Forward in Faith #01
Well we begin today a new journey in the scriptures. We begin a series of messages through the Letter to the Hebrews. Our journey will take us Forward in Faith. The writer of the book of Hebrews gave us great work on the Faith we profess.
The writer of this book preaches Jesus and challenges us to leave the wilderness of disbelief and enter in to the Promised Land of Faith and continue there with Jesus. To follow the Example of the faithful of every generation who have gone before us.
While this is a powerful book, it has not come to us without question and controversy.
When was it written?
To whom was it written?
Who wrote it?
Well, it was written earlier than 95 because the church Father and a fellow laborer of Paul, Clement of Rome quotes from this book.
It was written most likely before 70 AD because it is written to Hebrews and it no where mentions the fall of Jerusalem and destruction of the Temple.
Timothy is still alive and referred to in 13:23
So it is safe to believe that it was written around 68-69 AD … but we don’t really care much about that do we?
To Whom was it written? That too is uncertain. However, it seems to be written to a specific particular community
The writer seems to have 1st hand knowledge of their past and present situation. He seems to be linked to them
This particular group seems to be chiefly Jewish in heritage though followers of Jesus Christ.
Some believe that it was written to a group in Colosse or Corinth.
Others believe it was written to a group in Rome as 13:24 talks of “those from Italy”.
Still others have wondered if it were written to some in Cyprus or to Cyrene of Libya in North Africa
Perhaps they had been connected to some like those in Qumran who were a sect that embraced a wilderness experience instead of the goodness of entering the New Covenant.
But we can be reasonably confident that this book was written to a group of Jewish Christians or those in a Jewish Community considering Jesus Christ.
But Who wrote this book? Can we be certain of that?
As early as 150 AD some church Fathers believed that Paul wrote this letter.
Clement thought Paul wrote it in Hebrew and Luke translated it into Greek
Origin thought the style didn’t fit Paul but he said “Only God knows”
Jerome and Augustine believed Paul wrote it
Many modern scholars though have dismissed Paul as the writer
They say that the writer had Paul’s way of thinking but with slight but important differences
Tertullian in the late 2nd Century early 3rd believed that Barnabas wrote it.
Many names have been suggested as authors of this epistle.
Names like Clement of Rome, Luke, Silvanus, John Mark, Philip the Evangelist, Priscilla or Apollos, Barnabas, and Paul.
Apollos seems the most popular alternate to Paul. Martin Luther believed this and made it a popular way of thinking.
The earliest writers listed either Paul or Barnabas.
Of course Paul is accepted as an Apostle and had seen Jesus. As was a requirement for Apostleship.
Barnabas was an Apostle, Act 14:4,14, so he fits that criteria.
So, I guess it is uncertain who wrote this book.
Or is it?
Who wrote most of the Psalms?
Who wrote Psalm 95?
Hebrews 4:7 says David wrote Psalm 95.
Or did it?
Who Wrote Psalm 95?
Hebrews 4:7 says “God… spoke through David … Today if you hear his voice don’t harden your hearts.”
Hebrews 3:7 is more specific and says “So, as the Holy Spirit says: ‘Today, if you hear his voice, do not harden your hearts”
Who wrote the Psalms?
The Holy Spirit wrote the Psalms
GOD The Holy Spirit SPOKE THROUGH David
It took 4 Centuries for the church to fully embrace the Epistle to the Hebrews because they weren’t certain the earthly author.
In our Bible we do not have the Word of Moses, and David, Isaiah, Solomon, Daniel, Matthew, Mark, Luke John, Paul, James, Peter, or Apollos or Barnabas for that matter. We have the Word of God given through the 3rd Person of the Trinity, The Holy Spirit.
We need not be too wrapped up in the earthly author causing us to forget that they are just vessels containing the Inspiration of the Holy Spirit
2 Timothy 3:16 (NIV)
16 All Scripture is God-breathed …
2 Peter 1:21 (NIV)
21 For prophecy never had its origin in the will of man, but men spoke from God as they were carried along by the Holy Spirit.
Before we open our Bibles, before we open the individual books, we have to come to the conclusion that GOD SPEAKS to Us. God the Holy Spirit Speaks to us.
God the Holy Spirit Reveals God the Son who is the full Essence of the Father to us …
GOD SPEAKS …
READ with Me
God Speaks He always Has Spoken to men
“God Spoke at many times and in various ways”
Quickly a few things about the Way God has Spoken to his people
1. To Our Forefathers v1a
Long before we ever had this Bible, God Spoke to our Forefathers
God walked with Adam and Eve and spoke with them like a Friend
God spoke to Cain and Able
God walked with Enoch
God Spoke to Noah
God Spoke to Abraham like a Friend, face to face
God spoke to Hagar
God Spoke to Isaac
God spoke to Jacob
God spoke to Joseph with dreams
God spoke to Moses
God spoke to his people because there was no other vehicle of Revelation
God Spoke to our forefathers in the faith
God spoke to Moses and gave him the law.
God would speak to Moses in the Tent of Meeting and Moses would come and speak to the people what God said to him
And a new way of Revelation was opened up
2. Through the Prophets v1b
God spoke through his law but the Revelation was still incomplete and he would speak through his prophets.
God would speak to Samuel and he would speak to the King
God would speak to the Prophets and give them a Revelation of his Glory
God revealed himself to David, to Solomon as Prophetic Kings
The Lord Spoke to Isaiah revealing the greatness of his Glory in the 2nd Person of the Trinity, and Isaiah told us in Isaiah 6 that the God is high and lifted up and the train of his robe fills the Temple. We learned that there are seraphs surrounding him saying “Holy Holy Holy is the Lord God Almighty, the whole earth is full of his glory.”
Each of the Prophets spoke the Word of God as they were carried along by his Spirit
Each revelation of God gave us a further glimpse at God.
It was like seeing little piece of a puzzle and trying to understand the whole of God.
God has been speaking for all of History
He has been speaking through the sunrise and sunset
He has been calling in a gentle summer rain and in a torrential storm
He has spoken through cicadas in the night and a Cardinal’s song by Day.
He has spoken through a partial revelation of the law and the partial revelation of Job and David and Isaiah and Daniel, through Ezekiel, Amos, Jonah, Zechariah, Malachi and all the other prophets.
Each Revelation was but a piece of God’s Revelation of himself.
All the pieces were designed to fit together
And all pieces when put together from the Garden through the Law, out of the mouths of the Prophets … a jigsaw that together Reveals the one who will give us the revelation of God in it’s fullness
It is Jesus Christ who gives us the Full Revelation of God
It is Jesus Christ that Speaks God to us completely
God Spoke to the Patriarchs
God Spoke Through the Prophets
The Laver for washing
The Table of showbread
The Holy of Holies
The Ark of the Covenant –
The Mercy Seat
None of it was enough to give us ALL of the Revelation
God spoke to our forefathers
God spoke through the prophets but then …
God Speaks By His Son Jesus Christ
3. By His Son vv2-3
Jesus is the FULL Revelation of God and he has come in these
A. Last Days
What Last days? Obviously this writer was not speaking of the end of time but the end of Revelation
In these last days, in these days when the Revelation ends … it ends because we HAVE the FULLNESS of Revelation as God
1. Still speaks through his Son – Jesus Christ came in the flesh and revealed himself to us. He came and Revealed God in all his fullness
In Him, Jesus, the fullness of God dwells in bodily form
Jesus Christ spoke in the flesh. But Jesus Christ speaks still through the recorded Revelation of him. He speaks through the Gospels that record his deeds. He speaks through the Revelation of his doctrine as given to us by his Apostles. He speaks completely and he speaks with integrity, he speaks in power and might. He speaks without error.
We know that we have God’s Revelation in all fullness through his Son Jesus Christ Revealed in His Word Fully and there is
2. No New Revelation
Be careful church. Jesus does reveal himself to you in a fresh way but it comes as you see and believe his Revelation found in scripture.
Any revelation that God will give you today will be understanding of the TRUTH already recorded in scripture.
If someone tells you that they have a NEW REVELATION of God that is extra Biblical. They say they have a new Revelation of God not recorded in Scripture or in contradiction to scripture, you can write them off
We HAVE the Full Revelation of Jesus
There is NOT Another Jesus … Paul said if anyone comes preaching ANOTHER Jesus, you are not to receive them
John said that no one should add to or take FROM this Revelation as he wrote the final word of God’s Revelation of Jesus Christ in the book of that name. The Revelation of Jesus Christ, written at the end of the 1st Century.
The Revelation is closed
The Canon is complete
What a beautiful gift we have in a complete canon of scripture that is settled and sealed. We don’t have to wonder, is there more? Is there something or someone else we need to be given to know God? Are there new discoveries?
Everything you need to know about God is found in Jesus Christ and revealed in his Word
The Old Revelation was wonderful but incomplete
It was powerful but not able to make us perfect
It was useful but not fully able
But in JESUS … we have
B. The Perfect Word
I want to know God better
I want a fuller understanding of God
I want to know what God would do my circumstance
I want to know the power of God …
I want you to have the answer …
Paul said it … “I want to know Christ”
Jesus said “if you have seen me you have seen the Father”
“I and the Father are one”
The Book of Hebrews was written to offer you Jesus Christ
Object of Faith
Lord of All
Who is it that Speaks to Us?
It is Jesus Christ … He is the
1. Radiance of Glory or the brightness of his Father’s Glory (KJV)
Everything that can be known about the Father can be seen in the Son
John said In the Beginning was the Word and the Word was WITH God and the Word WAS God.
Matthew Henry says “As the beams are emanations of the sun, of the Father and fountain of light, Jesus Christ in his person is God manifest in the flesh, he is light of light, the true Shechinah Glory.
He isn’t just LIKE God as a mirror he IS God in Nature … the
2. Exact Representation
The Greek Word here is charakter /khar-ak-tare/ does that look familiar? Like our word Character … the instrument used for engraving or carving, the mark stamped upon that instrument or wrought out of it, the exact impression, the exact expression, precise reproduction in every respect, i.e. facsimile
When Jesus was incarnated he carved God into flesh, he is the Character of God exactly.
He has the exact image and likeness of God
Jesus said “Anyone who has seen me as seen the Father” John 14:9
God’s Power is seen in the Son who walked on water, calmed storms, healed sick and infirmed, and raised the Dead.
God’s wisdom is seen in Jesus who knew the hearts of men, knew his purpose and future, and knew the future that awaits this world
God’s goodness is seen Jesus who saw hungry people and fed them or who wept over the city, and who forgave sins.
Jesus Christ reveals God to us as the exact representation of God
Adam was a type of Christ
Noah is a Type of Christ
Joseph was a Type of Christ
David was a type of Christ
The Law was a type of Christ
Jesus Christ is GOD EXACTLY not typically. He is the FULLNESS OF GOD in bodily form Colossians 2:9
3. Sustaining all things by his Powerful Word
The word “sustaining” is phero – to carry some burden, to bear as borne in a ship over a sea
Jesus Christ didn’t Just Create all things he Sustains all things
Without Jesus Christ we will drown in the sea
He is our ship that maintains us along our journey
All things are sustained by him
All things will be transported to the other side
You need not fear that this world will not make it or be sustained until God is finished
Jesus is ABLE to maintain this world until he rebuilds a New Heaven and a New Earth.
Colossians 1:17 says He is before all things, and in him all things hold together
Sustained by his Dynamis Rhema – that is his Inherently Powerful LIVING, UTTERED, SPOKEN Word
Jesus is the Revelation of our Sustaining Upholding God
4. Providing Purification
Providing is the word poieo/poy-eh-o/ to make … katharismos – cleansing, purification, washing – The Law showed us we were dirty in our sin and provided a way to be forgiven temporarily. But in Jesus Christ was have the washing and purifying power of God to not just forgive us of our sins but CLEANSE us and make us clean. We didn’t HAVE the Ability so he provided it by making purity for us manufacturing it for us at the Cross.
Jesus Reveals a Purifying God
5. Finisher … as Jesus upon leaving the Manufacturing Cross, Leaving the Tomb, Ascending to Heaven back to the Presence of the Father and he didn’t go there to find MORE to be done, he went there FINISHED. He SAT DOWN – kathizo – to sit down, set appoint, to confer a kingdom on one, to settle
In Jesus Christ we see the God who has settled the matter
Sins are Forgiven
Righteousness is Provided
The World is Sustained
The Matter is Settled
God spoke to our forefathers
He Spoke through Prophets
But Today he Speaks to Us By Jesus Christ
Oh the Message is identified by its Messenger
You don’t believe everything you read
I Read that Billy Graham was an Alien
I Read that There was an Alligator Boy in Florida
But well it was in a Grocery Store Aisle Ragazine …
The Message doesn’t mean much from a bad Messenger
So God sent JESUS
The Radiance of God
The Exact Representation of God
And Finisher of all things in God’s Plan
So who are YOU going to Listen to
And Jesus Still Speaks
Do you hear him today
What did the Holy Spirit say through David in
Psalm 95:7,8 “Today if you hear his Voice, don’t harden your heart”
Don’t turn away,
open you ears
Open your heart
Open Your Life
Listen to the Voice of God
His Name is Jesus
This IS His Word
You can Believe it
You can Follow it
Do you hear Him?
Several Years ago, a soap company came up with a new marketing scheme
They believed that they had PERFECT SOAP, PURE SOAP and They couldn’t Make it any Better, any Purer, any more PERFECT … so what could they do?
They said “As we couldn’t improve our product, we improved the box”
Oh people, Jesus wasn’t an improvement on the Plan of God, or the message of God, he was just a Better Messenger, a Better Box, a Fulfillment of the Plan of God.