God Has Spoken in His Son

October 8, 2023 ()

Bible Text: Hebrews 1:1-4 |


God Has Spoken in His Son | Hebrews 1:1-4
Brian Hedges | October 8, 2023

Let me invite you to turn in your Bibles to the book of Hebrews, the letter to the Hebrews. It’s on page 1001 if you’re using one of the Bibles in the chairs in front of you. Today we are beginning a new series called “Jesus Is Better.” We’re going to study together through this letter to the Hebrews.

R.C. Sproul was once asked, “If you could have any book on a desert island, what book would you choose?” and he said, “I would choose the Bible. And if I could only have one book of the Bible, I would choose the book of Hebrews.”

I wonder if you feel the same way. I wonder this morning if, when you heard this announcement that we were going to be studying Hebrews, if there was a little bit of excitement inside. One brother said to me, “Finally!” I think he’d been waiting for it.

But I wonder if some of you also felt, “Okay, we’ll see how this is going to go,” because when you think of Hebrews you’re thinking of Melchizedek and blood and sacrifices and high priests and the tabernacle and a lot of Old Testament stuff, a very complex argument that’s hard to understand. Or maybe you shudder a little bit inside because there are those scary passages in Hebrews, the warning passages that warn about those who fall away and cannot be renewed to repentance.

Or maybe, if you’ve been a Christian for a while and you’ve heard from the book of Hebrews before, you might actually have thought, “I hope this isn’t boring.” Spurgeon, in one of his lectures to his students, says, “I have a very lively, or rather a deadly, recollection of a certain series of discourses on the Hebrews, which made a deep impression on my mind of the most undesirable kind. I wished frequently that the Hebrews had kept their epistle to themselves, for it sadly bored one poor Gentile lad.”

Honestly, I can relate. I remember years and years ago hearing a portion of a series of sermons through Hebrews, and initially I was interested, but by the time we left that church I was not quite as interested, because the sermons were not interesting. They were boring. So maybe you feel a little bit of that.

Whatever your perspective on Hebrews, I want to encourage you this morning that as we begin this series, this letter is relevant and it speaks to us today in ways that we need to hear. Let me give you, by way of introduction, three brief reasons for studying the letter to the Hebrews. None of this is going to be on the screen; this is all introduction.

(1) First of all, this letter communicates an urgent exhortation to cling to Christ. Last week I mentioned this new book, The Great De-Churching, and how 40 million people have left the church in the last twenty-five years. We all have heard stories. Most of us have experienced even in our families people who have once been professing Christians and now have left; they’ve deconstructed. Maybe they’ve gone through a deconversion process. You might even be tempted in this way. It may be that you also have felt doubts about Christianity, that you have wondered if being a part of the church is really worth it. Maybe you are discouraged in your Christian faith.

The letter to the Hebrews is a letter that exhorts us to cling to Christ, and it speaks to us with the urgency of the need for persevering faith in Christ, and it actually helps us to persevere by holding before us the glory of Christ and the reasons why we should trust in him and be faithful to him. Hebrews is a word of exhortation. This letter calls itself that in Hebrews 13:22, and it will be a help to you spiritually as we study it.

(2) Secondly, this letter gives us a key—I would say, actually, the key to interpreting the whole Bible. If you’ve ever struggled to read your Bible and know what it says, if you’ve ever wrestled with, How do I read and interpret the Old Testament, apply it to my life? Hebrews will show you how. We’re going to learn that as we study this New Testament letter together.

(3) Most importantly, this letter portrays for us the stunning glory and the majestic beauty of Jesus Christ. There’s nothing that a Christian ever needs more than to see Jesus clearly. It’s easy for us to get distracted in our world. We live in a world filled with siren songs that are constantly seducing us away from the simplicity of the gospel and Christ, voices that are competing for our attention and our affection. The letter to the Hebrews cuts clearly through this cacophony of competing voices, calling us to consider Christ. This is a wonderful letter that is going to benefit us and help us.

Really briefly, we might ask what was the occasion of this letter and who wrote it. Regarding the author, no one knows. If you read the old King James, it says “The Epistle of Paul to the Hebrews,” but that really came from Jerome and the Latin Vulgate and was popularized by St. Augustine. But there are good reasons to think that Paul did not write this letter. Tertullian believed that Barnabas wrote it, Luther thought Apollos wrote it, and there have been other suggestions, such as Luke or Philip the evangelist or even Clement of Rome. But the church father Origen was surely right when he said, “Whoever wrote the letter to the Hebrews, only God knows for certain.”

But we do know something about the occasion. This letter was written to Jewish Christians who were experiencing some degree of persecution and who were being tempted to forsake Christ. The very thrust of this letter is to proclaim for us the unrivaled supremacy of Jesus Christ and to tell us that Jesus is better. He’s better in every way, and this letter will show us many different ways that Jesus is better.

This morning we’re going to be with Hebrews 1:1-4. Every phrase in these four verses is pregnant with meaning, so let’s read these verses together and then work our way through them. Hebrews 1:1-4:

“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, through whom also he created the world. 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, having become as much superior to angels as the name he has inherited is more excellent than theirs.”

This is God’s word.

The outline is simple this morning. I want us to see three things together. The word of God (because this text tells us that God has spoken), the Son of God (because God has spoken in his Son), and thirdly, our response to God. This whole letter calls us to hear and to listen, and the application to this first chapter is really in Hebrews 2:1, which says, “Therefore we must pay much closer attention to what we have heard.”

1. The Word of God
2. The Son of God
3. Our Response to God

Let’s look at each one of those together.

1. The Word of God

“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.”

In that first one-and-a-half verses of Hebrews, which is something of a prologue to this letter, there are a series of contrasts that really set the stage for the rest of the letter. What the author is essentially doing here is contrasting for us God’s word, God’s revelation, in the old age and in the new age, the Old Testament versus the New Testament. He’s contrasting this. There are two eras—God spoke long ago. This refers to everything that God had spoken, that he had revealed in the old covenant, in the Old Testament Scripture. But now, the author says, “in these last days,” in the eschaton, literally, in this final stage of redemptive history, God has spoken to us.

There’s a contrast in the manners of speaking. He spoke “at many times and in many ways.” The language here carries the idea that the Old Testament revelation, though it was true, it was fragmentary and incomplete. God spoke in portions and in many different ways over a period of time. Sometimes he spoke through dreams, sometimes through visions, sometimes through prophetic oracles. He spoke to Moses from the burning bush, he spoke to Abraham in this smoking furnace, to Jacob through this vision of a ladder—many different ways in which God spoke.

But all of these ways were just giving us pieces of the puzzle, not the complete picture, not the full revelation. But now it’s implied that as God has spoken to us in his Son we have the full and the final word of God.

There’s a contrast in the audience. He spoke to our fathers in the past, and now God has spoken to us. One of the emphases to this letter to the Hebrews is God’s present word to us through this letter, which in many ways is an exposition of Old Testament texts that are brought into the present time and are shown in their great fulfillment in and through Jesus Christ.

Then there’s this contrast in the means through which God has communicated. He spoke “by the prophets,” and it’s implied and becomes clear that he also spoke through the angels, because Hebrews 2:2 speaks about the message spoken by angels, which is why there’s so much emphasis on angels in chapter 1. God spoke through the prophets and he spoke by the angels, but now he has spoken by his Son. The word of God. God has spoken to us!

Brothers and sisters, don’t miss that amazing, astounding truth, that God is a God who communicates, that God is a God who has revealed himself. He has revealed his will and his word and his purpose and his plan. God has spoken to us.

It suggests a couple of applications to us this morning.

(1) First of all, God has spoken in both the Old Testament and the New Testament. He “spoke to our fathers through the prophets.” That’s the Old Testament Scriptures, and though it was fragmentary and incomplete, it was still true, and it was still necessary. Therefore, don’t unhitch your faith from the Old Testament, as one popular preacher has recommended that we should do. Don’t do that. The Old Testament Scriptures are declared by the New Testament Scriptures to be the word of God.

2 Timothy 3:16: “All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness.”

Peter says in 2 Peter 1:21 that “no prophecy was ever produced by the will of man, but that men spoke from God as they were carried along by the Holy Spirit.”

In Luke 1:70 we read that God spoke “by the mouth of his holy prophets from of old.”

The Old Testament Scriptures are the word of God. God spoke to the fathers through the Old Testament Scriptures, and, as we will learn in this letter to the Hebrews, he speaks to us from those Scriptures as well. Don’t unhitch your faith from the Old Testament; instead, read the whole Bible.

(2) Second application: we do need to remember, however, that God’s full and final revelation is in his Son, and that means read the whole Bible in light of Jesus. Read the whole Bible, but read your Bible through what someone has called the Jesus lens. When we look through the Jesus lens it’s what brings the Old Testament Scriptures into clear and sharp focus, so that we can see what is actually there.

You might think of a jigsaw puzzle. Have you ever put together one of these 5,000-piece jigsaw puzzles? You have all these different pieces, and you’re trying to find the border, you’re trying to get some idea of what this puzzle is going to be in the end, and you know that you’re never going to get there unless you have the cover of the box, the picture of the puzzle on the box, so you know what it is that you’re trying to put together. In the Old Testament Scriptures you have pieces of the puzzle, but the picture on the box is the face of Christ. Jesus is the message, and we need Jesus if we are to understand the Old Testament Scriptures truly.

You might say that the letter to the Hebrews gives us a master key that will unlock every door in the Old Testament Scriptures. Spurgeon said,

“Other men only gave testimony to parts of truth, but Christ manifested it all. Other men had the threads of truth, but Christ took the threads, wove them into a glorious robe, put it on, and came forth clothed with every truth of God. There was more of God revealed by Christ than in the works of creation or in all the prophets.”

Sometimes we sing the words of that great old hymn by Isaac Watts:

“Laden with guilt, and full of fears,
I fly to thee, my Lord,
And not a glimpse of hope appears
But in thy written word.
The volumes of my Father’s grace
Does all my griefs assuage;
Here I behold my Savior’s face
On every page.”

Brothers and sisters, read your Bibles. Read the whole Bible. Have a devotional life. But as you read the Bible, here’s a practical thing to do: never walk away from your Bible reading without finding the connection to Christ—the Christ connection. Look for how the Scriptures speak to you about Jesus.

You might say, “I don’t know how to do that. I get confused when I read the Old Testament.”

I have wonderful news for you. The letter to the Hebrews will give you the keys for understanding the Old Testament Scriptures! If you want to know how to read the book of Leviticus—yes, even Leviticus—in a way that edifies you and builds you up, it can be done. I promise you, it can be done. Hebrews gives you the key. When you learn to see that every priest points us to the great High Priest, Jesus Christ, and that every sacrifice points us to his complete and once-for-all, final sacrifice; when you see that the furniture of this tabernacle is pointing us to a greater, heavenly tabernacle, where Christ has entered once and for all to offer the sacrifice of himself; when you see that everything the old covenant speaks of Jesus Christ is the fulfillment, and that these passages speak to us as they foreshadow what Jesus Christ himself will do, you will learn to read the Bible in a way that actually builds up your faith and nourishes your soul.

Have you ever tried to do a really difficult task? Maybe it was a car repair or a home repair. I’m terrible at these kinds of things. But then you speak with someone who’s actually experienced—a mechanic who knows what he’s doing or someone that knows how to work with good or repair things. Always what they’re going to do is they’re going to pull out certain tools that you didn’t even know existed, but those tools make the repair seem simple, even easy! When we are reading the Scriptures, brothers and sisters, we have an unrealistic expectation sometimes that we can read without any tools and without any training. But the reality is that we need tools. We need skills. We need principles for interpreting the Bible and reading it and applying to our lives. The beautiful thing about the letter to the Hebrews is that it gives us that set of tools and it equips us with those skills. The word of God.

2. The Son of God

God has spoken. He spoke through the prophets and he has spoken through his Son. That leads us to the second consideration this morning, the Son of God.

Who is this Son through whom God has spoken? Look at the middle of verse 2, Hebrews 1:2: “. . . 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. 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 . . .”

That’s an amazing passage. This is one of the four most important passages in the New Testament about the person and work of Jesus Christ.

One commentator compares it to a symphony for an orchestra, where you have many different themes. You have a dominant theme, the theme of Christ as the Son, but you have other themes that are kind of deftly woven into this picture as it gives us a portrait of Jesus Christ.

You might think of it as a kaleidoscope, and when you turn the kaleidoscope these different colors and images keep making new patterns. In the same way, in this passage we have many different aspects of the person and work of Christ. It would not be hard to do an eight-week series on just these verses. I can barely do justice to it, but let’s quickly walk through what the author here says about Christ, the Son.

“God has spoken to us by his Son, whom he appointed the heir of all things.” This points us to Jesus as the Messianic heir. It recalls the promise given in Psalm 2:7-8:

“I will tell of the decree:
The Lord said to me, ‘You are my Son;
today I have begotten you.
Ask of me, and I will make the nations your heritage,
and the ends of the earth your possession.’”

The Son, who is the King, the Messiah, will be the heir of all things, the heir of the nations.

John Owen the Puritan wrote probably the most comprehensive commentary or exposition on Hebrews ever written. It fills seven volumes. He wrote twenty-eight pages on this phrase, “heir of all things,” where he shows that Christ the Son is the Lord of all persons and all things—all persons including all angels and all human beings, and all things, which he breaks down into spiritual things, ecclesiastical things, political things, and natural things. He’s the Lord of everything. He’s the heir of the world.

You know what that means, brothers and sisters? It means that if you are united to Christ, you’re a joint heir with him, and it means all things are yours in Christ.

“. . . whom he appointed the heir of all things, through whom also he created the world . . .” Here is Christ the Son as the agent of creation. You remember how John, in John 1:3, in the prologue to John’s Gospel, says, “All things were made through him, and without him was not anything made that was made.”

Paul declares in Colossians 1 that “by him all things were created, in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or rulers or authorities; all things were created through him and for him.” He is the Creator.

This shows us that the Son is equal to God himself. That becomes crystal clear in the next two phrases: “He is the radiance of the glory of God and the exact imprint [or the exact representation] of his nature.”

I like the way the New Living Translation puts it: “The Son radiates God’s own glory and expresses the very character of God.”

In those two phrases are two word pictures, two illustrations. There’s the picture of a sun, and the shining beams radiating from the sun. When you walk outside and you feel the heat of the sun on your face, what are you feeling? You’re feeling the sun, because the beams of the sun come from the sun, emanate from the sun, radiate from the sun.

The author here is saying that the Son radiates the glory of God. The Son is the radiance, the brightness, the effulgence of the splendor of the glory of God. To know the Son is to know God himself.

The second image here is the image of a signet ring that leaves its impression, its image on the wax, or an engraving tool that leaves an exact imprint on whatever is engraved. You might think of a coin that has been minted and stamped with an image. The coin bears exactly the image of that which minted it. That’s the idea here, when it says that he is the exact imprint or exact representation of his nature.

Actually, there’s a reference here, mostly likely, to Jewish wisdom literature, some of which we have in the apocrypha. So this is not in the canon of Scripture, but still helpful for us to see. This is the Wisdom of Solomon 1:24-26. It says, “For wisdom is more moving than any motion. She passeth and goeth through all things by reason of her pureness. For she is the breath of the power of God and a pure influence flowing from the glory of the Almighty. Therefore can no defiled thing unto her, for she is the brightness of the everlasting light, the unspotted mirror of the power of God and the image of his goodness.”

You can see that the language is very similar to what we have here. In the Jewish mind, wisdom was present with God in creation. Some Jews would even have equated the law of God with that wisdom. Wisdom is personified in this way. But in the New Testament, it is Jesus Christ himself who is the wisdom of God and the power of God.

This is a passage that speaks clearly to us of the person of the Son and his unrivaled supremacy, his undiluted deity. One of the church fathers, Gregory of Nyssa, put it like this:

“The heir of all things, the maker of the ages, he who shines with the Father’s glory and expresses in himself the Father’s person, has all things that the Father himself has and is possessor of all his power. Not that the right is transferred from the Father to the Son, but that it at once remains in the Father and resides in the Son.”

Jesus Christ, God from God, light from light. He is the brightness of the Father’s glory.

Then it says that he “upholds the universe by the word of his power.” He not only created the world, he sustains the world. “He is before all things, and in him all things hold together” (Colossians 1:17).

And then, gloriously, Hebrews 1:3 says, “After making purification for sins, he sat down at the right hand of the majesty on high.”

He made purification for sins. This now is beginning to focus on the work of Christ. The letter to the Hebrews will have much to say about this, how Christ cleanses us from our sins and does this through his priestly sacrifice. We read in Hebrew 9 that Christ “entered once for all into the holy places, not by means of the blood of goats and calves but by means of his own blood, thus securing an eternal redemption. For if the blood of goats and bulls, and the sprinkling of defiled persons with the ashes of a heifer, sanctify for the purification of the flesh, how much more will the blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit offered himself without blemish to God, purify our conscience from dead works to serve the living God.”

The atoning work of Christ, the sacrifice that purifies and cleanses the conscience.

Having done this, he sat down at the right hand of the majesty on high, recalling for us Psalm 110:1, “The Lord says to my Lord, ‘Sit at my right hand until I make your enemies your footstool.’”

Now that, in about eight minutes, was a compressed summary of the person and work of Christ—what he is, what he’s done, the position that he now holds at the right hand of God.

You can see in these verses the threefold office of Christ. He is our prophet, the one through whom God speaks to us; he is our priest, the one who offers himself for our sacrifice; and he is our king, the one who sits at the right hand of God. He is the Son of God, the Messianic heir! He is the divine wisdom incarnate, the creator and sustainer of all things, our priest, our redeemer, our savior—all of these things that are so central to our confession of faith as Christians. They’re right here, just in these verses.

This is high theology. This will make your mental circuit breakers trip. You might say, “Oh, this interesting theology, but how does this apply to my life?” In this way—let me give you two applications. This is so important for us.

(1) First, about evangelism. When you share your faith, point to Jesus. Describe the God that we ask people to believe in by reference to the Son.

Have you ever had a conversation with someone who said, “Well, I don’t believe in God”? You might think, “That’s the end of that conversation.”

Let me give you a question to ask. If someone says to you, “I don’t believe in God,” say, “I’m curious. Which God do you not believe in? Tell me about the God that you don’t believe in.”

As they begin to describe for you the God that they don’t believe in, it will almost always be a caricature of the true God. It’ll be a distorted picture. It will not be the God who has revealed himself in Jesus Christ. They’ll describe this god who is capricious and unjust and unfair and doesn’t have power, doesn’t have control, and he’s not good, and he’s not loving. When they describe that god to you, you say, “You know what? I don’t believe in that god either! Let me tell you about the God I do believe in. His name is Jesus.” Then begin to describe for them the grace and the love and the kindness of God our Savior, who has revealed himself in and through Jesus Christ.

F.F. Bruce said, “What God essentially is is made manifest in Christ. To see Christ is to see what the Father is like.”

When you share your faith and when you invite people to believe in God, invite them to believe in this God, the God who is revealed in the Son!

(2) Second application: when you doubt your faith, consider Jesus. The greatest defense against losing your faith is to remember who Jesus is and what he’s done.

William Lane in his commentary argues that the high Christology (the doctrine of Christ) that we have in Hebrews is actually a pastoral response to the needs of the audience, because here are people who are tempted to shrink back, they’re tempted to go back to the old covenant, they’re tempted to leave Jesus and to go back to Judaism, or they’re tempted to forsake their faith, to not hold fast to the end. They are vulnerable to the temptations of discouragement and even apostasy because of persecution. They are sluggish and lethargic in their faith; they’re not actually holding fast. What they need is an elevated view of Jesus Christ. They need to see who Jesus is and what he’s done. They need to see that Jesus is better, and because he’s better they can hold on.

When we think about those who are deconstructing their faith, we think about the temptations that doubt living in this secular Western world brings to our faith, it really all boils down to one question, doesn’t it? What do you think of Christ? Who do you say that he is? Listen, brothers and sisters, if he really is the Son of God, if he really did the make the world, if he really did die to cleanse us from our sins and he’s really alive and seated at the right hand of God, then that changes everything. It changes everything if Jesus is who he said he is! It changes everything! I wouldn’t be a Christian if I didn’t believe that Jesus is the Son of God risen from the dead, but I believe that, and therefore it changes everything else.

Listen, if he bore our sins, it changes everything, because who can condemn us? If he defeated death, what do we have to fear? If he’s the heir of all things and we’re joint heirs with him, what do we have to lose? If he really is the resplendent, radiant brightness of God’s glory, what could be more beautiful and more captivating to our souls?

You have to reckon with Jesus. You have to wrestle with who he is. If he is who he said he is, then you have to bow the knee to him. You’ll either bow the knee or you’ll bow the knee later.

3. Our Response to God

The word of God, the Son of God, and that leads us, finally, to our response to God. It’s very simple in Hebrews: God has spoken; we must listen. God has spoken; we must listen to him.

Let me read you three verses from Hebrews that urge us to listen to God’s word in Jesus. Hebrews 2:1: “Therefore we must pay much closer attention to what we have heard, lest we drift away from it.”

Hebrews 3:7-8: “Therefore, as the Holy Spirit says, ‘Today, if you hear his voice, do not harden your hearts as in the rebellion.”

Hebrews 12:25: “See that you do not refuse him who is speaking. For if they did not escape when they refused him who warned them on earth, much less will we escape if we reject him who warns from heaven.”

Do you hear the urgency in these words? God has spoken; don’t refuse him who is speaking. Don’t harden your hearts. Pay attention; don’t drift away.

Here’s the application.

(1) Don’t refuse to respond to God’s word, either through unintentional neglect or through deliberate hardening of your heart.

Have you ever had this experience where you have spoken to someone in the room and they don’t look up, they don’t respond, they don’t even acknowledge your existence, your speaking, and they just act like you’re not even there? What does that do to the relationship? That ends a relationship! If this person won’t even acknowledge my existence, there’s no conversation to be had.

Or have you had this experience? You send someone a text, and you’re waiting for a response, and you know they’ve read it because you see the little thing that says “Read.” But they don’t reply and they don’t reply and they don’t reply, and before you know it you think, “I’ve been ghosted! They don’t want anything to do with me.” It’s an insult to us, isn’t it? It’s hard not to take it personally when somebody ghosts you. You start to wonder if this person cares enough even to acknowledge you.

Some of you have ghosted God, because he’s speaking. He’s given us his word. He sent his Son! He’s speaking to you; he is. The question is, are you listening? Are you responding? Are you reading? Are you paying attention? Are you listening? Have you responded to God’s word given to us in his Son? Or are you just kind of casually drifting? You’re just coasting? Or maybe you’re even hardening your heart. You’re saying, “I don’t want anything to do with that,” and you’re pushing God away.

Hear the urgency of Hebrews. We must pay close attention to what we’ve heard. Don’t harden your heart. Don’t refuse him who is speaking to you.

(2) How is it that God speaks? This is the second application. God’s word contains for us both warnings and promises. You’re going to see that in Hebrews. Hebrews has urgent warnings, and it’s essentially a warning to not forsake Christ. It’s a warning against unbelief. And Hebrews is full of promises, the promises of the gospel: rich and full fulfillment in Jesus Christ. We need to hear that instruction.

Listen, we’re going to talk about the warnings in detail as we get to them in the exposition. But here’s a way for you to think about the warnings.

We currently have two teenage drivers. Some of you have been through this experience of training teenage drivers. You’re driving down the road, and you see something that maybe they don’t see yet, so you warn. “Watch out for that car that’s about to pull out! Don’t get too close to the curb. Be sure you’re staying in your lane.”

Sometimes, if the teenager’s not paying attention, you tense up a little bit, you raise your voice just a little bit, because you’re warning. Holly does this—arms against the dash. “Coming in hot! Coming in hot!” Enough that the kids now make fun of her for it. “Coming in hot!”

But when she’s warning, what is her aim? What’s her purpose? It’s not to get them to crash, it’s to keep them from crashing! The warning is for their good.

When Hebrews says, “Don’t neglect the salvation, don’t harden your heart, don’t fall away, don’t turn away from Christ, don’t refuse him who is calling,” it’s a warning, not supposing that you’re actually going to crash. It’s a warning to keep you from shipwrecking your faith.

Brothers and sisters, we need to hear it. We live in a world that is constantly trying to seduce us away from Jesus Christ, and the letter to the Hebrews reminds us over and over again that Jesus is better. He’s better than the prophets. He’s given us a better word. He’s better than the angels. He’s a better priest. He’s offered a better sacrifice. We have a better covenant. We have a better hope. He’s better in every way! Don’t turn away from Jesus.

Let me ask you this morning, where are you in your relationship with Jesus Christ? Are you listening? Do you believe? Do you trust him? Have you put your faith and your hope in Jesus Christ? Are you holding fast to that hope? That’s what this letter invites us to do. Let’s pray together.

Father, we thank you this morning for your word. We thank you that you are a God who has spoken, and that you have revealed yourself to us in the Scriptures, the written word, and in your Son, the living word, the very Son of God, who came in our flesh to redeem us from our sins, to defeat death, and to give us the gift of eternal life. We thank you for the gospel this morning.

We pray that you would pierce our hearts with this word, that we would hold fast, that we would not forsake our confidence. We pray that you would sustain us with everything that you’ve promised to be for us in Christ, that the promises of your word would uphold our faith and give us hope. Even this morning, now, as we respond to your word and as we come to the Lord’s table, may we come clinging to Jesus. He is our only hope for the purification of our conscience, for the cleansing of our guilty souls from sin. We’re trusting this morning not in what we have done or can do, we’re trusting in Christ and in Christ alone. Lord, we need you, we need your grace, and so we come to you this morning to ask you to sustain us and to help us and to keep us.

Lord, would you prepare our hearts as we come to the table this morning and as we take the bread and juice? May we by faith lay hold of Jesus Christ, who is bread for our souls. Be glorified in our continuing worship. We pray this in Jesus' name and for his sake, amen.