Dear radio friends,
Let us begin today with a question: Have you ever wanted God to speak to you? In a moment of desperation or heavy discouragement, have you ever said, “O Lord, if only Youwould speak to me; if only I could hear Your voice; if only You would talk to me and not be silent”? It may have been when cancer was found in your body. Or when your child’s health was critical. Or a young person’s future was unknown. Or when darkness filled your heart. You said, “If only God would speak to me. If only He would tell me. If only He would let me know that He is there.”
Maybe we have all said that at different times in our life. The psalmist did (Ps. 28:1): “Unto thee will I cry, O LORD my rock; be not silent to me: lest, if thou be silent to me, I become like them that go down into the pit.” It is then that we find God most patient and most stern in His rebuke. Rebuke? Yes, appropriately so. Patient and firm in His rebuke. For He says, “I have spoken to you in My Son. I have spoken awesome, infinite, precious, clear words. I have not been silent.”
The apostle Paul begins the epistle to the Hebrews with these words: “God, who at sundry times and in divers manners spake in time past unto the fathers by the prophets, hath in these last days spoken unto us by his Son, whom he hath appointed heir of all things, by whom also he made the worlds.” God says that in Bethlehem, in the manger, when a virgin wrapped her son in swaddling clothes. That was when the Lord of all the earth was born and God, in this, spoke to us powerfully and wonderfully.
Bethlehem is the key. The birth of Immanuel, God with us, is the Word of God to us in every moment, in every way, and in every trial—a word so vast, so marvelous that no human lips can utter all of its glory. It is a word that goes on and on. It is the word that proclaims to God’s children, “For God has so loved us.” It is the word that proclaims, “I am thy Redeemer.”
Do we really see what we see in the birth of Jesus Christ? Do we hear what we hear? We see, we hear, that God’s Son was born a man, in a manger, in order that He might be the only Savior. But do you hear what you hear?
The apostle Paul is writing in the book of Hebrews to show the exceeding majesty and glory of Jesus Christ. He is writing to fellow Jews who have been converted to the gospel of Jesus Christ, but are now tempted to go back into their former Judaism. They are tempted under the persecutions brought upon them and under the setbacks and disappointments that were theirs as children of God. They were tempted to give up on the Messiah. Paul says, “Whoa! Hold up! Don’t listen to the Devil. Don’t listen to sin telling you that there is no hope to be found in Christ. Christ is the Victor’s Son. He is the enthroned God. He is the Lord and Savior. God has spoken to us in His Son. His Son, whom He has given for us, is the Word of God to you.” God speaks. He is not silent. He communicates. He speaks powerfully and savingly. Do you hear? God has spoken to us in His Son.
The apostle brings out in Hebrews 1:1-3 that God has spoken in two phases. He spoke before the coming of His Son into the world, and then He spoke through His Son coming into the world. Paul says, “God, who at sundry times (that is, on many occasions) and in divers manners (that is, in many different ways) spake in time past unto the fathers by the prophets.” God, long ago, says the apostle, spoke to the fathers by the prophets in many different places and in many different ways in Holy Scripture. And now He has in these last days spoken to us in His Son.
God spoke formerly, in the thirty-nine books of the Old Testament Scriptures, in many different portions and in many different ways, of Christ, of Himself, and of the salvation that He would bring.
Now, note that the apostle says there that God spoke. A lot could be made out of that. There is nothing more important than to understand that. God was not silent. He communicated. God gave Holy Scripture, in which He came down to reveal Himself, to make Himself known, and to tell us from His heart what a treasure is the Bible. Note that the apostle says that He spake to the fathers by the prophets. That is important. He did not simply speak to the fathers. But He spoke to the fathers by the prophets, through inspired instruments who wrote His Word. You say, well, that’s obvious. But think about that. He did not simply whisper in their ears or speak out of the sky or write in the clouds or write on the ground. Occasionally, exceptionally, He would communicate directly. But how did God speak to the fathers? He spoke through the prophets. He inspired men to speak or to write His Word. That is the way God speaks to us. We say, “God should talk to me. That is the way to get it done. He should audibly whisper it in my ear.” And God says, “Who are you? Are you going to tell Me, God, how to communicate?” This is the way that God speaks: He speaks through inspired, Holy Scriptures. This is the more sure Word of God, says Peter in II Peter 1, unto which we do well to take heed as a light shining in a dark place.
“God,…in times past,” says Paul, “spake lavishly.” He spoke in many portions and in many wonderful ways. We marvel at the variety of Holy Scripture. He said the same thing: Grace. But He spoke that message of grace in history, in the lives of His people, in psalms and proverbs, through prophets, and in the book of Leviticus, in the Song of Solomon, and in II Kings—in all of the Old Testament Scriptures. He spoke in various ways so that we would get it. He did not speak in one way or in one manner or in one portion, but He spoke through it all—through Psalms and Proverbs, Zechariah and Jonah, the sufferings of Job, the sins of David. He spoke through all of this in order that I might hear and I might see and understand. So I am rebuked already in my complaint that God is silent. The Old Testament Scriptures are tailor-made for us.
Do you say, “There is no word of God for me in my situation in life”? God would say, “In the Old Testament and in all of the Scriptures I spoke with you and your situation in mind. For your confusion and loneliness, your anxiety and temptation—I wrote it all out in the life of Job and Abraham, Peter, and in all the Holy Scriptures, in a thousand portions. I made it all abundantly plain.”
What did God speak in times past to our fathers? He spoke of His Son. He spoke of the promise of His grace. He spoke of what He would do for us unworthy sinners. He spoke of how He would glorify Himself by picking us out of the dunghill. He spoke in many portions and in many ways. He spoke in Jeremiah 31:3: “I have loved thee with an everlasting love: therefore with lovingkindness have I drawn thee.” He spoke in Isaiah 40:1: “Comfort ye, comfort ye my people.” He spoke in Genesis 3:15: “And I will put enmity between thee and the woman, and between thy seed and her seed; it shall bruise thy head, and thou shalt bruise his heel.” God spoke in many wonderful ways of the promise of His Son.
But now, Paul wants us to see that God has spoken in a far greater way—in the sending of His Son. The former word, the Old Testament, the inspired Word of God, pointed ahead to something. And the apostle Paul says this has now happened. “God, who in sundry times…spake …unto the fathers by the prophets, hath in these last days spoken unto us by (or in) his Son.” In the giving, in the birth, of His Son to the virgin Mary, God has spoken. When you or I would complain to God, “Lord, I want to hear you speak to me. Cause me to hear Thy voice,” is that complaint well placed? What would be God’s response? God’s response would be: “I have spoken in the coming of My Son; spoken powerfully, sufficiently, beautifully for you.”
God spoke, in the gift of His Son, of the marvel of His grace. God spoke in such a way as to open up all of His great heart when He sent His Son to be born of the virgin in a manger. God spoke. God conveyed, God communicated His living Word of grace in His Son. Note that the apostle does not say, “In times past God spoke by prophets and in these last day has spoken by the apostles.” That would be true enough. He did speak in the inspired New Testament Scriptures as well. But the point he wishes to make is more. He spoke in what He did. You say, “Actions speak louder than words”? The point made is that God has done something to communicate to us. He sent His Son to bear our iniquities, to heal our diseases, to make His soul a ransom for our sin.
Paul, in verse 3, goes on to give the marvel of that, that God has given His Son. His Son, “who being the brightness of his glory, and the express image of his person, and upholding all things by the word of his power, when he had by himself purged our sins, sat down on the right hand of the Majesty on high.” God’s Son is His glory Son, the Son of God, in whom shines the glory of the eternal God. God’s Son is His mighty Son, for His Son upholds the whole world in His hands. He has you and me, brother, in His hands. His Son is the victorious Son who, having purged away the sins of God’s elect church, now sits at God’s right hand to rule over everything. God did not give for you and me a prophet. He gave His Son.
Here Muslims show their critical error and heresy and blasphemy. For they say that Jesus is a prophet, but not Son. They belittle the Son. Jesus Christ is no mere creature, no mere angel, no mere prophet, no man of the year, no man of the millennium. He is God’s eternal, natural Son, to whom must be, now and ever, all praise, and before whom all must bow down and worship.
God spoke, oh how He spoke, in infinite volume and in amazing tenderness, in the sweetest of sounds, in the most profound tones, when He gave His Son in Bethlehem. God never said more than when the virgin Mary gave birth to Jesus. He said exactly what you need to hear. He said what you need to hear in cancer and in single life, when you are alone and when you are depressed, when you are at your wits end, when everything seems to be coming apart and you are brokenhearted. Do you hear?
Every time that I complain that God is silent, Oh may the Lord cause me to stop and ask, “Have I heard God speak in the manger of Bethlehem? Have I heard that Word of giving, giving over His Son, that His Son might be smitten in my place, to take up my sorrow, misery, death, and sin so that I might forever be His son?” All whose souls ache, all whose minds reel in confusion as children of God, whose hearts are broken, who cry, “Lord, speak to me”—listen to the Word that you can never exhaust and is ever sufficient: “I have not spared My Son, My only Son. But I have given Him up for you because you were precious in My eyes.”
The Son in whom God speaks is the Son who has been appointed heir of all things, says the apostle, “by whom also he made the world.” Now, why is that added? Is that just thrown in there? No! The apostle adds that in order to tell us that all that God has spoken to us in His Son, His Son is able to fulfill. In His Son God speaks. He says, “By My Son, I will wipe away your sins and make you clean. By My Son, I will empty your grave of its power. By My Son, I will work all things for your eternal well-being and salvation. By My Son, I will glorify you in heaven.”
Well, is what God says true? Can He make good on this Word? Listen. The Son through whom God speaks is appointed heir of all things. He is the One by whom also God made the worlds, and right now upholds the world. He makes good all His promises. His Son is appointed by God eternally to be the heir of everything. He made all things. All things are at His disposal. He disposes and dispenses all things as He wills, for He is Lord God Almighty. All lands, wind, oceans, buildings, nations, energy, military might, bacteria, viruses, cancer, demons, angels—everything except God the Father. All things are subject to Him. He can and He will make good every promise. The Word that God spoke to you and to me when His Son Jesus Christ was born is a Word that is sure and cannot know change. It is dependable. It will never fail. It is the Word of grace that God speaks in His Son.
If in His Son God says, “Nothing can separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus” ( Rom. 8), then do not say, “Well, I don’t know about that.” No! He speaks to us in His Son, who is the heir of all creation and who upholds all things by His own might. If in His Son God says to us, “All things work together for good to them that love God, who are the called according to his purpose” ( Rom. 8), then do not say, “Well, I don’t know about that.” Do not say that! If He speaks to us in His Son and says that there shall soon come a day when there shall be no more crying or death or pain, and He will wipe away all tears from your eyes, then do not say, “Can that be?” God has spoken by His Son. And He will make good on that promise.
Listen to God speak in His Son and be still. Stand still. Go to Bethlehem. Do you hear what you hear? Do you hear what God says? God speaks in His Son. Sins are pardoned. Righteousness is obtained. Faithfulness is insured. Glory is purchased. God says it in His Son.
Listen, because there will be no other Word from God. This is His last Word. “This is My Beloved Son,” said God. “Hear ye Him.” That is what the apostle means when he says in verse 2, God “hath in these last days spoken unto us by his Son.” The Bible knows only two days: the day of promise and the day of reality. God spoke formerly, in the day of promise, by the prophets. And now, in this last day, He has spoken in His Son. There are no days coming after these days. There will not be another phase of human history. These days are the days that shall be brought finally to the end when Jesus returns in His majesty and glory. They are the New Testament dispensation, when the victory has been won upon the cross. The mortal blow has been delivered to the devil and sin. Days when the church is being gathered, when sin is being judged. The day, now, of spiritual warfare, a day of preparation for the bride of Jesus Christ to be ushered into glory. It is the day when we are waiting for His Son to come again upon the clouds of glory. But the point is this: God has now spoken His decisive word. It will not be followed by another word. It cannot be followed by a greater word. A greater word does not exist. This is the word of God: “Behold, My Son—the Lamb of God, who taketh away the sin of the world—who is made Lord of all, above all things, exalted at My right hand. This is My beloved Son in whom I am well pleased, the Redeemer and Savior. Hear ye Him!”
Do you hear Him? Do you hear God speak through Him? In this time of year, in the rush and anxiety and the stress of the holidays, do we rush by the Word of all words spoken in a manger? Do you skim that Word like you would read the newspaper? Or do you taste it? And do you stand still before the wonder of what God says in His Son? Do you say, foolishly, “I need something more. It’s not enough for me, for my situation, for my dashed heart, for my burdens, for my grief”? Do not say that, child of God! Be still. Listen. God speaks tenderly.
And God speaks sovereignly, as Lord God Almighty. “I have spoken to you, sinner, in My Son. I spoke when a virgin conceived and eternal God of God, remaining God, was born, Man of man, in a lowly cattle shed, among stinking manure and bound in swaddling clothes (torn pieces of rags). I spoke, then, of the misery and of the sin and of the death that were yours. And of the fact that I have given it now over to My Son that He might bear it away, that it can never be found again. I have spoken to you of my eternal heart.” Do you hear it? God speaks in the manger.
The Son of God loved me and gave Himself for me. Never did God speak so as when Jesus was born.
Let us pray.
Father, we thank Thee for Thy precious Word. And we pray that Thou wilt daily bind it to our ears that we may hear what Thou hast spoken in Thy Son. In Jesus’ name, Amen.