Summary: God has spoken to us repeatedly and in various ways, but supremely in His Son. How do we respond?

God has spoken!

Can you imagine how you would feel if you got a letter from the Queen? (I mean a real one, not just some standard letter sent by her officials.) How would you treat it? Would you throw it idly aside? Would you risk it getting lost or stained with tea? I don’t think so! You would take great care of it. You’d read it from cover to cover, time and time again to make sure you understood it properly, despite your excitement and pounding heart. Then you would go and tell all your friends what had happened and show them the letter. I doubt that you would let them touch it though ¾ they might get it dirty!

We are dealing with something immeasurably more wonderful. The eternal God has deigned to speak to us, and that not once, but repeatedly and in many different ways to make sure the message was clear. He spoke at various times and in various ways … to the fathers by the prophets.

We know nothing about what is outside our own physical experience. We can’t see God, angels, or heaven ¾ indeed we have enough trouble making sense of this world! What is amazing is that God wants us to understand such things. In Old Testament times He used many different ways to communicate with His people. He spoke to Job from a whirlwind and to Elijah in a still, small voice. He spoke to Joseph in dreams and to Moses from a burning bush. He spoke to Joshua through an angel. He even used drama! (Ezekiel and Hosea.) Principally, though, He used the spoken and written word.

Had God remained silent… the plight of mankind would have been desperate indeed; but now he has spoken his revealing, redeeming, and life giving word, and in his light we see light. (F.F. Bruce)

What amazes me is that God wanted to communicate with us at all! In addition He is so different that it made communication terribly difficult. Imagine trying to explain your world to a goldfish! How would you explain arms and legs ¾ never mind books, cars or quantum mechanics! What makes His patient persistence even more amazing is the way His chosen people responded ¾ never mind the heathen! Jesus illustrated it in a parable: Mt 21: 33”There was a certain landowner who planted a vineyard and set a hedge around it, dug a winepress in it and built a tower. And he leased it to vinedressers and went into a far country. 34 “Now when vintage-time drew near, he sent his servants to the vinedressers, that they might receive its fruit. 35 “And the vinedressers took his servants, beat one, killed one, and stoned another. 36 “Again he sent other servants, more than the first, and they did likewise to them.

By and large the Jewish people rejected what God had to say to them and His. Even when they responded positively they were fickle. Moses led them out of Egypt and through the Red sea and immediately they built an idol ¾ the golden calf. Other prophets were ignored, mocked or even killed, because the people did not want to hear God’s message. You can read more in chapter 11.

How would we have reacted if we had been God? Would we have kept on trying to communicate? Of course not! At best we would have broken off all contact. If we had an army we might even have wiped them out. How did God react? Jesus went on: Mt 21: 37 “Then last of all he sent his son to them, saying, ‘They will respect my son.’ 38 “But when the vinedressers saw the son, they said among themselves, ‘This is the heir. Come, let us kill him and seize his inheritance.’ 39 “So they took him and cast him out of the vineyard and killed him. In the words of Hebrews 1:2 God has in these last days spoken to us in His Son.

Why did God do this? Ultimately it was because He loved us so much and wanted so much to have fellowship with us. To do this He needed to reveal Himself to us and, beautiful as it is, the Old Testament gives us a fragmentary and incomplete picture. It is like a mosaic that grew piece by piece, over the course of some 1500 years with forty or so contributors. It built truth upon truth ¾ what we call progressive revelation. Genesis reveals a bit of the truth, Exodus reveals some more and so on, progressively developing the revelation.

What wonderful accounts we have in the OT of Moses, David, Isaiah, Jeremiah, Ezekiel and Daniel, to name a few. Yet, as if with a dismissive wave of his hand, the author writes them off as nothing in comparison with Jesus Christ. 1 GOD, who gave to our forefathers many different glimpses of the truth in the words of the prophets, 2 has now, at the end of the present age, given us the truth in the Son. (JB Phillips) Symbol and parable, vision, metaphor and type all had their place in the divine plan, but they give us a picture of God that is like a kaleidoscope of overlapping bits. Jesus brings the picture into perfect focus giving us a complete revelation. The OT revelation is good, but the revelation that we have in Christ is incomparably better.

Of course, the prophets were just spokesmen or instruments. Jesus is God, the King of the universe. History is, literally, His story. How can a prophet compare with Him? He is infinitely superior; therefore, the writer argues, anybody who trusted the prophets must pay the closest attention to Jesus Christ. In Jesus Christ God entered our goldfish bowl by Himself becoming one of us. No wonder Paul cried out: great is the mystery of godliness: God was manifested in the flesh (1Ti 3:16). In Christ God has made Himself known and knowable.

It is not only that Christ declared or delivered God’s message, but that He himself was and is God’s message. All His thoughts, counsels, promises and gifts can be seen in the Lord Jesus. God reveals Himself, His person and character, to us in Christ’s perfect life. His miracles reveal His tender compassion and display His mighty power. In His death we get the clearest glimpse of God’s love contrasted against His out-and-out hatred of sin. His resurrection, His triumph over death and Satan show us His complete supremacy and the security of our eternal future.

AW Pink - It is not only that Christ declared or delivered God’s message, but that He himself was and is God’s message. All that God has to say to us is in His Son: all His thoughts, counsels, promises, gifts, are to be found in the Lord Jesus. Take the perfect life of Christ, His deportment, His ways; that is God “speaking”—revealing Himself—to us. Take His miracles, revealing His tender compassion, displaying His mighty power; they are God “speaking” to us. Take His death, commending to us the love of God, in that while we were yet sinners, He died for us; that is God “speaking” to us. Take His resurrection, triumphing over the grave, vanquishing him who had the power of death, coming forth as the “first fruits of them that slept”—the “earnest” of the “harvest” to follow; that is God “speaking” to us. Through Christ, God is now fully, perfectly, finally revealed.

That is why He could truthfully say He who has seen Me has seen the Father. (John 14:9). None of the prophets ever made a claim like that. Their knowledge of God was limited. But Jesus knows the Father fully for He is His Son and shares His divine nature, as well as an eternity of fellowship. John 1:17 the law was given through Moses, but grace and truth came through Jesus Christ.18 No one has seen God at any time. The only begotten Son, who is in the bosom of the Father, He has declared Him. Here we have climbed the mountain and reached the pinnacle. There is nothing more for God to reveal than He already has in His Son though, even in a full lifetime, we can only just scratch the surface of what has been revealed. In heaven we shall see, in person, the one described in the Scriptures and revealed by the Holy Spirit in our hearts and have all eternity to contemplate the wonder of it all.

What is mankind’s response to God’s communication?

And how was He, the pinnacle of God’s revelation, treated? Of course they rejected His message and killed Jesus, just as He repeatedly predicted. In rejecting the Son, of course, they also rejected the Father. That, of course, is history but what about us today? If God has spoken to us in His Son, how are we responding?

· Many deny that the Bible is God’s word or that Jesus is more than a good example. Most of those have never studied it for themselves to see if it is true. Some seem to be at total war with Christianity. They hate everything it stands for. They despise and ridicule its truths. Why the passion and virulence if Christianity is nonsense? I don’t see the same hatred for Hinduism or Islam, do you?

· Others construct a god based on their idea of what he should be like ¾ an emasculated, nice god who would never say boo to a goose; a god that bears no relationship to the God of the Bible.

· Some claim to believe the Bible, but from the difference it makes to their lives they might as well not. Others also claim to believe it, but add to it all sorts of weird ideas which make a nonsense of it. When the conflict is too obvious they change the Bible to make it fit their ideas.

· Many ignore God’s revelation, believing that if they bury their heads in the sand it will all come out all right in the end!

· A few listen to what God has said and take Him at His word. They enjoy His forgiveness and fellowship with Him. They look forward to being with Him forever.

Which group are you in? What we think of God is interesting; what God thinks of us will determine where we spend eternity. If we cut Him and His word out of our lives on this earth then should we be find it surprising that He has said He will exclude us from His presence all through eternity? Jesus concluded the parable we looked at earlier, by describing what would happen to the vinedressers who killed the king’s son:

Mt 21: 40 “Therefore, when the owner of the vineyard comes, what will he do to those vinedressers?” 41 They said to Him, “He will destroy those wicked men miserably, and lease his vineyard to other vinedressers who will render to him the fruits in their seasons.”

God has been patient. He could have destroyed the world when Jesus was crucified, but don’t let His patience fool you. His judgement is coming. And what will be the basis of God’s judgement?

John 12:48 “He who rejects Me, and does not receive My words, has that which judges him ¾ the word that I have spoken will judge him in the last day.

The basis of our judgement will be the way we have treated God’s only Son and the message that He brings.

And who will be our judge?

Ro 2:16 God will judge the secrets of men by Jesus Christ.

2Ti 4:1 the Lord Jesus Christ … will judge the living and the dead at His appearing and His kingdom

Yes, the same one who came, not to judge the world, but to save it, will be the judge of us all.

I can’t stress this enough. Christ is the one who reveals God to us. Today He stands before us as a Saviour and invites us to come to God through Him. In a time to come we shall all stand before Him as our judge and the way we have treated Him and His words will be the key to our eternal destiny.

John Newton put it like this:

What think you of Christ? is the test,

To try both your state and your scheme:

You cannot be right in the rest

Unless you think rightly of him.

As Jesus appears in your view,

As he is beloved or not,

So God is disposed to you

And mercy or wrath is your lot.

Some take Him a creature to be,

A man or an angel at most;

Sure these have not feelings like me

Nor know themselves wretched or lost:

So guilty, so helpless am I,

I durst not confide in his blood,

Nor on his protection rely

Unless I was sure He is God.

Some call him Saviour, in word,

But mix their own works with his plan,

And hope he his help will afford,

When they have done all that they can;

If doings prove rather too light,

(A little, they own, they may fail)

They purpose to make up full weight

By casting his name in the scale.

Some style him the pearl of great price

And say He’s the fountain of joys,

Yet feed upon folly and vice

And cleave to the world and its toys;

Like Judas the Saviour they kiss

And while they salute him, betray;

Ah! what will profession like this

Avail in the terrible day?

If asked what of Jesus I think,

Though still my best thoughts are but poor,

I say he’s my meat and my drink,

My life and my strength and my store;

My shepherd, my husband, my friend,

My Saviour from sin and from thrall;

My hope from beginning to end,

My portion, my Lord, and my all!

Which bit of that poem describes you? May the Lord make the last verse true of me and of you.