Program Air Date - 12-7-03



Welcome to the Living Word program on this wondrous Lord's Day. What a privilege it is to have you with us today, as we together give this time to God. I know that we will all be encouraged and uplifted by our time together this morning. So, let's give our best to God so that He may be pleased with our offering. Furthermore, let's do all things according to His will - so that our worship will be received by Him in a good and perfect way. Now, let's approach His throne in prayer!

(Short Prayer)

Our first song of the morning encourages us to be ready for the second coming of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. The song goes even further in telling us when we need to be ready as it proclaims that our Lord is coming soon. This is the same terminology that John uses in the book of Revelation when he said, "Behold, I am coming quickly," 22:7. No doubt this wording was used to help us realize the need that we have to always be ready to meet our God. So this morning, let's sing a song that teaches us this very important Biblical lesson. The name of the song, "Jesus Is Coming Soon!"

(SONG # 1)


So, we mentioned the idea earlier that the Bible says Jesus is coming quickly. In fact, if we were to look through the book of Revelation, we would find that Jesus makes this same statement at least 6 times. But not just in that book, we also find this idea through the New Testament. For instance, in Mark 13:35-37, Jesus said, "Watch therefore, for you do not know when the master of the house is coming; in the evening, at midnight, at the crowing of the rooster, or in the morning; lest, coming suddenly, he find you sleeping. And what I say to you, I say to all: Watch!" The reality is, no one really knows when Christ will come again so we need to be ready at any time - and if you think about it, doesn't that make perfect sense? What if you knew when Christ was coming again? What if you knew the exact month, the day, the hour? How would you then live now, knowing that you had plenty of time to change down the road. The truth is, if we did know the specifics of when Christ would come again - none of us would do anything until the last minute.

This is further evidenced in the actions of those who claim they do know when He is coming. What do they do, sell all they have, get ready, turn away from the world - but would they have been ready if they had not thought He was coming.

Brethren and friends, we need to be ready at any moment for our Lord to come again, so that when He does He will receive us as faithful children in His service and He will thus reward us accordingly. So my question to you this morning is, "are you truly ready to meet your God?" If not, you better start making preparations today - so that we will all be ready when He comes in the clouds.

After our next song together, I will be leading our lesson thoughts of the day. This morning we will concluding our series entitled, "God's Chosen and Inspired Writers Of The New Testament." Our specific lesson of the day will deal with, "The Writers of Jude and Hebrews?" So, please stay with us for this important study from God's Word. Now it's time to join in our second song of the morning. Won't you join in with the congregation as we sing the hymn, "Is Thy Heart Right With God."

(SONG # 2)


Speaker: Ray Sullins

Thank you so much for staying with us this morning and we do hope that you've been benefiting from the study we've been having over the past many weeks. We've been looking at the New Testament writers in the Bible as these all were men chosen by God to reveal His precious message that we have so many times been looking at and encouraged by and really shown which way to go as those who love Him and those followers in His kingdom.

Today we want to continue looking at some final writers in the text and those writers will be the book of Jude and the book of Hebrews. We put these two together because really in relationship to our study they have a vast amount of information and material, but as far as our study focusing more on the writers, there is a much more or less known about these books and therefore, we will try to briefly look at both of these in our study this morning.

If you'll notice there in the book of Jude which is located just after 3 John and also before the book of Revelation, a very small book exists that only has one chapter. That book begins by addressing who is the writer and it says there, "Jude, a bondservant of Jesus Christ and brother of James." Here, we find an introduction to a book, a book that is written by a man who is named Jude, the concept here again, Judas is another translation that often is used, and as we'll look at that in just a moment, not one that would have been a stranger because here Jude clearly proclaims to be a bondservant of Jesus Christ, one owned by Christ. That is one who had become obedient, one who had done what it took to be purchased through the blood of Christ, one who is now saved in Jesus Christ. And he adds something further here which is so helpful, that is the fact that he was and is the brother of James. If you'll notice there in relationship to these things though, we find in verse 1 the fact that Jude being the brother of James might very well be the same James that we even looked at last week. The discussion that was there in relationship to the most probable situation that he was even the brother of Jesus once again might exist here in this situation. We find here that in the New Testament that this Jude, or Judas, was not only found in this book, but in places such as when we look at the betrayer of Jesus Christ, Judas, or when we look at those who are related to others or even at times the brothers of Jesus who were mentioned. One's name again not only being James, but also another's name being Judas, or as we look in this book, Jude.

Turn with me to the book of Matthew. I think that might help us some in relationship and also in respect to what we're trying to discover here in our lesson. But in Matthew, there the writer in chapter 13 and verse 55 tells us a little bit more about Jesus Christ, but notice what he goes on to say. He says there, "Is this not a carpenter's son? Is this not His mother called Mary and His brother's James, Joses, Simon and Judas?" There we have that Jude again. Then it goes on in verse 56 to say, "And His sisters, are they not all with us?" Here we are talking about how that Jesus was being rejected in His own place, His own town, by His own people in Nazareth. And not only the people there were rejecting Him, but for the most part it seems that His family, His own brothers and sisters were not receiving Him. Those who also are mentioned as James, which we talked about last week who most likely penned the book of James, and now Judas, or Jude, who is also mentioned as most probably being the writer here of this book that we read and refer to as Jude being the title.

But if you'll also notice with me further, we see here that Jude and James being the brothers of Jesus certainly at a later date must have believed in who Jesus was, that being the Christ. And we know that to be true because even in 1 Corinthians the letter that Paul wrote in 1 Corinthians 9 and verse 5 mentions there the brothers of Jesus in relationship to how they were faithful, how they were servants, how they were preachers, how they were proclaimers and workers in the kingdom of God. Certainly again, we see it very probable and most likely that this Jude here, Judas again, is the very brother of Jesus and thus very fitting to be one who wrote this book because he would have been with Christ Himself. He would have been one who was raised with Jesus and one who knew Jesus beyond a shadow of a doubt.

In relationship also to this book, we find that not only inside the book the references made to Jude, but also throughout history the external evidences as they are often called prove once again that Jude was written by this man, that it's authentic and that it was written by a man named Judas who was the brother of Jesus. So, most of those men that might be familiar in name such as Turtullion or Clement or Alexander, many of those old historians once again believed that this book was clearly written by that man.

We also might consider a moment who it was written to. Obviously, since there are no indications really that it was written to the Jew or Gentile, it seems clear that it was to those who are called sanctified. It was written to other Christians, sanctified by God the Father and preserved in Jesus Christ, those who loved God, those who are followers of God, those of like faith. Throughout the book as we look at it, really there is no reason why it wouldn't have been very beneficial to both the Jew and the Gentile because its content is very general in nature, but yet specific in the things that it was trying to accomplish.

As we see here, he first encourages them in verse 3 to "be those who are exhorted and encouraged to be faithful, to contend earnestly for the faith." And there he mentions "the faith that was once delivered to all." In other words, that one gospel. That one truth that brings freedom and salvation, that they be faithful to it, that they be committed to it no matter what and be careful at the same time of those who might mislead them. And that's basically what he goes on and spends the whole rest of the book, beginning in verse 4, verse 5 and following, mentioning those not only of his day, but of days past who have gone against God, who had done those things contrary to His Will, from angels all the way to Sodom and Gomorra, to situations that clearly shows even with Cain, those who were doing that which was contrary to the Will of God.

And even there in verse 12 beginning to mention those in his time who were apostates, who were involved in things that were contrary to the things, as he mentioned there in verse 13, "the things that were raging around them," the things that were really contrary again to the Will of God.

But again as we see that this prediction is made, he tries to end the book out glorifying God, saying, "Look, you have become Christians. You have become followers of God and in all these things," he tells them to "beware, watch out, don't let someone deceive you or lead you away or to cause you to believe another thing," but he says, "rather, continue to be faithful to Christ. Continue to be faithful to the Father."

So this is the book of Jude and the things that we wanted to mention in connection to that book, that great book that has so much great information about staying faithful, staying strong and watching out for those who might try to mislead us or turn us away from the precious salvation that we have in Jesus Christ.

What we'd like to do with the rest of our time then is to look at the Hebrew letter. Again, a beautiful book, a book that often is still surrounded in controversy somewhat about it's authorship, because although it's a wonderful book that is full of information, and gives us a lot of the information that really the other books don't spend much time in, the concept of what Judaism is all about, the idea of what Christianity is all about and how they worked together to accomplish the greater theme of the Word of God, that Jesus Christ is the Son of God and salvation if found through Him. They still, here in Hebrews, are proven to be things from God and inspired writings and we notice here that this be the case because the book itself is so indicative of the things that we find throughout all the New Testament books and so full of information that is no doubt inspired by God Himself.

But who wrote this book? Well, still the majority believe that this book was written by Paul, although there are at times some questions on that and the main reason being because some question as to why Paul, as in most of his books, did not begin in Hebrews by saying, "I the apostle Paul, or Paul the apostle," because in all the other books that he wrote we primarily see that he did identify himself. In the book of Hebrews, we do not find that. That's one reason that some people question and doubt whether he was the actual author. Then others question sometimes because of the writing itself and the way it was written, the way the Greek is used, and then some of the ways that he used the Greek are different from some of the other letters. However, if you look at the content overall, we see that this has to have been someone who was either Paul or someone who was with Paul every day, and because of that we find many suggestions like maybe a man named John Mark that we talked about who later in his life was with Paul. Some claim even Barnabus or Silas, or even Luke, Apollus. There are so many that Paul identifies in his letters that were friends, that were beloved, that were with him, that were bondservants and fellow workers at the same time, learning from Paul. Now certainly I guess it's possible that there may have been others that could have penned this book and been so similar to Paul because they were always with Paul. However again, we see the vast majority of individuals still falling back both from an external and internal aspect of believing that everything still points to Paul and still shows that this man, for the most part no doubt and most likely probable than not, wrote this book.

What about in the end when he talks about his good friend Timothy? What about the references that we have there about the imprisonment and how possibly this individual now has just been released from chains? What about all the logical comments and statements that are made here in Hebrews that basically we can find in other writings of Paul that are identical? Again, there are many reasons why we can really see such a familiarity in this book to the other writings of the apostle Paul.

But at this time then let's go on to see a little bit more about maybe when this book was written and possibly by whom it was written and consider a few of those things before we begin to dive into the text just for a few moments. If we were to consider a date, again you would have a problem there unless you accept the Pauline authorship. Most likely if it were Paul, it would have been after his first imprisonment, somewhere probably about 62 AD is when he would have written this book. It must have been written obviously to those who were of Jewish background. Why? Because this book is full of information about Judaism and Christianity, trying again over and over and over to reiterate the fact of what Judaism was, how it fulfilled it's function, but yet how that it was replaced by something greater and better.

In fact, if you'll even notice there and turn with me in the book of Hebrews to the very first words in the book, that is chapter 1 and verse 1, you'll begin to see unfold here what the writer's intent was. He jumped right into the message as he begins to say in verse 1, "God who at various times and in various ways spoke in times past to the fathers, by the prophets." Here he says, "In times past under the old law, it was done this way." What about these days, writer? Well, the writer here says, "Has in these last days spoken to us by His son whom He has appointed heir of all things through whom also He made the world." Here we have the same confirmation of those things mentioned in John 1:1 that "Jesus was in the beginning, that he was the creator creating things according to the Father and also that He was the one that all things have been put under." And why? He is the son of God. So the writer here says, "Now, under this law, Jesus Christ is the answer."

Under the old law, we find something much, much different. It goes on to glorify Jesus Christ and even in verse 4 mentions those things that are much better, much better about the new covenant. And in fact, we could probably spend several lessons just looking at how the new covenant is considered in Hebrews to be better. It is mentioned there as being something that is, in verse 4, better because Christ was greater than the angels. He lowered Himself lower than the angels, but He became greater than the angels. It says, "The new covenant has a better offering, rather than animals or bulls or goats, the new covenant has the blood of Christ sealing it." It has a better covenant as far as the promises, in other words the rewards of heaven. The eternal life aspect is there, not just the promised land and the things of life, but also heaven is the promise, a better hope, the hopes that are here on this earth, the hopes and the blessings of this life are greater in the new covenant. And this book also says in the thirteen times that it used this word "better" that there someday would be a better rest and a better country and a better place, on and on and on and on the emphasis is used here to show the Jew that you must not and cannot return to the old ways. People must not leave Christ to go back to Judaism, because the God you serve under Jewish law is the God now who has made Jesus both Lord and master, who has now taken this Christ to seal the new covenant. As we clearly see in chapters 8 and 9 how it says that the old covenant, because of the way man follows it, there was faults, and therefore there was a need for a new covenant and there how in the last verse of chapter 8, he goes on to say that "there is a new covenant, it has made the first covenant..." What? "...obsolete."

So we see here again, this was an important book, an important book to the Jew, to those who so clearly were traditioned and grounded in Jewish ideas and concepts and although they were trying to leave Judaism, they kept sliding back to a lot of the Jewish traditions and principles. This book was for them, to encourage them and to let them know that they, yes, could have something better in Christ and did have something better in Christ and needed to remain in Christ to continue to have those things. They needed to have the faith that they should have in the great faith chapter, Hebrews 11, faith that was seen in the works of those who were obedient, how they needed to be those who were there for one another, who were there in the service of God, who were there in working toward their eternal salvation.

So yes, the lessons here in this book are mighty, are great. The issues of salvation, the understanding of the old and the new laws, and how that the new law in the spiritual nature is so similar in so many ways to the old law, but yet at the end of the day how that our faith and the faith in Jesus Christ and the faith in His promises and the obedience to His service will definitely be what brings us before God as proper and righteous and wholesome in the end.

I want you also to notice with me in the last chapter. There are many things there that I wanted to bring out just quickly. In chapter 13, verse 8, it mentions that "Jesus is the same yesterday, today and forever." That tells us our God is unchanging. He will never change. He is one who we can count on and He is one who will always be there for us. Then as he ends the book, he continues there to edify, that is the writer again most likely Paul, to edify the brethren to be strong, to be comforted, to pray for them as he would pray for also those who are reading the book so that they all in faith could someday stand before Jesus Christ and be counted worthy, worthy not only to again receive the better things of this life, the blessings of this life and the promises of this life, but also that better faith that through outcome would eventually give them the reward, the reward that he well mentions here as being the reward of eternal life, the reward of that heavenly home. Why not study these great and wondrous books that remind us of not only who God is but what we must do to truly be pleasing before our God and creator?

(SONG # 3 - "In The Land Of Fadeless Day!")


Thanks for putting God first and choosing to be with us this morning. I hope you have benefited from our time together. Please remember, you are invited to join us every Sunday morning at 7:30, as we commit ourselves to this offering for God.

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Thanks be to God for His many servants which He inspired to write the New Testament - For through it we have been provided the knowledge of all things needed, pertaining to life and godliness!

(Program closing)