map
Support I.B.C
map
map
map
map
map
map
map
The supremacy of Christ. Hebrews 1-2
The supremacy of Christ
Hebrews 1

Scripture reading: Colossians 1:15-20, Philippians 2:1-11

This morning we are going to begin a 3 week study of the Book of Hebrews

-We don't know who wrote the Book of Hebrews. Some say it was Paul; others way Luke, Barnabas, Silas, etc. Whoever wrote it knew Timothy-- for he is mentioned in chapter 13 in the context of having recently been released from prison.
-The wording of Hebrews has a strong Jewish theme and so we surmise that the original recipients were Jewish believers
-As for a date, it seems likely that it was written between 65-69 A.D (For no mention of the destroyed Temple is given. This happened in A.D 70)
-A few distinct features of Hebrews include: 35 Old Testament quotations plus numerous Old Testament allusions, a lengthy discussion of the priesthood and Old Testament sacrificial system (hence reading of Hebrews requires some knowledge of the Old Testament and in particular the Book of Leviticus)

Today I want to talk to you about the supremacy and superiority of Christ.

Proclaiming the supremacy of Christ is instantly controversial, for the implication is that all other religions, religious figures, and ways of thought are inferior. This is a correct conclusion. There is no one like Jesus. There is no one worthy following, but Jesus.

In case you are wondering why I have opted to entitle today's message "The supremacy of Christ" it's because in Hebrews 1:4 (NIV) we are told that Jesus is superior to the angels.

In the Book of Hebrews, Jesus is more than just superior to the angels.

a. He is also said to be worthy of greater honor than Moses - the giver of the Law. (Hebrews 3)

b. He is declared to be greater than Joshua -- who led the Israelites into the Promised land. Not only is Jesus greater than Joshua, the Rest he gives is superior in every way to the rest that Joshua gave (Hebrews 4)

c. He is greater than Aaron and the priestly office that he occupied. Hebrews 4-5

Aaron was chosen by God to act as an intermediary between God and the Israelites-- offering sacrifices on behalf of the people for their sins and in worship. Jesus is the Great High Priest-- being perfect in himself and offering a once for all sacrifice for the sins of the world-- that whoever believes in him might have eternal life.

Further: It's not just others in the Bible who said Jesus was great. Jesus claimed to be

-In Matthew 12:6 Jesus claims to be greater than the Temple.
-In Matthew 12:41 Jesus says he is greater than Jonah (renowned for being swallowed by a great fish and being spit out alive 3 days later).
-In Matthew 12:42 Jesus says that he is greater than Solomon.


READ Hebrews 1-- noting that Hebrews 1-2 form a cohesive unit. Note also that the Old Testament quotations of 1:5-14 fill out the summary that is given in v.1-4.

INTRODUCTORY NOTES

In Hebrews 1 we are told some amazing things about Christ

a. He is the eternal Son of God
b. He is God's final word and greatest gift to humanity
c. All things belong to him
d. He made the universe
e. He is eternal
f. He is God (the radiance of God's glory, the exact representation of his being) v.3
g. By his powerful word he sustains all things. (In contrast to our acts of sustaining things: Jesus is happy to do this. It is not a burden for him. He never tires of it. It is an easy thing to him) v.3
h. He provided all that is needed for the purification and forgiveness of our sins
i. He is presently sitting at the right hand of the Father
j. He has a kingdom that he reigns over
k. He is superior to the angels v.4

Of all things on this list, Jesus being listed as superior to the angels strikes me as odd

It sounds so obvious. Of course Jesus is superior to the angels. Angels are creatures made by Christ. Angels are his servants. Angels were made to worship Christ.


THE SUPERIORITY OF CHRIST TO THE ANGELS

Firstly: Some Bible info on angels

-they worship Christ v.6 (at his birth, in Heaven)
-they are created beings. There are different kinds of angels (arch angel, cherubim, seraphim)
-They were created holy but some rebelled and were cast out of Heaven
-They were NOT made in the image of God
-There is no provision for the salvation of angels
-They are stronger than us
-God sends them at times to help us
-They are spirit beings who can appear as men (i.e to Abraham, Daniel, etc)
-They are in conflict with evil spirits/demons (fallen angels) (See Book of Daniel, Ephesians 6)
-At times God uses them as instruments of His judgment
-During his earthly ministry they at times attended to Christ (after 40 days in wilderness)

How/why some people came to think of Jesus being on par with or below angels

It was the fashion of the day in Judaism to venerate angels

Jewish literature of the period of Christ on earth and just after indicates a growing fascination with the angels. The theme of angels waging war against the enemies of Israel is prominent with the apocalyptic literature of the same period of the Book of Hebrews. The practice of seeking help from the angels is well attested within both Jewish and Christian literature during the Greco Roman period. Inscriptions on amulets and bracelets confirm the widespread reliance upon angels for exorcisms, healing, and protection among the Jewish population.

Faulty logic combined with a misunderstanding of Christ's incarnation

In Hebrews 2:9 it says of Jesus in his incarnation "But we see Jesus, who was made a little lower than the angels...." and then the rest of Hebrews 2 explains why Jesus lowered himself and became a man

Here's an example of faulty logic

a. Man is lower than the angels
b. Jesus became a man

Therefore Jesus is lower than the angels

However: The Bible declares that Jesus is both God and man. 1 Person having both a divine nature and a human nature. Yet, when faulty human logic is at work, facts and complete ideas are the least of a persons concerns.


THE METHOD OF HEBREWS 1: To prove from the Scriptures that Jesus is superior to the angels

Long story short. Hebrews 1-2 refute a dangerous practice that was in the culture and perhaps seeping into the Jewish side of the church-- the veneration/worship of angels. In Hebrews 1, seven scriptures are used to refute any notion that Jesus was inferior to the angels.

After refuting the veneration of angels, the writer in Hebrews 3:1 lifts up Christ and says: Look to Jesus for help. Turn your eyes upon Christ.

Hebrews 3:1 says Therefore, holy brothers, who share in the heavenly calling, fix your thoughts on Jesus, the apostle and high priest whom we confess." Similarly in Hebrews 12:2 we are told to "fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith-- who the joy set before him endured the cross, scorning its shame, and who has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God."


WHY JESUS JESUS BECAME A MAN AND WAS temporarily MADE A LITTLE LOWER THE THE ANGELS Hebrews 2:5-18

Read text and ultimately note that he became a man and died on the cross for us

-that we might be brought to glory
-that we might be made holy
-that we might become the children of God
-that he might destroy the devil and free us from the fear of death

Note the necessity of his becoming a man: To be tempted as we were but to overcome. To identify with us. To provide a once for all sacrifice for our sins.

Note: The mystery of Christ's incarnation is also unpacked in Philippians 2:1-11

The expected response to Jesus and his sacrifice

Read Hebrews 2:1-3 and note that the thrust of Hebrews 3-4 is that today is the day one should put their faith in Christ as Savior and Lord.

Hebrews 3:15 says "Today, if you hear his voice, do not harden your hearts as you did in the rebellion."

-Turn to Christ for salvation. There is no other Savior.
-Take advantage of Today and repent. Do not persist in your unbelief. Do not carry on in your rebellion.


CONCLUSION

Jesus is superior in all ways to all other religious figures, all other philosophies and ways, everyone. There is no one like Jesus. Jesus is better. Jesus is supreme.

Jesus is superior to the angels-- even though he made himself-- for a short while- a little lower than them.

It's easy to get off track. It easy to come up with strange ideas. We need to guard our minds and hearts from false teaching and error. We are to watch our lives and our doctrine closely

As the angels in Heaven worship so are to. Jesus alone is worthy of our praise


Closing song: All hail the Lamb