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Galatians 5:16-23 teaches that at any moment we are either walking by the Holy Spirit or according to the sin nature. Walking by the Spirit, enjoying fellowship with God, walking in the light are virtually synonymous. During these times, the Holy Spirit is working in us to illuminate our minds to the truth of Scripture and to challenge us to apply what we learn. But when we sin, we begin to live based on the sin nature. Our works do not count for eternity. The only way to recover is to confess (admit, acknowledge) our sin to God the Father and we are instantly forgiven, cleansed, and recover our spiritual walk (1 John 1:9). Please make sure you are walking by the Spirit before you begin your Bible study, so it will be spiritually profitable.

Hebrews 1:3 by Robert Dean
Duration:52 mins 31 secs

Hebrews Lesson 12  May 12, 2005


NKJ Psalm 119:9 How can a young man cleanse his way? By taking heed according to Your word.


I don't know when the last time was that some of you had an opportunity to get involved in a detailed ongoing conversation with either an unbeliever or a brand new believer that didn't have any frame of reference, any doctrine or any real understanding of Christianity at all; but it always brings you back to a basic understanding of where most people are living and what their understanding of the Word is and what their basic questions are.  I have had a tremendous opportunity the last couple of weeks to spend a lot of time engaged in witnessing to a friend of mine who is fairly intelligent, asks a lot of questions and wants a lot of answers.  We have had the privilege of spending some time exploring those answers.  Usually you don't have that.  I don't know about you but I sometimes have a few minutes or may be an hour to go over the gospel.  Then, it is just in the Lord's hands.  You know that one person plants and another person waters.  God gives the increase. 


It is always interesting as a pastor because we get into all of our little groups where we talk to people who have a frame of reference. We have a similar vocabulary and we know what we are talking about. We can maximize our efforts when we talk about the Word because we have this frame of reference.  But then as soon as you start getting into a discussion with somebody who doesn't have that, it makes you realize what a treasure you have in that.  But it also helps you realize what the issues are in life and what the issues are that are faced by most people when they are trying to witness to someone at work or someone in their family. You always come up to the same basic kinds of issues that are the challenge that is presented because of the attacks of paganism on the Word of God in our generation. Those assaults, especially today, are focused on two main things.  One issue is the claims of Jesus Christ and who He is as undiminished deity.  Secondly the foundation for everything is simply the authority of the Word of God.  I think that the two arenas where we are going to see a large part of the battle taking place right now is in the arena of canonicity and the authority of Scripture because of the movie that is going to come out based on the book "The Da Vinci Code" as well as on the deity of Christ with His claims to be God.  This is nothing new.  If you have been around modern culture for any period of time or if you had any experience with the kind of bullying that goes on in academic classrooms or what takes place on some of the television shows that are allegedly seeking the truth behind religion or Christianity, then you know they have the same assault points. They have been for the last 150 to 200 years. 


There was a major shift that took place approximately 200 years ago that laid the foundation for this.  It was interesting because in the course of the conversations during the last few days I was asked why it is that having heard this very logical and historical rational presentation of what the Bible teaches about salvation and who Jesus is, why don't we get that in churches?  What happened?  Where did it go?  Where do you find this?  I thought about that a minute and I realized that the experience, the façade of Christianity that most people experience and run into, is far removed from what we have and experience in our frame of reference every day and every week in listening to tapes and reading the material that has come out of our heritage.  All of this information is not readily available to the man on the street.  He doesn't know where to get it or how to get it.  They haven't heard it before. 


The reason goes back to what happened in Western European history in the late 1700's. It was a revolution of thought often called the Copernican revolution of thought.  Now you know who Copernicus was.  He was the Polish astronomer who discovered that the earth was not at the center of the universe.  He said the sun was the center of the solar system, but the solar system wasn't the center of the universe. It caused people to shift their thinking so that man and the earth were not at the center of everything.  Not everything was revolving around the earth.  In astronomical terms or physical terms there was a shift in the way we perceived the universe. 


In the realm of philosophy and in the realm of thought the same kind of thing happened with the writings of a German philosopher by the name of Immanuel Kant. What Kant basically said to bring it down to a lay level is that we don't see things as they are.  In other words, I don't see a black Bible.  I have an understanding of my perceptions.  I don't ever perceive anything as it is.  In his very abstruse philosophical ponderings developed in his various books, he shifted the whole concept of knowledge.  Up until that point even though there were arguments between the rationalists and empiricists, everybody no matter who you were in Western civilization believed there existed objective knowledge.  They may argue about what it was and what it consisted of, but everybody believed that you could know something as it is in reality.  After Kant none of the intellectuals believed it.  They believed you could only know it as you encountered it in your experience, as you perceived it in your experience.  The end result of that was that it destroyed objective knowledge.  We couldn't know God because God exists at another level.  He called it the realm of the pnuminal.  We exist in the realm of the phenomenal.  You can't get into the realm of the pnuminal.  It was like living in a two-story house. 


Francis Shaffer used that illustration.  It is like living in a two-story house.  Up until the time Kant lived, the realm of universals or absolutes operated upstairs.  Downstairs you have the details or the particulars. The upper story is universals and absolutes. That is what gives meaning to the details of life.  God exists upstairs.  Man exists downstairs. What happened with Immanuel Kant is the intellectual baggage needed to get to that upper level so you could understand universals was lost. Upstairs is objective knowledge. Downstairs is subjective knowledge. Before Kant, everybody proposed some sort of intellectual method to get from the downstairs to the upstairs so that you could know for sure universal objective truth.  But Kant came along and wiped out the staircase. That means you can't know things that are objective and true. You can't know universal principles. You can't know absolutes.  You can only guess them from an empirical or pragmatic base.  But you can't know it for sure. There was no level of certainty that God exists because all we are left with is our experiences or our impressions of something we might call God. 


That penetrated the academic thought of Western Europe.  It penetrated into the universities and into the seminaries and filtered down and basically destroyed all supernatural knowledge.  If we can't get to the upper story where God is, then God can't get down below either.  He can't communicate to man. If God can't communicate to man at this pre-suppositional level, then the Bible is no longer God's revelation to man.  It is nothing more than a record of human experiences of God.  Now the Bible has been basically eviscerated of its supernatural God-ordained nature.  It is just another religious book.  You destroy miracles and the supernatural.  This kind of thinking permeated all of the major denominations in the 19th century.  This is why revelation is so important.  I go over this and over this because what the Bible presents is that there is a personal, rational, and orderly God who exists has communicated objectively to man in such a way that man can know and comprehend what this God has revealed.  The God who reveals is the God who created man and knows how to communicate so that the creature He created could understand it.  You see God is the one who built the receptor.  He created the receiving instrument in the soul and because He designed that He can communicate on a wavelength that man can receive. 


The theory of pagans is that it is too obscure and difficult.  We can't really know it.  That is their pagan rationalization, suppressing the truth in unrighteousness. 


NKJ Romans 1:18 For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who suppress the truth in unrighteousness,


As you go through 19th century history you realize that as all the denominations are penetrated and permeated by this liberal thought, it eventually comes to the apex of your major battles known as the fundamentalist modernist controversy at the end of the 19th century and into the twenties and thirties of the 20th century. The result is that if you go to many non-southern Baptist churches or if you go to Methodist churches, Episcopal churches or Presbyterian churches that have bought into this, all you will get is a lot of do goodism.  That is all you are left with.  You are left with ritual without reality.  You are left with a lot of morality without a foundation. You are left with everyone doing their various dog and pony shows.  It differs from crowd to crowd depending on their socio-economic level.  In the deterioration that occurred as the result of the infection of 19th century liberalism you have a vacuum of truth. Into that vacuum they sucked up every kind of experience that is known to man. So all you are left with is an experience basis of a relationship with God rather than absolute truth – rather than objective truth. 


God has given truth in propositions.  These are statements.  It is a technical term out of logic meaning a declarative sentence that is verifiable or falsifiable. A question is not a proposition. A clause is not a proposition. A proposition states something about reality. Scripture is propositional truth. Therefore it fits into a pattern of interpretation. We interpret it according to a historical grammatical system of interpretation. We believe in literal historical means or methods of interpreting a text and going through the Scripture.  It is not magical or mystical.  You don't just open the Bible and let your finger fall on a verse and read it and wait for the Holy Spirit to sort of impact you with its meaning.


Once you destroy the possibility of knowing truth objectively, then the only way you can get meaning is from the creature rather than the creator. All meaning comes from the lower level, not the upper level.  Now this has all kinds of ramifications.  If you understand this it helps you understand what is happening in our world today.  There is judicial activism.  The courts don't seem to be able to properly interpret the Constitution in terms of the intent of the framers of the Constitution. We have people and politicians that say that the Constitution is a living document – it can be reinterpreted for every generation.  All of that comes out of this basic scenario.  Once you get rid of the upper story and render it unknowable, then meaning is derived from human beings in each society. You have one level of truth that exists over here for an aboriginal tribe in the bush and another type of truth that exists for some Islamic fundamentalist.  You have another level of truth that exists for some Buddhist monk. You have some other truth that exists for a Western European secular skeptic. You have some other truth for these crazy born-agains. That is the term they are using for us now – born-agains. 


Since there is nothing upstairs to use to evaluate each of these different truth claims, then they must be treated as being equally valid.  Since every culture has its truth claims, every culture has value.  This produces what is called multiculturalism.  You can't make a critical evaluation of another culture because it is the height of arrogance to think you know something that everyone should be subordinate to.  When someone comes along as a Bible believing Christian and claims to have absolute truth by which they can evaluate everything, they become everybody's enemy.  This is why we are everybody's enemy. The bottom line is that this whole system of thought that came out of the 19th century destroyed most churches.  Most of the things that are seen today that go by the name of Christianity are nothing more than various dog and pony shows.  There are snake handlers and people who drink poison.  It can be bizarre. 


Then there is the other extreme of the high church with expensive cathedrals and robes and everything associated with a high church religious ritual experience. Whether it is the low church form or the high church form, it is a dog and pony show that has eviscerated itself or cut itself off completely from learning truth and from knowing the Word.  There is no longer a sense even among a lot of evangelicals who ought to know better that there is real objective truth. The purpose of the Christian life is to learn to think consistently with that objective body of Truth that has been revealed to us.  This is why people get wrapped around the axel about things like they want to go to church and want it to be relevant.  My response has always been that you come to church and you want the teaching to be relevant to you is because you don't want to be relevant to God.  Think about that for a while! The reason that most people go to church and want the teaching to be relevant to them is because they don't want to be relevant to God. The problem is that they want God to conform to their personal experience basis rather than letting God dictate what the agenda is and what the priorities are supposed to be and then conform their life to that standard. The problem isn't that the Bible isn't relevant to modern man, but that modern man isn't relevant to the Bible. We have to bring people back into line. The more our culture drifts in to this mass of subjective mysticism the more difficult it is. At the core of mysticism is a virulent and destructive anti-rational attack on logic that wants to do away with any kind of exegetical doctrinal instruction. You come to a book like Hebrews and it is no wonder that Hebrews is not well taught today. You have to think a lot to understand what is going on in Hebrews. The writer of Hebrews brings together a tremendous amount of information out of the Old Testament.


Corrected translation of Hebrews 1 


Vs 1 After God spoke in a variety of fragments and in various forms in time past to the fathers by means of the prophets


The word "fathers" refers to the Old Testament Jewish saints. 


This is a summation of revelation in the Old Testament.


Vs 2 He has in these last days spoken to us by His Son who He has appointed the heir of all things; through whom also He made the worlds 


We went through the Doctrine of Revelation. We said that there are two categories of revelation that theologians talk about and the Bible talks about. One is general revelation and the other is special revelation.  Both general revelation and special revelation say something about man, something about God, and something about nature.  But general revelation has to be interpreted by special revelation. General revelation is only good to the extent that it testifies to the existence and power of God to the degree that man is no longer without excuse if he rejects God. Man can't say that he didn't know that God existed. General revelation testifies to the power of God. 


NKJ Romans 1:20 For since the creation of the world His invisible attributes are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even His eternal power and Godhead, so that they are without excuse,


But man often in unrighteousness suppresses that. General revelation is the idea that man on his own can interpret nature to a certain degree. Adam as an unfallen creature was placed in the garden. God told him to name all the creatures. He could begin to learn all about the creation. He could learn all about the trees.  Even Adam as an unfallen creature can't survive in the creation apart from special revelation.  Even without an old sin nature, the creature has to have special revelation in order to properly understand general revelation and his environment. God comes along and tells him that he can eat from all the trees in the garden except for the fruit of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. Adam could have never learned that through rationalism or empiricism or any level of observation. He could have contemplated his navel until he died 1,000 years later and would have never come up with the idea that that one tree meant instant spiritual death. He had to have special revelation. God had to speak to him. So what we have in the Scripture is this realization that in order for life to have any meaning and value, we have to gain the critical information from God speaking to His creation. If you wipe that out in the beginning and you presuppose that God can't speak, you are left in the morass of meaninglessness and despair and depression. This is why you end up with despair and depression in existentialism and post-modernism. It always ends up in hopelessness. So the writer of Hebrews begins talking about objective, verifiable, propositional revelation. 


Not only did God speak in the Old Testament but in the New Testament He spoke to us by means of His Son. The final and ultimate revelation is given through His Son. That word as it is given in the original Greek lacked the article. When it lacks the article it emphasizes the quality of His Sonship, the quality of His essence, and the quality of His person. By leaving the article out the writer in the original language is emphasizing the unique superiority of the Son. 


After that, seven statements are made in 2b-4 that support the superiority of the Son. Last time we saw at the end of verse 2 that He is appointed the Son heir of all things. This is a statement that looks forward to the end. Only Biblical Christianity produces a linear view of history. We look down the corridor of time to the end. We look to the fact that there will be resolution. It is not an endless cycle of events that you get in eastern pantheism or in Greek thought. Life just doesn't exist and end as you get in Egyptian religious thought. There you sort of bounce into the after life.  There is a direction and future to this. So you live today in the light of the future. Wherever Christianity has gone and impacted a culture, one of the by products of this has been in economics. Christians realize there is a future so they will save today in order to have resources for the future. This is one of the results. 


So you have Max Vapor in his book on the Protestant work ethic and the development of capitalism who did an analysis that had a certain amount of truth in it that when you come out of the Protestant Reformation the impact on the thinking among the Puritans in the 17th and 18th century is that it builds a work ethic.  The accumulation of capital eventually funds the Industrial Revolution that begins towards the end of the 18th century. All of this has to do with a linear view of history. Living today in the light of eternity. The first thing said about the Son focuses on His end purpose. He will be the heir of all things.


The second thing said about the Son takes us back to the beginning. He is the one to whom all things are headed so that all things will be His inheritance and His possession. It takes us back to the beginning that He is the one through whom God made the ages. 


We have the Age of the Gentiles and the Age of Israel. The ages are sub-divided into dispensations.  Dispensation comes from the Greek word oikonomia.  It is a period of administration. It focuses on the administration rather that the time aspect. Other words focus on the time aspect. God's administration is based on certain protocols that are outlined in the covenants.  So we understand the covenants as legal documents. So God established the first dispensation with the creation covenant in Genesis 1. Man has a responsibility to fulfill that covenant. He is to fill the earth. He fails to do so. He disobeys God with the test.e  He  He eats the fruit and the result is spiritual death. 


Then you have the second dispensation of conscience based on the Adamic Covenant. 


The third dispensation of human government is based on the Noahic Covenant. 


Then there is a shift to Israel. God is no longer going to work through the entire human race but now though a specific called-out group that is the biological descendents of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. So you have the dispensation of the patriarchs from Abraham to the Exodus. That is based first of all on the Abrahamic Covenant. 


There is a shift that takes place with the first and only conditional covenant established at Mt. Sinai with the Mosaic Law. Each of these covenants gets violated. Each test in each dispensation that results in failure shows that God is demonstrating in human history that man, no matter what the conditions are, no matter what the parameters are man because of sin is going to fail. As long as the creature tries to act independently of the creator, there will always be failure. This is what God is demonstrating in the angelic conflict. The creature is going to act independently of the creator even when it is in an innocuous type of situation like eating a piece of fruit. The unintended consequences are horrendous. Even though Adam disobeyed God by eating a piece of fruit and there is nothing immoral or unethical about eating a piece of fruit unless it isn't yours because you stole it from the neighbor next door. Yet that act is the root cause of all wars, suffering, disease, famine, crime, and heartache because of one act where the creature acted independently of the creator.


Then we have the Messianic Age. Last time I pointed out that there is some debate over this in the history of dispensational thought. Some have identified this as a separate and distinct dispensation and others have not done that because the Mosaic Law continued up until the cross. Romans 16 says that Christ is the end of the Law. The cross ended the law. That is true. Sometimes there is some overlap in the dispensations. For example the Noahic Covenant was still the basis means of operation that God used over the Gentiles. But there was clearly a shift that took place with the Abrahamic Covenant that was directed to a minority group, Abraham and his descendents.  So there is a basis for arguing that there is a separate dispensation beginning with the life of Christ.  James Hall Brooks was a pastor in a Presbyterian Church in St. Louis, Missouri in the 1880's. A young alcoholic lawyer who came to a knowledge of the gospel by the name of Cyrus Ingerson Scofield who was a former Civil War soldier and decorated Civil War soldier came under his influence. James Hall Brooks taught dispensationalism to Scofield. Scofield was a man that God used to make it very popular through his Scofield Reference Bible and also through one of his protégés by the name of Louis Sperry Chaffer. Louis Sperry Chafer started off as a musical evangelist. His wife sang. He played the trumpet and sang. He started his ministry as an evangelist.  One day Scofield told young Chaffer, "You know you might make a passable preacher if you ever had anything to say." That encouraged young Chafer that to study the Word and not to spend so much time on his music. That is the problem in churches today. They want to emphasize the entertainment and they don't want to humble themselves to learn the Word.  Chaffer learned his lesson well. But neither Scofield nor his protégé Chafer followed Brooks in isolating the Messianic age as a separate dispensation. It was Scofield who set up the parameters for understanding dispensationalism– that it involves a responsibility in each age outlined be a covenant, a failure on the part of mankind or the Jewish race, and a consequent divine judgment.  You find this pattern.


So I went back a few years ago and I asked if we could substantiate a distinction in revelation, a distinct responsibility, a distinct failure and a distinct judgment in relation to the First Advent.  You can't just come along and say that Jesus was unique so we'll make it a dispensation. You have to have criteria. You have to be able to say that every dispensation is demarcated or isolated by means of new revelation indicating that something has changed, a distinct responsibility, a distinct failure and a distinct judgment. In terms of responsibility you do have new revelation.  Jesus Christ is the ultimate revelation of God. That is what Hebrews 1:3 talks about. He is the radiance of His essence. He is the flashing forth of God. That fits the main theme here.  Remember that the main verb is God spoke in these last days by means of His Son. That is the controlling idea.


When you get into the analysis of Hebrews 1:3 talking about Jesus being the radiance of His glory, we want to spend all of our time talking about how this relates to the essence of God and His full deity. It is clearly embedded. But we have to get back to the controlling idea in the passage that goes back to the verb. Grammar has to control things. The Son is the one that comes out from the Father to reveal the Father. That is the same emphasis that we will get in the third verse. So there is new revelation that takes place in Christ that surpasses all previous revelation.  He is the logos of God. No man John says in John 1 has seen the Father at any time. If you are going to talk about new revelation, you have new revelation.


The second thing you have is a new responsibility. In the previous dispensations, the focal point of the message of salvation was to believe that the Father would send a Messiah in the future. Now the Messiah is knocking on your door. He is right there in front of you. He is not in front of the Jew who is living in Athens or the Jew who is living in Cairo or the Jew living in Babylon or Rome. But He is there right in Jerusalem. You have an immediate message not to accept the promise of a future provision of the Messiah but to accept this one Jesus of Nazareth who is standing right in front of you. It is a different responsibility. There is also a failure because they reject the Messiah. It comes to a head in Matthew 12 when Jesus talks about the blasphemy of the Holy Spirit which is a time history sensitive rejection of the Messianic claims of the messiah. Only the Jews could do it in that generation. You can't do it today. You may have been taught differently. You may have heard that blasphemy of the Holy Spirit is to reject Christ as your Savior. That is not what is going on in Matthew 12. The Jews are saying that He is performing the signs of the Messiah. The signs that they are talking about are the signs that the rabbis had always understood would be the unique signs indicating the Messiah. They as the representative leadership body of Israel knew that they would be doing this by the devil. And they had their judgment in 70 AD. That was their judgment for their rejection of the Messiah. The Messianic Age ends at the cross. 


A new age enters in, the Church Age. In the Church Age you have new revelation in terms of the New Testament. It is the application of the New Covenant. The test is to trust in Jesus Christ as your Savior. The Church Age ends with the rapture of the church. 


Then there will be a 7-year period known as the time of Jacob's trouble, a time of wrath, a time of distress. This is Daniel's 70th week. It is the last 7-year period in the Age of Israel. That concludes with the return of Jesus Christ to the earth.

He establishes His kingdom. This ends with the Great White Throne judgment.


The dispensation chart shows the ages in relationship to the dispensations.


This all sets us up in the first couple of verses for what is said in the third verse. There is a slight grammatical shift that takes place here. The focus goes to the person of the Lord Jesus Christ. 


The first thing that we see is that He was the heir of all things. The second thing we see is that He is the one who made history. This is a direct claim of deity for the Lord Jesus Christ.


One of the things that came out of the lengthy introduction that I gave you this evening in talking about the historical shift after Kant in the 19th century is that if you can't get up into the upper story because the intellectual stairs have been torn down, whatever exists in the upper story can't get into the lower story. If we can't go from the details of our lives and intellectually get to the universals and have an understanding of objectives and the existence of God and absolute Truth, neither can anything that exists upstairs get downstairs. The stairs are wiped out. Therefore if God exists He can't communicate to man. If God exists, He can't become man. If God exists, the incarnation is impossible. At the core level of understanding how the nature of knowledge that has infected and destroyed Western Civilization is a rejection of the core idea of the Scripture that God can communicate to man either proportionally or personally in terms of an incarnation. If God cannot become man, then you can't have an incarnation. You can't have a virgin birth. This is why two of the five fundamentals of the faith relate to the virgin birth and the deity of Jesus Christ. 


What are the 5 fundamentals of the faith? Back in about 1915 or 1917 the conservatives wrote a series of books called The Fundamentals of Faith. It was the battleground points between the liberals and the conservatives. It you held to the five fundamental you were a fundamentalist.  That is the historical meaning of the term. That term has been assaulted and changed over the last 100 years. Originally being a fundamentalist was a good thing. It meant that you believed in the following.


  1. Infallibility of the Scripture – God has objectively revealed Himself to man. 
  2. Virgin Birth
  3. Deity of Christ
  4. Substitutionary atonement of Christ –Jesus Christ died for your sins in your place.
  5. The physical return of Jesus Christ to the earth at some time in the future.


I think everybody here holds to those five fundamentals. In a classic sense that makes you a fundamentalist. This is where the battle lines were drawn at the beginning of the 20th century. Of the five fundamentals two of them specifically relate to the issue of God becoming man – the virgin birth and the deity of Christ. Two of the five! This is the battle point – that Jesus Christ is fully God. That God became man. This is laid out very clearly in verse 3.


Roman 11:36 reiterates and substantiates this whole doctrine of the deity of Christ. The claim that came out of the 19th century that you get reiterated in these modern attacks is that Jesus never claimed to be God. It was something that the church invented 200 years later.  The legends grew and they assigned deity to Jesus. What happened in the 19th century is that they assigned late dates to all the books in the Bible. They weren't written in the 50's and 60's and 70's of the first century. They were written in the 150's to the 170's in the second century. If they are late dated that far then you don't have eyewitness accounts. So they are the project of legend, not the product of eyewitnesses. Back in the early 60's a man by the name of John Robinson who was a notorious liberal from England wrote a book on dating the New Testament. He argued for earlier dates for everything in the New Testament, earlier than any conservative because that is where the evidence was leading him. I think he was wrong in some of the dates but at least he located them in the middle of the first century so that it was written by eyewitness accounts. So we get back to what the Scripture says. They were written at a time when eyewitnesses those who knew Jesus were still alive. At the end of Romans 11:36 Paul says the following in this great doxological statement .


 NKJ Romans 11:36 For of Him and through Him and to Him are all things, to whom be glory forever. Amen.


The "Him" in context is God not Christ according to verses 32-34 in that context. It is the same kind of statement that you have at the end of verse two. He made the worlds.


Now you have Christ is the One who made the worlds. The early church clearly assigned to Jesus Christ all of the attributes of deity. He is not just another man. 


One of the classic strategies that have been developed in apologetics that I use a lot and is very effective in talking to unbelievers is to ask questions. Who do you think Jesus Christ was?  Do you think he was a good man? He said that He was the only way to heaven. He said that if you didn't believe in Him and Him alone then you couldn't get to heaven. Either it is a true statement or it is a false statement. If it is a true statement then He is the only way to heaven. If it is a false statement then Jesus Christ has not only deceived millions of people down through 2,000 years of church history but He has also been the source of numerous wars fought over religion based on that claim that He was the unique way to heaven. This isn't a good man. This is a very evil deceitful person. So you can't say that Jesus was just a good man. I won't let anybody get away with that. It is totally contrary to the evidence. Jesus is either who He claimed to be or He is a deceiver on the worst order. He is worse than any Hitler or Stalin. If He isn't telling the truth He has deceived millions of people and caused the death of many people unnecessarily. 


So you only have an option. He is either who He claims to be or He a liar. If He is a liar you are left with two options. Either He is a cognizant liar in which case He is intentionally deceiving people which makes Him thoroughly evil or He is self-deceived which make Him some form of psychotic mentally deranged individual. So you are left with three lines of reasoning, three options. He is either Lord, liar or lunatic. That is how Josh McDowell expresses it in the book "Evidence Demands a Verdict". You are not left with the option of a good man. It's clear from the Scripture that you can't take the evidence of the Bible as having any value whatsoever at all conclude with anything other than Jesus Christ is the eternal second person of the trinity. He claimed to be God. He claimed to do the works of God. Whether you are talking about the gospels, Acts or the Pauline epistles the Bible consistently presents Jesus Christ as full-undiminished deity. 


That is where we will start next time in Hebrews 1:3.