Sermon: Putting Angels in Their Place Pt. 1 (Hebrews 1:4-14)

Putting Angels In Their Place (Part 1)

Hebrews 1:4-14 (ESV)

having become as much superior to angels as the name he has inherited is more excellent than theirs.

[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”?

[6] And again, when he brings the firstborn into the world, he says,

“Let all God’s angels worship him.”

[7] Of the angels he says,

“He makes his angels winds,

and his ministers a flame of fire.”

[8] But of the Son he says,

“Your throne, O God, is forever and ever,

the scepter of uprightness is the scepter of your kingdom.

You have loved righteousness and hated wickedness;

therefore God, your God, has anointed you

with the oil of gladness beyond your companions.”

[10] And,

“You, Lord, laid the foundation of the earth in the beginning,

and the heavens are the work of your hands;

[11] they will perish, but you remain;

they will all wear out like a garment,

[12] like a robe you will roll them up,

like a garment they will be changed.

But you are the same,

and your years will have no end.”

[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”?

[14] Are they not all ministering spirits sent out to serve for the sake of those who are to inherit salvation?

Introduction

1994-KINGSTON, Ontario – An eastern Ontario man is hoping to make a bit of money by auctioning a fish stick he says looks like Jesus. Fred Whan, who has kept the fish stick in his freezer since burning it at dinner a year ago, decided Tuesday that it was time to thaw it out so he could sell it on eBay.

1978- It all started back in 1978 when Mario Rubio, rolling a burrito, notices skillet burns on a tortilla resembling the face of Jesus Christ. Shortly thereafter, 8,000 curious pilgrims trek to the Rubios’ small stucco house in rural New Mexico to view the sacred icon. Mrs. Rubio leaves her house unlocked so that visitors may freely enter and examine the tortilla. (Newsweek, Aug. 14, 1978)

1991- Jesus makes national news as the centerpiece of a Pizza Hut billboard in Atlanta. Joyce Simpson spotted the face of Christ in the advertisement immediately after praying for a divine sign. She couldn’t decide whether to stay in the church choir or quit and sing professionally. The shadowy image of Jesus’ face in strands of spaghetti hanging from a fork meant she should stay with the choir. John Moody, a marketing director for Pizza Hut, said the picture, one of 35 put up in the area, is a standard food photograph that the Wichita headquarters provides franchises. Moody said several people, however, called his office to say they see other notably less religious images in the picture: deceased rock star Jim Morrison, a puppet and Willie Nelson. (Chicago Tribune, May 23, 1991)

As we look to these crazy stories about people seeing the face of Jesus in their food, it’s really a sad but accurate picture of the lack of understanding of the real Jesus.  We must all answer the question as to the person of Jesus Christ.  Is He simply some icon found on the wall of a church or on a pizza or is He King of the universe?

Jesus asked Simon Peter the question that I believe we should also be able to answer with accuracy:

Mark 8:27-29 (ESV)

And Jesus went on with his disciples to the villages of Caesarea Philippi. And on the way he asked his disciples, “Who do people say that I am?”  [28] And they told him, “John the Baptist; and others say, Elijah; and others, one of the prophets.”  [29] And he asked them, “But who do you say that I am?” Peter answered him, “You are the Christ.”

There have always been misconceptions as to the person of Jesus Christ and His authority.

Another symptom of our lack of understanding in modern culture is our over fascination with angels. Like the ancient world, 21st Century America has an over active fascination with angels.  We have angel pendants that are promised to protect us.  You can buy angel figurines for good luck.  Angels are called to bless humans through mediums.  All this and more is available to us from our culture.

But are they really angels? Yes, but not the benevolent, holy angels who serve God. In reality, these spirit guides are demonic beings ready and willing to fill the empty place in the hearts and minds of misguided people, deceiving them into accepting them as angels of light. Ultimately, this leads to the person rejecting the sovereignty of the true God.

2 Cor. 11:14 (ESV)

And no wonder, for even Satan disguises himself as an angel of light.

On the other hand, the ministry of the holy angels to the elect includes guiding, providing for, protecting, delivering, comforting and gathering. The author of Hebrews calls them “ministering spirits sent forth to minister for those who will inherit salvationTo minister means “to do service for.” Holy angels are sent forth to do service for the saints, the elect of God, those going on to perfection and inheriting eternal life. They are here to save us from accidents or premature death and to help us attain eternal life. The ministry of angels to the elect is an inspiring and encouraging proof of God’s care and concern for us.

God has commissioned His angels to guide events for the benefit of the elect. In Genesis 24 we have an example of the work angels do.  When Abraham spoke to his servant about finding a wife for Isaac, he said, “He [God] will send His angel before you”. Later, the servant repeated Abraham’s instructions to Bethuel and Laban, Rebekah’s father and brother: “The Lord, before whom I walk, will send His angel with you and prosper your way”. Prosper in this context means “to make successful.” Abraham knew that God would send one of His angels to oversee the servant’s efforts of finding a wife for Isaac and make the trip a success. By using an angel to guide specific events, God provided Rebekah for Isaac.

As amazing as angels are, the Holy Spirit wants us to realize that Jesus Christ is better.  Last week we learned that Jesus is better than the OT prophets.  This week we’ll see that He is better than the angels.  The recipients of the letter accepted the OT, so our writer gives them and us 7 proofs from the OT that Jesus is better than the angels.

We have the number of perfection, seven indisputable points made from the OT that Jesus is better.

1. Jesus is Superior Because He is God’s Son

Proof # 1. Psalm 2:7

[5] For to which of the angels did God ever say,

“You are my Son,

today I have begotten you”?

In Psalm 2, we see that on the initial level King David was promised royal sonship. As David went out to conquer he went out as a representative of God.  In Scripture there is often a dual fulfillment.  King David did go out and conquer in the name of Yahweh.  After David, there would be One who would do this in a much greater way.

The writer of Hebrews takes Psalm 2 and applies it to King Jesus.  This text is not talking about Jesus’ eternal sonship.  Our JW friends would try to tell us that there was a point in time when Jesus was created and that this passage is one that proves that point.  What is really going on here is that the Holy Spirit wants us to see that at a point in time the eternal Son, Jesus Christ took on flesh lived and died and was raised from the grave.  Jesus became the Son in a physical sense at the incarnation.

God the Father has declared this two times and Paul once.  At Jesus’ baptism, God declared Him to be the Son.  At the transfiguration God declared Him to be the Son.  At the resurrection God declared Him to be His Son.

Acts 13:32-33 (ESV)

And we bring you the good news that what God promised to the fathers,  [33] this he has fulfilled to us their children by raising Jesus, as also it is written in the second Psalm,

” ‘You are my Son,

today I have begotten you.’

Because of Jesus’ successful work on behalf of the elect, God the Father has given Him a superior name.

Jesus’ perfect life and death qualified Him to be given this divine title.  In eternity the Son had always existed, however, in time He would be declared the Son while He was physically in the world.  There has never been a time that the Son did not exist.

Romans 1:4 (ESV)

and was declared to be the Son of God in power according to the Spirit of holiness by his resurrection from the dead, Jesus Christ our Lord,

Psalm 2 also goes on to tell us…

Psalm 2:8-12 (ESV)

Ask of me, and I will make the nations your heritage,

and the ends of the earth your possession.

[9] You shall break them with a rod of iron

and dash them in pieces like a potter’s vessel.”

[10] Now therefore, O kings, be wise;

be warned, O rulers of the earth.

[11] Serve the Lord with fear,

and rejoice with trembling.

[12] Kiss the Son,

lest he be angry, and you perish in the way,

for his wrath is quickly kindled.

Blessed are all who take refuge in him.

***Jesus is proven to be superior to the angels because He is God’s Son

2. Jesus is Superior Because He is David’s Son

Proof #2. 2 Samuel 7:14

“I will be to him a father,

and he shall be to me a son”?

When the eternal Son came to earth, He was to be given the title Son of the most high God.

In the 2 Samuel passage we learn that God is making a covenant with David.  The covenant states that his rule or kingship will be eternal.  There will always be an ancestor of David, one of his sons sitting on the throne.  Here in Hebrews and also in Luke we learn who this eternal King really is.

Luke 1:31-33 (ESV)

And behold, you will conceive in your womb and bear a son, and you shall call his name Jesus.  [32] He will be great and will be called the Son of the Most High. And the Lord God will give to him the throne of his father David,  [33] and he will reign over the house of Jacob forever, and of his kingdom there will be no end.”

At a point in time Jesus was called Son.

Jesus is superior to the angels because He has inherited a superior name.  No angel has ever be call the Son of the most high God.  This royal title is reserved for Jesus alone.  He’s superior because He has a superior name.

He’s also superior to the angels because all the angels worship Him.

3. Jesus is Superior Because Angels Worship Him

Proof #3 Psalm 97:7

[6] And again, when he brings the firstborn into the world, he says,

“Let all God’s angels worship him.”

For all eternity God commands all the angels without exception to worship the Son.  Jesus is the adoration of all angels.

Angels worshipped Christ when He was born…

Luke 2:8-14 (ESV)

And in the same region there were shepherds out in the field, keeping watch over their flock by night.  [9] And an angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were filled with fear.  [10] And the angel said to them, “Fear not, for behold, I bring you good news of a great joy that will be for all the people.  [11] For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord.  [12] And this will be a sign for you: you will find a baby wrapped in swaddling cloths and lying in a manger.”  [13] And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God and saying,

[14] “Glory to God in the highest,

and on earth peace among those with whom he is pleased!”

Worship is in process as we speak.  When the apostle John was given access to heaven, here’s what he saw…

Rev. 5:11-12 (ESV)

Then I looked, and I heard around the throne and the living creatures and the elders the voice of many angels, numbering myriads of myriads and thousands of thousands,  [12] saying with a loud voice, “Worthy is the Lamb who was slain, to receive power and wealth and wisdom and might and honor and glory and blessing!”

The Holy Spirit’s logic here goes like this: Angels are to worship Christ because He is infinitely better than they are.  Christ doesn’t worship angels.  This also goes against what our JW friends would want us to believe.  If Jesus is simply a created angel then why does Hebrews tell the angels to worship another angel?

It’s important for us to see that the writer is moving us along one step at a time so that we can catch a clear glimpse of the eternal Son of God.  This Son is superior not only to angels but to all things.  We too are called to worship Jesus Christ because of His superior name and superior person.

Jesus is to reign supreme in all things.  He is the eternal Son of God.  He is worshipped by all created beings which includes both angels and us.  I pray we would see the true Jesus high and lifted up as King and not some icon or idol.

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