’s for her. Here is the point: God the Father created you through God the Son, therefore, you exist for Him. That means that our goal is not just to get through or rid of whatever wearies us in this season, but to live in it for the Son and his glory because we exist for Him! Everything, even this season that you’re in, exists for him. Is that the Jesus you know? That’s the king of glory. He’s God’s ultimate message to you.
The Son is the radiance of the Father’s glory and the exact imprint of his nature. Christ is like sunlight. God the Son relates to God the Father like sunrays relate to the sun. Now, keep in mind that every analogy between God and natural things is imperfect and will distort if you press it too far. But the analogy is still helpful. There is never a time the sun exists without the beams of radiance. The radiance and the glory are co-eternal. The Son and the Father are co-eternal as God! The sunbeams are the sun radiating out, but they aren’t the same thing as the sun. Similarly, the Son of God is distinct from the Father, but not essentially different. The sunbeams proceed from the Sun, but the sun doesn’t create the sunbeams. Similarly, the Son is begotten by the Father, but not made or created. Finally, we see the sun by means of its radiance and rays. In the same way, we know what God the Father is like by looking at Jesus. In the words, the works, the love, the sacrifice, the death, the resurrection, and the ascensions of the Son, we see the Father. The Son is the exact imprint of his nature and if you see the Son, then you see the Father (John 14:9). Is that the Jesus you know? That’s the king of glory. He’s God’s ultimate message to you.
The Son upholds the universe by the word of his power. Some people picture God as the divine watch maker. God designed the universe, set it in motion, and then just lets it go to tick on until the battery runs out. That’s not an accurate picture of the Son! Growing up we had a big grandfather clock in my house that would stop working just about every day. My dad would have to We move now to the Son’s relationship to the universe. For the clock to work, my dad would have to wind it up and tweak it every day. That’s Jesus. He is no absentee divinity. He upholds the universe, keeps us existing, and his moving all things toward the glorious day when he will return, judge all evil, right every wrong, and dwell with his people in perfect joy forever. My weary friend – Jesus is not taking a nap on you. He’s not far from you. He’s upholding you whether you feel it or not and he will work even this together for your good and his glory. Is that the Jesus you know? That’s the king of glory. He’s God’s ultimate message to you.
The Son made purification for sins. Before COVID-19 I officiated a lot of weddings and I always wear a white dress shirt that I have to hide from my children as best as possible. Why? Well, if you’ve ever gotten a big ketchup stain on a white dress shirt, you know that you can try all you want to rub and soak and bleach, but eventually you’ll come to the realization that you need a new shirt. Our sins are a giant ketchup stain and try as we may to clean ourselves up, it never works. Even our good deeds are like squirting more ketchup on the stain. Our only hope in life and in death is the purification, the cleansing from sins – the new shirt – that Jesus alone can give. Only the fully human, fully God, sinless Son could live the life we have failed to live, die the death we deserve and rise to save us forever. No matter how dirty your past or present is, Jesus makes you clean! So when the Devil tells you that you’re damaged goods, preach to him the good news, “Jesus has made purification for my sins. I’m clean and complete in Him.” Is that the Jesus you know? That’s the king of glory. He’s God’s ultimate message to you.
The Son is seated at the right hand of the Majesty on High. The Lord Jesus Christ, the Son of God, did not just rise from the dead. He also ascended and sat down at the right hand of God on High, indicating that His work of salvation is complete and he now has ultimate authority in heaven and on earth. In my house growing up, it seemed like my mother had an endless amount of energy. She got up at 3:15am every morning and didn’t stop until after dark, but when my mom finally stopped at night. When she sat down to watch 30 minutes of T.V., the rest of the family new, we can rest now. Friends, Jesus has taken his seat. The work of your redemption is done. You can stop the exhausting work of trying to prove yourself. The Christian life is a labor of love and it’s a fight of faith, but we work from a place of deep and abiding rest because our forgiveness, redemption, and adoption are finished. Jesus did it and he has been seated. Is that the Jesus you know? That’s the king of glory. He’s God’s ultimate message to you.
The Son has inherited a more excellent name than angels. The main theme of Hebrews 1-2 is now announced: Jesus is superior to angels. Angels were objects of much speculation and interest in first-century Judaism. Certainly they were known to appear in human form to people, to minister before the very throne of God, to guide and protect humans, and to have revealed the law of Moses in the Old Testament. These weary Christians were ready to turn back to their old way of life in Judaism. Yet Jesus is deemed superior to them because his name – his very essence – is “Son,” which points to a more intimate relationship with the Father and which speaks of a better family inheritance than what angels receive. In other words, whatever you’re tempted to run back to for significance and security, hope and happiness in this difficult season, Jesus is better! Is that the Jesus you know? That’s the king of glory. He’s God’s ultimate message to you.
Who is the king of glory? Who is the baby in the manger? Who is Jesus? Hebrews 1:1-4: Long ago, at many times and in many ways, God spoke to our fathers by the prophets, 2 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. 3 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, 4 having become as much superior to angels as the name he has inherited is more excellent than theirs. Know Him!
PAY CLOSE ATTENTION TO JESUS
You’ve probably noticed that there are no commands in Hebrews 1:1-4. And that is because the application from Hebrews 1:1-4 doesn’t actually come until the beginning of Hebrews 2. Hebrews 2:1-3a: Therefore we must pay much closer attention to what we have heard, lest we drift away from it. 2 For since the message declared by angels proved to be reliable, and every transgression or disobedience received a just retribution, 3 how shall we escape if we neglect such a great salvation? The dirty little secret when it comes to wearisome seasons is that they slowly and subtly, sometimes unnoticeably at first, lead you to drift away from Jesus. The closest I ever came to drifting from Jesus was when I was a sophomore in college. I was competing for Penn State’s gymnastics team, but my career was in the toilet and it was wearying. I was studying philosophy and secular atheism was all around me and it was wearying. I missed California and what I new as normal life. I didn’t like the “new normal.” And before long, I started to think how nice it might be to join my philosophy friends in their seemingly care-free atheism. It was slow and subtle, and it’s what wearying seasons can do to us. There are so many messages and words coming at you in seasons like this one, all vying for your attention, concern, and allegiance. They subtly pull you away from Him. But Jesus is God’s ultimate message to you. Jesus is everything that God has to say to you in a person. As we begin this Advent season, receive the invitation to play much closer attention to Him. In seasons of suffering, weariness, and disorientation, there is are so many messages tempting us to drift away from Jesus. But Jesus is better than anything that we could turn to. He’s the radiance of the glory of God, he upholds your universe by the word of his power, and he made purification for your sins. Why drift to something less. Advent is our invitation to joyously pay close attention to Jesus. He’s everything that God has to say to the world in a person.