Sermon #1 Hebrews Notes
Title: THE UNRIVALLED EXCELLENCE OF
OUR LORD JESUS CHRIST
Text: Hebrews 1:1-4
Readings: Office: Mark Henson Auditorium: Rex Bartley
Subject: Christ’s Preeminence
Date: Tuesday Evening – September 28,1999
Tuesday Evening – October 5, .
Tape # V-46a, V-48b
A long, long time ago, the prophet Isaiah wrote of the greatness, superiority, and excellence of our Lord Jesus Christ (Isa. 9:6-7).
Isaiah 9:6-7 "For unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given: and the government shall be upon his shoulder: and his name shall be called Wonderful, Counsellor, The mighty God, The everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace. (7) Of the increase of his government and peace there shall be no end, upon the throne of David, and upon his kingdom, to order it, and to establish it with judgment and with justice from henceforth even for ever. The zeal of the LORD of hosts will perform this."
Then hundreds of years later, when the angel appeared to Mary and announced that, though she was a virgin, having never known a man, she would conceive and bring forth a Son by the power of the Holy Ghost, and that her child would be the Son of God, the Savior of his people, Jesus – He said, “He shall be great, and shall be called the Son of the Highest: and the Lord God shall give unto him the throne of his father David: and he shall reign over the house of Jacob for ever; and of his kingdom there shall be no end” (Lk. 1:31-33).
We read in Colossians 1:18-19 that it is the will and purpose of the triune God “that in all things he (the Lord Jesus Christ, the God-man, our Mediator) might have the preeminence. For it pleased the Father that in him should all fulness dwell.”
Now, that which God spoke by the prophet, announced by his angel, and proclaimed by his apostles has come to pass. Read about it with me in Hebrews 1:1-4.
Hebrews 1:1-4 "God, who at sundry times and in divers manners spake in time past unto the fathers by the prophets, (2) Hath in these last days spoken unto us by his Son, whom he hath appointed heir of all things, by 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 on the right hand of the Majesty on high; (4) Being made so much better than the angels, as he hath by inheritance obtained a more excellent name than they."
Proposition: In these four verses of Holy Scripture the Spirit of God informs us that the Lord Jesus Christ is superior to, greater than, and exalted above all things.
In fact a key word in the Book of Hebrews is the word “better.” One purpose of this book is to show use that Christ is “better” than all who came before him. He is better than the prophets, better than the angels, better than Moses, better than Joshua, and better than Aaron. He is Surety of a better covenant, established upon better promises, giving a better hope. Christ our Savior is better than the tabernacle, the altar, and the mercy-seat. He is a better Sacrifice, offering better blood, giving us a better access to and better standing before the holy Lord God. In all things Christ is better than all others. He is infinitely better. He is the best!
The title of my message tonight is The Unrivalled Excellence of Christ. That is clearly the message of these opening verses.
Listen carefully. If you are ever tempted to imagine that there might be some similarity between the weak, frustrated, helpless Jesus of this idolatrous generation and the exalted Lord of glory, just re-read these four verses. Here we have the Christ of God revealed to us, the real Christ, our all-glorious Savior. If the Christ you worship is not this Christ, the Christ you worship is antichrist, a false Christ. In these four verses, the Holy Spirit shows us the unrivalled excellence of our Lord Jesus Christ in nine glorious facts.
I. The Lord Jesus Christ is unrivalled in his excellence as The Word of God, the revelation of the invisible God. – “God, who at sundry times and in divers manners spake in times past unto the fathers by the prophets, hath in these last days spoken unto us by his Son” (vv. 1-2).
Though God spoke to men in the Old Testament in the types, shadows, ceremonies and pictures of the law, and by the visions of faithful prophets, all the law and the prophets spoke of and pointed to Christ. And, now, in these last days, God has spoken to us one more time, this time with finality and in one way – “by his Son”.
The Lord Jesus Christ is not one of many revelations. He is the revelation of the invisible God. Christ is not one of many words. He is the Word of God (John 1:1-3; 18).
John 1:1-3 "In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. (2) The same was in the beginning with God. (3) All things were made by him; and without him was not any thing made that was made."
John 1:14 "And the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us, (and we beheld his glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father,) full of grace and truth."
John 1:18 "No man hath seen God at any time; the only begotten Son, which is in the bosom of the Father, he hath declared him."
You and I cannot see God, know God, speak to God, be spoken to by God, or come to God except by Christ (John 14:6: Matt. 11:25-27).
Matthew 11:25-26 "At that time Jesus answered and said, I thank thee, O Father, Lord of heaven and earth, because thou hast hid these things from the wise and prudent, and hast revealed them unto babes. (26) Even so, Father: for so it seemed good in thy sight."
John 14:6 "Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me."
· Christ is THE WAY. – Without him, there’s no going.
· Christ is THE TRUTH. – Without him, there’s no knowing.
· Christ is THE LIFE. – Without him, there’s no living.
There is no prophet like Christ our Prophet. He is unrivalled in his excellence as the Revelation of the invisible God.
II. The Lord Jesus Christ is unrivalled in his excellence as The Heir of God, the appointed heir of all things. – “Whom he hath appointed heir of all things” (v. 2).
John 3:35 "The Father loveth the Son, and hath given all things into his hand."
All things belong to Christ, our great Mediator and Substitute. He who is our Savior holds all things in his hands, by rightful and lawful possession. Being heir of all things, he has the absolute right to do exactly what he will with all things. “None can stay his hand, or say unto him, What doest thou?” No one is about to slap him on the wrist and say, “Oh, no, do not do that. Another way would be better.” No one in heaven, earth, or hell, is going to call him into account!
Illustration: “God’s going to have to give an account for
a lot of things one of these days.” -- Blasphemy! Nonsense!
Jesus Christ our Lord is the unrivalled Sovereign of the universe (Matt. 28:18; John 17:2).
Matthew 28:18 "And Jesus came and spake unto them, saying, All power is given unto me in heaven and in earth." – (This is the basis for all evangelistic effort!)
John 17:2 "As thou hast given him power over all flesh, that he should give eternal life to as many as thou hast given him."
He who is God our Savior does as he will in the army of heaven and among the inhabitants of the earth. He makes one a vessel of honor and another a vessel of dishonor, one a vessel of mercy and another a vessel of wrath, one to show forth the riches of his grace and another to show forth the severity of his justice, exactly as it pleased him from all eternity.
· Christ is the appointed heir of all things personally (Ps. 2:8).
· He is the appointed heir of all things representatively (Heb. 6:20).
· And he who is the heir of all things is the dispenser of all things.
Illustration: -- “Go to Joseph!”
“Behold your God!” – Jesus Christ is unrivalled in his excellence as the appointed heir of all things.
III. The Lord Jesus Christ is unrivalled in his excellence as The Creator of the Worlds. – “By whom also he made the worlds” (v. 2).
There is an obvious reference here to the distinct divinity and personality of our Lord Jesus Christ as God the Son. John tells us that “All things were made by him; and without him was not anything made that was made” (John 1:3).
A. Everything the triune God does he does through the mediation of Christ.
The measurements of the universe were laid down by Christ. The power of the sun and the brilliance of every star is energized by his sovereign, almighty, irresistible will! It was Christ, our Savior, the great Mediator and Surety of his people, who laid the foundations of the earth! Christ is the Creator of all things!
Colossians 1:14-17 This is that One --"In whom we have redemption through his blood, even the forgiveness of sins: (15) Who is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of every creature: (16) For by him were all things created, that are in heaven, and that are in earth, visible and invisible, whether they be thrones, or dominions, or principalities, or powers: all things were created by him, and for him: (17) And he is before all things, and by him all things consist."
· He is not the great Spectator, but the great Creator!
· He is not the great Evolver, but the great Creator!
B. When the Holy Spirit tells us that the Lord Jesus Christ is the Creator of the worlds, he is not suggesting that there might be more than one inhabited planet; but he is tell us that every realm of existence in the universe was created by Christ and is ruled by Christ.
· The Heavenly World – The Habitation of God and the Holy Angels
· The Upper World – The Vast Expanse of Space
· The Lower World – The Habitation of Man
· The World Beneath – The Prison of the Damned
Christ is Lord of all! Behold God’s vast creation, in all its orderly splendor, beauty, and majesty, and know that Christ is unrivalled in his excellence as our great Creator. Perhaps you are thinking, Pastor, why is this so important? Why are you so vehemently insistent upon declaring that Christ made all things and rules all things in absolute sovereignty? I am glad you asked.
· To deny that Christ created all things and rules all things is to deny that he is God.
· To deny that he is God is to mock him, blaspheme him, and attempt to deny him his glory.
· To deny that Christ is God, sovereign upon his throne is to deny hope to needy sinners who look to him alone for grace, salvation, and eternal life (John 17:2; Rom. 14:9).
John 17:2 "As thou hast given him power over all flesh, that he should give eternal life to as many as thou hast given him."
Romans 14:9 "For to this end Christ both died, and rose, and revived, that he might be Lord both of the dead and living."
· None but an absolute, sovereign Lord can save.
· None but an absolute sovereign can be trusted implicitly.
· None but an absolute sovereign will be worshipped.
IV. The Lord Jesus Christ is unrivalled in his excellence as The Brightness of the glory of God. – “Who being the brightness of his glory” (v. 3).
Christ is the glory of his glory who is Glory! He is God, having the same glorious name, nature, attributes, and being as the Father. Therefore, he rightfully claims worship, homage, and glory from men and angels. He is God, in all the fulness of Godhood; and he is the glory of God, the brightness of the glory of God. That is a statement which simply exceeds the limits of my puny brain!
The allusion appears to be to the sun and its rays. As the sun and its rays are the same in nature, so Christ and the Father are one. As the sun and its rays are distinct, yet co-existent, so God the Father and God the Son are distinct, yet co-existent. As the sun and its rays can never be separated, so the Father and the Son are forever united. As the rays of the sun radiate the glory of the sun, so Christ the Son, the Sun of Righteousness, radiates the glory of God.
He shows us the nature of God, the purity, brilliance, and splendor of his perfections as God. Yet, there is more. Jesus Christ, the Man who is God, is the glory of the triune God (Col. 2:9-10).
Colossians 2:9-10 "For in him dwelleth all the fulness of the Godhead bodily. (10) And ye are complete in him, which is the head of all principality and power."
He who is God in human flesh is unrivalled in his excellence as…
· the Word of God.
· the Heir of God.
· the Creator of all things.
· the brightness of the glory of Go, and…
V. The Lord Jesus Christ is unrivalled in his excellence as The Express Image of God’s Person. – “The express image of his person” (v. 3).
“Not only does Christ reveal the brightness of God’s glory as a ray of light beams out of the source, he also is essentially one with the Father; the same in substance, though distinct in person. There is no inferiority in Christ, nor any sequence whereby Christ follows behind the Father. Christ is no optional extra in our approach to God. He is God, the express image, the revealed Person, the sole Mediator, between God and man, the man Christ Jesus.” (Peter Meney)
John Gill says this description of Christ implies three things.
· The Equality of the Father and the Son
· The Sameness of Essence in the Godhead
· A Distinction of Persons in the Godhead (1 John 5:7)
1 John 5:7 "For there are three that bear record in heaven, the Father, the Word, and the Holy Ghost: and these three are one."
Without question, this expression, “the express image of his person,” suggests much more than we can yet grasp. However, there is something here which is commonly over looked.
Listen carefully. The Lord Jesus Christ, our Mediator, is that man who is the image of God in whose image the first man, Adam, was made (Gen. 1:26-27).
· A Moral Image
· A Physical Image
· A Covenant Image
Romans 5:12-19 "Wherefore, as by one man sin entered into the world, and death by sin; and so death passed upon all men, for that all have sinned: (13) (For until the law sin was in the world: but sin is not imputed when there is no law. (14) Nevertheless death reigned from Adam to Moses, even over them that had not sinned after the similitude of Adam's transgression, who is the figure of him that was to come. (15) But not as the offence, so also is the free gift. For if through the offence of one many be dead, much more the grace of God, and the gift by grace, which is by one man, Jesus Christ, hath abounded unto many. (16) And not as it was by one that sinned, so is the gift: for the judgment was by one to condemnation, but the free gift is of many offences unto justification. (17) For if by one man's offence death reigned by one; much more they which receive abundance of grace and of the gift of righteousness shall reign in life by one, Jesus Christ.) (18) Therefore as by the offence of one judgment came upon all men to condemnation; even so by the righteousness of one the free gift came upon all men unto justification of life. (19) For as by one man's disobedience many were made sinners, so by the obedience of one shall many be made righteous."
1 Corinthians 15:21-22 "For since by man came death, by man came also the resurrection of the dead. (22) For as in Adam all die, even so in Christ shall all be made alive."
Christ our Savior is unrivaled in his excellence as the Word, the Revelation of God, the Creator, the Heir of all things, the Brightness of the Father’s glory, and the express Image of his person. Now, look at the next line.
VI. Christ’s unrivalled excellence is also seen in the fact that he is the upholder of All Things. “He upholds all things by the word of his power.”
He “bears up the pillars of the universe, preserves every creature in its being, and supports it and supplies it with all the necessities of life; rules and governs all, and providentially orders and disposes of all things in the world, and that by his all-powerful will; which makes it manifest that he is truly and properly God.” -- John Gill
Again and again, throughout this Inspired Volume, the Holy Spirit tells us, and emphasizes the fact, that our Lord Jesus Christ governs the universe and all things in it absolutely. He controls what men call “the balance of nature.” He is the Balancer! He is the One, who as the Lawgiver of the universe, established and controls what scientists call the “laws of nature.” It is Christ, our God and Savior, who determines all the affairs of providence. He preserves; and he destroys. He kills; and he makes alive. He enables; and he disenables, not by force of arms, but by the mere word of his power! Jesus Christ, our God and Savior, rules all things absolutely.
Psalms 76:10 "Surely the wrath of man shall praise thee: the remainder of wrath shalt thou restrain."
Psalms 115:3 "But our God is in the heavens: he hath done whatsoever he hath pleased."
Psalms 135:6 "Whatsoever the LORD pleased, that did he in heaven, and in earth, in the seas, and all deep places."
Proverbs 16:1 "The preparations of the heart in man, and the answer of the tongue, is from the LORD."
Proverbs 16:9 "A man's heart deviseth his way: but the LORD directeth his steps."
Proverbs 16:33 "The lot is cast into the lap; but the whole disposing thereof is of the LORD."
Proverbs 21:1 "The king's heart is in the hand of the LORD, as the rivers of water: he turneth it whithersoever he will."
No event takes God by surprise. Nothing happens without his direction. From the election of his people to salvation and everlasting glory to the election of civil magistrates, to the consummation of the universe, everything in the universe happens, or not, at the will, decree, and order of Christ our God! Even the cursing of Shemei and the kiss of Judas were as much under his rule as the worship of the holy angels around his throne. When the Jews cried “crucify him” and Pilate delivered him to their will, when the soldiers nailed him to the tree and the mobs spit in his face, he who was crucified was in absolute control of his crucifiers. I hear him, as he hangs upon the cursed tree, covered in his own blood and the excrement of their vile throats, declare, “Therefore doth my Father love me, because I lay down my life for the sheep…No man taketh my life from me, I have power to lay it down, and power to take it again!”
Jesus Christ is the absolute Monarch of the universe. Our Savior is the great King! Nothing more fully shows forth the unrivalled excellence of Christ than his total sovereignty, “upholding all things by the word of his power.” But, now, we come to the glory of him who is the glory of God…
VII. Our Lord Jesus Christ is unrivalled in his excellence as The Redeemer of His people. – “He has by himself purged our sins.”
Glorious word of grace! The Lord Jesus Christ took our sins upon himself, bare our sins in his own body on the tree, was made to be sin for us, suffered all the horror of the ignominious wrath of almighty God for our sins to the full satisfaction of his infinite justice, and bore them away forever!
Illustration: The Scapegoat
A. It is Christ who purged our sins (Heb. 9:24-26).
Hebrews 9:24-26 "For Christ is not entered into the holy places made with hands, which are the figures of the true; but into heaven itself, now to appear in the presence of God for us: (25) Nor yet that he should offer himself often, as the high priest entereth into the holy place every year with blood of others; (26) For then must he often have suffered since the foundation of the world: but now once in the end of the world hath he appeared to put away sin by the sacrifice of himself."
B. The Lord Jesus Christ purged our sins by himself (Isa. 63:1-5).
Isaiah 63:1-5 "Who is this that cometh from Edom, with dyed garments from Bozrah? this that is glorious in his apparel, travelling in the greatness of his strength? I that speak in righteousness, mighty to save. (2) Wherefore art thou red in thine apparel, and thy garments like him that treadeth in the winefat? (3) I have trodden the winepress alone; and of the people there was none with me: for I will tread them in mine anger, and trample them in my fury; and their blood shall be sprinkled upon my garments, and I will stain all my raiment. (4) For the day of vengeance is in mine heart, and the year of my redeemed is come. (5) And I looked, and there was none to help; and I wondered that there was none to uphold: therefore mine own arm brought salvation unto me; and my fury, it upheld me."
All the sins of all God’s elect were washed away at one time in the blood of the Lamb, washed away forever! The Lord Jesus needed no help in doing the work. He did it by himself, without our involvement, without us putting forth our hand, or lifting up our tools. “He has purged our sins!”
· This is atonement.
· This is blood atonement.
· This is just atonement.
· This is definite atonement. – our sins.”
· This is effectual atonement. -- “had purged.”
Did you hear what Jesus said to me?
“They’re all taken away, away,
Your sins are pardoned and you are free,
They’re all taken away!”
Here is a Priest like no other priest. “He purged our sins!” Here is a sacrifice like no other sacrifice. All other sacrifices were consumed by the fire of God’s altar. Here is the Sacrifice that consumed the fire of God’s wrath. Truly, Christ is unrivalled in his excellence as our Redeemer.
VIII. Our Savior’s unrivalled excellence is to be seen in His glorious exaltation. -- “When he had by himself purged our sins, sat down on the right hand of the Majesty on high.”
Behold the Lamb upon his throne, seated yonder in glory, at the right hand of the Majesty on High! What could be more appropriate? Christ achieved all that he came here to do. He has redeemed his people from their sins. He purged our sins. Now, he sits in glory, the Object of all worship, honor, and praise. This is our God. This is our Savior. He is seated on the right hand of the Majesty on High. What does that imply?
· His work is finished.
· His sacrifice is accepted.
· He enjoys his rest. – “His rest is glorious!”
· His people are secure.
· He has the preeminence!
The exalted Christ is unrivalled in his excellence!
IX. Once more, the Lord Jesus Christ is unrivalled in his excellence by reason of The excellent name He Has Obtained. – “Being made so much better than the angels, as he hath obtained a more excellent name than they.”
Christ is better! -- Better than all the prophets! -- Better than all the priests! -- Better than all the kings! -- Better than all the sacrifices! -- Better than all the angels! -- Christ is better than all. “He hath obtained a more excellent name than they.”
A. What is in his name?
· His Person.
· His Power.
· His Performance.
· His Position.
· His Promises.
B. His name is the name of salvation (Acts 4:12; John 1:12; 20:31).
John 1:12 "But as many as received him, to them gave he power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on his name:"
John 20:31 "But these are written, that ye might believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God; and that believing ye might have life through his name."
Acts 4:12 "Neither is there salvation in any other: for there is none other name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved."
C. His name is the name of prevailing power with God (John 15:16).
John 15:16 "Ye have not chosen me, but I have chosen you, and ordained you, that ye should go and bring forth fruit, and that your fruit should remain: that whatsoever ye shall ask of the Father in my name, he may give it you."
D. His name is the name that must be known and acknowledged.
E. We preach that men everywhere may know his name (Acts 9:15).
Acts 9:15 "But the Lord said unto him, Go thy way: for he is a chosen vessel unto me, to bear my name before the Gentiles, and kings, and the children of Israel:"
F. All will one day acknowledge and reverence his name (Phil. 2:9-11).
Philippians 2:9-11 "Wherefore God also hath highly exalted him, and given him a name which is above every name: (10) That at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of things in heaven, and things in earth, and things under the earth; (11) And that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father."
Application: There is the unrivalled excellence of Christ.
Hebrews 1:1-3 "God, who at sundry times and in divers manners spake in time past unto the fathers by the prophets, (2) Hath in these last days spoken unto us by his Son, whom he hath appointed heir of all things, by 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 on the right hand of the Majesty on high;"
This great, unrivalled, gloriously excellent Christ is the Savior of all who trust in his name!
 _ Misc. Sermon #1028 preached at Danville Sunday AM 6/14/92, Redeemer Baptist, Louisville, KY 10/8/93, Grace Baptist, New Castle, IN 10/1/92, Grace Baptist, Dingess, WV 6/17/92, Sovereign Grace Baptist, Jacksonville, NC 9/13/92; Wichita Falls, TX 11/2/99, Fairmont, WV 04/22/00