The Book of Hebrews #2 chapter 1:2-3
The Book of Hebrews
The Preeminence of Christ
Hebrews 1:2-3
         
If you have your Bibles, we'd like to ask you to turn to Hebrews Chapter 1 and we're going to continue our look at the first three verses of this tremendous Epistle. We began last Wednesday with some introductory material that talked about the Preparation for Christ, and the Presentation of Christ.
 
In a nutshell, the preparation of Christ was the Old Testament. The presentation of Christ was the New Testament. In the Old Testament, God spoke in many ways, in many forms through many different individuals. In the New Testament God speaks through His Son and all of the writers of the New Testament are commentators on or historians on His Son.
 
That means Jesus is the theme of both Old and New. 
 
And what we have next is
 
3.  The Pre-Eminence of Christ
 
Verses 2-3
 
Now you can find all kinds of explanations about who Jesus is, but I want you to hear what God says about who He is.
 
In these two verses, God gives a seven-fold presentation of Christ. This is God’s way of demonstrating the pre-eminence of Christ to any and every other thing.
First of all,
 
1. He is Heir
 
The first thing we learn about Jesus Christ is that He is the heir of all things.  If Jesus is the Son of God, then He is the heir of all that God possesses. And everything that is finds its final meaning when it comes into the control of Jesus Christ.
 
As early as Psalm 2:6 we have an indication that
God would have a Son who would become the heir of all that God possesses, and that Son is Jesus Christ.
 
In Psalm 89:27, it says, "Also I will make Him my first born, higher than the kings of the earth."
 
The first born is the one with right to the inheritance. It's not necessarily a chronological term, but a term of legal right. And so He is saying Christ will be my heir.
 
So everything that exists, exists for Jesus Christ to become His. He is the heir of all things belonging to God. 
 
So how rich is Jesus? Verse 2 says “He's the heir of everything.”
 
You can't minimize that. It’s a little bit deceiving to limit your understanding of Jesus to His earthly ministry because when He came to earth, He became poor for our sakes that we through His poverty might be made rich. He was poor. He had nothing for himself. He had nowhere to lay His head. Even His clothes were taken from Him. He was buried in a grave that didn't belong to Him.
But He is some day to inherit all things and according to Philippians Chapter 2, all of those existing in the universe, whatever they be when asked who is king will say it is Jesus.
 
So the Holy Spirit says to the Hebrews this Jesus, is the heir of all things and because of that He is preeminent.
 
Second,
 
2.  He is Creator
 
end of verse 2
 
John 1:3 says, "All things are made by Him. Without Him was not anything made that was made."
 
The single greatest proof that Jesus is God may be His power to create.  That one thing uniquely sets Him apart from man. 
 
If anyone can create, then they are God. You can't create. I can’t create.  Let’s face it, if we could create, your wife would be married to a different man!  At least a little bit different!
 
If you could create, you'd live in a different house, drive a different car, and probably have a different job.  If you could create, you’d probably just sit in the yard and make some money.  It's a good thing God didn't give us the power to create isn't it? To be able to create belongs to God and God alone. And the fact that Jesus creates indicates and He is God. That establishes His absolute superiority over everything.
 
Now I want you to catch a little thought here that's kind of hidden at the end of verse 2. 
 
The common Greek word for world is kosmos, but that is not the word that is here.  The word that is here is ionus. It does not mean the material world, but rather it means the ages. 
 
He is not saying that Jesus Christ is only responsible for the physical earth. He is saying that Christ is responsible for creating the very concepts of time, space, force, action, and matter. Christ is responsible for creating the whole universe of time and space. His creation is not restricted to merely matter.  It’s not the cosmos, but it’s everything that exists. 
 
It isi laughable that man thinks he has figured out the origin of life because some kind of slug crawled out of a slime pool way back when and eventually evolved into man.  But we’re not even smart enough to know where the slime came from to begin with. 
 
And somehow all the wonders of creation are the direct result of nothing but chance. 
 
Think about the vastness of the universe that just zapped one day from nothing. You could bore a hole in the sun and pour in 1,200,000 earths and still have room for 4,300,000 moons just to lie around the edge. The diameter of the sun is 385,000 miles. And it's 93 million miles away, but our nearest star Alpha Centauri is five times larger than our sun.
 
Now the moon is only 211,463 miles away and you could walk to it in 27 years. But if we could accelerate to the speed of light, 186,000 miles per second, 1½ seconds we’re there.
We would reach Mercury in 4½ minutes because it's only 15 million miles away. In 2 minutes 18 seconds, we'd pass Venus, 26 million miles away. In 4 minutes 21 seconds, Mars would fly by because it's only 34 million miles away. Next we'd arrive at Jupiter, 367 million miles away. And numbers start to mean nothing at this point.
 
The giant planet with its four moons and two big belts of shiny vapor and it would take us 35 minutes at the speed of light.
 
Then Saturn is twice as far. That's 790 million miles. And it would take one hour and 11 seconds. Then Uranus is 1 billion 608 million miles away and then Neptune that little planet on the outside 3 billion, and then Pluto, I don't know how to add this figure together. I think it's 2 billion 668 million miles away. And we've gotten that far away we have just made the first step off the front porch. Because we haven't even gotten out of our tiny little infinitesimal solar system, which moves in a multi-million mile orbit through endless space. And the nearest star is ten times further than the boundaries of our solar system, 20 billion miles away.
 
The north star is 400 billion miles away.  That’s not far compared to Beetelguise  which is 880 quadrillion miles and has a diameter of 200 million miles. And the diameter of that star is greater than the earth's orbit.
 
Somebody made it. And my Bible tells me it was Jesus Christ who made it. He can create a marvel of marvels even beyond that.
 
He can move into your life in a creative act, 2 Corinthians 5:17 says "If any man be in Christ he is a," what, "new creation." And so we see his creation, his creatorship.
 
Thirdly
 
3.  His Brightness
 
verse 3.
 
Now brightness, which means to send forth light, refers to Jesus as the manifestation of God. He expresses God to us. He's the brightness of God's glory. No one can really see God at any time. None of us ever will. The only radiance that reaches us from God is mediated to us through Jesus Christ.
 
Just as the rays of the sun reach the earth and light the earth and warm the earth, and give life and growth the earth so Jesus Christ is the glorious light of God shining into the hearts of men. And just to carry it in a theological context as you well know the brightness of the sun is the same nature as the sun. It is as old as the sun. Never was the sun without its brightness and the brightness cannot be separated from the sun and so it is with Christ.
 
Christ is of the same nature as God. He is as old as God and that is endlessly old. Never was God without Him or He without God and never or in any way can He be separated from God and yet the brightness of the sun is not the sun and neither is Jesus God in that sense. In one sense He is, and in another sense He's a distinct person.
 
So Jesus Christ then is the brightness of God's essence manifested to man. We would never know what God was like if we didn't have Jesus to look at.
 
God sent His rays in the person of Jesus Christ, beaming them down to man's world that man might behold His light and His glory and that man might know that light and literally radiate that light as well.
 
What a tremendous thing it is to realize that Jesus Christ who is the full expression of God in human history can come in to my life and give me light in the darkness of this world. Light to know God, to understand God, to know life, to know purpose, to know meaning, to know happiness, peace, joy, fellowship, everything and for all eternity.
 
Then
 
4.  His Being
 
verse 3
 
Jesus Christ is the express image of God's person. Now the former glory was the sun's rays. This is the sun itself. Christ was not only God manifest, He was God in substance. Now, we're getting into theology here. Jesus Christ was not only God manifest and distinctly a person on His own, He was also God in substance. He was of the same substance as God. And I'll show you what I mean.
 
The term express image is a Greek word used to indicate a dye or stamp or the mark made by a seal  and what it means here is that Jesus Christ is the exact reproduction of God. When the dye goes down you have an exact imprint.
Jesus Christ is God reproduced. Now notice that it says in verse 3 the express image of His person. And the word person means substance or essence.
 
Christ is the perfect essence of God. He is the personal imprint of God in time and space.
 
In Colossians 1:15 it says Christ is the image of the invisible God. And the word image there is eikon, from which we get icons which are names of idols. Eikon means a precise copy, a reproduction or an exact image. So to call Christ the eikonian of God means He is the exact reproduction of God.
 
And for example, in Colossians 1:19, it goes on to tell us that in Christ, all of God is visible because it says "For it please the Father that in Him should all fullness dwell. And in 2:9, it says "For in Him dwelleth all the fullness of the Godhead bodily." So Christ was not only God manifest, He was God in essence. And I realize that's difficult to understand. I don't understand it. I just tell you what it says.
 
I just know He was God and yet He was distinct in His own person as God manifest.
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Now you'll notice also in verse 3, the fifth of His excellent glories,
 
5.  His Administration
 
He not only made things, He not only will someday inherit all things, but He holds them all together in the meantime. The world upholding means supporting, maintaining, and it's in a present tense continuous action.
 
Everything in the universe, my friends, is sustained right now by Jesus Christ. That’s important, because we base our entire existence upon the continuance or the constancy of laws.
 
When something comes along like an earthquake and just shifts things a little bit, that's a panicky situation. Can you imagine what would happen if Jesus Christ relinquished His sustaining power to the laws of the earth and the universe? And everything lost its orbit and everything became violated we would go out of existence. If he just stopped holding the law of gravity where it was, we'd have problems.
 
Things don't happen in our universe by accident. They didn't happen that way to begin with. They aren't going to happen that way to end with, and they're not happening that way in the middle. Jesus Christ is sustaining the universe. He is the principle of cohesion.
 
The reason the universe is a kosmos instead of a chaos, the reason it's an ordered and reliable unit instead of an erratic and unpredictable muddle is because Jesus Christ upholds it.
 
No scientist or mathematician, no astronomer or nuclear physicist could do anything without the upholding power of Jesus Christ. If the laws of science varied, we would have a mess unbelievable. We couldn't exist. That which you eat could turn to poison. You couldn't stay on the earth. We'd fall off periodically. We'd get drowned by the ocean periodically. Tremendous things would happen. 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 in Genesis, two words, God said. All the way through Genesis, God Said. And it did and it happened.
 
And when I think about His power to uphold, that transmits itself right to my life because I read in Philippians 1:6 the tremendous promise "That He which hath begun a good work in you shall perform it until the day of Jesus Christ."
 
Jesus Christ can take your life when you give it to Him and He can take you at the end of your life and be sure that you're in God's presence because all the way along, He sustains your life in Christ. He upholds you. And a life not sustained by Christ is chaos.
 
6.  His Sacrifice
 
 Verse 3
 
All alone, by Himself He purged our sins. Now the Bible says "The wages of sin is," what, "death." Jesus Christ then went to the cross, died our death and consequently took care of the penalty, which frees us if we'll accept his death and believe that He died for us, it frees us from the penalty of sin.
 
And He did it by Himself. And my friends, it was a wondrous work when He created the world. It's a wondrous work when He sustains the world, but a greater work than making the world and upholding the world is the work of purging the sins of men.
 
 
 
Remember I told you that in the Old Testament the priests had to make sacrifice after sacrifice after sacrifice after sacrifice? Jesus made one, did it one time. He was not only the priest, He was also the sacrifice. And in that He purified our sins.
 
Later in Hebrews 9:12, he says, "Neither by the blood of goats and calves, but by His own blood He enter in once into the holy place having obtained eternal redemption for us. For if the blood of bulls and of goats and the ashes of a heifer sprinkling the unclean sanctifieth to the purifying of the flesh, how much more shall the blood of Christ who through the eternal Spirit offered Himself without spot to God purge your conscience from dead works to serve the living God."
 
Verse 26, "But now once in the end of the ages, hath He appeared to put away sin by the sacrifice of Himself."
 
Jesus Christ dealt with the sin problem. It had to be done. God couldn't communicate with us. We couldn't enter into fellowship with God unless sin was dealt with. And so Christ went to the cross, bore the penalty of sin for all who accept His sacrifice believe in Him and receive Him, sin is purged, wiped out.
 
It's a tremendous thing that He says here. Because, you see, He's writing to Jewish people to whom the cross was a stumbling block. And He doesn't apologize for the cross, He makes it one of the seven excellent glories of Christ. With Jesus Christ's blood He bought us.  A man whose sins are forgiven has them forgiven because of Jesus Christ.
 
And so we see the preeminent Christ, His heirship, His creatorship, His brightness, His being, His administration, and His sacrifice. Lastly,
 
7.  His exaltation.
 
The majesty on high is God and the right hand is the power side. Jesus took His place at the right hand of God.
 
Now the marvelous part about this statement is that He sat down, because that's a contradiction to everything the priesthood stood for in the Old Testament. There were no seats in the sanctuary. The priest work was never finished, so he never sat down. He never had any place to sit, because God knew there wouldn't never be any time to sit. Sacrifice, sacrifice, sacrifice, sacrifice, over and over and over again. His work was never done. Daily, day in, day out the priest continually offered sacrifices. Never sat down.
 
But Jesus went in offered on sacrifice, got all done, said "It is finished." Went to the Father and sat down. It was done. And what accomplished...what couldn't be accomplished in all the Old Testament sacrifices was accomplished once by Jesus Christ for all time.
 
So what does it mean that He went up and sat down? It means He was exalted. There are at least four things and I'll just present them to you. I'm not going to take the time to go in detail.
 
He sat down, number one, as a sign of honor. To be seated at the right hand of the Father is honor indeed isn't it?   Philippians 2:11.
He sat down secondly as a sign of rule. 1 Peter 3:22. "Who has gone into heaven is on the right hand of God, angels and authorities and powers being made subject unto Him." That's rule. He sat down as a ruler.
 
Thirdly, He sat down to rest. His work was done.
 
Hebrews 10:12, "But this man after He had offered one sacrifice for sins forever sat down on the right hand of God."
 
Fourthly He sat down to intercede for us. Romans 8:34, "He is seated at the right hand of the Father making it a session for us."
 
Now there you have God's portrait of Jesus Christ. You've seen the preeminent Christ in all His offices. You've seen Him as prophet, the final spokesman for God. You've seen Him as priest, atoning, and interceding. You've seen Him as King, controlling, sustaining and seated on the throne. This is our Lord Jesus Christ.
 
God says that he is preeminent in all things. You say now what does this mean to me? It means everything to you for to receive Jesus Christ is to enter in to all that He is and has and to reject Him is to be shut out from His presence into an eternal Hell. And there are no other choices.
 
Let’s pray

 

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