Sermon from Hebrews 1:4-14

Below are my sermon notes from my series through the book of Hebrews. This is not a manuscript, but it does provide a frame of reference for the thoughts and main intention of the sermon. I’d love to discuss this with you further should you have any questions.

God bless!

15 March 2017 Sermon

Hebrews 1.4-14 Jesus is Better Than the Angels

 

Introduction:

Turn to Matthew 13.51-52. In this passage Jesus is checking with the disciples to ensure they understand what He is teaching. Before our passage He presented seven different parables ranging from topics of soil, wheat and tares, mustard seeds to leaven. In this discussion Jesus is instructed the disciples with new aspects of truth. But in His teaching He also encourages a devout love for the old. And this morning we are going to bring out of the treasure of Scripture things new and old.

A Brief Discussion on Angels

Let us, at the outset, clearly understand that our brief discussion this morning about angels is solely for the purpose of laying the foundation upon which we can better understand the superiority of Jesus. We are reminded that there are dangers in becoming obsessed with angels (Colossians 2.18). We certainly want to keep that in mind, but we also desire to understand the things God has revealed to us through His Word, and especially when we are considering the superiority of Jesus to that of the angels.

Angels were incredible beings of great power. “The angels, as beings worthy to stand in proximity to the Throne of Glory, necessarily were more perfect creatures than man.” (Abraham Cohen, Every Man’s Talmud: The Major Teachings of the Rabbinic Sages, 48) Angels are immortal (Luke 20.35-36), require no physical nourishment, and do not seem to be tempted with the same sinful desires with which humanity is plagued.

They were created along with the rest of the universe during the six days of Genesis chapter one. There are various debates on exactly what day God created these incredible beings. Some suggest the second day with reference to Psalm 104.3. Others suggest that He created them on the fifth day along with the other winged creatures. And some even believe that God creates angels continuously as they serve and praise Him (see Daniel 7.10).

Paul Enns, a theologian, sums up the angels’ nature and attributes:

  • Angels are spirit beings
    • They can take the human form (Genesis 18.3)
    • They are called spirits (Hebrews 1.4)
    • They do not engage in marriage or succumb to death (Mark 12.25; Luke 20.36)
  • Angels are created beings
    • God created them by His Word (Psalm 148.2-5)
  • Angels were created simultaneously and innumerable in number
    • Created in a singular act (Colossians 1.16)
    • An unknown number exist (Hebrews 12.22)
  • Angels are a higher order than mankind
    • Man, including Jesus, was made lower (Hebrews 2.7, Psalm 8.4-5)
    • Angels are not subject to death
    • Angels have incredible wisdom (2 Samuel 14.20 yet is limited (Matthew 24.36)
    • Angels have greater power than man (Matthew 28.2, Acts 5.19, 2 Peter 2.11) and yet are limited in power (Daniel 10.13)

      *Moved a large stone, opened prison doors // Gabriel was withstood by the prince of Persia

There were different views presented in Judaism at the time of Jesus and up to the time of the writing of the book of Hebrews (ca. AD 67-69). One finds the Pharisees, whom we are more than well acquainted with through Jesus’s interactions. We also know of the Sadducees. This group of Jewish people only accepted the Torah as God’s written word. In many cases, they denied the supernatural. And according to Acts 23.8, they denied the existence of any spiritual beings (unlike their counterparts the Pharisees).  There was one other community that had ties with some of the individuals revealed in the New Testament. These individuals were called the Qumran community. Some of the members of this community believed that Michael was a rival or even a superior to the Messiah.

 

Main views:

  1. Jesus is divine and is God’s own Son- 4-6 (section is a chiasm, see your handout)

    When the author of Hebrews cites this verse, he or she, is referencing Psalm 2.7. This recounts a similar expression found in the Davidic covenant (see 2 Samuel 7.8-16, see also 1 Chronicles 17.13). In David’s case he was promised a son (who we know as Solomon), but the future application would be to THE Son. We see in the baptism of Jesus the pronouncement of the name of the Son (see Matthew 3.17; Mark 1.11; and Luke 3.22). Paul, in his sermon to the synagogue at Antioch, references Psalm 2.7 as proof that Jesus is the Son of God, Messiah (Acts 13.33).

    One theologian writes, “For the same reason David was called the son of God, having been especially chosen to perform great things; but his glory was hardly a spark, even the smallest, to that glory which shone forth in Christ, on whom the Father has imprinted his own image.” (John Calvin, Hebrews, 40)

  2. Jesus is better than the angels because He is the Sovereign Lord- 7-14
    1. The angels were created to be ministers- Hebrews 1.7, 14
      1. The angels were God’s ministers, His servants. An examination of the biblical references to angels would yield an enormous amount of material. It will be better for us to relinquish this as one of the many issues to which we may be sidetracked, but for the sake of time, we will have to focus our attention.

        *The angels helped the patriarchs, they were present at the giving of the Law, used in acts of judgments (Egypt, Israel), brought food to Elijah, killed 185,000 Assyrians, kept the mouths of lions shut (Daniel)

      2. These angels are ministers for those who will be saved- Hebrews 1.4, see also Matthew 18.10.

        In contrast to the angels, who bear a wonderful privilege in serving God and a front row seat to the restoration of Creation, we see Jesus.

    2. Jesus is better because His deity calls for worship- Hebrews 1.6 (see also Deut. 33.43, LXX version; Psalm 97.7; 1 Peter 3.22; and Revelation 5.11-13

      Whereas the angels are ministers, Jesus is to be ministered He is the Son of God, and God never commands anyone to worship angels. On the contrary, God commands all angels to worship Him.

    3. Jesus is better because His rule is without end- Hebrews 1.8-9, 13
    4. Jesus is better because He is the Creator- Hebrews 1.10-12

Application:

Because Jesus is better than the angels, we should:

  1. Focus our attention, our thoughts, and our actions all on Him.
    Our thoughts should dwell on the majesty of Jesus. Our attention should fixate on the Lamb Who was slain. And our actions should be devoted deeds of worship to Jesus.

    One practical way to do this is begin, once an hour and every hour, to speak to God. Praise Him for some good thing He has done for you or given to you. Ask Him for His assistance with whatever deed you may be doing (1 Corinthians 10.31).

  2. Relish in the Sovereign rule of Jesus.
    Since Jesus is seated at a throne, worshipped at all times and for all time by every single creature, we should rest that He is in control. There is nothing that takes God by surprise. There are no limits to His power, His understanding. I say relish, because like a good steak we cannot simply choke it down. I think of the students on our party nights as they devour every piece of food set before them. But a good meal is to be relished, enjoyed. And so the fact that our Jesus sits as a righteous judge faithfully fulfilling God’s Will should be relished, enjoyed, savored.

 

Advertisements

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s