Scripture Text: Hebrews 1:2-3
Allow me to begin with a parable of 4 candles:
The first candle represents peace, but the world was not willing to keep that peace so it has been extinguished.
The second candle represents Faith: But the world does not want Faith, It wants to figure life out on its own, so It has been extinguished.
The third candle represents Love: But because of the selfishness of the world, People push away others, and are focused only on themselves, and therefore it is also extinguished.
The fourth candle represents hope: without love, Faith, and Peace there is no hope, and as a result that candle also is also extinguished.
The problem is that without hope there is not a reason to go forward. Without hope, we lose perspective.
It leaves us with a haunting question Where does our hope come from.
Jeremiah 17:13 says, O LORD, the hope of Israel, all that forsake thee shall be ashamed, and
they that depart from me shall be written in the earth, because they have forsaken the LORD, the fountain of living waters.
Jeremiah 18:12 continues, And they said, There is no hope: but we will walk after our own
devices, and we will every one do the imagination of his evil heart.
However, Romans 8:23-25 reminds us that,
… we also who have the firstfruits of the Spirit, even we ourselves groan within ourselves, eagerly waiting for the adoption, the redemption of our body. 24 For we were saved in this hope, but hope that is seen is not hope; for why does one still hope for what he sees? 25 But if we hope for what we do not see, we eagerly wait for it with perseverance.
Do you see a pattern here?
Psalm 71:5 says For You are my hope, O Lord GOD: You are my trust from my youth.
My friends, while the world may try to extinguish the flames of perspective, according to John 8:12 Jesus Christ is the light of the Word, and it is that light, that brings perspective into our lives. Because Jesus is the light:
As these candles burn in our lives, it will allow us to have the help we need to face the circumstances that God permits in our lives. With this in mind let us turn to our text in Hebrews 4:2-3
In His Triumphal Entry into Jerusalem, Jesus, presents Himself to Israel as their Messiah, and King. Israel is looking for a reigning King. They are looking for a King who will overthrow their dreaded Roman oppressors, and lead the nation to the glory that is spoken of in the Old Testament. Yet this is not the King that Jesus came to present. He came to present Himself as the humble King, who would give them a better victory that they could imagine. An earthly King can only provide a temporary peace. Eventually, that peace will die, with the King. But what Jesus offered was a living hope, through the atonement that He was going to provide, and offer to them.
In speaking of the Atonement – Charles Spurgeon said, “My entire Theology can be condensed into 4 words, “Jesus died for me!”
It seems that it is a bit bold to say that Jesus is sufficient to provide salvation, and that He is the only way to that salvation. How do we know that the work of Jesus Christ is sufficient to provide us the hope and expectation of eternal life?
The Old Testament tells us in at least two places (Jeremiah 23:18, 22 & Amos 3:7) that the prophets were let in on the secrets of God. Yet at the times they wrote those secrets without understanding them (1 Peter 1:10-11). In Jesus Christ they are both fulfilled and understood. He is God’s final word. Every promise of God resolves itself in Christ. All the promises become yes – verified and fulfilled.
Turn with me to Hebrews 1 and allow me to read the first three verses.…. “God, who at various times and in various ways spoke in time past to the fathers by the prophets, 2 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 worlds; 3 who being the brightness of His glory and the express image of His person, and upholding all things by the word of His power, when He had by Himself purged our sins, sat down at the right hand of the Majesty on high, “
The phrase in verse 2 “in these last days” are the days of fulfillment. In the Old Testament the Jews saw the last days as the time when all the promises would be fulfilled. That is exactly what Jesus came to do. He came to fulfill the promises. The Old Testament age of looking for the promise ended when Jesus arrived.
Verse 2 goes on to say, “has … spoken to us by His Son”. Jesus Christ is the revelation of God climaxed. God fully expressed Himself in His Son. In this brief but potent section the Holy Spirit exalts Christ as the full and final expression of God – superior to and exalted above anyone or anything. In this short passage we see Christ in all of His power and glory, and we are reminded of why the atonement is sufficient for our eternal life. In just half of verse 2 and in verse 3 is a sevenfold presentation of the excellencies of Jesus Christ. In all these excellencies He is presented clearly much more than a man, and the promise of our redemption is proved to be effective. Turning to Christ gives the help and hope that we need. Let’s explore it!!!
1. His Heirship “By His Son”
A. If Jesus is the Son of God, then He is the heir of all that God possesses
– Everything that exists will find its true meaning only when it comes under the final control of Jesus Christ.
B. In Revelation 5, God is pictured sitting on a throne, with a scroll in His hand
– V1 “I saw in the right hand of Him who sat on the throne a scroll written inside and on the back, sealed with seven seals.”
* The scroll is the tite deed to the earth and all that is in it.
* It is the deed for the Heir, the One who has the right to take the earth.
* In New Testament times Roman law required that a will had to be sealed 7X, to protect it from tampering. As you rolled it up, you sealed it every turn or so for 7X. The seals were not to be broken until after the person hose will it was had died.
– V2 “Then I saw a strong angel proclaiming with a loud voice, “Who is worthy to open the scroll and to loose its seals?”
* The angel is asking, “Who is the rightful heir to the earth?
– v3 “no one in heaven or on the earth or under the earth was able to open the scroll, or to look at it.”
– V4-5 “So I wept much, because no one was found worthy to open and read the scroll, or to look at it. 5 But one of the elders said to me, “Do not weep. Behold, the Lion of the tribe of Judah, the Root of David, has prevailed to open the scroll and to loose its seven seals.”
– V6 “And I looked, and behold, in the midst of the throne and of the four living creatures, and in the midst of the elders, stood a Lamb as though it had been slain, having seven horns and seven eyes, which are the seven Spirits of God sent out into all the earth.”
* Jesus, the Lamb, came and took the scroll out of the right hand of God………….Why?
* Because He, and He alone, had a right to take it………He is Heir to the earth, and all that is in it!
C Revelation 6 begins the description of the Tribulation, the first step in Christ’s taking back the earth, which is rightfully His.
– When Christ first came to earth He became poor for our sakes, that we, through His poverty, might be made rich.
– Amazingly, though Christ is the Heir of all God possesses, and though He offers to share His inheritance with anyone who will trust in Him, some still reject Him.
– To willfully reject Jesus Christ brings on the utter damnation and destruction of an angry God!
TS: The second excellency of Christ mentioned in Hebrews 1 is His creatorship
2. His Creatorship “Through whom also He made the worlds”
A. Christ is the agent through whom God created the world
– John 1:3 All things were made through Him, and without Him nothing was made that was made.
– This is one of the greatest proofs of Jesus’ divinity – His ability to create
– If He can Create the world, it is a small thing for Him to make us a “new Creation” (2 Cor 5:17)
B. The ability to create belongs to God alone and the fact that Jesus creates indicates that He is God
– The common Greek word for “worlds” is “kosmos”, but that is not the word used in Hebrews 1:2
– The word here is “aionas”, which does not mean the material world, but “the ages,”
* In other words Jesus is not only responsible for the physical earth; He is also responsible for creating time, space, energy and matter.
* Chrsist created the whole universe and everything that makes it function, and He did it all without effort.
TS: Next we see Christ’s radiance ………………………
3. His Radiance “The brightness of His glory”
A. “His glory” represents Jesus as the manifestation of God
– He expresses God to us.
– Just as the rays of the sun, light and warm the earth … Jesus Christ is the glorious light of God shining into the hearts of men
B. We would never be able to see or enjoy God’s light if we did not have Jesus to look at
– We live in a dark world, without the Son of God, there is only darkness.
– The great tragedy is that most men do not want even to see, much less accept and live in God’s light
– God sent His light in the Person of Jesus Christ, that man might behold, accept, and radiate that light.
* But Satan has moved through this world to blind the minds of men and prevent the light of the glorious gospel from shining on them.
C. What a wonderful thing to realize that Jesus Christ, who is the full expression of God in human history, can come into our lives and give us light to see and to know God
TS: The Fourth, thing we see is that of His being . . . .
4. His Being “The express image of His person”
A. Christ is not only was God manifest, He was God is substance
B. “express image” translates a greek term used for the impression made by a die or stamp on a seal.
– Jesus is the perfect, personal imprint of God in time and space
– Colossians 1:15 He is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn over all creation.
* “image” = the exact reproduction of God
* Colossians 2:9 For in Him dwells all the fullness of the Godhead bodily;
TS: From there we move on to His administrations, or sustenance.
5. His Administration “upholding all things by the word (rhema) of his power”
A. Christ not only made all things and will someday inherit all things, but He holds them all together in the meantime.
– Everything in the universe is sustained right now by Jesus Christ.
B. Can you imagine what would happen if Jesus would relinquish His sustaining power over the laws of the universe?
– If the physical laws varied, we would have an unbelievable mess.
– How does the universe stay in this kind of fantastically delicate balance? Jesus sustains and monitors all its movements and inter-workings.
C. Scientists who discover great and amazing truths are doing nothing but discovering a few of the laws that Jesus Christ designed and uses to control the world
– The whole universe hangs on the arm of Jesus
– His unsearchable wisdom and boundless power are manifested in governing the universe.
– He does it all by the “by the word (rhema) of his power”
* He just speaks it and it is done, without effort or without manipulation
D. Consider the great promise in Philippians 1:6 “being confident of this very thing, that He who has begun a good work in you will complete it until the day of Jesus Christ;”
– When Christ begins a work in your heart, He holds onto it and sustains itt all the way through
– This helps us understand Jude’s excitement when he says, “Now to Him who is able to keep you from stumbling, And to present you faultless Before the presence of His glory with exceeding joy, 25 To God our Savior, Who alone is wise, Be glory and majesty, Dominion and power, Both now and forever. Amen.”
* When your life is given to Jesus Christ, He holds it and sustains it and one day will take it into God’s very presence.
* A Life, just as a universe, that is not sustained by Christ is chaos.
TS: This leads us to the 6th excellency of Christ which is His sacrifice
6. His Sacrifice “When He had by Himself purged our sins”
A The Bible says the wages of sin is death
– Jesus went to the cross, died our deserved death for us, and thereby took the penalty for our sin on Himself.
– If we will accept His death and believe that Je died for us, He will free us from the penalty of sin and purify us from the stain of sin.
B. It was a wondrous work when Christ created the world. It is a wondrous thing that He sustains that
world. But a greater work than making and upholding the world is that of purging men of sin.
– Hebrews 7:27 “who does not need daily, as those high priests, to offer up sacrifices, first for His own sins and then for the people’s, for this He did once for all when He offered up Himself.”
* Jesus dealt with the sin problem once and for all
* So Christ went to the cross and bore the penalty of sin for all who would accept His sacrifice, believe in Him, and receive Him.
C. We are all sinners. And either we pay the penalty for our own sin, with is eternal death, or we accept Jesus Christ’s payment for it in sacrificing Himself, for when we receive eternal life.
– Hebrews 10:26 warns “For if we sin willfully after we have received the knowledge of the truth, there no longer remains a sacrifice for sins,”
TS: The last of Christ’s excellencies mentioned in this passage is His exalation.
7. His Exaltation “Sat down on the right hand of the Majesty on high”
A. The “right hand” is the power side
– The marvelous thing about this statement is that Jesus, the perfect High priest, “Sat down”
* There were no seats in the Tabernacle or Temple sanctuaries.
* The priest had no place to sit because God knew it wold never be appropriate for him to sit.
– Jesus’ sitting down at His Father’s right hand signifies at least 4 things:
* He sat down as a sign of honor
@ Philippians 2:10-11 “that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of those in heaven, and of those on earth, and of those under the earth, 11 and that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father. ”
* He sat down as a sign of authority (He sat down as a ruler)
@ 1 Peter 3:22 “who has gone into heaven and is at the right hand of God, angels and authorities and powers having been made subject to Him..”
* He sat down to rest (His work was finished)
@ Hebrews 10:12 “But this Man, after He had offered one sacrifice for sins forever, sat down at the right hand of God,”
* He sat down to intercede for us.
@ Romans 8:34 “Who is he who condemns? It is Christ who died, and furthermore is also risen, who is even at the right hand of God, who also makes intercession for us.”
We have seen Christ as a prophet, the final spokesman for God. We have seen Him as Priest, atoning and interceding. We have seen Him as King, controlling sustaining, and seated on a throne. This is our Lord Jesus Christ.
A man who says that Jesus Christ is anything less than this is a fool and makes God out a liar. God says His Son is preeminent in all things,
What does this mean to us? It means everything. To reject Him is to be shut out from His presence into an eternal hell. But to receive Jesus Christ is to enter into all that He is and has. Biblically there are no other choices. Christ’s atoning work on our behalf is sufficient for our salvation, and we are kept by the power of God through that work of Christ.
Allow the work of Christ to light the candle of hope in your life, which will enable you to learn to love God and others, these two lights will strengthen your faith as you face the circumstances of life, and together they will provide a peace in the midst of those circumstances to bring help during days of adversity. The lights are connected, but without Christ the lights of our heart will be put out.