Jesus is Superior in Every Way

Steve Viars January 10, 2009

 

- over the holidays you may have had the opportunity to speak with an old friend…

- often the change in schedules allows us to make extra phone calls, or maybe you traveled back to your home town or a place where you used to live and spent time with someone close to you…

- isn’t it great to have people in your life where the more you get to know them, the closer that relationship becomes?...

- I have you have some people in your life like that…

- last week I received a call from my friend Harry in NJ…

- right after Kris and I were married, we moved to Warsaw, IN where Kris worked to put me through seminary…

- and then we moved to NJ where Kris worked to put me through my last degree and I also served simultaneously as an assistant pastor and a Christian school administrator…

- so those were very busy days for us…and it was also pretty tough financially to be trying to finish school, earning a salary of $15,000 per year, and trying to keep our heads above water as a young married couple…

- and so God provided some dear friends in Harry and Carol…

- and the more you got to know them, the more you loved them…

- in the providence of God, his wife Carol and my wife Kris were each pregnant with our first children at the same time…

- so Harry and I started strutting around the church bragging about how we were each going to have sons and they were going to grow up to be star basketball players and on and on…[and please don’t take that as a comment that we preferred boys to girls – we were just being goofy…]

- of course Kris and I had Bethany and they had Kelly, and someone bought both of us pink ties we could wear around the church with our suits…but it was fun to share that time of life with a friend…

- several months later Harry ran up to me at church with a series of pictures in his hand…

- he loved to take pictures and as a new dad he forever had his camera…

- and we had been over to their house a week or so before and he was shooting all these pictures of the girls…

- and he came up to me at church with a big smile on his face and handed me this series of pictures of our girls lying on a blanket together…

- in the first picture, his daughter Kelly was laying there on the blanket with her pacifier in her mouth…

- next to her was our daughter Bethany with no pacifier, because she didn’t like them…

- in the second picture, my daughter Bethany had her hand over Kelly’s mouth…

- in the third picture, the pacifier was in Bethany’s mouth, and Kelly was screaming and flailing to beat the band…it was just fun…

- right when we were finishing my degree program…I was coming up on my last class and we just did not have the money to pay for that class…

- and we prayed about it….we weren’t sure what we were going to do…but we didn’t anybody…

- and I can remember the day Harry handed me a card from he and Carol that said, we really admire the way you and Kris have worked so hard to get through school, and here’s a check because we want to pay for your last class…

- and when I tried to thank him, he said jokingly – don’t worry about it; just dedicate your first book to me…

- which though of course it was a joke, illustrates how wonderful it is when God gives you friends who love you, and believe in you…

- Harry called me last week, and I was telling Kris later – he had me laughing on the phone and telling those old stories like it was yesterday…

- and of course, God has blessed us with a lot of people here like that which is one of the reasons I’m such a firm believer in the value of long-term ministry…but I ask you this am---do you have some people like that in your life…where the longer you know them, the sweeter that relationship becomes?...I hope so….

- now, please think about it from the other perspective…my guess is that there are people in your life where it started out really well…but the longer you got to know them, it just soured for some reason…

- maybe you learned things about them that were distasteful or disappointing…

- maybe you started taking one another for granted…

- maybe you just drifted apart for no apparent reason…

- but honestly, the relationship’s not gotten better…it’s gotten worse.

- my guess is that we all have people we could put in each category…

- now, here’s my question for you this morning…

- for you, in which category does Jesus Christ fit?...

- is He someone you treasure more and more with each passing day?...

- do you find that relationship becoming deeper, and richer, and a more significant part of your life all the time…

- or for you, have the two of been drifting apart?...

- with that question in mind, I’d like to invite you to open your Bible to Hebrews chapter 1…page 169 of the back section of the Bible under the chair in front of you…

- this morning we’re beginning a 12 week verse by verse study of the book of Hebrews…

- we’re calling this Hope in Our Sufficient Savior…

- this is part of our annual theme this year of Finding Hope

- there is no question about the fact that the God of the Bible, the God of Heaven and earth wants 2009 to be a year of hope for you…

- not because of what may or may not happen economically this year…

- not because of what might occur on the stage of world peace or international relations…

- not because of some promise that you will become healthier or wealthier in this new year…

- but because He offers the possibility of having a personal relationship with Him…and actually goes so far as to call Himself the God of Hope…

- one of our theme verses for this year will be… Romans 15:13 - Now may the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, so that you will abound in hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.

- and the message of the book of Hebrews is that that hope is available in the Person of the Lord Jesus Christ…and he is worthy of our hope, and worthy of our allegiance because He truly is superior to any other person, or any other thing…

- let’s read about that in Hebrews chapter 1 verse 1…read 1:1-14
- now, in a moment we’ll talk about who this book was written too, and why this message would have been so important to them today…along with why this is so helpful and relevant to where we’re living today…but the theme is crystal clear…Jesus is Superior in Every Way….so right now let’s just dive into the text and look for Three ways in which Jesus Christ is supreme.

I. Because of What He Completes.

- the argument of verses 1-2 is pretty straightforward…

- this is all about the process of revelation, and where/how the Person and work of Christ fit into that process…

- for our purposes, let’s back up even further than this writer did…in what ways has God chosen to reveal himself to you, and how significant do you consider those ways to be?...

A. In creation.

- Psalm 19:1-2 - The heavens are telling of the glory of God; and their expanse is declaring the work of His hands.Day to day pours forth speech, and night to night reveals knowledge.

- we were driving up to Elkhart a few weeks ago after they had the ice storm a bit north of us…

- and the sun came out a few times during our trip and when the sun shone on those trees covered with a layer of ice, it took your breath away…

- the more scientists learn about the world in which we live, and our physical bodies…the more you see the hand of our powerful God…

- Johannes Kepler, the father of modern astronomy, said – “The undevout astronomer is mad.”

- how could you possibly stare into the heavens and not see the hand of our Creator God…see, God wants to talk to you…not audibly, but definitely through the revelation of Himself in Creation…

B. In man’s conscience.

- the Scripture teaches that even though the image of God in man was marred after the fall, it is still intact…

- and that means in part that every person knows deep down that there is a God…

- that was Paul’s point in Romans 1 -- Romans 1:19 - because that which is known about God is evident within them; for God made it evident to them.

- a person could only become an atheist if he/she chooses to suppress the knowledge of God they were given…

- see, God wants to talk to you – He wants to reveal Himself to you and to the rest of His creation and He has gone to great lengths to do so…

- now, pick that thought up at the beginning of Hebrews…God also revealed Himself to man…

C. Through the prophets.

- we don’t know for sure who this book was written to because it does not specifically say…

- but based on the content of the book, we believe these were predominantly Jewish individuals…

- some who had genuinely trusted Christ as Savior and Lord…

- some who believed that He existed but had not crossed the line of accepting Him as Savior and Lord…

- and others who were part of this group of people but who had clearly not believed in Him in any way, shape, or form…

- but it was important to establish right off the bat that Christ was a fulfillment of the prophetic writings, not a replacement of them…

- that’s why there are so many OT quotes even in this first chapter we read…

- you may recall that Jesus Himself said in the Sermon on the Mount -- Matthew 5:17 - Do not think that I came to abolish the Law or the Prophets; I did not come to abolish but to fulfill.

- and the writer talks about his respect and appreciation for the prophets even though they wrote…

1. long ago.

2. in many portions.

3. in many ways.

- and this theme is continuing to build – God wants to talk to you (again, not audibly), but He has gone to great lengths to communicate His message to you…

- think of how many different OT writers there were…and how many different writing styles they employed…

- and I’m sure if we took a survey this morning we would find that some people here seem to naturally gravitate to certain kinds of Scripture or certain Bible writers while others right here in the same room at the same time find it easier and more natural to learn about God in a different place in the Word…

- God has gone to great lengths to reveal Himself to man…

- but then the writer of Hebrews looks right at his readers and at all of us and says…but, here’s the best way…here’s the last way…He sent His heir…

- the completion of God’s revelation to man was the Person and work of His Son and the inspired writings that explained Him to us…

D. In His Son.

- Jesus is superior because of what He completes…

‑ now, we’ll get back to the next verses in a moment…but please consider the take-aways already…

E. The take aways.

1. God has gone to great lengths to communicate with you.

- this isn’t one of those – look , I sent you an e-mail ---if you got it fine, if you missed it, too bad.

- no, God put in on a billboard (creation), then He wrote a note and stuck it your pocket (conscience), and then He sent you a text message (the OT), and then personified the message in the work of His Son and sent Him directly to you…

- the fact that Jesus was chosen to be the One to complete that process says a lot about how worthy the Father considers the Son to be.

2. The way God’s revelation fits together should take our breath away.

- CH Spurgeon used to say about preaching – I read/study the passage, and then I make a bee-line to cross…the Scripture is all about the Son…

- last week I encouraged you to consider reading through the Bible this year…

- and if you’ve started doing that, even if you’re just in the initial chapters of Genesis, you would have already begun to see glimpses of the Savior…

- in these last days, He has spoken to us in His Son…

- by the way, if you’re look for a way to connect the OT and what it teaches about Christ to contemporary events in the Middle East, I would encourage you to read a new book by David Jeremiah – What in the World is Going On?...

- that might be one of those “connect the dots” books for you…

3. We are very fortunate to live at a point in the history of God’s World where we have the fulfillment of God’s Revelation in the Person of His Son.

- the apostle Peter made an interesting comment about the writers of the OT when he said…

- 1 Peter 1:10-12 - Concerning this salvation, the prophets who prophesied about the grace that was to be yours searched and inquired carefully,inquiring what person or time the Spirit of Christ in them was indicating when he predicted the sufferings of Christ and the subsequent glories.It was revealed to them that they were serving not themselves but you, in the things that have now been announced to you through those who preached the good news to you by the Holy Spirit sent from heaven, things into which angels long to look.

- the point of that is…potentially you are in a better position than someone like the prophet Isaiah who wrote that the coming Messiah… Isaiah 53:5 - But he was wounded for our transgressions; he was crushed for our iniquities; upon him was the chastisement that brought us peace, and with his stripes we are healed.

- do you realize that you know more, potentially about what that means than even Isaiah did…why?...because God, in these last days…sent His Son to complete His revelation…

- now, please take that back to an important verse about hope we learned last week…Romans 15:4 - For whatever was written in former days was written for our instruction, that through endurance and through the encouragement of the Scriptures we might have hope.

- the more you are able to connect the dots between the Scripture and the Savior, the more your heart is going to be filled with hope…because you’re convinced…knowing Him is a marvelous privilege…He is Superior in every way…

- now, what does that look like in real time?...let’s apply that to work…a lot of people are working under significant pressure right now...does that mean you can’t have hope?...

- not for a Christian…even in a pressure filled environment….why?

- because you have God’s Word, and you have God’s Son…

- so your hope is not tied to whether you get a raise this year or not…

- or whether you’re treated properly by your boss or your company…

- because with the eyes of faith, you see someone standing behind your boss…it’s the Lord Jesus Christ…

- and His Word tells you… Colossians 3:23 - Whatever you do, work heartily, as for the Lord and not for men,

- you should say every day – as much as I love my boss, I’m working for someone higher up the chain…my boss is not the completion of OT prophecy…

- as much as I appreciate my company…my hope is tied to someone whose balance sheet is more secure…

- my hope is built on nothing less than Jesus’ blood and righteousness…I dare not trust the sweetest frame, but wholly on Jesus name…On Christ the solid rock I stand, all other ground is sinking sand…he is superior in every way…because of what He completes…

- He is also superior….

II. Because of How He Reveals.

- these verses are stacking up truths to help us understand the uniqueness of Christ…

A. He is the radiance of God’s glory.

- Hebrews 1:3 - He is the radiance of the glory of God…

- that is a form of the Greek word“apaugasma” – to send forth light

- it’s one thing to read in the prophets that God forgives…it’s something else to watch Jesus tenderly restore Peter after he’s fallen…

- it’s one thing to read that God loves the nations…it’s something else to hear Jesus tell a story about the good…Samaritan…

- Jesus sent forth light…He’s the radiance of God’s glory…who else could you say that about?

B. He is the exact representation of His nature.

- Hebrews 1:3 - And He is the…exact representation of His nature…

- there could not be a stronger set of statements about the deity of Christ than what we’re reading here…

- no wonder verse 2 had said that He was the heir of all things…

C. He upholds all things by the power of His Word.

- Hebrews 1:3 - And He…upholds all things by the word of His power.

- it’s not just that He made all things…but He sustains them…

- 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. No scientist or mathematician, no astronomer or nuclear physicist, could do anything without the upholding power of Jesus Christ. The whole universe hangs on the arm of Jesus. His unsearchable wisdom and boundless power are manifested in governing the universe. And He does it by the word of His power, without effort. The key to the creation story in Genesis is in two words, “God said.” God spoke and it happened (John MacArthur – Hebrews, p. 17).

- and then verse 3 adds…

D. He made the final purification for our sins.

- Hebrews 1:3 - …When He had made purification of sins, He sat down at the right hand of the Majesty on high,

- Bible students believe that this book was written between 65-70 AD…

- they take that position because the Jewish temple system is still in operation because of the frequent references to it in the book…

- the temple was destroyed in 70 AD so we believe the book had to be written before that…

- there’s also a reference to Timothy just having been released from prison in chapter 13 which too seems to correlate with this book…

- but here’s why that matters…

- some of these individuals had given up a lot when they became followers of Christ…

- they were no longer were allowed in the temple, the place that had been the center of their religious lives in many cases since their childhood…

- their families in many cases had ostracized them…

- and now there was growing persecution on the church…and they had to ask themselves…Is Jesus really worth it?...

- maybe we should go back to the temple where it’s familiar and comfortable and safe…

- and this writer is trying to shake them out of that complacency by pointing them to the superiority of the Savior so that in Him, and Him alone they would place their trust…

- there were also those who had been around the gospel and had heard the facts about Christ, in some cases by eye-witnesses…

- so they had a level of intellectual belief…but they had never trusted Him as their Savior and Lord…

- and so the message to them is the same, except for a different point of application…

- for them, it was time to stop hanging around truth…or being satisfied with knowing certain facts about Christ…

- it was time for them to decide – was Jesus really who He said he was?...

- and if so, He was worthy of them deciding to place their faith and trust in Him…

- He is superior to everything and everybody else because of what He completed and How He revealed…

- let’s bring that back around to you…friend, please think of the kind of relationships we discussed at the beginning of our time today…

- when it comes to you and Jesus Christ…is He more of a casual acquaintance or an intimate friend?...

- and in what direction is that relationship moving…and what does that say about what this writer is saying about the supremacy of Christ?...

- please consider these 2 verses…

2 Corinthians 5:15 - and He died for all, so that they who live might no longer live for themselves, but for Him who died and rose again on their behalf.

Colossians 1:18 - And he is the head of the body, the church. He is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead, that in everything he might be preeminent.

- could you say this morning that because you agree with the writer of Hebrews, and because you are finding your ultimate hope in Christ…that the position He holds in your heart and life truly is that of…first place?...

- now, you might say – what would that look like?...

- let’s select a random topic…what about the issue of communication…the way you speak to those around you…

- is it obvious that Jesus has control of that tongue of yours…

- and that you are very diligent about only saying words that honor Him?...

- Colossians 4:6 - Let your speech always be gracious, seasoned with salt, so that you may know how you ought to answer each person.

- now, the rest of the chapter piles on additional truth…this time…

III. Because of Whom Jesus Exceeds.

- these verses are a little bit hard for us to process because many of us have been impacted by the secular view of angels…

- so we think about these innocent looking red cheeked cherubs flying through the air with their little bows and arrows…

A. The significance of angels in the Scripture.

- an angel is a messenger of God.

- and generally when an angel appeared to someone in Scripture, the first two words the angel had to utter was…”fear not…”…

- why – because they were awesome creatures…

- you may remember the story in the OT when the king of Aram kept trying to attack the armies of Israel…

- and so God would tell the prophet Elisha what the king of Aram would be planning in advance…

- and the prophet Elisha would tell the king of Israel…

- so every time the king of Aram tried to attack, Israel already knew what he was going to do and they were ready…

- so finally the king of Aram called all his captains together and said – someone here is a spy for Israel – you guys are the only ones who know the battle plan…and its obvious one of you is telling the king of Israel…

- and the captains say – no, it’s not us…

- Israel has a secret weapon…they have a prophet and God who tells the prophet in advance what you’re going to do…in fact, here’s exactly what one of the captains said to the king – God tells the prophet the words you speak in your bedroom (II Kings 6:12)…

- a smart king would say…you know, I think we’ll go try to invade some other country…

- not this king – he sends his armies to surround the prophet Elisha’s house…

2 Kings 6:14 - So he sent horses and chariots and a great army, and they came by night and surrounded the city.

- then the scene switches to Elisha’s servant…

- 2 Kings 6:15 - When the servant of the man of God rose early in the morning and went out, behold, an army with horses and chariots was all around the city. And the servant said, “Alas, my master! What shall we do?”

- so here’s what Elisha says to his servant…

- 2 Kings 6:16 - He said, “Do not be afraid, for those who are with us are more than those who are with them.”

- are you putting yourself in the servant’s shoes?...look, I can count…there’s you and me…how do you figure we’re more than them?...

- 2 Kings 6:17 - Then Elisha prayed and said, “O Lord, please open his eyes that he may see.” So the Lord opened the eyes of the young man, and he saw, and behold, the mountain was full of horses and chariots of fire all around Elisha.

- there was an angelic host ready to protect Elisha and his servant…[if time, tell the rest of the story, the Arameans were struck with blindness, then Elisha went to them and said, here’ the battle’s this way – led them right to the king of Israel, who said – should I kill them, Elisha said – no, let’s open their eyes and then give them something to eat…and that story ends with this deadpan statement – “And the marauding bands of Arameans did not come again into the land of Israel”.

- now, here’s the point…that’s what these Jewish Christians would have thought about when they of angels…something fierce, a powerful and awesome messenger of God…

- and the writer of Hebrews says….that’s great…but that’s nothing compared to Jesus…

 

B. Jesus is superior to angels because of:

 

1. His name.

- Hebrews 1:5 - For to which of the angels did God ever say, “You are my Son, today I have begotten you”? Or again, “I will be to him a father, and he shall be to me a son”?

- a direct fulfillment of Psalm 2 and II Samuel 7…

 

2. His position.

Hebrews 1:7 - …and let all the angels of God worship Him

 

3. His rule

- Hebrews 1:8 - Your throne o God is forever and ever…

- each of these statements direct fulfillment of significant OT promises and prophecies…

 

4. His resilience

- Hebrews 1:11 – They will perish but You remain…

 

5. His future

Hebrews 1:13 - And to which of the angels has he ever said, “Sit at my right hand until I make your enemies a footstool for your feet”?

- the point is obvious – angels are great – Jesus is better.


 

 

 

 

Steve Viars

B.S. - Bible, Baptist Bible College
M.Div. - Grace Theological Seminary
D.Min. - Westminster Theological Seminary

Pastor Steve Viars has served at Faith Church since 1987. He and his wife Kris were married in 1982 and have two married daughters, a son, and two grandchildren. Pastor Viars’ gifted teaching ministry, enthusiasm for the Word of God, and organizational skills are instrumental in equipping Faith Church. He oversees the staff, deacons, and all Faith ministries and serves on the boards of the Association of Certified Biblical Counselors, Biblical Counseling Coalition, Vision of Hope, and the Faith Community Development Corporation.

Read Steve Viars’ Journey to Faith for the full account of how the Lord led Pastor Viars to Faith Church.

View Pastor Viars' Salvation Testimony Video