The Lord God Sent Jesus to be His Spokesman!
O Lord God, my precious Savior, as I enter Your presence this day for worship, open my ears to hear the truths You would lay upon my heart. Instruct my mind, so that I might fully understand Your Word and truly comprehend Your will. Move me to rejoice this Advent Season in the certainty of Your return, for then the challenges of this life will end and the joys of heaven will begin. I ask this in Jesus’ name. Amen.
The Bible is a book inspired by God the Holy Spirit. It is therefore true and trustworthy. It reveals to us how we are saved by faith in Christ Jesus and equips us to accomplish every good work!
Although the Bible is God’s inspired Word, many people today unfortunately ignore its truths. They are preoccupied with their lives in this world, even as the people were in Noah’s day and in Lot’s day. Sadly, unless they have a change of heart, they will lose the lives they are trying to gain.
Text: Deuteronomy 18:15-22 “The Lord your God will raise up for you a Prophet like me from your midst, from your brethren. Him you shall hear, according to all you desired of the Lord your God in Horeb in the day of the assembly, saying, ‘Let me not hear again the voice of the Lord my God, nor let me see this great fire anymore, lest I die.’ And the Lord said to me: ‘What they have spoken is good. I will raise up for them a Prophet like you from among their brethren, and will put My words in His mouth, and He shall speak to them all that I command Him. And it shall be that whoever will not hear My words, which He speaks in My name, I will require it of him. But the prophet who presumes to speak a word in My name, which I have not commanded him to speak, or who speaks in the name of other gods, that prophet shall die.’ And if you say in your heart, ‘How shall we know the word which the Lord has not spoken?’— when a prophet speaks in the name of the Lord, if the thing does not happen or come to pass, that is the thing which the Lord has not spoken; the prophet has spoken it presumptuously; you shall not be afraid of him.
In Christ Jesus, through whom God has chosen to reveal His truths, dear fellow redeemed:
ABC, CBS, NBC, or FOX News—to which do you turn to stay informed? Which truly provides a “fair and balanced” approach to current events? We could have quite a discussion on that subject, and we might come to differing conclusions. While such a discussion would have some merit and importance, for we want to be informed citizens of our country, it is not nearly as important as a broader discussion of where we find truth regarding the most important questions in life—those questions regarding the existence of God, the true nature of man, the reason for the presence of evil in this world, and what needs to be done to deal with evil so that our futures both here in this life and after death might be secure. Where should we turn? To whom should we turn to discover the truth regarding these most important issues?
Moses provides the answers in our text. He addressed these words to the children of Israel as they stood on the border of the Promised Land. He did so as a prophet of the living God—a God whose existence and presence were unquestionable, for He appeared visibly in the form of a pillar of cloud and fire in the midst of their encampment. In order to set the stage for his answers, and his answers are God’s answers, Moses reminded the children of Israel of the giving of the Law on Mount Sinai (here designated as Mt. Horeb). God’s presence had been revealed at that time through dark clouds, lightning, thunder, and earthquakes. The people had been so frightened that they appealed to Moses to approach and address God in their place, for they were afraid to do so themselves. They had cried out: “Let me not hear again the voice of the Lord my God, nor let me see this great fire anymore, lest I die.” Moses had indeed represented the children of Israel by ascending up into the mountain and receiving the tablets of stone upon which were engraved the Ten Commandments. These he had delivered to Israel. Now, in view of the fact that he would soon die and no longer be with them, he told them: “The Lord your God will raise up for you a Prophet like me from your midst, from your brethren. Him you shall hear, according to all you desired of the Lord your God in Horeb in the day of the assembly.” That Prophet who would represent God, as had Moses, was Jesus. My dear friends, THE LORD GOD SENT JESUS TO BE HIS SPOKESMAN!
How were they—how are we to respond to Jesus? Moses continued: “The Lord said to me: ‘What they have spoken is good. I will raise up for them a Prophet like you from among their brethren, and will put My words in His mouth, and He shall speak to them all that I command Him.” Consequently, as Moses instructs, let us listen to Jesus for He proclaims divine truth!
It is interesting that almost as a point of emphasis the apostle John begins his Gospel account of Jesus' life and ministry by identifying Jesus as “the Word.” He writes: “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God” (Jn. 1:1-2). Later in that same first chapter of the Gospel of John, Jesus is tied to this very prophecy in Deuteronomy when John records the words of Philip to Nathanael after Philip had initially met Jesus. Philip told Nathanael: “We have found Him of whom Moses in the law, and also the prophets, wrote—Jesus of Nazareth” (1:45). Jesus, consequently, deserves our attention, both in view of who He is and what He came into this world to bring. The writer to the Hebrews says this as he opens his Epistle: “God, who at various times and in various ways spoke in time past to the fathers by the prophets,has in these last days spoken to us by His Son” (cf. 1:1-2a). Jesus is the Son of God come from heaven to reveal divine truth from His heavenly Father—our God!
This is exactly what Jesus proclaimed as He preached to the people of His day. At one point when Jesus was preaching in the temple at Jerusalem He stated: “My doctrine is not Mine, but His who sent Me. If anyone wills to do His will, he shall know concerning the doctrine, whether it is from God or whether I speak on My own authority” (Jn. 7:16-17). What was and remains the essence of God’s will for us? Jesus explained in His “Bread of Life” sermon: “I am the bread of life. He who comes to Me shall never hunger, and he who believes in Me shall never thirst…. All that the Father gives Me will come to Me, and the one who comes to Me I will by no means cast out.For I have come down from heaven, not to do My own will, but the will of Him who sent Me…. And this is the will of Him who sent Me, that everyone who sees the Son and believes in Him may have everlasting life; and I will raise him up at the last day” (Jn. 6:35, 37-38, 40). He came to overcome sin and give us life! Therefore, we ought to listen to Him very closely. He makes us this promise when we do: “If you abide in My word, you are My disciples indeed. And you shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free” (Jn. 8:31b-32). Yes, Jesus promises us freedom—freedom from sin, from guilt, from fear, from shame, from the bondage of Satan; freedom to love, to serve, to rejoice, to succeed; freedom for a renewed relationship with God, for a new relationship with men, and for the fulfillment of our highest callings as God’s children and heirs.
But there are many who will object and say, “Yes, but Jesus is no longer with us.” That is true in one sense—His physical, bodily, visible sense. Yet, He has promised always to be in our midst—wherever two or three are gathered in His name (cf. Mt. 18:20). His words and those of His inspired disciples are also found recorded in the Bible. Paul commended the Thessalonian Christians, for as he told them, “When you received the word of God which you heard from us, you welcomed it not as the word of men, but as it is in truth, the word of God, which also effectively works in you who believe” (1 Thess. 2:13). Indeed, as we heard in our Epistle Lesson this morning: “All Scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness,that the man of God may be complete, thoroughly equipped for every good work” (2 Tim. 3:16-17). Let us, therefore, listen as Jesus speaks to us in His Word—the Bible. In it He reveals who He is, what He came to do for us, and how we as His redeemed children are to live. That will bring us blessing!
If we do not, however, we will inevitably be the objects of God’s judgment. Moses warns: “It shall be that whoever will not hear My words, which He speaks in My name, I will require it of him.” God has entrusted to Jesus the judgment of the world at the end of time. It is interesting how He Himself describes what will happen on that day: “If anyone hears My words and does not believe,I do not judge him; for I did not come to judge the world but to save the world. He who rejects Me, and does not receive My words, has that which judges him—the word that I have spoken will judge him in the last day. For I have not spoken on My own authority; but the Father who sent Me gave Me a command, what I should say and what I should speak. And I know that His command is everlasting life. Therefore, whatever I speak, just as the Father has told Me, so I speak” (Jn. 12:47-50). This brings us right back to the truths Moses asserts in our text—that the Prophet who was to come, Jesus, would speak God’s truth! Let us, therefore, listen to Jesus for He proclaims divine truth!
In contrast Moses asserts that we ought to reject all false prophets. He says: “The prophet who presumes to speak a word in My name, which I have not commanded him to speak, or who speaks in the name of other gods, that prophet shall die.’ And if you say in your heart, ‘How shall we know the word which the Lord has not spoken?’— when a prophet speaks in the name of the Lord, if the thing does not happen or come to pass, that is the thing which the Lord has not spoken; the prophet has spoken it presumptuously; you shall not be afraid of him.” My dear friends, do not listen to those who proclaim their own fantasies!
It is interesting that in an age that now rejects the possibility of an absolute truth such as that found in God’s Word, everyone still chooses to place their faith in an authority of some sort. To be sure there are many false prophets alive and well in the world today—siren voices that can and will mislead those who follow them. In our Comparative Religion course in our Immanuel High School we have been considering a whole host of people and groups who claim to have continuing revelations from a whole host of gods and angelic beings, all of which claim to be authoritative and to whom you ought to then submit your minds and hearts. God says, “No!” The apostle John says, “Beloved, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits, whether they are of God; because many false prophets have gone out into the world” (1 Jn. 4:1). This is true whether we are talking about false religions such as Islam with its claims that Muhammad was enlightened by one of God’s angels or the Mormons who claim the same for Joseph Smith. There is no reason to fear the claims of any prophet, who departs from the truths revealed in the Bible.
What is even of greater significance today, however, and worthy of warning is that growing subjective notion that we should simply listen to our own hearts and follow our own thoughts. Let us remember that we are fallen human beings—hopelessly lost were it not for the grace and mercy of God. God indeed created Adam and Eve in His own image—they were perfect, but we are not. Jeremiah warns us that “the heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked” (17:9). Let us not listen to our hearts, for they will mislead us. Our only hope is to have our hearts cleansed by the redeeming love of God. As Isaiah records: “Come now, and let us reason together,” says the LORD, “Though your sins are like scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they are like crimson, they shall be as wool” (1:18). As for our thoughts, they too must be brought into subjection to the revealed truths of God’s Word. As Paul declares, “The natural man does not receive the things of the Spirit of God, for they are foolishness to him, nor can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned” (1 Cor. 2:14). Consequently, to depend upon our own minds—no matter how intelligent we may believe ourselves to be—is the height of arrogance and foolishness. No, my dear friends, remember always throughout this Advent Season and beyond—THE LORD GOD SENT JESUS TO BE HIS SPOKESMAN! Do not listen to those who proclaim their own fantasies, and that includes the fantasies of our own hearts and minds. Rather, let us listen to Jesus for He proclaims divine truth—divine truth that will ultimately lead to eternal life in heaven! Amen.
—Pastor Paul D. Nolting
Soli Gloria Deo!