Hebrews 2:5-18

25 Jun 2023

Hebrews 2:5-18

Passage Hebrews 2:5-18

Speaker Chris Musther


Transcript (Auto-generated)

This transcript has been automatically generated, and therefore may not be 100% accurate.

Father, thank you for your word. It is not to angels that he has subjected the world to come about. I'll start again. It is angels that he has subjected the world to come about which we are speaking. But there is a place where someone has testified.

What is mankind? That you are mindful of them. A son of man that you care for him. You made them a little lower than the angels. You crown them with glory and honour and put everything under their feet.

In putting everything under them, God left nothing that is not subject to them. Yet at present, we do not see everything subject to them. But we do see Jesus, who was made lower than the angels for a little while now crowned with glory and honour. Because he suffered death so that by the grace of God he might taste death for everyone. In bringing many sons and daughters to glory, it was fitting that God, for whom and through whom everything exists should make the pioneer of their salvation perfect through what he suffered.

Both the one the who makes people holy and those who are made holy are of the same family. So Jesus is not ashamed to call them brothers and sisters. He says, I will declare your name to my brothers and sisters in the assembly. I will sing your praises. And again I will put my trust in him.

And again he says, here am I. And the children God has given me. Since the children have flesh and blood, he too shared in their humanity. So that by his death he might break the power of him who holds the power of death, that is the devil. And free those who all their lives were held in slavery by their fear of death.

For surely it is not angels he helps, but Abraham's descendants. For this reason, he had to be made like them. Fully human in every way. In order that he might become a merciful and faithful high priest in service to God. And that he might make atonement for the sins of the people.

Because he himself suffered when he was tempted. He is able to help those who are being tempted. This is the word of the Lord.

Yours. I think I'm gonna need a bigger boat. I've not quite got enough room, but we'll make do. Good morning, everybody.

Before I get started this morning, I'd like to make quite a. Well, it's an important and a kind of solemn announcement. And it's about Ben. Ben who? You've seen this morning, vicar here, all saints.

I have to tell you, I think Ben is trolling me through the leading and preaching rotor because last time I was stood up here. Well, no, it's. A couple of times ago I was preaching on the psalms when we were going through our series in the psalms, and I said to you, I love the psalms. I love how deep and complex they are, how they are massive in their scope. And Ben gave me the shortest chapter in the entire Bible.

But he paid attention, obviously, because this morning we've got 13 verses that have got so much in them, so much depth that I'm hoping. Still not going to be here on Wednesday. So what I'm going to do is I'm going to start this timer on my watch, right? So we don't stay too long, and I'll try and keep things moving. But I love Hebrews.

It's one of my favourite New Testament books. It's up there with Romans for me, is Hebrews, just because it's got so much richness and depth to it. So where are we in Hebrews so far? The writer to the Hebrews, as Ben set out for us at the beginning of this. Oh, thank you.

Yeah, I've got slides. I've forgotten about those. Thank you, Liz. I wasn't necessarily expecting those to work. So.

Yeah, great. Thank you. I'll try and remember and give you cues for those. Thanks. But, yeah, Ben was telling us at the very beginning of our season, if you like, on psalms, that the psalms, sorry, psalms was before Hebrews is now.

The writers to Hebrews is giving us this image of Jesus, the one who is better than everything. And as we went through chapter one, we had this whole list of accolades that kind of talk about how amazing Jesus is. He was there at the creation of the world, involved with the father, involved in creating, sustaining the world moment to moment, preventing its return to chaos. He's the exact imprint of God, a perfect representation of God, the expressed radiance of the Father, if you like. He's a prophet above all others, being God.

He's the perfect messenger of God to man. He's a priest like no other, entering the holy of holies, as the priests of the past would do, into the very presence of God, but not doing it by the blood of sacrificed animals, going there through his own sacrifice and sitting down there, his work once and forever done. And he's the king, the heir of all things, higher than all the angels and deserving of glory and praise. And we could stop there and that would be enough for this morning. Right.

That's amazing. Just all these things that Jesus is. It should give us this huge, expansive view of all that Jesus is. But then Phil spoke to us and Phil told us that he kind of went through how the writer to the Hebrews is telling us to hold on to this jesus, to take hold and don't slip away, take hold of this great salvation that we have in Jesus and never let go of it. Because if we separated from that, there's no other way to be saved.

So that's the introduction. Nice and light. Okay. And now we're onto the book proper. We've kind of had the teaser, if you like.

We've had the leading. And these images of Jesus in our amazing ears. And now we start to get into the writer really taking a deep dive into some of these subjects. And it helps us to build a mental model, if you like, of all that Jesus is. And the writer does it in light of kind of the history of the Hebrews and the covenantal system and the sacrificial system.

Hebrews gives us these truths. It helps us to build our theology of all that Jesus is, and it gives us a fuller appreciation of him. But you might ask, why is that important? Well, I want to offer you some thoughts. So we've got these ideas of Jesus as fully God and fully man.

We've got these ideas of Jesus prophet, priest and king of the one that was there at the beginning, the one who is the creator, sustainer. That's all great and good, but what does that mean to us? So this week at work, I was helping to put together some training for some of our clients. I work in it. So we're putting together a package of training that was teach people about a computer programme called Git.

Okay. Some of you may have heard of Git, some of you may have used. If you work in it, you might have come across it. It's just bit of software that allows you to work with lots of people on an arbitrary set of files on a computer system, keep track of who's changing what, and put changes together, and all work collaboratively. That's all it is.

But it's got a reputation. If we move on to the next slide, please, Liz. It's got a bit of reputation, this computer programme, because it's really well put together. It's super elegant under the hood, but actually the way people use it is really very simple because most people don't understand how it works. So people learn a few very simple commands, and when something goes wrong, they kind of throw all their work away, just download a fresh copy and start again.

They always go back to what they know, and they don't really understand how to dig themselves out of problems or deal with new situations. It's a bit like maybe at home when your computer starts mucking you around, if you work in it, if you know something about computers, then maybe you start clicking around. You get the task manager open, you kill some tasks, you restart some service, you close programmes, you play with the files. If you don't, what do you do? You stop.

You restart it and hope it works, don't you? You go back to those basic things, okay, I want to suggest to you that it's important for us to build a mental model of all of who Jesus is, put all these things together, because it helps us stop in returning to the very simple things of our faith. When we're presented with new things in our lives, when we don't understand what's going on, we've got a much more mature model in order to test things against, to understand the fullness of all that God is doing and all that Jesus is. And partly that's what the writer to the Hebrews is doing with this book. He's writing to people who are coming from a jewish background, and they're coming to the christian faith, and they don't really know how to reconcile the two.

They're not sure how all this stuff they've learned in the past now fits with what they're learning in Jesus. And so that's what the writer is trying to teach them them. And that's important for us, too, right? For exactly the same reasons. Sometimes theology is treated as a dirty word, something that is just useful for academics.

But actually knowing this stuff, understanding what the writer to the Hebrews is telling us, really helps us to build our own faith, really helps us to build a robust faith, so that when trials and tribulations come, we've got something to fall back on. When we get questions about things, we can fit them into what scripture is telling us and arrive at a biblical answer, rather than just falling back on the pat answers that we might have learnt from Sunday school in the past. And for me, that's why studying the scriptures, studying the richness of books like Hebrews and Romans, is so important. So let's move on. Thank you, Liz.

So this is the kind of outline that I want to refer to today. So we're going to split our reading into three quick sections. And I'm doing it just for, well, kind of for the sake of time, but also just to focus our thoughts, because there's so much in here, we could go off in all sorts of different directions. But the three things I want to focus on today are salvation, sanctification, and the idea of family and covenant and we're going to do that by splitting our reading into those three sections, Hebrews two, five to 9210 13 and 214 to 18. So those sections kind of break up, and we start with this idea of salvation.

And what we're going to look at is the background to salvation. What do we really mean by salvation? It's a kind of a shorthand word that you hear in church, this salvation. Okay, but what am I being saved from? And what am I being saved to?

And why is it important? Then we're going to look at sanctification. We're going to explore that a little bit and the potential in Jesus that we have to be all that we can possibly be. And then finally we'll come and look at the kind of familial aspect of this new relationship that's available to us that we can have with God because of the Lord Jesus Christ. And I'm going to try not to use kind of shorthand church words like salvation, sanctification, covenant.

And if I do, I'm going to try and explain them, because the whole point is that we dig into this and we get to understand it, right? So let's move on because I'm talking a lot. So let's look at the first section then verses five to nine, and we're going to concentrate on these verses that are quoted by the writer to the Hebrews. These verses actually come from psalm eight, four, six, this what is man that you are mindful of him? And the writer says, this is testified somewhere, but really he's just saying it's come from the Old Testament, but it functions in several different dimensions here in Hebrews, and it's telling us various different things.

If we look at the history of this psalm, right. The psalm in its original context was reaching back and kind of giving us a pointer back to Genesis, pointing back to Genesis 126 and 128. And if you know your Bible, you'll know that those verses in Genesis are all about God commissioning humanity, right? So God has created people. He's created humanity and he's given them dominion over creation.

And we learn several things in Genesis, don't we, about God's creation of man. Let's forget for a second the kind of heuristicity of it. Let's just think of it ideologically. This first man and woman created Adam and Eve. And particularly focusing on Adam being the forerunner of humanity, he was made in the image of God, made a little less than the angels, the psalmist would tell us, or a little less than divine, a little bit different to God, but made in the image of God and this man, Adam.

This humanity was given dominion, given stewardship over creation, given responsibility to look after creation. And in a sense, at the beginning, in this perfection that God creates in the Garden of Eden, humanity is sorry. Creation is in subjection to humanity. It's humanity's role to steward creation. That's what started in the Bible at the beginning.

And in this point, in the beginning, in Genesis, there is peace with God. Humanity is at peace with God. They walk with God in the cool of the garden. But things change. Humanity's position changes when Adam and Eve disobey God.

Adam becomes, instead of this representative of all that humanity could be. And this perfection at the beginning, Adam becomes a representative of fallen humanity. Somebody who doesn't follow God's plan isn't all that he can be, loses the perfection of the garden. Adam becomes this archetypal person, the first human who tested God and lost all of what was promised in the garden of Eden, lost peace with and relationship to God, relationship to humanity itself, to one another, and relationship to creation. But it doesn't stop there, because the rise of the Hebrews goes on.

The rise of the Hebrews brings in Jesus. In verse eight, we see the rise of saint input in everything under him, and by him is referring to Jesus. So the writer is superimposing Jesus upon this psalm here and essentially saying that we have this state where humanity is meant to be God's representative on earth, meant to be the steward of creation, but that's been thwarted by what happened. Now the writer is asking us to see Jesus projected onto this and the possibility restoration. In one corinthians 522, we have Paul writing for, as in Adam, all die.

As in Adam, this first representative, all are lost. All aren't what they could possibly be. They aren't this perfection that was envisaged by God in creation, but so also in Christ, all would be made alive. And so we're taking this image of Adam as the forerunner, Adam as the one who has, has fallen, and we're contrasting him to Christ, the one who is perfect, the one who provides a way back for humanity to God. And really, when we talk about salvation, that's the switch, that's the transaction that we're talking about.

The world was intended to be perfect. When God created it. Mankind sullied. That broke, that. It was thwarted.

But Jesus makes a way possible for that to happen through his death, through his life and his death and his resurrection. The world is intended in the future to be subject to Jesus and his followers. The point being made is that the followers of Jesus are being restored to the position that was always intended, that was lost in Eden. But there's a now and not yet aspect to this, right? So the writer goes on and says, we see that not everything at this present time is subject to him.

Not everything is subject to Jesus. There's a now and not yet aspect to salvation and the kingdom of God. The world as it is today isn't perfect, is it? We still live in a world that is less than it should be. Isn't the perfection that God envisaged at the beginning?

We as individuals are not exactly how God would want us to be. We are striving to be Christ like if we believe in God and we believe in the Lord Jesus Christ trying to follow him, but we still have the ability to fall and to fail. But there's a future time coming that the writer is alluding to, that the world today will get to a future point where there's a new creation to come. At present, we don't see the full subjection of everything to God's rule. We don't see the perfection of everything.

We don't see the completion of Jesus restoration of his followers. But that is the destiny of the followers of Jesus. All that was lost in Adam and Eden will be restored by the Lord Jesus Christ. And he can do that because of his humanity, because he's fully man. And by doing that, he enables all believers to be restored to this place of honour, to be in a place where they can fulfil their potential.

So a couple of thoughts about that, then. A couple of thoughts to ponder about what this kind of view of cosmic salvation means. It reminds us something about humanity as a whole. Right. Firstly, the psalmist says there's inherent glory and honour in people.

People are made in the image of God. And yes, humanity isn't all it was meant to be. We aren't perfect. We aren't all God would want us to be. We weren't fulfilling all those things that God preplanned before we were even born.

And yet there are sparks of the divine in each and every one of us. Sparks the divine each in each and every person across the world. Each and every person has a potential to be what God wants them to be. Every person in the world has a potential to love and have compassion and live life to the full that Jesus offers. They have the ability to be creative and in relationship and be warm and loving to a greater or lesser degree.

And that should help us as believers when we look at people around us when we look at one another as believers, that should help us to see the potential in each and every person. Help us to see how God sees humanity, help us to see through the father heart of God, his love for the world, his desire for everybody to be restored. And secondly, it should remind us what we save too, because so often when we talk about salvation, we talk about what we saved from. We talk about, oh, oh, you're saved from hell. We talk about being saved from death and from sin.

And that's not wrong. That's not wrong. Don't mishear me. But there's a kind of normalisation going on because the natural state of humanity is to be living in sin. We are not perfect.

We know we're not perfect, right? That's the ground state of humanity and there's a certain normalisation of that. So if you tell somebody, oh, well, you know you're going to be saved from that, it doesn't necessarily mean anything to them. But if we turn that on its head and say, actually, look at all that you can be saved, to look at all that Jesus offers, look at a restored life, look what that could be like. Look at fulfilling all your potential that God has laid out for you before you were born, living life to the full as Jesus would have it, that's something worth taking hold of, that's something worth grasping, that's something you could sell to people, right?

That's something that we can get excited about. Oh, let's move on for time. Sorry, can we get the next slide up, please, Liz? I'll try and speed up so we don't take too long. I know it's warm.

So, sanctification, God conceived a new way of relating to humanity in Jesus, a restoration of the image of God in humanity by Christ, by his son Jesus. Then is this perfect archetype of humanity, the kind of contrast to Adam. He's the starter, the provider and the finisher of salvation. He's the leader and the pioneer for a restored people. Verse eleven says, for he who sanctifies and those who are sanctified all have one source and that hits upon another, another now and not yet that we have in these verses.

Right. When we talk about sanctification, we're talking about being made holy, right? We've just said people aren't perfect. We've just said that we are not in our present state. Even if we are believers, even if we put our faith and trust in the Lord Jesus Christ, we still get things wrong.

We're not all that God would want us to be. And yet, in one sense, we are everything that God would want us to, because we are sanctified by God through the work of the Lord Jesus Christ, through his agency in salvation. We're at the same time wholly in Christ and yet called to be holy, like Christ. There's a sense in which sanctification is both absolute and it's progressive, and it's often expressed in that our experience of sanctification is both positional, how we're seen before God, but also experientially how we feel it every day in our lives. We're declared instantly righteous before God in a forensic legal sense when we put our faith in the Lord Jesus Christ.

And that comes out in one corinthians 130. Because of him, you're in Christ Jesus, who became to us wisdom from God, righteousness and sanctification and redemption. But we're still called to a progressive experience of that we should be conforming to the likeness of Christ. Two Timothy 221. Therefore, if anyone cleanses himself from what is dishonourable, he will be a vessel honourable for use, set apart as holy.

He will be sanctified. And that can explain some of our present day experience of being in the world, can't it? Martin Luther may have heard of him, quite a famous german guy. He said, Christians are both righteous and sinners at one and the same time. We're righteous on account of God seeing the righteousness of Christ and us clothed in it, and yet we still call it that progressive work of becoming more christlike.

A poor analogy might be what happens when the building's being restored. Hoarding goes up around the building to protect it, and you can't see necessarily what's going going on as the building is being restored. But that work's been done under the covers, and then at some point, that will be taken away and revealed that actually that building will be perfect, or maybe a priceless work of art that's going through some work to make it what it was, restore it to its form and glory, that be taken out of public view. It'll be covered up and hidden away, the work done in the background, to make it all that it should be brought back into the public sphere. That's kind of maybe a poor analogy of what's going on here.

We have this sense of all that we have in Christ. His righteousness is given to us so that God looks upon that and doesn't see what's going on in our imperfection, and at the same time in our christian lives. We should be moving forward and becoming more christlike, walking in his footsteps. Okay, last slide, please, Liz. So let's just briefly.

I know we've been going a long time. Just touch very quickly on this idea of covenant family. And really what I wanted to get across here was in the Lord Jesus Christ, we have a new relationship to God. We have a new covenant with God. Right?

We talk about covenants in the Old Testament, the way that people relate to God, the way that God speaks to his people and deals with them. And that's very much done in the sense of treaties. And they, the Jews were given the law, they were given the temple where they could meet with God. They were given a religious system that allowed them to respond to God and be in relationship to him. But what we have here in this section of Hebrews is what happens in Jesus taking on human nature, is that he knows what it's like to be tempted and tested.

He's a perfect intercessor on our behalf. He's a perfect high priest because he knows exactly what we go through, because he's been there. He's gone through that. He's the one who has, as if you, like, tested the waters for us and gone through it. And yet he has succeeded where we fail.

And instead of the kind of covenant being this, it's very much a treaty with God, it becomes much more of a familial thing. We're brought into the family of God because of what Jesus has done. We don't just enter into God's presence at a time. If we were like a priest in the Old Testament, we don't just enter God's presence because of sacrifice and system, but we enter God's presence because of all that Christ has done for us. Because we are now joint heirs with Christ.

We have been made sons and daughters of God because we're being adopted into his family, because of all that Christ has done for us through his perfect sacrifice and representation for us. We could go on and we could talk about that a lot more. And actually, in terms of great high priest, we'll touch on that as we go through later chapters in hebrews, and we'll cover a lot more about that. So we covered a lot and then skimmed over some bits there at the end, just for time's sake. But I hope it's been helpful to expand our vision of the Lord Jesus Christ this morning, to expand our understanding of all that he has done, all that we have in him.

And, you know, there's a. There's a little boy that I knew many, many years ago. We, Helen and I, used to do a children's camp. And what we did, we did during the week, we'd have sessions. We'd have a workshop that ran during the week.

We'd pick a subject and we'd cover that during the. It was 50 children who'd come to faith and we'd explore certain ideas. And there was one young lad, he'd adopted another one of the leaders and just hung around with him like a shadow all week. And he came to these sessions and we'd be trying to get into deeper topics. And this little boy, whenever you asked him a question, would just respond with Jesus.

Jesus was his answer to everything. Just whatever question you asked him. Well, it's Jesus. And actually, in a sense, the writer to the Hebrews is lifting Jesus up to that point and saying, look, Jesus is better. Jesus is everything in Jesus are all these things.

And it's amazing. We've talked about the kind of cosmic scope of salvation, the benefits we have in Jesus. Jesus being the one who sanctifies us. And finally, our privilege in understanding. Jesus is the one made like us in order to make us brothers in the sense of heirs and therefore children of God.

I'm going to wrap up there just with that outline, but I hope that's been helpful. Should we just pray together?

Lord God and heavenly Father, we are in awe of all that you've done for us in Christ, Lord. We look to the Lord Jesus, and we just fall down in praise and in worship. There is so much that revealed to us in scripture in these verses from Hebrews about all that he is and because of all that he is and all that he has done, so therefore, all that we can be and all that we can do through him. For you and Lord God and heavenly Father, we just pray that as we leave this place this morning, we might leave with the people who have just had a fresh appreciation of just how magnificent and glorious the Lord Jesus Christ is, how much he deserves our praise and our worship and our lives. And I pray that we might go determined to be ever more conformed to his likeness and to his character.

For we ask all these things in and through his precious and worthy name. Amen.