The Superiority of Christ, Part 2

The Superiority of Christ, Part 2
Covenant Words
The Superiority of Christ, Part 2

Jun 24 2024 | 00:32:38

Episode June 24, 2024 00:32:38

Show Notes

Hebrews 1:1-4

Pastor Kenneth Roth

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Episode Transcript

[00:00:00] Amen. [00:00:01] Amen. [00:00:03] Well, let's pray for the reading and preaching of God's word. Now, Lord God Almighty, your word is inspired by the holy spirit. It's spiritually discerned. [00:00:18] And for it to have its true positive effects upon our faith, upon our hope, upon our belief, upon our understanding. We need your holy spirit. [00:00:29] So I pray that your spirit would indeed open our eyes, that we might truly see wondrous things in your word, that we might grow in our faith, that we might be encouraged. [00:00:42] We pray these things in Jesus wonderful name. Amen. [00:00:48] Well, our sermon text is the same as it was the last time I was here. What? Two weeks ago. [00:00:53] Hebrews, chapter one. I'll be continuing what I started a couple of weeks ago here. In Hebrews, chapter one. [00:01:04] I'll be reading verses one through four. [00:01:08] Hear now. God's word. [00:01:11] Long ago, at many times and in many ways, God spoke to our fathers by the prophets. But in these last days, he has spoken to us by his son, whom he appointed the heir of all things, through whom also he created the world. [00:01:30] He is the radiance of the glory of God and the exact imprint of his nature, and he upholds the universe by the word of his power. [00:01:42] After making purification for sins, he sat down at the right hand of the majesty on high, having become as much superior to angels as a name he has inherited is more excellent than theirs. [00:01:57] This is the word of the Lord. [00:02:01] Amen. You may be seated. [00:02:14] Well, as we learned several weeks ago, for the jewish Christians to whom the book of Hebrews was penned, their faith in Christ was costing them even dearly. [00:02:29] They had been excluded from the very society of which they had been a part. They had grown up in. It was a jewish society. [00:02:38] Some had had their property confiscated and some even had been imprisoned, all for their faith in Christ. [00:02:47] And as a result, some of them were wondering if it even was worth continuing to follow Christ. [00:02:56] They were rethinking their allegiance to Christ, and they were considering returning to the Old Testament jewish religion because that would actually enable them to escape some of the persecution. [00:03:14] And so what the author of Hebrews is seeking to do here is to demonstrate. You notice here in verse four, speaking of Christ having become as much superior. [00:03:25] What the author is seeking to do here is to demonstrate that Christ is superior not only to angels mentioned here in verse four, but if you follow all the way through chapter ten, he is seeking to demonstrate that Christ is superior to absolutely anything found in the Old Testament. [00:03:46] In fact, the author here is declaring, yes, Christ in his superiority is worth whatever your faith in Christ may cost you. [00:03:57] And so the author here is seeking to demonstrate the superiority of Christ already right here in the first few verses already of Hebrews, chapter one. And he's seeking to show that Christ is superior. Well, let me read the list. We're going to go through this list, yes, rather quickly. It should be made into a whole multiple point sermon series, but we'll cover these points quickly, just as the author does here. Christ is superior. First of all, as we saw last time, as God's final voice, verse one, God spoke to our fathers by the prophets, but in these last days he has spoken to us by his son. That's what we saw last week. We'll briefly glance at that. Secondly, Christ is superior as God's appointed heir of all things. [00:04:49] Third, Christ is superior, excuse me, as the one through whom he created the world. [00:04:58] Fourth, Christ is superior as the radiance of God's glory. [00:05:04] Fifth, Christ is superior as God's exact image. [00:05:10] 6th way in which Christ is superior is he's the one who upholds the universe. And 7th, Christ is, is God's perfect final sacrifice. [00:05:25] That's a lot of glory. That's a lot of qualities in which Christ is superior. It's awesome. [00:05:35] In other words, already here you could say case closed. Christ is incomparably superior to any other religion, any philosophy, any supposed savior, any angel, whatever. Christ is superior just with these qualities, these attributes, these works of his mentioned here. So just with this list alone, why would anyone consider abandoning Christ, forsaking Christ? That's the point of the author here. [00:06:08] And I'm going to insert something else that I'm not going to expand upon, but more as a parenthesis, if you're wondering maybe how this applies to you, one of the things that God uses are great truths about God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit to enable us to persevere in hope and persevere through life's trials and life's hardships. [00:06:37] And so these are more than just things to marvel at regarding Christ. Just as for these people, incredible truths about Christ and God and so forth actually give us resilience for hard things that may come our way. [00:06:55] Now, several weeks ago Sunday morning, we looked at the first of these seven superiorities of Christ. And the first one, of course, is that Christ Jesus Christ is the ultimate revelation of God again, long ago, at many times and in many ways, God spoke to our fathers by the prophets. But in these last days, he has spoken to us by his son. [00:07:23] This is an amazing truth. Here God has spoken to us by his son. There is no other possible prophet or Old Testament or otherwise, who can hold a candle to the revelation that comes from God's own precious son to the revelation come down from heaven. But notice further here that the author prefaces this with but in these last days God has spoken to us by his son. Do you realize we now live in the last days? The last days began with the saving work of Christ, and they continue through to the we live in the last days because a decisive turning point in history was reached in Jesus Christ, both in his full and complete revelation as well as in his atoning sacrifice. [00:08:23] God's revelation comes to a sharp and a clear focus in Christ. There's nothing to add in terms of what we really need to know regarding salvation and what we really need to know how to escape God's wrath, God's judgment for our sin, how to enter into God's forgiveness, how to enter into God's forever love. [00:08:47] The revelation through Christ is final. It's complete, it's perfect, it's awesome. [00:08:53] And you see, this was a great danger for these hebrew christians. They were in danger of leaving, of walking away from Christ's final revelation and returning to the Old Testament and its animal sacrifices in order to escape hardship. And so the author, right off the bat, presents Christ as superior, even in his revelation, superior to the Old Testament revelation next. And secondly, here in this incredible list that the author provides us, showing the superiority of Christ. Christ is superior in that he is the heir of all things. Verse two, whom he appointed as the heir of all things. Now think about this for a moment regarding inheritance, what was it that the people in the Old Testament inherited? Well, they inherited the land of Palestine. [00:09:54] But if you really pay attention to the Old Testament as well as Hebrews, chapter eleven, you begin to realize that that Old Testament land of Palestine, the promised land, Israel, that land, never truly satisfied anyone. [00:10:15] That land actually was a shadow of what God ultimately intends for his people. [00:10:24] And the author of Hebrews even points this out in chapter eleven when speaking of the great heroes of the Old Testament, he says of them, but as it is, they desire a better country, that is a heavenly one, you see. So what verse two here is getting at is that Christ as God's son, he is going to inherit all things. And Christ, by virtue of his death to sin, his resurrection to newness of life, he is going to inherit not only all who believe in him, but he's going to inherit the renewed heavens and earth. [00:11:06] And so what's in it for us in terms of Christ's superiority as the heir of all things. What's in it for us? Our benefit, our blessing here is that through our union with Christ, by virtue of the holy spirit joining us to Christ, we are going to share in Christ's inheritance of all things, and that includes the new heavens and the new earth. [00:11:32] You see, the Old Testament promised land was but a shadow of what God ultimately intends, of what Christ has, has earned, secured for us through his death and resurrection. [00:11:47] The new heavens, the new earth, is waiting for us. And again, because of our union with Christ, what is his is ours. [00:11:58] Why would you forsake Christ to lose that for just a plot of soil in the Middle east which people just keep fighting over? [00:12:09] It's awesome what we have in Christ. He is the heir of all things. So first, Christ is the final word from God. Second, Christ is the heir of all things. And for the moment we'll skip him as creator. And now our third point that we're looking at here is that Christ is superior as the radiance of the glory of God. [00:12:33] Think about it. Christ radiates the glory of the eternal God. [00:12:41] Richard Phillips explains it in this manner. [00:12:45] Hot and brilliant as the sun is in the heavens, we would never see or feel its warmth without the radiating beams that come to the earth. So it is with God and his son who is the radiance of his glory. Without the sun, we remain in the dark regarding the glory of God, but with the son we have an ideal, indeed, a perfect revelation of God. Paul said in two corinthians four six that we see the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ. [00:13:21] We see God in Christ through the Bible's teaching of his person and work, of his holy zeal and compassionate love, and of his heavenly words and mighty saving works. Christ is the radiance of the glory of God. [00:13:38] Christ came to earth to manifest, to reveal, to radiate the glory of God. So with that in mind, consider for a moment that in the Old Testament, which again, the author is saying, don't go back to the Old Testament, okay? In the Old Testament, God's glory is connected to his person. [00:14:02] And so the sun here is a manifestation of God's presence, radiating God's glory here on earth, which is superior to the temple, as beautiful as the temple was, as beautiful as the tabernacle earlier, before the temple was, with all that intricate work going into it, Christ perfectly, in fact, radiates the glory of God. In the old testament, the glory of God was temporary. Listen to Leviticus, chapter nine, verse 23. [00:14:40] And Moses and Aaron went into the tent of meeting, and when they came out, they blessed the people. And the glory of the Lord appeared to all the people. That was just temporary, wasn't it? Another example, Exodus 40, verses 34 to 35. Then the cloud covered the tent of meeting, and the glory of the Lord filled the tabernacle. And Moses was not able to enter the tent of meeting because the clouds settled on it, and the glory of the Lord filled the temple. Another old Testament passage, Isaiah, chapter 40, which ultimately points us forward to the salvation we have in Christ. Isaiah 40, is so beautiful. Comfort, comfort my people, says your God. Speak tenderly to Jerusalem and cry to her that her warfare is ended, that her iniquity is pardoned, that she is received from the Lord's hand. Double for all her sins. And the glory of the Lord shall be revealed, and all flesh shall see it together. For the mouth of the Lord has spoken. And perhaps Christ, as the radiance of the glory of God is most seen in the gospels, in Matthew, chapter 17, in his transfiguration, Matthew 17, one and two. And Jesus took with him Peter and James and John and led them up on a high mountain by themselves. And he was transfigured before them. His face shone like the sun and his clothes became white as light. I remember as a young boy going to the circus, and they would have those, really, those huge, now they're just small, it seems like. But those huge beacons that would shine that bright beacon of light up in the sky. And I can remember standing down below them, looking at them on those, those trailers that they would pull around and thinking, what if you looked into one of those? How many thousands and thousands and thousands of lumens, one of those beacons? You'd just be instantly zapped and blinded by that thing. And think about it. Jesus was transfigured. [00:16:52] He's the radiance of the glory of God. How brilliant that must have been. His clothes shining bright as light, his face shining like the Son. Aw pink observes, the glory associated with Moses and Elijah was so eclipsed by the infinitely greater glory connected with Christ that Moses and Elijah faded from view. [00:17:16] And that's what needed to happen with these hebrew Christians that were tempted to go back. Moses and Elijah really needs to fade from view because Christ is the radiance of, of the glory of God. And it's awesome. [00:17:32] Now, fourth, and we're here in verse three, we learn that Christ is not only the radiance of God's glory. But he is also incomparably superior as the exact imprint of God's nature. [00:17:50] Why, oh, why would anyone go back to the Old Testament with its types and its shadows of, of Judaism when they can have the real thing? They can have Christ himself, the son of God, who is the exact imprint of God's nature. [00:18:08] But how is it that Christ is this exact, precise imprint of the image of God? And the answer is really quite simple. Jesus Christ is God come to earth. [00:18:21] How exact can you get than that, if you think about it? And this means that Christ really and truly and fully is the perfect representation of God in his nature. [00:18:37] Christ truly and fully and accurately bears and represents the image of God, the character of God. He images God's very nature to us. And again, he's able to do it because he is God. You want to know what God is like? Read the gospels. Read the life of Christ. [00:18:57] He's superior in that he's the exact imprint of God's nature. Remember John, chapter 14, where Jesus says, well, philip says, lord, show us the Father, and it's enough for us. And Jesus said to him, have I been with you so long? You still do not know me? Philip. Whoever has seen me has seen what the Father, whoever has seen me has seen the Father. And so we have. Yet here another take on the argument of Hebrews and the sheer breathtaking superiority of Christ. If Christ perfectly reveals God to us, then how in the world would anyone even dare to go back to the Old Testament with its types and shadows and even dare to forsake Christ? [00:19:50] And so in this list here, just in these very first few verses of Hebrews, Jesus is superior in that the Father has spoken to us through the Son. He's superior in that he's going to inherit all things. He's the radiance of God's glory. He perfectly images the father. And if that isn't enough, we have a couple more to go. It's just, you know, our brains could almost explode with the glory, the superiority of Christ here, fifth and 6th. Now, Christ is incomparably superior in that he is the creator who upholds the universe. [00:20:28] And modern man needs this reality, this truth, so badly. He is the creator who upholds the universe. Look at verse two, through whom also he, the Father, created the world. Think about that. Think about that regarding Christ, through whom also he created the world. The implications of the fact that Christ is the creator and the sustainer of the universe is far reaching not only for this original audience here of the book of Hebrews, but possibly even more so for us today who believe there is no God. [00:21:12] So first of all, we're told here that Christ was the agent through whom the Father created, brought the universe into being, through whom also he created the world. [00:21:24] So think about this. [00:21:27] The baby who was born on Christmas morning, the one who went to the cross and secured the full forgiveness of all of our sins on Good Friday. Furthermore, that baby born on Christmas morning was the one who secured everlasting life for all who believe in him on Easter Sunday. He is the divine creator of all that there is of the entire universe. [00:21:55] The apostle Paul writes, colossians, chapter one, verses 16 to 17. [00:22:02] And I love this statement from Paul. For by him all things were created in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible. Whether thrones or dominions or rulers or authorities, all things were created through him and for him. And he is before all things, and in him all things hold together. [00:22:28] Imagine the divine creator in whom all things hold together. He is your savior. [00:22:36] Nothing, but nothing can snatch you out of his divine loving hands. [00:22:44] And there's more good news here regarding the superiority of Christ, verse three still. And he upholds the universe by the word of his power. That's awesome. [00:22:59] Christ not only brought everything in the universe into existence by the word of his power, but he upholds it all. [00:23:08] He sustains its existence, our existence, of everything that there is. [00:23:17] And the meaning of this goes even deeper because it also means that he sustains the very order, the continuing operation of the universe. And that's a particular fact that I think is especially also needed by modern man. [00:23:35] He continues the order of his creation. He sustains it. [00:23:41] Have you ever wondered why the sun continues to come up every morning? [00:23:47] I mean, why should it come up tomorrow morning or the morning after that? Why? How? Why isn't there a day? And when I was in the 6th grade, this was something I was afraid of happening. Why isn't there a day when gravity stops and we just float up into the sky? I remember when I was in 6th grade, I would walk home from school and there were times that I would imagine, what if gravity stopped? [00:24:16] You know, and I'm walking down the sidewalk heading home and just picturing all of that, you know, what would you grab onto? How high does gravity. [00:24:28] Why is my feet still planted here on this podium? And why are you still there in your chair? Why don't we just float away? [00:24:37] Why? [00:24:39] It's because Christ upholds the continuing order functioning. If you want the laws of physics, he upholds the continuing order of the universe, he sustains it. That's why I was once watching PBS and they had a brief spot where. Where a 29 year old lady came on and they commented that for her, for her entire life, she has only known a world that is getting hotter and hotter and hotter. [00:25:19] Every day of her life, the world is only getting hotter and hotter. And that's a scary thought, isn't it? The world's just getting hotter and hotter. And that's all that she's known her entire life. [00:25:32] Now, in a society which no longer understands that not only is there a creator, but that the creator actually sustains the universe and upholds the very order of life, well, when authority figures like that make statements, well, you know that all she knows is the world's getting hotter and hotter and hotter. It's no wonder that so many younger people are, are utterly, totally terrified that human life is going to come to an end not very long from now due to an out of control global warming. [00:26:10] But the good news here in Hebrews one is that the world isn't out of control its creator. This is part of what encourages our faith. The creator of the universe and the one who upholds the universe is in full and total control. [00:26:30] He is directing all things for his glorious, divine purposes, even everything for your salvation to his incredible, majestic glory. [00:26:43] And so Christ is superior because he is actively sustaining the universe, moving all events in the world. He is purposefully carrying history itself steadily, progressively forwards towards the glorious consummation which God had already planned out before the creation of the universe. Yes, we in all of this, yes, we are to take care of God's world. [00:27:13] That's the dominion mandate in Genesis one. Okay? But at the same time, we have to realize that all events, even history itself, is upheld by the word of Christ's power. And by that same power, history is in control, being directed towards that incredible consummation of the return of Christ, of the judgment and the ushering in of the new heavens and the new earth and the fullness of our salvation. And that is incredible. [00:27:46] And that gives us hope in the midst of a scary world where it does seem like it's getting hotter and hotter, just step outside and we see how hot it is. Christ is incomparably superior, even regarding whatever situation you may be facing on planet Earth, even regarding your salvation. [00:28:13] So why would you forsake such a superior savior, the true and living God? [00:28:22] And then we'll close with the 7th and final, incomparable, incredible superiority of Christ. [00:28:29] After making purification for sins, he sat down at the right hand of the majesty of God. [00:28:40] He sat down. [00:28:42] If you keep reading through Hebrews, you'll see the author talks about Christ as the great high priest, the greatest high priest, the ultimate high priest. So that's where the statement is ultimately going in Hebrews, after making purifications for sins as the great high priest that ends all priests of the Old Testament. He sat down, his work is completed. He sat down at the right hand of the majesty on high. [00:29:08] Think about the temple in the Old Testament. Do you realize there are no seats in the temple? [00:29:17] Look through the Pentateuch. Try and find somewhere where those artisans form a chair. There's no chair. There's no seats for the priests. Why not? Because their job as Old Testament priests was never finished. [00:29:33] Day after day, month after month, year after year, century after century, they kept offering the same sacrifices. Because those sacrifices never actually secured God's forgiveness. They merely pointed forward to the coming Christ. [00:29:54] But when Jesus Christ, the lamb of God, the great high priest, offered himself on the cross in payment for our sins, he secured our full, total, complete forgiveness. [00:30:09] And that's why Jesus was able to cry out from the cross, not tomorrow, we do it again. [00:30:16] But he cried out, it is finished. [00:30:21] And thus, unlike the Old Testament priests, Christ sat down at the right hand of, of the majesty on high, because there were no more sacrifices to be offered, no more sacrifices needed. [00:30:33] His shed blood is of such infinite value. It was offered once for all. It is finished. [00:30:41] And so again, why would you dare, why would you even consider for a moment walking away from Christ? [00:30:49] And so you see what the book of Hebrews is doing here. Even just right off the bat, these first three verses here is revealing the great truth in the most glorious of ways. Christ is worth whatever may come your way. Hardship, persecution, loss, cancer, whatever it may be, Christ is worth it, even if it comes to death for your faith. Jesus Christ, the author is already declaring, is superior in his incomparable person, in his incomparable salvation, in his incomparable works, in his incomparable benefits. To all who believe he is superior, he is worth it beyond our wildest dreams. This truly is gospel good news. [00:31:39] Oh, believe upon the Lord Jesus Christ and you will be saved by this superior high priest. Let's pray. [00:31:51] Lord God, encourage especially those who may be struggling this evening, discouraged in some way, depressed or whatever it is, with what's revealed here about the supremacy of Jesus Christ in all of his glory, in all of his father, revealing glory. [00:32:15] I pray that you would strengthen through your word preached as we went through this text. Strengthen our faith, grow our faith, mature our faith, increase our faith, increase our resilience. [00:32:31] And I pray these things in Jesus most glorious, wonderful name. Amen and amen.

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