[We are] not ashamed of the gospel of Christ, for it is the power of God to salvation for everyone who believes, for the Jew first and also for the Greek. (Romans 1:16)

Monday, December 31, 2007

A Sermon on Hebrews 2:5-11

by Matthew

I preached this yesterday at a tiny village chapel.

Hebrews 2
5: For unto the angels hath he not put in subjection the world to come, whereof we speak.
6: But one in a certain place testified, saying, What is man, that thou art mindful of him? or the son of man, that thou visitest him?
7: Thou madest him a little lower than the angels; thou crownedst him with glory and honour, and didst set him over the works of thy hands:
8: Thou hast put all things in subjection under his feet. For in that he put all in subjection under him, he left nothing that is not put under him. But now we see not yet all things put under him.
9: But we see Jesus, who was made a little lower than the angels for the suffering of death, crowned with glory and honour; that he by the grace of God should taste death for every man.
10: For it became him, for whom are all things, and by whom are all things, in bringing many sons unto glory, to make the captain of their salvation perfect through sufferings.
11: For both he that sanctifieth and they who are sanctified are all of one: for which cause he is not ashamed to call them brethren,

I think it is safe to say that some people really enjoy reading Hebrews and some people don’t. I knew a young man who said he wished Hebrews had never been included in the New Tesament. I am very sorry he felt that way. There are some difficult issues in Hebrews, nevertheless there is some wonderfully rich theology in it.

In the first chapter of Hebrews, the author establishes Christ’s superiority over angels and His supremacy. The question in the first chapter is the deity of Christ.

The second chapter that we are looking at today deals rather with the humanity of Christ. Many of us will have been remembering the birth of our Lord Jesus Christ on Christmas day. The incarnation of God is perhaps the most wonderful and unique aspects of Christianity.

Yet often those of us who are conservative in theology become so focused on defending the deity of Christ that we forget the significance of our Lord’s humanity. Why does it really matter that God became man?

Hebrews 2 gives us a glorious insight into the significance of the incarnation of the Word of God.

The author quotes from Psalm 8 and shows that this Psalm is messianic and futurist in its outlook.

‘What is man that thou art mindful of him?’

In the Milky Way, our galaxy, there are at least 200 billion stars. There are billions of galaxies in the universe, all containing billions of stars. Yet God is concerned about this planet earth and those that live on it.

Is there life on other planets? Some Christians say definitely not. The Bible does not say. If there is life on other planets, it is there because God made it, not because of any statistical probability that has been dreamed up by those that think life came about by chance. I leave it to you to think about that. Regardless of whether there is life on other planets, God cares most about this one.

We do know that there is another kind of life in the universe. That is angels. When God made Adam, He made him to be perfect in his body and mind. Yet he was still made a little lower than the angels. Angels have glorious bodies that are mighty in power and strength. The bodies of angels are not subject to the same limitations that we are subject to. They can travel between earth and heaven, while we are bound to stay here on earth. Angels seem to excel over man in their beauty. Yet God chose to put man in charge of this earth. God is working out his purposes through men and women. He chose those that are weak.

Think for a moment about the dream that Jacob had of a stairway to heaven with angels ascending and descending on it. What did those angels think as they looked upon Jacob? Jacob would have been sweaty and dirty from his travels.

The feet of the angels must have gleamed as they gracefully trod that celestial staircase. In contrast, Jacob’s feet must have been covered in dust. What did those angels think as they looked upon this man?

Did they say “Look, its that man! The man our Lord commanded us to watch over. What’s so special about him?”

Yet Jacob was special to God, as are all God’s elect.

God gave Adam the responsibility to care for this world and to have charge over it. It must be said that mankind has made something of pickle of exercising dominion over the earth. Mankind has run the earth with the same efficency that the present governments have shown in looking after confidential data.

Yet though God knew that man would fail to exercise dominion over the earth with justice and righteousness, it was always God’s purpose to give man more responsibility.

We see here in the Psalm quoted in this chapter that God put all the works of His hands into the power of man. That includes the moon, the stars, heaven and the angels in it. God is going to put mankind in charge of the entire universe. God created man in his image, so that man could exercise governmental authority over the universe. As the apostle Paul said, ‘Know ye not that we shall judge angels?’ God’s people in heaven are going to be in charge of the angels. Thus, the author of Hebrews points out that not all things are yet put under him. The time when mankind is the chief administrator of God’s kingdom is not yet come.

What an incredible thought that God is going to give the government of the universe to mankind?

Yet there is the problem of man’s failure. God cannot overlook the sinfulness of man and the failure of humanity to follow God’s blueprint for life.

That is why God became man. Jesus was made a little lower than angels for our sakes.

In the Old Testament, God appeared several times in bodily form as an angel. Yet Jesus in the incarnation did not take on the flesh of angels, but became a man as we are with all it limitations. The glorious form of an angel might have been a fitting form for Him, yet He became a man.

As this passage tells us, He did this so that He might taste death for every man. That He might suffer the penalty for sin, which is death.

The crucifixtion of the Lord Jesus Christ seems like a horrible event, yet He was crowned with glory and honour because of it. Christ has proved Himself to be the only man who has been faithful and obedient to God.

Thus He is the new Adam, or more correctly the Last Adam. Adam failed in His obedience to God, yet Christ was perfect in faithfulness. While Adam failed as a candidate to exercise dominion over the earth, Jesus Christ proved Himself, by His faithfulness to be worthy to rule over the universe and when all things are subject to Him, He shall exercise that authority.

As the last Adam, Christ is the head of a new race of heavenly humanity, a new kind of humanity made in His image. Born-again believers in Him are united to Him sharing His life. They have the power by the Holy Spirit to live as He did, perfect in their faithfulness. If you are in Christ, you have the power to live a victorious life. Those who are in Christ by faith can become ever more Christ-like in their conduct.

It is God’s purpose that this new humanity should inherit His kingdom. It is His purpose that all things, things in heaven and things on earth should be subject to Christ and those that are in Him. In the future, the resurrected saints will constitute a kind of celestial aristocracy that will govern the universe.

This calls for faithfulness. The apostle Paul wrote that “If we suffer with Christ, we shall reign with Him.” If we suffer for Christ’s sake we can be sure of reigning with Him in glory. In Revelation chapter 3, we read that great promise that the one who overcomes will sit down with Christ in His throne, even as He is sat in His Father’s throne. If we perservere in faith we can look to inheriting the throne of the universe.

Is this a wrong attitude? Some Christians talk as though seeking any kind of reward for faithfulness is selfish. However, the Bible encourages us to seek the rewards and privileges of the kingdom. God displays His glory by bestowing it on His subjects.

Christ is glorified by bringing many sons to glory, as it says in this passage. He is the head of a new race of humanity who He is pleased to make as He is. His people are to be like Him, not only in their resurrection form, but in the privileges they are granted in the kingdom.

Therefore we should seek more of the kingdom of God. We should seek the reward of inheriting all things.

But it is necessary to prove that we are fit to rule God’s kingdom. Have we to be faithful in small things before we are entrusted with everything. In the parable of the pounds, the one who had been faithful in little was entrusted with ten cities.

Sadly, often Christians show that they are not fit to be heirs of the kingdom. When there is division in churches, is this not a sign that Christians are not very good at running the affairs of their master? When Christian husbands and fathers fail to show the godly leadership that is called for in the home, is this not a sign that they are not fit to rule over one, let alone ten cities? If we are to inherit the earth we must show diligence over those things that we are entrusted with.

It may be that you are not yet a Christian. It may be that you have not yet found that heavenly position that is in Christ. I say to you, believe on the Lord Jesus Christ. Have faith on Him for everlasting life.

Jesus was made a little lower than the angels so that He could taste death for sinners like you and me. He ascended into heaven so that we can be granted access to that place. He possesses the very life of God and if we trust in Him, we receive eternal life.

If you would only believe on the Lord Jesus then you can be part of a new heavenly humanity. You can be assured of a glorious future in heaven and the opportunity to inherit the kingdom of God. Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ.



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