“To Whom Are You Listening?


(Hebrews 1:1-2:4)



I. Introduction.
A. Orientation.

We’ve been considering

How to be the kind of person

God sees when He looks throughout the earth.

We’ve seen

That we need to be like His Son

Who is the perfect example

Of what God wants us to be.

Jesus had a heart

That was fully devoted to the Father.

That’s what He wants to see in us.

We’ve also seen

That to have such a heart,

We need to use the means of grace –

We need to get more of the Spirit

Who will give us more of this love.


But for the means to be effective

We not only have

To be faithful to use them

And to use them in faith,
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We must allow them

To work on our affections.


They won’t do you any good

Unless they stir your heart.

It’s not enough to read the Word,

Your heart must be stirred by the Word;

It’s not enough to pray,

Your affections must be enlivened as you pray,

As well as when you sing,

Or listen to the preaching,

Or participate in the Lord’s Supper.

That’s also what needs to happen

When you fellowship –

The two who walked with Jesus

On the road to Emmaus

Weren’t better Christians

Just because they shared the road with Him,

But because their hearts burned

When He opened the Scriptures to them.


It’s not enough

Simply to use the means.

You can go through the motions
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And still be nothing more like Jesus.

You need to pay close attention to what you’re doing,

You need to use them with your heart engaged,

You must allow them

To strengthen your affections –

All your holy affections.


This is particularly important

If you ever hope to break free

From the influences in this world

That cool the heart,

Or continue to hold onto Jesus

As it becomes increasingly dangerous –

Humanly speaking –

To do so.

B. Preview.

That’s what this letter to the Hebrews

Was meant to do –

To so inflame the hearts

Of the readers towards Christ

That they wouldn’t even think

About turning back to Judaism,

Regardless of the persecution.

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The Jews had won the freedom

To practice their own religion

Without being forced

To offer a pinch of incense to Caesar

And to profess Caesar as lord,

Because they would rather die than do so.


When Christianity first started

Rome really didn’t see any difference

Between the Jews and Christians.

They thought Christianity was a sect of Judaism –

Since these Christians were Jews.


But when they saw the Jews

Persecuting them,

They began to do so as well.

The result was that they

Began being tempted

To return to Judaism to save their lives –

Some undoubtedly did

Because they really didn’t know Him,

But others held fast.


The temptation they were facing

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Wasn’t much different than ours –

We’re constantly being tempted

To turn away from Christ:

To gain something in this world –

Position, power, wealth, recognition –

To preserve relationships –

With our family or friends

Who hate Christianity –

Or our livelihood –

To do something underhanded

Or to compromise in some way

To keep our job –

One day, we may even be tempted to do so

To preserve our lives.


What can you do

To fortify yourself against temptation

And to keep yourself

From falling away from the Lord?

You need to stir up your affections

Towards the Lord –

All your holy affections.

One very good way to do this

Is how this author did for his readers:
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By giving them a better view of their Savior,

To show them what they would lose

If they gave Him up,

And what they would face.


What I would like for us to do

Is to go through the letter of Hebrews devotionally,

To remind us who Jesus is

And by His grace

Have our hearts stirred

To greater respect/fear,

But above all, to greater love,

So that we’ll be less tempted

To turn from Him.


The author to the Hebrews

Begins by pointing out to his readers

1. Who Jesus is

2. And what He has done,

As to why they should listen to Him,

So this is where we will begin.


Don’t forget that it’s up to you –

As well as the Holy Spirit –

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To let these things work on your heart.

You need to meditate on them

And let them have their work in your soul.

II. Sermon.
A. First, you should listen to Him

Because of who He is.


Consider who this is

Who has stooped so far

To save you,

And to show you how you can escape hell

And go to heaven.


He is, first of all, the ultimate reason –

For everything there is.

He is the answer to the question why?

Why does it all exist?

It exists for Him,

It was all made by Him,

And He is the One who holds it all up.


If the Father had never planned

To give Him

A redeemed people

To be His

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In a redeemed heavens and earth,

As a reward for His work,

Nothing would exist,

Except for the Triune God Himself.

Everything you see

Was made for Him –

Including you (v. 2) –

He is the heir of all things.


Not only was it made for Him

He was the One who made it (v. 2).

He laid the foundation of the earth in the beginning,

And the heavens are the work of His hands (v. 10).

He said, “Let there be . . . and there was.”

He was the One who created you.


He is the One

Who holds it up

From moment to moment –

Who keeps everything in existence –

Including you –

If He stopped holding it up

You would fall into nothingness.


He also moves everything along
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According to His will (v. 3) –

Including everything that happens

To you in this life.


Who is this One

Who is at the center of God’s plan,

Who is so powerful

And wise and benevolent?


He is the eternal Son of God (v. 2),

The One who never changes,

And who will never die (v. 12) –


He is “the radiance of His glory” (v. 3) –

He is to the Father

As the light is to the sun.


He shares the same nature as the Father (v. 3) –

The same divine characteristics

And character –

The same love of everything good and right (v. 9).


He is the One the angels worship and adore (v. 6),

The One they serve with complete devotion (vv. 7, 14),

The One all creation obeys (v. 3, 8),

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And the One to whom one day

Every knee will bow (v. 13).


He is the firstborn of all creation (v. 6) –

Which doesn’t mean He is created,

As JWs believe –

But that He has the right of firstborn

Over the creation –

It all belongs to Him

And He may do with it

What He wills.


So why should you hold onto Him?

Why should you listen to Him?

You should out of respect/fear

For His person.


This is what the author was aiming at

As he wrote this letter –

He wanted his readers to know

Who this One was

They were tempted to leave,

As well as what would happen to them

If they did.


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Respect/fear is a powerful affection

And so can be a powerful motivation.


What can Jesus – being God – do to you

If you don’t listen to Him?

He can do what His justice demands.

He can give you what you deserve.


The author points out

That if God held them accountable

For the revelation He gave

Through the angels,

How much more will He do so

When He speaks through His Son,

And confirms it through His messengers

Through signs, wonders and miracles

By His Holy Spirit (vv. 1-4).

How much more

Will He give them what they deserve.


If you’re like me,

You don’t want what you deserve

Because all we deserve is hell.


What you want is mercy and grace

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Which is exactly what the Father

Is speaking to us about

Through His Son.

He didn’t send His Son to condemn us,

But to save us!

That’s why you should listen,

Why you shouldn’t turn away.


If you turn away,

There is no hope.

And so if for no other reason than fear,

Understand who He is,

Respect who He is,

Listen to what He says,

And live!


B. But there is another reason

You should listen to Him,

And that’s because

Of the great love He has shown you.


He is also the One

Who became one with you –

Part of the human race –

To save you
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From the consequences of sin.


The eternal Creator

Became one of His creatures,

And went to the cross to die –

Not for His sins,

But for yours (v. 3).


He took your guilt on Himself

He paid the debt you owed,

And that after

He had already obeyed in your place.

Paul writes, “He made Him who knew no sin to be sin on our behalf, so that we
might become the righteousness of God in Him” (2 Cor. 5:21).


After He died,

Was buried,

And raised again –

For you –

He ascended into heaven

And sat down at the right hand of God (v. 3)

To rule over this creation

So that He might work

Everything that happens in this world

For your good (Rom. 8:28).
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The promise the Father gave Him

To subject all His enemies under His feet

Is also mean to work for your good,

Because His enemies

Are your enemies (v. 13).


And don’t forget

He has an army of angels at His disposal

Willing and able to serve Him

At a moment’s notice.

These are the ones He sends

To minister to you

As you have need (v. 14).


Now again, why did the author

Write these things?

He wrote them

To move his readers

To love and thankfulness

For what Jesus did

Out of His love for them.


But God intended these things

For you as well,
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If you’re His child –

If you’re trusting Him –

Because He loves you.


So here are four reasons

You should hold onto Jesus

And follow Him,

No matter what the cost:


1. Because He is God –

This is what you owe

The One who created you.


2. Because of fear –

If you turn from what He says

You are turning yourself over to judgment.


3. Because of His sacrifice –

God was willing to become a man,

Take your guilt on Himself,

And lay down His life for you,

So that you could go free.


4. And because of His love –

He did all this out of love for you.

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And He promises that if you continue

To hold fast to Him and trust Him,

He will bring you to heaven

Where He will reveal

That love to you forever.


Are you tempted to leave Christ for the world?

Take a good look at what you would be giving up,

And hold fast to Him.


Has the desire for the world

Kept you from coming to Him in the first place?

Consider what will happen to you

If you don’t receive Him and His salvation,

And come to Him now and receive His mercy.

Amen.

http://www.graceopcmodesto.org

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