Proper 22 (B), October 5, 2003
Tune to the Right Channel
In September of 2000, the
British Navy frigate HMS Grafton ran aground as it attempted to depart
from the port at Oslo, Norway. Norwegian authorities were hindered in
their investigation of the incident when they discovered that the
computer system that is supposed to automatically record
conversations between ships and the Oslo Vessel Traffic Service had
not recorded anything for two years. Like an airplane’s voice data
recorder, the system is supposed to help investigators find out what
happened after an accident at sea. Upon further investigation,
officials found nothing wrong with the equipment; it was functioning
perfectly. The problem was simple: the recorder had been permanently
tuned to the wrong radio channel.
opening sentence of the book of Hebrews, the writer declares that God
has spoken and that He has perfectly disclosed Himself to humanity.
But many of us still don’t know Him, many have not heard His voice,
and many mistakenly attribute other voices to Him. The problem is
simple: if we are to understand what God has said or who God is, we
have to be tuned to the right channel.
God is a communicating God. According to Hebrews 1:1, He has been
communicating for a long time. If we don’t hear Him, it’s not because
He’s not talking. In fact, our text says, He has spoken “in many
portions and in many ways.” Self-disclosure is part of God’s nature.
In His dealings with the Nation of Israel, God revealed Himself, bit
by bit, in a wide variety of miracles, visions, appearances, and
object lessons. He also foretold His people that a more complete
revelation was coming.
God has spoken – finally – in His Son.
complete revelation, which was promised as God spoke through the
prophets, has now come. We now live in “these Last Days,” the days of
completion and fulfillment, the days of the promised Messiah, the Son
of God Himself, Jesus Christ. Jesus, we learn here, was in fact the
incarnation of the Eternal God. The Son was the executive of the
Godhead in creating the universe and continues to sustain its
functions. That eternal-creator-sustainer Son was appointed by the
Father to be the heir of all things. To receive that promise, the Son
became one of us, a man.
Every human being
is created in the image of God. But in the person of Jesus Christ, the
image of God is perfected. Jesus told Philip, “He who has seen me has
seen the Father.” In Jesus, the invisible glory of the Almighty
becomes visible; He is “the radiance of His glory and the exact
representation of His nature.” There is nothing to be known about God
that is not revealed in the person of Christ.
To know God, tune to the right channel.
comes to the Father,” Jesus said, “except through Me.” Because God
is a man, He not only represents God to us, He represents us before
God. In His death and resurrection, He made “purification for sins.”
Now He is “seated at the right hand of the Majesty on high.” He is my
Advocate Prince. Because of His mediation, I can now “draw near with
confidence to the throne of grace.”
suggest that if you have trouble hearing from God, if you don’t
understand who He is or what He requires from you, your problem is
simple: you are not giving enough attention to Jesus. All of God’s
communication culminates in Christ. The Bible that you read, Old
Testament and New, is focused on Christ. The Holy Spirit indwells you
to point you to Christ, to empower you to obey and imitate Jesus.
Christians expect or hope to hear from God but don’t expect or hope
to become Christ-centered. They seem to think that God is still
speaking bit-by-bit. They look to the latest self-proclaimed prophet
or try to read their circumstances while giving little effort to
knowing and imitating Jesus. But Jesus said this: “This is eternal
life, that they may know You, the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom
You have sent” (John 17:3).
Are you tuned to the right channel?
The sermon brief provided by Doug Searle, Dallas, TX