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God Has Spoken

Growing in Grace / Doug Agnew
The Truth Network Radio
July 2, 2023 7:00 pm

God Has Spoken

Growing in Grace / Doug Agnew

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July 2, 2023 7:00 pm

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A.W. Pink said the following, made the following comment. He said the glory associated with Moses and Elijah was so eclipsed by the infinite greater glory connected with Christ that they faded from view. That's what the book of Hebrews is all about. The supremacy of Jesus Christ. Jesus is greater than Moses. He is greater than Elijah. He is greater than the prophets. He is greater than the priesthood. He is greater than angels. He is greater than the law. Jesus is God. There is no other. Jesus is God.

There is none like him. Hebrews is written more like a sermon than it is a letter. When Paul was writing his epistles, he always started with his name, I, Paul, and that showed the the authority, the apostolic authority that was behind the right letter that he was writing. Writer of Hebrews doesn't do that. We don't even know who the writer of Hebrews is. Doesn't tell us who it is. And so what does he do?

He's got a purpose and that purpose is to give us a sermon, to let us know that we have a calling on our life to fall down before the Lord Jesus Christ, to love him, honor him, and serve him with everything that is in us. When was this epistle written? About 65 AD.

That's about five years before the fall of Jerusalem in 70 AD when Titus of Rome came in and destroyed the city. Who wrote the book of Hebrews? Well, just to be honest, we don't know for sure. We don't know the human author of the book of Hebrews. We do know the divine author and that was the Holy Spirit of God. But who actually wrote it? Who pinned it down? Let me just give you some conjectures and some guesses. I do not believe that it was the Apostle Paul.

Some do, I do not. Paul usually started his letters with I, Paul. This one is not stated that way at all. Paul has a different style of writing in the Greek language than Hebrews is.

It's completely different. I don't think it was Paul. It could have been Luke. It could have been Barnabas. It could have been Silas.

It could have been Apollos. Origen, one of the early church fathers, made this statement. He said only God knows who wrote the book of Hebrews and he was right about that. We must be content with this that the book of Hebrews is the Word of God.

Who's the book written to? Who's the audience that we are, that the writer of Hebrews is talking to here? Well, there are three groups of people that he's writing to and this is really important for us to see and to understand because if you don't see that, some of the book of Hebrews is going to be extremely confusing. For example, a lot of Armenian theologians will take Hebrews chapter 6 and Hebrews chapter 10 and use that to tell us that a true born-again believer can lose his salvation. And folks, we know that the rest of the scripture all the way through teaches us or negates that teaching.

That's just not true. So why did they believe that? Because they did not understand the people that the writer of Hebrews was addressing in those two chapters. So what are the three groups?

Let me share them with you. Number one, they're Hebrew Christians. These are true, genuine, born-again believers who are just going through a very, very difficult time, some tough trials in life.

They are going through some hard times. They are being ostracized by the Jewish people themselves. Even their own family, their friends are mocking them and calling them traitors and heretics. The Jewish religious leaders are persecuting them. The Gentile Roman soldiers are persecuting them. So what's the problem?

The problem is this. They are not as spiritually mature as they need to be and they are confused and they are depressed because they're being persecuted and they're being rejected. They don't understand why.

They don't understand how they're to handle that. What they needed was the Apostle Paul's words in 2 Timothy chapter 3 verse 12 that are not even written at this time, but those words were these. All who live godly in Christ Jesus will suffer persecution. So they're being tempted to recant of their faith and to go back to Judaism, to go back to Judaism and go back to what they grew up with and they are being tempted to go back to their families and be reunited with their families again. They are being tempted to go back to the types, the shadows, the pictures, and the signs and to forget the reality which is Jesus Christ.

Like that's the first group. The second group was Hebrew non-Christians who were just intellectually convinced. In other words, these are people who have a head belief, but they don't really have a heart belief. They know what the scripture says or at least a lot of it, but there's been no submission to the lordship of Christ. Now you and I have known people like this. They can tell you a lot of things about the Bible, but if you look at their lives, there's never been genuine repentance.

There's never been a submission to the lordship of Jesus Christ. I look at my own life and I'm a testimony of this. I remember when it's my last year in college and Chip Sloan was witnessing to me and he said, Doug, do you think you're a Christian? And I said, yeah, I think I am.

He said, why? And I said, well, I'm a regular church attender and I believe the Bible. I believe that Jesus was virgin born. I believe that all the miracles that Jesus did in the scripture are true.

I believe that Jesus was nailed to the cross and He was resurrected. I said, yes, I think I'm a Christian. And Chip said, I think you're not.

And I said, well, why would you think that? He said, because Jesus said that we would know those that are His by their fruit. He said, Doug, I don't see any fruit in you. You curse like a sailor.

You drink like a fish. He said, I've never seen any repentance. There's no fighting sin in your life. He said, if you're a true Christian, there's going to be sanctification. And that means that day by day you're going to be in that process of becoming more like Jesus.

He said, Doug, I don't see it. He said, do you remember what Paul said in 2 Corinthians 5 17? If any man be in Christ, he is a new creation.

Old things are passed away. Behold, all things are become new. He said, you think you're a new creation?

He said, I don't see it. Boy, that was hard for me to take, but I went home that night and I couldn't sleep. I couldn't eat.

I couldn't think about anything else but that. Middle of the night I got up, I fell on my face before the Lord. I asked God to forgive me. I asked God to cleanse me. I asked God to do that work in my heart that I couldn't do. And I trusted in Him and Him alone, and there was a submission to His Lordship. And the Lord dealt with my heart immediately and I came to know Him and the Lord brought it about.

John MacArthur said the following about this particular group. He said, here's a warning to the merely intellectually convinced not to stop where he is. If he stops after having received full revelation and especially after he is convinced of truth of this revelation, he has only one way to go. If when a man is totally convinced that Jesus Christ is who he claimed to be, he then refuses to believe, this man is without excuse and without hope. Because though convinced of the truth of the gospel, he still will not put his trust in it. He is here warned that there is nothing else God can do. What is the greatest sin that a man can commit? The sin of rejecting Christ.

Hebrews chapter 10 verse 26 says, for if we go on sinning willfully after receiving the knowledge of the truth, there no longer remains a sacrifice for sins. All right, the third group that he's talking to are those Hebrew non-Christians. Those Hebrew non-Christians who do not believe are not convinced of the truth of Jesus and who don't really care.

Folks, that's important for us to see. The first group that we looked at were true Hebrew Christians who believed but were not what they needed to be in their maturity. The second group is those who thought they were Christians because they had a head knowledge but were not. But this third group is just unbelievers. They don't care about the gospel, they don't care what the Word of God says, and they're not going to do anything about it. So all the way through the book of Hebrews, we see the writer of Hebrews pointing us back to what Jesus said in John 14 6 when he said, I am the way, the truth, and the life.

No man comes to the Father but by me. And rejection of Christ will make certainty that that person will spend eternity in hell. Those are the audiences of the book of Hebrews. And the key to understanding the book is to determine which group he's speaking to and at what time.

So as I said before, the epistle was written about 65 AD. The author is writing a sermon here and he's speaking to Hebrews that are outside the nation of Israel. Persecution, rejection, and heartache have caused many of these professing Christians to recant and it looks like they're walking away from the faith. The Roman government is pushing secularism down their throat and they're pushing the worship of false gods down their throat as well. The religious leaders in Jerusalem are persecuting them and rejecting them. The true Christians don't like being persecuted. They don't like being rejected.

They don't like being canceled. So the writer of Hebrews preaches to them and in the process is preaching to me and to you and says, wake up and see who Jesus really is. Jesus Christ is not just a great prophet who's here today and gone tomorrow. Jesus Christ is not a prosperity gospel teacher who is leading you into false gospel.

Jesus Christ is not a legalist who is pushing rules down your throat. Who is he? He's the King of kings and the Lord of lords. He is the alpha and the omega, the beginning and the end. He is the good shepherd. He is the light of the world. He's the bread of life. He's the way, the truth, and the life. He is the resurrection and the life.

Who is he? He is the great I am, Yahweh. And folks, there is no salvation outside of this Jesus. Is Jesus worth the persecution? Is Jesus worth getting rejected?

Is Jesus worth getting canceled? And the writer of Hebrews says, yes, yes, a million times yes. The writer of Hebrews is saying, bow before him in humble submission. Serve him with a heart of humility. Love him with all your heart, love him with all your heart, mind, soul, and strength, for Jesus is superior to everything that this life has to offer.

In other words, Jesus Christ is Lord. Amen? The writer of Hebrews takes 13 chapters to drive that truth into our hearts. That truth was needed 2,000 years ago.

I want you to know it is just as much needed right here, right now, in our day and time. We are living in a time when Christ and his word are not just disregarded and ignored, but Christ and his word are hated and greatly criticized. If the world ever needed the book of Hebrews, the world needs it now. All right, with that said, let's look at verses one and two again. 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, whom also he created the world. I got two points I want to share with you. Number one is God has spoken.

Get verse one again. Long ago, at many times and in many ways, God spoke to our fathers by the prophets. In the first sentence of the book of Hebrews, we encounter perhaps the most important statement of our time. God spoke.

This is one of the most vital things for people to know. We're living in a very relativistic age. I saw a statistic the other day that says that 70 percent of Americans do not believe in absolutes. We do not believe any longer in absolute truths. We say there is no right and wrong, there is no good or bad, there is no truth and error. When a society states that there is no God, then that means to them there is no God to speak. And that means that we are left to our own devices.

Folks, we can't know anything for sure if that's true. So that means it's okay to mutilate a little eight-year-old boy if that little eight-year-old boy is claiming that he's a female. That means that it's okay if a group of people want to take a two-by-four and knock in a storefront window and steal everything in the store because they're a little bit short on cash. Folks, when there are no absolutes, a society lives as it pleases.

Mocks authority, trashes morality, and places itself on the road to ruin, essentially the road to hell. So the writer of Hebrews says forget about opinions, forget about ideas, and listen to this, God speaks. There are truths, there are absolutes.

It doesn't matter what anyone thinks or what anyone feels or when anyone speculates. What matters is this, if God said it, then that settles it. Folks, we don't have to argue or question how many genders there are because God has already told us. In the Word of God, says He created male and female, there are no more genders than that, there are only two. When God's truth is mocked and God's absolutes are thrown out the window, then common sense goes right behind it out that same window. Folks, when a boy says he identifies as a girl, that doesn't change a thing.

It makes him confused, but it doesn't change the fact that he's still a boy. There's nothing more important for an individual, a church, a society, a culture, or a country to believe in than this, God has spoken. The writer of Hebrews then tells us how God spoke in the past. He spoke to us in the past, the Scripture says, by the prophets. He spoke to the prophets through visitations, through dreams, through signs, through events, through parables. He spoke by the prophets. Now, a lot of times I think we are wondering, well, how does that, what does that mean? Does God ever speak to us through just general revelation?

Yes, he does. General revelation is how God speaks to us through his creation. So we go out in the daytime, the sun comes up in the morning, sun goes down at night, we see that in 365 days of the year there are always four seasons.

They come and go, come and go, come and go. We look up in the sky and we see the stars up there sparkling and it reminds us that there is a God, there is a Creator who put this together and is running this thing as only a God could do. So that's general revelation, but general revelation is not enough to give us the detail and the information and the guidance and direction that we need to be saved for all of eternity. So he's telling us that the prophets speak to us through not general revelation, like we see in creation, but by special revelation that we have in the Scripture. That the Holy Spirit of God spoke through to the prophets, to their heart, and they wrote out Scripture and wrote it in such a way that it was absolutely perfect. In 2 Timothy chapter 3 verse 16, the Scripture says, All Scripture is inspired by God and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, instruction in righteousness.

The word for inspired there means breathe. So the Scripture is saying there that the Scripture, all of the Scripture is God-breathed. In Psalm 119 verse 160, the Scripture says the entirety of the Word is truth. How much of the Word is truth?

All of it. Every jot, every tittle, every word, every letter, every word, every statement, every doctrine, it's all absolutely truth. 2 Peter 1 21, For prophecy never came by the will of man, but holy men of God spoke as they were moved by the Holy Spirit. So men like Moses and David and David and Solomon and Isaiah and Jeremiah and Ezekiel and Daniel and Zechariah and Malachi, they were moved by the Spirit of God in such a way as they took their pens, they wrote out the Scripture, it came off their pens exactly as God wanted it without any error ever.

Richard Phillips adds this to what I'm saying. He said, The book of Hebrews gives the Bible's own slant on the process of revelation. Whenever the writer cites Scripture, it is never the human author whom he credits but the divine author. In Hebrews 2 12, he cites Psalm 22 22.

He ascribes it to Jesus speaking in the Old Testament. Hebrews 3 7 through 11 cites Psalm 95 but prefaces it not by saying, As David said, but as the Holy Spirit says. So it goes all the way through Hebrews. The point is not to deny the significance of the Bible's human authors but to show that our emphasis following the Bible's own emphasis must always be on God speaking in his word. So what is the right of Hebrews telling us here? Number one, the Bible has divine authority. How many churches right now are taking the Bible and laying it to the side because what they are hearing from cultural standards is totally different than what God says and they don't want to give up what cultural standards are.

Folks, God commands our obedience and this means that we cannot compromise what the Scripture says because certain groups or certain movements are telling you a certain thing. If God said it, then that settles it. Second, if God wrote the Bible, then the Bible is enduringly relevant. It's always relevant. It was relevant when the writer of Hebrews wrote it.

It is just as relevant today. The Scriptures teach us that God is immutable, that he cannot change. In Malachi chapter 3 in verse 6, the Lord said, I am the Lord. I change not. If the Bible says that sex between a man and a man or sex between a woman and a woman is an abomination.

You know what that means? If God said that, it doesn't matter what the Supreme Court says. It doesn't matter what the President thinks. It doesn't matter what the Senate thinks.

It doesn't matter what the House of Representatives thinks. What matters is what did God say, and God says it was an abomination. Thirdly, there's unity in the Scripture.

There's also diversity. Verse 1 says God has spoken in many times and in many ways. The Bible that you have in your hand today, 66 books, is written over a period of 1300 years, and it was written by over 40 different men, and yet there's a unified message to the Scripture that should amaze every single one of us.

James Boyce explains it well. He said, the writers of Scripture were not all alike. Some were kings, others were statesmen, priests, prophets, a tax collector, a physician, a temp maker, fishermen, yet together they produced a volume that is a marvelous unity in the doctrine historical viewpoints, ethics, and expectations. It is in short a single story of divine redemption begun in Israel, centered in Jesus Christ and culminating at the end of history. Behind the efforts of the more than 40 human authors is the one perfect sovereign and guiding mind of God. All right, point two is the final revelation is in God's Son. Verse two, but in these last days He has spoken to us by His Son, whom He appointed the heir of all things, to whom also He created the world. These opening verses tell us that not merely has God spoken, but that the final and definitive revelation is in Jesus Christ. In other words, the purpose of the Old Testament was to point us to Jesus.

The supremacy of Jesus Christ in no way maligns the Old Testament. What does it do? It completes it. It completes it. I think of Jesus' meeting with the two disciples on the Emmaus road, resurrection Sunday, and they're walking on the Emmaus road. All of a sudden Jesus appears there with Him.

He's in His resurrected body. They don't recognize Him, and so they start talking, and the two disciples from on the Emmaus road start telling Jesus about the rumors that they are hearing, that the women are saying that Jesus has risen from the dead, and they begin to share that with Him, and finally Jesus just takes the scripture and He opens it up. He goes from Genesis all the way to Malachi, showing them that every book in the Old Testament, every single one of them, is used to point us to who Jesus Christ is, that He is the Son of God, that He is our only hope of salvation. Listen to this from Luke. Then He said to them, O foolish ones and slow of heart, to believe in all that the prophets have spoken.

Ought not the Christ to have suffered these things and to enter into His glory? And beginning at Moses and the prophets, He expounded to them and all the scriptures the things concerning Himself. Every book in the Old Testament is pointing us right to Jesus Christ. You go to the book of Genesis, you'll find other stuff, good stuff.

We learn about creation in the book of Genesis. We learn about the sovereignty of God in the book of Daniel. We learn about the mercy of God in Hosea. We learn about the heart of God in Psalms.

We learn about the wisdom of God in the prophets and the proverbs, but all of these books are incomplete without pointing us to Jesus. The Christian's revelation makes complete the Old Testament. John Calvin said this, it was not part of the word that Christ brought, but the last closing word.

How does the author of Hebrews start his epistle this way? God has spoken through His Son. Jesus is the final word. John 14 6, Jesus said, I am the way, the truth, and the life. No man comes to the Father but by me. The writer of Hebrews said to the rejected persecuted Jewish Christians, don't go back to Judaism. Don't go back to where you were. It was incomplete.

Wasn't wrong, it was just incomplete. Don't go back to the types, the pictures, and the shadows, but remember this, Jesus Christ is Lord. Jesus Christ is Lord.

Let's pray. Heavenly Father, we looked at two verses this morning and those two verses were crammed full of exciting, transforming truth. We discovered that this book majors on the supremacy of Christ. We saw the Old Testament as absolute truth but not complete. We saw the Old Testament as absolute truth. We saw the need to search the scriptures for they testify of Jesus. Lord, our prayer is that you will take this glorious book, use it to convict us, comfort us, and challenge us to love Jesus more. It's in Jesus' precious, holy name that I pray. Amen.
Whisper: medium.en / 2023-07-02 14:32:51 / 2023-07-02 14:42:27 / 10

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