Sermon: Putting Angels in Their Place Pt. 2 (Hebrews 1:4-14)

Putting Angels In Their Place (Part 2)

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.

[9] 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?

Last week we worked our way down through the text that teaches us the superiority of our Lord over the angels.  We learned that Jesus is superior because He has a superior name.  Only our Lord is called the Son of God and the Son of David.  We also looked to the text to find out that Jesus is superior because He doesn’t worship the angels but, in fact, the angels are commanded to worship Him.

As we continue this morning, it’s important to remember who it is that the writer is writing this epistle to.  We remember from the beginning that he is writing this letter to Hebrew Christians who were struggling with the Jews.  The Jews were telling these believers that their traditions and former beliefs were superior to Christianity.  Traditionally, the Jews have held a very high idea of angels.  To the Jews, it was an angel that delivered the Law of God to Moses.  It was an angel that would often destroy towns and level villages.  It was an angel that killed all the firstborn in Egypt.  Angels had proclaimed many things on behalf of God and angels had performed many mighty feats in God’s name.  However, we must remember that they are created beings that are being obedient to God’s will.  God says go and they go.  He says deliver this message and they deliver it.

If the Hebrew Christians are going to inherit eternal life, they must see Christ as superior.  As amazing as angels are, Jesus far exceeds their glory.

1. Christ Commands the Angels

Proof # 4 Psalm 104:4

[7] Of the angels he says,

“He makes his angels winds,

and his ministers a flame of fire.”

As we look through the next four proofs the author gives, we should remember that the Hebrews knew these Psalms by heart.  So when the writer of Hebrews picks out a line or two they would have already known the content and context.  In this Psalm highlights the God of creation.  This Psalm especially highlights how God creates and maintains the universe.  He speaks and creation obeys.  The split second the command is given creation obeys.

Psalm 104:5-9 (ESV)

He set the earth on its foundations,

so that it should never be moved.

[6] You covered it with the deep as with a garment;

the waters stood above the mountains.

[7] At your rebuke they fled;

at the sound of your thunder they took to flight.

[8] The mountains rose, the valleys sank down

to the place that you appointed for them.

[9] You set a boundary that they may not pass,

so that they might not again cover the earth.

More specifically, in our text today, God controls the winds and the fire to do His bidding.  When He wants the wind to blow, He simply gives the order and it obeys.  The author is telling us that’s exactly how it is with the angels.  God commands and they obey.

We discovered from verse two that this is referring to none other than Jesus Christ.  He is the Creator.  The logic goes like this: Jesus Christ is superior to the angels because He commands them and they obey, not the other way around.  In the same way that Christ commands the elements and they obey, likewise He commands the angels and they all obey.

I’m left wondering that if the entire universe obeys the Lord, why are we so often disobedient?  What is it about us that think we have the authority to disobey the eternal King and get away with it?  Why don’t I immediately race into action to obey my Lord?  This truly highlights the Lord’s patience and mercy.  He is working with us.  Someday we will not be hindered by sin and our fallen nature any longer.  Someday we’ll obey perfectly.  What a glorious day that will be when we truly see and perfectly obey King Jesus.  Do you look forward to that day?

2. Christ is God

Proof #5 Psalm 45:6-7 & 1:8-9

[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.

[9] You have loved righteousness and hated wickedness;

therefore God, your God, has anointed you

with the oil of gladness beyond your companions.”

The contrast is very important.  While the angels are off doing the bidding of King Jesus, He is forever enthroned.  His kingdom will remain throughout all eternity.

The inspired writer of this book takes us back to the OT again.  He selects Psalm 45 to show us the person of Jesus Christ.  Jesus Christ is the one that is the fulfillment of Psalm 45.  He is the One who is called God by the writer of Hebrews.  Jesus will reign forever.  The Lord’s kingdom will endure.

It’s at this point we should pause to think together about a crucial truth.  Many folks today will tell you that they love God.  Many say things like “God and I have an understanding” or “I pray regularly to God”.

We must get this point.  Everything hinges on this.  Your eternal destiny depends on this.

Jesus Christ is God.  He is one Person of the Trinity.  To reduce Jesus to a creature is to worship the wrong Jesus.

Romans 9:5 (ESV)

To them belong the patriarchs, and from their race, according to the flesh, is the Christ who is God over all, blessed forever. Amen.

Titus 2:13 (ESV)

waiting for our blessed hope, the appearing of the glory of our great God and Savior Jesus Christ,

2 Peter 1:1 (ESV)

Simeon Peter, a servant and apostle of Jesus Christ,

To those who have obtained a faith of equal standing with ours by the righteousness of our God and Savior Jesus Christ:

Believe me that today there are many folks that Satan has tricked into being devoted to an idol and not the real Jesus.

The Father is God, the Son is God, and the Holy Spirit is God.  The Father is not the Son and the Son is not the Spirit.  Each member of the Trinity is fully God.

Another important point for us to consider today is that King Jesus rules and reigns on the eternal throne as God and His rule is consistent with perfect righteousness.  His righteousness is the source of Jesus’ happiness.

This is a concept that the Devil wants to hide from us.  We often are led to think that rebellion and sin will bring happiness.  Satan wants you to think that God is too picky or that He is restricting you because He demands righteousness.  It’s the same lie the Devil told Adam and Eve.

We will be the most happy when we are practicing righteousness.  When we obey the Lord we will find unspeakable joy.

Jesus holds out His scepter and judges with perfect righteousness.

Rev. 19:11 (ESV)

Then I saw heaven opened, and behold, a white horse! The one sitting on it is called Faithful and True, and in righteousness he judges and makes war.

May God grant to us a hatred of wickedness and rebellion and a love for righteousness.  Only in righteousness will we find true joy.

3- Christ is the Creator

Proof #6 Psalm 102:25-27

[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.”

At the destruction of Jerusalem the psalmist is lamenting in anguish as he prays to God.  He believes in the sovereignty and mercy of God.  He is steeped in remorse.  In the midst of his struggle in prayer before God, he is reminded of the Lord’s immutable qualities.  He sees Jerusalem fall but sees the Lord standing strong and unmovable.

The writer of Hebrews takes this OT text and uses it to show us that the One receiving the prayer of the psalmist was none other than Jesus Christ.

We learn from this text and other places that Jesus is the Almighty Creator of the universe.  The psalmist received comfort as he was reminded that the One who was currently working to bring judgment to Jerusalem was also the One who made Jerusalem and everything else.  What comfort can we take when we go through struggles?  We can be comforted knowing that the same Lord who died for you is also the Creator of the universe.  It makes a huge difference to see Christ as the Creator.  He made everything including the things we go through.  He is sovereign and Almighty.  He loves us and has the power to do anything we ask.  Seek the Lord of Creation.

To really drive this point home Hebrews tells us when Jesus laid the foundations of the earth.  Earth in the beginning. When we read this phrase it should remind us of the Book of Genesis.  In the beginning God…

The Creator is eternal and unchanging, creation, on the other hand is subject to change.  Angels fall into the realm of creation and therefore should never be worshipped.

The seventh and final proof seals the argument shut.

4- Christ Has the Highest Honor

Proof #7 Psalm 101:1

[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”?

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

Psalm 101 is a Psalm that has across the board been interpreted as a Messianic Psalm.  It is the most quoted Psalm in the entire Bible.  When someone in the NT quoted it, everyone knew what they meant, it was that common.

Psalm 110:1 (ESV)

A Psalm of David.

The Lord says to my Lord:

“Sit at my right hand,

until I make your enemies your footstool.”

We could interpret that as God the Father says to the Messiah… this is how the ancients would have understood it.  In fact, that is how they understood it.  Many thought this was referring to King David but we are shown in the NT that this is not referring to David but referring to Jesus.

Peter on the day of Pentecost quotes from this Psalm…

Acts 2:32-36 (ESV)

This Jesus God raised up, and of that we all are witnesses.  [33] Being therefore exalted at the right hand of God, and having received from the Father the promise of the Holy Spirit, he has poured out this that you yourselves are seeing and hearing.  [34] For David did not ascend into the heavens, but he himself says,

” ‘The Lord said to my Lord,

Sit at my right hand,

[35] until I make your enemies your footstool.’

[36] Let all the house of Israel therefore know for certain that God has made him both Lord and Christ, this Jesus whom you crucified.”

In other words, they had the long awaited Messiah standing before them.  Instead of bowing in worship they beat Him and hung Him on the cross.  They crucified the Messiah.

Paul speaking of the resurrection to the Corinthian Church quotes from Psalm 110…

Referring to Jesus Christ Paul states,

1 Cor. 15:27 (ESV)

For ” God has put all things in subjection under his feet.” …

Finally, Jesus in a debate with the Pharisees brings an amazing point to their attention.  A point that would in the end get Him crucified.

Jesus quotes Psalm 110:1 and basically asks them…

Matthew 22:41-46 (ESV)

Now while the Pharisees were gathered together, Jesus asked them a question,  [42] saying, “What do you think about the Christ? Whose son is he?” They said to him, “The son of David.”  [43] He said to them, “How is it then that David, in the Spirit, calls him Lord, saying,

[44] ” ‘The Lord said to my Lord,

Sit at my right hand,

until I put your enemies under your feet’?

[45] If then David calls him Lord, how is he his son?”  [46] And no one was able to answer him a word, nor from that day did anyone dare to ask him any more questions.

Jesus’ point is that there is only one possible answer.  A descendant of David would be the Messiah and be the Lord of heaven.  They knew exactly what He was getting at.  Jesus was saying, I am the One this Psalm refers to.  I will be seated and the throne of honor. I am the Messiah.

The writer of Hebrews shows us that Jesus Christ is seated in honor while the angels stand around Him waiting for their next assignment.

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

They do the Lord’s bidding.  He orders them and they obey instantly.

Through this brief survey we’ve seen that Jesus Christ is far better than the angels because:

He alone is called the Son of God

He alone is David’s descendant

He alone receives worship from the angels

He alone commands the angels

He alone possesses deity

He alone is the Creator

He alone is seated in the place of honor

Jesus Christ deserves our worship not the angels.

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